[bl]I[/bl] savored the sweet Christmas days of husband home, seven upstairs sleeping, children creating, the couch holding us often, the mornings starting late, frequent visitors, and a messy home. And just when I began anticipating the days of the new year, my body surrendered to a virus. The aching from head to toe kind.
I stay in bed. The children attempt school without me. The littles run wild. I surface only to satisfy my role as chef and referee. But mostly I rest. In my loud, active, busy home I wait for healing.
I want the kind of home that heals. That gathers the hurting and nurses their wounds. And in my healing home, may my children be a balm with their laughter and naivety. May my marriage be a safe haven for those waiting on the only One who truly heals.
Remember the woman who immediately healed after touching the mere cloak of Jesus? Can you image what can happen to those who actually touch his body — the hands and feet and heart of Christ that have inherited his ministry on this earth?
As the Church, we have a burden for the sick. We have a responsibility for the hurting. They are ours to care for. Ours to love. Ours to hold. May God give us his eyes for just one second to find these people. To see them through grace and welcome them into our life. And when life is crowded and we can’t see them, may they reach out and touch us.
Wounded friends. Hurting strangers. Distressed churches. Grieving neighbors. Those suffering with illness. These are the people to run to, the people to gather and hold. The people who need something, someone. Is that why Jesus went to them? Is that why he lived the redeemed life among the stricken, lost, unheard, unloved, unvalued, untouched? Everybody needs a savior….but maybe those people understand that reality just a little better than the rest of us.
May God give us a heart that welcomes, a spirit that invites and a life that is interruptible for those in need of healing.
These winter days bring sickness. In our warm dry homes, the air is stale and viruses breed. Here are a few things I plan to do in our home to create an environment of health and healing during the next few months.
- Periodically open my windows to allow fresh air to circulate through our home. Today is unsually warm for this time of year, a perfect day to do this.
- A few fifteen minute walks outside each day with the children in between our school work. Fresh air and activity are good for body and soul.
- Making hot green tea with honey to soothe dry throats.
- Making homemade chicken broth, infused with vegetable goodness. Mark shares his recipe below.
- Increase our water intake to replenish dry skin and hair and flush toxins.
- Follow the example of the sun, and set earlier to bed. Our family maintains long stretches of health. And one thing we consistently do is sleep well and long each night. These are the hours our body heals and restores.
Our physical and emotional beings are connected at our soul. The bleak colorless scene outside our window is capable of slowing our energy and depressing our mood. Winter’s theme of death is hard on creatures who were born for life. There are ways to embrace this season, capture it’s beauty and hibernate in the place we find ourselves. But if the gray days get you down, here are a few things you can do to heal your spirit.
- Color your world! Paint a room or a piece of furniture a fun color that reminds you of life. Or have your children paint colorful pictures and hang them on your walls.
Life is too short for neutrals!
Bring colors that make you happy into your home.
Orange is my happy color.
- When the sky is blue, take a walk and let the sun’s rays feed you.
(If you notice winter truly does affect your mood, you might consider a sun lamp)
- Fill your home with words that give life. Write them to be seen, speak them to be heard.
- Let light pour into your home. And if there’s no sun to provide it, you be the source.
- Exercise to release endorphins and boost your spirit.
- Submit to the quiet and slow of the snowy cold. Learn to receive them as grace from our Father who knows that seasons of dying are essential for seasons of growing.
1 chicken carcass from a rotisserie chicken you ate for dinner (you can also use a raw chicken and debone the chicken for recipes or soups)
4 quarts of water
3 tablespoons white vinegar (the vinegar helps pull minerals and collagen from the bones)
1-2 medium onions, quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1-2 inches of ginger root
1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 inch lengths
½ stalk of celery
½ green pepper
3 springs of parsley
salt and pepper
Optional spices — a dash of curry powder or paprika. My favorite is curry!
- Simmer the chicken carcass (including skin) in a large stock pot with the water and vinegar for about 3-4 hours on low-medium heat. You will need to add water on occasion to make sure the chicken stays covered.
- Strain and defat the stock. You can defat the stock using a fat separator cup, or by refrigerating the stock and then removing the hardened layer of fat that rises to the top. Make sure that you let the stock cool a bit before putting it into the fridge, if you use this method.
- Simmer the vegetables in the strained and defatted stock for about an hour, adding the parsley during the last 10 minutes. Add water to maintain 3-4 quarts in the stock pot.
- Strain stock and use for soups and cooking. We even drink the warm stock in a mug when we’re not feeling well!