Teach Me

My four-year-old daughter has been showing interest in learning to read for about a year now. I started her in kindergarten in the fall when the older two started school. She did fine with the schoolwork but her maturity level was still only four years old. She was not patient and was disruptive to her older brother who was trying to learn. After a few weeks I decided to let schooling go with her and try again later. In January I started her in Kindergarten again. This time she did much better.

I’ve been teaching her to read and she’s been doing great. She only know the short vowels and is almost done going through all the consonants, yet she is confident in her ability. She’ll pick up my books and say “I can read” At first I told her, “Yes, you’re doing great honey.” Then I realized she truly thinks she’s mastered reading well enough to read anything. So I tried explaining to her she still has a lot to learn. “Give it time,” I told her, “We’ll get through it all.”

I grew up knowing Christ as a child. I learned and memorized bible verses and stories. I was even taught the difference between religion and a relationship with Christ. I could feel the Lord was with me through my growing up years. I loved the Lord and desired to live for him at a young age. As a teenager I was peculiar then the other teens because I didn’t “follow the crowd”. Yet I fell away from the Lord in my late teen years and tried to do things my own way. That didn’t work out very well.

Seven years later, through an odd set of circumstances, I found myself sitting in a church at a women’s event. I was arrogant as I listened to the speaker with my ears but not fully with my heart. I knew the bible story she was talking about and I was quite confident I knew where this little talk was going. After all, I’ve sat through dozens of these talks as a child. With that attitude in place, we all stood for the closing song. We began to sing and the Lord reached out to me through that song and got a hold of my heart.

I thought I had it all down pat. I thought I knew the formulas and keys but the way He touched my heart that day was unexpected and real. It transformed me. I began weeping…bawling as the Lord was working in my heart. Within a few days I knelt down in my living room and asked Jesus to take over in my life. I gave control back to Him.

Just like my 4 year old daughter I thought I knew it all. I was over confident in my own ability. When you live this way you began to rely on yourself rather then God. Wearing righteousness as a badge when really this righteousness is not our own. It’s a gift from God. A gift that cost Jesus His life. Striving for perfection out of our own strength will only leave us drained and frustrated. We must stay humble as we walk this walk with our Savior. Knowing He’s the one who’s leading. It would take many lifetimes to learn all God has to teach us. No matter how long we’ve been walking with the Lord, God wants to teach us more. We’ll get there, as long as we are patient and listen to our Teacher.

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The Perfect Fit

 

My seven year old son has gotten the majority of his clothes 2nd hand from generous people who wanted to bless us. So thankful for those people. However, now he has holes in almost all his jeans. Most days we say home and do school so holes aren’t a big deal. There has been a few times though we’ve had to run to the store and I didn’t think about his jeans until we’re in the cold winter air and he says his knees are cold. The holes were buggging both him and I, so as soon as we had a little extra money we bought him some new jeans. We discovered he needs slim jeans which, didn’t surprise me. Both of my boys are skinny guys. When we got home he tried on his new jeans. “They don’t fit.” he said. I took a look and they fit perfect. I said, “What do you mean they don’t fit they look perfect.” Then I remembered my sons way of putting on clothes and I asked him, “Did you try to put these on without unsnapping or unzipping them first?” “Yeah”, he said. “You’re not supposed to be able to put on pants without unsnapping and unzipping them first. You’re just used to your clothes not fitting right. These are perfect on you.” To show him they fit well I had him run down the hall and into his room and back. I said, “See, your pants didn’t fall down, did they.”

 

The next day I picked up another pair for him. Same size but a little different style. I took them home and told him to try them on. “They don’t fit again.” he said and appeared before me. I took one look and said, “You tried them on without unbuttoning and unzipping them again, didn’t you?” “Oops, I forgot.” he said. He had gotten so used to his clothes fitting wrong that he thought that’s how they were supposed to be.

 

I think as Christians we can go through our daily life and forget that God has clothed us in garments of salvation and in robes of righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10) We get bogged down with things of this world that we forget we don’t have to wear despair as a part of our life anymore. Before we were saved that was all we knew but now that we’ve accepted Christ He has given us garments of praise instead of a spirit of despair. He’s given us a crown of beauty instead of ashes. (Isaiah 61:3)

 

Sometimes we accept wrong standards of this world as being right, just like my son accepted being able to put on his clothes without unbuttoning them as normal. Now there’s not a huge difference between size 6 regular and size 6 slim but there’s enough difference that he can run without having to hold his pants up. We can’t move through our Christian walk very well either when we’ve accepted the wrong fit. When we clothe ourselves with humility, kindness, compassion, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12, I Peter 5:5) we find ourselves walking in step with our Savior. We can do so much more work for the Lord when we clothe ourselves this way. When we remember how God has clothed us, with salvation, righteousness, and beauty we can live victorious lives. This is the perfect fit for us.

