Head Lice

I’m sure you are wondering where on earth I am going with this one. Well you can read on and you will see! 😉

As you may be aware head lice exist. They are gross. I wonder why on earth God invented them, but I digress. When working in the field of early childhood education one risks exposure to many bugs, and lice (which are actual bugs) are one of those things one may get exposed to. I recently (within the last few months) was exposed to and caught them twice. I have waist length thick hair. Getting head lice is basically my nightmare which unfortunately came to fruition. When I came to terms with the reality that I had them a while back I was very very VERY upset. In fact after talking with my momma I sobbed for twenty minutes. I was worried we might have to cut my hair. I was worried about using a chemical pesticide on my sensitive skin. I was worried about having to miss work. I also wondered which child had given it to me and how many others might have it. I was worried about a great many things.

Worry sucks. If you let it, worry will suck the joy, fun, contentment, majesty, wonder, beauty and life right out of you. Worry is like a python. At first its grip isn’t  so bad, you can still breathe, but then the pressure builds and builds and builds until you die. People think that pythons squeeze the air out of their victims, the truth however is that the external pressure becomes so great that the heart of the victim can no longer pump blood, and the blood flow stops. No blood=no life.

Lice feast on blood. Creepy little bugs. I don’t know if I mentioned this but I had head lice? Yeah the first time I discovered I had them I had a pretty bad case. I had likely had them for a couple of weeks so I had a lot. SO MANY!! Insert weeping sounds here. I was not the only one. We had three cases, and then about a month later we had two more, and I caught them again too. Fortunately I caught it at the beginning and only had two bugs on my entire head and one egg. (Praise the Lamb!!)

Things Got Smelly

Recently… In fact just a half hour ago I treated myself again. My head has been pretty itchy and it turns out I just have dandruff. This brings me back to worry. Every time my head itches… EVERY time I have an internal conversation with myself. ‘Okay Rachel that is the exact same place that itched a minute ago. You have eczema remember? It is flaring right now. Look at your face. You know that is all it is. Clam down.” Still there is this little voice that says “What if…” It’s a trap! A trap that I fell into. Don’t fall into the trap.

Here is yet one more thing I learned from head lice: My parents love me. For reals. When I was first exposed my Da went to the nearest store as soon as it opened and bought me a lice killing kit, and my momma spent over ten, TEN hours treating and combing through all of waist length hair until her body could no longer remain upright. Then the next night she went through it all again to make sure all the eggs were out. I then checked her and to my horror discovered she had a couple bugs on her head. So I combed through her head too. My Da combed my hair every night for two imageweeks, once a week for two weeks and has since done so again a few times so that I could be absolutely sure I was in the clear. This can take almost an hour. My parents love me. They may not have gotten everything perfect but they love me.

When I found lice on myself and two other kiddos, I and the other teacher checked our kids everyday for a couple of weeks. In order to make sure that we don’t end up with another epidemic I have taken to checking the kids every Monday. I have remained diligent. Even though it had been over a month since our class had three cases I still checked  every single week. This last time there was an outbreak our class was clear. This got me to thinking. Do I do that with my thoughts?

In 2nd Corinthians 10 the bible says ‘…for the weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ…”

For years, so many years I have struggled with knowing the love of God in my heart and also in my head. I knew God loves me. You know yeah God loves me, I need to eat my vegetables and exercise. Blah blah blah. It was like a fact that floated around in my brain, but I wasn’t quite sure it was true. You see as I grew up somewhere back there when I was a wee little thing I got it in my head that there was no God, and if there was He hated me. When I came to the point in life that I accepted God was in fact there I never really dealt with the second portion of that way thinking. I have, since the beginning of my walk of faith struggled with the love of the Father. It makes no sense. Seriously the grand, resplendent, extravagant, unrelenting love of God makes no sense to my brain. I began to see that in order to walk with God I needed my heart to be part of the equation and that is when I got stuck.

When I gave my life to Jesus I fell madly in love with God, yet deep in the jungle of my heart there was a mighty fortress that was setup to destroy the truth of Father’s love for me. A giant lie from the pit remained standing tall: God hates me.

I loved God with all my heart, yet all the while in the deepest part of myself I believed God hated me. I was always trying to do more, to serve God more, to be better so that maybe He would like me just a little. I was always so worried that something would happen and I would fall short, or be left alone desolate. I drove myself mad trying to undo this belief that was buried so deep, yet I would never face it. I didn’t even realize it was there. I was not willing to do what was needed to actually make it better. You see I had to let God in. I had to trust Him with my ENTIRE heart. I had to let Him have it all… even the parts I was afraid of… even the ugly gnarly bits. Even the dark scary parts of my wild heart the contents of which I knew not. He wanted access to it all.

