When Grace Shines Through

Barely old enough to buy the champagne we toasted with, we took vows and we promised forever and I felt safe and you had hope and we walked back down that aisle with grand plans but no idea what the future held.  And a decade and a half later we woke up in the middle of our hurried thirties with five kids and a business and a million responsibilities, next to a person we thought we knew too well but maybe didn’t know at all.

And we both broke vows and we broke each other’s hearts and you lost hope and I built walls to keep myself safe.  And we almost lost it all.

But hope holds on and safety can be found when we refuse to let go.  And for a year now we have fought, often with each other, but also for each other.  And we have learned that it’s possible to fall in love with the same person over and over and over again.  We’ve learned that forgiveness comes at a cost but it is worth the price because redemption is our reward.

And on nights when I want to give up and make my own safety behind those walls, on nights when you lose hope and we wonder if we will ever be us again, God reminds me that our surrender is to Him because our trust is in Him, and we must choose to stay soft toward one another and always assume the best.  Because this love is real and true and imperfect and broken, but in all those broken places, His grace shines through.

Sometimes I wake up with the sadness
Other days it feels like madness
Oh…what would I do without you?

When colours turn to shades of grey
With the weight of the world at the end of the day
Oh…what would I do without you?

A decade goes by without a warning
And there’s still a kindness in your eyes
Amidst the questions and the worries
A peace of mind, always takes me by surprise.

I feel like I’m walking with eyes as blind
As a man without a lantern in a coal mine
Oh…what would I do without you?

My imagination gets the best of me
And I’m trying to hide lost at sea
Oh…what would I do without you?

The difference between what I’ve said and done
And you’re still standing by my side
A guilty soul and a worried mind
I will never make it, if I’m on my own

So you’ve got the morning, I’ve got midnight
You are patient, I’m always on time
Oh…what would I do without you?

You’ve got your sunshine, I’ve got rainclouds
You’ve got hope, I’ve got my doubts

Oh…what would I do without you?
Oh…what would I do without you?
Oh…what would I do without you?

~ Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Why We’re “Forget(ting) the Frock” Again This Year…

Last year was the first time I had heard the term “Forget the Frock“.  Always looking for a way to simplify life and help the less fortunate (and a bonus if we can do both at once!), I immediately jumped on board.  A shirt was designed and promoted supporting Haiti Lifeline Ministries, starting an adoption fund within the ministry.

And as Easter came closer this year and I knew we needed to start planning for Forget the Frock if we wanted to do it again, I wrestled a bit.  Because Easter feels like such a slighted holiday anyway, yet it is one of the most important.  I don’t want to participate in hijacking the resurrection of Christ in the name of raising money, even for such a worthy cause as adoption.  But on the other hand, we (as Americans) can spend so much time, money, and energy on clothes that will be worn one day, fussed over for pictures, and then stuffed in closets and sold next year at garage sales, I decided maybe this wasn’t really hijacking anything, but maybe taking it back.  Because Christ came to seek and save the lost, to lead the charge to care for the orphan and widow, and if we are adopted in Him then we are commanded to do the same.  So maybe a simple shirt that can be worn year round, proclaiming His name and the good news, that helps put orphans in families….maybe that really is the best way to dress for Easter.

So we are excited to do this again, with some great new shirts designed just for this event.

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Click here to order yours.  And then feel free to share with your friends why you’re simplifying your Easter by sharing this post.

Forget the frock.  Help an orphan.  Buy a shirt.  Change a life.

For His Glory ~

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* Special thanks to the Fox Family for starting this movement and letting the rest of us be part of it!

When Your Eyes Are Opened Once Again…..

Ann writes this post yesterday from Haiti and as snow falls outside this morning in Kansas, mixed with thunder and lightning, I read and God speaks somewhere deep.  This, this is what the Lord has been trying to show me.  Through discomfort, discontent, seeking, searching, 7, finances, and the hungering emptiness inside, He’s been calling me.  Telling me I’ve forgotten.  I’ve gotten comfortable in the world again and embraced it.  He tells me it’s time to seek His face more than I check Facebook.  It’s time to be about His interests more than I’m about Pinterest.  It’s time to turn my heart back out to the world, not to become more like it, but to love like Him.

And my heart breaks at the realization.  How do I so easily forget God’s goodness?  How do I become blind to His good graces?  How do I become so complacent and forget the poor and needy and hungry and hurting when my own daughter is one of them?  It’s a gradual thing to go from walking so close to wandering in the dark. Oh that this wandering heart would hold fast to what is really real.

