The Presumptuous Ladybug

A blog about Faith, Family, Life....and Anything else

Tag: Jacqi Kambish (page 1 of 2)

When Momma Goes to School

I feel a bit like, “When Momma Goes to School” could be the title of a child’s story book complete with all the mishaps that ensue.

I realized recently after a few people asked me about my blog that months had gone by.  It isn’t because I haven’t had anything to say, but right now there are days that I barely get dinner made.  But the good news is that it is only a short amount of time.  In December (2017), I will complete the course work to become a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant.   I am very excited about this and very thankful that God has opened the doors that make it possible.  I’ve worked toward it, slowly, for many years, in between big moves and babies.

I hope that you will continue to check back in periodically, and rest assure that come January I will be writing again,even if time restraints keep me from it until then.  For now, I hope you will enjoy this little poem about going back to school.

 

“When Momma Goes to School”

When Momma goes to school

things get a little crazy

and even though its true

Its not because she’s lazy

 

The laundry’s piled high

The car is out of gas

The dinners second rate

But I wouldn’t give her sass

The floor, it needs a moppin

The rooms a petri dish

The kids they need a bath

But instead they get a swish

 

When Momma goes to school

There’re dishes in the sink

The dog is looking hungry

and the gecko needs a drink.

One day things will be quiet

And Momma will be home

And everything she worked for

Will be her very own

Perhaps her kids will see it

And call her what she is

A blessed and learned woman

With dreams and also kids

Balance is required

And sacrifice is made

But in the end its worth

All the price she’s paid

Her kids, they know she loves them

Her husband knows the same

The love they have between them

Always will remain.

She’s tired in her body

And tired in her brain,

Knowing that the ends in sight

Is all that keeps her sane

It’s not about right now

But the thing she keeps in mind

Are dreams of what can be

and possibilities still un-mined

Author: Jacqi Kambish

 

 

 

A Heart for Vegas, A Heart for People, A Heart for Prayer

It took me all day to finally sit down and read the details; just seeing the headlines made my heart sink.

Not again.

If I don’t see it or hear it or think about it maybe, maybe it won’t be true.  Maybe it can go away.

But it doesn’t.

And as the day goes on and the details emerge, a familiar ache makes it way up my spine and lands itself, once again, in the corners of my heart.

And deep inside me, hidden from the world, my soul drops to it’s knees and screams.

There is no question of “Why?” within me.  There is no wondering.  There is only sorrow.

I know why.

But that doesn’t ease the pain and it doesn’t erase the horror.

The Las Vegas shooting didn’t touch me personally so I can afford the luxury of looking at it from the side and only exposing a part of my heart to the nightmare.  But too many don’t have that luxury.  They are suffering anguish difficult to fully process and they can’t go on with their day because the horror is their day.

But, it hits too close to home.

I can write about Egypt and Syria and other places, but the USA?  It’s harder, it hurts more.

And I’m angry.

The anger and sadness twist together like a jumbled messy root within me until the one cannot exist without the other because…

Because I know why.

And the knowing…its what drives the anger inside me.

I know who the enemy is … and I hate him.

And, what he is capable of is awful.

The Devil is in the shootings.  There is no other reason.  It is evil.  It is destruction.  It is wickedness. It is vicious and vile.

And what will we do about it?  What can we do about it?

It feels like the fighting among us starts immediately.

We fight over gun control issues, and the news giving attention to the shooter, and we forward our anger and helplessness onto other scapegoats that make us feel useful.  We fight about religion and politics.

Will it be one more thing that further divides us?

Or can we come together and be united?  Can we mourn and pray together?  Will we set aside the differences and care for those affected as they try to put the pieces back together over the coming months?

The verse that keeps coming to my mind is this:

They have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, “peace, peace,” But, there is no peace.  Jeremiah 6:14

Peace.  That is what I want for America, not just physical peace but more importantly, spiritual peace.  But if things keep going this way then there will be no peace and that grieves me.

And I want hope.

Let us never give up hope.

Hope that God will heal our land.  Because He can.

Christians!

God says,

If, my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, Then I will hear from heaven, and will heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14

Let’s be clear.  This call is NOT for the non-believers.  This is specifically a call to those who already follow Yahweh.

We need to repent of our wicked ways!  Of hypocrisy, of being ashamed of our faith, of compromise, of idolatry, of pride, of loveless hearts…

We do!  Christians do!  I do!

We need to seek God and humble ourselves before the God we claim to worship and then He will heal our land.  It’s time to stop pointing the finger; it is time to look at our own hearts.  It is time to ask God to purify us and burn off the chaff and the dirt on us.

Then we can be:

“clothed with strength and dignity and laugh without fear of the future.”  Proverbs 31:25

Dear Christian, if you find yourself wanting to place blame then it is time to look in the mirror because most of us haven’t prayed enough.

It is time to repent and to pray and it is time to stop fighting.  Not because it will take away the atrocities already committed but because it can heal our land if we do and because it can prevent further depravity.

God can heal our land.  He alone can put evil in it’s place but we have to come together and seek God in unity.  We have to ask God to reveal in us our own deficits and repent of those.  The evil things don’t happen because we are being punished but because when we push God away, eventually, he gives us what we want.  Life apart from his blessing and protection and requirements.  Yes, things will probably get worse, but it is not up to us to decide God’s timeline.  We are called to repent, pray and love.

But, do we really want to worship God?

Do we care enough to become humble before Him?

Do we care enough to put our differences aside and simply love God and love people?

Do we care enough to honestly examine our hearts and repent and beg God to heal our land?

Because if we do, then He will.

He will!  But it starts with us deciding who we want to worship and who we want to run to.  God?  Or ourselves?

How many times does someone reject you before you let them go?  It’s the same with God.  He doesn’t want a part time relationship.  He doesn’t want to be called on only when we need something, He wants to walk with us daily.

I want healing for Las Vegas, I want healing for The United States, I want healing for our souls and hearts.

My heart is for our people.  My heart is for Vegas.  My heart is for healing.  My heart is for God.  My heart is for prayer.  Why?

Because, I can never stop believing that God is good and that the evil we do to each other breaks His heart.

And, I can never give up hope that in the end, good will prevail and that redemption will win.

And when evil strikes, I cling to my faith in God because He is the source of my hope.

Dear Vegas, Dear America,

I’m sorry.  I am so very sorry.

My heart grieves with you.

 

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Review of “Coffee For Your Heart”

The cover grabbed my attention;  Coffee For Your Heart.  Something about it connected immediately to a deficit within my soul.

Coffee represents a lot of things to me; all positive.  I have a deep affection for the bitter black liquid because it speaks to everything I love in this world.  Beauty, friendship, comfort, consistency, versatility, connection, and…purpose.

Coffee is a faithful companion that helps me get through exhausting and difficult days.  It’s the stuff that warms me on a cold afternoon.  It’s the stuff that says, “Slow down, let’s sit for a spell and enjoy life,” in the morning.  It’s the thing that says “Yes, you can!” when my body says “not today.”

Coffee is, often, a shared experience that connects me to others and it’s comforting in awkward situations where words are few and the sips are long.

Coffee is my ready companion.                                        

Truth be told, I am rarely seen without a cup attached tightly to my hand.

Is it no wonder, then, that coffee intended for my heart sounded appealing?

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but when the book arrived, it felt a bit like Christmas morning and when I cracked it open I wasn’t disappointed.

Coffee For Your Heart is actually a small devotional book crammed full of encouraging words for the faint of heart, the disconnected, and the faithful wanderer.

The Author, Holley Gerth covers topics like acceptance, strength, being enough, being valued, being redeemed, and being irreplaceable.  Ultimately, her message throughout the devotional series is that we are precious, wanted, seen, and deeply loved.

Empowered

Gerth reminds her readers in Chapter  12 that “God places all of His power within us,” but that “Like a power cord plugged into an outlet, the current starts flowing when there’s an intimate connection.  When that happens, nothing can stop what [God] wants to do in and through us.”

Ephesians 1:18-20

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know…his incomparable great power for us who believe.  That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

It feels a bit like Holley is empowering the reader to “grab the bull by the horns” when she ends with “You’re God’s powerhouse.  Go light the world in your own wonderful way.”

No, we aren’t all Billy Graham.  We aren’t even all Holley Gerth.  But she reminds us in Coffee For Your Heart, that we do have our own unique purpose in this life and if we cling to the One who formed us… we can see that purpose realized.  So…

“Go light the world!”

 

Hope over to HolleyGerth.com to check out this Wall Street bestselling author, her book Coffee For your Heart, and her uplifting blog.  I think you will find much of what she writes about encouraging.  Please take note that Coffee For Your Heart was originally published as God’s Heart For You.

 

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Conclusion of “Is God REALLY Good?”

My oldest daughter lay beside me, breathing deeply and absorbed in the restful sleep of safety, trust, and contentment.  Her small 8 year old body was snuggled in close to me as she slept.

I lifted my eyes toward heaven as a tear escaped.

Parenting is hard, especially when they don’t understand.  Does she really believe that I have her welfare in mind?

Earlier in the evening she had approached me with bright excited eyes, “Look what I found Momma.  Oh I love it!  Look!  Isn’t it great?”