Did you know that your heart has thoughts? Well it does! It is a scientific fact. The heart contains 40,000 neurons. Neurons are brain cells. Part of your brain is in your heart, and there are a few in your stomach too, but that is irrelevant for the purpose of this discussion. The bible says in Proverbs 23:7a For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. So deep down in my heart I thought God hated me. I thought when I was a wee tiny girl God hated me and that terrible lie grew up with me and became a gigantic stronghold. That lie became a hiding place for the enemy of my soul to lie to me and work to destroy me.

I tried so hard to be good. I thought I could work or think my way to be good enough. I worked and worked but never felt at peace. I never felt loved by the Father. I never felt loved by my family, or friends. I felt hated, and I was sure that if someone didn’t hate me yet it was only a matter of time until they did. I even hated myself. I tried not to because hate is not something a good Christian does, but honestly I did. I hated myself.

A few months ago, about two weeks before the first head lice incident I finally gave up. I surrendered. I told God He could have all of my heart; all the nasty gnarly bits, and the dark scary places that I didn’t know the contents of. I was chocking and gasping through my tears as I gave it, but I gave it all to Him. I finally gave God my ENTIRE heart.

I had no idea what was going to happen next. Honestly I was a little freaked out. I was in uncharted waters. I still am in uncharted waters but I am no longer afraid, I know that I am not alone. The repercussions of that moment are still unfolding and I don’t know who I be when the dust settles, but I can say that from that moment forward nothing was, nor will it ever be the same.

It is incredible how different things look now that I have allowed God to have everything. He has used head lice to show me that my parents love me and so many other things. He used the end of my relationship to show me that my church family loves me, and I am not alone. God told me the week before the head lice that everything was about to change and boy He wasn’t kidding.

Life is crazy, messy, and chaos. Life is glorious, radiance, and beauty. God is so incredibly good. He can take any awful ugly thing you give Him and turn it into the most beautiful work of art you couldn’t have imagined. God is glorious. God is gracious. God is love.

God works miracles, and He brings beauty out of ashes. He can turn brokenness into love, and He can turn head lice to lessons. He works all things for good.

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2015

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Fast

imageIt is crazy how fast things can change. Life is life. Just a few weeks ago I thought the holidays were going to be a lot different this year. Turns out they will be pretty much the same as last year and the year before… well at least logistically speaking. I will still have a bare ring finger on my left hand. I will still have a Christmas tree decorated with the ornaments I grew up with. I will eat Christmas dinner at my momma’s house with my loved ones. I’ll wrap presents and feel so giddy that I think I will explode until I give them to the one they are meant for. I will go to church and I will sing carols and worship my King. I will be single. So much will be the same, yet everything will be completely different.

imageThis year I will look at this whole thing through a completely different lens. This year I will see Love. Love is real. Christmas isn’t about the trees and the presents (although those things are super amazingly fun), nor is it about the feast, or the time with loved ones. Those traditions are just part of the party! The thing Christmas is about is Love. Heaven came to earth. God wrapped Himself in humanity and made a way. He did ALL of that for ME.

This year as I do all of the traditional Christmassy things that I have done so many times before, yet everything will be different because I am different.

I know for the first time (maybe ever) that I am completely loved. I don’t just know that I am kinda loved, I know that I am completely, truly, deeply, really for real, loved. The God of the universe loved me so much that He gave up the throne made of galaxies, laid aside power that dwarfs super novae and became a naked squirming fragile human babe.

Nativity

When he came He didn’t come as just some ordinary human, no. He came as a son. Not an orphan, a son. He became a son so that I could become a daughter. He came and made it possible for us all to have the right to become sons and daughters of God! Wonders. Majesty! Glory. All set aside for the love of me. It’s all so incredible.

This Christmas I may still be single, and I may still have a lot more junk in my trunk than I would like. I may have less money in the bank than I would like, and I may not be exactly at the point in life that I want to be, but it doesn’t matter! Life is still beautiful. I am joyful in spite of the fact that I am smack dab in the middle of an epic battle. I am at peace. I am content even though my ducks aren’t all lined up. Why? I am joyful because I am loved by Abba. I am content because I am accepted by Daddy God. I am at peace because I am His. I am at peace because I am surrounded on all sides by love. So much love! My family (biological and spiritual) my friends, and my Daddy, everywhere I look I see Love. There is an ocean of love all around me and I am in over my head! It is wonderful. I am at peace because my Daddy fights my battles for me, and He wins!! Daddy God is Love and love always wins. Always.

