Tag Archives: God Stuff

On Being Authentic

“Hi, I’m Barb. I’ve been married 45 years to Bob. We have 4 kids, one of them’s a doctor, and 7 grandkids. The youngest one is starting 1st grade this year.”

“I’m Sarah. I’ve been married 25 years to Mark. We have 2 kids. The youngest one started college this year, and we’re so excited!”

And so it went around the room. All 18 women, in their 50’s to their 80’s, introduced themselves in this same manner. I was stunned. I now know about their husbands, including some of their names and professions, their kids, and their grandkids, along with various details about names, ages, accomplishments and milestones. What I don’t know is anything about any of these women. I don’t know if they’ve had careers, hobbies, or accomplishments. I don’t know what they like or what they don’t like. I know nothing about them as human beings, except that they are wives and mothers.

As I sat and listened I realize this is not a phenomenon unique to this group of women. I think these roles are so overwhelming and all encompassing that it’s natural, at least to a certain extent. However, I don’t want to be that. I don’t want my friends to be that. In the topical discussion that followed the introductions, I learned little things here and there about some of the other women,  including two of them that have careers. I only learned that because they had to leave as soon as the meeting was done to go to work. What??? Why did you not say that before? What do you do? Are you a doctor? Do you sell Avon? Are you writing the next great American novel? Why do I not know this???

What if we all decided to draw a line in the sand? To stand up and say, “As of today, I’m me. I have accomplishments and dreams. They include a marriage [or not, as the case may be], and great kids and grandkids, but they also include…” Do you think we might have less loneliness? Do you think we might have less depression? Do you think the church might start looking more like The Church? I do. If I knew how, I’d start a campaign. A campaign to help people see themselves as more than their relationships, more than the accomplishments of their family. A campaign to help people reclaim their own identity and accomplishments.

What do you think? Are you brave enough to stick your neck out and introduce yourself as you really are? As who you really are? I think it’s time you try.

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What the Chronically Ill Really Need from You

As a person with a chronic illness, daily life can be a lot to handle. One of the more difficult things, in all honesty, is well-meaning people. I know it’s hard for you to know what to say or do: really I do. To help us both out, here are a few examples from my life just this week.

Problematic response to finding out I’m ill #1: “I know just how you feel! I lifted something wrong and had a backache for almost two weeks! It was awful!” You had pain for two weeks, I’ve had pain for almost 30 years. That’s not the same thing, and no, you don’t know what it’s like. Comparing your temporary condition with my lifelong one isn’t helpful. You want to sympathize, and I appreciate that, but to equate a temporary, short term condition to a constant day-in, day-out, decade-after-decade condition only shows that you DON’T know what it’s like.

Problematic response #2: “Have you tried essential oils/chiropractics/canned nutrition/a different doctor/a voodoo witch doctor?” These are usually paired with anecdotes of someone you know or heard of that tried said solution and was miraculously healed. Once again, I appreciate your heart in this, but yes, I’ve tried it all (except the voodoo witch doctor), usually more than once. It didn’t help, or I’d still be doing it and I’d be well. I realize you have no way of knowing that, so I will have grace with you, but don’t continue to push. You can say it once, but then let it go. Please. Just let it go. If you don’t, I might have to start singing that song at you, and nobody wants that!

Problematic response #3: “Has your doctor done test X on you?” This is a generalized response which includes “Why hasn’t your doctor…” and “Why doesn’t your doctor…”, and “You should make your doctor…” and is the bane of my personal existence. I don’t know why my doctor hasn’t done those things, and no, I’m probably not going to argue with him about it next time I see him. I may ask him about it, but every time I’ve done this he is fully aware that such a test or procedure exists and has valid reasons why he hasn’t used them on me. Please remember my doctor has more experience with my disease than you and I together do, so he generally knows what he’s doing.

Problematic response #4: “You need to try praying X amount a day/X scriptures X times a day/ speaking to the disease in the name of Jesus and declaring it cast into hell/ repenting of hidden sins/ attend the meetings being held by Brother Miraculous in Iowa/ or getting the deacons to anoint you with oil.” This is really just another version of response #2, but in a way it’s more painful because at the root of it you’re telling me if I was more spiritual/holy I wouldn’t be sick. My illness is not my fault, and it’s not because I’m lacking in my relationship with God. We live in a fallen, decaying world, and sometimes illness happens.

So what do we really need from you, the healthy ones? We need compassion and understanding. What about saying “That must be really hard to deal with. I’m sorry to hear you’re going through that.” And STOP. We also need you to not assume we can or cannot participate in something you are going to be doing. If you are concerned we might not be up to it, ask anyway, thus allowing us the dignity of getting to control our own lives and schedules. If you assume we can, be prepared we may need to say we can’t and accept our decline with grace.

