“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

His Story to Tell

The Ethiopia/Uganda Chronicles
Chapter Eleven - A Story To Tell



February 17th, 2014
Christopher in Uganda 
 

When we tell our stories it enables the listener to spend time with Jesus.


Written Sunday, February 16th, 2014
Mbale, Uganda

I stumbled upon it.  A private moment in a public place.  A man praying for another man.  I stood quietly in the stairwell with my head bowed.  Unbeknownst to me, I was being watched, too.

The man praying was my son.  My boy, 14 years old at the time.  Praying for a man who was at least four times older than himself.  The man had just lost his 5 month old granddaughter in a car accident.  His daughter was in critical condition.

Christopher had just happened upon this man in this hotel stairwell.  And the man had opened up to Christopher and the man asked for prayer.  Christopher determined to pray for the man, Stewart, right there and right then in the very public stairwell.

The hotel was quiet really.  We were in Uganda.  On a missions trip in early 2014.  A trip that Christopher had at one time wondered why he had to come with his parents.  Whether God had a plan for him on a missions trip to Africa.

Later as I shared what I had observed to my husband, we were overwhelmed with Christopher's compassion and obedience to pray for the man.  And we would find out later that one of our pastors, Linda, had observed the whole thing.  All of this.  Including me with head bowed.

The next morning as we met for our morning devotional with the mission team, Christopher recounted the story about praying for Stewart.  And as he did someone gasped.  A deep gasp.  Pastor Kirk from the Denver Vineyard Church pulled in his breath so sharply that we all took note.  And with shock he shared that he was late to our morning devotional because he had just checked his e-mail and received a message from a former college roommate.  The former roommate had asked Pastor Kirk if he could find his friend who was in Mbale.  There had just been a car accident.  Could Pastor Kirk please see if he could connect with this friend who had just lost his granddaughter and offer solace?  And we all gasped under our breath.  Could it really be the same man? 

Christopher looked up from where he was sitting.  He could see Stewart across the lobby.   Christopher took Pastor Kirk and introduced them to each other. 

I had went up to the room.  When Christopher returned he was beaming.  It was the same - THE VERY SAME - man and situation.  And Christopher informed me that he was invited with Pastor Kirk to go to the hospital and visit the daughter to pray for her.  For her recovery physically, emotionally, spiritually.

And the rest of us "adults" were full of wonder.  Just thinking of the events that would bring us to this particular hotel.  And a child's obedience to the prompting of God's Spirit to pray.  We are each precious in His sight.  Perhaps all of this was orchestrated for Stewart.  Or was it for his daughter?  Or to build my faith?  Or for Christopher to see God's promise fulilled that he had a calling to go on this missions trip? And I cannot put words to my feelings of watching my son become a man using his unique gifts to be used by God to bring comfort to a family.  To touch others for God.

Earlier in the week Kari had led our morning devotion.  She shared with the group different occasions when she was obedient to the Lord even when it was hard.  She said she wasn't sharing the incidents because she wanted our praise.  She shared them to remind us that we are here for God's glory and we are to be obedient to the Lord and that when we tell our stories it enables the listener to spend time with Jesus.  As if we are unlocking the kingdom for people.  She challenged us to believe that we are here for the moment.  For this moment.  And for this person.

When we tell our stories it enables the listener to spend time with Jesus.

And to realize that I almost tried to SAVE Christopher from coming on this trip.  Remembering these thoughts that I had written before we left for Africa...


 
For more of my thoughts on my trip to Ethiopia and Uganda visit here.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Warning: Somewhat Vague Facebook Post
"I love my church family. Love. Love. Love."

 Little voices praising our Savior.


I wrote a somewhat vague Facebook post yesterday.

"I love my church family.  Love.  Love.  Love."

This particular Sunday I was standing between my husband and one of my precious friends and with another precious friend behind me.  We were singing worship songs.  And the songs were proclaiming how much God cares for us and how amazing He is and that He is good. 

~I had a bit of a rough mental morning.  I love going to church.  I love seeing my church family.  I love hugging and chatting with dear souls.  But I'm an introvert.  And a thinker.  And sometimes (read almost always) can get a bit overstimulated on Sunday mornings and I begin to become agitated.  So when I am standing in the foyer of the church and someone (read teenager) throws a notebook across the foyer as people are coming into the sanctuary I may or may not use a stern voice and an evil eye.  Yikes.  Who am I?