And Ann writes these two things…

And the fast the Lord wants is to break free – free from indifference…

And the bare bottom line is that if you are going to keep company with Jesus, you are going to have to give up keeping up with the Joneses.

And in a Facebook-Pinterest world it’s a hard thing to give up the keeping up.  And I don’t know how to do it really, clearly.  Other than to throw myself at my Jesus’ feet and ask Him to keep my eyes open and my heart raw and teach me to love like He does – to love people more than things, souls more than status, His kingdom more than this world.

Lord, have mercy on us…

For His Glory ~

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Eleven and Twelve

And nearly a hundred more….

November 11 – A game of golf I’m actually good at….

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November 12 – Candles burning and the quiet calm of a fall Monday….

And continuing to list and count the gifts He gives daily, relentlessly, out of His over-flowing love for us….


I didn’t realize I haven’t listed the gifts here in nearly a month(?!), so the list is long, long, long…. 

2175.  last long run finished

2176. kind words that encourage, build up

2177.  a quiet night with my girls

2178.  another rainy Saturday

2179.  husband who spends his Saturday doing a project I could do, but just don’t have time for

2180.  painted bathroom

2181.  so many deadlines closing in

2182.  grace for each hectic moment

2183.  a God who is present and close by

2184.  the energy and motivation to just keep going

2185.  just a few more days of crazy-busy

2186.  iron to strengthen tired blood cells

2187.  Thursday

2188. crazy wind

2189.  swirling leaves

2190.  all this beauty of fall

2191.  a school week finished strong

2192.  warm soup

2193.  fresh bread

2194.  a “rest” day

2195.  fifth half marathon completed

2196.  dear friends who train with me and a dear friend to run it with

2197.  eyes open to the hurt in our kids

2198.  seeking how to make it right

2199.  girls’ surprise, coming home to a yard raked clean

2200.  productive late nights

2201.  foggy mornings and time in His word

2202.  cool rain

2203.  temperatures dropping

2204.  leaves falling

2205. race weekend here!

2206.  the thrill of watching countless hours of work come to fruition

2207.  smiles on muddy faces as they crossed the finish line

2208.  new friends

2209.  lots of laughter

2210.  really good sleep

2211.  race bags unpacked

2212.  loaves of bread lining the counter

2213.  a day spent working alongside my girls

2214.  forty loaves of bread baked in two days

2215.  husband and oldest girl nearly ready to fly

2216.  learning daily the value of prayer, the power in talking to God

2217.  husband and first born in the air toward Haiti

2218.  photos from Haiti – braids and just-met sisters

2219.  sleep

2220.  leaves scattered all across floors – remnants of fall’s beauty brought inside

2221.  continually learning to release my own agenda

2222.  laughter of little girls

2223.  incredible music at church

2224.  worshipping the Lamb

2225.  a meal to benefit the homeless; girls’ eyes opened to their neighbors in need

2226.  battles worth fighting

2227.  restored fellowship

2228.  election day and freedom to choose

2229.  hope for the future because my hope is not of this world

2230.  trust in God’s plan, even though it may bring discomfort

2231.  a massage – gift of a sweet sister-in-law

2232.  adoption talk and a voice of balance and reason

2233.  missing my people

2234.  fluids for my very sick dad

2235.  only one more day

2236.  chatting with my oldest last night

2237.  beautiful pictures of love shown in Haiti

2238.  a husband I am beyond proud to call my own

2239.  feeling caught up on a Friday morning

2240.  my people home, my heart happy

2241.  tales from Haiti – laughter, tears

2242.  encouraging words for my oldest child – how she did so well

2243.  family time on the weekend 

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

When The Best Gifts Come at a Cost

I am privileged today to have a very special guest post.  Matt shared this with me last week.  He said he woke up one morning and started writing and just couldn’t stop and before he knew it, this had been poured out on his keyboard, filling the screen with words, memories.

May you be blessed by his reflections on Christmas, sacrifice, and what it means to give.  And may you enjoy a wonderful Christmas weekend, sharing love and hope and joy with all those you meet.

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

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My Favorite Christmas Gift Ever

 

I still remember the night. I was sitting, playing with my brother Patrick on a green, indoor-outdoor carpet in the unfinished area of our basement.  At the time, that basement seemed huge.  I’m sure if I were to visit it again, it would feel much smaller.  Next to us were some storage racks, one of them holding a green, well-used baby walker and a pea-green, well-used baby-backpack carrier.

