Posted in The Christian Herbalist
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will Romans 12:2 NIV
Sometimes you need to take a blog break in order to get things in perspective. A true, uncluttered, unfettered, view of yourself, your life, your mission and God's plan and purpose, and your priorities without the cacophony of the blogdom drowning it out. To see what is truly important and what will go up as chaff when tried by the Master's fire.
Most of the time, you can come to my online home and find at least something posted: a real food recipe, a snippet of some greening going on somewhere, a post on a common herb to encourage you to learn about the useful plants, or some tidbit of natural health to whet your appetite to do your own homework. But it has been silent for a spell. I don't think it a coincidence that some of my online friends such as Christina and Cheri (be sure to check out Cheri's new herb curriculum!) are writing on somewhat similar subjects - and without any foreknowledge that any of us were going to write about it. That is so God! I only hope they do not experience any of the backlash that I have recently. In addition, I want to say this series of articles I am writing is much more than the title I've chosen alludes to.
I get alot of email each day ~ most asking questions about herbs, natural health, good food, allergies, vaccines, etc... you name it. I think a lot of folks feel comfortable sending me emails and I am ok with that. You can continue to do so. Please understand that my family comes first. Their well being, caring, raising, and loving. Our farming and gardening, homeschooling and my studies and practice, and all the assorted facets of life take my time and I do a great deal of scheduling to try to get 'more hours in my day'. I try to get back to everyone but I know there are times when it seems a quick answer or response would help. Again, I try, but probably fail miserably. I humbly ask you to forgive me if my ferocious spam gobbler has snatched your mail, or if I have been taking care of my priorities and unable to answer.
But that is not what this post is about, or what really bothered me as of late. It seems lately someone has taken up the cause of sending a few anonymous comments here on the blog with the intention of hurting and flaming. You succeeded. You hurt me.
Now before you think I am harboring any hard feelings or unforgiveness, I am not. Love suffers no wrong... but I needed some time away from writing to sit quietly in my prayer closet where comments, stat counters, friend's lists and blogrolls don't matter to the Lord at all. My heart does ~ and knowing His will for my life allows me to forgive, forget, and continue to do what He wants me to do in the midst of such persecution. It wasn't the first time and I am sure it won't be the last.
I recently was viciously attacked by an anonymous commenter who felt the need to come back over and over again and really let me have it. I think deleting their comments really flamed them, because each time they returned it became more and more hurtful. At the time, I had just had a miscarriage and was not feeling my usual 'thick-skinned' self so I did not respond or debate, or rebuke. You may have noticed I activated moderation of comments and I am talking to someone about moving my blog to my own domain in order to protect it and to be better able to track anonymous shadows...
Questions of how Christian I am were levied, in addition that I was worldly and that I loved the world (and saving the environment) more than Christ; that encouraging folks to eat miso, kefir, and raw milk was dangerous as they are untested and fringe; that I worshipped the human body; and I was told my 'worship' of herbs was totally pagan. It was pretty bad folks. Words like 'treehugger', 'witch', 'activist', and phrases like 'unbecoming and an embarrassment to the headship of my husband' (don't worry- my beloved let me know how wrong you are), and a whole lot more were thrown my way. There was much more...needless to say, the words hurt and left me feeling down and sort of burned out. Someday soon, I'll write a post and reveal my testimony of how Christ saved this 'witch'- a chief among sinners two decades ago, renewed her heart, redeemed her days and gave her hope. Wiped her tears, shared His love and truth and grace, prepared a place for her in eternity, and forgave her sins- as unforgivable as she thought they were. Again...that is an up and coming post.
Everyone who knows me knows I love helping. I have what some refer to as a teaching spirit. I love to help more than sell or make a profit off of my talents and expertise- my husband says I do it to a fault (and he loves me in spite of it!). I love to encourage more than get pats on the back. I love to push people forward and allow them to discover by gently guiding instead of standing on a platform of 'come see me, I know it all.' I don't know it all ~ but I know the One who does.
I am not perfect, nor do I have the perfect life. I struggle with things too: My kids act up too, I eat an Oreo once in awhile, I burn my bread sometimes, I mess up batches of soap, I worry and fear... I sin too. I am real- no fake stuff here. I think that is one of the main reasons why my friends really love me, my husband really adores me, and my kids really like being around me. No pretenses... just truth. No expectations... just my heart. No puffing up allowed... just Carla Lynne here.
Ask my kids- I don't like to be the sage on the stage ~ choosing instead to be a guide on the side. One of my mottos for as long as I can remember has been give people the truth and what they do with it is up to them- allow them to make an informed decision. It is acknowledging that I am not in control, but God is. He decides who will hear and who will not; who will sell all for the pearl and who will not; who is called and who is not. (SIDE NOTE: I am pretty much a Reformed gal in belief, five Solas, and the limited atonement/particular redemption/ predestination point of Calvinism is a fascinating subject that I studied during my missionary days. It was an important part of missionary training to understand that YOU cannot save the world and some will reject, and that they have been predestined to do so.)
