MY SIDE OF THE VACCINE DEBATE

My journey through the vaccine debate began when my oldest daughter was an infant. I was a young mother and believed everything I was told about immunizations being essential for good health. Yet when it was time for her immunizations, I felt apprehensive and sometimes even afraid. My fear stemmed from the fact that after every “shot” she received she would sleep for hours and develop extremely high fevers. I was told that this was a normal reaction to the vaccine. It was normal all right; it was the child’s body trying to fight off a toxic substance without going into  shock.

The first book I read that caused me to question the efficacy of vaccines was titled, ‘A Shot In The Dark’.  The book chronicled families whose children had either died or were crippled after receiving the DTP vaccine in toddlerhood. After reading this book I never felt the same about vaccines or disease again. My journey into the vaccine debate was only beginning.

I thought back to my first encounter with vaccines and how my youngest brother was an infant when he contracted a skin infection from touching the pus from a sore on my older brother’s arm from a vaccine my brother received. This was when the science of vaccines was relatively new, and my younger brother almost died from that skin infection. Roll the cameras forward a quarter of a century. I am a married woman; my next daughter is five years old. She goes to the doctor for her “booster” polio shot. For a week my daughter is unable to walk; my husband has to carry her around on his hip. For a time I thought she wouldn’t be able to walk again. I was floored by the guilt of allowing her to receive the immunization in the first place; I vowed she will never again be vaccinated with anything. The fight along the journey was still in its incubation period.

Yet another baby is born, and she was a miraculous birth, because she was born without my taking any anesthesia, spinals or anything. I boasted of my baby’s natural birth. I waited long past the time to take her to the doctor for a check up because I didn’t want them pedaling the vaccine drugs into her system. In  the doctor’s office, at the government level, and the school system, they all  sent the same message: if you want to protect your baby’s health, immunize her.( It is true ;if you want someone to believe a lie, speak it often and speak it loudly)

I succumbed to allowing the vaccine pushers to push two rounds of these “shots” into my toddler’s system. After the second round the child screamed so badly I said that’s it,, No child of mine will ever receive another “shot”, vaccine, immunization, or whatever you want to call it ever, ever again. And they never did. However, the vaccine proponents weren’t going to let me off the hook that easily.

I took my youngest daughter to the doctor because she suffered from eczema; she had a bad case of it. The doctor asked me, “Has she received all her immunizations?” I said,” No, we don’t believe in immunizations.” From the look on his face I might as well have said, we are taking her out back to sacrifice her. He became very arrogant and said, “Ok, if that’s how you feel.”When I pointed out her skin condition to him he said,”It’s there.” It took every ounce of restraint and Christianity that was in me to keep me from reaching across that man’ desk and slapping him. I later received a letter from the doctor’s office stating that in order to protect his other patients, he wouldn’t be able to treat my daughter. This was not the last doctor who would refuse to treat my children as a result of my stand against vaccines.

Jaynae was entering Middle School in 2001, and according to health officials she was due for her “booster” “shots”. This was the same child who couldn’t walk for a week after receiving a polio booster. School was about to open and she still wasn’t vaccinated. I received a love note from the principal telling me that if Jaynae wasn’t vaccinated by the time school opened, she would not be able to attend. I sent him a return love note stating: “Dear Principal: According to New York state law, I can claim exemption from receiving vaccines based upon my religious beliefs. I refuse vaccines for my daughter based upon my religious beliefs. If you have any further questions on the matter, I refer you and the  school district to my lawyer.”

The difference between living in a free society and a dictatorship is the ability to exercise your free will. Forced vaccinations takes free will  away from the citizen and puts it in the  hands of a tyrant. People may not be  being forced into vaccinating their children now, but they are certainly being coerced. The lie that is being put forth to the public is that vaccines are safe and effective; when neither is true.

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THE PEACE OF GOD THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING

Peace isn’t merely the absence of conflict. One can have peace even when things around you are not peaceful or pleasant. True peace has nothing to do with the circumstances going on around you; for real peace comes from Jesus Christ.

Before Jesus was to be crucified he told his disciples that he was leaving them with peace, but not the peace that the world gives.(St. John 14:27) The peace of the world is when everything is good, I have peace. When everything isn’t good, I don’t have peace. The reason the Christian can have peace in trying circumstances is because our trust isn’t in the system of things called the world; A Christian’s citizenship is in heaven, and even though we are affected by what goes on in the world, we are not controlled by what goes on in the world.