 

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Recovery from double hernia surgery

I spent much of 2013 trying to figure out why I had unintentional weight loss and digestive issues. In November, after a pretty stubborn bout with constipation, I went in for surgery for an umbilical hernia. It was a laproscopic surgery so the Dr. could take a better look inside to see if anything else was going on. My husband prayed with me before I went into surgery that if there was anything hidden it would be revealed. The surgeon discovered another hernia called a spigelian hernia. After resting a few days I got online to research this rare hernia. I found very little information on it. Most of it was to doctors on how to treat patients with the spigelian hernia. None of it was about what to expect in recovery from surgery. That is why I’m writing this. I want to tell how recovery went for me in hopes that someone else can know what is normal. Of course this is not medical advice. Just my experience in hopes to help anyone else finding themselves in a similar situation.

From what I’ve researched the Spigelian hernia is rare, found in less then 2% of people. These kind of hernias are found in the muscle wall usually on the right side. Mine was on the left. If left untreated the hernia can strangulate the bowels or intestines and damage the organs around it. This breakdown had already started in my body. The Dr. said my skin was aging. He was a little surprised to see that in someone my age. When he tried to attach the mesh to my skin it was to fragile to hold so he had to use tacks. The Dr. believes that this hernia has been my problem. It was strangulating my bowels and intestines so I had a hard time digesting food. He also discovered my bowels did not have a smooth path like most have. Mine had scar tissue that caused some turns that caused me to have constipation. He scrapped away some of the scar tissue to open up my bowels.

Mesh was put in under my bellybutton where my umbilical hernia was and on my left side where the spigelian hernia had been to prevent them from reoccurring. I couldn’t tell where the mesh was for the spigelian hernia in the first few weeks but I could feel the mesh under my bellybutton. It was like a piece of stiff cardboard that didn’t flow with my body. It felt restrictive. After 3-5 days the mesh didn’t feel as stiff and I could move better. It took almost a full 2 weeks before I could laugh, sneeze or cough without it hurting where the mesh was under my navel.

Doctors orders were for me to rest for two weeks. I was not allowed to lift much. I don’t remember the lift limit right now but I couldn’t lift my 2yr old son. I was told to take it easy. He really stressed the importance of not overdoing it so I could give the mesh time to take hold in my body. It wasn’t difficult taking it easy for two weeks. I was not feeling up to myself. My energy was low and I got tired easy. It hurt to do much. I wasn’t expecting how much the surgery took out of me, so that was a little frustrating. We are used to a fast paced world but in reality you really do need to give your body time to heal. That was a hard lesson for me to learn. Especially when I went back to the Dr. after two weeks and he told me to wait another week before doing anything. He was just surprised how weak the skin in my body was, especially for being in my mid-thirties, and wanted me to have time to heal.

After surgery the Dr. didn’t want me straining to go to the bathroom so he told me to take colace. I was more faithful at taking it the first week but slacked off after that. At the two week check-up the Dr. told me to take it every day for at least a month. I needed to give my body time to retrain itself on what to do. It did help.

After my three weeks of resting were up, I was mentally ready to go. It was Christmas time and I was ready to get back to being healthy and living life. So I went Christmas shopping both Saturday and Sunday for several hours. Then went home and wrapped gifts for about an hour each day. I was in PAIN that next week. Oh man!! My left side hurt so bad. I figured I would have some pain but I didn’t think that much was normal so I went back to see my Dr. to make sure I didn’t mess anything up in there. Thankfully I didn’t mess up anything. The Dr. said if the mesh on my side had come unattached I would notice a bulge on my side. He said my body was still adjusting because he did a lot of work in there. He also said it would take awhile for my body to be strong again. Possible 8weeks or even three months.

I ended up taking it easy for about six weeks. I was putt-in around the house but didn’t do to much at once. I learned my lesson from the Christmas shopping experience. It was actually a very peaceful time. I have four children 11 years old and under so peace and rest was totally from God. Friends and family helped with the kids and with meals. My husband was absolutely awesome at helping me through all of this. I got things done I’ve been sitting on like sewing up holes in my kids clothes and stuffed animals. After six weeks life returned to normal pretty well. I just had to know my limits and work my way up to being as strong as I was.

Since my skin on the inside of my body was fragile it wouldn’t hold a stitch to hold the mesh so tacks were put in instead of stitches. I was told the tacks would dissolve in 3 to 4 months. The one put into my hip bone bothered me for 4 to 6 weeks. I am now about a week short of 3 months after surgery. The tack in my hip doesn’t bother me anymore but there is also one by my bellybutton that does bother me from time to time. I also only take the colace occasionally when needed.

I’m very happy to say the surgery worked. Not only is food flowing through my body like it should but I believe Im getting more nutrients from my food because I have finally started gaining back my lost weight. Only about five pounds since the surgery but its a good sign. I haven’t been able to gain anything for a little over two years.

I am SO glad the Spigelian hernia was found. It was truly an answer to prayer. Many prayers! The surgery took more out of me then I thought but I’m so glad I had it done. All praise goes to the Lord. I know that I know, that God was guiding the young surgeon. After surgery I found a picture online called the Chief of the Medical Staff. It’s a picture of a medical staff working on someone in an operating room and Jesus is standing right next to the surgeon guiding him. I just know that was what was happening when I was in surgery.

To anyone who has gone through this surgery or is about to I would say it was worth it for me but be patient and give your body time to heal. Put your daily tasks aside for a little while. It will be well worth it after all is said and done.