Raw Thoughts

My heart feels sunburned today, as if it’s peeling and a bit dry. For 8 years, I have advocated for my daughter in her health struggles. I was largely dismissed, and diagnostic tests were not done despite multiple annual requests. We switched health care physician’s groups, and within months a scope was done. The scope confirms our hunches; that parts of her body are not communicating properly with each other. 

My emotions slosh back and forth like waves in a bathtub. I am angry, indignant, rage-filled, and overwhelmed with grief at the years she has lost. I am so angry about the injustice of our needing to be compliant with the health care protocols, so I dutifully took her to counseling to address the psychological aspect of her healing; while the physicians blindly prescribed the same medicine every visit; the medicine that probably contributed to this health issue! They failed to see her as a patient with emergent symptoms and instead blindly did what they always do, prescribe the medicine; get the kickbacks, keep her diagnostic costs down…while her health has faded. 

The worst part is the utter feeling of betrayal, knowing that I have spent countless hours and gas money to initiate change within the same health care provider; volunteering my time to ensure a smoother process for the next patients to enter the system behind me. 

As I held her yesterday and she sobbed, I thought back on the countless messes I have cleaned up for her; of the years of agonizing tears and questions of why she has to be the one to wrestle with this. 

Bitterness and rage would be so easy to embrace…but Christ stands in the way. 

I see Him.

I see His scars, the ones meant for me. 

I hear His agony when He asked why God had forsaken Him…and realize that God forsook Him for me. 

I sinned, I hated, I raged, I manipulated, I coveted, I wanted what I wanted…with no thought at all about anyone but myself. 

My mistakes and deliberate choices to serve myself have all nailed Christ to the cross…before I even was alive; before I sinned. 

I have been loved so deeply, so undeserved; how could I not  love others with the same depth of grace that has been lavished on me? 

I forgive them…every single Dr., Nurse, and Physician Assistant, all the bureaucrats that passed regulatory guidelines pressuring the medical providers to care more about seeing cost reduction and less about seeing the symptoms of their patients. I forgive myself for feeling trapped and tired, and failing to fight harder. 

The presence of forgiveness and grace doesn’t mean lack of accountability, however. I am more determined than ever to make things right for my daughter, who has lost 8 years of her life to an embarassing medical condition. I am tenacious in my dedication to be vocal on behalf of the voiceless. I refuse to sit idly by and allow other children to suffer through thinking that their Dr. has the only say in their health. Second opinions are an important part of discovery, and diagnostic tools are valuable tools to be utilized for the benefit of the PATIENT, not to be avoided for the benefit of the bottom line! 

I will be present and vocal at meetings, I will ask the toughest of questions, and I will not be bought. I will represent the voices of the poorest, the ones who don’t even realize that advocacy is their right. I will respectfully debate and persuade and hold accountable those in leadership. I will embrace the forgiveness of the one who forgave me, while still lovingly revealing areas where change is needed. 

My daughter deserves a legacy. Hers will be one that delicately embraces the passion of admitting the wrongs that were committed while gracefully offering forgiveness. It will be the most demanding and beautifully painful dance of my life. As I embrace my Father God, I trust that He will tenderly lead my steps to the music He sings over us. 

He is big enough and omnipresent enough to dance with you through your journey as well. Pour out your heart to Him, yell if necessary. Be breathless as He tenderly and strongly leads you into wholeness. Do you hear the music? I do. His song is your invitation. 

May our hearts have courage, may we leave our fears behind, may we boldly join Him on the dancefloor of life, and may we forgive as we have been forgiven.

Tulips

#nofilter

Enjoy the beauty found here on the farm!

#PureMichigan

Mundane Vessel

 

Do you ever feel like you are caught up in a cycle of living life through mundane moments?  Do you wonder how other people manage to live their lives in an almost constant state of wonder and awe, with incredible depths of holiness?  Over the last months, we have settled into a sometimes predictable pattern of work, school, family time, spouse time, sleep, church on the weekends, repeat. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that “steady is sexy”, but I yearn in my heart for the depth of closeness that comes from truly abiding in the presence of my Maker.  He didn’t call me to be another average “susie-homemaker”; He called me to leave a legacy of faith, kindness, love, and selflessness.

As I have been preparing for the next season of life, learning and leadership; I have immersed myself in study and listening.  I have studied politics, historical figures, Biblical figures, the wisdom of leadership, the fashion of leaders, the food of fit people, the needs of those around me, the frustrations of those who feel un-heard, and the sermons of those much wiser and more eloquent than myself. I was voracious in my study, feeling soul-parched as I consumed wisdom to satisfy my “thirst”.

It has often felt like I was wearing someone else’s shoes. It’s worked, but it hasn’t resonated that I am fully living my life the way that I was designed to live it. I have often felt the pressure to act a certain way in a certain situation, to look a certain way at certain times; and I fully understand the importance of honoring others with a respectful appearance and decorum; but I am not like every other person in the world, North America, and especially within the West Michigan culture. I AM ME.

God has specifically allowed every single moment of my life to shape me for this moment, and the next. Who am I to limit Him by trying to be someone that He didn’t create me to be?  It’s a form of using His name in vain. Think about it.  He created a specific purpose for me, as I am; to fulfill. By me changing things to be “more acceptable” or more “palatable”, then I am really saying that I don’t trust him fully to use me as I am.

This morning, I just longed for a deep connection with my Maker.  I sat in my window seat with my Bible, and just absorbed the quiet; asking Him to silence my preconceived ideas, to silence the distractions of the enemy through Jesus Christ, and simply to speak.  I sat in silence, thinking about God’s kindness and goodness to me. I opened my Bible to Psalm 81.

