Already Won

Victories you’ve achieved are ones you live from, and can share with others.
Sharing testimonies increases faith, so sometimes it’s okay to just pray for yourself and ask for a victory. Maybe the lesson you’re supposed to learn is not HOW to do something better except to lean on God, and ask for a win so you can live from victory instead of for it. It’s day’s exactly like this one for which I got my arm tattoo that says, “Already won.” It’s hard to remember that we live from the victory which has already been won on the cross, instead of always striving for survival. I have to believe that Jesus has overcome the world because that’s what he said and I can’t afford to believe differently than he said, but there’s a difference in believing and knowing. I’ve learned this to be one of my greatest battles in life. I am quick to know with my mind. It makes sense so I believe it but how much do I , really? When I’m faced with a direct challenge to what God has said, how far can I go before I stop believing? When do I lose my peace? When do my emotions seem to become more powerful than the solid truth that is God’s unfailing word?

Today was such a test. I write this speaking from cerebral faith and belief, but with a broken heart and hoping to see God move this mountain. I know what he’s said, but I may have reached the end of my faith for today. Perhaps that’s why it’s called a gift of faith. Because when it makes sense it’s not hard to believe, but when you’re challenged and it DOESN’T make sense it is still no less true. It’s just harder to keep believing. That deep breath of peace, the one you have when it makes no sense but you’ve given up working it over in your mind or trying to make sense of it because you just feel like it’s going to be okay. Is that the gift of faith?

I took my car into the shop for some well overdue repairs. My timing belts (yes, two in a Subaru) needed to be replaced six months ago. For the mechanics reading this, my tension pulley was broken so it had essentially been rubbed flat on one side and was tearing through the ribs like a hungry man fresh off a deserted island. I knew it would be a couple hundred dollars, but after keeping an eye on the damage for a few months I finally decided it could wait no longer. Turned out to need much more work than I knew and today was a three hundred dollar bill, with an additional $5,000 prognosis. Let me also acknowledge that this is entirely a first world problem! I get it, I have a car and at that one worth putting money into keeping. but for a single mom, or anyone for that matter, just trying to figure out how to keep putting one foot in front of the other, this is kind of a devastating blow. I sat in the mechanics office working  (praise the Lord I can bring work with me!) frantically scribbling down my budget, while the office manager kept giving me updates on what they found, like a scrub nurse in the ER. I kept re-working it to accommodate the days repair, feeling less and less hopeful each time.

So I ask myself again, how much do I really believe in God’s goodness? I drove home with my most urgent needs covered, but still a heavy heart, resolute to keep my head up. my resolution failed me. I had found the end of my confidence “of this; That I will see the goodness of the Lord in the lad of the living.” Psalm 27:13. Good thing God can handle our doubt. I believe in my head that He is good and will take care of my every need, but I can’t help feeling doubt in my heart. My circumstances cast such a heavy shadow.

I’ll be wrestling this for a while I’m sure. All I know to do is keep reminding myself that feelings are temporary, so is my car and my circumstances. God’s faithfulness is eternal and unwavering no matter how I feel. And it’s okay to feel bad about it for a while. Maybe this will be one more testimony I can stand on, and share with others in the future, that they may have more faith too. In the mean time I’ll do my best to worship who I know God is, and use it as my weapons of war agains doubt and fear.

Farm Life, Day One.

If you would have told me, six months ago today, that before Christmas I would be living on a 300 acre farm in a city an hour away from where I was living at the time,  I probably would have looked at you like you were crazy and asked what phsychadelics you ate for breakfast. These past six months have been host to some of the most wonderful, fast paced, intentional, and unforeseen events of my life. I truly wish I had done a better job of keeping this little journal updated as the story unfolded so far, but all the same, I have a feeling that the best is yet to come. I’ve gone from mountain-mom-stuck-in-the-city, to farm-living, remote-workin’ mamma. Here’s our story, starting now.