My heart skipped a beat and sank a little.  While the object itself isn’t important what it represented is.  In my knowledge and understand I recognized it as an object of dark magic; a sinister representation of the Devil himself disguised as something cool.

She didn’t know.  She didn’t understand.

I hesitated.  Her bright eyes dimmed a bit and her brow furrowed slightly as she picked up on my lack of enthusiasm.

“I don’t think I can let you keep that, Sweet Pea,” I quietly said.

Why was I being hesitant?  How could I explain it?   It felt like I was crushing her and she had no idea why and that saddened me.

“I don’t wanna give it away!  I want it.  I love it!” Her voiced raised slightly and took on a desperate whine.  “Why don’t you like it?”  She continued as she clutched the object to her chest.

I was quiet.  Was she ready to hear it?   Could I help her understand?  The darkness in this world is larger than she can imagine.   Should I offer her a glimpse?

If I tell her…will it frighten her or empower her?

“We will discuss it later.”  I told her as I set the table for dinner and bought myself some time to silently pray.

Later had come and gone.

I did my best to explain what the object represented in a way an 8 year old could, possibly, contemplate.

But she responded with, “I still don’t understand,” in a pouty voice.

“I’m sorry.  It just has to be.  We can’t keep it.  We can’t have it in the house. I have to do my best to protect you.  Daddy and I have to make hard choices to watch over you and your brother and sister.  Please know that it is my job to protect you even when you don’t understand or agree.”

She nodded slowly as she considered my words.

“Do you believe that I will protect you?  I have to protect you and do things to benefit you even if you don’t understand or like them.   Do you believe me?”

She looked at me, sadness and moisture filled her eyes. “I believe you…but I still want it.”

I hugged her, “I know.”

She had said she believed me, but something in her eyes told me she wasn’t quite sure; the verdict was still out for consideration.  In that moment, I began questioning my parenting skills; why was she not absolutely sure?

“Can I sleep with you?”  She had asked hopefully.

“Yes.”

She found comfort in my arms and fell asleep quickly.  I did not.

“Let her believe me.  Let her believe that I have her best in mind.  Fill the gaps LORD…please fill the gaps.” I silently prayed.

Sometimes God responds with silence and I simply trust that He hears me, but tonight He responded quietly in the dark, “Do you see?  Sometimes it is the same for Me.  I have to take things away, or make choices to protect your heart and soul.  Sometimes it’s hard.  Often my Children do not understand.  I can’t explain it in a way they will be able to.  There are things you don’t know that I have to consider…  Can you feel it now?  Do you believe Me?”

I want to.

I want to believe Him when life is crappy and there seems to be no end in sight.  I want to believe Him when tragedy strikes and sorrow overcomes my soul.  I want to believe him when I see the horrors in this world…

I want to believe that He isn’t responsible and that He ultimately has our good in mind.

I do believe  LORD.

I do believe that He is working for our good and not for our destruction but sometimes…it’s hard to see the good.

My next thought immediately followed His words to me…there IS someone hell bent on my destruction and it isn’t God..  The same someone I am trying to protect my own child against.

God isn’t then enemy who is guilty of horrors we can hardly whisper, Satan is.  And, we live in a world overcome by him and his cronies.  He seeks to destroy and he’s successful.  It’s his only job: destroy by whatever means necessary.

“Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  1 Peter 5:8

The good we do see, that is God.  That is God at work in a world owned by a evil dictator who hates us.

There is war here as well.  The war of God and His people lifting their voices, hearts, and souls against the spiritual attacks of a spiritual enemy.

Satan may be a worthy foe, but in the end he won’t be successful.

The idea that God is responsible for the bad in this world or that he has turned a blind eye is a lie.  The Devil loves to blame God because he is a liar and a thief and a destroyer.

God is good.

He is responsible for the only good we see in this world.  He has many attributes and goodness is an important one.  One we need to recognize, because if He is good then He cannot be responsible for the evil that is here.

He isn’t turning a blind eye either and one day the Devil, who is responsible for all these horrors, will pay for it.

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the LORD.”

Romans 12:19

If we can believe that God is good, then like my daughter, we can rest in His arms and fall asleep in peace; because even when we can’t and don’t understand this world, or how God is at work…

When we can’t see any goodness or feel his presence…

We can still rest in the belief, knowledge and understanding that He is indeed good, and that He has our welfare in mind.  That He really is working behind the scenes for the betterment of the one thing He cares most about…our souls.

He wants freedom, peace, love, contentment, hope and eternal life for our souls.  That life, freedom and abundance is only found in Christ Jesus.

Maybe the question isn’t “is God REALLY good”…

Maybe it’s, do we trust Him?

Do we believe Him when He tells us that He is good?

Because, if we believe Him, it changes everything.

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable for you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15

Author: Jacqi Kambish

This is the conclusion of a 4 part series about God.  If you likes this post take a look at the others in the series: Is God REALLY Good?Who is God? Part 1Who is God? Part 2, and  Who is God? Part 3 (Is God REALLY Good?)

Finding Spring: A Special Needs Journey

I am thrilled to be featured over at Anchored Voices with a post about special needs.  Anchored Voices is:

“a place for women to use their words and creativity to point each other to the God who anchors the soul. Conceived to foster an online community where we can remind one another that when the waves hit—in Jesus, the soul is safe.” -from the Anchored Voices website

I feel honored to be a contributor on their page and hope you will check out what they are doing there.  You can also find my contribution through this link:   Finding Spring: A Special Needs Journey.

As always.  thank you for reading.  God Bless you!

Who Is God?-Part 3 (Is God REALLY Good?)

Answering the question of ‘Who is Jesus?’ in a few sentences is about as hard as trying to explain the existence of time in a couple of words.  Nonetheless, I’m going to attempt to, at least, explain the God I’ve come to know.  Yes, I said ‘know’.  He isn’t abstract or distant, He is here with me every day.  It is said that faith is believing in what you cannot see and when I open my eyes, I see the work of God all around me.  For me, it isn’t so much a matter of faith as it is a matter of accepting what I see as the work of God.  The depth of his story is so much deeper than I can explain in 3 short parts. It is hard to stop and break it all down, please don’t take my word for it.  I hope that if you read this it will prompt you to do two things. 1) Ask God to reveal himself to you and then let Him say whatever He wants to say without preexisting notions interfering. 2) Give the Bible a chance, take a look and see what it says for yourself; see if what I write is true.

The Role of the Sacrificial Lamb

I discussed the Old Testament God with you in the last two parts and ended with this idea that God needed to do something much bigger in order to bring true and lasting redemption to humanity.  Something I didn’t mention was the sacrificial lamb.  The very nature of sin demands death as payment.  It, simply, is the cost of sin.  God established for the first humans an alternative; they could offer a sacrificial lamb to take the place of their death.  It couldn’t be the sick, filthy, lame lamb no one wanted; it had to be as perfect as possible in order to be a sufficient replacement.  In this way the lamb paid the price of sin rather than the humans themselves.  Was it what God wanted? No.  What He had wanted was lost long ago when Adam and Eve pursued their own desires over a relationship with our Creator.  Since God wasn’t ready to give up on humanity He provided an alternative, as unsatisfactory as it may have been, it worked.  The price sin demanded was appeased temporarily through the sacrificial lamb.

But the time for a temporary fix was closing.  God came to earth and entered into humanity as a baby in order to know every part of being human and, ultimately, to be the most perfect, eternal “fix” for sin. Jesus came to be our permanent sacrificial lamb.

The God who made his way to earth is not pious, or vindictive.  He did not come as an angry God or glorious God.  He came humbly.

Isaiah also tells us that the Messiah was unattractive.  He came in every way possible so as to not attract shallow flaky believers, but to find those who were willing to love him back because they came to know Him intimately and to trust Him.

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain…surely he took our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken down by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed…We all like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way…he was led like a lamb to the slaughter…For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors…the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.  The LORD will call you back…”  Isaiah 53-54:6

The God who came, wanted redemption and healing for our souls and He still wants that for each and every one of us.

So He came gently, humbly, and as a servant to show the world how to be gentle and humble and how to serve.

Who Are You God?

I asked Him once: “What do you want me to understand about you?  Who are you really?”  He answered me with John 13, the chapter in the Bible where Jesus washes his disciple’s feet.  The King of the Universe got on his knees before his students and gently washed their stinky, filthy, calloused, fungus feet with joy.

What the heck?  Really?

I wonder how many times He had to dump the water before he was done washing those 12 pairs of feet.

Feet are dirty, but there is some symbolism there because not only does Jesus gently wash our stinky feet, he washes our stinky souls too.

“After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”  John 13:5

He came to offer us peace.  He came to pay the price that sin requires and to offer us an opportunity to know him intimately.  He only asks that we accept the gift and not reject him.

And, no matter how much we might want him to, He can’t simply give it to us.  We have to receive it.  He isn’t the kind of God to push it on us or make us accept it.  He offers this gift, what we do with it is up to us, we have that choice.

Nabeel Qureshi states it well in Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus:

“But how can Allah be just if He “simply forgives’ arbitrarily?  God is not arbitrary.  He is absolutely just.  How would He be just if He forgave arbitrarily?  No, He cannot ‘just forgive us if he chooses’.  The penalty for my sins must be paid.”

