Spiritual Detox

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I’ve been listening…sorting….purging….on repeat.

It’s spring after all, the best time of year for the maddening clean out of all things old…those bits that have been hidden by the depths of cold winter. It’s Spring! Most years it comes slow around here allowing my heart to thaw out. Breathing in the warming air…sitting on the stoop as the chickens scratch the ground looking for the tender bits of green or the rare early insect. Spring!

It doesn’t take long for the household purging to turn inward…This life is a holistic one. How can I purge only the physical? In this question something called to me in a deeply profound way…I am not just cleaning our home. I am not just taking care of the business of life. I am not just saying and doing hard things. I am in the process of spiritual detox.

Detox: A process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification.

I mentioned this to a friend and he looked at me quizzically….’what does that look like?’ If you have never done a detox I can see how this analogy will likely fall short for you. I have been sitting in this place for a few weeks trying to figure out how to describe what it looks like to others when it feels so deeply natural and personal to me. 

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There is a deep cleansing that takes place when a person detoxes. They make choices to abstain from many normal foods or activities. Often a supplement is taken to help the body release toxins that it has built up. I won’t get into the whole process…but feel free to do some research! At the end of a detox the goal is for your body to have returned to a more natural, healthy place. A starting point or baseline for your body to do its best natural work…healing itself, growing strong, digesting the foods you take in at a much better rate.

However, it doesn’t end there. The foods we take in and activities we pursue after detox are just as important as the detoxing work itself. In order to maintain good health going forward we must make wise choices about what we put into our bodies….

And there it is. Can you see how this idea relates to our spiritual health? Still a bit foggy? Let me unpack my own experience and maybe that will help a bit.

My soul has sat in a place of spiritual unhealth and buildup for years. I was not able to process much of my own thoughts or feelings clearly. I took the first step of detoxing by stepping away from all types of leadership knowing that I was hurting others.  (When a leader chooses ‘the work’ over health ((theirs and others)) there can often be wounding and death that takes place.)  I removed myself from my daily norm and began to purge.

The purging took two years in my case and was by far the longest stage of my detox. I went back and forth and ended up confused more then once. I would carve something out of myself and then wonder if I had cut too deeply, if I should pick something up again….sometimes I would and I would quickly discover the pain again…that old feeling of doubt, distrust and dare I say hate. (Like eating that beautiful scone filled with gluten…not a good idea if your body can’t process gluten)

Here is the thing…there is only so much cutting the body can handle…only so much you can take away….in order for there to be a healthy healing it must also be filled with what is good. In a physical detox this is why healthy supplements, lots of water and specific foods are prescribed. In a spiritual detox we don’t always remember or know what the good things are…so we go to trusted sources…Here is where I praise God day after day for the list of good things he has given me to fill my broken spirit with.

My List:

  • An unshakable trust in the Spirit of God to lead and direct me as I placed my broken life into his hands.
  • good and true soul friends from all walks of life.
  • books that remind me of truth, sometimes this included the Bible, but it didn’t for a long time.
  • songs (when I can handle listening to music) that speak truth to dark places….surprise, many of my truth songs were not from Christian artists.
  • listened to speakers and preachers that brought truth and watered the places my soul had gone dry.
  • I wrote and journaled again…ever the student of my own thoughts, feelings, emotions and process.

And slowly this soul came back…but still not fully…

In my case I had to physically remove myself from the place we had worshiped for years. This was a decision that took a long time for Mike and I. I wrote about it here a few months ago. It being a deeply personal decision and frankly brutal in many ways I won’t go into it other then to point out that sometimes you just need new surroundings. sometimes you need to allow new people the right to speak into your life, to pour into and mend up what has been damaged. So we left. Walking out from all we had known for 5 years and trusting the Lord to bring us to a place of new beginnings. Just as we need to replenish our bodies with new eating habits sometimes we need a new space to grow into.

As I sit here thinking about how to bring this blog to a conclusion…I am wrestling. I don’t have a neat way to wrap up these thoughts. They are raw and new and hard. Detox is not pretty…but it is good. It is a slow, long work that takes endurance and at 3 years in I feel like I’m only part way there.

That humbling moment…

 

There was a moment this week…mid conversation…it was all I could do to hold back the quake. That deep knowing that something larger was at work. Once again, the hand of the Lord was moving. All the pain, all the hurt and brokenness…the parts were coming together again, and my vision, once blurred, has begun to focus. 

