My Family

My Family

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

2 Kings 5

In today’s chapter, an army commander is seeking to be heard from his leprosy. Leprosy was a disease that began as a small red sore on the body, then grew into the flesh being covered with white, scaly sores. Then the afflicted might begin to lose their hair, and eventually their finger and toe nails. It gets far more gruesome than that. Naaman, being a highly esteemed and respectable army commander, didn’t want this disease to take his life. 

When he reaches Israel, he finds Elisha’s house, and without coming out, Elisha through a message tell him to go wash in the Jordan River seven times and he would be healed. Naaman was mad at not being received by Elisha, and mad about having to go wash in the river. He was hoping to just show up and be healed and be done. He didn’t realize he actually had to work for it. He was mad when God didn’t work as he expected.

The Jordan River was a very muddy river, and not the most hygienic. So Naaman was thinking if he needed to go into a river, he would have been better off at the ones in Damascus. He had doubt and anger about his situation. He was however convinced by his servants to give it a try, and he was cleaned as Elisha had said. He realized the true God. 

Elisha wanted people to work in their healings because he wanted the credit to go to God. Naaman today, and the the poor widow yesterday, had to overcome their own pride to receive from the Lord. Instead of leaning on another as a crutch, we need to lean on God for support. 

I’ve told this before, but this remind me of a joke my priest said growing up in church:
A man prayed each night to win the lottery. Every night, he would pray “Lord please help me win the lottery.” But the man never won. Finally, one night as he was praying harder than ever before, he heard the voice of God saying, “Well if you would buy a lottery ticket...”
Sometimes we try to avoid doing the work and reap the benefits. That’s not how God wants us to live. He wants us to pray to him and know we will receive his grace, yes. But we aren’t meant to be bumps on a log. We need to go out and serve the world as Jesus did. We need to jump in the Jordan River when we are told so we can be cleaned, and ask our neighbors for bottles so we can fill them with oil. These of course are theoretical notions, but the sentiment is there. We need to go. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

2 Kings 4

S: 2 Kings 4:3-4 “Go out,” he said, “borrow vessels from all your neighbors- as many empty vessels as you can. Then come back and close the door on yourself and your children; pour the oil into all the vessels, and as each is filled, set it aside.”

O: The woman was very poor and wanted help to save her children. Elisha told her she needed to ask her neighbors for help, by asking to borrow jugs from them. 

A: I don’t know if she actually explained to her neighbors why she needed the jugs.  I don’t know if she really knew the oil wouldn’t stop until she ran out of jugs. But she still had to go to her neighbors for help. One of the hardest things for people is to ask others for help. It lets it be known that they aren’t perfect. At least that’s how I see it for myself. Asking someone to help me with something shows that I am not strong. That’s the lies I have believed for so many years. The lies that have run me ragged more than once. 

But there are friends out there who don’t care if I am strong or not. They are willing to let me come undone in front of them and won’t bat an eye. They are willing and able to take on my burdens with their own and pray with me to God for help. I need to not fear allowing others to help me through God. And there are friends out there who are trying just as hard to be strong. And who need a neighbor to help them out. And they don’t want to ask.

I was thinking of this yesterday in the car after picking up some hand-me-downs for my son from a stranger (we have this neighborhood app that allows us to gift things we no longer need). Just because my tapestry of life isn’t as unraveled as yours doesn’t mean I’m not tangled in the threads. We all have things going on in our lives that we need to push through. We mustn’t judge someone’s outer appearance or lifestyles and think they couldn’t possibly be suffering like we are. Appearances are just the way someone looks or an act they perform. Love your neighbor. It’s what Jesus has told us to do. They may need that extra love and you don’t even know it. 

K: Lord I pray that you open my eyes to those around me, so I can see the need hidden in their hearts. Let me be your servant. Help me to love my neighbor as you have loved me. Help me not to fear when I need extra love myself. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Snow day

This past Monday, schools were closed because of ice. They are off again today because of ice. So last night, I planned a day full of activities. Friday is usually my "clean house" day, so I decided they would help. First, we all cleaned* downstairs. Kids helped with all the cleaning: dust, pickup toys, and wipe baseboards. Then they took a break, and played with kinetic sand upstairs while I secretly set up an obstacle course downstairs. Next they helped cleaned their bedrooms and bathroom. I remember helping with chores when we were little. I'm very glad my mom made me learn to take care of my things and gave me responsibilities from an early age.

