Armoured Up

Archive for the tag “Bible”

Just Give Me Jesus

It took me a while to find what had been missing in my life. I always had a sensing that there was more. I never understood why I was full but still hungry; why I would drink and remain thirsty; why that new thing that made most people happy, bored me once the newness faded.  I was pretty open to trying what felt right.  You could say I was pretty liberal, even entertaining the thought that all paths led to God.  Oprah and I could have been besties.

I had done my share of searching, especially having landed in LaLa Land, which has been called the land of the fruits and nuts. I arrived in Los Angeles as a curious Catholic. I found an amazing “loud” Catholic church on the verge of being charasmatic and coming from a loud, feisty family I rather enjoyed the freedom of almost raising my hands in worship. I loved the guitars and the contemporary songs and there was even a clap or two during a few. The priest was young and firey just like me…and then just like that he was moved to another parish and the guitars were silenced and we were back to the organ and the elderly priest. I was gone too, but my search continued…

Next, I tried an Apostolic church whenever my husband was home from out of town and again, I really liked the music and the people seemed pretty free..well I was a little scared at times when they jumped and I couldn’t understand what all the falling was about and could someone please explain to me how it was okay for people to talk out loud in church?  I enjoyed the sermons as I called them. They were always positive and I loved how the pastor spoke so eloquently…there was something about him. The people scared me so I never visited without my husband..and my search continued.

I clearly recall my husband and I going to a baby naming ceremony where we gathered in a circle as drums were being played. I surveyed the people in the circle and was intrigued by them. I loved how they swayed to the music, eyes closed, arms waving and the words they each spoke…a blessing for the baby…so deep…so finger snappin’ deep and then it was my turn. Now why did I have to bring God into the mix and ruin the vibe? (At least that was the message I got when every eye opened, every head turned and faced my direction) and somehow the drums weren’t as noticeable to me above the loudness of my thumping heart. I kept my head bowed to shield my red face praying that the next person would assume the baton quickly. Ah yes, I hear the drums again and yes, the search continued…

Oh well, next we were invited to a hotel where someone called “The Master” was speaking. Ever the curious one, I gladly went although I wasn’t too happy about removing my shoes. I obeyed my husband after the third time when he said through clenched teeth, “honey, please just take them off…do it for me.” The  Master spoke, but I didn’t hear a thing. Afterwards, he made his way towards us. We were easy to spot, being the only two in the crowd not wearing white robes and turbans. He
stood before me and stared into my eyes, lifted his hand and slapped me. Oh, no he didn’t! Yes he did and our host told me that it was an honor to be slapped by the Master. Not if you’re Puerto Rican, it isn’t!! Umm…the search continued.

My husband, ever the caring one was concerned about my lack of friends when we first arrived in California, so he set out to find me some. Honey, you have to get out and fellowship. Okay, so I accepted an invitation to a house party given by a stylist. It was to be a gathering of women. I arrived and was met by a rather serious man who instructed me to not only remove my shoes, (here we go again) but I had to hand them over too. Huh? I walked right into a Buddhist fellowship and I tell you when they began chanting (as I sat on the couch refusing to kneel with everyone) I decided there was no way I was gonna take part in this party. I got up and got loud when the host would not hand over my shoes. I ran outta there and the search continued.

My search ended, not at a church, hotel or house party, but in my bedroom when at the end of my rope, a life line was thrown as I knelt next to my bed (although He would have said yes had I been standing on my head) and I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life. I just knew that my search had ended and my journey with Him was about to begin.

Months later, I was in San Francisco at a hair salon opening. I was having a conversation with a non believer. The conversation turned to religion and he explained that he had studied religions and settled with Buddhism. He asked if I had tried it. No way was I going to tell him of my experience, but I did tell him that I had been a seeker, but my search had ended when I became a born again Christian. He had a lot to say about Christianity and I listened…(the baby Christian that I was), not being well versed in the word; not a scholar…just a believer…I listened and told him that I was not moved to search any more because I found what I had been searching for. Bless his heart, he went on to tell me that I was close minded, like most Christians he knew. I laughed to myself knowing that I had been anything but that. When I asked him if he had ever read the bible himself, he said he hadn’t and had no intention to do so. I asked him as politely as I could….Who’s being close minded now? “Touche,” he said.

Never will I leave my first love. My beloved is mine and I am His! I have been sealed (branded as His own, secured) set apart just for Him. No more searching…no more drumming, slapping or chanting…Just give me Jesus!!

“Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.”      Isaiah 55:6

“I love those who love me. And those who seek me diligently will find me.” Proverbs 8:17

Advertisements

Jehovah Rapha, My Healer

Exactly 11 years ago this month, I was living in the ‘burbs, as an at-home mommy to toddlers born 21 months apart. My baby was 14 months old. My husband was on the road a lot making it extremely difficult for me to get to church, which was quite a distance. My son was super busy and my daughter was super clingy and at the time, our church had no children’s church. The thought of schlepping all the way to church with two babies who I’d be chasing the entire time was not appealing so I was M.I.A. quite a bit. (I see clearly now the importance of a LOCAL church and it was by design that I eventually taught in children’s church, giving moms that much needed time in service to fill up!!) During that time, I found myself too busy and tired to even get in the word. After dealing with kids by myself all day and cleaning the house when they went down for the night, I would fall into a catatonic state in front of the tv night after night. My fire had definitely been put out. My first love was no longer first…He may have actually been at least fourth, before me, on a good day…and I can’t help but think that if He were keeping score, He would have felt used and tossed away. I had made Jesus my personal genie, benefitting from His goodness from the miracle births of my children to my staying at home with them to every other material blessing we received. He was now propped on a shelf somewhere, like my bible, if I could find it…collecting dust, I’m sure. It’s like I said, “I’ll take it from here, Lord,” and with a wink and a nod, I moved on and into a nightmare.

The Diagnosis

That day in August, I went to sleep feeling tired, but no more than usual and I woke up feeling strange. My legs felt cold, and like I had rubber bands fastened around them cutting off circulation. My feet were tingling. The symptoms progressed to where I lost feeling in my hands and my fingertips were now tingling. I would have what I call a feeling of “electricity” or a shock down my back whenever I bowed my head and I was exhausted….unnaturally exhausted. This went on for weeks without me sharing with anyone. When my husband finally came home in mid-September, he encouraged me to see a doctor. I was referred to a neurologist, but not just any neurologist!! I was referred to a spirit filled believer who put me through the most horrendous nerve conduction study before sharing the diagnosis with me. I was stricken with a mysterious neurological condition, called Guillain-Barre Syndrome…

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a serious disorder that occurs when the body’s defense (immune) system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. This leads to nerve inflammation that causes muscle weakness and other symptoms.

He had studied this disease, knew all about it and had even taught about it during his days as a professor. He said he had seen it pass through the system and there was nothing we could do except wait for that to occur. He would see me every three months. I asked him three questions…(1) Should I read up on it? “No.” (2) How long will it take for these symptoms to diminish? He responded, “Anywhere from now to up to 7 years.” (3) Will you pray for me? “I wouldn’t let you leave without first praying for you.” What a blessing to have my doctor lay his hands on my head and pray the prayer of faith over me.

I left his office that day and called my sister who works in the medical field to let her know how my appointment went. I mispronounced the diagnosis and heard her reaction followed by “Thank God you didn’t say Guillan-Barre. That’s a horrific condition.” She went on to tell me about patients she has seen with it. My legs got weak and I told her that was exactly what I had. Bless her heart…she tried backpedaling a bit, but it was too late. I know why my doctor didn’t want me to read up on it. He later confirmed that he didn’t want my faith to be shaken.

The Fight

The scandal was that I was in for a fight and couldn’t even find my bible.   Although I had left my first love, He never left me. He orchestrated that meeting with my neurologist. He was so good to me even though I felt so undeserving. I recall that first night, putting the kids down and collapsing on the couch and saying “Lord, I know You didn’t give me these kids for someone else to raise. If You heal me, I will serve You all the days of my life.” Side note…”If” is the badge of doubt in a prayer when you know the will of God. It is His will that we prosper and be in health as our souls prosper!

I began to feed on every healing scripture I could find. The pain was tormenting and the enemy did his best to weaken my faith. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came so that I would have life and have it abundantly. You know when you are in the fight of your life, you have no time to put down your weaponry because at every turn, the enemy takes swipes. His tactic is to wear you down…to chip away at your armour…to catch you napping. I recognized the pattern from my last fight of faith and I would not be moved, but that does not mean it was a walk in the park!! On three separate occasions I took some shots. One day I was driving and listening to Focus on the Family. I love testimonies and was enjoying hearing a pastor speak of his return to God after his father was taken from him suddenly..a victim to Guillan-Barre. Ooh, that hurt. Weeks later, my brother died suddenly which provoked an onslaught of symptoms, namely the news literally taking my breath away. Thank God my husband was home to help calm me and I dodged that bullet. Several months later, I was still experiencing symptoms…on and off and they seemed to flare up every time I talked about being healed. I was having dinner with my sister and her friend, a hospice nurse. She spoke of a patient…a young man in his 30’s whom she had been ministering to and there was some urgency, since this man would not survive. He was hooked up to a ventilator and was unable to move anything except for his eyes. He suffered from a “mysterious neurological condition,” she said. I asked her if she knew the name of his condition. Of course, it was Guillan-Barre. As soon as I heard that, I lost my appetite and noticed the symptoms were back stronger than ever. Side Note: How interesting (or typical of the devil) that since that time I have yet to hear of anyone having that disease.

