About Me

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Blue Ridge Area of Virginia
Alicha McHugh is author of "Daughter of the Promise" first in her: Numbered Among the Stars series (available on Amazon.com). She is a homemaker to her husband of 15 years, homeschooler to their children. Writing, enjoying tea and creaming Raw Honey are three of her current pursuits. Grabbing time to read is always high on her list of priorities! If you'd like to contact her, she'd love to hear from you! Just email: alichamchugh@gmail.com

Monday, October 22, 2012

Blessings by Way of the "Nasties"

If you've followed this blog for any length of time you know one of my favorite Palms is Ps. 107.

I actually memorized it with a once mentor, and always friend in the Lord.That was a long time ago and though I'm hard pressed to remember all of it now, I remember with perfect clarity the expressed message of hope when all is hopeless. And how much God delights in turning "fortune" on a dime and changing the wheel of fate to which ever direction He so desires!

You can not enjoy the previous statement without having utter confidence in the true nature of God. Anything else, and you risk developing unhealthy fear of Him...or supreme resentment towards Him, assuming you believe in His sovereign authority at all.

For myself, I've only to look at the Cross and Resurrection to settle both erroneous and imbalanced views in my heart, which yes, do come up from time to time.

I LOVE the last 2 verses in Ps 107. Allow me to quote them here...

"The righteous see it and rejoice. And all iniquity stops its mouth Whoever is wise will observe these things And they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord."

Feel free to glance below...but really, this is a blessing list to remind ME of the obviously loving kindness of the Lord...because only HE could have made these things happen...I stand, I stand in AWE of YOU...

