Speaking of Oil

Seed oils, even.

As many of you know, my husband is afflicted with chronic pain, both head and neck, and is frequently confined to bed. It’s been more than 15 years now, and we are accustomed to running our family much as if dad were in the military or traveling for work a lot. He’s here, but…well, he’s not here. Whether it’s illness, or travel, or long hours at work, many young mothers find themselves both alone and lonely in their role. Motherhood, even with the best of husbands, is still a very solitary job. Even with help from husbands, friends, and older children, nobody else is Mommy. This life makes for hard days and long nights, and we do have to go through these things alone sometimes.

When my fifth child was about 11 months old, Get Along Husband had been having the headaches for a few years. I had become used to him coming home from work, going to bed, and having at most only one good day every week or so, but I had not found peace with that routine yet. I was usually able to contain my tears, never having been much of a crier, but one night, after a particularly busy and eventful day, I found myself crying into my dishwater over it all. I was so tired, and the kids still needed to be put to bed, and I was late getting them fed.

“Lord, I don’t think I can do this anymore. I’m so alone.”

Just that minute, I heard a little bitty splat behind me. I turned around to see through my tears that my little guy had crawled into the kitchen and stealthily loosened the lid on a gallon of vegetable oil. I had put it down on the floor when I’d brought in groceries earlier, and my baby was now slipping and sliding and slapping in a gallon of soybean oil, quite happily!

I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Or this child’s timing.

Then that still, small voice came through. “Are you sure you can’t handle this any more, Cindy?”

Oh, Lord Jesus, why?

Still boohooing, I scooped that baby up, warned the rest of the children to stay out of the kitchen, and took him for a bath. Then I put all of the children in front of a video and somehow cleaned that whole gallon of oil off the floor. By the time I was done, of course, I was no longer crying. You really can only cry so much, even when you’re as tired and lonely as I was that night. But as I sopped, then squeegeed, and then soaped that floor, I had a talk with Jesus. It was not the task of a few minutes, so it was a very long talk.

I do sincerely believe that God Himself put that baby and that oil in the floor that night to show me just what I can take. I’ve never wondered since that episode whether I could handle the hardships of mothering alone. As I said in my last post, all I had to do was pour. That day, I poured my little pot of oil into my family by keeping my temper and just doing what had to be done. God just kept filling up my reserves until the job was done.

When I woke up the next morning, my self-control was restored, and my floor was clean, and my children were just fine. Jesus did that. I cannot take any credit at all! I was so tired. I did not have the wherewithal to handle myself in that moment. But He did.

I was never alone. 

If you’ve never been a young mother with lives dependent on your very body for sustenance, it may sound like I was crying about absolutely nothing that day. But you who are mothers, you know. I still tear up every time I think about it. I’m crying as I write. It was such a hard day, after so many other hard days just like it.

Thank God, I’ve never felt since that day that I could not do it anymore. The days didn’t get any easier for a very long time. But God showed me how to pour myself out that day. It wasn’t long after that that our family was in a car crash, and we nearly lost my husband. What I learned that day with the baby and the oil carried me through that emergency, as well as many more that have followed in the 11 years since.

If there’s one thing I want you young mothers to know from this story, it is that you are not alone. You are doing it humanly alone sometimes. There’s no getting around that. But God is truly, literally, powerfully working through you. Don’t despair the way I did that night. Don’t give up on your husband, or your kids, or your Savior, or yourself. Don’t be bitter about whatever circumstance has you so lonely and so tired. Even if you’ve been wronged somehow, and that’s why you’re so alone and tired, don’t let it make you bitter. Know that you are being refined and made into the kind of Mother that gets written into hymns. You are doing important work.

Just keep pouring.

It’s a Fallen World

It’s not as fallen as you think it is.

Christians who read this blog may be familiar with the song “Is He Worthy?” If not, here you go.

Now, I happen to love that song. He is worthy, and the song is altogether worshipful and right. But that first line: “Do you feel the world is broken?” gets on my ever-loving nerves. Well, of course it is! But among Christians, it is too often our tendency to look around at the broken things, throw up our hands in despair and say “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”

Yes, the world is broken. Some things are going horribly wrong. I’m not even talking about politics, as I’m sure you thought I would be. I’m talking, as is my wont, of our health. Nearly everybody I know is sick. They have cancers, heart disease, degenerative diseases, autoimmunity, mental illness. The list of troubles I see in the people around me is so long that I can’t possibly cover it all. The older they are, the more of them there are. But I don’t believe age is the problem. I believe the length of time they’ve spent living modern lifestyles is the problem.

There was a time, probably somewhere within the pages of this very blog, when I would have said “Oh, well, it’s a fallen world, after all!” about my own illnesses. I’d have sighed a bit, lamented my aches and pains, and accepted the doctor’s many prescriptions, thinking that this is just my genetics, just a fact of getting older, just the effect of the curse.

