Lesson #2 That I Have Learned

Lesson #2  That I Have Learned

What does a very old and worn mini-trampoline, from the time during the 1980’s when Jane Fonda was wearing bright colored leg warmers over her very tight and even brighter aerobics outfit and Olivia Newton John was singing “Let’s Get Physical,” have to do with Lesson #2 that I have learned during this season of sickness and suffering? Actually, it has EVERYTHING to do with it!

As I began doing extensive research about my diagnosis and prepared for my treatment process to begin, it became clear that I would have to do as much as I possibly could daily to detox my body from the harmful toxins that continue to make me sick. You can imagine my surprise when I received detox instructions from a highly respected treatment facility that outlined the best way to help detox your body and activate the lymphatic system is to do “rebounders,” small bounces, for up to twenty minutes a day on a mini-trampoline. I thought to myself, “A What? The best thing for me to use is a piece of equipment that I have not laid eyes on in over 30 years? How can I possibly do that?” I shared this outlandish idea with a dear friend of mine, and as I remember, we both just laughed at such a crazy idea. However, she is determined to do everything possible to help me get 100% well. So a few days later and not at all surprising to me, she had a remedy for the crazy mini-trampoline idea…small bounces on a big exercise ball. Now that is a “fabulous solution,” and I just happen to have one of those big exercise balls sitting in the closet collecting dust and becoming more and more deflated with each passing day. So out of the closet it came. I pumped it back up to its full size to support me, and as silly as I felt and looked, I began to bounce twenty minutes 2-3 times a day.

Now on one particularly hard day of treatment, after being nauseated with flu-like symptoms most of the day, missing my family terribly, crying many tears that led to a full blown pity party for myself, I decided that as much as I didn’t want to, I should get out of bed and take my required daily afternoon walk. I was feeling so down that I didn’t even change my clothes, but instead chose to walk the street in my pjs. I remember listening to the saddest song I could find and just cried and cried behind my big, black sunglasses. I am sure that anyone driving by thought I was a complete basket case and needed to be hospitalized on the 8th floor.

I did, however, make it up and down the street twice, and with each step in the bright, warm, afternoon sunshine, my “poor me” mood began to lift. I decided that I should continue my “sun therapy” in the very quiet backyard of the home that I was visiting. As I stepped around the back porch, I stopped dead in my tracks. My mouth flew open and literally hit the ground. What I saw took my breath away! Sitting under a large tree, tucked away in the corner of the yard all of these years was the 1980’s mini-trampoline in the picture above and was exactly the obsolete item that I needed the most. I could not believe my eyes. My pity party and tears were immediately gone. I began to giggle out loud because I knew this gift was just for me, as “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” James 1:17

I continued to giggle out loud as I bounced up and down and up and down for the next twenty minutes. Now every time I feel like I can’t go on and continue this journey on my own, I remember the mini-trampoline, and that just like that afternoon in the backyard, I’m not alone. Then, I giggle out loud!

Lesson #2 that I hope to never forget is…

A 1980’s Mini-Trampoline – Just To See That He Is Here…I Can Do Anything!

“LEGACY” STORY FROM AFRICA #4

The Rest of the Story…I shared the story of my “baby” getting to experience the desire of her heart by going deep into the slums of Kenya to “Reach the Unreached!” It has taken me several days to compose myself after she called and shared with me who she met living inside this tin shack. As she described the family to me, the tears began to fall. I tried to keep her from hearing me cry so that I would in no way hinder her from speaking every word that was spilling from her heart.

My 14-year-old stepped inside this small, dark, dirty home of “nothing,” and was greeted by the two smiling faces that we all see in this photo. They are the five-year-old and three-year-old of a 26 year old, single mother who also has her one-year-old baby living with her here. As the team inquired of her needs and how they could pray with and for her, they learned of her heartbreaking story, and it is this story that has had me crying the “ugliest cry” for days now.
This young mom of three ran away from her abusive husband to find a better life for her and her children. I cannot even begin to imagine how this tin shack in the mud, garbage and sewage was her better option. Every day, she leaves her five-year-old along to care for the three-year-old and baby while she goes and sits among a pool of women hoping that she will be the lucky one to be selected that day to wash someone’s laundry so that she can feed her family. In the United States, what she does each day would be called “Child Endangerment.” In Africa, what she does each day is called “The Norm.”

