Archives For Faith

As I sit at the breakfast table the banging, scraping, and falling of debris above me is a bit unnerving really. We knew 4 1/2 years ago this job would have to be done, that the old roof needed to come off and a new one put on. But oh man, that’s expensive and so we put it off as long as we could. We put it off so long that this winter Jenna came running downstairs and said, “There’s water coming through the roof in my room!” Those are not words you want to hear in a rainy climate in winter. We quickly called a company and they came that day to patch the spot that was leaking. It worked, for a while. A couple months later it was leaking again. The pain of paying for a new roof could not be put off any longer.

The crazy thing is that the hardest part of this job for those poor guys re-roofing our house in the 100 degree temps right now is tearing off the old roof. There were three, yes three, layers of roofing on top of the original shingles of our 1923 bungalow. Why? I’m assuming because it was easier to just keep covering up the old stuff as opposed to getting rid of the old and putting new down. Tearing things off and replacing them takes more energy, time and yes money in this case. So who gets to pay years down the line? We do.

So as I’m standing in my kitchen, praying one of those amazing workers doesn’t fall through my roof next to me (because at times it’s terrifyingly loud), I’m thinking to myself, “How ironic it is that this is how all of life works really? We would rather put off something we know has to be done for years. We would rather not put the time or expense into things that are really important because there are more pressing issues at hand (or so it seems).” To repair things really well it takes getting rid of the old, old layers. We have to get to the root of the problem before putting on the new because if we don’t then it just keeps getting worse and in the case of our roof, the leak comes back.

new roof

I’ve known these truths and seen it play out in my spiritual life. It’s easy to “do” the right things, add another book to read, add another way to serve in ministry so you’re not really doing your own heart work and just focus on others. It looks good on the outside, for a while. But the real work of our spiritual life is done in the quiet, the stillness of just “being” with God. Really being with Him and being satisfied in knowing Him and working on the heart issues at hand. Then the rest will come and the “doing” part of our life will be a healthy overflow and not an obligation or a “should.” I tell the women I work with all the time, “Do not get should on. It’s not good for anyone.”

This also translates to our health and has become a new passion and ministry for me. Our culture loves to live fast, eat fast, and cover any health problems up with a drug or just ignore it until like our roof, the leak cannot be ignored any longer. Especially as women, we ignore the red lights on the dashboard for too long because it takes time, money, energy and what we think as too much of a sacrifice to make our own health a priority. My health journey has been long and interesting but getting to the root issues there have been incredibly worth it for me personally and my family as well.

Why do I share all this? Because the banging above my head, literally, has been a loud reminder of the truth that getting to the root issue is worth it. Sometimes it feels costly but it’s worth it. We have to tear out the old to make things beautiful and restore it to how it’s supposed to be. My heart is to help others get there whether spiritually, emotionally or physically. It indeed is worth it. I am worth it. You are worth it.

I read the headline while scrolling through Facebook, State Finds Alarmingly High Arsenic, Cadmium Levels Near Two SE Portland Schools. I clicked on the link and panic set in, my heart was racing. The school listed was our school, the business emitting toxic levels of cadmium and arsenic is in our neighborhood. I finish the article feeling rage, fear, and uncertainty. Our world is already a giant mess and now in my own back yard I’m worrying about my kids health as well as ours. We live in a country that I expect to protect us from harms such as this but even that is too high of an expectation these days.

All I could picture was my kids playing in the dirt in our yard, eating out of our “organic” garden that now is probably laced with these chemicals, all of us being outdoors breathing in this terrible air. So being the rational, calm human that I am I exclaimed to my husband, “We’re moving! We can’t live in this mess of a city anymore!” Being the level headed one he assured me that we didn’t need to move, quite yet.

garden

As I drove to pick up Isaac from school my heart and mind were racing with the “what if’s.” In the midst of all of the swirling mass of crazy happening in my brain it came to me very clearly, “What will you choose? Faith or fear?”  My mind stopped and I had to ask myself that question over and over. What will I choose? I actually have a choice here. Even though there are things happening around us and possibly to us thanks to the negligence of our legislature and harmful business, I have a choice to choose faith and not fear. God is still there in the midst of the mess. He didn’t cause it. He doesn’t approve of it. But He is there and He is trustworthy. I can choose to put my faith in Him.

I was reminded of a talk by Tim Keller (I think) where he said that worrying is a choice. It’s a way that we think we can control situations even if it’s just in our minds. We can conjure up situations, possible solutions and outcomes with our worry. When I choose to set that down, let God take it and do with it what He will then I release the power that it has over me.

We took our kids to be tested to see if they have elevated levels of cadmium and arsenic in their systems. I had to have the piece of mind and want it on record that we tested them in case somewhere in the future something does come up with health issues. At one point my kids left the room and the doctor stayed to give me information. Before she could even talk her eyes welled with tears and she apologized that she was having a hard time not crying about the situation that we were in. She continued to tell me the increased risk of cancer that these toxins cause. The mention of cancer causes my heart to sink. I’ve often told my husband, watching my children go through cancer is one of my biggest fears.

We left the clinic with me in tears because of the fear I felt. It came to me again, “What will you choose? Faith or fear?”

faith or fear

 

Just because I choose to have faith doesn’t mean that we can’t take action as parents, as neighbors, and as advocates for change. You better believe that we’ll attend meetings about our air quality, we’ll sign petitions and write letters to our legislators to change the laws that don’t protect us. We’ll speak out for our children who don’t have a voice yet. We’ll seek change. I don’t have to sit back and be idle while still choosing faith. 

No matter what the situation, a new job opportunity, a health scare, a hard relationship, the unknown in life, we all have the choice, faith or fear. What will it be?

I’m choosing to remind myself daily that I don’t have to fear bad news but can confidently trust the Lords care for me (and my children) (Psalm 112:7) and that He goes before and behind me (Psalm 139:5). It’s a daily battle to choose faith over fear but with God’s help I can do it, one fear at a time.