Sunday, December 11, 2016

Prayer + Fasting = Chiropractor

Do you pray? 

Do you ever fast and pray? 

My mom used to talk about fasting and praying when I was growing up. She always made it sound like such a powerful combination. As an adult I have discovered that she was right!

In Matthew 6:16, Jesus says, "When you fast ..." He didn't say IF you fast, but rather WHEN you fast. I believe that means that He expects us to do this regularly as part of our Christian walk.

I have had many specific answers to prayer when I've added fasting to the mix. It's as if God knows that I really mean business when I'm willing to give up food!

Here are two examples of how specifically God answered a couple of my prayers when I fasted:

Example 1
When my oldest daughter was a toddler, she would suffer regularly from bladder infections. Naturally, her pediatrician was concerned, as was I. The fear was that urine was splashing back onto her kidneys, which could result in the development of scar tissue, and that could lead to problems later in life. In order to find out if this was happening, and if surgery would be needed, she was going to have to endure a very invasive test. Needless to say, I didn't want her to have to go through such a test, so I began to pray. I called my mom, who mentioned some outside factors that she'd heard could contribute to bladder infections, like bubble baths. Well, I did let Amanda take bubble baths, but how was I to know if she had a serious internal issue causing these bladder infections, or if it was strictly caused by sitting in a tub of highly concentrated soap? It would seem that the only way to know for sure would be for her to have the invasive test, which I didn't want her to have unless it was absolutely necessary.

I decided to fast the next morning until lunch time, and my prayer while I fasted was that my mentor Shirley would call me by 11:30 a.m., would ask me about Amanda, and would say to me that bubble baths can cause bladder infections. If all of that took place by 11:30 a.m., I would know for sure what was causing the infections, and would be able to tell the pediatrician with confidence that we would not be going forward with the invasive test. That may sound crazy, but when you have a serious decision to make, especially one that involves your child, you're willing to pray for crazy!

Well, Shirley did call by 11:30 a.m., she did ask about Amanda, and she did say that bubble baths (and colored toilet paper) have been known to cause bladder infections. I was so grateful to the Lord for answering my super duper specific prayer request!! And honestly, if Shirley hadn't called, I would have had a peace knowing that the invasive test was necessary, and that God would carry us through the medical road we needed to walk.

Interestingly enough, when I told the pediatrician that I would not be authorizing the test on Amanda, he said, "Okay, then I'd at least like to order an ultrasound, which will show us how her kidneys are doing." WHAT?!?!? A non-invasive ultrasound was an option all along??? Perhaps the other test would be more detailed, but STILL. So we had the ultrasound, and it showed two perfectly healthy, unscarred kidneys. Praise the Lord!

Example 2
A few years ago, during open enrollment for insurance, I couldn't decide if I should continue paying for AFLAC supplemental insurance. I'd had it for a couple of years, without needing to tap into it, and didn't want to pay for something I wasn't going to use. I don't know why this decision was stressing me out, but it was, so I decided to fast and pray one morning before joining a friend for lunch. My prayer was this: If I was supposed to keep AFLAC, my friend would say the word cancer before lunch was over.

She picked me up, and before she even backed out of my driveway, she said, "Guess who has cancer?" True story.

I continued my AFLAC coverage, and was able to turn in many claims for reimbursement that next year. Thank you, Lord!

So now for the most recent answer to fasting and prayer, and the reason I began this post in the first place.

Amanda is a sophomore in high school and a base on her cheer team. Her body has taken some abuse while participating in this sport, but she absolutely LOVES it (the sport, not the abuse.) About 5 weeks ago her low back started hurting, and her coaches told her she should see a chiropractor. 

There's a parent at our school, Dr. Joe Martin, who owns a gym that's connected to his chiropractic office. I've never been to a chiropractor, but know that my mom avoided carpal tunnel surgery because of chiropractic treatment. My husband, on the other hand, had a less than positive experience at a chiropractor. So I took her to her doctor first, who prescribed muscle relaxers and a week without participating in cheer. When that didn't help, she ordered an x-ray, with the thought that physical therapy would be the next step, depending on what the x-ray revealed.

Okay, here's the deal. I wanted relief for my daughter more than anything, but I didn't want to throw money down a path that wasn't going to ultimately help her. How is one to know what road to take in a situation like this? Well, if you're ME, you fast and pray. It was after fasting and praying last Monday morning, that this thought came to me: Pray for someone to say Doc Martin's name to you before you leave work tomorrow afternoon. If that happened, I would know to take her to him for chiropractic treatment. So, that's how I prayed.

It was 2:00 on Tuesday afternoon, and I was going to leave at 3:30 to take Amanda to get the x-ray, if Doc Martin's name was not spoken to me. That's when her coach, Hope, stopped by my office and expressed her concern for Amanda. I agreed that something needed to be done. She started telling me about one of the other coaches, and how she has a chiropractor who only charges the age of the child getting the adjustment. I listened, and when she paused I asked her, "So is that all?" And she said, "No. I think she needs to see Doc Martin."

DING! DING! DING! DING! Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!! 