How many years have I walked this path marked out, having packed away hope and peace? Joy became a stranger. The questions ever present…Does he see? Does the Lord, my father have any idea? Why did he bring us to this place? For what purpose must I continue to die? Over and over and over….

And in a moment the curtain is pulled back a little farther and I can see his protection. I can begin to understand this depth of pain and the great hands that have held me…kept me back from what would destroy. In my humanity I desired good things that were not best…Sometimes the death of a thing is its best conclusion. I am realizing that hard place I was pushed up against was the Lord’s hand. He was always there. When will I learn? When will I allow his goodness towards me to go deep? When will I trust it and draw from it rather then run and question?

  

At the days end I can see the Lord’s grace in it all. With each bit of knowledge I understand myself and the journey a bit more and what is there to do but offer praise in the pain. I have written often of those ashy places and what a desert they seem to be. I’ve pondered many times on the life that can only come after death. When he chooses to grant clarity of vision it still stops me short. He has been here! He has walked beside…he has held the small light to the path infront of me and protected me from every side. This is a humbling realization and my gratitude can only be expressed in deepest praise. 

Today I can stand, something deep having shifted, only because of his grace towards me. Dear God how do I continue to walk faithfully in this space? How do I continue to choose to give from the broken places and allow them the freedom to teach, offer hope and bring healing? This is the journey of the Ebed House. Lord lead us in faithfulness. Teach us how to offer joy in the midst of deepest pain. Allow this space to be a refuge for a broken world and a hurting church.

Turning the Corner…Church, Some things I want you to know

 

Turning the corner…

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I’m happy. I’m hopeful. I’m reading. I’m thinking. I’m even, dare I say, dreaming. maybe the most painful of all…I’m remembering. Remembering who I am after years of forgetting. Remembering my first love, what I’m passionate about, and remembering who I was created to be….for what purpose.

For this truth teller and word lover I am hearing the whispers of hope and freedom again. You see, I need words. Oh how I love them. Words hard won…held back until they are right for the moment…Oh I need those secret whispers, they bring courage and the call to be true and honest. In the dark moments they let me know that I am not alone, and in the bright moments they give me expression and the opportunity to call others to join in.

So here it is, are you ready?

 

You, you are beautiful shy one. You have purpose and your vision brings joy! You bring my heart hope! Sisters, Jesus lovin’ ladies…young mamas and world worn grandmas,those with broken bodies and those that has never brought a child into this world…you! You have value and beauty to give. Dear God, when did we settle for silence? When did we stop birthing beauty and peace to one-another? When did we allow this world and it’s many external voices to define us?

Might I go on? I pray that I never stop!

You, lover of all living creatures! You, loud lady….the one with the contagious laughter…the movie screamer, coffee drinker and fine food eater. You, brokenhearted, lover of the unborn, caregiver to broken children and to all those with physical, emotional and mental illnesses, compassion giver for those not long for this world. You hold beauty in your hands and your touch brings life! Speak peace with freedom!

This is who we are dear church. Let us not forget…when we feast on the Word we have a great opportunity to share rest, and peace…to a world that is going hungry and doesn’t even know it. Our churches are filled with women gone silent…we’ve stopped speaking….stopped calling forth life….lost the art of a word well placed.

A life lived…

Back to that remembering…that returning to my first love…as the Spirit grows and I am reminded of grace it is my deep desire to share worth with those who overlap my life. A welcomed cup of coffee, a word of courage, a challenge to live out a conviction, a meal, peace…hope…

Take courage dear ones…speak!

As hope grows

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We are entering a new place….on the verge of the unknown and for the first time, in a long time, I feel freedom rather then restraint. We have been released. There is no other way to express it. We were not ‘called out’ or given a ‘new mission’ we have simply been released, allowed to step away from what we have dug into, prayed for and broken over for years.

This business of planting churches has left me a shell. It has broken things I once prized and slapped me in the face. It has bitten me in the back and allowed me to burn. It has left me screaming in the corner with a horse voice and drowned in my own tears. This…this pain and brokenness has left me a shell…Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord for the hard and the pain that makes me a new creature! Praise the Lord for the brokenness that allows me to see that only his kindness can heal and restore! Praise the Lord for making all things new!