If we know you well, and you know about our journey and happen to hear something that might be new to us that might help it’s OK to tell us about it, but say it once, then stop. Most of us are open to new possibilities for relief, but most of what you hear about is not going to be new to us, because we try everything. I’m blessed to have a very patient specialist who takes all my questions respectfully because he deals with chronically ill people all the time, and he knows we search for any straw to grasp at.

Every single friend I have that is chronically ill has had the experience of being made to feel as though they are letting other people down by not getting well. People give advice, or the religious ones pray, then look to us expectantly hoping to see us jump up and yell hallelujah and run around the room. When it doesn’t happen they are crestfallen, and most of us feel bad about you guys feeling sad. Does that mean we don’t want prayers for healing? No, but we need you to keep your emotions about the outcome to yourself. That sounds harsh, but we really do need that. If you’re disappointed, how do you think we feel? Pray with hope and expectation, but with understanding that you’re not the first one to pray for us, and so far that hasn’t been the answer for us.

Personally I pray for the day that all that accumulated prayer bursts forth in glory and I will walk pain free and full of energy, a walking testimony to the goodness of God, but for now I limp through life, learning to lean on God in the midst of my pain. While it’s not what I would choose, God is using it to grow my faith and strength in my relationship with him. I have learned a lot about faith, God, living with priorities, and walking in mercy, and I’m at peace about my circumstances. If God has allowed this, I can survive this. And you can, too.

Following is a quote from Misty Edwards that really sums up how I live my life. If my illness makes you uncomfortable or sad, maybe it will help you, too.

Because life, life is but a vapor
But its brevity is what makes it a treasure
So feel it all like a love letter
To the One you’ll live with forever.

                       –Misty Edwards, “Little Bird”

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A Matching Grant!

As you might know, we have been fundraising for a few months to get a van for John and Tracie Loux . If you aren’t familiar with them, you can read about them here: Even a Hero Needs Heroes . Since we started the fund, they have adopted another little boy, Mattie. Mattie was born with Downs Syndrome and has spent the first three months of his life NICU. Once he comes home (which could be any day now) they will no longer be able to squeeze into their minivan.

All of this means this exciting news came just in time! A matching grant has been offered toward the purchase of their van! Every donation, up to $5000, will be matched, dollar for dollar! So if you have $10 to give, your donation will become $10. Pretty cool, right?  The grant deadline is February 9, 2011. Please consider giving to this great cause! Four former orphans are counting on you!

How to Contribute:

You can give by sending a check made out to Tekoa 211 to:

Tracie Loux,
12312 Askew St.
Grandview, MO 64030.

If you’re sending a check, it would be a good idea to let Tracie know to make sure it gets tallied in time for the grant. Or you can let me know, and I’ll get the message to the grant holder. Together we can make this happen!

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Filed under Benevolence, Body Of Christ, God Stuff

Even a Hero Needs Heroes

It is no secret Tracie Loux is amazing. I’m guessing everyone who has ever met her realizes she’s amazing. Who else could champion the cause of a newborn with Down’s Syndrome to the extent that not only did he have adoptive parents before he was discharged from the hospital, but the whole bill for his adoption was paid for by an army of total strangers? Who else would spend the night at a hospital to pray for and love on a newborn baby girl so that she wouldn’t feel alone until her adoptive parents arrived the next day? Who else could have a newborn found for a homestudy ready family even before the family has completed their paperwork? Yeah, she’s like that, and we all know it.

You probably know that Tracie and her husband John, along with their three children, moved to Kansas City, Missouri a few years ago to be part of the International House of Prayer. (This means that, rather than having a full-time good paying job, complete with benefits, they have a full-time ministry job and live on missionary support, which they raise themselves.) You probably also know that three years ago they adopted a newborn baby girl domestically, and then adopted two special needs toddlers from Ukraine a year and half ago. You may even know that while she was busy adopting three little ones herself, she was helping 37 families complete their own adoptions, and has several more families in process, including three that are already matched and waiting for their babies to be born.

What you may not know about Tracie is what kind of vehicle she drives: a ’99 minivan with almost 140,000 miles on it. Yep, a minivan with seating for seven, for a family of eight. Being ever resourceful, Tracie and John ditched the middle two-seater seat and replaced it with a three seater seat, and now they are able to squeeze three teenagers and three toddlers in car seats into the back of their minivan. I can only imagine how fun it is to climb over the middle seat  to get to the back, either to sit or to buckle a toddler into a car seat, realizing that the aisle the manufacturer left to access that back seat is now occupied by seat #8! You probably don’t know the condition of this poor, overworked minivan, either. To be honest, I don’t know any specifics, but I heard how it sounded last year, and even I know a car isn’t supposed to sound like that!

So why am I telling you this? Because this family has been praying for a larger, more appropriate van ever since they became a family of eight, and I believe it’s time. They don’t just WANT a new van; they truly NEED a new van. As I wrote in my last post, so much good be done when we all get together and give even small amounts. Let’s join forces and get this family the van they so desperately need! What they really need is a 15 passenger van because, not surprisingly, they hope to rescue more orphans. When the right van becomes available it will be important to act fast, so I’m starting the money end of things right away. Our initial goal is to raise $10,000, but the more we raise the better van we will be able to get them.