On the other side of the furnace and water heater was a room filled with all sorts of enticing treasures.  Most of them were of the old military variety.  A large cabinet with doors was packed full of dark green pouches and thin cardboard boxes – both of them filled with musty smelling “c-rations”.  One of my best childhood memories involves the theft of these items. I don’t ever remember being given permission to eat the seemingly endless supply of this treasure-trove of snacks.  Yet, on a fairly regular basis we would indulge ourselves on these forbidden treats.

I still remember the taste of the stale crackers.  If you spread a little of the copper tasting cheese or peanut-butter on them, they tasted a little better.  However, as anyone with experience in c-ration consumption surely knows, the real culinary ecstasy came from the chocolate covered coconut macaroon cookies.  I’m not sure if it was because no one knew I was sitting under the stairs eating these goodies or if it was because my mother was completely obsessed with the health of her family (which primarily meant NO sugar). Regardless I remember feeling as if I was in heaven.

Then, there were the packets of hot cocoa.  However, drinking hot cocoa would require using the kitchen and using the stove because microwaves hadn’t been invented.  Further, it would require coming out from under the stairs, which would surely lead to some sort of military-style inquisition.  After-all, these were covert-ops we were engaged in, and we were sworn to secrecy under threat of severe penalty.  So, we ate the hot coco mix straight out of the packets.  I believe I remember with the faintest of memories a time when either Patrick or Noah failed to completely clean up the evidence of a coco binger, usually left in the form of a chocolate-dust goatee.  I also seem to faintly remember quickly coming up with a story about them eating dirt or something along those lines.  The memory I have is that of being surprised at myself for thinking of that story so quickly and that my mom bought said story.  Looking back, I’m guessing she knew exactly what was going on.  Maybe she was willing to overlook our obvious transgressions because they meant the basement was slowly, but surely getting cleaned out.  Maybe we fooled her.  Maybe she realized in this instant that she was depriving her children of too much sugar.  Regardless, in hindsight, I appreciated her mercy.

On the other side of the knotty-pine door that had a j-shaped black iron clasp-style door handle, was a knotty-pine room taken straight out of Colorado.  In fact, we had a window with a mountain-view!  Even as a child, I remember thinking “that is really odd”.  Honestly, why would someone put a mountain view mural on the wall, then go to the trouble of building windows around it?  Did they honestly think they could fool someone into not thinking they were in a basement in Kansas?  Did they bring people back from far away, blindfolded and after a long drive sit them in front of that window and then expect them to absolutely love the view?  I just remember being confused by these questions as a child, among other things.

However, this side of the basement also holds many fond memories as well.  For this is where we first held class.  The beautiful Colorado mountain view was quickly obscured by a dark chalkboard.  Desks were set up facing the board.  I distinctly remember my father standing at the board with a dowel rod teaching us classes before going to work.  He would use the dowel rod to point out whatever it was that he was trying to teach us on the board.  Then, if we didn’t learn whatever it was (probably advanced logic, or an obscure foreign language) the dowel rod also doubled as the instrument of correction.  One of the things I appreciate about growing up in an unknown state of meager means is that it taught you to find multiple uses for objects.

I remember an old wooden table in the left-hand corner, with a homemade bookshelf above it.  I remember that regardless of how early I got up in the morning, my mother would be sitting at that desk preparing our schooling for the day.  I didn’t realize at the time that initially she didn’t really have any curriculum for us other than what she came up with.  Sure, math books and history books followed, but this was a different time before homeschooling became popular, before there were more curriculum possibilities than you could possibly count.  She poured her life into us in that room.  She made us create “life-notebooks” which I remember hating.  The lessons learned sitting there with a partially obscured view of the Colorado mountaintops are the lessons that shaped me into what and who I am today.

It was also at that table that I remember my father meeting with his first legal client.  I don’t know much about that meeting; not who it was, not what they were meeting about.  There was a feeling of confusion about why my dad was meeting some guy at our school table.  My mom quickly whisked us off after we came into the room to inquire what was going on – maybe we had hot cocoa goatees, I’m not sure.  One thing that I will always remember is the look on my dad’s face.  I’m not sure why this sticks with me to this day, but it was a look of absolute terror and absolute satisfaction at the same time.  It was not until I started my business that I understood that look.  Surely, he was scared to death of the future, yet relieved to be in the present and past his formal training.  He never said that, but I saw it.  It was at this old wooden table that I first saw what it took to run a business, to work diligently, to serve people through my occupation.  I also now know that he probably met with them there because of the incredible views, for surely they would think he was a high-powered city attorney with a view of the mountains in his office!