*I was with the children the entire time they cleaned. None of them used any harmful chemical cleaning products. We are fans of Norwex cleaning products, and use them throughout the house. 

After all the bedrooms and bathrooms were done, they went to go crush cans. While this may not seem like fun to some people, my kids will get money from the recycle place for the cans. And they get to take out frustrations on the cans. We all needs something to stomp on every once in a while. That's why I enjoy going to 9Rounds gym here in Manhattan. I love learning kickboxing, and I can take out my frustrations on the bags there.

After the entire house was done, I told them I had a surprise and brought them to the obstacle course downstairs. I explained it through, and then they started taking turns on it. They had so much fun! Thirty minutes later, they were still taking turns making it all the way through.

After lunch, we did some painting and play dough. Then nap time for the younger two, and rest time for Jeanne and myself. Even though they weren’t able to go outside today, I think they had a great day! Now to think of things for the next three days...

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

2 Kings 3

When I initially read this chapter, I was confused by what took place. Joram, King of Israel, was not a faithful king. Verse 2 states he put away the Baal pillar that his father had, but verse 3 states he did not give up the sin that his father had. 

After Moab rebelled, Joram asked Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, to fight with him against Moab. Three armies searched for days without success of finding Moab.  In verse 13, Joram states “The Lord had called these three kings together to put them in the grasp of Moab” as he was looking for relief from the lack of water, and sought out Elisha for guidance. Elisha sought God’s guidance, and God provided water for the men, and they were able to take on the Moabites in battle.

When I first read it, I was confused by why God would have helped Joram succeed, when he was a lousy and faithless king. And Joram knew this as he realized their lack of water was due potentially to his lack of faith. He never sought God’s guidance before going to war. He just assumed he would win with Jehoshaphat’s army’s help. After doing some additional readings, I remembered that Jehoshaphat was a godly king, like his father Asa, “doing what was right in the Lord’s sight” (1 Kings 22:43). So Jehoshaphat knew the should seek a prophet during their time of need to hear from the Lord. And Elisha was only willing to speak to the kings because of Jehoshaphat. So in all actuality, this fight was successful because of Jehoshaphat‘a faith. 

Another big pointer in this chapter is the fact that after searching for seven days, and being tired and thirsty, the kings told their men to make catch basins to catch the water God promised. They were told to dig ditches basically, even though they were tired and thirsty. They needed to prepare the way for the Lord. To receive the Lord’s promise, they had to work hard no matter their disposition. 

In John 4:13-14, Jesus told the woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst.” We need to prepare our hearts to receive God. We need to dig the trenches so we can be filled with the water promised to quench our thirst forever. We can’t be unprepared and let His blessing pass us by! In those moments where we feel God is calling us to do something, but it feels uncertain or that it would be unimportant in the time being, remember those are the moments that could be preparing us for our future. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

2 Kings 2

Again, in this chapter, it’s more of a reflection of a whole rather than a specific verse that stood out.

Elijah had found Elisha some times at the end of 1 Kings (19:19-21), and asked Elisha to follow him. Elisha was plowing a field with oxen at the time, and Elisha killed the oxen and destroyed the yoke and plowing equipment to show he was disconnecting himself with his earthly possession to follow Elijah. 

Now, Elijah was close to death. He told Elisha three times (I love how often things happen in 3’s in the Bible) to stay in the place they were. Each time, Elisha said “I will not leave you.” This reminded me of Ruth’s commitment to Naomi. Three times Naomi told Ruth to go back to Moab, as she had nothing to give her. But Ruth insisted, “Wherever you go, I go.” Were these tests of faith? Possibly. But Elisha stayed with Elijah until it was time for him to depart from the earth. 

Once Elisha has proven himself by not leaving, Elijah granted him a request. Elisha could have asked for anything: money, prosperity, food, power, etc. Instead, he asked for a “double portion of your spirit.” How amazing is that?? If Jesus were to show up today, and fulfill us one request, would we dare ask for double his spirit?? I do believe in the case of Elisha, asking for a double portion was equivalent for the portion regarded for the firstborn son. But still. He was asking for the spiritual power of Elijah. He wanted to take on Elijah’s ministry, which was a powerful one. 

We see in verse 13, Elisha picked up Elijah’s mantle. It wasn’t put on him by God. Elisha made the choice to pick it up and carry whatever burden it may bring. How many times I have prayed “God show me what you want me to do”, waiting for Him to lay something on me, instead of just going out and picking up a mantle (of sorts). I need to be stronger in my faith to start the journey and trust that God will be by my side along the way. Just as Elisha believed. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

2 Kings 1

I don’t have a specific verse from this first chapter, but a segment that spoke to me. We read in verse 9 that King Ahaziah sent a captain with 50 men to Elijah, and they challenged him. They tried to put the power of their King over the power of Elijah as a prophet and the power of God. They underestimated God. So Elijah said, “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you.” And it did. This happened a second time after Ahaziah sent out more men. When the third set of men went out to Elijah, the captain, instead of demanding Elijah come down, begged for the lives of his men. He humbled himself before Elijah and before God. He put his men before the king’s demands. He had heard what the Lord allowed to happen, and was fearful. Elijah did spare them and went to speak to Ahaziah.

When we have trouble in our lives and become demanding to get what we want, does it work out that way? What happens when you try to put something over God, do something instead of what you feel God is calling for you?  I know for me, it ends up wrong. Instead of offering things up to God, I try to take control as usually stumble my way through the situation. But when I put others before me, when I put God before me, when I seek Him before my own needs, I find that the path is more clear. I do not stumble through. 

God is the ultimate power. In these times of political disputes, we must remember to put our trust in God, not man. God will see the faithful and protect them in His ways and by His will. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Epiphany Celebration

We celebrated Epiphany Day on Monday. The church recognized it on Sunday, and while we celebrated the Mass of Epiphany Celebration, we waited and conducted our celebrations on January 6, which is the recognized day. Also, because we hadn't finished our Twelve Days of Christmas gifts yet, so it would have gotten confusing.

Our Wisemen have found their way to the nativity with baby Jesus, and brought some gifts. We know that the wise men brought Jesus gold, frankincense, myrrh. The symbolism behind those gifts are as followed: gold was to represent the king, frankincense represented a deity, and myrrh represented  a symbol of death. So for use, the kids received some gold (Rolos) as something they would treasure- we try not to have candy too often, and frankincense (This is the Star book) as a gift to aid in spiritual life. The gift of myrrh should have been something the kids could use on their body for smell. Well, since I goofed and gave them body wash for Christmas, they received the board game for a family fun activity instead.

We also celebrated by enjoying a king cake. I bought the box mix when I was in south Louisiana for Christmas. I came across the Mam Papaul's box mix at the grocery store in Lafayette, and was super excited about the find. It was easy enough directions to follow, and the kids loved helping kneed the dough and watching it rise. I finished the baking after they were in bed, and woke up in the night to put on the icing (I fell asleep by accident). In the morning, I hid the baby Jesus under the cake (it's frowned upon to actually put the baby in the cake in the oven), and sliced up the cake for breakfast. The idea on Epiphany is that whomever finds the baby Jesus, gets to be king for the day. Well, of course my husband wound up with the baby. I should have made him a crown to wear! During Mardi Gras celebrations, whomever finds the baby usually brings a cake to the next party. 

We also celebrated with house blessing. I had never heard of this before, and was very excited to come across it in the Catholic All Year book as well as on the Carmelite's website. We blessed the chalk first, using the information in the Catholic All Year book. I found out in the book that anything blessed shouldn't be tossed out. So I will keep our chalk with our Christmas things to be used next year again. 

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas season!