And all of this stuff does happen because there is a curse on all creation. It’s true. Creation is still groaning. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

But what if I told you that much of the trouble we experience that we think is inevitable, is actually avoidable and fixable? We’ve accepted a lot of unnecessary sicknesses, blaming perfectly preventable illnesses on bad genes, aging, or just bad luck. We’ve paid out a fortune for drugs that don’t make us well. I watched my grandmother die of medical treatment. She could have had a wonderful last two decades, and instead she was poked, prodded, medicated, and financially sucked dry as she became more and more miserable. And finally she died, with very little comfort or dignity.

Most of us have no idea how much of our sickness, our fatness, and our sadness, is due, not to the general fallenness of Man, which will cause us all to degenerate and die eventually, but to specific fallen behaviors, like the greed of agriculture, medicine, pharma, and government entities. I could write books, and have read several, about what they have done to our food supply, our environment, and our bodies.

But it’s not their choices that are killing us so miserably. It is our trust in “science”, our fatalistic attitude about getting fat and sick, and our love of comfort that keeps us from making the changes that could result in our living longer, healthier, stronger, more prosperous lives. We lean on medicine to make sure we don’t have “too many” children, ruining our hormonal health and our relationships. We vaccinate our children’s immune systems into oblivion because we don’t want to have to risk chicken pox.

We eat sugary, seed oil infused slop, day in and day out, just because it’s easy to get and cheap to buy, and lights up our brains like drugs. We relax in our recliners or beds or hammocks after meals instead of taking a walk or gardening or running or lifting some heavy weights. Our entertainment is soul-destroying, but we’re not willing to read difficult or inspiring books. Too hard on our sluggish, sugar-addled brains. I just drove by a group of men in full-body protective gear who were spraying toxic chemicals all over rows of small Christmas trees, destroying everything that lives in that field. We’re killing ourselves and our land so we can have nice looking trees in our living rooms in December. This is a choice we’re making.

We go for the easy route in every aspect of life. We atrophy. We degenerate. Our very cells no longer function the way they should because we have chosen ease and entertainment every day, all day, for our entire lives.

I’m not perfect. My kids are watching Pokemon right this minute. They get a little bit of screen time nearly every day. I will probably feel really convicted about that and put a stop to it now. We do all have to take ourselves off the hook from time to time. Rest is essential. But we have made a national identity of finding the easiest, most enjoyable route to absolutely everything. We have destroyed our health, both physical and mental, by coddling ourselves. And I hear people call this easy way of life “blessed”. They think they’re prospering while billions of their dollars are going into a kind of health care system that doesn’t even need to exist; while they endure horrible pains and discomforts from their lifestyle-induced diseases; while their relationships go under because of the depression and addictions.

Next time you have yet another ache or pain, or another miserable visit to the doctor, or another side effect from the pills you’re taking to try to counteract the damage you are doing to your body, don’t look at Big Pharma. They didn’t make you take that pill that doesn’t even work. Don’t look at Big Food. They didn’t force you to eat that Hot Pocket. Don’t look at the government and say “Save me from the consequences of my choices!”

Don’t look at Satan and Adam and Eve and blame the curse.

Look at yourself. You have made choices.

Look to Jesus, who died so that you don’t have to live defeated. Pray to be released from your addiction to foods, comfort, and self-indulgence. Put down the doughnut, turn off the teevee, and go do something to improve the wonderful physiology that God gave you. Go make your environment better. Make your food nourishing, instead of entertaining. Talk to your neighbor and get some real relationships going instead of playing around on Twitter. Take baby steps. I know it’s hard! But you can change things.

We are all going to die. It’s a fact. But we do not have to die like this.

Stone to Flesh

These verses keep meeting in my mind.

Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. –Luke 3:8

and

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. –Ezekiel 36:26

Isn’t it amazing how God takes our hearts of stone and makes children for Abraham of them?

And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. –Genesis 28:14

and

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. –Galatians 3:16

Be careful, my friends, of fleshly reasoning. Genealogies mean nothing. The work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts is the only thing that saves.

 

A Palm Sunday Thought

I was teaching Sunday school this morning. I hadn’t prepared a lesson, but it’s Palm Sunday, so we went first to Mark ch. 10, and then to Psalm 118, which is the scripture the people were singing from as their King entered Jerusalem.
This is also the Psalm that names Him as “the stone that the builders rejected” that “has become the head of the corner”. The very next verse after “blessed is He who comes” says:
” The Lord is God,
and he has made his light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
up to the horns of the altar!”
All of those people, under the power of the Holy Spirit, were singing of the sacrifice coming to be killed for their sins. I doubt a single one of them had any inkling that He was the sacrifice. They were just singing the song of their Conquering King. Since it was the Passover, they would have expected Him to perhaps preside over the sacrifices, not be the sacrifice.
The chief priests must have been shaking in their boots.
The King was coming.

Meat is Not Jesus

It won’t save you.

I spend a lot of time touting the benefits of a meat-heavy diet. I really, really believe in the carnivore and keto way of life! I believe in it so much that I’m spending what little free time I have coaching others on how to change their own dietary habits. While I try to respect other people’s food choices, I’m not at all shy about sharing information with people who appear to be open to it. You might even say I’m a carnivore evangelist. Being a preacher’s daughter, I guess that’s a role I can feel comfortable with.