He is so deeply good. ❀

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2015

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Thankful

  

I have been traveling through a rough season lately. I have had to make hard decisions and stick to them even when I felt conflicted in my mind or my heart. They have been taking turns you see. 

I have had to say goodbye to one of my favorite students as she and her awesome momma have moved on to bigger and brighter things. I have snuggled with sniffly, coughing, snot-faced littles who miss their momma, and held a weeping precious angel who misses her daddy who is in heaven. My heart has had a lot of practice staying tender while also being strong. Life can sometimes feel like a three ringed circus. 

As I drove to work yesterday morning in the wonderful holiday traffic all of this, along with the fact that this will be the first Thanksgiving in my whole life I won’t see or at least talk to my dear grandpa hit my heart like an avalanche. ( I miss him so much as I wrote this I had to stop and dry my tears so I could see to continue.) I wept. Jesus wept with me and I felt it. 

It is important not to fight the tears when they come. For so long in my life I fought tears. I hid them. I suppressed them. I tired to eat food to keep them inside. I never wanted anyone see them. You see, I feel broken and weak when I weep and the thought of allowing anyone to see me that way was inconceivable. I have learned what a clever lie from the pit that way of thinking is. It left me broken. It left me alone. It left me wounded. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” How can I be comforted if I never allow anyone to comfort me?! 

This season is hard, this battle is real, but it is also littered with so much beauty. I am already finding so many treasures Daddy God has hidden for me during this season. I am experiencing an ever growing awareness of how loved I am, how incredible my family is, and how many amazing friends I have. I am also more and more aware of how much I have to be deeply grateful for. It is almost as if I was blind and now I see. Love is real and I am surrounded by it.

That is what God does you know? He surrounds you with goodness, joy, hope, beauty, kindness, faithfulness, peace, gentleness, redemption, restoration, life, light, and love. So. Much. Love.

I am so thankful. Life is beautiful. God is so deeply good.

Here is something to chew on besides turkey today: what are you not seeing in your life that you should be grateful for? What goodness has God put in your life that you don’t see? If you cannot see it ask Him to give you eyes to see. He is faithful and He will.

Happy Thanksgiving. May you all know how blessed you are.

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2015

Breaking

Beauty4AshesMy heart is broken. Someone else has a heart that is broken too. I am responsible for that. It really is that simple. I never wanted that to happen. I am sad that I have hurt him and even though he hurt me first it doesn’t matter. I take no solace in harming another person. It was unavoidable. It was inevitable. There was nothing else I could have done differently. It matters not. I hurt him, and I am sad. I am sad and I am sorry.

What a mess.

Messes are tricky. They are a difficult thing to deal with. Sometimes a mess can be so big that one does not know where to begin to even clean it up. I have learned that in such cases it is best to just start. It dose not matter where. Just start cleaning.

I know that I have made the right decision. I know that it was what needed to be done. I know he and I will recover and it is for the best. I know all of this yet still there is an aching in my chest. I feel a bit like Lash from Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has attacked. (All the nerds out there will understand. For the rest of you just imagine a monster put a big hole in my chest.)

out-of-the-ashes1I am aware that I am on the right path and that I have a bright future. I am surrounded by so much love. God is so deeply good. I could try and run away from the pain. I could try and stuff it all down, not talk about it and eat fried food and chocolate until it stops, but I am not going to do that.  I am going to feel the pain. I am going to walk through the pain. I am going to live through the pain. This time as I face heartache I am going to make a different choice. I am going to talk about it. I have talked about it. I am almost sick of hearing myself talk about it, but I need to. If I am going to heal and move forward with life I need to talk about it.

Having a broken heart sucks. Breaking someone’s heart sucks. It is a lot to process. It is a lot to make peace with. Still in the midst of all of this I am learning:

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” -Psalm 34:18

“He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds.” -Psalm 147:3

I am learning how to connect with God in a way that I have never experienced before. I feel loved by God, by my family, and my friends and it is real. Love is real and for the first time in my life I feel it. I knew people loved me in my head, but my heart wasn’t so sure. I had a duel going on inside of me. That duel has been settled and love has won. I no longer feel alone in this life. I have never felt that way before. Ever.  It never ceases to amaze me how God can bring such breathtaking beauty put of such breathtaking devastation.