On the other side of that desk was an old kitchen.  When I was still quite young my mother ventured out into business.  From what I remember, she saved her birthday and Christmas money until she had enough to buy jars, various goods to sell and a receipt book.  She named her business “Chris-Teas-and-Spices”, an obvious play on her name.  I don’t remember how long this business was around.  But I do remember a few times a customer would come over and buy some of her spices or teas.  I remember how excited she was and how she would tell my father what she had been able to sell.  Personally, I remember how thrilled I was that she allowed me to help measure out, weigh and bag the spices she sold.  Again, some of the lessons I learned here I would not fully comprehend until I was embarking on my own entrepreneurial ventures.  But, I remember that I loved to be involved in this part of my mother’s life.

Memories.  If given some thought, sometimes they teach us just a little bit about why we are the people we become.

Going back through the knotty pine door to that night, sitting, playing with Patrick. I distinctly remember the scream.  A little boy isn’t supposed to hear his daddy scream in pain.  I never had before.    I knew I had been told not to go over into his workshop because he was working on something special.  My father, while never particularly gifted in woodworking, had always built us many of the things we used, the things we played with and the things we loved.  It was shortly before Christmas this particular year and I’m guessing I assumed he was making my mother another shelf or something of the sort.

When the yell went out, my mom ran down the stairs and ran over to my dad.  Then, she quickly ran over to our neighbor’s house and frantically pounded on the door.  The look of panic in her face said it all.  I knew something terrible had happened.  She asked for ice and a baggie and if our neighbors could watch my brothers and I while she took my dad to the hospital.  After an evening of watching television – something that was a rare treat indeed – my mom came back over and got us and took us back home.

It was there that I learned my father had cut off the end of his finger in a table saw.  They had tried to reattach it, but could not.  He had bandages on his finger, on his hand.  I remember feeling very sorry for him, wishing that I could do something to help.  But the memory that is even stronger is that he never complained.  Not even once.  In fact, he would joke about it and still does from time to time.  He said he had one less fingernail to cut now.

Christmas morning came.  We were always so excited for Christmas morning, enough that I could barely sleep the night before.  In those years, we would mostly get things that we needed: new socks and underwear, clothes, maybe a toy or two, some candy and for some odd reason, my mother always gave us an orange.  To this day, I’ve never asked her why she did that and still find it curiously strange.  This year, we had a large box to open that was tagged to “all of the boys” from “Dad”.  We opened a large box of various size wooden blocks to build whatever our imaginations demanded.  It even included castle turrets that my dad had cut out and routed so that they appeared as if they were from the Narnian castle Cair-Paravel.  They had a recessed area to put our army-men or lego figures.

I remember my mom getting a little choked up when she told us that this gift is what my dad had been laboring on when the accident happened.  Even at that young age, a sobering feeling came over me.  My father had sacrificed deeply for this gift.  He gave of his own flesh and blood.  He injured and gave a part of his hand away to create this child’s masterpiece, just for us.  He did it because he loved us.

To this day, I remember how touched I was by that gift.  While it probably lost its glamour relatively quickly,  it didn’t lose its meaning.  It was and is still one of my favorite Christmas gifts ever.

But these days I think more about what this experience – this gift, this sacrifice – taught me about the greatest gift I’ve ever received on Christmas.  Jesus came down to this earth as a baby and gave himself as a gift to me.  He didn’t complain about leaving the perfect environment of heaven.  He did it because He loved me.

Ultimately, this Gift was injured, just like my father.   However, He didn’t just have His finger severed.  He had His hands pierced for me.  He gave His life for me – for me!  Just as I remembered being sobered by my earthly father’s sacrifice for me, even now among the lights and the holiday parties, I’m sobered by my heavenly Father’s love.

So, this Christmas I’m reflecting on past Christmases and past times.  I am remembering a Christmas gift of wooden blocks under a tree, born out of a loving sacrifice.  But, I’m also remembering a Gift that came in a wooden manger and eventually died a sacrificial death on a tree because of His love for me.  Oh, and I also remember how good those packs of hot cocoa mix and military issued Chiclets were as well!

Merry Christmas!

~ Matt

Remembering What Matters Most

We live in what I like to call a “transitional” neighborhood.  It’s not as bad as it may look from the outside, but it’s no master planned community either.  It’s old and some of the houses show it, but most of the owners on our block have been working hard to restore and maintain all of our nineteenth century homes.  But there is one house in the neighborhood that remains an enormous eyesore.  And it happens to be the one right.next.door.  Which brings us to today.