I haven’t been coaching people on diet for very long at all, but I have spent some time informally helping people in my real life and online figure out how to get to a healthier place with their food. A friend of mine wanted to try carnivore, and I was curious as to what specific issues he was dealing with.

“What do you hope to get out of a carnivore diet?”

“I just want to be happy and well-adjusted like the Petersons.”

Oh, dear. Oh, dearie me.

I often hear names like Jordan B. Peterson and Joe Rogan brought up by carnivores– usually secular ones–as the luminaries who brought them to the Meat Side. Now, I don’t care how a person finds out about carnivore. It’s the best thing to do, no matter why you’re doing it. But I do worry that people who listen to these sources are not just expecting health, but an entire shift in their spiritual condition, just by eating meat. After all, would they even be listening to JBP if they had any discernment at all?

There is a great deal of mental help in carnivore! Let there be no doubt about that. I honestly doubt that Jordan Peterson has adhered very strictly to the diet at all, but perhaps he has. He’s still a basket-case. No well-adjusted man cries as freely as he does. And his daughter has certainly healed her auto-immune disease and her mental state, as well, by eating beef, and only beef. She’s doing very well, but she’s still a hot mess in some other ways, to put it in as non-gossipy a way as possible. Joe Rogan has toyed with the diet and interviewed some carnivore guests, and I’m told he attests to the value of the diet even though he’s not a strict adherent. But he’s literally consorting with demons, OK?

I have myself resolved all sorts of internal angst, the kind that is physically triggered by food, through first keto, then carnivore eating. I highly recommend Dr. Chris Palmer’s book Brain Energy, which gives as good an explana­tion as I’ve seen for why so many who suffer from mental illness find relief with a ketogenic diet. I think there’s probably more to be said about the gut micro-biome, gut permeability, and the vagus nerve, which communicates between the gut and the brain. Brain Energy is nevertheless a ground-breaking book. It focuses more on the ketones than a lot of other things that I think are going on, but explains a great deal. Whatever the reason, keto works. Carnivore works.

I want to say this loud and clear, lest I be found wanting on Judgment Day for failing to give the real credit where it is due:

If you cure all of your irrational fears, all of your anxieties, all of your mental and social dysfunctions, but you still don’t have Jesus, you still have nothing. You might even act like a nicer person, mistreat others less often, or harm yourself less often, but you’re still in your sin.

Conversely, when I had OCD, social phobia, depression, and general anxiety, but I had Jesus, I had everything already.

Now, I know what a skeptic would say here: If Jesus was so great for you, why did it take a dietary change to fix all these things?

If I ascend up into the heavens, you are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there psalm 139: 8

I don’t know the mind of God, of course, but His word gives me a clue. He let me make my bed in Hell so that he could  show His power to come to me there. Through my weakness I can say right along with the Apostle Paul that:

…there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

–2 Corinthians 12:-8

You can read my testimony here, if you care for more background.

While I was having a difficult time with some aspects of life, I was learning to lean on Jesus. I asked for healing, but to no avail. Or so I thought. Looking back, I can see that what looked like a dark, gloomy pit was really a quiet nest in which a baby Christian could develop, sheltered from many of the assaults of the world which I likely would not have been proof against, had I found out about the carnivore diet while I was still spiritually weak.

To an unbeliever, this must certainly sound foolish, but I wouldn’t trade my years of mental difficulty for all the meat-induced calm in the world, because Jesus shone into my darkness in a way that I think few have experienced.  Could God have made me all better all at once? Sure! But I needed to be where I was.

For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

–Hebrews 12:6-12

Not only does it not bother me that I didn’t find a path to health for so long, I am grateful for it.

There’s a lot I would never have learned, had my life been immediately made as anxiety-free as it now is. I wouldn’t have been as useful to the work He had for me to do, then or now, had I not gone through a crucible suited to my particular metal. I am undoubtedly a more relaxed person with carnivore, but I am not more joyful. I am not a better person because I eat meat.

I just wanted to take a minute from my meat-boosting to praise the One who really saves. I get uncomfortable if I go too long between reminders that it’s all Jesus.

Submit to the One who created you. Give thanks to Him and bless His name.

Have Thine own way, Lord,
Have Thine own way;
Thou art the Potter,
I am the clay.
Mould me and make me
After Thy will,
While I am waiting,
Yielded and still.

Testimony, Replayed

A social media friend posted this today:And I agree. Depression, while it involves chemicals being all out of whack, is not caused by the chemicals being all out of whack. Western medicine does in regards to mental perturbances exactly as it does in physical ones: it blames the illness on the body/mind itself instead of finding the root cause, then gives it a pill to “correct” the body’s perfectly reasonable reaction to that root cause. The root cause is either spiritual or environmental, or both.

Anyway, this post reminded me of an old post I’d written on GAH 1.0, and since I don’t have a lot of time to post today, I thought I’d copy and paste that in here. There’s a lot more I can say, and will, after the chicken run is repaired and the drainage ditch out back is re-dug. (Anybody want to help me learn to drive a little backhoe so I don’t have to use a shovel? Is that what those things are called?)