There was a story of a woman who was a Christian and she was on an airplane that was certain to crash. I believe that this woman was saddened that her life was about to end; however what she  did rather than  focus on her  impending death was to minister to those aboard the flight who did not have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. It is unknown how many souls she may have led  to the Lord in the final moments of her life, simply because she didn’t allow the dreadful circumstances to disturb the peace that God had given her and her purpose.

The Christian is to seek peace and there is a reason for it. (I Peter 3:11) One thing that God wants for his people is soundness of mind, It isn’t possible to have a sound mind if your temperament is changed by circumstances. Jesus also told his followers that in the world they would have tribulation, but that they were not to worry; he had overcome the world. ( St. John 16:33) Not only are we to seek to maintain peace in our own hearts, but we are to seek peace among others; even those who have no desire to be peaceful with us. Matthew 5:9 says that “Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Being a peace maker does not mean being a door mat; it means continually seeking understanding and communication among those we come in contact with, even when it may cause us discomfort.

Isaiah 26:3 says” You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.” It is impossible to keep your mind focused on God without focusing on his word, the Bible. If you believe God’s word, it is equal to trusting in him. God can not be separated from his word. Another way we seek peace is by being thankful. It is difficult to be peaceful with a spirit of ungratefulness. Colossians 3:15 says,” Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Being thankful in all circumstances brings about peace. So if  I have enough money, I am thankful; if I have no money, I am thankful. That is what I Thessalonians 5:16 means when it says to be thankful in every circumstance.

In Ephesians 4:3 we are encouraged to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond  of peace. Peace strengthens unity; it is peace that binds us together. There can be no unity in the body of Christ without peace. Peace is what the world is yearning for; and it will attempt to bring about peace with a forced unity, which will not work. Again the source of unity in the body of Christ comes from striving for a Christ- like life and having the mind of Jesus Christ.

Finally, peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Fruit takes many years to mature in the natural; it is no different in the spirit realm. It is through time and learning that we acquire the peace that transcends understanding. This peace the world can not give. As the words of the spiritual IMG_0663 says, “…This peace that I have, the world didn’t give it, the world can’t take it away.

BEYOND THE MIRROR,THE EMOTIONAL METAMORPHOSIS OF MENOPAUSE

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I once watched a television program about a woman approaching middle age. She said to a close friend, ” I feel the same inside as I did as a young girl, but when I look in the mirror I know that I’m not that young girl anymore.”  I thought, how can someone feel quite young even when they are growing older? I then surmised that who we truly are-which is what can’t be seen-never changes. It is only the outer covering that changes for a multitude of reasons. Other people only see what we appear as on the outside; yet even as our eyes age, those who really know us can see into our soul.

I was 32 years old and pregnant with my third child when I began to realize my own mortality. Up until then I had never thought of growing older and certainly never having to deal with the possibility of my own death.

How women often approach mid-life changes

For women who have relied exclusively on personal beauty to get them through life, or for those whose livelihood is connected with their physical appearance, approaching menopause may be viewed with apprehension.

Accepting mid-life changes means that we are growing older, and growing older means various things to different people. To some it may mean a change of roles in life: What do I do now that the children are grown and no longer need me the way they once needed me. To others it means a close examination of what they’ve accomplished in life: Have I fulfilled all those dreams which I harbored in my teens, twenties or thirties? To still others it may mean mourning the loss of youthful exuberance. Mid-life brings us to a threshold of setting priorities or possibly assessing our priorities.

Approaching menopause can create a myriad of emotions and just as many questions: Will I still be useful? Will there be a place for me as I grow older? Some women internalize in themselves the same judgments our society resonates about aging.

Aging women battle society’s judgment

Some cultures, such as Asian and Indian societies, embrace growing older as something to be honored and revered. For many cultures, however, mid-life is considered the beginning of deterioration and unattractiveness, especially for females, and some women cling to society’s judgment. We must remind ourselves that who we are does not change as we accumulate birthdays on the calendar.

Many of us face menopause and mid-life with trepidation because we are forced to evaluate our lives in terms of who we are, who we’ve been and who we expect to become. It is much easier to face the inevitable changes that come with mid-life if we have dealt effectively with changes throughout our whole lives.