  1. No one contracted the disease from us. Even during the time when we were most infested, 4-6 weeks, and prior to discovering what was wrong. And even though we had several people over and went over friends and family's homes...
  2. Considering all the cases on the Internet, apparently we had a mild case as it was caught in time. Many, Many people go months and even a year or two with out proper diagnosis.
  3. The girls were fabulous about the baths/lotions/examinations (me and drs)~ Of course I helped it out by putting letting them watch TV via laptop in the bathroom...but still, when I was sure they'd mutiny and I was more than sympathetic and feeling if they did, I'd just cave in...they never did. Thank you, girls...Thank you dearest Lord.
  4. For as much stuff (home remedies) and sulfur and 3 times Permethrin 5% (compared to the 1% to kill lice...the girls bodies are pristine. Next to nothing to speak of for post-scabies issues. My oldest's eczema even stayed under wraps (likely due to the Borax...which we will continue to use for EVERY bath they take for the rest of our lives...or their life with me, anyway.
  5. Every person we encountered during our most difficult 3-5 week period was kind and 98% had no idea what was going on with us...or that anything was going on. Blew me away.
  6. I'd had a wistful thought earlier in the summer about going away to the beach on my anniversary. We OBVIOUSLY couldn't because CC was going to start that week and school for Arowyn would be underway...and just too much stood in the way. Well...we took our 2nd Perm. treatment (afterwards you are supposedly cured!) , hopped in a rented vehicle we had delivered and having toasted all our clothes and put them in those huge Ziploc bags now available, we headed towards the beach...on the week of my Anniversary!
  7. Had the most amazing meal at the Breakwater Restaurant in Hatteras, NC on the water at the end of the OBX area ON our Anniversary. Got awful reviews...but we had a Perfect time. Tried to give a good review online...didn't take, so will try again later.
  8. Nearly the whole time we had fabulous weather. in the lower 80's nearly all of AUGUST!!! Just amazing after the record 100 temps we had early in the summer. This allowed us to be outside as much as possible. (I even folded clothes outside! I'm sure the neighbors thought I'd cracked!)
  9. Speaking of neighbors, during this time our neighbors across the street, very Godly and lovely young couple, my husband told them a little bit about what we were going through lest my odd behavior be noted and the psych people came to take me away (I packed and unpacked the car MANY times in hopes of killing a lot of the nasties at once. at 120 degrees F. they die after 22 minutes...A car can get up to 145 in 86 degree temps. if it's in full sun and locked up....well that's the top...I didn't realize the floor only gets to around 95 ! I tried!:) Anyway, they told us that one of them had it as a missionary kid overseas. The fact that they lived through it and here it was 20 years later kept me mindful of the eventual recovery in store...especially when things got really dark and overwhelming.
  10. Our electric bill only went up about $50. A huge help since we thought it was going to be well over $500! Amazing to me!
  11. Rick's job allowed him to be available during some really crucial periods. Incredible!!
  12. Insurance!
  13. I've become a bit claustophopic because of this situation. I use to make fun of Rick who always needs the aisle seat. Now, I"M the one who needs the aisle seat!!! lol. This was especially bad the week we left town after the 2nd treatment. Leaving was suggested by those "in the know" about it in order to give whatever is left in the environment a chance to die. Well, we stopped of at a little cabin at the KOA in Rodanthe, NC (OBX) for 2 nights. I can not even tell you the amazing, open feeling I got from being there. The whole camp is inset between the dunes before the ocean and the main road. as I walked up to get to the ocean, I turned in the brilliant sunlight to see the whole expanse of this small campground laid out before me. It was open and though small, it was spacious and CLEAN. If you've ever read a Bernstein Bears book with a map of the town laid out plain and simple...it was exactly like that...exactly what I needed! I felt the loving care of my Lord in that moment to find us a place that so perfectly matched the battered needs and concerns of my heart. It feel like aloe on sunburn. I was moved to tears...and still am.
  14. Rick got stopped by a police officer. He was going 6 miles over the speedlimit!!! The police officer saw how we were packed (ziplock bags) and the rental car. We told him about our "problem"...he was very kind and let us go with just a warning.
  15. As Rick was on business the week we left town, we couldn't very well stay at the beach for more than 2 days. (He'd business in the area, but not that much) So we had to find two different hotels, one in Suffolk VA and one in Virginia Beach. Both were Marvelously clean and again spacious, both in the room and also in the hotels themselves.
  16. Because my dr. didn't really know what she was doing (she told me I could probably teach HER about this) she eventually brought in another dr. to help...that dr. cleared us. A week later, still having severe itching and other significant symptoms, I stopped by a local Dermatologist office. They are booked out for several months for new patients. I told the receptionist about my daughter's yelp the night before and me going to her bed and asking her what was wrong and my 2 year old rubbing her hand saying "crickets on me". I was crying by this point and the receptionist nearly was too. She put me into a spot at 8:30 the next morning in a cancellation that she had JUST received unto the books. We where able to be given reassurance that we were healed (even though we were far from feeling like it).
  17. My dear friend and sister in Christ helped me remember to add...The Lord gave me grace and strength when I looked up (Ps 107). There was a time at the beginning for about 2 weeks where I didn't look up. I looked down, down at the floors, the girls EVERYTHING. I was ruthless and aggressive! Then started realizing I wasn't getting anywhere. Sure, Arowyn's sores where healing and going away, but other symptoms kept popping up. Funny thing is, at the beginning of the summer I set about the whole family memorizing Hebrews 12. I draw pictures to help us memorize scripture. We...we weren't faithful to do it (another lesson :) but the copied scripture stayed taped up in our school room. About the time I started really looking to the Lord and drawing close to Him he gave me Hebrews 12:12-13. then I remembered the task we'd set about in the beginning. I entered the "forbidden zone" of our school room, took the chapter down and carry it around with me now, reminding me of who I am and that chastening of the Lord is something "of which ALL {who are sons and daughters of God in spirit} have become partakers". The Lord gave great strength and determination.
  18. The Lord has changed my attitude towards my home and teaching school. I did with faithfulness the job God had given me to do. My house, kids and schoolwork got done, but it was a "Have to do" job, not a delight to do. And though I don't remember grumbling and complaining about housework and the like, I never attacked it with much vigor unless we had company coming over. Which we often had because we enjoy having people over, but also because I wanted to get the house clean and knew I wouldn't do a good job of it, without that incentive. Now, I LOVE a clean house. I don't like the fact that I have to wait til Friday or Sat. to clean the floors! I would clean the floors EVERYDAY if it were practical! Laundry used to pile up in my bedroom. It was always clean...so I didn't feel the sense of urgency to get it folded. Now, I get it folded and put away within hours...this IS the POWER of God at work in my life.
  19. (this has to do with 18.)At the beginning of this whole thing, and right before we KNEW what was wrong, we where over a new friend's house. She mentioned that cleaning was a joy to her. I thought she was crazy. She also has 9 kids (10th on the way) and doesn't wake up at 4 in the morning or stay up til midnight to get things done...and she is VERY productive. I was baffled and told her as much. Well we had a nice talk and then my family left...the next 2 months the Lord showed me by trial, what she had learned by Grace..."Whatever your hand finds to do, do it whole heartily, as onto the Lord!" And Proverbs 31:17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks. May I never forget it.                              .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
And, may I come back time and again to this precious list, mindful of a Father's care for his daughter...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom...

