Family Friday. Our Slovakian Grandchildren Come to Visit.

 

I arrived home from Iceland last Friday.  Our son John, Rachel and their boys were waiting for us.  They had prepared dinner.  It was delightful to see the children and their joy at seeing grand Dad and grand Ma.  The boys ran about the kitchen excited to see us.  I could see they had grown in a week.  Joseph said Hello Granny.  He has four grannies, two of them being great grannies.  It is amazing he doesn’t get us mixed up.

John and Rachel wanted to hear what adventures we had while away.  When Brendan came home for trips to other countries me and my children were eager to hear his stories about what he saw and how God used him to help others.  Now Brendan is taking me with him on his adventures.

This week I will see my grandchildren who live in other nations.  My son Aaron and his family are visiting from Slovakia.

imageAaron and Marta have three children. They call our home the Ireland house.  They arrived yesterday.  The children were amazed as we walked from room to room and eventually got to the bedroom where the two girls will stay.  Once again the corridors are full of the sound of little children playing.  Our home is ideal for them to play hide and seek.  A little child can squeeze into a small space, under a coffee table, or in a kitchen cupboard.

Children have a disposition to explore and try out new things.  They can easily occupy themselves, chasing each other outside, climbing walls, trees or making mud castles.  Us adults often instill fear into our child, afraid little Johnny may fall and break a bone, afraid of the child climbing the stairs, “Don’t do that?”

When I was young my brothers and sisters played games or went for walks to give our mother space.  We did not have computer games, television, dolls, Mexicano, Lego, iPads or DVDs.  I loved going for walks through the fields to find out what was over the hill at the back of our home in the country.  I loved paddling in the stream that separated my dad’s field from his neighbour’s, on hot days.

Mummy was busy in the kitchen making a meal for us all, or feeding the new baby that had arrived.  We would return home when we were hungry.  None of us got lost or injured.  If we scaped a knee we would give it a rub and continue playing.  We didn’t visit the accident and emergency at the hospital.

I remember having a cut on my forearm.  I was not rushed off to the doctor’s surgery.  I walked around protecting the injured part and the wound closed over in a week or so.  No penicillin or stitches. In those early days seed of believing that God heals were sown.  If I had a cold I learned after a few days I would be well again.  If I fell off my bicycle and grazed arms and knees, in time the cuts would heal.  God made our bodies with an immune system that fights off infection and replaces cuts and bruises.

I now believe that the simple food our mother made us kept us healthy.  We ate home made bread, soups, stews, porridge, eggs and milk from the farm.  In the summer we would have salads, some fruit or the odd apple tart. The fridge and cupboards were not stacked with cereals, chocolate, coca cola, crisps,  biscuits or sugary snacks.

What I learnt when I was growing up helped me rear my own children.  I did not have a fridge or freezer.  My food was bought fresh and eaten.  I did not keep excess.  There was no eating in between meals.

When my grandchildren arrived I had a pot of soup and homemade bread ready for them.  What I learnt from my mother, I did for my own children and now for my grandchildren.  They will play happily while they are visiting grand Dad’s Irish home.

As we sat at night praying and reading the children’s bible with our own children before they went to bed,  so we will do the same with our grandchildren when they are visiting with us.  We will tell them stories of how God answered prayers for us.  Brendan will tell them about his adventures when he travelled in other countries.  I will tell them that God healed granny from cancer;  how God provided our new home for us with space for them to come and visit and many other examples of God’s goodness to us.

Exodus 10 v 2 says,
You will be able to tell wonderful stories to your children and grandchildren about the marvellous things I am doing, to prove I am The Lord.

Today Brendan and I leave to go to Canada.  We will see our Canadian grandchild.  We will have experiences and new stories will be created to journal and recount at another visit of our children and grandchildren.

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Health Hazard. Danger of Cancer. Toxic Environment.

Back in 2010 I was facing death.  I had fourth stage cancer.  I was faced with the reality that my life and influence on the earth would be over soon.  I had been offered the help of the doctors and their wisdom.  I was willing  and thankful to take their guidance.  They have dedicated their lives to relieve suffering of cancer patients and had many years experience in dealing with others who were vulnerable, like myself.

When I was suffering from Colon Cancer, I looked to the internet to give me more information about my condition and how other sufferers coped with cancer.  It is frightening the statistics quoted.   Cancer is the second killer disease in North America!  My prognosis wasn’t good.  Even with treatment from the medical profession alone I would die from the disease.

