A Storm on the Sea of Galilee and Fleas in the Concentration Camp

We lived in troubled times and sometimes it is difficult to discern truth. It is hard to know how we should respond to things happening around us. Looking back over the centuries, this has always been the case in human history.

It is thought that the writer of the book of James was Jesus’ brother. James saw his brother mature and become teacher and healer, but didn’t believe he was the Messiah. He lived through the time of Jesus crucifixion. After the resurrection he became a believer and leader in the church. He saw the persecution of the followers of Jesus (the Way) as described in the book of Acts. Stephen was martyred, Paul was beaten, Paul and Silas were jailed. How does a Christian traverse deeply troubling times? James writes:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1: 5-6 ESV

Perhaps James was alluding to the experience of the disciples. The disciples had seen Jesus perform miracles of healing, but when their boat was caught in a storm on the sea of Galilee. Jesus was a sleep, and they were afraid. 

And they went and woke him saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” and he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm.

He said to them, “Where is your faith?”  Luke 8: 24-25a ESV Stop//

I don’t always approach difficulties with a prayer of faith. Fears can get in the way. Corrie and Betsy ten Boom approached their time in a concentration camp with prayer. I recently saw the story of Betsie and the Fleas posted on Jacqueline’s blog. Betsy, with her prayers of faith, saw God work in a way that she could not have imagined.

God’s desire for us is to flourish in a way that honors Him and that shines a light in the world.

When the culture brings difficult and confusing issues to our doorstep, we can ask for wisdom from God.

When we are challenged as parents, or when we experience difficulties in marriage, we can ask for wisdom from God. 

When we experience health problems and different approaches to treatment are possible, we can ask for wisdom from God. 

If you don’t know what you are doing, Pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believing, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind whipped waves. Don’t think you are going to get anything that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. James 1: 5-8 MSG

This post in linked to the Five Minute Friday Community. Today’s prompt is: LACK

Parenting with Courage

As I looked through a local newspaper I saw an editorial cartoon that seemed to equate the measles with polio and Nazis. Something to fear. There is a hysteria about the measles that doesn’t jive with history.

Daily Herald: March 21, 2019

We cannot let fear control us. On this same day I received the scripture of the day in my e-mail from I-Bible.com.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frighted, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 ESV

As parents and grandparents we face many different challenges as we care for our family. We have the ability to seek wisdom from God in prayer. We can lift our concerns and assess the best way forward, honoring our faith in God. We don’t need to make decisions based on fear.

As a grandmother I am seeking truth for the sake of my grandchildren and others. I had to respond to this editorial cartoon.

I wrote this reply to the newspaper.

The editorial cartoon in today’s paper featuring an old man talking about fearing the measles puzzled me. I grew up in the 1950s and I had the measles along with my siblings. It meant that we stayed home from school for a week. It was uncomfortable, but we didn’t fear it. 

We developed lifetime immunity to the measles. And when I breastfed my infants I passed along my immunity to them in the crucial first six months of life.

Have you seen the recommendations that are given when measles is reported in a community? People are encouraged to get the vaccine or a booster, unless they were born before 1957. The people born before 1957 are assumed to be immune because everyone got the measles.

Proper nutrition is related to the severity of a case of measles. We know that vitamin A supplementation helps an individual overcome the measles. If there is an outbreak of measles we can meet the challenge, seeking God’s help.

Parents today need to have clear information on the risks and benefits of each vaccine. Parents must be able to consider their faith in God and their family’s medical history when deciding to vaccinate or not. #MedicalFreedom #InformedConsent

UPDATE: News Outlets around the country are reporting on a State of Emergency in Rockland County, New York. From USA today: Starting at midnight, anyone who is under 18 and not vaccinated against measles will be banned from public places. This ban will last until the declaration expires in 30 days or until people are vaccinated. . . . Noncompliance will carry penalties of six months in jail or a $500 fine, although Day said law enforcement would not be deployed at any location seeking proof of vaccination.

Seeking Guidance for Parental Rights

Parents today have difficult issues to confront. As I was driving home from Michigan today I was listening to Janet Parshall on the radio.She was discussing a case that was decided by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. It hit me hard because a friend of our family recently disclosed that he/she is transgender.

In British Columbia the court decided that a 14 year old girl could receive testosterone injections without her parents consent. In addition, her parents could not refer to her with female pronouns or by the name they gave her at birth. If they did they would be guilty of family violence.

This is stunning, but parental rights are being infringed in other ways. 