As my girl and the team sat on the dirt floor of this mother’s home, they asked her what she needed most and how they could pray for her. She only asked for one thing…the school fees to send her children to school because not only would going to school give her children a better life than the life that she is living, which is every parent’s desire, but it would also ensure that her children would have food to eat each day. When asked how much she needed for the fees, her reply of $8.00 a month might as well have been million dollars to her.
And it is those words, $ 8.00 a month, that I have not been able to stop repeating in my mind over these last two days since I heard them. You mean the amount I spent last weekend on a 2 hour movie that bored me to tears would send both of her children to school for a month. $ 8.00, the amount of the tip on just one of my dinners out, would keep her three children from being left alone all day every day.
$ 8.00, the amount I paid for one watermelon yesterday at the grocery store, would ensure her children would be fed each day for an entire month.
$ 8.00, the amount that my “baby” girl has already committed to pay herself each month to ensure that her new “Unreached” friends will be “Reached’ even after she is gone.

“LEGACY” STORY FROM AFRICA #3

As I looked at this photo of my “baby” making a home visit to the poorest of the poor in the slums of Africa, all I could think was “He will give you the desires of your heart!” (Psalm 37:4) That thought goes back to a night several weeks ago when I was soaking in a hot bathtub. All of the sudden she walks in (just to set the record straight…it doesn’t matter if they are 2 or 14, they don’t knock and even the bathroom is not a private place) with the look on her face of, “Mom, we need to talk.” She plopped down on my bathroom counter. I sat up straight in the tub. She began to spill her heart and within minutes, she was in tears. She began telling me how she felt this time in Africa she was supposed to go and find the children who weren’t in the schools or in the orphanages, the ones that ran to them each time they walked through the slums wondering why they couldn’t hear the stories the Americans came to tell, the ones that continue to be hungry each day and the ones who had never even heard the name of God. So between her sobs, I began to ask her, “Do you feel God called you to this trip?” She nodded, “Yes!” I continued, “Do you feel that God provided in amazing ways the funds you needed to go?” She nodded, “Yes!” Again, “Do you feel that God has broken your heart for those who aren’t being reached?” In a little girl voice, she nodded, “uh-oh!” Then I asked, “So why are you crying, sweet girl?” To which she sobbed even louder, “What if the leaders won’t listen to me because I’m only 14, and I don’t get to go to them?” Then for the next hour while my bath water went from steaming hot to chilling cold and every one of my fingers and toes turned to prunes, I spoke all the encouraging, confident building, motherly words of trusting God that I could think of, and finally asked this one last question, “So, do you think your mission for this trip is to “Reach the Unreached’?” To which she sat up straight and tall with a smile on her face and said, “Yes, Mom! That’s my mission this time!” She and I said these three words over and over to each other on the remaining days leading up to her trip. They are the last words I whispered in her ear as I hugged her good-bye at the airport…”Go ‘Reach the Unreached,’ my precious girl!” This photo made me smile because it confirms…she got the desire of her heart and is fulfilling her mission too!

“LEGACY” STORY FROM AFRICA #2

My mother always repeated these words over and over to me growing up…”There are only two great gifts you can give to your children. One is ROOTS. The other is WINGS!” Now, that is the motto we have said many times over the years in regards to raising our own girls. But I must be honest, the whole “wings” thing was really tested a few weeks ago when standing in the airport to send my oldest off to Africa. Here are just a few of the phrases we heard in a 24 hour period…”first flight is cancelled,” “a day layover in Chicago,” “no seats available for your third leg from Paris to Kenya,” “another day layover in London,” “food vouchers,” “hotel vouchers,” “spend the night in the Paris airport,” etc.. Everything in this mom wanted to say, “My Precious Girl, spreading your wings this time is not going to work. Just stay rooted right here in Little Rock with Mom and Dad.” However, my very mature, wise beyond her years, fifteen-year-old must have sensed my hesitation because in a very calm voice she looked at me and said, “Don’t worry Mom! God’s got this!” Then she turned, spread her wings and flew away, and as this photo shows, soared all the way to Africa!