Enough is Enough!!!

The year is now 2008 and life has gone on. I’m not as tired anymore, but there are still flare ups and the occasional feeling that I’m all abuzz. I sat in my favorite chair one morning with my healing scriptures on my lap writing in my journal…crying out to God, asking Him when I would be completely healed. “Please Lord…I’m your daughter! Don’t you hear me? Why haven’t I been healed. It’s been SEVEN years now!!” Did you catch that? In a split second I was reminded of the doctor’s time frame when he said I could be healed immediately or it could take up to seven years. I clearly recall after he said that, I counted seven years and thought to myself “that’s not too bad…I could do that.” I quickly repented for my lack of faith..for being double minded.. and in tears I declared my healing at that moment in Jesus’ name. With my hand on my heart, I promise you that every symptom left and I stood up from that chair completely healed and have been symptom free now for 4 years, this month.

This was a long one, and I pray you stayed long enough to hear that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever and He is no respecter of persons. If He healed me, He is willing and able to heal you. Don’t put your confidence in man or in man’s opinion. Put your confidence in Him and trust Him now for your healing. Do the Hezekiah (as I like to call it) — turn your back on that negative doctor’s report and focus your attention on Jesus…the author and finisher of your faith. Jehovah Rapha, my healer – He is faithful and moves when words of faith are released. Try Him! As my blessed mother-in-law would say…the only thing He cannot do is fail…and I’d add to that that the other thing He cannot do is lie!

Discipline…to spank or not to spank! That is the question.

Recently I noticed a trending article on a newsfeed about that touchy subject (taboo for some)…spanking.  I took a quick, and I mean really quick, glance at it and read that spanking a child can lead to mental illness (wait, was that for the spanker or the spankee)…I suspect I should have opened up the article and read it in its entirety.  Discipline, as I refer to it, was and remains the most challenging part of parenting and it’s the most necessary, I believe.  I’ve often remarked that parenting didn’t happen to me, I happened to it, meaning stages didn’t creep up on me.  I anticipated “those years” and read up and prayed about my response and the answer for our family was discipline.

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” Proverbs 22:15 (AMP)

The thought of disciplining my son, the one I had prayed for and believed for for so many years seemed absolutely foreign and unimaginable to me.  This sweet, adorable, high spirited, miracle child was what I called “busy” because I refused to label him “bad” or any other name he was called by my well meaning, but brutally honest friends.  By the time he was around 13 months old, I sensed the inevitable coming on.  God bless the angel who approached me at the check out line in the grocery store who had been witnessing my busy son being busy 🙂 and gently placed her hand on my tired shoulder and said, “He’s all boy, mom. Hang in there.”  What a cold glass of water that was for me.  I wanted to cry, then I wanted to go home with her (without my kids) and then I wanted to cry for feeling that way.  Instead, I simply exhaled.

Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family notoriety said that by the time a child is 15 months old, their misbehavior can be regarded as willful disobedience since by then they are well aware of their actions and that disciplining can and should begin at that age.  Yes!!!  He said it and I believed it and began counting down the days until I could brandish “Rod” as we called him.  Back then it was “the spoon” and the sound of the spoon drawer being opened would send my son running for the hills.

As time went on, adding to our family a second child, my now 21 month old was “on fire” with busyness.  I had been “disciplining” him now for a few months, but I noticed with increasing frustration that the only one changing was me.  I was feeling irritated, then angry, then guilty, then sad with the whole parenting a toddler thing.  The turning point for me came at 3 a.m. one morning when I was awakened (after having just wrestled with my colicky infant) to find my son in the kitchen rearranging the fridge in order to find a juice box.  The memory of this still pains me but what a lesson it taught me.  As I walked into the kitchen all wide eyed and crazy he looked up and said “I’m thirsty.”  I spanked him.  I wasn’t training him!!!  I was frustrated, tired and he was going to pay for waking me up.  We both went back to bed crying that night.  I’m still hurt by the memory of it all.