It seems simplistic to focus only on the physical aspects growing older, such as weight gain and additional wrinkles: instead of trying to answer the questions that lie in the back of our minds about our value, our usefulness, and our place in society. While physical changes do present us with challenges, it is the way we view those changes that lays the foundation for how we will live out the rest of our lives.

Our physical bodies are changing. Estrogen levels are dropping and lean muscle mass is decreasing. Just as young girls are taught to accept the onset of menses and the change from child to young woman; adult women should be applauded for accepting the natural changes that will eventually come to us all.

Women juggle work, family, personal needs

Many women who are entering mid-life also have young children to care for: these are often the same women whose parents are approaching an age when they need constant care. This dilemma can present a range of emotions, from frustration to anger. Some women may ask, “When will I find time for myself?”

Even if our parents don’t live near us, many still feel an obligation to oversee their welfare. Looking at the way our parents age can also stir up emotions and questions such as, “Will I be able to care for myself as I grow older?” “Will the same ailments afflict me also?”

There is a certain contentment that comes with growing older: It is a knowledge of who we are and a wisdom that comes only with varied experiences. It is comforting to be aware of our strengths, our weaknesses, and to be fully confident of who we really are and what we want in life.

It is a positive thing to talk openly with others about how we feel about this stage of our lives. If necessary, grieve your losses; whether it is the loss of opportunity, loss of loved ones, or the  loss of the vitality of youth: but allow yourself to grieve. It also helps to look forward with eagerness to this next phase of your life. Menopause is not an end, but a truly great beginning to the next chapter of your life.

 

 

 

THE DANCE BETWEEN JESUS AND HIS CHURCH

Neil dances to swing tunes

After my divorce I was broken emotionally; in fact I was so broken that I didn’t realize the extent of the pain. Unfortunately, instead of me turning to positive things to get my life on the right path, I began to pursue the last thing that I needed to pursue: and that was an intimate relationship and having a man to love me.

I was married half of my life ; I barely knew any other lifestyle. I believed in my marriage vows and the preacher when he asked, “do you promise to cleave to one another and cherish each other, as long as you both shall live?” However, I came to realize that those same vows meant very little to my ex spouse.  As Christ is the head of the church, the husband is the head or the leader to his wife. This leadership isn’t meant to dominate and control; but is meant to love, encourage , and inspire. Just as the church is supposed to thrive under the leadership of Jesus Christ, the wife is to mature and thrive under the leadership and protection of her husband. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.” (Ephesians 5:23)

The ballroom dance that I attend has a lesson at the beginning of each dance for the instruction of those who aren’t familiar with the dance steps. I dance with several partners which makes the experience interesting and educational.

At the dance, my first dance partner was constantly telling me what to do and I kept stepping on his feet and stumbling over mine. When I sat down I said to myself, I will never dance with him again. The next dance partner was to dance the waltz with me. I had never waltzed before in my life, but when I joined hands with this dancer, he swept me up in his arms and began dancing. Because he knew exactly what he was doing, following his lead was easy, and it was a very pleasant experience. I thought to myself, why couldn’t the other dancer be like that? At that moment a light went off in my head and I heard God reveal to me, “it wasn’t you, it was your leader.”

It is the man’s role to lead in dance, as is his role to lead in love. If he is a good leader(in dance as well as in love), following is easy and it is a pleasant experience for the woman. If he isn’t a good leader(in dance or in love), he is often critical of his dance partner(wife), and the experience is frustrating and tiring for the woman.

When a woman attempts to take the lead in a love relationship with a man she becomes exasperated and weary. Women who pursue men rarely catch them; and if they do catch them, it is usually for one night only. In the dance of love as in dance in general, it is the man’s role to lead. In all those movies of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing , Fred is leading and Ginger is doing what he does; she’s just going backwards and is in heels.

As Jesus Christ leads in love toward his church, the husband is to be the primary lover in his home.  A wife isn’t meant to out love her husband. She is to love him; but she isn’t to be the leader in love. The husband sets the tone for how much love is in his marriage, not the wife.

If as a husband you are reading this and you feel that you may have fallen short of loving your wife; God is always waiting for our repentance in any situation, and it is not too late to seek God as to how to love your wife. It is always best to seek forgiveness and start over than to end up in divorce court where so many marriages have ended.

In all my brokenness God showed me that he could still speak to me and still use me. Sometimes it is the broken vessel that can be used the most effectively. I pray for God’s strength to continue on this journey.