We get home from church and pull into the drive.  I feel like a third world country has popped up in the neighbors’ back yard.  Make shift laundry lines and clothes hung out to dry.  Random household items are strewn in the side yard.  The remnants of their now weekly “yard sale” linger on the front porch.  I get angry and say this has to be stopped.  I’m going to call the landlord, I fume.

We come inside and prepare to lay down for the Sabbath’s rest.  A perfect 72 degrees outside, the bedroom windows are open.  I hear profanities being spewed outside my window.  Not the rest I had in mind.  I’m angrier and begin to try to find the landlord’s telephone number.  No luck.

I come back to try to lay down again and begin to pray and my heart softens.  Did we not just spend the Sunday school hour discussing what matters most is that people know Jesus?  Did I not hear, oh white-washed tomb?  Or do I simply not practice in real life that which is so easy to say in a classroom of like-minded friends?

So I pray for them and I pray for myself.  I pray that my eyes would be opened to see them like Jesus does, to love them like Jesus does.  I pray that the Lord will draw them close and use them (and me) for His glory.  And I pray that if I have the opportunity that I will not shy away from telling them about Jesus.  From telling them about the only one who can take this heart and make it free to love the unlovable.  Telling them about the one who loves them just as they are and who wants to dwell with them and abide with them and make them free as well.  And telling them about the one who makes it possible to “give thanks in all circumstances” for this is what He made us for – to praise Him.

Praising Him for just some of the countless blessings…

0842.  serving with my girls

0843.  building bridges over time

0844.  loaves of bread, rising in their pans

0845.  doing something different

0846.  a friend who brings coffee and an hour of conversation

0847.  lunch with a friend, sharing stories and laughter

0848.  curtains made

0849.  girls’ night out

0850.  the mission field next door

0851.  four year old’s phone call, just to say “I love you”

0852.  surprise new clothes

0853.  surprise dinner at a special place on a beautiful patio with my favorite


Mercy Rising – My Take Away

I’ve finally started burning through my summer reading list at the pace I know I’m capable of.  🙂  To see the list, posted at the beginning of June May (man, this summer is flying by!), click here.

Yesterday I finished Mercy Rising:  Simple Ways to Practice Justice and Compassion by Amber Robinson.  As I said in yesterday’s post, I highly recommend this book.  It’s a quick, easy read and full of useful, practical, every day ways to help others in the midst of our already busy lives.  She gives dozens and dozens of websites and information to facilitate the reader in her desire to serve those in need.

This little book review is mostly bullet points of what stood out to me in the book.  Hopefully it will be enough to entice you to pick up a copy and find your own way live the gospel.  (quotes are in bold italics)

Love is always a choice of will that impacts my feelings over time. This would be true in my personal relationships and in loving those I am called to serve.

Just as the loaves increased when they were broken, the Lord has granted those things necessary to the beginning of this work and when they (are) given out, they will be multiplied by His inspiration, so that in this task of mine I shall not only suffer no poverty of ideas but shall rejoice in wonderful abundance. – Augustine

Daily bread.  I’m empty, but security will not fill me. Daily bread – not what He gives, but Him.

The list of websites in the book is not comprehensive, but it is abundant.  Here are just a few:

www.goodsearch.com – shopping

www.freerice.com – vocabulary fun

www.freepoverty.com – geography game

www.betterworldbooks.com – buy and sell used books; profits help fund world literacy

www.warmwoolies.org – knitting group (as the girls and I get better at knitting, I think we’ll check into one of these)

www.projectlinus.org – knitting group

www.kidsofcourage.com – activity sheets, coloring pages, etc

www.questforcompassion.org – interactive game for kids; characters explore foreign countries and collect information

www.servlife.org – take a family missions trip

www.worldorphans.org – help an orphan stay off the streets

www.nationalsharedhousing.org – share your home

www.artistshelpingchildren.org – take your children to visit, and share their art work with sick kids.

www.slaverymap.org – see where human trafficking has been found around you; watch for signs of it and report offenders

Mother Teresa said people should begin in their own homes to remedy poverty.  Her prescription to love grates against the culture of grand gestures that tells us to serve where we’ll be seen.

All of chapter 5 is on shopping.  How to shop ethically, to make sure you are not (unknowingly) supporting human trafficking/slavery, how to shop in abundance so you can give your extra to others.  A whole chapter on how to be a justice-minded consumer.  As women, we spend much of our time shopping – either for pleasure or necessity.  What an ordinary, but important, area where we can make an impact.