The following morning I prepared his breakfast and as I placed it before him, I reached for his hands so that we could pray and he actually flinched.  Oh how that hurt me.  I was stunned and saddened that my son feared me.  Oh God, how can I get him to respect and honor me and not be scared of me?  Later that day, I went before the Lord with that question and He ministered to me.  He showed me first of all that each of my children was different and that one rule or way for both would not work; that I would have to be led by His Spirit with respect to how and when I should discipline the children. He showed me to never discipline when I was angry or frustrated.  Never use my hands to discipline (hands are for praying, praising, healing, loving). He showed me that in those times when I must discipline my son, that I must at some point explain why he was being disciplined and explain to him that I love him too much not to discipline him.  He showed me that spanking was not changing my son’s behavior.  It was changing our relationship, though.  He instructed me to find out what my son’s “currency” was and use that as a form of discipline and that I should reserve “Rod” for those non-negotiables….willful disobedience, disrespecting authority, lying, stealing.

When my son woke up from his nap, I took him in my arms and apologized for “hitting” him.  I told him that I was tired, sleepy and wrong and that I’d never do that again.  I did explain that certain behaviors would not be tolerated and that it was my responsibility as his parent to discipline him.  He probably didn’t understand everything I said, but he sure understood I meant business when I determined that videos were his currency.  I would hold them hostage, shelving them high enough so that he couldn’t reach them but close enough for him to see them.  Did Rod get put to sleep.  No chance.  Rod made many an appearance.

When Josh was around four, he and I witnessed a child having a full blown tantrum at Target.  This kid was swinging, screaming and carrying on in the candy aisle.  My instinct was to hustle my kid out of that line of fire, but instead we lingered as he watched and I “shopped.”  As it turned out, we were parked next to this family and as I was backing out of my space and Josh was looking out the window at them he said “That mommy must hate her child.”  I asked him why he would say that and his response was “She doesn’t discipline him.”   Those were his exact words…I promise!

My daughter had one tantrum, remarkably at Target.  She wanted to snack on some fishies I hadn’t paid for yet.  I explained that we pay first and then partake.  Oh, she just laid down in the center aisle and I did what any respectable mom would do.  I stepped right over her and left her there howling (I stayed close but she couldn’t see me:)  She promptly got up and scurried after me….and she didn’t get her fishies (even after we paid for them).  (Hold your tomatoes!!:)  Consequences…she learned about them quickly.

Years later, I paid it forward, becoming an angel to that woman whose child was having an F.I.T. at F.A.O. Schwartz before God and man.  She did the whole “going limp” deal and even dad couldn’t scoop her up.  He gave up and went down the escalator, leaving mom to deal with the situation.  This kid was screeching, mom was horrified and the crowd was gathering.  I felt so bad for mom.  I had to help, but what if she told me to back off?  I took a chance and crossed my fingers hoping that my advice wouldn’t blow up in my face…hey, it had worked for me!!  I approached her slowly and told her to step over her out of control daughter and leave…I would stay behind with her.  This woman was willing to trust a stranger, or perhaps she was just wanting to get out of dodge and she took my advice.  Sure enough her screaming meemie promptly picked her little self up and went charging after her mom…screaming of course.  I received a rousing applause from all of the satisfied customers and my ears were ringing for quite a while thereafter.

If I had to give advice about disciplining I’d say to choose your battles wisely and when you do, you better not lose!!  It takes discipline to effectively discipline your children.  I’ve been firm and consistent through the years and have found that the more consistent I was the less and less discipline was required.  We do a lot of talking and shelving around here and things appear to be pretty peaceful.  My kids are now 13 and 12 and I see no signs of mental illness…in any of us! hehehe

P.S. Happy Fourth of July!!!  Sure hope this blog does not create any fireworks!! 🙂

“He who spares his rod (of discipline) hates his son, but he who loves him diligently disciplines and punishes him early.” Proverbs 13:24 (AMP)

“Discipline your son while there is hope, but do not (indulge your angry resentments by undue chastisements and) set yourself to his ruin.” Proverbs 19:18 (AMP) 

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 

“Withhold not discipline from the child, for if you strike and punish him with the rod, he will not die.” Proverbs 23:13 

“The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left undisciplined brings his mother to shame.
  Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your heart.” Proverbs 29:15 &17 (AMP)

“Children, obey your parents; this is the right thing to do because God has placed them in authority over you.  Honor your father and mother.  This is the first of God’s Ten Commandments that ends with a promise.  And this is the promise: that if you honor your father and mother, yours will be a long life, full of blessing.  And now a word to you parents.  Don’t keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful.  Rather, bring them up with the loving discipline the Lord himself approves, with suggestions and Godly advice.” Ephesians 6:1-4 (TLB)

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: