Posted by: gaylejervis | March 11, 2011

MY THIRD HEAVY METAL CHALLENGE

Yesterday I completed my third Heavy Metal Challenge.  On October 24th 2008, I learned that “ This individual’s urine lead exceeds three times the upper expected limit per the reference population.  Because most of the body burden of lead is excreted in urine, this finding indicates significant burden with attempted detoxification of lead.”    Then on February 2, 2010, I was tested again and received the same results.

On my first heavy metal challenge, I had the same results for levels of mercury that my doctor described as “off the chart.”  However, in 2010,   I had all my amalgam fillings removed which may account for the encouraging results:  the mercury levels had slipped from VERY elevated to elevated. The lab report stated,   “This individuals urine mercury equals or exceeds twice the maximum expected level.”   We were making progress!

When my doctor said that he wanted to administer this test again, I said, “There is an emotional component to my having this test.  If the levels are significantly lower, I won’t have anything left to hang on to.  I have to believe that it is these high levels that are impacting my health.”  Even though I must have sounded completely irrational, he consoled me by reminding me that I had already told him that I am not having  as severe reactions to multiple chemical sensitivities and he added that fatigue is generally the last symptom to disappear.  Also,  he said  he is also exploring other factors that may be contributing to my poor health.  Consequently, he sent me for a blood test for Lyme’s Disease since  a  more accurate test  has become available at some laboratories.

He also has been encouraging me to remove my root canals.  I am not excited about my options once the dead tooth is removed. I could wear a partial plate in my mouth  that I think would drive me crazy.  Or I could leave three vacant spots that is not an option for me.  Or as my holistic dentist suggested, “Wait for a few more months.  There have been some encouraging results for teeth implantations that don’t use titanium.”  I don’t even want to think about the cost for these “cutting edge” implantations!  And I don’t even want to think of my increased anxiety if I have to have this work done!  And yet, my doctor tells me stories of how some of his patients were at an impasse making no improvement until they had their root canals removed.  Perhaps at the very least  I should  find the date for my first root canal to see if there is any correlation to my health.

In the meantime, I will wait expectantly for the results of this Heavy Metal Challenge Test.  I have changed my mind that it will be discouraging if the results have improved!  I have replaced my absurd resistance toward this test with hope that the metals ARE decreasing and that my body will begin to respond positively to less toxicity and that I will begin to experience increased energy.

For information about how we get lead and mercury in our bodies and how we decrease these levels by using  DMSA, check out the following web-site:

http://dmsachelation.com/

Advertisements
Posted by: gaylejervis | March 9, 2011

IF YOU HAVE A CAR, DRIVE HOME!

Yesterday I read an article from the magazine More about preparing for “old age” by observing what other people that age are doing.  The author writes, “I think of Lucy, a novelist of repute back in Ontario, who once said to me, ‘My friends are so involved with their grandchildren, but I rarely think about mine.’  The honesty of her comment buoyed me for the rest of the day.”

When I consider how I am buoyed by the smiles and laughter of my grandson and how I learn so many lessons from him, I   feel sadness for this woman Lucy since obviously   she  hasn’t taken the time to invest in her grandchildren to discover that in the end you are the one who gains.

Anyways, today is Wednesday and I have my grandson for another morning of activities.  We have begun a new theme exploring various fairy tales.  We watched a movie  about Goldilocks and the Three Bears that had a different twist to the ending and then we read two books of the same fairy tale. He and I had fun acting out the story as I played Goldilocks and he played all three bears!  Interestingly, he didn’t want to be Goldilocks and I wonder if it is because the character was female!  Or perhaps, he thought he had enough responsibility acting out three parts!  Anyways, we placed three different sizes of bowls on the table to begin our story.

Then we found 3 different chairs and 3 different beds to continue our story.  As Jackson acted out his three roles, he placed the appropriate mask to his face.   I really should have filmed our story to capture his gruff Papa Bear’s voice saying, “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed.”  Or perhaps his Baby Bear’s voice was even more enjoyable as he said, quite indignantly, “Someone is in my bed.”  We had left Goldilock’s mask sleeping in his own bed so maybe he wasn’t really acting!!!  He got quite a chuckle when I took Goldilock’s mask and put her by the bedroom window as he explained how she ran away from the bears.  What fun!

We spent quite a bit of time playing with playdoh as I found some playmats to print from the internet where he had to complete the picture making legs for Papa Bear’s chair, trunks for the trees in the woods, and ears and nose for Baby Bear.  We also got distracted playing with a PlayDoh head  that has lots of holes in its head. You push the Play Doh up through the character’s head to watch his hair grow.  Using PlayDoh scissors, I’m not sure how many times Jackson gave this character a hair  cut!

Later, I put a blanket over my coffee table and told Jackson to crawl under the table since we are pretending this is the bear’s den.  I wish I could have captured the expression on his face when we both lay on our tummies under the table as I read him a book about bears.

To conclude our activities regarding Goldilocks and the Three Bears he told me the story as he put the pictures on the flannelgraph.  I am hoping this photo captures his full concentration as he organizes the pictures on the board.

We proceeded to read from The Preschool Bible about Jesus telling Peter to cast a net into the water and how Peter caught a net full of fish.  As usual Jackson is always ready to pretend as I said we had to go downstairs to find our boat and go fishing.  I gave him a netted laundry bag and told him that is how we are going to catch fish.  I explained how they cast nets into the water to catch fish rather than using fishing rods.  We got into our boat which was a bath towel placed on the floor.  I had already placed some paper fish on the floor that he “caught” using his net.

He got inspired and jumped out of the boat to find two instruments.  Back in the boat, he gave me an instrument and one for him as I taught him the song, “I will be fishers of men . . If you follow me.”  We walked upstairs as if in a parade and marched through the house singing and playing our instruments!  We finished by doing two different crafts – one of fish in a bowl and the other painting a coloring page of this Bible story by dipping chalk into white paint.

When we were eating lunch, the doorbell rang.  He was hoping it was his Grandpa.  I told Jackson that Grandpa  couldn’t come home today – that he was at work.  He simply replied, “Grandpa has a car to drive home.”  A simple solution!  I like the way he thinks as he passes on another philosophical gem:  You don’t have to stay at work if you have a car to drive home!

Posted by: gaylejervis | March 7, 2011

DISAPPOINTING GOD IS A GOOD THING

When I was a child, there was a creek in my neighborhood that was a popular location for children to play.  A tire suspended from a rope hung from a tree so that we could swing across the water.  Sadly, I was strictly forbidden to go there.  I can remember only once after much cajoling from friends that I followed everyone else.   However, as I pretended to be enjoying myself, I was really very uncomfortable convinced that my parents would find me there!   I never went back since I just didn’t have enough “fun” to merit my parents discovering my disobedience!  Oddly, my decision wasn’t based on fear of their punishment, but it was based on fear of   their look of disappointment.

I began thinking about this fear of disappointing my parents when I listened to a sermon about the fear of disappointing God.  It was a theologically correct sermon that reminded us of God’s unconditional love so that we don’t ever need to fear approaching Him.  However, it caused me to think how my fear of disappointing God – just like my fear of disappointing my parents – has actually been a positive influence during my journey while chronically ill.

When I was at my worst and began worrying that I might always be bed-ridden and that my family deserved a more “normal lifestyle,” I seriously considered suicide.  But when these thoughts took an increasingly irrational hold upon me, I began imagining myself standing before God after I had killed myself.    I   sensed His love but I also sensed His telling me, “If you had just held on, this is the plan I had laid out for you.”  I sensed His disappointment that I hadn’t been able to experience his Best plan for me!

Fortunately, the “brain fog” which is one of the devastating symptoms from this illness and that caused me to think so irrationally has gradually improved.  However, that hasn’t prevented periodic bouts of wanting to just stay in bed, accept the pain and stop looking for new treatments.  Maintaining a positive attitude and living “well while chronically ill” demands single minded focus and tenacity and sometimes I just want to stop trying so hard. But then I imagine myself standing before God and giving an account of how I glorified His name while I was ill.  Then I pull myself out of my negative self-talk and discouragement, and I press on.

Wikipedia defines fear as “a distressing emotion induced by a perceived threat.” And yet, Proverbs states that “Fear is the beginning of wisdom”.  Obviously, there are two kinds of fear of God:  one that causes us to cower in dread and terror in anticipation of God’s displeasure and one that produces awe, reverence and obedience.

When we discuss various types of fear, it is important that we clearly define what kind of fear we are describing.  My fear of disappointing God is a result of my reverence toward Him.  Obviously, the fear that the pastor was describing was the fear that prevents people from approaching God.  When we discuss our fear of disappointing God, perhaps the best indicator whether it is a healthy or unhealthy fear is whether it causes a positive or negative action, and whether it causes us to be drawn toward God rather than away from Him.

Posted by: gaylejervis | March 3, 2011

FINDING THE CHIP ON MY SHOULDER

There’s a chip on my shoulder

And it’s big as a boulder

With the chance I’ve been given

I’m gonna be driven as hell

It takes tough determination to maintain a spirit of hope after 13 years of trying many types of treatments that haven’t improved my health.  Two years ago when I started a rather extensive overhaul in nutrition and environment plus introduced many supplements and prescriptions, Greg and I were hopeful that we were finally on the right track.  Then my health actually worsened the first year, and before I had an opportunity to stabilize from these aggressive treatments, I was hospitalized for uterine cancer.

As I told my doctor this morning, the fatigue and pain have not improved.   The only upside is that I don’t have as many crashes due to chemical sensitivities.

My doctor still believes that my health will improve as I detoxify the high levels of mercury and lead in my body.  However, he did confess that if his patients don’t start improving after 18 months, he begins to look for other contributing factors.  And that is what he has begun doing today.

Just recently, a more accurate testing for Lyme’s Disease has been developed.  I went to the lab today and they had to call the lab in Manitoba where my blood test is being sent,  to even confirm how to execute the test.  It would be short of a miracle if that is what I have since only three months of high dosages of antibiotics would significantly improve my symptoms.

However I am not really writing to discuss whether I might have Lyme’s Disease. Rather, today’s doctor’s appointment was a reminder that I need to keep “A Chip On My Shoulder”.  Recently, I heard the lyrics to this song from the musical Legally Blonde when I was becoming increasingly discouraged wondering if I will ever experience a cure.  As I listened, I sensed that I needed to become more “combative” toward this illness.

When I saw the doctor this morning, I was reminded that I am very fortunate to have a doctor who  is on the cutting edge of new medical advances and he hasn’t given up on me.  He is prepared to keep sharing any new information, tests and treatments that will improve my lifestyle. Therefore, I should really be singing the lyrics from the song “Chip On Your Shoulder”:

With the chance I’ve been given

I’m gonna be driven as hell

I need to be “driven as hell” and trust that a cure is possible. In fact,  “I’m so close I can taste it.”

I have observed that throughout this illness, when I need to protect myself from further disappointments, I adopt a passive somewhat resigned state of mind. Therefore, I haven’t seen my doctor since November even though he expects me to see him every month.  I’m beginning to realize  that if this self-protective attitude becomes dominant, it could cost me my health.  Recently, my daughter interrupted my passivity by telling me that our doctor wants me to see him since he has some new information he would like to share with me. It still took me two months to make that appointment.  What if I choose not to make that appointment next time and the answer to my health was sitting on my doctor’s desk?

On May 20, 1830, A New York newspaper, Long Island Telegraph, printed:

When two churlish boys were determined to fight, a chip would be placed on the shoulder of one, and the other demanded to knock it off at his peril.”

I need to become one of those “churlish boys” as I imagine myself placing a chip on my shoulder determined to fight my avenger  – my poor health.  I dare these symptoms to knock off my chip as I square my shoulders once again ready to fight this disease.

I’m so close I can taste it

So I’m not gonna waste it

Yeah, there’s a chip on my shoulder

You might wanna get one as well.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-boulder-rimagefree1829361-resi3079134

Posted by: gaylejervis | March 2, 2011

IF IT’S SNOWING, IT’S WINTER!

I was looking outside this morning and said rather sadly, “Jackson, it’s snowing again and it’s so cold out there.”  He looked up at me and said matter of-factly, “Grandma, that’s because it’s winter.” In other words,   if it’s winter, then expect the cold!  I felt like I could apply his truism to much of my complaints:  If you eat too much, then expect to gain weight!  If you don’t exercise, then expect to have your muscles atrophy.  If you don’t sleep, then expect to be tired.  Once again, my grandson teaches his grandma a lesson.      And that is how our morning together began.

After reading about God giving Moses the Ten Commandments, we made a craft of Moses that we could place on top of our mountain.  It took us quite a long time building our mountain out of Lego Blocks, setting up the people near our mountain until they moved away from it after becoming scared of the thunder and earthquake that occurred.  Moses climbed to the top of the mountain where we had to glue the tablets of stone on the craft we made earlier.  Then the people assembled again at the bottom of the mountain to hear the Ten Commandments.  Later when he was playing, he called his mountain  – Moses’ Restaurant and he set up his people inside of the mountain to eat pizza!

We talked about the importance of following rules.  We played a game where I showed him a Green GO sign so that he could walk toward me.  He had to stop whenever I showed him the STOP sign.  Then we did it as he sat at the top of our stairs and he bumped his way downstairs until he would see the STOP sign.  Finally, he decided he wanted to hold the signs and I had to respond to the signs.  I had to tell him that Grandma didn’t run or hop after he gave me these prompts!

Then we set up his Road Playmat and I showed him the importance of following signs and rules.  We created various scenarios where two cars would crash if one car was driving on the wrong side of the road or if one car didn’t stop at  a stop sign.

Before Jackson arrived, I had printed a coloring page of Moses receiving the Commandments, colored the page and then cut it out as a puzzle.  Throughout the morning I kept asking him how many commandments God gave Moses, and to help him remember we counted the ten puzzle pieces before we began putting them together.

I’m always impressed for his eye for detail.  As we read from his Preschool Bible, he stopped me and asked about Pharoah’s haircut!  I didn’t understand so he took me back to the earlier page  when Moses was telling him, “Let my people go. ”  He had shorter hair in that picture than when he did chasing them to the Red Sea!!  He wanted to know why!

I had to chuckle when he was creating two tablets of stone from his play doh as he commented rather sadly, “My dad told me not to eat my playdoh!”

When we switched to lions, I discovered I had brought some books home that were too graphic  – at least for me.  They showed lions chasing their predators and even eating a zebra!  I quietly put those books aside.  We DID read Christian the Hugging Lion which is based on a true story of two young men in London in the 1970’s who bought a young lion at Harrod’s Department Store!  When Christian got too big they crated it back to Africa.  I showed Jackson the video when these two young men returned to Africa one year later and reunited with this huge lion.  We both laughed when we saw this lion hugging his two old friends.

He also enjoyed making a paper bag puppet.  He immediately put it on his hand, ROARED and said, ”Run Grandma.”

I had glued a lion’s face onto a paper plate, hole punched around its head and put some strands of wool in the holes.  As I told him the story about Leo, I’d pull a little of the wool onto the face until he had so much hair that Leo’s Mommy needed to give the lion a hair cut.  When I asked,  “Do you like getting your hair cut?”  He shook his head no and said, “I need long hair.  I want to be like Samson with lots of muscle!  I need to be strong.”

I toasted Jackson a crumpet and he put on carrot curls for the lion’s mane and a fruit snack for his nose and two raisins for his eyes.  Later, I gave him two graham wafers and told him to pretend they were stones that God wrote the Ten Commandments.  He used a craft stick with icing to spread “words” on the stones.  Then he asked, “I am going to eat it?”  Usually, he doesn’t ask that when he has food in front of him,  but maybe he isn’t always told he can eat “stones” or maybe he was in awe that these were God’s Commandments!!

As he collected his signs and his puppet to take home, he said, “Grandma, what are we doing next Wednesday after the lions?”  Yes, our Safari is over and next week we begin a new theme!

Posted by: gaylejervis | February 24, 2011

FEAR OF NOT MATTERING

Will performing good works dissolve our fear that we don’t matter?   I listened to an interesting sermon that reminded us what God thinks of us and if Christ would die on the cross just for me – then I should know that I matter.  So true.

However, I have been wrestling with the pastor’s practical solution to changing our perception that we matter when he quoted Ephesians 2:10 :    “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

He suggested that this passage not only reminds us that we are God’s workmanship – His handiwork, but he suggested that good works could make us feel that we matter.  This has created quite a quandary for me.  We were urged to “Do something beyond the scope of your own life.  Be part of something bigger than yourself.”  I couldn’t help think of the number of chronically ill people who have difficulty “getting through the day” let alone visit a nursing home or help that neighbor.

And yet, who can dispute that we need to think outside of ourselves? There is enough evidence to suggest that an effective remedy for the depressed is to help someone else.  Many of us who are chronically ill do try to help others but it is very limited due to our circumstances.

This leads me to the question:  How much good works are necessary to make us believe that we matter?  I was recently reading a book that mentioned a new trend of   people quitting donating money to good causes since their dollar seems insignificant compared to the philanthropists who donate millions.  These people obviously believe that their small contributions don’t matter!

And yet conversely, I wonder if we can legitimately assume that all philanthropists know that they matter.  Or are they philanthropists because they have a desperate need to believe that they do matter and must work hard to try to muster that feeling?

Robert McGee in The Search for Significance maintains that one of the lies we buy into is that Our Worth = Your Performance  + Others’ Opinions.   He urges his readers to embrace God’s Truth = What God Says About You.

Well, I’ve made a full circle back to the beginning of this pastor’s sermon!  Possibly, if I don’t fully embrace what God says about me, no amount of good works is going to change that!  I realize that the pastor preaching would assume his congregants know that our good works could only be motivated by our understanding of who we are in Christ.

Unfortunately, too often we want some simple remedy – some simple actions to make our fears disappear.  It might be easier to do good works that fits into the world’s standard of performance rather than focusing on what God says about me.

What would it be like if we viewed each person through the lens of who she is in Christ rather than on performance?  What would happen if I could look at a homeless person, a chronically ill person and a philanthropist and say, “This person matters apart from his performance because Christ gave his life for her”.

It would be an interesting experiment to take two groups of people who acknowledge that they are worthy because Christ died for them.  Have each one of the participants rate their perception that they matter.  Tell one group to go do some good works daily for 30 days.  Tell the other group to read every day all the Scripture that tells us who we are in Christ. At the end of the 30 days, which group would believe most wholeheartedly that they truly matter to their creator?  I hypothesize that the group that has focused solely on who they are in Christ will have the most significant change in their perception that they matter.  I also speculate that when this latter group begins to engage in good works they will be motivated by a tremendous desire to glorify God.  I even wonder whether the results of their good works might be more spectacular!   And what is important to the chronically ill, I also speculate that when circumstances may change and they can’t do as many good works, they will still know that they matter.

Posted by: gaylejervis | February 23, 2011

GOD WILL SAVE US!

Did Moses really give his sheep to the Hebrew slaves?   Jackson and I read the stories about Moses from his Preschool Bible and I am so pleased how he can relate so many of the stories.  However, as he was preparing to role- play Moses, he mentioned that Moses gave his sheep to the slaves.  He knew that Moses was a shepherd when he saw the burning bush.   I guess he assumed he took his sheep with him when he went back to Egypt!

I enjoyed following my little Moses throughout the house as he lead us to the Red Sea.  When I called out that the pharaoh and his soldiers were following us, he turned around to look at me and said confidently, “God will save us’!  Then he held his staff to his mouth and began blowing.  In his Bible, we read that God blew a huge wind to separate the waters!  We calmly walked across the waters as my Moses said, “The bad guys can’t get us.”


After our roleplaying, I filled the sink with water, gave him some craft sticks and asked him to separate the waters.  When he couldn’t, I gave him two mugs to place upside down in the water.  I showed him how the water went around the mugs.  I explained that is all we humans can do.  Only God could separate the waters so that the Hebrews could walk across.

As he glued the pieces onto the construction paper about Moses and the parting of the Red Sea, I prayed that my little grandson’s confidence in God will continue to grow so that he will always be able to say boldly, “God will save us.”

I have never aspired to go on a safari but traveling to Africa with my grandson on a pretend safari has exceeded my expectations!  Today’s itinerary began with Jackson watching a Disney Educational Video about elephants.  Then we imitated the elephants as we walked heavily stomping our feet.  I love watching him when he gets a new idea as he took hold of Moses’ “staff” and held it to his nose.  Then he grabbed his thermos placing it  at the end, and pretended to use his trunk to get some water and to cool his body!

Later we began mixing together black and white paint and he discovered how his mixing these two together created grey.  He proceeded to paint a paper plate and when it dried, he glued on the elephant’s ears, eyes and trunk.

I appreciate his growing appreciation for detail as he noticed white spaces on the two elephants he was painting.  Then he handed me his brush and told me to paint as he showed me the blank spots that needed paint.

We had fun rolling out some puff pastry dough together.  He spread some sugar on top and then sprinkled some cinnamon.  His tactile nature enjoyed using his hands to spread this mixture evenly on the dough.  He helped me roll the dough and flatten it before I began slicing the roll.  Then he placed the cookies on the tray.  He became quite excited as he saw how they looked like elephant ears.  At least we thought they did!

Then it was time to for him to arrange his Safari Animals on the coffee table before he took some pictures.  He really enjoyed setting them up as I gave him containers to put under the towel to create hills.  I set the camera on a small tripod and we looked through the view- finder to decide what animals he wanted to film.

We concluded our study of elephants by reading books from the library.  I liked to emphasize that it was the Grandma elephant that is wise and leads the elephants!

By the time we completed these activities, it was time to eat lunch.  I set up his chair in front of the television so that he could watch Madagascar, an animated jungle movie, while he ate.  And of course his dessert was Elephant Ears!

Posted by: gaylejervis | February 22, 2011

GRATEFUL FOR THE SIGNS

How do you know when it is a good thing to push past the pain and fatigue and when you should surrender to the symptoms?

Last Friday as I was debating whether I could attend the Rest Easy Ladies Event that I mentioned last week, I received such wonderful direction.

Late  afternoon when I was still resting in bed, and actually deciding I should get someone to take my food offering there and deciding I would stay home, I received a phone call from my daughter-in-law.  In our conversation she referred to my blog where I said that I would try attending even if I couldn’t be fully “me” completely engaged in the conversation and laughter.  She encouraged me to go even for just a short while!

After our phone call, I got out of bed and walked downstairs  and saw that there was a  message on the answering machine.   I listened to my good friend who was hosting this event encourage me to come even for a short while!  I wandered back upstairs and mindlessly sat down at the computer to check my e-mails.  Would you believe a wonderful person who has been reading my blog reminded me that it is Friday and she hoped I would be able to attend the ladie’s “Beach Party”!

I chuckled aloud and began calling a friend who had earlier offered to drive me there.!  For a final confirmation, my daughter called and offered to drive me and pick me up early so that I could go!  Normally, I rely upon my husband but he has been sick all week!  Later when Greg go home, he said that he could still pick me up whenever I needed to come home!

WOW!  I not only experienced the love and support from family and friends but I believe I was being told it was safe for me to meet these ladies!

Before I left, I made sure I timed taking some medication for the pain and for the first two hours I was able to participate in the conversation and in the laughter.   Just as I was slipping backwards, my friend the hostess intuitively seemed to know I  needed to go home soon.  She shared a devotional where we were urged to be lionesses – gentle and fierce.  Then we prayed for each other.

I felt truly blessed as these kind ladies prayed on my behalf.  I sensed that God had truly orchestrated my presence that night.  I don’t always have the opportunity to be part of something and that night these wonderful ladies made me feel welcome and included.  I felt connected to a group of ladies who willingly share their life experiences and who willingly share their struggles.

Just as I was inwardly beginning to panic that I hadn’t called Greg earlier so that I wouldn’t have to wait, my lovely friend our hostess arranged to have her husband drive me home!

I never got to sit on my beach towel and put polish on my toes with the rest of the ladies, but that is okay.

I went home to bed contented and grateful.  I lay in bed knowing I had had  a divine appointment with God  and I hoped to increase my awareness for other signs that God may be leaving for me!

Posted by: gaylejervis | February 17, 2011

WHY ARE YOU AFRAID?

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other,”Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey Him.” (Mark 3:37 – 41)


Does this passage have something to say to the chronically ill?  It may not if the main interpretation is that the disciples should have exercised their faith in Jesus Christ and then the storm would have stopped!

These men were terror struck during one of the unpredictable storms that could come with no notice on the Sea of Galilee.   And even if they had never faced first hand the terrors of the sudden storms on these waters, they had heard stories.  They may have known men who died in these storms.  Hence, it was a very real fear that their lives were in jeopardy.

These seasoned fishermen could easily have concluded that only their skills could help save them.  And initially that may have slowed their approach to Jesus as they were trying to steady the boat  themselves.  However, when their situation was worsening, they eventually approached Jesus.  Now this is where these men are often chastised in sermons.  “They should have approached Jesus sooner.”  “They should have realized that Jesus could calm the storm.”   There is a saying that the test for an insane person is that he keeps doing the same thing and expects to see a change.  These disciples were no fools!  They finally approached Jesus.  Therefore,  even though they should have approached Jesus sooner,  they were still smarter than many people who become paralyzed in their fear and become completely immobilized.  And yet Jesus is going to speak to them rather harshly.  Why is that?

The disciple’s angry accusation when they speak to Jesus reveals that there is something deeper going on than merely they needed to exercise more faith in order to stop the storm. Yes, they were afraid of the storm, but were they also shocked that they could be in the center of this life and death circumstance when Jesus was with them in the boat?  Were they stunned that bad things could still happen to them in Jesus’ presence?  Had they begun to see Him as their Talisman, their good luck charm?   Did they feel like Jesus had abandoned them?  Did they think that Jesus was indifferent to their fear? No wonder they approached Jesus in anger!

Now those emotions are feelings that most of us who have experienced chronic pain can understand!  As Barbara Brown Tayor author of An Altar in the World writes, “One night of real pain is enough to strip away your illusions about how strong you are, how brave, how patient and faithful.”  We can replace the word “pain” with “fear” and we can begin to experience how the disciples were feeling.  Up until now, they were beginning to feel pretty safe and secure hanging around Jesus.  They may have even thought they had a good understanding of what Jesus was saying and what He was expecting.  They were just exuding in patience and believing that exercising faith is easier than they thought. Suddenly all of those illusions were drowning!!

As Taylor writes, “You do not need a torturer standing over you to recognize the direct link between pain and truth. Pain is so real that less real things like who you thought you were and how you meant to act can vanish like drops of water flung on a hot stove.”  Their fear for their lives was intensified as they faced a terrible truth:  If by some miracle they survive this storm, they may endure other storms!  Jesus was not going to protect them from tough circumstances!  They had completely lost their bearings on who they were and how things were supposed to unfold in life.

Wow!  That is something a chronically ill person understands.  We don’t understand quite as well the teaching that the storm would have stopped if they had just had faith in Jesus.

And yet, if these speculations have some merit, why did Jesus respond rather testily when he said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”   Was Jesus angry that they had been so slow in approaching him?  Was He angry that they had approached Him but in fear? I hope not since we are told to approach Jesus honestly and in whatever state we are in.  It would be terrible if I need to hesitate approaching him until I can approach Jesus without fear.

I find it reassuring that Jesus calms the storm even when the disciples showed a lack of faith.  I need to know that I don’t have to perform in a certain manner in order for Jesus to respond to my fears.

But that still doesn’t explain Jesus’ accusing question.  Did He think they should have just called out to God and let him continue sleeping?   Or is He angry because their faith couldn’t stand the test of great peril?  We see in the book of Acts how their faith grows exponentially so that   it does stand the test of persecution and eventually their violent deaths.

Here is my question then.  Often this passage is used to tell us how we must trust Jesus and how he will calm our storm. No question it is telling us of the divine power present in Jesus’ person. However, could it also be telling us that even when we believe Jesus is absent, He is present during our storm?  Could it be telling us that sometimes the storm will continue indefinitely, but He is still present?

Does it seem like an afterthought that Jesus calms the storm?  That it isn’t the main focal point of their lack of faith?  He was merely revealing His Divine Power to remind them that whether they are in a storm or in a calm, He is Present.  Now that is something I can appreciate!

Posted by: gaylejervis | February 16, 2011

MONKEY SEE MONKEY DO

For example, Mary wanted to take her granddaughter to the circus.  She knew that sitting through the performance would increase her pain.  She prepared herself with an extra cushion and sat in the back row so that she could stand periodically.  Her pain did increase, but she was not upset because she felt it worth the effort, and her granddaughter was thrilled.  The activity was her choice, and it was under her control.”  (Managing Pain Before It Manages You by Margaret Caudill)

“Let my People go.”  We reviewed the story about Moses as I read from Jackson’s Preschool Bible.   Then I put a towel on him, gave him an empty wrapping paper roll for his shepherd’s staff, and we began marching from Egypt toward the land of Canaan.    During our march, Jackson  suddenly said, “I’m taking you back to Egypt so you can be a slave.”  I finally convinced him that we don’t ever want to return to Egypt but that we needed to head toward Canaan!  He has quite a sense of humor as occasionally he would revert back to taking me back to Egypt. You could just see the twinkle in his eye!   He really got  into his role of Moses as he shouted, “Come on my people.”

We watched a couple of youtube videos about monkeys. Apparently, this morning he told his mom that he was going to study monkeys at Grandma’s and that Grandma will show me monkeys on the computer.  I guess he assumed if I showed him giraffes on the computer I would show him monkeys!  Anyways, he was absolutely correct as we watched   a young monkey playing, swinging on a long tree branch and doing somersaults.  Then we watched a Silly Song from Veggie Tales about “If it has a tail it must be a monkey.”

When I put a monkey mask on Jackson, he immediately told me that he needed a tail.  I quickly added a brown strip of construction paper onto the back of his shirt! We travelled through the house, scratching our sides, jumping up and down, making monkey noises,  and eating a pretend banana.  Jackson rolled on the ground and then counted his toes.  Later he remembered what I had told him about barber monkeys and he told me I could be the barber monkey who cleaned the other monkey’s fur!

We had fun watching the video of Five Little Monkeys as he said enthusiastically with the doctor,  “No more monkeys jumping on the bed.”

When he made a monkey puppet,  I may have come up with the best strategy using glue!  I just poured some glue  into a small dish and gave him a brush to use.   After he played with his puppet, we went downstairs searching for monkeys.  I happened to have the game Barrel of Monkeys and I hid those plastic monkeys.  I had to laugh as we were going downstairs to look for them, when he quietly said, “Shh, we need to find the monkeys.”

Jackson set up his safari animals on my coffee table and he had another photo lesson.  I showed him how to work the zoom.  He learned to retake a picture such as the one he took of his elephants since in the first photo, he missed including the elephant’s trunk.

We proceeded to get our Monkey Lunch ready. First, we decorated the cupcakes to look like monkeys.  For our sandwich, we blended together some peanut butter, coconut, raisins and banana to put in half a pita.  Then he added some animal crackers into the Safari Pita.  Finally, he blended some bananas, pineapple and orange together for a Monkey Drink!


While he ate his Monkey Lunch, he watched the movie, “Jungle Story”.

It was time to climb the stairs and for Jackson to climb into what he has dubbed his  “Pooh Bear Bed.” As I lay his blanket over him, he enthusiastically  repeated, “No more monkeys jumping off the bed.”  Minutes later there was silence and he and I were enjoying our afternoon naps!

 

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Categories