Thankful for the Fleas

Faith & Spirituality, Homeschool, The Fam

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Disclaimer: After reading this you might never want to come over. I hope that’s not the case, but guests, you have been warned.

As someone who has extremely sensitive skin and is randomly allergic to everything, it’s not rare for me to have hives or some other general malaise as a result of something I ate or a new beauty product I’ve tried. (By now, I should just know better.)

So, when I woke up with a few itchy bumps, I think, no big deal. A few more show up, and I’m wondering about that new body wash. (At this point, I should tell you that I am also a recovering hypochondriac (well, mostly recovered).) So, perfectly in-character, my next reaction is to jump to the worst possible conclusion. We MUST have either bed bugs (the horror) or fleas (egads, no)!

So, instead of waiting a few days, nixing the body wash, and continuing with my day like a normal human, what happens? Full scale eradication. Mind you, we have still not spotted a single bed bug or flea, (but methinks they are really, REALLY good at the whole undercover thing). Entire house on lockdown. Laundry hot washed and sealed. Every surface vacuumed. Dog medicated, bathed, and thoroughly combed. Google, my new best friend/worst enemy, assures me that the (still sight unseen) pestilence are busy working their way into the baseboards where they are multiplying at a rate that would make bunnies blush.

Y’all. The struggle is real.

And in the midst of comparing my little itchy bumps to the horrifically graphic images on the inter webs, I remember the story of Corrie Ten Boom, her sister Betsie, and the fleas. In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie recounts their family’s role in hiding Jews during WWII and their subsequent imprisonment in a Nazi Concentration Camp. Their barracks, overrun by fleas was a constant source of aggravation, but Betsie urges Corrie to remember the instructions in 1 Thessalonians, “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus” (5:16-18).

Corrie, at first, refuses to be thankful for fleas. But later, it becomes apparent that the guards never enter their barracks because of the fleas. This allows the sisters unprecedented freedom in holding church services and sharing the gospel with over 400 other inmates.

So as we begin this month of thankfulness, the girls and I spent our morning meeting by reading the excerpt from The Hiding Place. I urged the girls to think of the fleas in their own lives: Where have you faced frustration or pain; where did you struggle? How did God use that in the end? 

In my life, real or simply perceived, I must thank God for the fleas, for they draw me closer to Him. And as we created our Tree of Gratitude, the leaf containing one word, FLEAS, was placed at the top.

Why I Tell My Daughter She’s Beautiful

Faith & Spirituality, Girl Power, The Fam

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“Don’t call her pretty, it’ll go to her head,” or “Call her smart, tell her she’s good at math instead.” And, “You’ll only further indoctrinate her idea of female worth if you comment on her appearance.”

Well guess what? I call my daughters pretty. And beautiful. And smart. And funny. And good at math. And I refuse to remove my positive praise of their beauty from my lips. Why? Because it is my job as their mother to combat the messages of the world.

No, I didn’t just do a 180, but I grew up as a female in this world too, and I know the messages that they’ll hear from those that don’t understand their worth. “You’re ugly,” or, “That looks terrible.” And of course, “You’re fat.” And then it becomes a battle. Not just for a little girl’s self-worth, but for her very ideal of beauty itself.

Superficial ideals of beauty are fleeting. We all age, some of us have babies, we have battle scars of a life lived. But as women, we are no less beautiful when we maintain our integrity and take pride in God’s workmanship. After all, we are made in His image. When my daughter understands that her beauty is wrapped up in her role as an image bearer of God Himself, my telling her she is beautiful is simply honoring God’s handiwork.

My goal then is to build up and fortify my daughters in His word, so that when they hear messages that are contrary to that truth, they see those not as personal attacks, but lies flung in an attempt to undermine their position as chosen daughters of the King.

So, moms, I urge you, tell your daughters they’re fabulous, gorgeous, pretty. Tell them when their hair looks nice and their shoes are the perfect color. Uplift all of the women around you, beautiful each in her own way.

And don’t forget the one in the mirror.

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