In Illinois a bill is being proposed that would mandate that all children entering 6th grade receive the HPV vaccine. There has been a lot of controversy over this vaccine. According to the Children’s Health Defense:

. . . during Gardasil’s clinical trials an extraordinary 49.5% of the subjects receiving Gardasil reported serious medical conditions within seven months of the start of the clinical trials. Because Merck did not use a true placebo in its clinical trials, its researchers were able to dismiss the trial participants’ injuries as coincidences, employing the term “new medical conditions,” rather than classifying their injuries as “adverse events.”

Parents should be able to weigh the risks and benefits of this vaccine (which is for a sexually transmitted virus). They should be involved in a decision to vaccinate or not.

It is so important that parents stay alert and informed. Even more important we must bring our concerns to the Lord Jesus. God designed the family, and as we defend our parental rights, the Holy Spirit can guide our words and action.

I am in touch with a group of moms that are very concerned about government mandates. It was refreshing to hear several say, “We need to pray.”

The book of Luke records the Lord’s Prayer. After teaching the disciples to pray Jesus continued with these words: “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9

The book of James reiterates this. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. Today I mulled over the prompt, SEARCH, thinking about recent events and the radio program.

Women in White

On Tuesday evening a large group of women in congress were dressed in white for the State of the Union address. They functioned as a group; they sat stoically quiet or they looked to each other for cues for when they would clap. They all stood and chanted “USA” when the President noted that congress now had the largest number of women ever.

Certainly we can glad about the participation of women in congress. My prayer is that they will examine the issues carefully. Their job is to participate in legislation that benefits the health and safety of the men, women, children and infants in this country. 

As I watched the cheering women in white I wondered where the role of motherhood stands in America.

Photo by Les Anderson on Unsplash

The role of a mother is sacrificial and often looked down on in our culture. Yet a mother can have a tremendous influence on the future by nurturing the family.

In the years that I have been blogging I have met many women that are focused on the health and well-being of the family. 

Jacqueline is an American nurse and mother. Her website, Deep Roots at Home focuses on  homemaking, parenting  and healthy living.

Tehila lives in New Zealand and writes about faith and family life at Women Abiding.

Leslie Leyland Fields is a mother of six and lives in Alaska. She is a writes books and essays in addition to her blog. Many times her words touch on family life. Click here to visit her blog

Anna lives in Israel and has a young family. She writes books and blogs about family life on their homestead. She blogs at Domestic Felicity.

I am thankful for women who are sharing the wisdom they have gained through motherhood.

This post is part of #Write28Days. For a list of posts in this series click here.

An Ancient Call to Holy Living

In this new year our women’s precept group has begun to study the book of Deuteronomy. As the book begins Moses is reviewing the history of Israel’s release from slavery in Egypt and their years in the wilderness. Then he goes on to give them specific instructions.

In chapter six he gives God’s command for the families. Orthodox Jews recite these verses daily as a part of the Shema. Click here for explanation of the Shema.

These verses apply to us as Christians. 

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today  shall be on your heart.You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6: 4-9

My eyes cloud with tears as I think about our culture and the state of the Church in America. 

This is a reminder to me— a verse that I want to memorize. The Bible needs to be a consistent part of daily life. It is important to notice God’s hand in our lives.

We need to tell our stories of faith to our children and grandchildren, to the people in our circle of influence. Do you have a story to tell? 

This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. To read more inspiring thoughts based on the prompt, INFLUENCE, click here.

Should We Fear the Measles?

News reports about the measles are appearing in several states including Michigan and New York. The tone of the reports is fearful. It urges everyone to be sure they have been vaccinated . . . unless they were born before 1957.

Everyone born before 1957 is assumed to have natural immunity. I had the measles as a kid, and so did my siblings. We had a fever and a rash. We stayed home from school for a week.

Research indicates that a healthy diet and vitamin A supplementation is beneficial in recovering from this childhood illness. The immune system is put to work, is exercised, and that is beneficial to health. The result is natural immunity.

The development of a vaccine for measles has been considered a great step forward in health care. It might be time to review the science and the long term results from a vaccine that was introduced in the 1960s.

An article in BMJ, a British medical journal, discusses the effects of the measles vaccination program on a population.

There is a fact rarely considered by public health officials: vaccination is not an intervention that eliminates disease exposure for individuals. Vaccination replaces wild exposure with artificial exposure, and they are not equal. We are many decades into mass vaccination campaigns, and it is alarming that instead of the medical and scientific community stepping back to examine the overall impact on public and individual health to see if current strategies should be reevaluated, the focus is on those who question or refuse vaccination.

Science must always be open to questions and re-evaluation.

Dr. Semmelweis argued that hand washing was important for doctors tending to women in childbirth, but it was decades before the truth of his claim was realized.