Don’t reach for your billfold; it is not close enough to your heart.  Don’t raise your hand to volunteer for another committee in the ecclesiastical bureaucracy; tokenism is an unfit gift.  Rather, look within.  What invigorates you?  What causes you to wake up before dawn with a new idea spinning in your mind?  What fuels your imagination, even when you are fatigued?  Here is where you will find your most valued treasure.  Here is where you will find a gift worthy of your Lord. – Robert Lupton

The Greek word for “hospitality” meant “the love of strangers” and “generosity to guests”. (emphasis mine)

The true end of education is not only to make the young learned,

But to make them love learning,

Not only to make them industrious,

But to make them love industry,

Not only to make them virtuous,

But to make them love virtue…

Not only to make them just,

But to make them hunger and thirst after justice.

–       John Ruskin

Loving the poor can be very messy.

Pick a corner and work your way out. (This quote is mostly for me…..it is from a story in the book and is relevant, but I’m not going to go into that here.  I think it’s just a pretty good philosophy on the messiness of life. )

Organize a baby shower for low income moms. – What a great, simple idea!

The impact God has planned for us does not occur when we’re pursuing impact – it occurs when we’re pursuing God. – Phil Vischer

This next section astounded me:

Christian Smith and Michael O. Emerson, authors of Passing the Plate, compiled a list that challenges our thinking.  They tally $46 billion in lost revenue each year just from regular church attendees who don’t practice biblical tithing, which is ten percent of their income.  Money isn’t’ all that’s lost. With this amount of lost revenue we could –

–       Complete the funding needed to eradicate polio within the next year.

–       Build 1,000,000 wells.

–       Send livestock to 4,000,000 needy families.

–       Give food, clothes, and shelter to all 6,500,000 refugees in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

–       Triple the resources being spent on translation work to provide Bibles to the 2,737 people groups lacking Bibles in their own languages.

–       Raise the salaries of the 50,000 lowest paid pastors in the United States by $15,000 each.

–       Quadruple the amount spent on global evangelism.

Only 27 percent of United States Evangelicals are tithing, and 36 percent gave away less than two percent of their income according to a December 2008 article from Christianity Today.

I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give.  I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. – CS Lewis

Freedom and Poverty

It started a few years ago.  It was winter, almost Christmas, and we were looking through the Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog.  You could donate to help rescue girls from human trafficking.  Matt said something like, “I think maybe, someday, God will want us to do something like this.”  I thought to myself, “Seriously?  That’s a whole world of issues we can’t understand.  If I’ve got issues from what I’ve been through…those poor girls….I can’t imagine.”  But having been abused myself, my heart breaks for girls mistreated.  The idea is not dismissed, just shelved for the time.

First I read this book…..

….and I know I must act.  But how?  Life is so busy.  But I know that’s no excuse to ignore the needs of those created in His image.

Then Haiti happened.  We prayed for the safe return of Matt’s brother and sister and their team.  They came home and seven Haitian children were (legally) united with forever families.  We watched news reports of fathers and mothers in Haiti selling their children because they could not care for them.  I wept as I tried to fathom the despair a mother must feel to believe selling her child is her best option.  And I wept for those children who have no mother or father to hold them at night, who were sold by those God ordained to protect them.

This summer I picked up this book….

….and I begin to find ways to act.  I highly recommend it.  I’m about halfway through it.  It is varied in it’s scope and highly practical with countless ways to practice “kingdom justice” in the midst of our already busy lives.  Please pick up a copy.  Today.

This weekend I read this post and God struck something in my soul.   I talked to Matt.  We agreed to pray about how to be involved.  Maybe not in this particular ministry.  But something.  Somehow.

This morning I woke up to this post.  (Do you think God is trying to tell me something???  I’m not even kidding.)

My Jesus has set me free from so much.  From sin, bondage, bitterness.  He carried me through the storms of my own abuses and has placed me forever under the shelter of His wings.  I do not know how I can stop human trafficking from my home schooling, middle American life.  I don’t know how I am to rescue girls the age of my oldest daughter, bought and sold to be used by men while I keep up with laundry or get my groceries or take my own girls to ballet and horse back riding lessons.  But I know those are someone’s girls.  They have hearts and souls and dreams.  They have a heavenly Father who loves them.

I know this happens here in America and around the world.  I know it’s not just girls affected.  I know I cannot ignore it.

I do not yet know what the Lord has planned for us in this area.  For now I will pray and wear awesome jewelry.

What about you?  What are you doing with the freedom God’s given you?