December 16th was the official move in day, despite having moved our things to the farm a week prior. Sterling and I arrived Friday evening, just in time to have dinner and visit with my boyfriend, Alex, and his family, before Grammy left to spend some of the winter in California. We settled in and built a fire that evening, enjoying its warmth in the glow of the christmas tree lights. The rest of the weekend followed suit, learning what my beginning responsibilities on the farm would be, continuing the seemingly unending project of unpacking box after box, and learning how to most efficiently heat the house with a wood burning stove. The stove is not a new skill for me, but one that absolutely needs sharpening. The weather has been merciless. Our first four days here have been sub-freezing temperatures without breaking. It has been such a lovely change of pace to wake up to the lowing of 60 cattle at pasture out our door, as opposed to the whistle and rattle of trains and cars passing all night long.

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Playing in one of the cattle pastures

I spent most of Monday feeling like I was living a dream, working my professional life, as well as interacting with the animals that keep my family fed and healthy. I took my darling boy to his first day at his new preschool, and he ran off joyfully after kissing me goodbye. Any parent can attest to the reassurance of their child’s joyful departure, especially in a new place. After arriving back at the farm, I set up my desk and “went to work” for the dental practices, beginning my day job. Between responsibilities for work, I got to get down to brass tacks washing basket after basket of eggs and cleaning the community rooms, kitchen and store. This level of multitasking was challenging, to say the least, and will take some serious getting used to. admittedly, I may have been slightly distracted by the deep feeling of value in the work my hands were doing. Selfish, maybe, but the emotional high of feeling like your work is deeply valuable makes it easier to be consistently joyful.

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The first of many baskets of eggs

Let me tell you the highlights of this farm where we now live and work. Lake Village Farm is over 300 acres, and is a non-profit organization prioritizing the preservation of the land and livestock farming practices that focuses on the animals quality of life. For those of you that know me personally, are you thinking, “This is SO Morgan!” yet? There is also a huge priority placed on education and helping the community get back in touch with where exactly our food comes from.(p.s. it’s not It shouldn’t be a factory!) Lake Village is home to at least 15 other families who actively contribute to the daily running of the farm, some of which have been here for over 15 years. The farm borders a lake, and is one of the most diverse and lively landscapes I’ve had the blessing of enjoying. This is the beginning of something new and beautiful, and I can not wait to keep sharing my crash course in the agricultural lifestyle.

I live an incredible life, and the gift of the lifestyle I was invited into is the best thing I never would have asked for this holiday season. Thank you Lord, for knowing me better than I know myself, and giving me more than I feel I deserve. What a gracious God, to love me this lavishly.

The Fear in Modern Medicine

Back in early April the controversy regarding Vaccinations was first brought to my attention, through a group of moms who’s opinions and support I value. This conversation made clear to me that I had a lot of research to do for myself, because no one has the same idea of what is healthy. There was reference upon reference of study upon study which proved and disproved, debunked and supported each other eight times over. I swear, the circle of studies were developed by a mad scientist whos main goal was to confuse concerned parents and cause each of us some level of personal pandemonium. I was alarmed at how overwhelming this all seemed, but since I was still nearly three months from my due date and was advised by another mother that I had some time, I put off my research. I was overwhelmed with enough at the time.

Now my boy is almost three months old. The time has flown by! Come time for Sterlings two month check up, I was just nicely settling into a rhythm of motherhood and had just started to feel like I had a minor grasp of how in the world I was supposed to go about this being-a-momy thing. I wasn’t confident in any decision yet and the doctor reluctantly admitted to me that there is no such thing as “too late” to get a vaccine, so I decided to delay until I could make an educated and confident decision. many extensive hours into my research over the period of three weeks and I am NOWHERE near confident in anything.

