The Fast: text messaging

I honestly do not know who all reads my blog. I know of a few people, based on comments, and of course my dad, mom and mother in law but other than that I don’t know who actually reads this stuff. With that said, I do kind of hope some of my friends read this because it will explain my first fast, text messaging, which actually effects a lot of people!

I fear I may idolize my phone.

Main Entry: idol·a·try

1 : the worship of a physical object as a god 2 : immoderate attachment or devotion to something

Yep, immoderate attachment sums it up perfectly.

1 Corinthians 10:14
Therefore, dear friends, flee from idolatry.

I’ll try and keep this strictly about texting and my own personal issue with it.

My phone just keeps me so distracted. I think we can all agree, whether you are guilty of it yourself or not, that this is definitely a problem today. I can’t set my phone down anymore! While we are out to dinner, while we are driving, while I am sitting having a conversation with someone else IN PERSON, it’s like nothing can wait anymore. We HAVE to have and give immediate responses. My mind is always worried that “someone’s waiting on the other line and they need to hear my response right away!” I mean for real, talk about RUDE. I should be more concerned about the people who are presently with me then the ones who are not. Especially when those ones with me are my husband, my children, my family, friends, or more importantly, Jesus. When I am with people, I want them to have my full attention and my phone is creating a problem in that department.

For me, and allow me some grace and let me be real here, text messaging has just become so incessant! Perpetual! Constant!! Ringing any bells here? It’s to the point that it’s beyond simply delivering an important message in place of a phone call. I send (and receive, sorry y’all!) some of the most pointless, unproductive messages. Not all but yes there’s a lot of meaningless text messaging going on for me. And yeah sometimes it’s fun! And it IS nice that we have all this technology at our finger tips and it certainly makes things convenient, quick, and easy. But I miss the days when we actually TALKED, like I hear you, you hear me. (I know, I’m 26 years old and feel like I’m from the Stone Age!) I like being able to hear people’s voice. Their tone, their emotions. Too often text messaging can be misinterpreted and I really can become overwhelmed trying to read between the lines. I get tired of discussing important matters via text! I know I’m weird, not everyone is wired like me, but often I will get nervous, sweaty and anxious trying to respond to text messages, over thinking them, “does that sound kind of mean?” “Will they take that the wrong way?” “Better put another smiling, winking, kissing emoticon in there!!” My word! Can we just pick up the phone and talk this out! Not to mention we get in these lengthy texts where a phone call would actually be a lot more efficient. There have even been a few times when Jason and I have tried resolving conflict through text message. Define ludicrous.

My fear is that text messaging is over connecting me but at the same time reducing the depth and intimacy of my relationships.

I’m doing this because I love you!

But wait, don’t start clapping yet. I’m also doing this because I don’t want to sin against you.

Recently, I find myself feeling as though text messaging can be disingenuous. I think we get caught in knowing that we CAN send something immediate but then, again y’all I’m sorry, I will question how sincere and thoughtful the message actually is. Its almost TOO easy. And while I have found myself being judgmental I also think “Maybe I have come off as not being genuine as well. By sending some quick, meaningless text.” “Happy birthday!” “Praying for you!” “Get well soon!” “Thanks for the birthday present!”

I want this year to be the start of more authenticity and more thoughtfulness. Being more intentional.

I don’t want to neglect my relationship with Christ, Jason, my children, ect. because I spent so much time texting.

I don’t want to be offensive because I made my phone seem more important than the person.

I don’t want to judge or be judged because I lacked authenticity. I want to write more notes and send more cards. Your welcome USPS.

I want to pick up the phone and call and have meaningful conversations. Better yet I want to call and have you OVER so we can talk in person. With coffee 🙂 . (And then NOT be interrupted by my phone 😉 )

I want to know and love the people in my life better. Like really know you. And love you better because instead of texting I was investing. (hey that could be a slogan! Better patent that!) Investing in my own spiritual life, which will allow me to invest in you with intentional, thoughtful actions.

I want to pay attention more.

This fast goes beyond what I just expressed to you and has more to do with my need for Jesus. I need the power of His Spirit to overcome the sins I commit while texting. Yep. Text messaging really can be sinful for me. Satan works so subtly and would love to convince me other wise but I’m calling myself out here and I need to make a change. That change is Jesus.