Anyway, here you go. This post was originally published May 23, 2011:

Testimony, Delayed

Yesterday, on my way out the door of the last gas station on earth that doesn’t have pay-at-the-pump equipment, I walked past a young woman in a pretty orange-flowered dress. I’m very distractible, so the colors caught my eye—so much so that I didn’t see the face of the woman wearing the dress. My mother later informed me that if I had lifted my eyes a few inches further, I’d have beheld the face of a cousin of mine, who was accompanied by her sister and mother. I was disappointed to have missed a chance to speak to them. Despite my social anxiety, I really am a people person. I love to see and speak to absolutely everybody once I get past the initial “Oh, God, please make the ground open up and swallow me before I make a fool of myself” part of social encounters.

It occurred to me later that, if they saw me, they must certainly have recognized my face (and thought me all kinds of stuck up, but honest, I’m just that absent-minded),  but my heart and mind would be utterly foreign to them…and so would my faith, my lifestyle, and this blog. Especially this blog.

I haven’t had occasion to speak to these particular relatives of mine in about 8 years, several of which were spent in a sort of spiritual convalescence where I didn’t speak to or see practically anybody besides my immediate family. Few people would understand it, probably, but I was a very weak person, and God had to put me in a very lonely place for a long time so that I could learn to hear His voice over the voices of those around me. In those years, I changed so much that I can barely comprehend it myself. I hesitate to even try to explain such a transformation. Words can’t do it justice.

If this blog didn’t have my name and picture plastered all over it, my aunt and her daughters would never in a million years guess who was writing it (in the event they found themselves reading blogs by homeschooling social media addicts, which seems unlikely). (Editor’s note, 7/8/22: This aunt has now received Christ and transformed amazingly herself!)

And you, my friends, would never guess what I was like before, given the content of my blog. I haven’t given you very many clues about my past. I have hinted in previous posts that I made a lot of mistakes, but I have mostly left my personal history out of things. This is partly because I prefer to focus on ideas rather than myself when I write, and it is partly because I don’t spend very much time thinking about a past that has been gloriously defeated.

I have to admit, though, that my reticence is also in part because I am a coward. My past could easily be used against me, and I’m exposing the softest part of my very soft underbelly in writing about it. But my weakness is His strength.

If someone from my past were to read this blog, the word “hypocrite” might easily pass their lips, and not entirely unjustly, because there is barely a word here that suggests the kind of human refuse they knew me to be. Who, by reading this blog, would ever guess that this writer, who believes so strongly in the sanctity of marriage, has been divorced? Or that this mother of four (and, God willing, more to come) was once barren? Or that this apparently sane person more than once spent several weeks in locked-down psychiatric care, unable to form a coherent thought due to mental and spiritual illness?

I don’t like to brag, but I was as thorough an example of human fallenness and brokenness as you’re ever likely to come across. When I screw up, I do it completely. I have no sense of self-preservation at all. A crude flowchart of my adult life, starting at age 16 (believe me, I could write a book, but it wouldn’t be edifying at this point) goes like this:

depression—>drugs—>confused teenage love affair—>suicide attempt—>depression—>promiscuity—>marriage—>adultery—>alcohol—>divorce—>mental illness—>drugs—>depression—>suicide attempt—>psychiatric drugs—>remarriage—>depression—>suicide attempt—>drugs—>prophecy (which I will tell you about sometime!)—>depression—>drugs—>Christ—>recovery—>motherhood—>depression—>drugs—>recovery—>victory—>?

You’ll notice that even after Christ turned my life around and confirmed my faith with the gift of a son, I slipped up and had yet another bout of depression and drug use. I wish my story included a nice clean break between past and present, but redemption is as much a process as it is a crisis point of salvation. Some of us start out from a weaker place than others. God never left me through my struggles, and He brought me out the other side victorious!

There is nothing hypocritical in my keeping silence about these things. But there is such a huge disconnect between my present and past that anyone who used to know me might read my words and wonder why I’m hiding so much. Rest assured, I’m not intentionally hiding anything, nor am I ashamed anymore, though I will always regret all the harm I’ve done. I just haven’t gotten to writing about that stuff yet. It’s not as easy to write about as, say, feminism.

I knew I’d have to explain these things eventually, of course, and I’ve sat down to write it out many times. My chance almost-encounter at the gas station opened up a flood of memories for me and made the writing of this confessional post seem a little less scary. If I had seen the faces of the people who were right in front of me (something I apparently need to work on),  I might have had opportunity to tell them just how much God is able to do for even the most pathetic loser.

If it were my story, it wouldn’t be worth telling, but it’s God’s story. He deserves the praise for it. I hope the next time I pass by a person who knew me back then, I won’t be so blind to the opportunity to introduce them to the God of the here-and-now.

In Which I Rebuke Myself

A little.

I was reading and explaining the parable of the early and late workers from Matthew 20 to my children the other day.

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went.Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing[a]idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard,[b]and whatever is right you will receive.’

“So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius.10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius.11 And when they had received it, they[c]complained against the landowner,12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’13 But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For[d]many are called, but few chosen.”

At the time, I didn’t really make any application to my own thoughts of late, but I felt a little niggling something in my chest, like something…something…oh, well, I’m in a hurry. Let’s move on to math.

So then this morning I was doing what all red-blooded Americans and Canadians are doing right now, whispering my prayers for some peaceful protestors, and cheering for some people standing up to tyranny. I’ve also put my money where my mouth is in supporting Pastor Artur Pawlowski<<<–CLICK THAT LINK and I hope you will, also.

Sweet, ain’t it?

Now, I’ve always had an annoying tendency to see things on multiple levels, and sometimes those levels would seem to contradict each other. Sometimes I lose sleep trying to reconcile my different impressions with each other. They rarely truly contradict, but the more compelling thoughts can pull me too far in one direction or the other at times. On one level, I’ve already said exactly what I think of the Truckers and their protest. It is both marvelous to behold, and yet a sign of inadequate understanding.

But it looks to me like it is becoming more adequate all the time.  

Where I first only saw some people getting mad because they were finally about to be out of a job, unlike that other poor schmuck who has been out of a job for a year now, I’m now perceiving people who are actually sorry they didn’t stand up earlier. People who took an ill-advised vaccine out of naïve obedience to illegitimate demands by “authority” are now unwilling to force others to violate their bodies in the same way. That speaks of repentance, whether they know how to use the word yet or not.

I’m loving the patriotism, and the peacefulness, and the truly Christlike resistance that they are offering. God bless Canada!

So where do I need to rebuke myself? There’s not much wrong with what I said before, right?

No, not really. But that niggling something I felt when I was explaining the parable to my children was the Holy Spirit reminding me that there’s a wrong way to be right.

That’s what happens when you let your precious Self start to take credit for simply showing up a few hours earlier than the next guy down the hiring-line. It’s good that I showed up for work in the morning, refusing early on to mask or to bow to the power that sought to enslave not just me, but my neighbor, whom I actively loved by standing up for his rights, even when he was too scared to do so for himself. It’s good, but it’s not my good. It is Christ’s. Always.

I said before:

There are families who have had to find alternative ways to feed their children after grocery stores wouldn’t let them in. People have lost their jobs. Doctors, pharmacists, and nurses have been silenced for having a different opinion than the approved one. Many have been threatened and intimidated for refusing to back down. Some of the most compelling voices have likely been assassinated, given the mysterious circumstances under which they’ve died. While it is much worse in Canada, we have plenty of stories in the US, too.

 

Pardon me if I’m not terribly impressed that the mob has finally gotten mad, now that enough lives are affected.

 

I only got hired this morning, myself.

Being a natural introvert and observer, it is true that I have sussed things out a little earlier than most. But the Spirit graciously humbled me through the words of Our Lord. “What is it to you if I grant repentance to them today, rather than yesterday? What is an hour or day to the Eternal, anyway? Didn’t you already receive what I promised you?”

We’re all at a different place in our understanding and experience. So the trouble, as usual, isn’t with my discernment, but with my heart, my pride. As if every gift I have weren’t from God, and not of myself, lest I should boast? So, while I retract nothing of the realities of what I said, I repent of my skepticism that God has brought in His perfect time any individual or nation to repentance. Repentance is increasingly what this convoy looks like to me: a great national–no, international–repentance, after realizing we’ve allowed mere Power to subvert righteous Authority.

So, allow me to say publicly what my pride would prefer I admit only privately. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I was right, the wrong way, which is no better than being completely wrong. 

Want to discuss my blunder? I’m always checking in on Gab, MeWe, and SG. In fact, I’m dying for some company on some of these platforms. Hit me up, please!

Should Christians Allow Their Children to Believe in Santa Claus?

When people tell you Santa Claus isn’t real, remind them that a heretic’s nose once begged to differ.

In my past life as a serious Evangelical, I refused to tell my children that Santa Claus is real. He’s a fake, fat old man who magically gives people stuff, but only if they deserve it. And apparently everybody deserves it, because everybody gets a present. That is, unless they’re so poor they can’t afford presents, in which case, obviously they weren’t very good people.

That wasn’t a very Christmassy way to go about things, was it? For years, I did what well-meaning parents often do, and gave the fat man the heave-ho. When you have a large family, you group them in sets, and each set gets an amazingly different childhood experience. In fact, the different children practically have a different mother as the family dynamics change and the grownups learn to relax a little. We should talk about that sometime, but this isn’t about that.

Anyhow, my oldest kids, the first set of three, knew good and well that Santa Claus is a contemptible secular joke, and he hardly entered our Christmas consciousnesses. (Oddly, one of my older ones, who I will leave nameless for the sake of the child’s feelings, believed fervently in the Tooth Fairy. I guess I figured if they knew Santa Claus wasn’t real, they’d know I was joking about the Tooth Fairy, but apparently kids don’t draw inferences the same way adults do. Learn from my mistake. There was real disillusionment when the truth became known about that.)

My next set, the middle three, have the experience of Santa as a pleasant family myth, and he fills the stockings, and it’s all good, clean fun. None of them ever thought he or the Tooth Fairy were real.

The last set of two (plus the rest of them, who’ve witnessed the evolution of our thinking over the years) get to hear about Saint Nicholas, the man. They’re still not getting the modern Santa Claus experience, because I still don’t let them think he’s actually a North Pole dweller dropping things down our chimney. That’s a fun story, but this is the true one:

Now, not being Orthodox or Catholic, we don’t pray to saints, or necessarily believe some of the myths that have grown up around them. For instance, I very much doubt that Nicholas actually stood up in the bathtub on the day he was born and sang praises to God. I guess that could have happened, if God wanted it to, but I have no reason to view that as a real event. I don’t put it outside the realm of possibility. Nor do I completely either affirm or deny the miracles he may have performed. God does all kinds of things, all kinds of ways, doesn’t he?

What he did do, though, for sure, was help the poor and punch heretics in the name of Jesus. I do wish the heretic-punching were in this book, but since it’s for children, I guess I can understand why not.

We talk about the way the St. Nicholas’s charity is honored by our hanging stockings as a reenactment of his filling of shoes with gold for the poor man’s daughters who needed a dowry. We find ways to help the poor and hurting around us to also have a blessed Christmas. We do indulge in a little pretend play, sometimes putting keto cookies out for the fat man, or jingling sleigh bells after the kids go to bed so they’ll know he’s HERE! Since Nana really does believe in Santa, we also make sure the kids don’t let her know he’s not real.

St. Nicholas is not the only Christmas tradition about which we’ve sadly lost our understanding. I remember a well-meaning preacher saying once “Why do we even have a Christmas tree? We don’t have a religious reason to do that, but I don’t know where else to put the presents!” Well, I do, and it’s not a pagan ritual. It’s a Christian thing to do. So we also talk about St. Boniface and his missions to the Germanic tribes when we put up our Christmas tree.

Far better than throwing out Christmas traditions just because we can’t remember what they mean, is re-emphasizing the history of the Church during this season. So many parents flub it up (in my opinion) by lying and making Santa a huge disappointment when the kids finally figure it out. It is far better to acknowledge the reality, and explain how it became mythologized. In the process, children learn how Christ was stealthily removed from the modern Christmas by makers of mainstream media who hate Him, and why this is wrong. Tossing out the celebratory and magical–let’s rather say miraculous–aspects of the season, as the Grinches and Scrooges would love us to do, is the opposite of honoring Christ.

Here are a few more resources to help you explain the truth of Christmas to your children. As the world grows ever more skeptical of the Incarnation, we need to up our believing game, don’t you think?

Why Christmas is Not Pagan

The Legend of St. Nicholas

St. Boniface and the Christmas Tree

A Generous Spirit: The True Story of St. Nicholas

The Myth of Pagan Christmas

How about you? Does your family do Santa Claus? Elf on the shelf? Talk to me on Gab, MeWe, or Social Galactic.

The New Baptism

Did you guys see this?

I want to translate what you just heard:

Reporter: Do you think that calling people heretics, some of whom were baptized, has had an impact at all on baptisms in parts of the Territory?

Gunner: No, and I’ll repeat it. If you are anti-mandate, you are absolutely an heretic. I mean, I don’t care what your personal baptism status is. If you support, champion, give a green light, comfort to, support, anybody who argues against the mandatory baptisms, you are an heretic. Absolutely.

Your personal baptism status is utterly irrelevant. If you campaign against the mandate, if you campaign against the people being baptized in vulnerable settings–teachers in classrooms—I’ll be really clear: At that point in time people are actually supporting the idea of a teacher being unbaptized in a remote community classroom with innocent kids. I reject that, I still reject it, and if you are out there in any way shape or form campaigning against this mandate you are absolutely an heretic. If you say “pro-persuasion”, stuff it, shove it.”

The fact is that the vaccine isn’t about a virus. If it were, nobody would be worried about kids in a classroom, as kids are in far less danger from the virus than from the shot. If it were about a virus, persuasion would be tried, because sweet reason would be useful. If it were about a virus, and the vaccine were effective, there would be no sin in making your own choice in the matter.

This man, and many others, speak with religious fervor about getting vaccinated at a time when the virus has already mutated beyond the original targeted virus. It is about nothing but obedience. If you got the shot, you’re one of the sheep. If you didn’t, you’re one of the goats. There is not a single thought in this man’s head about real physical danger. He just wants you to get in line.

As for making sure the people teaching your children are baptized Christians? If he’d gone off on a rant like that, I could get behind him. Couldn’t you?

We wouldn’t be in this mess if we’d had that same fervor regarding which teachers we allow our school districts to hire, and which curriculum to guide them.

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That Faceless Hell

I woke up ten minutes before my alarm went off this morning. I got my Bible reading and prayers done, made breakfast, took the trash, took Get Along Husband to work, did the grocery shopping, and still made it home by 9 a.m. to start lessons with the kids. We did a great job, then I spent an hour working out before our late lunch. In short, I did what I always do, and what every homeschooling mom finds herself doing every day.

But man, I felt GOOD. All morning long, I felt good. And I started wondering, why do I feel so good right now? And why haven’t I felt this way in such a long time? My habits haven’t changed. My motivations and dedication to duty haven’t changed. My willingness to do the work hasn’t changed. I’ve been basically getting it done all along. It’s just better right now.

I haven’t been so focused and just plain happy to be getting things done in a very long time.

“Why do I feel so good?” I wondered, all morning long. And I think I have it figured out, after looking back on my day yesterday, then the weeks before that, and the eighteen months before those weeks. You want to know what the secret sauce is to being totally into life, and able to face it joyfully? One word:

Fellowship.

Yesterday, I got to worship with God’s people, my people, my tribe. I got to teach Sunday School (although our church is so much cooler than that, so it’s not called Sunday School here, but another name that means the same thing).

I got to see a bunch of sweet little faces, tell them about Jesus, and give a hug to a little guy who was having a tough moment. Then I got to lift my scratchy voice in praise to the One who redeemed me. I heard the Gospel preached by a pastor who loves the Lord and loves His flock with a sincere heart, and brings good Doctrine to sustain them.

Then I had an elder pray with me over a difficulty that I’ve been dealing with for 13 long years, with a hand on my shoulder and a heart that understood my need without being told very much about it. That kind of prayer can only come through the Holy Spirit praying for us, and with us, and through us.

I didn’t get much rest yesterday, though it was a Sunday, because I brought eight hungry kids home with me. I still had a couple more (laid back) meals to crank out, and the little ones still needed a lot of attention. A busy “day of rest” with all that social activity, for someone who is happiest locked in a quiet room with a book surely can’t account for how well-rested I feel today.

The only thing that can account for this long-absent sense of wholeness and wellness is the fellowship. This burst of happy energy was a pretty regular Monday occurrence for me, once upon a time. Before things went off the rails, my week would start at the top like that, and then take a downward slide as the weekend approached. Then there would be a recharge on Sunday, and we’re off to the races again!

“When Covid happened”, as people like to say, my good attitude started slipping. I didn’t really even notice it at first, because my lifestyle stayed basically the same. Our family weathered the storm of the tyrannical lockdowns much more easily than most probably did, simply because we’re stay-at-home people anyway. We’re a big family, so loneliness is easier to overcome, or at least to not notice. But over time, it started to wear on us, too. When church opened back up, but with masks, it wore on us even more. Because we knew the masks were a tool of political control, not of a virus, but of the population itself, our consciences wouldn’t allow us to wear them, so we were even more alienated than those who wore them.

Even inside church, because others were masked and social distancing, we were apart, as if a new sacrament, one of masks and hand-sanitizing, had been introduced to mark the True Christians. We were told that this is how we “honor our weak” and “show we care”, but to our family, it sounded like–because it was–gaslighting. It was second-hand gaslighting, to be sure, spoken by people who had been gas-lit into thinking they were bad for questioning whether it was right to cover their faces.

We couldn’t see faces, or hug friends, or even shake hands. Conversation was awkward, especially in a large church where we don’t recognize people quickly just by the top third of their faces. I literally ran out the doors after most services, it was so unfriendly a place. Worship itself was sincere, I believe, but strangled. I know I’m not the only one who emotionally couldn’t handle the physical and emotional distancing. We skipped a lot of Sunday mornings because it was too hard to watch.

We couldn’t really hear the voices of those trying to sing with muzzles on. We had to pray without touching each other, or even getting closer than shouting distance. Every meal at home became a mechanical event, just feeding a body, because we’d had no meals with the Church to remind us that we are more than the body. The sterile communion cup packages felt–well, sterile, obviously. I wonder if it’s even truly communion like that. God forgive us!

One of the most painful memories I have of this faceless time was when we were sitting two taped-off rows behind a family with a little guy, maybe a year and a half old, and the sweet fellow couldn’t take his eyes off my face. It would be nice to think that he was staring so much because he’d never seen anybody so pretty, but my mirror tells a different story, so I can’t comfort myself with that explanation. My daughter noticed it, too, and asked me later why he was so interested in my face. “I think,” I said, “that it’s because mine is the only adult face he’s seen without a mask since he was too little to remember. He doesn’t know what to make of grownup strangers’ faces.” It’s a scary thought for our society’s future when you consider all the babies who went through that crucial phase of development without adequate exposure to community faces.

We lost a year of learning each other. Our children lost a year of development, a year of community, a year of Sunday School, a year of friendship and learning who and how to trust. Those years can never be reclaimed. While I did my best to make sure my kids still had human contact, our church connection was first non-existent, then horrifically alienating as things “opened back up”.

My soul started to dry out. That was the worst thing, but my body started to feel the changes, too. I had more allergies and minor malaises–the kind you can’t really pin down, but you just don’t feel good–during this “safe” time than I did in the twenty years preceding it combined. My children were often just not quite right, as well. It was a physical depression due to isolation. I was frequently discouraged with my diet and exercise, feeling like I just wasn’t worth the effort, though by force of will I stuck to it anyway. I’ve been quite healthy by any objective measure, but like every other human being, I need more than a mirror and a thermometer to tell me I’m doing ok. Introvert that I am, I’ve discovered that I really do need people to show me myself. That’s a good thing to know, so I guess God can pull something good out of just any situation.