 

Dr. Sears is a well known, highly respected pediatrician. He published a book called The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for your Child. Shortly after I rented this book from the library I struck up a conversation with one of my like minded mom friends, who is working through the same process. We very well may end up choosing different routes, but having Marieke to bounce ideas around with is extremely helpful. She helped me notice that the book I rented was published in 2008 and the information was far outdated. She had the updated 2011 version of the same book with completely new information. Annoyed at how hard it would be to find valid, up to date information I returned the book to the library. I moved my search for information to the most up-to-date source I know of, the interweb. I again found myself mingled and seemingly mangled by the multitude of tabs I had open each with their own references and studies and directly contradicting information. I came to the unfortunate realization that the most up to date source is also the least credible source, because I could write a blog and sign it – Dr. Bob Sears.

One website I found incredibly helpful was a “.org” that many others sited. It had a PDF version of the product inserts of each vaccine! Jackpot! I cringed as I read that one of the vaccines my boy narrowly escaped at his last appointment has Aluminum and Formaldehyde in it along with the strains of more than one infectious disease (oh, and saline solution too) I read on and discovered that another vaccine he was scheduled for was one shot containing, either proteins from or a “dead” strain of 13 absolutely deadly virus’s. 13!!?? That is a lot of stress on the teeny-tiny immune system we are trying to support here people, and that was only 2 of the 4 inoculations every 2 month old is scheduled for! Also, I read a comment left by a mother who stated that her daughter has long suffered unresolved stomach disease which developed four days after her MMR vaccine. Later I read from a lovely nutritional therapist who’s credibility has spoken for itself to me, that there are natural ways to boost children’s immune systems starting with a proper diet which she teaches about. This diet along with other factors had built her 2 children’s immune system so well that when each of her children caught H1N1 and Whooping cough (not simultaneously) they were able to fight off the infections without the aid of ANY medications, even tylenol. Yes, they were sick, but their bodies were capable and strong. Sounds like my kind of health plan!

After increasing confidence built in seeking out the deeper details of this diet and further council of this friend, I came across a few more articles. In the spirit of knowledge and a well educated decision, I read on. Apparently there have been more cases of the measles in the US this year in 17 years! The alleged culprit? Parents who refuse to vaccinate. Cases had become so rare , especially for an extremely contagious virus, that the illness had been considered eradicated in 2000 and people stopped vaccinating. Other news articles, regarding different diseases, covered stories about children competing against other athletes who had come to the United States from countries like Japan and were infected by of this traveler. Some articles wrote about about the irresponsibility of not vaccinating because some viruses have an incubation time of nearly a month, meaning you’re contagious and infecting others long before you have a single symptom. One author wrote against Dr. Sears, who up to this point had been the most objective and informative source I had come across, saying he was not all that credible and wrote a book solely to cash in on the fear so many parents had fallen prey to. Many articles focused intensely on the death rate, permanent handicaps and near imminent likelihood of contracting these illnesses that are so easily prevented with immunizations. At this point, I can safely say that if my baby gets sick and consequently goes deaf due to brain damage, or is permanently paralyzed as a complication from a virus I chose not to vaccinate him for, I would never forgive myself. I can deal with formaldehyde, I just want a healthy boy.

 

Lets take a step back. I hope that by reading the last sentence of each of the two previous paragraphs you can see my struggle, and all of this in a single day. I have come to this conclusion: In researching this topic we are only fed fear. I am angry that I have felt so backed into a corner and rushed to make a decision before I even knew what I was choosing. Thanks to Marieke’s reminder, I know I don’t have to decide right now. One group of thought fills you with the fear of how devastating these illnesses will be if you don’t vaccinate, another how devastating the vaccine itself is. Both hold truth, but not the ultimate truth. The ultimate truth is that we can’t make a wrong decision. Neither option have a 100% health rate, thus the unending controversy. We do the best with what we are given, what information we dig up, and the rest is up to God (or the universe or fate, or what ever you believe in) Take the pressure off, find your peace and decide from that perspective not the fear.

There are so many ways this lesson can be applied to life. Friends, don’t live life or make decisions out of fear. Take a breath, find your peace, remain in that peace and let it lead you to your decisions. What is the most fearful aspect of your life or decision you are faced with right now and how can you find your peace regarding it? Can you stay there?

sincerley,
Dr. Sears (kidding)