From an article on Spiritual Fasting:

“Fasting requires self-control and discipline as one denies the natural desires of the flesh. During spiritual fasting, the believer’s focus is removed from the physical things of this world and intensely concentrated on God. Put differently, fasting directs our hunger toward God. It clears the mind and body of earthly attentions and draws us close to God. So, as we gain spiritual clarity of thought while fasting, it allows us to hear God more clearly. Fasting also demonstrates a profound need for God’s help and guidance through complete dependence upon him.”

This may seem silly to some. But it’s a change I believe is gonna be so good for me, my family and an impact that will extend to some of you all as well. It’s hard for me to explain why text messaging can be so problematic in my life. Maybe you get it? Share with me if you do! And pray for me. This is a lot easier said then done.

Matthew 26:41
“Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

Colossians 3:2, 3
Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.

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New Clothes

Before I get into my topic of this post I want to give y’all the latest on Micaila.

Today she is doing well. Friday night we got a bit worried. She had been 24 hours off the steroid and threw up again. Fortunately we knew not to be alarmed by this but what concerned us was that being off the steroids was going to be miserable for her. Saturday she moved back into that very lethargic, no appetite state. We even did the ice cream test to see if it was all for real or if she was pulling our leg. She passed up the shake, therefore she passed the test. I didn’t want to immediately start her next dose of steroids though. I really wanted to see how her body would do on it’s own. She wasn’t completely miserable so I figured we would wait a bit. I did go ahead and get it filled though to have it on hand.

We are in Florida now. Micaila and Ryann are in a wedding this coming weekend. First time being flower girls for my good friend Devin. I think Micaila will be okay. We went to the pool today and she enjoyed some swim time. That was great for her since we’ve been a little cooped up lately. Great for all of us actually.
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And as I write Popi is taking her to grab a cheeseburger. If she eats half of it that will be a good sign. 🙂 update: she ate 3/4s of it, woohoo! This is great progress with out needing the steroid

So! New clothes 🙂 who doesn’t love them? But alas, I’m not talking about colored skinny jeans, sheer blouses or scarves.

I’ve been struggling. My FLESH wants clothing, accessories, shoes, romantic getaways, trips to the Bahamas, a big house on lots of property far away from most people with beach access and a mountain view. Oh and I want Siri. But my heart knows that none of that will bring me happiness and satisfaction. Y’all, I am telling you, my heart, soul, and the Spirit in me long to be pleasing to my Father in Heaven. Truly it is my deepest desire. It is greater than all my fleshly desires but yet seems so hard to accomplish at points. Sometimes I just feel like a complete failure. And that is right where Satan would like to keep me. But this girl is not about to stay there.

He and I have been duking it out. Every time I thought I had the upper hand and covered myself enough with prayer, scripture and accountability he’d bring something else up. Seriously we’ve been wrestling. Knock down drag out kind of fighting. And my apologies to anyone who sees me on a regular basis.

I believe I should be representing Christ, my Lord and Savior, a whole lot better. Because as I was reminded by Delio (teaching pastor at FBC Lutz) today in worship WE are Christ’s ambassadors. (2 Corinthians 5:20) We are here to represent Christ.

Too often I lose sight of why I am here, why I was created. God created me, (and you Christian) to reconcile the world. We are here to exemplify His love to others, to EVERYONE. So that the whole world would come to know and love Christ and spend eternity with Him instead of spending eternity in hell.

Truly you do NOT wish and should NOT be okay with someone never coming to have relationship with Christ.

And when I think about how I am representing Him….. I hate the idea that my attitude, my lack of compassion or love towards others, my complacency, my selfishness or the simple fact that I’m not relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to exhibit fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. (Galatians 5:22,23) Yikes! We are talking about people’s Salvation! And I want my life to compel people to move towards Christ and all the joy and fulfillment He brings. I do not want to call myself a “Christian” yet pursue the things my flesh desires and give others the impression that “that’s okay she says she’s a Christian.” AND possibly risk someone ELSE’S salavation because they viewed ME as the same as them. If I am a Christian, my life should show it, I should be different.

I should be really different.

I want to be REALLY different.

This morning when I woke up I was experiencing some anxiety. My mom took the girls with her to early worship and this allowed me some quiet time with Jesus. (And Caleb). I was reading and praying through Colossians and what stood out the most to me was this:

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12-14 NLT)

Well shoot! I have been wearing the wrong clothes as of late!! And I am committing, right now, to clothing myself with what matters.

In an effort to do so I have decided to try an experiment. Because as my dad reminds me often “If nothing changes nothing changes.” Or “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.”-Henry Ford-

At the end of worship this morning I thought to myself, what is hindering my relationship with Christ? What might be stunting my growth? To figure this out I am making a list of possible “trip ups”. I had 3 come to my mind immediately. My plan is to remove those things, plus whatever else I feel the Spirit prompting me to do and see what difference it makes in my closeness and growth in Christ. Just an example of what kind of “things” I’m talking about. For me, social media, texting, and drinking in group settings came to mind immediately. Other things for me could be running, the PHONE in general, spending money ect. Basically anything that distracts and keeps me from God or anything I have ever thought could reduce my effectiveness as a Christian. Now none of these things are inherently bad, in moderation of course. But if I find that with out them my relationship with Christ is stronger,… well that’s pretty obvious. Of course if I feel like I can introduce any of these back in my life with out inhibiting myself spiritually or reducing my effectiveness for Him than that’ll be okay. Like I said, it’s an experiment. 🙂

I keep thinking about where and who I want to be if I died or if Jesus came back. And I know for a fact I want to be smack dab in the middle of kingdom work.

I was reconciled to be reconciling. -Delio Delrio

Sleep precious sleep

Praising the Lord for my sweet parents. My mom and my dad promptly came up here when I called them on the way to the emergency room on Sunday. And even though they didn’t keep Micaila overnight, after the week we had, I was needing my mommy. Since Micaila had developed her rash we really haven’t gotten much sleep around here. And if you’re a mom you know how important sleep is.

We had been letting Micaila sleep on the floor in our room and for the last week or so she has woken up crying, talking, (“I dont want to eat it!” obviously having nightmares of me force feeding her) her legs hurting. When you go over a week having someone interrupt your sleep every hour you start to lose your grip.

For example: The night before last I was rounding everyone up for bed. It was time for Micaila’s steroid so I got that and had a glass of water in hand. I’m walking out of the kitchen on my way to Micaila and what do I do? Well naturally I took the pill!!! What else do you do with water and a pill?? As soon as I took it I thought “What did I just do! I didn’t need to take a pill!!” and proceeded to tell my parents what I had done. Of course we started laughing hysterically at how absent minded I obviously was. And once we were done laughing I started looking at the drug facts making sure it wasn’t going to hurt Caleb or ME! I suppose a childs dosing wont hurt an adult. We’re all fine. 🙂

Since it was clear at this point that I needed to have a FULL nights rest my mother took both girls with her last night so Jason and I could sleep. (And fortunately Caleb cooperated, too.) And sleep we did. Thank you mommy! You’re a life saver.

Micaila slept better in her bed as well. She is doing great right now while on the steroids. She took her last dose this morning (last dose thanks to me!) so we will see how she does with out them. We are trying to re-establish some normalcy and discipline. Today we’ll do a little bit of school. Bible and reading the two most important subjects 😉 . Trying to keep order has proved to be a challenge. You get so wrapped up in the child that is sick and it’s easy to lose the order and discipline you had as a family. So while we want to be sympathetic and patient with Micaila, we do NOT want her to begin thinking the world revolves around her and that she can do whatever she wants if she turns on the tears. (which she very obviously showed me last night she could do.)

Again, thank you for your prayers. Both for Micaila and the sleep we all need!

From the book “Praying in the Word of God”:

Gracious Father,

Give us endurance, encouragement, and unity as we follow Christ, so that with one heart and mouth we may glorify you. (Romans 15:5,6)

Amen

Henoch Schonlein Purpura

What the heck is that? My thoughts exactly. It is a rare vascular disorder and as many of you probably know by now, our little Micaila has it. I will try to give you the abridged version of events.

Last Monday Micaila came to me and asked me “Mommy, what is this all over my leg?” I looked at it and immediately thought it was more than likely some sort of contact rash.

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I did my research and consulting and came to the conclusion that it must be poison ivy. This would be my first experience with poison ivy so what followed, I assumed, was “normal”. Her little feet and legs were swollen, red, and rashy. She couldn’t walk and said they itched. A few days went by and the rash started to lighten up but she still complained of her legs hurting and now her stomach as well. At this point I thought she was just milking every bit of sympathy from me that she could get. Her appetite decreased, which obviously meant she was manipulating the situation to get ice cream, right? Well I wasn’t giving in, no ice cream for you! She wouldn’t eat, she was tired all the time, her head hurt, her stomach hurt, everything hurt! All the while I’m telling her “If you’d eat you’d feel better!” By the time Friday rolled around and she hadn’t slept at all the night before. I thought “Maybe something IS wrong with her stomach?” Bladder infection? Constipation? So we went in to the pediatrician.

Henoch (HE-nawk) Schonlein (Shurn-line) Purpura. HSP. They explained it a bit to me, gave us some steroids and said they’d want to see her again Tuesday. “Watch out for things like fever, vomiting, and drink lots of fluids!” “okie dokie” I thought. We get home and before I could give Micaila her medicine she threw up all her yogurt she had just eaten, all over me while I was nursing Caleb, mind you. This is when panic mode sets in.

My daughter is diagnosed with some weird named, rare disorder, involving blood. She hasn’t eaten in a few days and now shes puking. I finally figured out who to get in touch with “after hours” and at about 9:00 pm Micaila and I were heading to Scottish Rite in Atlanta. While my dad (Dr. White) 😉 was assuring me there are RARELY complications with HSP I still was a little freaked out. I knew I needed to cast my cares on Him. I knew I could trust Him because He loves Micaila infinitely more than I do. But in all honesty, I haven’t exercised my faith in this way, in awhile….. or maybe even ever.

We got to Scottish Rite around 10:00pm and I must say, that place is efficient. They took good care of us and had us in a room in no time.

Micaila would not get on the bed. I guess that made it too official for her.

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When we finally met with the doctor she set our minds at ease. “Classic signs of HSP.” She gave Micaila a dose of zofran (an anti nausea medicine) and recommended we avoid using the steroid because it could upset her stomach more. “Drink lots of fluids and don’t worry about the food.” Again, told me to watch for vomiting, abdominal pain, dehydration ect. And we were on our way. Got home around 1:00am and tried to some sleep after our eventful night.

Saturday went well, Micaila seemed perkier and we just took it easy all day. Still having to persuade her to eat Popsicle’s here. That’s when you know somethings not right.

Saturday night I don’t know if she slept at all. She kept saying “my tummy hurts”. Sunday morning she looked awful and at 10:00am she threw up again, this time with a little blood in it. Here we go again. Made my phone calls and because it is a blood disorder the fact that she had blood in her vomit concerned them. So we drove back to the hospital.

Talk about an emotional roller coaster.

Once again I went to God in prayer, in song, and just tried to find my peace and strength in Him. While driving along on 75, wondering if my baby is bleeding internally, the song “In Christ Alone” started playing. That was not by accident.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

Again, we arrived at the hospital and were well taken care of. This time she got a tiny little gown. Still refusing to lay in the bed.

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I finally convinced her to get in the bed.

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The doctor came in and assured me that all her symptoms are normal. To expect little to no appetite, weight loss, nausea, occasional vomiting, joint pain, the rash, ect. And to be aware that it can last anywhere from 2-6 months. (What? Your kidding.) It may go away and then flare back up but eventually it should go away altogether. This doctor did a very good job at informing me with all the REALLY important info on HSP. There are rarely complications with this disorder, but they still have to be cautious since its involving blood and can also effect your kidneys. Which is why they kept sending us back to Scottish Rite.

In hindsight I can look and say “She’s going to be fine. Of course I should not have worried.” But in the moment, when the unknown is overwhelming your thoughts, it’s scary!

Today we had a follow up with the Pediatrician. She encouraged us to use the steroids. The joint pain is so bad at points Micaila can hardly walk or use her hands. So she had her first dose today and seems a lot better. Now of course steroids are used TO relieve symptoms so we will see how her body does when she isn’t taking them.

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We appreciate ALL the prayers and support. It’s been quite a week! Micaila may have a tough few weeks ahead of her, maybe even months. But as we have continued to remind her, God is good. He is good in ALL things. Life does not always go how we thought it would or should. We live in a broken world and as a result, we will experience some unpleasant things while we are here.

John 16:33 I’ve said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world you will have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.

We trust Him and want our response to life, including trials we face, to reflect our faith in a loving, gracious God.

It’s been a great opportunity for us to instill in Micaila the importance of prayer, trust, and not being afraid. And also to remind ourselves of all those things.

Like I said it’s been a whirl wind weekend. And this blog is a reflection of that I’m sure. So for now, I will end this post with Micaila’s memory verse from the week leading up to all this.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Happy 2013, can I get a resolution? ;-)

Hello loved ones! Are you so shocked right now? Can this be, a new post, from the Grahams??? Yes, yes it is. This blog has definitely been neglected the last few months. For a number a reasons. I think the biggest is I have been completely distracted. I certainly could make time to write but I haven’t. But it IS the new year right? What better time to get back into blogging.

The Lord has definitely been at work on my heart. In the last few months he has shown me his love, grace, how blessed and fortunate I am, areas I need to work on, sin that needs to be addressed and conquered, ideas and directions for where our family needs to be spiritually, on and on. (this is what happens when you don’t write for awhile, you realize you have quite a lot to write about 🙂 )

But with it being the new year and all the resolutions that are probably taking place I’m going to share this all encompassing “thing” that is on my heart. This morning our pastor preached on simplifying our lives and I couldn’t agree with him more. I have to admit I am really not the kind of person that “go’s” a whole lot. I LIKE being home. (Maybe even to a fault) But in all honesty I think our family functions better and is happier when we’re home. I notice a distinct difference in our family when we have had a particular busy week. We’re short with each other, probably from lack of naps and quality sleep through the night, over stimulated, unhealthy eating habits, and so on. To some extent kids should be able to adapt to changes in schedules and environment, sure, but when we as parents drag them to one event after another and then wonder why their behavior is deteriorating, we need to take responsibility for that. One day Jason and I will stand before God and be held accountable for our actions, including the ones we take as parents.   

Jason and I have a number of goals that we want to begin working towards. Maybe I can break these goals down in separate blogs. But for now, there is one thing that was affirmed in my heart through todays message and it’s this:

STAY HOME MORE

In todays world, where life seems to be defined by what event you are going to do next, I just don’t think you can strive to stay home too much. I know for our family, when we are busy going places, we have little to no time for our Lord and Savior, we have less quality time with each other, we spend more money on things that hold no eternal value, and recently I’ve learned that being busy keeps us from being available to what God wants to do with us. And isn’t that why we are here? To be used by Him, to do His will? 

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

So often I forget that I am not here for ME. I am here because God created me to glorify him.

Its another year and once again I’m looking at our life, our family, our circumstances and I want more for us. But not more stuff. Not more vacations. Not more money. I want more Jesus. One of my favorite songs, Jeremy Camp sings a version I just love, is “Give me Jesus”. I want my husband to know and feel loved more often. I want Jason to see that the growing love I have for him is from my growing love for Christ. I want our children to see that our joy comes from the Lord, no matter what our earthly circumstances are. I want us to be filling our hearts and minds with eternal things and I want our friends to experience the overflow of our spiritual growth. I want us to give more. Whether it’s our money, time, or resources, I want us to grow in generosity. I want us to be available for more kingdom work.  And I really believe all this can be better accomplished by loosening up our schedule and staying home more. 

I picture us staying and it enabling us to spend time with God daily, in his Word and through prayer. Not distracted by what we’re going to do next. If we don’t go anywhere inevitably we will spend less, so, we can give more. Having a free schedule gives us the time and ability to invest in people and graciously host loved ones or strangers. And one of the most important investments we can make is in our children. Again with eternal and lasting “deposits” like taking the time to read, teach, and play.

I may have already been an advocate of “staying home” before this post but that doesn’t mean I was being intentional with every moment I had at home.

So I am praying and striving to focus on the things God wants me to invest my energy in, in my home.

Romans 11:36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.