This is one of the reasons I teach my children formal logic (and I learn right along side them). So they can recognize truth from lies. I homeschool using primarily a Classical Christian method- knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Look those three words up in your concordance or Bible and see what you come up with. It is a part of life. Give folks knowledge- the truth, and wisdom and understanding, if God permits, will follow. It is not always easy- even in Christian circles, to tell folks truth about toxic chemicals (aspartame, white sugar- even soaps or toothpaste), vaccines, man-made diseases, real food, herbs, etc... and be rejected. But I leave that up to God as He knows the end from the beginning, and every man's heart.
I tell the truth in order to give folks the opportunity to make their own decision. I do this with Christ and the Gospel; with environmental and ecological knowledge and information; with herbs and natural health. I can't change the world myself, or make someone not vaccinate, or make them eat raw milk or resist antibiotics. I cannot decide where someone spends eternity ~ that rests solely between the person and the Holy Spirit of God, but I am willing to say what I am compelled and led to say (through the Holy Spirit) and those who hear truth will respond. The rest will not. I have been doing this for as long as I can remember- way before 'alternative' was mainstream; before natural health was becoming acceptable for Christians and not just hippies; before homebirth was reemerging as a gentle and safe way to birth (three of our children were born 'illegally' at home); before the recent Christian agrarian movement. For example, working and apprenticing on a farm a decade ago made me the laughing stock of my church- truly. Everyone made fun of my 'agrarian gene'. I have been ridiculed and laughed at for taking the time to grind (with a manual grinder no less!) and make homemade breads so long ago (what's wrong with Wonder bread?), making tinctures (with alcohol- oh my!) while a friend visited, and even now, during our monthly co-op with local homeschoolers, when a child is hurt, I pull out my super large red herb kit/bag with just about every herb, salve, and healing agent in it- and the ladies laugh and say, "Here comes the herb lady". But I found it heartwarming and encouraging to see that two of the ladies signed up for one of my herb seminars I am giving locally. I must be doing something right...
There is a remnant seeking the old paths, and I am so very excited to see folks listening to the truth. I am watching more folks looking to live simply and deliberately for God. Caring for their families, their bodies, their health, their farms and gardens, their world... in order to be better stewards with the good things that God has given us. To be in good health and effectual in whatever purpose and plan God has for their particular lives. I am honored so many see me as a worthy teacher, and come to me, and question me, and learn from me, and I am privileged to be able to point them to this one, or lead them to that one, or show them and have them go on to learn more. You may hear the word 'footprint' used a lot in 'green' circles. I am traveling the road less traveled and making the journey count the way I am being led by God to do so. I must be doing something right as blog counters and stats tell me of thousands, and the newsletter subscribers are growing tremendously. When the magazine comes to fruition- hopefully in the beginning of 2007, that will be the motto. For this, I am thankful...
I must admit I felt sorry for myself at such insensitive words that came from Mr. or Mrs. Coward- most likely because I had just experienced loss. But what Satan meant for evil, God meant for good. Quietly, in the darkness of the early morning prayers with My Father over the past two weeks, He showed me what to say, and why it needs saying.
Since I can't contact Mr. or Mrs. Coward personally since they are nameless, faceless, and email-less...I can only hope and pray they come back and read this series of articles- perhaps before I move my blog next year.
As in most cases, it amazes me to the degree of how much folks miss the mark. Truly, swinging out in left field when the team has already gone home. I would like to address some of what has been levied and questioned...so get ready for some truth... and what you do with it is up to you. I pray you hear this truth and that wisdom and understanding allow you to grasp it.
Let's talk about some herbs and my love of them first...
I am a Christian Herbalist. I am a Christian, and I study herbs (along with my N.D.). My website will soon have a lot of my teaching kits and other herbal items under TheHerbalHome.com and TheChristianHerbalist.com . All of those web addresses above lead to my online store at Shade Tree Cottage. Be sure to look back at the beginning of next year and check out the unveiling of many of the new products I will have available. Not just a soap shoppe...but a teaching and equipping site for naturally healthy goods for your body, home, and environment. That being said...
