Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Blessing of Adversity

It's been a little while since I've written, partly because I've been a little obsessed (who, me?) trying to find milk-free food.  In fact, the kids and I were all milk-free for a few days, me more in support of poor Rory, and Lily because she had been having a few tummy issues, herself, and I wanted her to feel better.  Actually, I am now wondering if I don't react well to milk, either.  I'm not sure I ever tried going without it before, but as I look into it, some of the things that I deal with regularly could be a reaction to milk.  In fact, I went a few days without and then had yogurt for breakfast one morning.  I felt terrible that day - all stuffed up and tired.  I didn't have any dairy again the next day, and felt much better.  So, I think I'll try to go the month too, and see if I see any changes in my own health.

Anyway, this whole non-dairy thing has also proven to be a blessing in disguise.  I realized as I was planning my menu for the next couple weeks that I had gotten in a bit of a rut with our food choices.  I realized that the easiest thing to do at this point was not to make the usual food without dairy, but to find new recipes that didn't include milk products to begin with.  That way I don't have to modify things, and we can all eat the same food at the same time.  So, we have had lamb stew (yesterday for St. Patrick's Day), chili, bean and beef burritos, and a bacon and spinach omelet (or scrambled eggs, as that is what all my omelets look like in the end), and Matzo ball soup.  Tonight, we are having Thai rolls, Spring rolls, and cucumber wheels, all from a cookbook I got from the library called "Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids" by Leslie Hammond and Lynne Marie Rominger.  The recipes are actually wheat-free, egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free and gluten-free, but the recipes look pretty yummy!  So the final blessing is that we are able to eat a more varied and exciting menu than we were eating before.  Go figure!

I've actually noticed this blessing thing before.  I had a very bad case of Lyme disease years ago, and found that I was drawn closer to God at that time than I had been before I was sick.  I know people who have lost jobs and found that the new job they got was so much better than the old one.  It's like the verse that says "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28.

And sometimes our blessings are the result of our own request to God, though we had something different in mind.  Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-11 "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?  Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"  

Did your children ever ask you for some gooey dessert that you knew they shouldn't have?  Or want to do something you thought was too dangerous for them to do?  Did they ever do it first and ask later?  Or maybe it's just my kids?  Well, I think God's kids are the same way.  We see things, we think of things, and they seem like a really good idea.  And sometimes we go ahead and do them without asking first.  And sometimes we don't believe that the answer is "no."  But just as we know better than our children sometimes, God knows better than we do.  A friend of mine likens it to a beautiful tapestry.  God is looking at the beautiful picture on the front, while we're looking at the mess of strings on the back.  And if you've ever embroidered anything, you know exactly what I mean!  Many times we can't understand what He's doing.  We start to think he's ignoring us, or maybe even that he's being unreasonable or downright mean in not letting us have what we want.

Our pastor spoke today about that crossroads we all come to in life.  We have to decide whether to take the broad, popular road, or the narrow, difficult-looking one.  And in between those two roads stands the cross.  He said that we may get more than one chance to make that choice.  But then, we never know when that last chance may be.  The narrow road is hard to choose.  It looks difficult, and maybe lonely.  But it leads to life.  And the only way to get on it is to finally allow God to lead us.  Completely.

Honestly, that's a little bit scary.  I can relate to my 3-year-old who didn't want to ride on anything at the amusement park until she found a "train" that had handles so that she could drive it herself.
But if we don't get out of "safe mode," and give over the control to God, we will never be able to enjoy the ride. 

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