For sometime now I've suspected I did not fear the Lord in the manner befitting a child of the King.

Awe, wonder, love, worship, adore...but fear?
What have I to fear from the Lord?

Then a neat song from my girls CD caught my attention. The song is called Where It All Begins. It talks about the Proverbs verses that remind us "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

A dialogue between the Lord and I ensued. Lord...do I...do I...fear you like I should? His response? He showed me ways I chose not to fear him, but chose instead to walk in my own ways...Not too good, when you carry His name around like a badge.

Imagine for me, if you would, a household thrown into a situation where each room in the house looks like a Hazmat team has been to visit. Every piece of furniture is covered in plastic. Beds, sofa, love seat. Every cushion and pillow bagged and every hard surfaced furniture from bed frames to tables to chairs to desks has a little snack cup at the bottom of every leg, containing a baking soda like substance called Diatomaceous Earth, food grade of course.

Imagine cleaning every hard surface, including door knobs and light switches, bathrooms, floors and tables, tops and bottoms, everyday.

Imagine a floor that sometimes went months without being mopped, swept and mopped not once, but twice a day, everyday, with Borax and hydrogen peroxide.

Imagine washing and drying 8-10 loads of laundry a day...Most of which are the bedding 4 people slept in the night before.

Imagine trying to balance the delicate PH of your 6 and 2 year old's skin with hot Borax Baths, intense scrubbing, air drying and lathering "Goopy Grandma" as the girls call it, on them with home made salves  attempting to heal what damage was just done. ~TWICE a day.

Imagine doing this routine for 2 months straight...while cloistering yourself away from friends, family and the Body of Christ because GOD forbid someone get this from you, all because you were lonely.

Imagine using EVERYTHING you can possibly think of or read on the Internet and because someone, somewhere swares it's what cured them, you use all your vacation money + in pursuit of a "cure" and use your own body as a guinea pig, because you can't stand watching and hearing your girls being hurt by something you can only see when it dies and (apparently) feel when it molts, tearing tiny pieces of your skin, making you wince in pain and feeling, as my two year old calls it, "Splinters, Mommy."

 Well, that and the burning night itching, and open, weeping sores that go weeks without closing, add residual crawling sensations across your eyes, nose and ears that don't let up for weeks on end, causing headaches by mid-day and serious melt-downs where you just want to die to escape the mental anguish that's become your daily life.

Move back with me in time, before the game plan hits the scene, the time before your home is turned into a war zone and your once lovingly decorated rooms are piled high with big, black plastic bags, or are closed off entirely or turned into something resembling a refugee camp.

Imagine the time between the realization that you didn't take this seriously enough (so now everyone in your family is infected with this parasitic disease instead of the one child that brought it home) and the time before you know what to do about it and that its going to take the type of Hebrews 12:12 kind of work "strengthening the hands that hand down and knees that are feeble" to bring about the end of verse 13, as God allows.."in order that it won't get worse and that you may be healed".

This is what that period looks like:

It's 2:30 in the morning. My two and six year olds have been transplanted to the couch and loveseat, me, with no other place to rest but on the dining room table trying to sleep, knowing all the while there's a pestilence that walks by day and runs by night in our home at about 1 inch a minute. It's fast and it's one goal in it's month long life, is to feed on and burrow into human skin, mate and make other parasites under human skin.

It sounds like yelps in my daughters' sleep and waking at 1:30 EXACTLY to a burning itch.
It smells like cleaning solutions, olive oil and aquaphor.
It looks like sorrow and despair.

But in actuality it is Hebrews 12, the loving discipline of the Lord.