Jesus paid the price.  But He didn’t stay dead.  He is God after all.  And death cannot hold God hostage.  I worship a loving, compassionate God who defeated death for our sake because He loves us so intently, so deeply that He refused to let sin have the final say.  He refused to give up on us.  And, He hasn’t given up yet.  He is waiting…

Waiting for you to decide if you believe him or not.

He is a good God.  He does care.  He cares deeply.  Much more deeply than most of us realize or can even fathom but sin has a place in this world and the nature of sin is death and destruction.  The knowledge of good and evil isn’t so wonderful after all.  Satan knew what he was doing that fateful day when he deceived Eve, but God isn’t to blame for that, selfish ambition is.

We live in a cursed world far from the world it was intended to be, but the good God who created it intends for restoration and ultimately He will have it.

If we trust Him and believe what He says then we can also see Him at work in the details of our lives.

And, there is nothing arbitrary about it.

 

Author: Jacqi Kambish

This is the third part of a series “Who is God?” and part of Is God REALLY Good?  Take a look at  Part 1 and Part 2  of “Who is God?” if you want.   Please know that the conclusion of Is God REALLY Good is due to post in two weeks on Monday, May 8th, 2017.  Feel free to share any thoughts.  

The Dichotomy of Hoping Your Kid Has the Flu

I know it seems odd.  I know it doesn’t make any sense on the surface.  But, I am sitting here waiting to get my daughter, Saydi, tested for the flu and desperately hoping that she has it while at the same time wishing she was well.

I’m sure it will say she does but I’m waiting to hear it.

As a Mom of a child with special needs there are so many factors and so many things to consider.  What separates me from the parent of a typically developing child is the fact that right now, the flu would be a relief.

While other parents lament the confirmation that the flu has hit their home…I am hoping for it.

It’s a funny place to be.  It feels a bit unnatural and odd as I pop my knuckles and sit impatiently in anticipation.

Let it be as simple as just being the flu.

Because, if it isn’t the flu then it’s something else; and likely something that will leave a wake of defeat and sadness.

She just started the fourth and last of the clinically proven medications intended to treat her Epilepsy.  The previous three weren’t successful treatment options.  Here we are on the final medication, holding our breath that this is the one that will do the trick, but the question still hanging in the air is, will she tolerate it?

Saydi getting her 24 hour EEG and MRI before her confirmed diagnosis of Myoclonic-Absent Epilepsy.

It comes with a long list of possible side effects and she has recently experienced them in volume.  I keep waiting for her body to quit rebelling but it’s been a long month.  With each new weekly increase in the medicine we face the risk that this will be the dose that puts her over the edge; as has happened before.  Flu like symptoms and a fever are signs that her body is responding poorly and that she isn’t able to tolerate it and are suppose to be reported to the doctor.  The complication of the situation is enhanced by the fact that the actual flu is spreading through town like wild fire.  So, which is the true culprit?

My mind keeps trying to run the scenarios and prepare me for the worst: a negative flu test.  While the hopefully optimistic side presents it’s own logical case in my head.  I shift uncomfortable in my seat and toy with my cell phone, absently turning it between my fingers.  My other two healthy children are rolling along the doctor’s office floor, a form of play that sends my mind reeling:  How many germs are there on THAT floor?

I’m don’t want the flu per say, I’m longing for the lesser of two evils for my daughter while expecting the rest of us stay well.

“The LORD has this…either way.”  I silently tell myself, “It will be the flu…it’s most likely the flu.”

The space in my head is a lonely place.  How many other parents are sitting there waiting for a diagnosis of relief?  Or a diagnosis of the lesser evil?  Am I really at a place where I’m hoping for the flu?

How does a Mother contend with the reality that she hopes her kid has the flu?  It seems a bit uneven, monstrous, unbalanced…

But life isn’t balanced.  It’s a crazy whirling twirling ride that doesn’t slow down.  It doesn’t ask your permission or if you have the funds in the bank or whether or not you have the emotional stability to process what’s before you, it just happens.

So…how do you find the happiness in the brink?  Where does peace find footing?

Can you live in optimism when the world around you seems to press down so hard your head spins?  Can you find the hope when you’re out of options?

There is a case for “yes.”

There is peace even in the chaos.  A slow dance in a gentle wind…

The breeze of hope and redemption is a constant rhythm by which my life is secured.

The flow of joy within me is the outpouring of a soul intertwined with my Savior.  When the craziness rises up and the fire burns out of control, I can stand, not because I am not afraid, but because I know that my salvation and hope and goodness is found in Jesus.

That is my starting place but I have tools as well; coping tools and mechanisms that help me process and face the difficulty.

Prayer, music, the wind, dancing, and of course, writing are emotional outlets for me that help me face the storms.

The LORD is in them and they remind me that he sees me and hears me and loves me and my children.

I know I am not alone in my special needs parenting.  I know that there are others who understand the difficulty of hoping for one diagnosis over another or those who face the burden and heartache of a child with an un-treatable illness.

Perhaps at times we seem strong, but for me, there is only facing the darkness one step at a time and putting my eyes on Jesus so that I know where my strength comes from when I feel weak.  There is only a whispered prayer.  There is only experiencing the power of the wind and remembering that the same God who created it cares about our situations.  There is only dancing through the sorrow until a smile can’t be wiped away.  There is only swaying to the sound of a musician belting out the emotions I can’t express or eliciting them from their instrument.  There is only writing so that you and I both know we are not alone….

The door swings open and the nurse steps in.  Her face is a bit downcast as she relays that my oldest daughter indeed has Influenza Type B.  The nurse sits near me and begins to relay the options and what to expect.  I hear her and yes it’s unfortunate, but inside I’m relieved that my child has the flu; a diagnosis that means we are not out of treatment options for her Epilepsy yet.

In the diagnosis of flu…there is still hope.

Hope that her long term future will be a better one.

“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off”  Proverbs 23:18

Author: Jacqi Kambish

God thinks You’re Cool- An Easter Message

Today is Easter Sunday.  As I’ve gone through the activities and celebrations of the day I’ve been thinking about the implications as well.  The concept of Resurrection Sunday, as it is also called, can be hard to grasp.  If I understand Easter as fully as I’m able, it’s even a bit perplexing…

Why would God Almighty go through torture and death for my sake?  Why does he want a relationship with us that badly?

Why are we important to God?

GOD?!

You see I find it immensely easy to remember all the reasons I have been rejected in the past.  All the reasons I don’t quite measure up.

It’s easy to consider all of the ways in which failure and lacking dwell within me.  Perhaps you can relate.

All the ways in which we are not Most Popular, Parent of the Year, Best Dressed, Most successful, Employee of the Month, Prettiest, Smartest…

The list goes on, doesn’t it?

Many of us are more likely to win Frumpiest, Hottest Mess, Clumsiest, Nerdiest, Dirtiest house, Owner of Worst Behaved Dog, Most Likely To Be Forgotten, Most Anxious, Most Spastic…

I mean….why on earth would God want us?

What is more, why would he sacrifice his life for us?  Are we really worth it?  Are we really all that great?

We kinda aren’t.

And yet…maybe we are…

I mean maybe we actually are pretty cool.

We are created in God’s image, we think for ourselves, we have the ability to believe or not believe to choose or not choose.  We can be utterly selfish or totally self-sacrificing.  We have the ability to love deeply and trust totally…

We have righteous potential and somehow God sees past all the crap and sees everything we can be and everything he created us to be; and what he sees are beautiful messes so complicated and so multifaceted that the question moves from “Why love us?” to “What’s not to love?”

We are worth it.

The lie out there is that we aren’t worth it.  That we are too damaged, too fallen, too unlovable, too dirty, to odd, too socially awkward, too silly, too dorky, too ugly, too fat, too dumb…

But…they’re lies.

Lies we try desperately to fight against when we don’t have to.

Who cares what other people think!

The God of the Universe thinks you are pretty awesome!

He loves you, he wants you, he died to prove it.  And, because he is God, he overcame death so that death doesn’t have to hold us back or keep us down.  The Spirit of Death doesn’t need to have any power in our lives.  Our souls can be free if we walk with him; if we say “Yes,” to Jesus.

He thinks you are so great and sees all your beauty, ability, and potential, all he wants is for you to want him back; for the love to be mutual.

The risk was worth it to him.

The risk of rejection was worth it!

That is how deep his love is for us…for you…

“I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd lays his life down for the sheep.” John 10:11

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.  Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

All you have to do is say “Yes.”

“Yes, I accept your gift of friendship.  Yes, I accept you into my life.  Yes, I surrender and will let you be my peace.  Yes, I will let you carry my burdens.  Yes, I am not perfect.  Yes, I sin.  Yes, I need your forgiveness for rejecting you up until now.  Yes, I want you in my life.  Yes, I believe.”

Are you ready to surrender?

“If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is LORD,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

Believe and admit it.  Be willing to speak the name of Jesus.  Don’t hide your belief in him as if you are ashamed of him; that is all that God asks.

If you are ready to accept Christ into your life, don’t wait.  Do it now.  Then, let someone else who believes know and if you have a chance let me know so I can pray for you.

Peace be with you!

 

Who is God? Part 2 – Is God Really Good?