I started to cry as I told her how she had just been a huge answer to prayer. Then she started crying because she had been feeling like her prayers for this cheer team were somehow not making a difference. Now she knew better. How cool is that? God blessed us both!

After work I texted our Superintendent, whose family had been treated in the past by Dr. Joe Martin, and asked how I could get Amanda an appointment. He just happened to BE at Doc's, and told me to bring her right then!! WHAT IN THE WORLD?!?!? So I drove Amanda over there, and after one adjustment, she felt SO MUCH BETTER!!! The pain was almost completely gone! No more muscle relaxers or x-ray needed!! We went back a few days later for one more adjustment, and now she is pain free!! THANK YOU, JESUS!! And THANK YOU, DR. JOE MARTIN!!

If you have a need that's weighing heavy on you, why not fast and pray about it?

And if you live in the the Fresno/Clovis, California area, and are in need of an excellent chiropractor, click here for Dr. Joe's website.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Being Seen at Starbucks

Last week I accompanied a group of eighth graders on a field trip. Before meeting at the school to board the bus, my daughter, husband and I hit a Starbucks across the street for some much needed caffeine. The extra long line was all a buzz with excitement, because most of them were my daughter's school mates, all headed on the same trip!

Shortly after placing our order, I noticed a woman sitting alone, waiting for her name to be called. She was beautiful and wearing a headscarf. In a split second, my limited knowledge of headscarves led me to make the assumption that she was Muslim. I then looked more closely at her expression, and couldn't decide if it was one of fear, loneliness, sadness, boredom, irritation ... or maybe all of the above. Everyone else waiting for orders was striking up conversations with others around them. Even with people they didn't know. That seems to happen at coffee houses. We're all so happy to be there, getting our fix. This woman, however, seemed to be invisible, and while it's not in my nature to reach out and chat with a stranger (there are actually fewer things I dislike more), there was something in me, pushing me out of my comfort zone. Dang it.

As I got closer to her, I noticed that she was wearing red scrubs with the logo, "Fresno City College Radiology". So I asked her if she attended Fresno City College, even though it was pretty obvious that she did ... or maybe taught there.

What happened next was the sweetest thing I've ever experienced in a Starbucks. Her stoic expression changed IN AN INSTANT to PURE JOY. It was as if she'd been sitting there, like she probably had done countless times, waiting to be seen. Waiting for someone, anyone, to just talk to her. She told me that she was in a 22 month program at Fresno City College, and was headed that morning to a hospital down the street for hands-on training. That sweet woman talked a mile a minute about her training, her family, her interest in helping people, and all with a sparkle in her eyes and smile on her face. 

Not long after I'd approached her, I was saddened to hear our order announced, because I knew our conversation would have to end. As I left, I told her it was so nice talking with her. She said the same. Then I touched her shoulder and said, "God bless you." She smiled and said, "Thank you."

I walked away feeling so blessed to have met someone so precious. I can only hope she left feeling loved.

It would have been much easier to have pretended I was too busy to exchange a few words with someone who looked to be so different. I'm thankful that on this day, I did the opposite. I hope I continue to choose the uncomfortable and reach out to others, especially when my introvertedness begs me to retreat.

Putting yourself out there and being friendly may feel awkward at times, but the reward is great. For everyone. Especially the one who takes the risk. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Love is Jack in the Box Tacos

I've had better days.

Today was long and stressful, and by the time I left work at 7:30 I knew one thing: I was NOT going home and making myself dinner. I thought about my fast food options and decided on something I hadn't had in two years or more: tacos from Jack in the Box.

OH MY LANDS. That first bite took me straight back to my adolescence. I thought about how my mom worked so hard as a single parent, which meant that we were often served fast food for dinner, before she jetted off to her second job. I often wished she were able to be home more to cook for us (she's an amazing cook), but also knew that she would if she could.

Now that I'm a mother who works outside the home, I get it. After giving 110% to your employer, what's left? Just enough to drive through a fast food joint for dinner, that's what.

It was kinda funny a few weeks ago, I got home and actually had a plan for dinner: hamburgers. Then, just as I'm getting ready to start pulling everything out of the fridge, my husband, who's almost never home for dinner, walked through the door! His hamburger making skills are SO much better than mine that I said, "You're home! Would you mind barbecuing hamburgers for us?!"  He looked at me like I'd asked him to paint the exterior of the house or something just as taxing, and replied somewhat deflated, "Sure." 

He shuffled toward the sliding glass door that leads to the backyard patio where the grill resides, but stopped short and turned back around. He pulled out a bill from his wallet and said, "OR we could use this to go out for dinner." I started laughing. Couldn't help myself, and said while waving my arms in a circular motion in front of his weary self, "See this? This right here? This, 'I'm too tired to make dinner' thing going on? That's me EVERY SINGLE NIGHT when you're not home and the girls are demanding food." He smiled, and it felt good to know that he 'got it'. 

Life is full, and having to deal with "What's for dinner?" day in and day out can be a parent's undoing, but take heart! Some 35-40 years from now, your child just might have an epiphany in a fast food drive thru and actually appreciate you and the efforts you're making to keep them fed.

Blessings and greasy tacos to you and yours.