There are a couple ways you can give to the Loux van fund. The first is to use the PayPal button on Tracie’s blog. The second, in case you need your gift to be tax deductible, a check can be sent to: Tekoa 211, PO Box 214, Beaver Crossing NE 68313. Attach a note to the check (don’t write ON the check) that the check is for “Loux Van”. Whichever way you choose to donate please contact me with the amount you gave so we know when we know what we have to work with. You can contact me on Facebook (Dorean Beattie) or through email (dorcb@yahoo.com).

Tracie has been such a hero to so many of us, and this time she is the one that needs some heroes. Together we can do this!

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Filed under adoption, God Stuff, God's Love and Mercy, Social Justice

A New Year’s Challenge

Well, here we are again. A new year, full of promise, hope, and dreams. At least for this week. If all goes as normal, by this time next week everyone will have gone back to thinking and feeling just like they did last year, and the year before that. My guess is that this happens because we get all excited at the chance to “start over”, only to discover that this year is pretty much like last, failing to realize that it is our decisions that shape how the year goes. One of my favorite bloggers, Randy Bohlender, founder of The Zoe Foundation, has an awesome idea of how to make this year better than last year. He published a challenge which, if you are brave enough to try, will not only change your year, but your life and the lives of others for years to come. Read about it here, and then give it a try. You’ll be glad you did!

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Filed under adoption, God Stuff, Social Justice

Adoption is Greater than the Universe…

While I’ve been silent on this blog for quite some time, it hasn’t been because I haven’t had much to say. Quite the opposite, really. I have so much in my heart it’s hard to weed it out and put it in any form that makes sense outside my own head.

The last few months have been a time of focused attention to the plight of orphans and to the topic of adoption. The reasons these topics matter so much to me is rather involved and really too personal for such a public forum, so suffice it to say it fills my mind and heart, day and night. While adoption isn’t an option for us at this point in our lives, that doesn’t keep it from burning in my heart.

I recently finished a photography project to help raise funds for an organization that is about bringing together birth mothers and adoptive families called The Zoe Foundation.  You can see the project here (then click on “buy a calendar”. While you’re at it, why not pick up a copy? One hundred percent of the money goes to The Zoe Foundation, and you’ll be blessed with a whole year of photos of beautiful children and their adopted families.

The title of this post comes from a teaching by John Piper on the subject of adoption. It’s a beautiful teaching, and only takes five minutes to watch. You won’t be sorry!

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Filed under adoption, God Stuff, God's Love and Mercy, God's Wisdom, Photography, pro-life, Social Justice

Heavenly Light

Before I get started, let me assure you that I realize the issue I’m about to bring up is not exactly earth shattering. No one will go to heaven or hell based on this, and most people will probably think I am beyond eccentric, but, well, there’s a reason my blog is called “Life Inside My Head”!

While reading the other night, Revelation 21:23 intrigued me: “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.” The light geek in my stopped short on this one. It’s not that I’d never read this before, and not even that I didn’t know this was in there. This time, though, it just jumped up and grabbed my brain and wouldn’t let go.  “…the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.” In our current world, our light comes from the sun. (Well, if we’re outside, and it’s day, but, you know…) Because of the physics of light, namely that it always moves in a straight line until interupted and manipulated, things have shadows. Light comes from the sun, hits an object, that object blocks the light from reaching surfaces behind it, causing a shadow. Easy peasy rice and cheesy, right?

In the New Jerusalem, the sun isn’t needed because it is so lit up by the glory of God. We know God is omnipresent, meaning everywhere. There is no place, position, or particle in which God is not always present. Therefore I wonder: will there be shadows in the New Jerusalem? The first reaction is “Of course!”, but stop and think. If there were a shadow, wouldn’t that mean that God’s glory (i.e., light) is being blocked from somewhere, thus interfering with God being omnipresent? That there would be some place in the New Jerusalem, no matter how tiny, from which the Presence of God would be prevented from filling? That doesn’t seem right…

I guess there could be a new kind of shadow that doesn’t require lack of light to be formed (sort of like how time as we know it won’t exist in eternity, even though there is obviously some form of time, or else it would be impossible to do anything, since doing something requires one thing to happen before another, and thus the presence of time. But I guess that is another story). What the properties of that kind of shadow would be is hard to guess, especially since we don’t really know what the properties of the Light in the New Jerusalem will be.

I realize this is all rambly and twisty, but it’s what I’ve been thinking about. Can you have shadows when the light is coming from every particle in the atmosphere? I don’t know, but it’s fascinating to ponder a God who exists either in a shadowless place, or in a place where there are shadows without an absence of light. Pretty cool…

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Filed under Book of Revelation, God Stuff, Ponderings