God of the Bible

The story of God continues with the birth of Cain and then Able in Genesis Chapter 4. Now sin and death have entered the picture and each boy comes into the world and develops different hearts and different desires. They still have access to God through the strained relationship their parents have with Him but Cain was self-indulgent and tried to pull a fast one on God, and God, knowing his heart, was not pleased. Cain got angry because God found favor with his brother Abel but not with him. God, like a parent, came to Cain and essentially said, “Why are you angry? If you make good choices and do the work you are able to do, then I would be happy with you.” (Genesis 4:6-10)

Cain found different solution, kill Abel.

A logical choice clearly.

God, knew that Cain was guilty of murder and Cain was forced to leave and become a wanderer.  Cain eventually married and had children, but, because Cain was not faithful to God that is where his story ends. Those who ventured off became their own master’s but they also missed out on the promises and blessings God intended for them. The Bible follows the story of those who were faithful to him.  And through their stories of faith, struggle, rejection, and redemption the story of God is also told.

After Cain and Able, Seth was born.  Seth was faithful and so the story of God continued to the next generation.  The population continued to grow and with growth came more people who rejected God while the faithful grew smaller and smaller in number.

THE FLOOD

That bring us to Genesis 6 and the flood. The people in the world had grown so selfish and prideful that they fully rejected God and his heart was grieved. But the real reason for the flood was something beyond that. God didn’t simply flood the earth because he was sad that he had been forsaken.  Genesis 6 tells us that the “sons of God” (angels) saw that the “daughters of men” (human women) were beautiful and desirable.

Then guess what happened?!

The angels started sleeping with these beautiful human women and impregnated them.

Ok, I know it sounds outlandish, but we are talking about the story of GOD! An all-powerful supernatural being…

Anyway, the angels slept with the women and got them pregnant and they had children who were half angel and extremely powerful and also immortal. These are referred to as The Nephilim. They were big shots and heroes so to speak, unfortunately, they were also “evil.”

Perfect!  What could possibly go wrong?

Super strong, evil immortals leading the people of earth.  Seriously, if you were God wouldn’t that be a little bit concerning to you? I’m just asking because I can see why this was a problem.

At that point God’s heart was so filled with pain at the wickedness of the people that He wished He had never created humanity. He decided that the only thing he could do was wipe the world out.  The people were wayward and wicked and following evil immortals and the world was getting pretty rotten pretty quickly.

This wasn’t what God wanted.  I’m convinced he put it off as long as possible and only turned to this option when there were no others.

But then, God saw Noah.

And, as it turns out, Noah was from the line of Seth and was a good man despite all the wickedness around him.

Is that not cool, or what?  Noah…from the line of Seth, who happened to choose God…

God saw Noah and saw that he was blameless among the people of his time. This does not mean that Noah was perfect, but he was walking with God the best he could. God saw his heart and had mercy on him.  This isn’t just for Noah because remember, God loves to be in relationship with us and Noah was still seeking God and so his story continued.  Noah built the ark and he, with all his family got in, and God sent the flood waters.

A New Beginning

After the flood, God got to start over, so to speak, with humanity. God decided to set up an exchange of promises with Noah. Start fresh with these humans and “make an agreement” kinda thing. So basically God told Noah, “Here are the new expectations for remaining in relationship with Me. Take care of the earth and the animals. By the way, you are welcome to eat the animals now,” (which makes sense since the vegetation would have been water logged and probably covered in mud). “I give them to you to eat just as you have always had plants to eat. And you will rule over them and they will fear you.”

Rule 1: Take care of the earth. Rule 2: You can eat the animals but don’t eat meat that has lifeblood in it. In other words, don’t be savages and eat or drink animal blood.  Rule 3: Don’t murder each other or there will be consequences. (Genesis 9:6).

So we went from 1 rule in The Garden to 3 rules post flood.  Three rules to follow, and actually, the first two aren’t even really rules per say, more like expectations that are to be upheld.  I don’t think God was being unreasonable here.

Again we see that God remained with the people who were faithful to follow and worship him.  God loves all of us, but he doesn’t promise blessings to those who reject Him.  This also does not mean that those who follow God are perfect but they are covered by his grace and able to remain in relationship with him.

THE POINT of the STORY

The rest of the Bible really, is about how God sought and found those who wanted Him. It is the battle of sin and the grip it has on our souls verses our freedom and peace with God. It is the story of the Israelite people; how God blessed them or withheld blessings when they were most sinful. It is the story of God’s heartbreak over their continuous rejection of Him despite His love for them. And, it is the story of his relentless pursuit of faithful people.

But, we can’t stay faithful and we fall away so easily.  Redemption seemed out of reach.  We needed a permanent solution.  Sin came into the world and it was messing everything up.  It needed conquered once and for all and only God himself could bring a permanent redemption and bring light to darkness, life to death, and relationship to brokenness.  But it meant doing something big…really big…

Author: Jacqi Kambish

This is Part 2 in the series “Who is God?”  where we are exploring the goodness of God.  Stay tuned for Part 3 due to post on Monday, April 23, 2017.  Feel free to go back and view the other parts of this series Is God Really Good? and Who is God?- Part 1

Egyptian Believers Know the Cost of Spiritual War

The LORD loves them.  The LORD loves his  Egyptian followers.

Sorrow builds on sorrow.  Not everyone is free to worship the way we are in America.  We take it for granted.  We don’t know what we have.

Christian Egyptians paid the price today.  The high price of following Christ in a country where Jesus is not welcome.   The faithful followers there are feeling the sting of death in a war that is both spiritual and physical.

Do we understand the war?

Do we really know the cost of following Christ?

They know the cost.

Jesus said, “You will have trouble in this world.”

And, he is right.

But there is hope because he has overcome the world.

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

What does that mean when life is so fragile and the hate of other men is rampant and runs free while they take what they can?

God will grow tired of it.  He will bring it to an end one day.

He does overcome, but it doesn’t always look the way we expect it to.

He is moving hearts and his Spirit is blowing through, but don’t make any mistakes…this is war.

This is good versus evil.

This is Life verses Death.

This is God verses Satan.

This is war.

The sad reality of war is that there are always casualties.  But, those who give everything know what they are fighting for…freedom.

Freedom to worship, but even bigger than that, is the fight for the freedom of our souls.

I realize to a non-believer is seems like foolishness.  Is there REALLY a war for our souls being waged?

Yes, there is.

As a Christian I can choose to engage or not.  I can put on the armor of Ephesians 6 and prepare for the battle, or I can disengage and hide my head, bunkered down and afraid.

But God did not give us a spirit of fear.

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

I’m not content to comfortably forget about those suffering around the world for their belief in Christ Jesus.

So, how do we raise our eyes to the hills with determination and fight for Egyptian believers and every other persecuted Christian, with our safe, boring, self-indulgent American lives?

First, we pray.

Then we put on every piece of armor God has given us: Truth, Righteousness, Readiness, Faith, Salvation, and the Word of God.

Then we pray without ceasing.

Pray for Egypt, Syria, and all of the Middle East and Asia.

Pray for all persecuted Christians and those facing any hardship.

Pray for America.

Pray and keep praying.

And gear up, because…

This is war.

 

The Armor of God

“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:10-18

 

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Lament for Syria

My heart is grieved by the recent chemical gas attacks on Syria.  This war has been ongoing and the death toll and horror climbs.  There is no peace and fear is an ever present reality for the Syrian people.  Then the devastation hits their home and families face so much loss that they mass bury their dead and the heartache and pain levels sore.

And the babies…oh the babies and children.

How is such deep pain processed; how can they bare it?

This is NOT God.  This is Satan.

Only Satan would be so cruel and merciless as to attack children and innocent people.

He hates us.  He hates us because we are the image of God, and his work is growing and it is devastating.

My soul laments.

My heart cries out…why?

Why is it necessary?

Leave them alone!

And I’m angry and my heart aches.  A comorbidity of emotions swirling within my chest.

And I want vengeance.

I want Satan to pay for this.

Still…there is solace.

I know that God will have the victory in the end.

I know he will grow tired of Satan’s reign of terror on this earth.

I know that one day God will have his vengeance and Satan will pay.

You may wonder why God has allowed it to continue this long.  It is because he isn’t done with us.  He isn’t done with humanity.  He isn’t ready to call it quits on everything he has made.  I believe he is waiting for the remnant and for every soul to have the opportunity to specifically make a choice to follow him or reject him.  He is waiting for us to decide.

As I am writing the song “Carry Me Through” by Dave Barnes has begun to play on the Pandora station.

There’s a mountain
Here before me
And I’m going to climb it
With strength not my own
He’s gonna lead me
Or the mountain beats me
Carry me through
Carry me through

Oh Lord be gentle
I’m just a man
Please don’t crush me
And help me in

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Lord Sweet Lord
Carry me through.

 And in my sorrow, for all that this world sees, a praise for God raises up from the pit because in this place I know…

I KNOW

God WILL bring redemption.

Come LORD Jesus…Please Come.

And yet…

Don’t come just now because…I don’t want anyone left behind.

I know, and I remember again, that God is sovereign and he knows when to come.  He knows when it is time.  And, it isn’t time yet…

But I trust Him.