I read in the scriptures that God promises three score and ten years to live and more if we have strength.  Psalm 90 v 10
I began to research to see if there is a key to how people live long lives.  I found that people from around the world who are healthy and live long lives are happy, peaceful and thankful.  They think and speak positively.
I know from reading the Scripture,  “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (‭Proverbs‬ ‭18‬:‭21‬ NIV).   Is there a key here to a long life, the use of the tongue.

I began to reflect from my own experience what I observed in the use of the tongue.
I will give you an example.  Strong, angry words hurt others but also hurts the one who speaks.  He is speaking death.  Hurting words crush the weak.  No one wants to be around someone who is angry.  Speaking kind, loving words brings life.  The first nurse whom I encountered in the oncology hospital had a kind, gentle voice.  She comforted me and made me feel at ease, even though I was going to have a procedure that would show I had a 9 cm tumour in my rectum.  She was careful with the sick patients she would meet every day. I will always remember her and thanked God for her that sad morning.  She was speaking life.

When I visit Canada I stay with people who are welcoming, positive, helpful and bless.  They speak life into me.  The homes I have stayed in are warm and peaceful and give rest to the weary traveller.   I have come to see the importance of positive words.

It is easy to grow old in an atmosphere of love and peace where people speak kindly and are upbuilding.  The power of these kind of words brings life.  During the thirty years of Trouble in Northern Ireland the atmosphere was toxic and grey.  Anger and hatred in people’s hearts manifested in killings.  Television News brought reports of bombings, shootings and destruction.  Many people were killed during that time, but I believe many others died due to broken hearts, strokes, cancers and other diseases due to the stress of the continued war.  No peace.

I did more research.  People who are vulnerable to bad health live stressful lives.  Suffering stress, fear and anxiety causes our bodies to release toxins.  This leaves our body fluids acidic or toxic.  When one is healthy his body fluids are alkaline.  The immune system in a healthy, whole person works well to fight off infections.  In a person is under stress the immune system is weakened by the toxins in the body and disease can take a hold.  Cancer takes hold in a toxic environment inside the body.  “How can one avoid a toxic environment?”, I asked myself.

I began to think.  Was I speaking or thinking words of life?  Was I allowing toxic conditions in my body because of my words and actions.  Was my body not able to fight off disease.

More research. Have people been healed of cancer? I was encouraged to find testimonies from people who were healed by Jesus.  I believe that God heals today and I have prayed for others who have recovered from diseases, even cancer.  But it was more difficult to believe for myself.

I searched the bible to see if cancer is mentioned.  I discovered the following words.
Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.
Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. This kind of talk spreads like cancer.   (‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2‬:‭14, 16-17‬). Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. (‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2‬:‭23-24‬ NLT)

These words spoke to my heart and brought truth to me.  Is my argument contributing to my condition?  Is my strife causing me to have cancer.  My words and thoughts at that time were not positive and full of life.  I was negative and hopeless.  I didn’t care any more.

There is much opportunity today to gain knowledge through education and from the media especially the internet.  From this knowledge both men and women, young and old can have an opinion about everything that comes up in conversation.  Opinions may differ, sharp exchanges occur, then comes argument and fights.

I am known as a strong character.  I have knowledge and was not a bit afraid to offer my opinion in conversations.   My forceful behaviour alienated me from others.  My proud attitude made me unpopular.  I would argue my opinion and not defer to others.  This behaviour really annoyed my husband.  I became annoyed and bitter with others when they would not listen to me.  I was hurt by how others treated me.  I internalised my feelings.  I acted in ignorance.  I didn’t think anyone would listen to me anymore so I hid my condition for three years.

I felt lonely in the midst of my family.  I nurtured the hurt I felt from the rejection of others.  I tried to justify myself, instead of forgiving those who hurt me.  Holding onto thoughts of self righteousness, thinking I was right and others were wrong, made me loose sleep and made me depressed.  I was on a spiral down to death.

When I read from the scripture what it says about argument I did not want to continue behaving like I did.  I withdrew from difficult conversations and situations.  I became quiet.  In God’s eyes a quiet spirit is precious.

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭3‬:‭4‬ NLT)

I believe my thoughts and words of bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment and anger from my heart contributed to my disease of cancer.  I was creating a toxic environment inside myself and outside myself.  I was not speaking life.  Life and death are in the power of my tongue.  Another scripture says do not let a root of bitterness grow up lest many become defiled.  Bitterness had taken hold.  I had a 9 cm tumour in my body.

These attitudes God calls sins.  Jesus came to forgive our sins and heal our diseases.  I accepted Jesus forgiveness and asked for his healing from the cancer in my body.