He is a good good Father.

a-crown-of-beauty©Rachel Anne Redfield 2015

What If…?

What if…

What if I had done this, or said that? What if this had not happened? What if this had happened instead? What if I never…? What if I always…?

Chances are that if you are a human with a conscious mind you have had these thoughts. I have in my life been plagued by these thoughts. I have come to realize that this track of thought is a trap. Taking inventory of mistakes is important so that I can learn from them. It is valuable for me to comb through the mess I have made and see where things went wrong, however the moment that I take those mistakes and say what if… Boom! The trap is sprung!

It is so easy to go about life and forget that there is an enemy out there roaming around seeing whom he may devour. I forget this all the time. I don’t forget this because I don’t know it, nor do I forget it because I haven’t known the attacks first hand. I forget because I am reasonable and logical. Reason and logic are useful tools but are often at odds with the realm of faith. I get so wrapped up in what is right in front of my eyes that I forget there is a world unseen.

I recently went through quite the life event. I chose to begin a relationship. At first it was wonderful but pretty soon there were more than a few bumps. Looking back I can now see that there were warning signs long before that. There were little knocks on my heart; checks in my spirit like blinks from the lighthouse on the shore that there was danger ahead. I ignored all of that chalking it up to apprehension, fear and inexperience. Maybe there was nothing to worry about. Maybe it wasn’t moving too fast and getting too intense too soon. Maybe I was feeling anxious about the pace of things because I was afraid of getting hurt. I was afraid of getting hurt after all. That is partly why I haven’t dated before this point in my life. Fear. Fear that it would turn out just like it did.

You know you would think that after everything I have learned about self fulling prophecy in regards to my weight I would know better but apparently not. Back in high school when I was the weight and size I am now I used to feel and think that I was the size and weight I eventually became. You become what you behold. Anyway I digress…

I was always afraid that if I ever allowed myself to fall in love that I would get my heart broken. I finally came to a point in life where I was willing to risk my heart being broken by allowing myself to possibly fall in love. I met this man who seemed like he might be okay so I gave it a chance. He seemed to really be interested in me. I had never experienced anything but rejection and he was pursing me, and he was so sure I was the one. He had a past, but who doesn’t? Anyway I do believe in redemption so as long as a person is open and humble about their past then that shouldn’t be a barrier. Unfortunately he wasn’t completely honest about everything and as is always the case with secrets it came to light. I had been lied to by the man I had fallen in love with. I was devastated. I confronted him. It was over. It was hard. He tried to explain, and I was willing to consider giving another chance but after seeking the Lord and counsel it became crystal clear that was not what God wanted. After the first initial shock I began digging around myself, and found out some other things… It really was over.

My heart was broken. He was not honest with me, and I could no longer trust him. He seemed so genuine. I thought… well you know.  My heart is still broken. I am very aware that I am single now and the holidays are coming. Awesome.

So now I am combing through the ashes trying to figure out where it went wrong so that I can learn all I need to from this mess, and as I have done this came the questions: What if…?

What if I am making a mistake?

What if I am wrong?

What if no one else ever comes along?

What if I end up alone?

What if I never have children?

So I did the only sensible thing. I took these questions to my Daddy. I also ate some chocolate. This is how the conversation went:

What if I am making a mistake?

-I told you no. Why would listing to Me be a mistake?

Well duh. That one was just ridiculous. I’m sorry.

What if I am wrong?

-You are not wrong. I told you I would confirm  it. I did remember?

Yes.

What if no else ever comes along? He is the only person who has ever pursued me. What if I end up alone? What if I never…

-Stop! Don’t give into fear. Can’t you see that you are allowing the voice of fear into your head? You are allowing something more dangerous to take root in your mind as well: doubt. That question is a trap. You are allowing doubt to come in and to limit your understanding of my goodness. My goodness has no limits! Rachel my darling daughter my goodness toward you has no limits.

——

Wow. That was a moment. Mind blown.

Did you catch that?! God’s goodness has no limits! God’s goodness toward His beloved children has NO LIMITS!!

“Ask, and you will be given what you ask for. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Anyone who seeks, finds. If only you will knock, the door will open. If a child asks his father for a loaf of bread, will he be given a stone instead? If he asks for fish, will he be given a poisonous snake? Of course not! And if you hard-hearted, sinful men know how to give good gifts to your children, won’t your Father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask him for them?” -Jesus (The Sermon on the Mount)

He is a good good Father.Fly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2015