I trust him to bring the sorrow to an end when it is time and in that trust there is hope.

And from the depths of sorrow and through tears of a contrite heart, the words from “It Is Well With My Soul” break through.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, it is well with my soul

And the paradox of a heart deeply affected by the pain in this world but still fixed on Christ is displayed in sorrowful tears that still sing God’s praise.

Why?

Because I trust Him.

I know he sees things I can’t see.  He knows things I don’t know.  He sees the big picture and he is looking at, and taking into consideration, things I can’t understand or fathom.

I believe that he is good and that because he is good, good will prevail and that good will ultimately win.

So there is trust and praise here in the midst of sadness.

And, an unexplainable peace in sorrow.  I know Who to cry to.

Because God hears us and sees us.

As we face unimaginable evil in this world we can trust that God sees and that he will bring redemption and that he will have his vengeance because he hates this as much, maybe even more, than we do.  This is why he said, “Vengeance in Mine.  I will repay.” (Romans 12:19)

He knows.

He won’t forget.

He is loving, but he is also just.  One day, when it is time, and when God is no longer waiting for us to decide how we feel about him, he will come and the fullness of his wrath will be poured out on Satan and his cronies, and they will deserve every bit of it.

This isn’t for us to decide.  But we can make a choice about which side of the war we want to be on.  I choose God.

I trust Him.

So pray!

Pray for Syria.

Pray for refugees around the world.

Pray for hope.

Pray for redemption.

Pray for peace.

 

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

 

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Who is God? – part 1 (Is God Really Good?)

As I was thinking about how to tackle to subject of whether or not God is really good, I realized that it would probably be a good idea to explore who God is.  How do we know if he is really good if we don’t know anything about him?  I can’t claim to know all the inner thoughts of God.  Heck, I am still growing and learning about God myself.  However, we do have one source to go for answers about what God actually thinks. That source is the Bible.  So, here is the story of God according to the Bible.  (This is a paraphrased summary so I encourage you to go read for yourself and test my words.)  There is a lot in the Bible, but here is a hint: in the end it’s really all about Jesus.

Genesis 1 starts us off with the beautiful and spectacular story of creation.  God delicately creates and forms the universe, the land, the sea, the creatures, and the first humans.  This is the start of everything.  And everything was good and beautiful and perfect.  But, God wanted more than perfect creations, he wanted (and still wants) relationship.  In Genesis 2:15 God gives Adam a rule. One rule. One little rule that was to be obeyed. That one rule was: Do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I believe they had a rule so that they had the opportunity to choose whether or not to love and trust God based on their own heart’s desires because… true love is a choice.  That was it; one rule and total freedom in paradise otherwise. They were also given one responsibility: Take care of the animals and the garden.

The trouble began when Adam and Eve could not follow that one rule (Genesis 3). Great! They had one rule and they broke it. Unfortunately, the punishment was spiritual death; sin entered the human soul and we were separated from eternal and personal interaction with God Almighty.

Oops!

Our bodies also became mortal. God had tried to warn Adam and Eve, telling them that eating the fruit of that one tree would result in death, but they wanted to follow their own desires and what they desired was to be their own god.  What Eve wanted was the wisdom of God, what she and Adam failed to hear and understand was that the knowledge of both good and evil came with a very steep price.  Up until then, they had only experienced good.  Rather than trust God they listened to Satan, who made death seems like something desirable.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”  Genesis 3:6

Sin then produced a punishment and it stunk, but God still loved them just as he still loves us.  Except, after that the relationship had changed. Instead of walking beside and talking to God daily, God’s friends could no longer be in his presence.  Sin created a separation that could not simply and easily be undone.  While we frequently may consider the feelings of Adam and Eve in this and perhaps see God as a temperamental and unfaithful friend who removed himself, the truth is that God was deeply saddened by the choices the first human’s made.  The people he created to share life with chose to pursue their own desires rather than his friendship.  What they coveted was something out of reach while they remained obedient to the one rule God had given them.  And, although the rule was to give them choice, it was also there for their protection.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37

You see?  God will not force himself into your life.  He will not demand your obedience, or love, or friendship.  He simply puts himself out there.  What happens next is up to you.

Are you willing?

As a parent I have rules to protect my kids, they still have a choice whether or not to trust me and obey or to do what they want.  Frequently, when they choose to pursue their own desires there are consequences.  Sometimes those consequences hurt and create broken relationships and loss of trust.  This is exactly what happened for Adam and Eve and their friendship with God.

Despite that, God still wanted Adam and Eve to know him.  Throughout history, God has pursued redemption, healing, and reconciliation with humanity because regardless of the brokenness, God still wants relationship with us…even in our sin and sorrow; every part of us.

Why?

Because God is good.

This is the God that I know.  A God who wants each of us and pursues us even to our death beds.  A God who was willing to sacrifice everything in order to create lasting and permanent redemption.  A God who forgives the worst of sins and betrayal.  God…almighty and supreme…still wants you and me.

Is there anything more spectacular than that?

“This is how God showed his love for us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”

1 John 4:9

Author: Jacqi Kambish 

This is the second post in a series titled: “Is God REALLY Good?”   The first post may be of interest to you: Is God Really Good?  Also stay tuned for “Who is God-Part 2” due to post on Monday, April 10, 2017.

Is God REALLY good?

Is God REALLY good?  And, does he actually care about the details of a life like mine?  Or a life like yours?

Maybe God cares about great people of power and influence.  People like Einstein, and Mother Teresa, and Billy Graham.  Maybe he cared about the great people of the Bible like Moses, and King David, and the Apostle Paul.  Maybe even philosophers like Plato or Leibniz, but a simple life like mine?

And is he actually bothered with making good things come out of the weakest and most difficult times of our lives?  Does he really know that finances are strained, relationships are broken, and sorrow is piercing the soul like a dagger?  Does he really care? Does beauty really come from ashes?

The Bible proclaims that God is good?  Nearly every Christian will flippantly mutter an expression of God’s goodness on any given day.  The words can feel empty and flat.  The evidence when we look around this world seems stacked against him.  Death of loved ones, tragedies, illness, killing sprees, anger, division, violence, hate, rape, war, drugs, refugees, hunger, deception, corruption, poverty, abuse, human trafficking…

Is there goodness here?  Is there hope here?

“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”  Psalm 100:5

No doubt evil persists.  We can see it’s underhanded work in the details of our lives and in the global reign of terror.  We see fear and animosity and something so sinister it’s name eludes me.

“Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness.”  Job 30:26

If God is really bigger, stronger, truer, and greater, why do these things persist?  Where is he?  Where is the goodness?

When we suffer the depths of sorrow and betrayal and when dreams are broken, his goodness seems so distant, like an intangible idea that exists only in theory.

I live in a place of beauty.  A place where his handiwork seems so great.  As I gaze at the mountains before me my mind and soul is flooded with the song “How Great Thou Art”.

The shape of every river, the power of the wind and the beauty of mountains covered in glimmering snow all testify to a world handmade by God and speak volumes to the detail and care he puts into us.  And yet… sometimes life, with the breath of agony and the breaking of our hearts and the anxiety of loss, seems empty of a God who cares for the details.

Often, he feels faraway, uninvolved, and silent.  Perhaps in some distant time and space he is or was good, but goodness can feel so far removed from the place and time of our own existence.

I get it.  I’ve wondered.

Let me assure you…you ARE seen.  Your specific life, in all its glory or simplicity, matters to God.  You were fashioned and created with the same care he poured into the mountains.  No…with more care.  You are wanted, you are pursued.  You are treasured.

My heart aches as I see you in my mind’s eye struggling and hurting and suffering and feeling hopeless.  I see you in the burdens of this life grasping for a life preserver that eludes you.  Where is hope, where is love, where is goodness and where is God?

God is here.  God is there.  In his quiet, unassuming manner he is with you and with me.  He wants you, he is waiting for you to want him back.

Join me in a writing series as I explore who God is and the depth of his goodness and the truth of his deep love for you and me as I dig into the question: Is God really good?

Author: Jacqi Kambish

*Side note:  I post every other week, typically on Mondays.  I believe that the Bible is God’s inerrant word and my posts on this subject are made with the assumption that God is real.  Feel free to believe as you want, but please know that my intent here is not to debate God’s existence but to build on that belief.

A Little Change for Ladybug

Hi friends!

I want to let you in on a little change coming for The Presumptuous Ladybug blog.   I appreciate so much my faithful readers.  I’m having a lot of fun writing and sharing.  Unfortunately, my family has entered a pretty busy season of life.  I will continue to write regularly but I wont be posting every week, for the time being.  I really want to take some time to dive into and break down some topics that are bigger and bit harder to address.  I want to have time to think about what I’m saying and edit my writing without feeling rushed or that I’m over simplifying the topic.

As a reader of “The Presumptuous Ladybug”, you matter to me and I really want to write solid an honest material.  I also would like some time in my busy life to pursue other outlets and adventures and possibly expand this blog.  I want to continue to enjoy writing as a hobby and not make it something that becomes a burden.

