Having environmental sensitivities to this extent is very isolating, even if you know you are loved. So I specifically aim to make all reasonable opportunities special. I try to be thankful at what I CAN do rather than focus on the things that I CAN’T do.
I’ve had a saying for years now, that “I’ve seen God either provide the strength and health to do something or He provides the helper to get it done or it is something that doesn’t need to be done”.
He always has and will look after what is TRULY NEEDED, including my/our need for fellowship which can only be met in being somehow with other people. That is His design for people and we can trust His heart.
Not going to church as often means that it is extra special when I do go! It’s extra special to the kids too since “Mommy is actually going to sit with us”! I miss not going out as often as I’d like. Small group meetings with other moms are not a regular opportunity for me at this point. A few friends drop by, a few e-mail me, occasionally someone writes a card, I occasionally go out to be with others, and I can be part of interactive groups through the internet. You can see ideas of what I sometimes do instead of attending church in-person in another post. But sometimes, I do go and this post is about that.
I attended church twice in June. We drove the long way to avoid more cell towers and as usual, I wore my shielded clothing for the trip. If you listen to the message below from our pastor, Charlie Lyons, on one of those Sundays, I think you will understand why I asked him if I could post it on my website because it fit here so well. He was going through a sermon series in the book of Hebrews and part of the message is about how Christians are able to manage life’s challenges.
“The Book of Hebrews: Jesus is Better! By faith in Jesus, we can do what others cannot do and live a life pleasing to the Lord. Is your Christian faith a risk-taking faith? In this passage of Hebrews, we will see that, by faith, we should fear God more than people, forsake the world, follow the Lord, and find salvation for our own soul. By faith, take a risk with Jesus!”
Of special interest to the Ontario Christian families and individuals reading my blog… This pastor has since moved to begin another ministry position – Legislative Chaplain at Queen’s Park (Ontario). You can find out more about his new role here: www.leadinginfluence.com/meetcharlie (Yes, he’s also been at the Word of Life booth at some homeschool conferences years ago if any of you recognize him from there.)
A couple of weeks later, our family were involved with the music/children’s ministry during the service. This is how that worked out:
Our church has a “no scent” policy which is very helpful since I and other family members are also multi-chemical sensitive. While our church turns off wifi and encourages no cell phones on fully during the service, there usually is still some detectable radiation measured by my acoustimeter (from our church or visitors who still have something radiating, for example “smart” t.v.’s, syncing watches, or people who need to be “on-call”). So I still need to wear shielded clothing to reduce symptoms afterwards. Yet having a headnet and clothing that specifically has metal in it means a few things for me (beyond its function and helpfulness in giving me occasional opportunities to get off my property to do something else without as serious of a burn for my face or eyes or digestive issues):
- A headnet (and other shielded clothing) is made of conductive fabric – the silver or copper in it helps to reflect the microwaves but the downside is that metal conducts electrical fields. Now that’s not likely an issue if one is away from electrical appliances or if microwaves are the only frequencies one is sensitive too, however, I am quite sensitive to electrical and magnetic fields as well. After sitting in a pew one Sunday a few months ago near the piano with my shielded clothing on including my headnet, we wondered why on earth my body had fine twitches/tremors after about an hour…. then we figured it out! The speaker boxes (over and under the piano area for amplification purposes) emit higher electrical and magnetic fields! And my clothing was conductive. So that combination was filling my bucket.
- A headnet doesn’t help me to eat out with my family (because it covers my mouth) so I use a set of non-conductive “microwave glasses” to protect my eyes (not my face) and remove my headnet. My microwave glasses look somewhat goofy and it isn’t easy to read fine print with them. (It’s fine to see through otherwise.) So I wore them to play the piano for the service but printed the order of service in large print for me and played by ear or by memory that Sunday. And then afterwards for a meal at church. This worked well.
- A headnet looks goofy too. Especially in the winter. Or if it isn’t “bug season” yet. Or if one is indoors (which is most public spaces). I have frequently received the comment in stores, etc., “Uh, you know, there aren’t any bugs in here.” A headnet is not a hideable fashion. My kids are great, by the way. They don’t complain that I look goofy. They are just happy to be together and love me just the same. And the kids at church are kind and considerate too, even the visiting ones. I don’t mind the honest questions they have at all.
But I didn’t want to explain that stuff when I told the children’s story at the front before dismissing the kids to Sunday School. Since I didn’t want my message to be obscured by my appearance, I removed the glasses too so it was just my plain, old face. It is nicer for doing ventriloquism to have facial expressions visible too as my lion puppet friend retold the story of God keeping Daniel safe in the lions’ den. To me, it is very important to have no shielding on my face for talking with children, even if I get burned. I serve the same God Who cared for Daniel. And the same God Who was with Daniel’s 3 friends in the fiery furnace. By the way, while my eyes have been swollen the first week afterward, they have NOT ripped, and while my skin was red, it was not painful or overly itchy this time. Yes, my muscles were inflamed, my arm strained, and I got a related headache, but things could have been a lot worse.
Psalm 28:7 says: “The LORD is my Strength and my Shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped…”
This was a specific answer to prayer for a specific purpose that God’s Word would be kept as the central focus for the children, and not what I looked like.
You see, Jesus truly IS better – not just in the days gone by but right now, today, in every single situation we may find ourselves in. And HE is the One our faith must abide in. His presence continues and His care remains trustworthy.