Either believing herbs are all pagan or believing they are the key to the fountain of youth and/or total healing is not using wisdom. It is being foolish. The mindset that herbs and natural health are in and of themselves some sort of panacea to longevity and optimum health is quite foolish. To think that if you eat the right thing, drink the right thing, and take the right supplements or herbs at the right time, that YOU have control over your health is human foolishness and at the root of it- pride. GOD controls it all ~ and it is to Him that I give thanks for the useful plants. I don't worship the plants; I worship Him, and stand in awe at the miraculous intricacies of the human body that HE created. I have been pregnant nine times and given birth six times. The knitting together of a baby in the womb is miraculous to say the least. To participate with Him in the making of an eternal life is humbling. We are made in His image, fearfully and wonderfully made, and the plants that He put here for us to eat, nourish, wash, heal, minister, adorn, anoint, sow, reap, and harvest are miraculous because HE allows them to perform the duties HE would have them perform. It is to Him that I say grace and ask that the food I eat nourishes me for the job He would have me do.
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-everything that has the breath of life in it-I give every green plant for food." And it was so. Genesis 1:28-30
I do not believe that the herbs have 'energy' or some sort of healing life force that they give to me. They are dead. Totally, completely. When I harvest them, they are dead food. Just as the hamburger, chicken, or turkey in the freezer- dead. They contain nutrients that my body needs. Phytochemicals, compounds, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, etc... but they are still dead. Without prayer and grace, they will be nothing more than something I chew, digest, and eliminate. What I think is the miracle is having them sustain me or my family. Entering into prayer and thanksgiving during grace before a meal, or while I am making a poultice for a beesting or boo-boo knee on a toddler, and asking God to bless them onto my body or their body, for healing, health, and energy and to sustain us to do HIS will until the day HE calls us home. That is the miracle...
Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. Genesis 9:3
Herbs are a gift from God. They were given to man. In designing this world for us to inhabit, He provided all we would need. We are still discovering new plants, species, phytochemicals, compounds, etc...everyday. We have not even begun to scratch the surface as far as cataloguing the vast numbers of healing plants there are. The rainforest is a prime example. We cut, fell, and destroy before we study. So take my 'activism' for saving the rainforests into a new perspective- we charge forth in the name of industrialization, fell the trees and forest, never find out what is there and if it is useful, and then invent another toxic drug to help with the symptoms of a disease instead of combating the cause, or using a natural plant or substance to help cure. It is mind boggling, and sad and terrible, terrible stewardship.
Herbs and healing plants render in me the same awe and worship of GOD as the stars, the changing of the leaves in autumn, or the sounds of the waves crashing at the Jersey shore. They were created for ME- because HE loves me.
He caused the grass to grow for the cattle, and the herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the ground and oil to make his face shine. Psalm 104:14-15 (But read ALL of Psalm 104 PLEASE!)
My study of herbs (Professional and Community Centered on my way to Master Herbalist) and natural health (I am studying to be a doctor of Naturopathy) only brings me closer to God. Unfortunately, we Christians have given much of the study and use of herbs and natural healing and health over to those who would pervert it into a religion of worshipping the creation- not the Creator. We assume that because the co-ops are founded mostly by New-Agers , herb books are authored primarily by eastern philosophers and pagans, and care of the body and earth is some sort of 'worship', we should avoid it at all costs. I deal with this on every herb walk, seminar or talk I give, and even many prospective clients of my practice. I have been to many an intensive where I was the only Christian, and spent most of my time defending my faith instead of learning about plants and herbs. Praise God! I have had to sit and listen to drum beats and chants from those who would taunt me outside my tent because of my faith. I have been invited to speak at a co-op only to have more questions about Christ come up than about my talk. And that is good! If my being a Christian shines that bright- than praise God that they see! If they hear something in their spirit that is stirred and questions what they thought they believed- Praise God!
One of the greatest benefits of my ministry has been the ability to counsel and love those whose bodies are hurting. Something happens when a human becomes seriously ill- they begin searching. And being God's hand extended during those times is a blessing.
I have had the opportunity to have a cancer patient at the end of his life accept Christ; a client who had turned from his parent's teachings and was suffering the recompense of his sin in his body go home as a prodigal son; 'medicine man' turn to me and say, "I think your God is God" after listening to one of my seminars; and countless- really countless folks glean something from me and use it to springboard into a lifelong passion for caring for their families, friends, and themselves. The letters I receive, the emails I save, the callers and friends whom I converse with via the phone all mean so much to me and are testimony of God's goodness and using me to touch a life. Aside from the highest calling of being the best wife there is (just ask my Sugar!), and the best Momma there is (go ahead- ask!), helping folks is my ministry. I have been led through some tough times in the foundation of it, because of it, and even now, I count this latest attack as joy.
I don't think the Lord is pleased with the way we eat (our diets and subsequent health issues), the way we care for His creation (factory farms and farming practices), our poor stewardship of our world, resources, and environment, and our lack of showing folks the error in thinking about herbs and natural health the way they do. That is what I am doing. I speak the truth and what folks do with it is up to them.
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God... I Corinthians 10:31
Stay tuned for the next installment in the series...
Until next time, I remain....
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Posted in The Christian Herbalist