Touching, smelling, swapping pheromones, producing oxytocin and all those other hormones we have during face-to-face interactions, catching colds that educate our immune systems (in fact, they educate our immune systems to handle covid!): we need all of that germy, messy human contact. But the Church is the contact we need most. We didn’t just need to hang out with friends, which we managed to do sometimes. We couldn’t get the same boost from “worship” in front of the teevee. The Holy Spirit works uniquely through our physical meetings.

We are a literal Body. We share our immune system in a very real way.

(This is the previously password protected part of this post, where it became a plea to our pastor for protection from the brainwashing and alienation I’d experienced inside our church. It fell on deaf ears, and I no longer feel a responsibility to keep it private.)

Pastor Scott, I’m afraid you’ve reduced us, in your compliance with dictates from those who have no authority to make them, to primarily material beings whose souls can be put off until the current “crisis” is over. Even worse, we’ve been reduced to separate material beings, rather than a single body. Each part of that body has been treated as a potential danger others, just by breathing freely that breath that God first breathed into us. We’ve been dismembered.

Paranoia and obsessive-compulsive behaviors have become mainstream interaction. It’s literal madness that you’ve been allowing to develop!

If it had been temporary–say, two weeks to flatten the curve, as they lied to ease us into our prisons without a fuss–it would have been perhaps still a mistake, but a small enough one that we’d have forgotten it quickly. But it wasn’t over in two weeks. It’s not even over now. Pastor, surely by now you can see that the crisis will never be over.

Klauss Shwabb has promised us this in his book “The Great Reset”. The media have promised us this with their “new normal” messaging that shows they never intend to let up, no matter what the cost to humanity. A thousand voices on social media and television, none of them friends of Christ, have promised us: it will never end. They’re already planning to have so many “variants” identified that they intend to start using the names of constellations (their gods?) when they run out of Greek letters with which to tag them.

Showing through all of the dictates of the petty tyrants that have ruined so many lives, has been a gleeful, demonic joy in finally putting an unrestrained boot on the necks of normal Americans, and especially Christians. I believe that hindering our prayers has been a top priority for them. Our prayers could not have been so hindered without the naïve cooperation of our Shepherds.

Pastor, you preached so beautifully a few weeks ago about how you’d never let a wolf into your congregation to mislead your flock. In your teaching, as far as I can tell, you have never said a single word that isn’t absolutely in tune with the Gospel. You teach Bible, straight up. You denounce false teachers as agents of the Enemy, and you know who that enemy is when you catch him inside the camp. I fully trust your judgment on this.

But you’re not on guard against the Enemy in the world.

You, in your (I guess) hyperfocus on good doctrine, have allowed Enemies of Christ–those from without the camp, rather than the spies within–and their clueless enablers in the community to dismember the Body. In your zeal to make sure the Gospel is taught correctly (and it has been, thank you, thank you, thank you), I think you’ve yet been blind to what is deliberately being done to hamper the work of the whole, fit Body of Christ.

We are not being forcibly separated because SARS-Cov2 is the worst virus ever, but to keep Christ from going viral. Christ is dangerous to their wicked agenda. The Church is prevailing against the Gates of Hell, and this whole pandemic has been a psychological operation to stop us, right from the very beginning.

We were told Sunday that there’s some chance that we’ll be plunged back into that inhuman, faceless Hell, or maybe even shut down again if the town council says so. If this happens again, preacher, our family will have to look for a church where the preaching may be a little less spot on, but where the shepherds know that the body and soul can’t be put into separate boxes for dealing with at separate times–the body now, and the soul whenever the real danger has past.

We are in dire, terrifying danger of losing each other again.

Please–I write it with tears, Pastor, because I’m scared–please don’t let this happen again. Be bold enough to be a “botherer of Israel”. Resist these over-reaching, illegitimate tyrants, and keep your people safe (oh, how falsely they use that word!) from the sickness, both physical and spiritual, that comes of being forced away from each other, even if it’s “just” by a mask.

If you’re unsure about the science of masks and lockdowns, I assume it’s because you’ve been attending to your own business and have trusted the untrustworthy on this topic. You’ve devoted yourself to the science of souls, and I think, like a lot of scientists, you’ve gotten a bad case of tunnel vision, focusing only on your chosen subject. I’ll put a video clip here, as it’s a good summation of the lies that have been told to us. After that, if you want it, I have good information to corroborate what this doctor says. You can even find it easily yourself, if you use uncensored search engines like Duckduckgo. The sick truth about this pandemic often comes straight from the lying horses’ mouths.

SARS-Cov2 can be handled easily in the vast majority of cases, and it isn’t different in transmission than other respiratory viruses. The answer to this virus is the same as other respiratory viruses: wash hands, stay home IF YOU’RE SICK, and be generally healthy by making good life choices. We must allow the healthy members of our community to build the immunity that protects our vulnerable. We can’t overcome this virus by hiding and keeping ourselves “safe”. We have to be the place viruses go to die. 

I could write about the science all day, but that’s not what I’ve felt led to do right now. I just want you to hear my heart. After other interactions we’ve had in past, I feel like I can trust you to do that.

Thank you for your time, Pastor Scott. I know this was long, but so was the lockdown.