Tragedy

I don’t think any of us can escape it. Lately it seems the world has been given an extra dose.  The devastation on the streets of Joplin, MO… So many displaced, with nothing, missing pieces of themselves and their families… I can’t imagine.

Some of our friends back home just had a beautiful baby girl, affectionately known as  “Mighty Melody”.  She was born at 23 weeks weighing 14 oz.  Fighting for life while her mama works to keep her own health up.

But amidst the pain and through tear stained eyes I see Him.  Not an in-genuine, cheesy “God is good, so it will be okay”…I really see Him.  I’ve watched so many people swarm to Joplin to serve those they know and love–some serving strangers they may never know in a place that’s far from home.  I see the body of Christ meeting practical needs of a family who’s up to their eyeballs in doctors appointments and soon-to-be hospital bills.  Mowing their yard and feeding their cat and providing gas money for the traveling they have to do to see their baby girl.  And I wonder if moments like these exist to allow his goodness to shine through.  After all, light shines brightest in the dark… and I know it’s easy for me to say simply being an observer–but it’s still enough to make me wonder if it’s our chance.  Us, those of us in this big bad world that call ourselves followers of Christ.  He shows His goodness in so many ways-but I have to believe that the most tangible is through us.  Overwhelmed by the way He is working in people’s hearts to serve those that need it most.

**visit http://www.mightymelodyfund.com/ to see how you can be a part of Ms. Mighty Melody and her families journey or join their Facebook group here http://www.facebook.com/mightymelodyunger?ref=ts

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coming home

“When the younger son was no longer considered a human being by the people around him, he felt the profundity of his isolation, the deepest loneliness one can experience.  He was truly lost, and it was this complete lostness that brought him to his senses.  He was shocked into the awareness of his utter alienation and suddenly understood that he had embarked on the road to death.  He had become so disconnected from what gives life-family, friends, community, acquaintances, and even good-that he realized that death would be the natural next step.  All at once he saw clearly the path he had chosen an where it would lead him, he understood his own death choice; and he knew that one more step in the direction he was going would take him to self-destruction.  In that critical moment, what was it that allowed him to opt for life?  It was the rediscovery of his deepest self. “

Re-discovery that no matter how worn and dirty and far away, nothing could change that he was his father’s son.  I’m not afraid to doubt and wonder and question and search…it’s in those moments, those lost, dark moments that I rediscover truth.  Truth that

“these hands have always been stretched out-even when there were no shoulders upon which to rest them.  God has never pulled back his arms, never witheld his blessing, never stopped considering his son the Beloved One.  But the Father couldn’t compel his son to stay home.  He couldn’t force his love on the Beloved.  He had to let him go in freedom, even though he knew the pain it would cause both his son and himself.  It was love itself that prevented him from keeping his son home at all cost.  It was love itself that allowed him to let his son find his own life, even with the risk of losing it…

I am loved so much that I am left free to leave home.  The blessing is there from the beginning.  I have left it and keep on leaving it.  But the Father is always looking for me with outstretched arms to receive me back and whisper again in my ear: “You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests.”

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the best thing

“Come to Him to get what He so loves to give-the first thing, the best thing–relationship with Himself. Enjoy all the second things in your life. Thank God for them. But never mistake them for life”

-Larry Crabb

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the kneeling son

“…a step toward the platform where the father embraces his kneeling son.  It is the place of light, the place of truth, the place of love.  It is the place where I so much want to be, but am so fearful of being.  It is the place where I will receive all I desire, all that I ever hoped for, all that I will ever need, but it is also the place where I have to let go of all I most want to hold on to.  It is the place that confronts me with the fact that truly accepting love, forgivingness, and healing is often much harder than giving it.  It is the place beyond earning, deserving and reward.  It is the place of surrender and complete trust.”

The Return of the Prodigal Son

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losing my head

Reading Acts 12 today with a heart seeking to understand what it reveals about Him, and about me–humankind.  

I am so intrigued by the story of Peter’s miraculous escape from prison–Peter being guarded heavily and chained and resting between two prison guards, yet the Lord’s angel still manages to break his chains, get Peter past the guards, and through the gate to freedom…WOW, sounds like something straight off of Prison Break!

But just a few paragraph’s before I read about James loosing his head to the sword…why his head and not Peter’s?  Why James the ‘brother of Jesus’ yet all that effort to save Peter?

I just finished reading this challenging and inspiring book, the PAPA Prayer learning about how to just “be” with God… Learning what it costs to make Him the first thing and making everything else, even good things, even “kingdom things” second.  And realizing that this story speaks right to that.

We get so excited and focused on the miracles God works in peoples lives like Peter’s but ignore the tragic end of James story.  We convince ourselves that God is up there working things for the good of our plan…”fix my car”, “heal my daughter”, “give me the job”, “save my Dad”, “get me out of debt”, “make my life mean something”–or for James, “save my head”  And I wonder what it would be like to want what He wants, more than anything else…even if it costs my head?  This is becoming the gut-wrenching cry of my heart–Him being the very 1st thing, no matter what 2nd thing I have to sacrifice.

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tears sold here

I shared a mutually tearful moment with a Muslim woman at the fabric store today.
Of course she pinned me as an American when I first opened my mouth.
With tears in our eyes we discussed the brutality we humans possess, admiring and celebrating the death of a life–no matter how harsh and wrong.
She painted a picture of my country through her people’s eyes. Then shed light on the generalizations the Middle East (as she has been several times) and so many others have made about Americans–and also pointed out the ideas we and the rest of the world have of Muslims.
Our beliefs are so different but the blood pumping through our veins and the tears welling in our eyes are the same.
She asked me why I was here and as I described it to her I wondered what twisted views she must have of the God I serve.
All the pain she has seen directed from “a nation under God”
All the suffering she has experienced in our Lord’s name…
For me, that’s the saddest part

This isn’t a political statement…just an encounter with a woman so different from myself…a little reminder of how similar we are and how far we’ve all fallen 

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catching up

We’ve had such a great week working and playing alongside our friend and brother Raymond.  Derek was determined to drag him into the ocean or as we say here in SA…the “sea”.  He loved it!  They spent all day battling the waves together while I got to relax in the sun and sand, just how I like it.  I love all the learning that comes from our friendship-Raymond teaches us about Africa, and we contrast with all that the US of A has to offer.  

A few nights ago we sat down to dinner and Raymond so appreciatively said “wow, and what is this lovely meal called?” …they were tacos :)

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