I find myself rediscovering parts of who I am that have gone dormant over the years. Those areas that stop growing without food and light…without pruning and compassion. Mike and I have had many hope filled conversations in the last two weeks, and each time I catch that look in his eye, the one that seems to say, ‘Oh, yes, I remember her! Where has she been?!’

I wonder who I am now. After 3 church plants, 4 years of ministry before that, 5 years of having the twins home and 8 years of marriage. Who am I? What marks this new creature….what seeds where there in the past that could only grow when planted in death? This oldest child and manager of things…this hope speaker and love giver…this secret dreamer. Oh, I am excited to meet her…to live in her skin!

For the first time in many years I am looking forward with hope. At the age of 36 I pray that this rebirth will bring a deep knowing and greater peace. That I will discover, with joy, the tools I have picked up along the way. Dear Lord, bring us to a safe and sustaining community of faith that will cherish and challenge all that we are growing into.

That Gluten Free Pie Crust I picked up someplace….

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I keep meaning to post the pie crust and pastry blend that I use. I haven’t taken photos yet, but hope to soon…with the holidays just around the corner I am sure to have plenty of opportunities to take a few quick shots while I bake.

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This is a two part instructional. Part 1 is the flour blend for the pastry crust. This blend makes a lot of flour and I just keep it in the refrigerator until I am ready to make pies. It blends up easily and stores nicely. Part 2 is the actual recipe for the pie crust. Each pie crust recipe will make anywhere from 2-3 crusts (says my mom! I can never get a third one out of it…)

Part 1 The Flour Blend: Mix together and refrigerate the following

  • 2 Cups Tapioca Flour
  • 2 Cups Cornstarch
  • 1 Cup Potato Starch Flour
  • 4 Cups Sweet Rice Flour (I have subbed white rice with no problem)
  • 4 teaspoons Xanthan Gum
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar

Part 2 The Pie Crust:

  • 2 1/2 Cups Flour Blend
  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 1 Egg (cold)
  • 1 Tablespoon Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Ice Water

Place the flour mix in a bowl and cut in the butter. Mix with your hands until you have a consistency similar to Lima beans NOT cornmeal! Set aside.

Beat the egg with a fork. Mix in the vinegar and half of the water. Work this into your flour mix with your hands. Add the remainder of the water to the mix and form into 2-3 balls and refrigerate for an hour.

I have found that rolling the dough out between two pieces of plastic wrap works the best for me. put down one piece of wrap and then place your dough in the middle. (if your pie will be larger place two pieces of wrap down next to each other) Then place another layer of wrap on top. Roll out the dough between the layers of plastic wrap. When the dough is the size and thickness you desire take the top layer of wrap off and turn it upside-down into the prepared pie plate. (so the side with the plastic wrap still on it is facing up) Press the dough into the plate and remove the last layer of wrap.

Single Crust: Prick the pastry with a fork on the sides and bottom and cook at 450 for 10-12 min. until the crust is slightly brown. Allow the crust to cool. Then fill the pie and cook per your pies directions.

Double Crust: Roll out both crusts as directed above and place bottom crust into the pan and prick sides and bottom. Add the pie filling and place top crust on as you would with any normal pie, and bake.

I’ve been quiet…

I’ve been keeping quiet again, taking in the world…the wonder and the pain. Watching thing die around me and believing there will be new life…holding onto hope. I will never live fall the same way again. It will always be death…wrapped in brilliant beauty….but still death.

I continue to stand at the cusp of something. I am not sure what it is or what it looks like. It is wholly and totally new to me. I cannot see the next step, but I know going back is not an option. I know what is easy and familiar, the call of guilt and responsibility….the unmet expectations….the assumptions of well meaning others…that somehow they understand, know what it is to be in this place…after a 10 minute conversation. It is all death, and I will not live there.

I will continue to follow the sound of a voice I once knew well…calling me forward out of the fog…the ash. Resting in the moments of beauty, and embracing the pain when it comes rather then turning from it.

We used to open our home for Soup Nights. Deep in the birth of the idea was to welcome other’s into our home to delight in one another and share a bit of peace over a simple meal. This dream was lost in the organization of the thing…in my deep clinging desire to do things just right…check some box of expectation…clean my house just so….was I ‘evangelizing’ enough? was I ‘doing’ enough? ‘Producing’ enough? It was never enough. It was death.