If you know the Lord Jesus Christ as the savior of your soul...then you know him as:

"The Lord" having sovereign right and authority to reign as he wishes over your life,

"Jesus" God who dwells with us, knows what our trials feel like, as he has passed through everyone of them FIRST

"Christ" the promised one, the one that should come to save sinners, "of whom I am chief:"

These truths came up time and again, when I cried out "Where are you?" The Lord answered in his perfect Word with encouragement and hope saying, "I'm right here. Trust me." Hebrews 13:5

or  when I groaned "Why would you give this to us?" "You need to grow, Alicha. Trust me in this." Hebrews 12

or when I sobbed "Don't you care that my babies are hurting." "They were mine first, as are you. You have only to trust me..." Job 13:15

or in quiet, calm moments that eventually came...when I sought, "When will this be over?" the answer came, "In MY time, not yours." with a reminder of Romans 8:32  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

To be brought lovingly to the point where I understand this is not my body, but HIS. To finally say without a shred of resentment or belligerence, "If you chose to continue to afflict this, YOUR body, today, I submit."

And then as in Ps. 107 to offer up the sacrifice of Thanksgiving.

That is God's Grace being manifest.

But I also learned to FEAR the Lord...

You see, I'm a very harsh mother. I'm Italian and Austrian...not a great combination for a graceful and quiet spirit. .Plus there's a good bit of rage-aholic in my family background. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not mean or abusive...I'm demanding and critical. I'm stern. And before this whole period, about 5pm was my breaking point where I started munching heads around the house.

Well, as you can imagine, this trial put me over the edge. Instead of my 5pm threashold, it became an all day thing, as I stuggled to keep up with everything, entertain two bored little girls and keep my sanity.

I blew up, I melted down and I LOST it many time over. EVEN as I was learning...

Thank the LORD, early on I saw the need for spiritual help. I called a friend I trust and she's prayed me through this whole thing. And I saw my threshold go from All day, back to 5, then to even 9pm to just being NICER!

A treasured moment with my 2 year old in the bathtub as I was thinking I can't wait to be done with this, she turned in my arms as I was scrubbing her little feet and legs and said, "You my best friend in the whooooole world!"

That couldn't have happened if I was busy barking commands out and demanding soldier like obedience! (Think Vontrap family ~ I had no problem with the whistle! :)

Anyway, I've regretted my sternness many times over the years, even sought the Lord's help, but until this happened, I never HAD to change. Or as I see it, I never chose to fear the Lord first.

You see, world wide, Scabies is pretty epidemic. But here, in the States, it's sorta unheard of. In fact one year ago a friend asked me on FB if my 6 year old might have scabies. She didn't and her poison oak was quickly resolved, but I was quietly offended. Why in the world would she think we had scabies. She's been to my house...we're clean people! Gosh! (BTW~ Has NOTHING to do with personal hygiene....the cleaning mentioned above is needed when they infest someone in your home).
Americans, for the most part, don't get Scabies. (Please don't email me if you have it, I obviously know we are out there!) But comparatively, our drs. aren't knowledgeable, our society hasn't a clue they exist in polite society (much like lice does). This and 2 different studies siting 200-450 individuals sleeping in the same bed a scabies infested person slept in, only 4 people got infested. (WHO signed up for that medical trial??!). All this to say, odds are good, you probably won't get it!

That's why I believe this was something hand picked, by God, for our family to endure. The Lord promises that submitting to His discipline, allowing it to work in our lives "will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness". And it's working in my life. I'm not perfect. HA! Even today, I got a bit testy with my daughter. But the fear of God has pulled me back time and again, reminding me, this is not how Christ acts...It is not how I should act.I'm still learning...but now, I have motivation and what's more, I have seen that Peaceable fruit of righteousness.

Could the Lord give it to us again...sure. Will He? It's unlikely. But here's the real thing...Assuredly, he will use something else to draw us to Himself, to make us into the expressed image of Christ...I don't ever want to be standing in the way when that happens...I want to be waiting on His will...walking in His perfect ways.It won't make the situation magically go away...but it will accomplish something for His Glory and My Good without having to wade through all the mess of me!

Another thing...His Word has become supremely important in my life. That is another fabulous blessing (one of so many) from this trial! I hope to share a post soon on the many ways the Lord showed his lovingkindness during this difficult time...but if you have Scabies, I'll be putting up another post on what we found helped, what didn't, but until then, I encourage you to go to the website below. Of all the websites out there, and let me tell you most will leave you in tears and feeling hopeless, there is one that is so encouraging. It's: http://samoa6.hubpages.com/hub/Scabies-Can-Cause-Itching-and-Crawling-Sensations-On-Your-Skin You will learn LOTS...and not get depressed doing it.

Peace, Blessing, and remember in those dark night hours... THIS TOO SHALL PASS...It really will.