Women were given thalidomide during pregnancy to treat symptoms and later it was realized that thalidomide caused birth defects.

Hormone replacement therapy was common for women in menopause until a national study showed an increased risk for heart disease and cancer.

Currently the media is bashing people that have concerns about the vaccination schedule. The topic has become so hot that objective discussion seems impossible. For the sake of the children in this country we need to address the concerns and pay attention to independent research (free from conflict of interest).

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Always More to Learn

On Fridays I respond to a writing prompt that Kate Motaung gives. Over the past 24 hours I have mulled over the word given and am finally tapping the keys of my computer. The prompt is: COMPLETE

We spent a week at my daughter’s home—taking care of the grandkids, the dog, the cat & kittens, the fish and the butterflies. We had a good time, although we felt our age.

My daughter and her husband were at a medical conference while we were caring for their household. I thought about what she told me about the conference. She told me that the conference sessions affirmed the choices I had made as a mom when she was a toddler.

When she was 15 months old her health deteriorated after multiple courses of antibiotics and the vaccines given on schedule. I wrote about the stomach pain and the way her speech and behavior regressed after the MMR on this page of my blog.

At the time the pediatrician advised more medications. The gastroenterologist said that I was an over involved mother. He wanted me to admit this child to the hospital, leave her in his care for a week. This doctor told me I should stay home with my other children.

My husband and I took her to a different gastroenterologist who performed an intestinal biopsy while we stayed at the hospital. He said there were red patches on the lining of the intestine but he found nothing that he could diagnose.

During this time I was praying for God’s guidance.

I continued to journal all the meals and snacks that I offered. I wrote down the timing of the episodes of gas and abdominal pain and adjusted her diet.   Through a friend in the  Mothers  of  Twins  Club  I found  an  allergy/alternative medicine doctor. He guided us in treating the food intolerances and choosing supplements that would help.

I am thankful for the answers to prayer.

Now my daughter, as an adult and pediatric nurse practitioner, is grateful for the path we took.

As a nurse I am aware of changes in practice that have occurred because someone challenged accepted practice. It took many years for the importance of hand washing promoted by Dr. Semmelweis to be accepted. He observed that doctors were going from patient to patient and sometimes from an autopsy without washing their hands. He said that the failure to wash hands was causing childbirth fever. Despite the papers that he wrote, the lectures that he gave, he was ignored by many in the medical profession.

When I started working in labor and delivery making a cut in the pelvic floor—an episiotomy—during delivery was routine. Midwives have shown the benefit of delivering without an episiotomy. Routine episiotomy is no longer the rule.

Antibiotics were introduced in the 1940s. They successfully treated infections and before long they were being over prescribed. It took many years for the medical profession to see the effects of the over use of antibiotics.

Science is never complete. There is always more to learn.

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Crowds and the Confirmation Hearing

Senate confirmation hearings can be boring. Not the hearing for Judge Kavanaugh.

While protests where taking place at the Capitol, groups of Students for Life were holding rallies across the country.

I watched the confirmation hearing for an hour last week and witnessed the loud protests and interruptions that were taking place.

Discussion, questions and clarification of released documents took place. The Judge was questioned and he remained composed, answering questions clearly. At times his brow furrowed as he took notes. At other times he smiled and shared a light moment with a Senator.

Judge Kavanaugh had an interesting exchange with Senator Dick Durbin. Senator Durbin thanked the Judge’s wife for attending the hearing. In turn the Judge thanked Senator Durbin for a book he had given. And then the Judge commented that his daughters would return in the afternoon to see democracy in action.

And here a little back-story is enlightening. On the first day of the confirmation hearing the Judge’s wife and daughters were present. When the hearing chamber became raucous, with chants and shouts, the girls were escorted out. The girls are 13 years old and 10 years old.

Many would wonder why a parent would bring his daughters into such a contentious hearing. And the Judge was having them come back. After observing Judge Kavanaugh’s demeanor and ability to answer hostile questions, I can imagine that he will guide his daughters.

Hard things are happening in the world. As parents and grandparents we have an opportunity to teach children and teens how to handle themselves in the face of adversity. It was the one take away that I had from watching the confirmation hearing.

The prompt for Five Minute Friday is: CROWD  Visit the link-up here.

Book Review: Updated and Expanded LIES WOMEN BELIEVE

Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free stimulated discussion among Christian women when it came out in 2001. I read the first edition many years ago. I looked through it again as I read the new and revised edition.

Lies Women Believe

I am so pleased with the new and revised edition. It has been updated and expanded. Running through both editions is this theme: When we believe lies about God, ourselves, sex, marriage, etc., we are in bondage. The truth of God’s word has the power to set us free.