So we burnt it! To the ground! 2 years later what came back? Beauty. Peace. Hope. Love. Last Friday night our home was full of laughter. It was one of the most beautiful times I’ve had at the Ebed House. Nothing forced. No expectations. Just the invitation to come and be. This. This place in time…a moment. A glimpse. This is what we were made for. And I take one step further out of the fog…

That Paleo Cake…

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We often choose to have couples over for a late meal rather than going out to eat. This allows us to stay at home with two, somewhat, stinkery 5 year olds and save on a sitter…it also frees us up to spend a little more to make a special meal that will bless the other couple joining us. We love to cook, we also like feeling good after we have eaten and cooking at home ensures that we know what is in what we eat!

I’ve been on the look out for a ‘go to’ for dessert. I have ALWAYS loved a rich dark chocolate cake with a good red wine…well….I’ve found it! It’s amazing and simple and oh so good! A number of friends have asked for the recipe and I am donating some to this weekend’s bake sale (raising money for a children’s play center and to help a few families in the process of adoption) so I thought this would be a great time to get it up on the blog….

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Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Chocolate Cake

1 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil

2/3 Cup Honey

1 Cup Cocoa Powder

4 teaspoons Vanilla

1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt

6 eggs

Directions:

Heat the oven to 300 and Grease a 9″ spring form pan (I have used other sizes with no issue, just watch your cook time). Then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. In a pot melt together the Coconut oil and honey. WHen they are melted remove the pot from heat and mix in the cocoa powder, vanilla and sea salt. pour into your stand mixer (or use beaters) and beat while adding the eggs. the mixture will be a bit bubbly. When all is well mixed pout into your prepared pan and bake for 40-45 min. The middle should seem a bit damp when you pull it out. The length of cook time will be something you get a feel for the more you make the cake. if you like it on the fudgey side then cook it less…if you want it set cook it a bit longer.

Enjoy! A good red wine is a MUST!!

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A life reanimated

  This was not how I planned to spend my morning…but I’m so glad I took the time! Each morning we feed and take care of the Ebed House animals. Right now we have 23 chicks that are about a month old and 6 adult rabbits. Each of the female rabbits is either expecting or just had their first litter of the season. 

 We have been surprised to see how small the litters are, but I have a feeling that has to do with the time of year. We lost all 6 of the bunnies from the first litter. Amber was a first time mom and often their first batch doesn’t make it. It is also common to lose a few kits at about day 3 so I was not surprised when I went out this morning to find one cold, and seemingly dead bunny. He only has three litter mates and at three days old they don’t have much fur to regulate heat.

As I pulled him out I wrestled with showing my daughter. The twins are almost 5 and they help with the care of our animals. As I held him up to show her his cold and limp body…he moved, just a bit and I decided this little guy needed a chance. His tummy was full so he had eaten at some point during the night and that gave me hope. I handed him over to my daughter who held him with love and whispered kind words to him while I finished up with the rest of the rabbits. 

 We brought him in and heated a small towel to wrap him in. I held my breath, but within 10 minutes he started gasping, and by 20 min (and three reheats of the towel) he was squeaking, squirming and pooping! By the 30 minute mark the towel had cooled for the last time and his body stayed warm! This little guy just might make it!   

  

  It is hard to know when to put in the extra care, but it’s something I’m learning as I take life one moment at a time and choose to enter in, as fully as possible. If he makes it I have no idea how on earth we will butcher him! That is the problem with nursing them back…but that is a struggle for another day. Right now I am grateful for the reanimation of a cold and lifeless little body!

A First Look…

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Save the Date! If you are in the Duluth, Cloquet, Twin Ports area of Minnesota or if you plan to be on May 9th Join me at the Little Jacks Family Fun Fair & Vendor Show! From 10-2 there will be a number of family friendly activities as well as many local vendors selling their goods. Our goal is to raise some money to remodel Little Jacks Play Center (free to the community) and to help a number of families that are in the process of adopting.

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This will also be your first opportunity to purchase items from Ebed House Basics. I have plans for an online store, but it will not be up and running for a bit….So this is your chance! I will have a range of products from bars of soap and shea butter lotions to laundry detergent and chemical free sunscreen. I will be posting photos on the Ebed House Basics Facebook page in the days and weeks to come. Be sure to swing by and like the page so that you can keep up to date on the products that will be available.

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