For those reasons, I have decided to post every other week instead of weekly.  Most posts will every other Monday starting with a post this coming Monday, February 27, 2017.   Occasionally, for a special or timely topic I will write additional posts.  I am excited to be able to give more time and thought to what I’m writing.  By now you probably have an idea of the style and voice of my writing and I hope you will hang in there with me and continue to read what is on my heart.  Thank you again for being a part of my journey and walking with me.

Today I want to leave you with this Bible verse that I love.  This is my prayer for you today and always:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Not Every Valentine’s Day Gift Sparkles- ditch expectation and disappointment

Valentine’s Day is upon us and I’m doing something I want to do…all alone.  The best gift my husband could have bestowed upon me is happening now at our local CLIMB café.  I’m sitting in a quiet corner, writing and sipping a hot cup of coffee.

When Valentine’s Day rolls around on the 14th my Husband and I will send the kids to school or the babysitter’s and head to work.  At the end of the day we will arrive home tired; dinner will be left overs followed by homework with our Sweet Pea.  There will be a bedtime routine of pajamas, brushing three tiny sets of teeth, and a bedtime story.  If we are lucky, we will spend a few quiet moments together cuddled on the couch with a cup of tea and each other.

When I venture a look at Facebook, I will find the feed full of fancy dates and bright, shiny gifts on display in boisterous contrast to the quiet routine I will experience.  It’s not because my Husband doesn’t care, but he is relieved when I let him off the Valentine’s Day hook and release him from the expectations and pressure.  Still…there is a temptation there.  When I see the sparkles and special dinners and roses…the power to steal my happiness lies in the undercurrent of ingratitude and envy.  Suddenly jealousy and discontented emotions rise up from the corners of my mind and I hear the lies of the enemy speak with venom into my heart; for a moment, I want those things.

A younger version of myself did want those things.  The fun night out, the thoughtful expensive gift, the dozen roses and loads of sappy expressions of his love.  Yet, the practical side of me could never quite fully enjoy them.  The money has always been tight and there are more practical everyday things I really need and want.  The kids have needs, the bills need paid, the car needs fixed…  For goodness sake, we are still recovering from Christmas!  Is it all necessary and does it answer the real question that rises up within me:  Does he still love me?

You see, the one day a year that is supposed to highlight and celebrate the love between two people has the power to create doubt and dissatisfaction in the relationship.  The symbols of love flashing on the computer screen mock the insecurity within me.  And yet, do I really doubt the love of the man who gave me his heart simply because my ring isn’t as sparkly as the one my friend has?  In my mind, I can hear the instant retort, “it isn’t about the gift, its about the thought.”

Is it?

Because prior to Valentine’s Day, I can list a thousand ways that my Husband loves me in his quiet, un-flashy and sincere way.  Every day he goes to work and every evening he comes home, he loves our kids and makes time for them, he supports me in all my endeavors, even the ones that make him roll his eyes and he laughs at my quirky jokes.  My husband takes his turn with dishes and laundry and lets me sleep in.  My Husband tells me I can shoot for my dreams and if it costs us every penny we have he won’t regret supporting me; he loves to see me succeed.  My Husband is a good man.  And no amount of fine jewelry or fancy things could prove that more than how he spends his every day.  I have to ask myself if all his efforts are really worth nothing on the one day  my friends are flashing their enviable gifts in my face?

There was a time when I thought those gifts were important, but I see it differently now.  I see what I have more fully.  And, when I doubt my Husband’s love, it hurts him.  There are very few ways I can hurt him more than to accuse him of not loving me well enough.  And, truth be told, I never really wanted those material things.  I never wanted the giant house or the pricey jewelry or the elaborate dates because what I have always wanted was, and still is, more than that.

I want a companion to dream with and walk with and face life with.  I want someone faithful enough to stand beside me through the thickest most painful years of life.  I want someone who will take up the sword and fight when we need to fight, and laugh when we need to laugh, and cry when we need to cry.  I want someone who will climb the mountain, travel the world, or stay right where we are when needed.  I want someone strong enough to refuse to give up on me and someone I can trust and cling to when I feel like walking away.  I want someone who will pray with me and for me.

Not every dream comes true.  Not everything is sunshine and roses and magical rainbow clouds and …not every gift sparkles in the sun.  There are days and periods of time that are very difficult in every relationship.    Neither one of us is perfect and we both make mistakes and misunderstandings happen; hurt and angry feelings rise up.  But, I think in the end, I actually have the best Valentine’s gift of all:  someone who takes my hand and weathers the challenges of life with me.  Someone who won’t give up when the road gets hard.  When I remember that, then I don’t need the diamonds, or the balloons and flowers, or the special gift or fancy date night because what I have is actually more precious than that.  Now that I can see it, there isn’t anywhere I’d rather be then curled up on the couch next to the gift that God has given me: a faithful and loving man.  No matter what the future brings we will hold each other tightly and face life together because what my husband has given me is the gift of longevity, and that has been the sweetest gift of all.

To the dear wife who doesn’t get everything she hoped for on Valentine’s Day, let me encourage you to search your heart for the gifts your Husband gives you every day.  Please, don’t let this be a day of division and sadness and hurt, let this be a day of remembering and a day of celebrating the things that are good and the things in your relationship that can’t be defined or quantified.  It’s ok to want to be recognized and appreciated but don’t let the enemy win this day.  Tell him to take his lies and beat it!  Then try to focus on what matters and what’s truly worthwhile.  Focus your eyes on the things that are lasting and then practice thankfulness for the gifts that can never be lost or stolen.  Most importantly, love and celebrate and remember the one thing your husband has given you that can never be purchased: his heart.

“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.  Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.  If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”  Song of Songs 8:6,7

Author: Jacqi Kambish

I’m Not “Enough” For My Kids And Why It’s Okay

I am not enough.

The truth resonates through my whole being.  It cuts to my core as I stare into the mirror.  I know the truth no matter what they say and no consoling or absently reassuring me with fluffy unsubstantiated reasoning will convince me otherwise.  “You’re enough” is a popular attempt to appease the wave of uncertainty that every parent feels at one time or another, but is it always true?

As I stare into the mirror I see everything that is good and everything that isn’t.  What I know, absolutely, is that I am not strong enough or good enough or capable enough to always be the person and parent that I want to be.  But the truth that comes quickly tumbling to the forefront of my soul with my next breath is the realization that I don’t have to be.  The truth is refreshing.  No matter how broken I am, or how many meltdowns I have, I don’t have to keep up the façade of being enough when I know that at the end of the day I could fill a book with my failures.  God never asked for me to be a parent by my own effort or my own enough-ness.  God never said, “Don’t worry, because you are enough and that’s all you have to be.”

My ability to be enough is not enough.  The gaps of enough-ness are deep crevices I can never fill.  What if I believe that I’m enough and it turns out to be untrue?  Will my children prosper anyway or will they need counseling later?

You see, I’m impatient and I lose my temper, I make 2 star meals, I swear when I’m angry, I’m immature, I fail to properly discipline my children at times and over discipline at others.  I get caught up in gossip, I complain, I get dissatisfied, I yell, I can be selfish, and I’ve lied.  Life can be overwhelming and the ugliness of my internal struggles can erupt and mistakes get made and then what I want gets in the way of my ability to love them enough.

Inside I feel conflicted.  Is what I want more important that what they need?  Am I really a “good Mom?”  Life is messy and complicated and can’t be controlled but it doesn’t stop me from trying when I feel overwhelmed.  My kids aren’t perfect either.  They are tiny people learning how to manage the world and navigate relationships. I don’t want to control them or force them into a quiet obedient state because we learn from the messiness and the chaos.  And yet…sometimes…in public, I can feel it rise up.  Can’t they sit still in church?  Can’t they listen?  Why are they running wild?  Why aren’t they always well-behaved angels?

At home there are other struggles.  My son has no volume control and is always making noises, my daughter has executive function issues and toileting struggles due to her battle with Epilepsy, and the littlest one wants to get her way all the time and wails when she doesn’t.  Between monitoring seizures, dirty diapers, soiled underwear, the loudness of constant noise, and a tight living space I can feel the threads of control and an element of peace begin to unravel, all the while my emotions start soaring and my patience disappears.  “Quit shouting!”  I shout before I walk to my room and shut the door for a quiet moment.  It doesn’t last.  They seem to know I’m about to lose my mind so they follow me and bang on the door, push each other for the knob and begin to fight.

I am a sinner.  And, no, I am not enough.  Regardless of my best social face and appearances, I know I fail regularly, as we all do.

The good news is: I don’t have to be enough because I know Someone who is enough.  God didn’t create me to be enough, he created me to rely on him when I’m not enough.  God didn’t fully equip me to handle being a special needs parent, a cop’s wife, or a good person because if I was enough on my own, I wouldn’t need him.

I do need him.  I need him because I am not enough.  I need him to fill the gaps in my life and in my parenting and in my relationships where I fail.  I need him to infiltrate my heart with his love.  Love that overcomes and perseveres and finds peace in the chaos.   We learn through our mistakes and the more I realize I am not enough, the more I rely on God and the more he is able to fill the gaps until what is lacking in me is much harder to see and much harder to perceive.  Not because I have done anything good, but because the Author of all that is good is at work in me.