There’s a part in it that mentions the “feast of the new moon”, and I wanted to know more about it so I searched the term, the history, and the origin.  I learned that it was designed to be a monthly re-focus and dedication for the Hebrew people. It was a time of renewal; but it was held as something deeper than that. It was believed that the Hebrew people were actually “making the new moon holy”. Below is an excerpt that explains it:

Do you want to understand this? Take a lesson from the serving vessels in the Holy Sanctuary. Moses sanctified the tabernacle. Who sanctified all the tabernacle’s vessels? You might think that Moses did. But actually, what happened was that a High Priest would bring a simple mundane cup or other vessel, and put something holy in it, and the cup would automatically be holy. It worked the same was as when Moses sprinkled sacrificial blood on the altar and it became holy; or when he poured a wine libation, or performed any aspect of the Holy Temple service with any mundane vessel, and it thereby became holy. -Midrash Shmos Rabbah 15:24 [emphasis mine]

 Leviticus 20:7-8 is below:

“Set yourselves apart for a holy life. Live a holy life, because I am God, your God. Do what I tell you; live the way I tell you. I am the God who makes you holy.

~~~~~~~~~

Do you see it, beloved?  Do you understand?

The Hebrew people were called away from their past traditions and routines, to intentionally and deliberately focus on the cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night.  Their daily life consisted of traveling, following, walking, eating, setting up camp, and resting…with worship at the tabernacle on the Sabbath.

How mundane is that?

Yet, the act of faith in following is the process for God to fill our mundane lives with His  Holiness!

For example, if we consider ourselves to be the “mundane vessels”, then what or who is the “Holy” inside of us?

The Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit makes us holy!  As we turn our backs to past patterns and traditions, to the former ways of life; we face God the Father. As we seek to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength; following Christ’s example, the Holy Spirit within us is the holiness!

Think of a plant! If you place it on a plate, without dirt, it will eventually die because it needs sustenance for its roots, light, and water. We are like the plant in our spiritual growth!  We need to be rooted in studying God’s word (Jesus) and in focusing on the light of God the Father’s love, dependent on the Holy Spirit inside of us! The plant can’t just be moved into a greenhouse or a garden and hope to grow; it also needs the life within for it to grow and flourish!

We, the mundane vessels, as we go about our days; are filled with holiness through the Holy Spirit. By Christ’s grace, we are holy just as our Father is Holy. So focus in amazement and awe of Him in His Holiness, goodness and love; as you celebrate the beauty of the one who chooses us as we are…mundane vessels, being filled with his Holiness!

mundane vessels

“Mundane Vessel” (c)Gracie K. Harold 2017

Beautiful Strength

If you think that your past disqualifies you from the present,

YOU ARE MISTAKEN!

You are NOT defined by your past!

Just because there was pain, that does not mean that there won’t be beauty!

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” – Hosea 2:14

DSCN4530

Beautiful Strength (c)Gracie K. Harold 2017

This cactus blossom reminds me that any beauty in this world is a reminder that

God is love.

He could have left us in our sinful, painful choices; but instead, he enters our pain

and provides comfort, love and redemption.

Today, may you see past the pain; and may your eyes be open to see the beauty that He has for you!

Beloved, you are loved so much more than you comprehend!

Rest in His love today, receive the beauty!

Love, Gracie K.

Springtime on the Farm

 

#PureMichigan

Shaken… And Stirred

My life is shaken,  stirred,  heated, and pressed down.  BUT WE STILL STAND.  In the last three months; the following has occurred: 

1. My knee was clinically found to be too atrophied for a total knee replacement; resulting in an endless cycle of physical therapy to strengthen my leg but pain after the attempt,  leaving me to pained to strengthen it.  

2. An undeserved, shocking and supernatural healing… Without surgery.  I had been a spoiled rotten brat that week,  whining and complaining; and simply over it.  That Sunday at church,  they asked if anyone needed prayer for their hip or back.  I hadn’t even told my husband that my hips were off by 2 inches. I received prayer,  and my hips had no pain,  neither did my back.  A couple friends of ours asked to pray for my knee.  I shrugged and said OK,  even though I was skeptical and butter in my heart.  I thought,  “It’s not going to do any good,  but go ahead.” I was instantly convicted of my lack of faith.  I asked God to forgive me,  and I said,  “Jesus,  I want to believe; help now my unbelief!” I felt pain as they prayed,  I felt my knee cap return to its proper place,  and I felt warmth in my quad muscle.     I walked out of church without crutches.  When I walked into Physical Therapy on Monday,  my leg strength was 3 times stronger than it had been on Friday.  I can’t explain it,  other than Jesus was merciful.  

  I don’t know why I was healed,  and why others have not been healed.  I do know that it’s a question I will wrestle with throughout the rest of my life.  

I know that my knee being healed doesn’t guarantee a life filled with perfectly beautiful scenarios.  This leads me to the next numbers.  

3. We received 20 hours notice to evict from our rental house.  

4. After more than a month,  we are still waiting for the rental that our hearts are set on to be available for us… Just a few more moving pieces. 

5. One of our sons hit a tree while sledding and blacked out,  fully unconscious. His concussion was severe.  A combination of prayer,  chiropractic care and rest had resulted in yet another recovery.  

6. We were given a second car at a very good price. 

7. Said car broke down and awaits repairs.  

Do you see the pattern? Good,  bad,  good…. 

That is how I once viewed it.  

I am no longer emotionally controlled by the situations in life! 

Jesus promised us that “In this life you will have trouble,  but take heart,  I have overcome the world!” Jn. 16:33 biblegateway.com

We will have trouble. 

Any time that healing occurs,  

Or Beauty is discovered;

That is PROOF 

That God is Here. 

Be still 

and Know 

That 

He Is God.