The recently released edition displays a deep understanding of the complex issues that women face in the current culture. I have truly enjoyed reading it. I know I will go back to review the truths that are confirmed by Bible verses, listed at the end of each chapter.

A chapter on sexuality has been added to this new edition. Dannah Gresh participated in writing the chapter. She shares her personal story and perspective. Dannah provides examples of the way that women are wounded in sexual relationships, along with the forgiveness and healing that is offered through Jesus

In the chapter about marriage, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth discusses the difficult and often misunderstood concept of submission. What does it look like in a marriage?  God created Eve to be a helper suited to Adam. The Hebrew phase [ezer]  means  “a helper matching him”  or a  “helper  corresponding to him.” p. 169

Nancy gives examples from the lives of a variety of women, including her mother. She shares insights that she has garnered in her three years of marriage. She also addresses domestic abuse.

The chapter about children has been revised. Mary Kassian participated in the rewriting.   I am  glad  that a brief history  of  contraception is included. The birth control pill became popular in the  1960s  and  led to the  sexual revolution.

It would be hard to overstate the far-reaching, lasting effects of Margaret Sanger’s life and influence. Our culture has embraced wholesale the idea promoted  by  Sanger  and  Planned  Parenthood—that  controlling  our  fertility is a basic human right. p. 198

The reader is encouraged to know the way contraceptive methods work and to seek wisdom about marriage and family from the Bible. Couples should prayerfully seek God’s guidance when making decisions. I appreciated the inclusion of Holly Elliff’s experience as a mother.

Many aspects of motherhood are opportunities to grow in relationship with the Lord. Financial worries, parenting challenges and the mommy wars are addressed.

In the chapter about circumstances, Nancy explained that a friend had sent her a framed calligraphy with these words:

Coram Deo
Living all of life
In the presence of God
Under the authority of God
And to the glory of God. p. 270

In a world that is broken and full of deception we need to be pointed to the truth of God’s word. This book does that. It is useful for personal or group study.

Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free

In full disclosure,  I received a copy of this book from  the  publisher  in  return for an honest review.

For more information click here.

Sharing this post with Grace & Truth,  Booknificent Thursday,  Literary Musing Monday

Thoughts on Motherhood

Motherhood is hard and self-sacrificing. As I look back I remember the fatigue, the laughter and tears, the hard questions and my shortcomings. The years have passed by quickly.

Now I am a grandmother and I realize that God was refining me. I was blessed by the Lord’s guidance, the prayers that were answered. I am thankful for the great joy that my family gives me.

Two recently released books bring attention to the role of mothers. Erica Komisar has written Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters. The Wall Street Journal had an article about the author, who is a psychoanalyst, and reviewed her book. Ms. Komisar pursued research into the hormones released during birth and breastfeeding. She discussed the love hormone, oxytocin.

Oxytocin, Ms. Komisar explains, “is a buffer against stress.” Mothers produce it when they give birth, breastfeed or otherwise nurture their children. “The more oxytocin the mother produces, the more she produce in the baby” by communicating via eye contact, touch and gentle talk. 1 //

Oxytocin: Love Hormone

I am currently reading Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood by Julie Roys. The author looks at the confusion in our culture over sexuality, marriage and gender. Ms. Roys goes back to scripture for direction. One chapter in the book is titled Marginalizing Motherhood. She writes:

Many moms today need to hear that motherhood is worth sacrificing some of their best years. Unfortunately, that’s not what they are hearing—not from society and not from the church.2

Women are struggling with the demands of mothering. But it is a God given role. A few pages later Ms. Roys continues:

God values motherhood because he values children and is critically concerned with transferring the faith from one generation to another.3

Children need mothers, and mothers need God’s help. They need encouragement from friends and family. One of my favorite scenes in the Bible is the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth.

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”                  Luke 2: 39-45

Mary & Elizabeth
The Visitation by Philippe De Champaigne

And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home. Luke 2:56

If you are a young mom, be encouraged. God is faithful to answer prayers. If you are older, like me, you can encourage a young mom. As women of faith we can seek ways to come alongside women that have experienced miscarriage or infertility. There are joys and sorrows in motherhood; we can share them.

Every Friday the FMF community writes for five minutes on a prompt given by Kate Motaung. Sometimes the first five minutes of writing stimulates more thought, and I continue on . . . Today’s prompt is: NEED Visit the Five Minute Friday Community here.

  1. Taranto, James, “The Politicization of Motherhood” The Wall Street Journal, October 28-29, 2017 A11
  2. Roys, Julie, Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood, Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books, 2017 p. 148
  3. Ibid. p. 155