I can’t make myself a better parent or a better person.  I’ve tried.  Telling myself that I‘ll do better next time doesn’t work.  The darkness within me always comes out eventually and the depth of my selfish heart is ultimately revealed.  I know I am not alone either because…

“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Thankfully, God isn’t done with me, just as he isn’t done with you.  God has been at work within my heart and soul for years and he hasn’t given up on me.  No matter how big of a spoiled punk I can be, he keeps up the hard work and keeps molding me into the parent, wife, and woman he created me to be; the woman I want to be.  I may not be enough, but God at work within me is enough.  He can fill in the gaps of my love, my parenting, and my relationships.  God isn’t trying to control me, he is trying to shape me into something beautiful.  I’m going to stumble and fall and fail, but I trust and pray that God will come along side of me every step of the way; and while he guides me and grows me, he will clean the slate and bless my family and create “enough” where “enough” is lacking.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

 

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Thanks for Stopping in

Hi!  Thank you for taking the time to stop by.  This week I am on hiatus due to family illness.  Please check in next Monday, 2/6/2017, for a new post about being, or not being, “enough”  and God’s faithful work in us.

What Obnoxious Friends With Opposing Views Have To Offer

The Presidential Inauguration is fresh on the hearts and minds of everyone.  Emotions are running high and the United States holds her breathe as we’re launched into unknown territory.  In the heated social media discussions and personal interactions, it may be tempting to put some people on hold, or altogether abandon any interaction with them from this day forth.

I get it.  And, politics isn’t the only subject matter to disagree on.  Sometimes it can be hard to understand how other people can see things so differently.  Opposing views can make us feel angry  and uncomfortable, and some individuals can be obnoxious with their opinions.  It’s, certainly, much easier to mingle with people who share our values.

Still, there are reasons to hang onto those friends whose opposing views are undeniable.  Some of my most beloved friends hold completely different views on life, relationships, politics, and religion.  It isn’t because I hold my tongue, although I can when needed.  And, it isn’t because they hold theirs.  And yes, sometimes it gets uncomfortable and, sometimes, we make each other angry.  Even so, they’re invaluable to me.

Why keep people in my life who can boil my blood now and then?  Simple. They have so very much to offer.  I love all of my friends for different reasons.  Of course, it is easier to hang out with people who get me.  I have friends who can make me feel uneducated and uninformed.  Sometimes I am uneducated and uninformed!  Then there are those who understand my point of view because they share the same convictions and I don’t have to explain anything.  They already get it and that’s refreshing.

Regardless, despite being uncomfortable and, at times, irritating, the friends who think differently stretch me so much farther than I could be otherwise.  Those who ask questions and challenge my views, get me thinking on a much deeper level.  Often, they bring information to the table I didn’t hear before and they offer insight from life experiences that are unique to them.

I’m drawn to people of differing views who are also respectful, courteous, and knowledgeable.  I’ve had many “ah ha!” moments simply because I listened to someone I didn’t agree with, and they listened to me.  Trust me, leave it to someone who has thought about the issue more than I have to set me right!  My friends and family with different views can certainly take me down a notch, reveal the shallowness of my own ideas, and take my pride for a spin.  But guess what, its ok!  Sometimes it’s necessary.  I’m still learning and as long as they aren’t hell bent on hurting me just to hurt me and their approach is kind, then I can swallow my pride and hear them.

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.  Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”  Proverbs 27:5, 6

However, I don’t appreciate people who throw stones and resort to name calling.  I don’t care for people who attack me on a personal level just because we disagree.  Neither am I receptive to the ideas of someone who is insulting and belittling.  I’m not talking about engaging with trolls and people on my social media feed who resort to accusations and smearing rather than sound arguments.  But, those who can offer insight, expand my world view, and share in differing ideas because of their education, life experience, and convictions while remaining respectful and understanding. I am more than happy to have a conversation with those friends.

I want to hear their views.  I want to understand.  I only have enough time and brain capacity to learn so much at any given point in my life.  My ideals are bound to draw me toward certain conclusions, and I am able to admit that at times, I get it wrong.  We all get it wrong sometimes.

That doesn’t mean every discussion results in finding common ground.  I’ve had conversations in which the other party and I, are left with nothing but awkward silence between us as we soak in the realization that we have nothing more to say to each other because we are still as polarized on the subject as we were when we started the conversation.  The thing is, I always learn something.  Some convictions just can’t be altered.  Some core beliefs can’t be compromised.  That doesn’t mean I can’t learn from the conversation.  There are always opportunities to grow in understanding and in compassion.

Hearing other ideas and empathizing with where they come from and where they started and how they developed doesn’t’ mean you always land on the same conclusion.  It does mean I can walk away more aware, better informed, and more loving toward that person and their view.  It is very easy to make judgments about people and ideas we do not understand.  But, I believe that most people are driven by ideals they find good and necessary.  Disagreeing doesn’t make them the enemy.  It makes them different.  Different isn’t bad, it’s enlightening.

We don’t have to agree with every belief we encounter, but we do have to love people for who they are and where they are in their lives.  Yes, it gets ugly sometimes.  Yes, it gets heated, but mutual respect and love can overcome those feelings if we care more about the person than about making a point.

I am very thankful for my friends who share their views, in love and respect.  When I get it wrong, they help me see the other side.  And when they get it wrong, I help them.  It is a mutual give and take with openness, honestly and, above all, mutual care for each other.  I’ve been guilty of letting misinformation and the wrong voices sway my thinking.  If not for my friends who can respectfully voice, “That’s just not true,” I’d still be walking in those wrong ideas.  We have so much to learn from each other but we have to hear each other out.  I’m not perfect, and neither are they, but we can encourage each other in the things we agree about and learn from each other when we disagree.  And, ultimately, we can learn to love each other better if we humanize the opposing views.  The only way I know how to do that, is to hear the other side of the story.  There is always two sides.  Sometimes, the other side isn’t as backwards and crazy as we first though.  And when it is, well….

…try not to let it turn you into a troll.

Let’s practice hearing each other.  Let’s practice mutual care and civility.  Let’s practice appreciation for the people who expand our world view, even when they’re obnoxious and frustrating.  Let’s practice learning from each other.  Let’s practice respectful discussions.

I don’t want to lose my friends just because we see things differently, and I hope they don’t want to lose me.  I can’t see beyond my own experiences and understanding without access to other ideas, and most likely, neither can you.  Let’s keep navigating the issues together.  Let’s keep talking, because I don’t want to get stuck in my own unchallenged ideas; that’s a dangerous place to stay.

“Indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find thevknowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:3-5

 

6 Easy Ways to Reduce the Spread of Seasonal Sickness

Winters in Colorado are very cold.  It isn’t uncommon for temperatures to stay below zero all day.  That means everyone is bundled up, homes and businesses are clamped shut and, heaters or fireplaces are blasting.  It also means very little fresh air and the perfect conditions for germs to do their worst.  It’s nearly impossible to avoid being sick at some point in the season.  However, believe it or not, there are some ways we can avoid getting every sickness that rages through town and ways to keep from spreading it once we do get sick.  I know it seems like common knowledge but it really isn’t.  Here are 6 simple ways you can stop the spread of seasonal sickness.

1. WASH YOUR HANDS!

Ignaz Semmelweis made the case for disinfecting via washing your hands way back in 1847, so the case for washing is pretty substantiated.  I know when you’re in a hurry and there is just so much to do it’s hard to find time to perform this task that literally takes two minutes, but…do it.  It’s not that hard really.  My three year old can independently wash her hands and she can barely reach the sink on a stool.  Speaking of which, teach your kids to wash their hands.  I know it’s a long laborious process but they will get it and eventually stop being the little petri dishes they are right now.  As a side note: washing with water alone is not effective.  Washing doesn’t kill the bacteria.  When you use soap, it creates a slippery surface on your hands and washes the bacteria away, therefore, soap is essential.  So is washing for 1-2 minutes to give those germs times to slip into the sink.

Look, bottom line is, washing really cannot be stressed enough.  If you, or your kid, have been digging in the dirt, hanging out in public places, have used the bathroom, or are about to eat…WASH YOUR HANDS!!!  I cannot for the life of me fathom why an adult would not wash their hands after using the bathroom; especially, a public bathroom.  Washing hands keeps illness breeding bacteria and viruses from entering your body, it also keeps you from spreading your illness to other people.  That’s just common curtesy.

2. STAY THE BLEEP HOME!

Few things rile me up as much as people who are sick and can’t seem to stay home.  Equally obnoxious are the people who take their sick kids places.  Seriously, it isn’t cute that your sick child is cuddling on your lap because they were vomiting earlier this morning and feel like crap.  Also, telling people to keep a ten foot distance doesn’t make up for the fact that you dragged your kid out into public in the first place.  Neither do I appreciate or empathize with the Mom who brought her fever ridden, rash-y kid to a party because it wouldn’t be fair to the healthy sibling if you all stayed home.  Use some creative reasoning to find a solution or perhaps introduce your kid to the very real life emotion called disappointment.  Eventually they’re going to experience it anyway.  It might as well be within the safety of your home and loving arms.  Exposing my kid to your kid’s hand, foot, and mouth disease in the name of avoiding disappointment is no laughing matter.  Well…. I’m not laughing.  Neither is any other parent.  The take home is this:  if you, or your kid, have thrown up, had diarrhea, a mystery rash, a new onset of symptoms, were oozing green slime from their nose, or have had a fever at any point in the last 24 hours, do not go anywhere.  If you desperately need that ginger ale then please…send a friend!

3. COVER YOUR COUGH

I recognize that a cough can hang on forever and you really can’t stay home and stop life for 6 weeks at a time, and neither can I.  You can, however, cover your mouth with your elbow or a hanky.  Covering your mouth helps keep the germs you expel while coughing from freely bursting into the air and landing on whoever happens to be within reach of your infectious cloud.  A simple and easy act of consideration can keep the cough from spreading.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen grown and capable adults in public coughing their heads off with zero regard for anyone in their vicinity.  Honestly, I kinda want to shout, “What’s wrong with you?”  And coughing into your hands just guarantees that the next person you shake hands with will get what you have.

4. DISINFECT

After the unavoidable cold or flu bug has ravaged your home, do yourself and all your future guests a favor and disinfect your home.  Yes, it takes some effort but the effort is worth it.  Some germs can live for weeks at a time in which case they are able to re-infect your family over and over again, as well as any visitors who enter your home.  The infamous norovirus has been shown to remain active even in adverse conditions.

Go ahead and use a real disinfectant at these times too.  I’m a big fan of all-natural cleaning products and minimizing chemicals in the home, but sometimes Lysol is necessary.  It’s ok. It probably won’t be the undoing of your family, however, it may keep that nasty bug from resurfacing in your home in two weeks.

Disinfecting means washing and sanitizing all of the exposed surfaces.  This means walls where little hands slide, the entire bathroom, bed sheets, floors, and…pretty much the entire house.  One thing a little sickness can do, is give you that needed motivation to go ahead and take care of the seasonal deep cleaning you’ve been putting off for months.

 

5. SUPPORT YOUR SYSTEM

Taking your vitamins and eating healthy while avoiding processed sugars lets your body focus on staying well.  Vitamin D is essential in cold winter months when many of us are inside more and covered from head to toe when we do go outside.  Bundling up to your eyeballs keeps you warm but also keeps those good feeling, immunity boosting vitamin D rays from reaching you, and Vitamin D is necessary for both physical and mental health.  So, even if a multi-vitamin is too much to swallow, you might benefit from a vitamin D supplement.  Obviously, ask your doctor before you run off and follow my advice, but in general most people would benefit from some extra ‘D’.

 

6. EXERCISE

I know, I know…this is the hardest one for me so I get it.  I’m much less motivated when it’s cold, the days are short, and I just got done with a month of celebrator holiday eating, but it is a very important part of staying well.  Here again, exercise is beneficial to body and mind and will help with overall wellness in most cases.  The U.S. National Library of Medicine website states that “Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.” ( https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm).  So whether you prefer the warm indoors on the tread mill or adventurous snowshoeing in the cold Rocky Mountains, getting your body moving is a great way to boost your health and help fight seasonal ailments.

IN CLOSING:

The bottom line is this: some of us have kids or family members who are at a vulnerable age or who are already fighting other health conditions.  Seasonal illness may be a small inconvenience for you, but for others it makes an already difficult life circumstance even harder.  With a few small changes and some effort you can reduce your number of sick days this winter while also reducing the spread of germs to those you love.  If we all do our part then we can share in the fun of winter activities, festivals, and outings without sharing the misery of sickness.

A Kidnapping, A Shooting, and A Broken Heart.

Last week I tried to write about the kidnapping incident involving the disabled man, here in the United States.  Then the shooting at Fort Lauderdale happened.

I wanted to write but I couldn’t find the words.  The truth is, the kidnapping hits a little too close to home.  My oldest daughter has epilepsy and learning disabilities and encopresis.  I worry about other kids making fun of her and wonder if she will be accepted as she gets older.  Will she get bullied?  Will those who love her stand in the gap and have her back when others desire to do her harm?

My heart aches for the man who was kidnapped.  When I think about what he endured, I am horrified and filled with sorrow. I am deeply saddened when I think of him being afraid and confused and tormented.  It was a hateful, heartless, deplorable act and it breaks my heart.

And, I’m angry.

I’m angry that this happened.  I’m angry that we live in a world were these kids thought they could do this.  I’m angry that they have gotten away with lesser grievances before, and that it built up to this horrendous act.

I’m angry that our society continuously speaks out against bullying and yet we still allow it.  I’m angry that fear and red tape keeps people from stepping in and doing what is right to stop things long before they get so out of hand.  I’m angry that violent acts aren’t stopped as they occur because it can be reported, and then our hands don’t have to get dirty.

I’m angry that these kids targeted someone who is less able than they are.  It’s not cool, it’s not funny.  It’s cowardly and shameful.  It’s despicable, it’s indecent, and it’s appalling.

I’m sad too.

I’m sad that these kinds of behaviors and crimes are happening over and over again.  We act upset for a moment, but we are not so bothered that we intervene.  We are not so bothered that we stand up and say, “Enough!” when we see wrong actions taking place.  We can take a video on our phones…but intervene?  It’s so rare that when someone finally does intervene its front page news!  And, I’m not talking about rioting or beating someone up because you disagree or don’t like them.  I’m talking about intervening when someone is being hurt, bullied, or harassed.

I’m sad that we’re afraid to help each other out.  We don’t stop to help a neighbor whose car broke down, much less a stranger.  We don’t stop a beating on the street, or a coworker from being harassed by other coworkers, we don’t tell the bully to pipe down…

Keep your head down, don’t make eye contact, mind your own business…Those are the rules of society.  You might make it worse, you might get into trouble, and you might become the target…

We think if we report something, or make a cash donation to a cause then we’ve done our part.  Yet hate crimes and horrible acts continue to happen and we aren’t even shocked anymore.

This is why we love stories about heroes who stand against the odds and are willing to sacrifice themselves for good.  We desperately need heroes.

And, the shooting.

In this still image from video provided by NBC TV Local10, people stand on the tarmac after shots were fired at the international airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Local10 and other news media outlets reported Friday that multiple people were shot. (NBC TV Local10 via AP)

I’m upset about the shooting too.  This was a terrible thing and my prayers are going out to those hurt by this event.  It is senseless and breeds fear.  The physical and emotional wounds run deep.

And, there are a good number of people who are very quick to start the controversial discussions about where to place blame.  Our country can’t even have a day to mourn before it starts in with the controversy.

Can we stop arguing for a second and remember that lives were lost, lives were ruined, and one man just threw his life away.

For what?

And, blaming guns, or mental illness or religion, or terrorists won’t bring them back or fix this.  While discussing these things in order to blame one group or another just creates more division.

What if the common denominator isn’t guns or mental illness or religion or terrorism or racism?  What if the problem is a human condition?  What if the problem, in both these horrible acts, is depravity?  Then what?  Because, that isn’t so simple to “fix.”  It isn’t even something we can fix.  That is something only God can fix within us.

It’s easy to cast blame.  It’s easy to ignore the deficit within our own souls.  It’s easy to point at someone or something else and never look deeply at our own hearts.  It’s easy to say, “That person is crazy,” and then never have to ask ourselves if we have ever been guilty of turning a blind eye.

That is humanity today.  We don’t step up and do the right thing because we are inconvenienced or afraid, or both.  Maybe the truth is…I’ve been afraid.  I don’t want to get hurt.  I don’t want to get into trouble.  I don’t want to bring hardship on my family.  I don’t want to get laughed at…

What a shame.

Am I really any better than those kidnappers if I let it happen and if I let fear dictate my response?

Are you?

Will you search your heart?  Will I?

Are we prepared to take responsibility for the part we play in turning a blind eye to lesser offenses simply because it’s convenient or easier?  Are we prepared to search our souls and stand against injustices and against fear itself and do what is right no matter what the cost or sacrifice?

Who will decide to refuse to sit back and watch as horrible acts unfold? Who will call on God to strengthen them?  Who will beg God to give them courage?  Who will repent of ignoring the darker parts of society, of the depravity within their heart, and of being ruled by fear?  Who will stop being afraid of the consequence of doing what is right?

I am angry and I am sad and… I am searching my heart.

I don’t want to live there in that space.  I want to lift my eyes up to the hills and set them on God and, by his grace, overcome the fear.  I want to have a heart that is repentant and compassionate and courageous.  A heart that loves others more than myself.  Because perfect love casts out fear.

1 John 4:18- “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear…”

If we are unified, we can overcome the obstacles together.  If we are unified we can overcome fear and division.  If we are unified we can overcome deplorable acts because we won’t be alone in our work.

If we are unified, and if we humble ourselves before the Lord God and repent of the darkness within our hearts, he will hear our cries and he will show us mercy and grace, and he will heal our land.

No amount of laws and regulations or fear can accomplish what the LORD can accomplish if we let him.  If our hearts are clean before him and our prayers are frequent, he will hear.  These acts that happened are evil and God can be our deliverance from the evils of this world.  But, are we prepared to trust him?  Are we prepared to let him?  Are we ready to let him change our hearts?  Because…

It starts there.

2 Corinthians 7:14- “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Timothy 1:7- “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”

Psalm 121:1, 2- “I lift my eyes up to the hills, where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”
Author: Jacqi Kambish 

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