So, I'm standing there worshiping God in song and I feel that heat behind my eyes and a bit of a twitch underneath my eyes.  I recall that I am not wearing mascara so I decide to let the tears flow.

~I had a bit of a rough mental morning.  I had been making plans to visit a friend from church who is in the hospital because she sometimes  forgets how precious she is and harms herself.

The tears flow and they flow.  Cue the Kleenex box.  As my one friend rubs my back to show she cares and the other puts her hand on my shoulder.

~I had a bit of a rough mental morning.  I needed to have a discussion with one of my church sisters about another situation which would need to wait although my thoughts were piling up one upon the other with my brain about ready to explode.
 
I started to think that during prayer time that I wanted to be prayed for.  Normally, I am up front and pray with those who come up for prayer.  But this day I wanted prayer for me.  I needed prayer for me.  And I knew that if this one particular senior church sister went up front that I was going to run to her for prayer.

~And she went forward and I rushed to her.  I put my arms around her neck and sobbed.  I didn't have to say a word.  She prayed over me with words that only God could have given her.  She knew what to pray.  It was beautiful.

~And then two precious girls who had received my evil eye ended up walking past me... and I asked them for forgiveness.

~And I visited my friend in the hospital and we laughed and shared and prayed and made some plans.

~And that conversation with one of my church sisters ended up with me realizing that God has a much bigger plan for me that I don't have a clue about.

Sometimes people are surprised that we have attended the same church for almost 20 years.  And I think "I love my church family.  Love.  Love.  Love."

And they love me back!

Praying that you find a church family that you can call your own.  I might be able to recommend one!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

You have loved me as only a Father could...


#selfie


Heavy sigh.  I'm glad Father's Day is once a year.  The emotions and memories that are stirred by the thought that the man who should have been my protector was actually my predator can overwhelm me.  I have forgiven him, but the consequences of his actions are mine and not his. He has since passed away 17 years ago.  And as I take the day to celebrate my most amazing husband and those men who have shown themselves as protectors and as I grieve for those of you who have lost a beloved father I press into my heavenly Father and say a prayer for those of you who totally relate with me. 

This is a psalm I wrote 17 years ago to honor My Heavenly Father.



A Psalm 

My Father’s Eyes

Lord, You said You are the Father to the fatherless.
I have clung to that promise since I was a child.
You are true to Your word.
You have loved me as only a Father could
Is there anyway to repay You?
I fall so short, yet You accept my love, and I am made complete.

When my earthly father abused me
When my earthly father left me
When my earthly father denied me my inheritance
When my earthly father was laid in the grave….

Lord, You were there for me.
You filled the gap.
You held me tightly.
You are a faithful friend.
Yet You do not let me go on my merry way.
You bring discipline in just ways.
I am never out of Your sight.

You fill me with love overflowing.
You give me beautiful flowers to wear in my hair.
You give me love for Your other children.
You grant me peace.
You grant me quiet.
You shower me with friends.
You have given me abundant life.
I can hardly breathe.
I am so overwhelmed.
I am in awe of You.
May my life reflect You.
May I always be found in Your will.
May I hear those wonderful words…
“Daughter, I am so proud of you!”

One day, when my life is but a memory on earth,
I pray that it will be said of me
“She had her Father’s eyes.”

Written June 6th, 1998 at CPC Oceanside Retreat in memory of my Heavenly Father

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Life Lesson: Barefoot and Frustrated

For 40 years I have believed that it was illegal to drive barefoot.  It happened when I was probably about 7 and lived in the state of Maryland.  My dad had driven the wrong way up a one way street.  The police pulled him over.  And I remember that he wasn't wearing shoes.  And I remember that he said to me they told him he couldn't drive barefoot.

Since that day, I have been convinced that if I drove barefoot I would be given a ticket if pulled over for another reason.  I would have gone to the mat on it.  I would not drive barefoot ever and I would not let anyone drive barefoot. 

Our 16 year old son is taking driver's ed.  I had to attend the required parental meeting.  In that meeting the instructor said that if a student arrived to practice driving with sandals on that they would have to remove their sandals and drive barefoot.  No sandals.  Bare feet... Huh?

So, was that only true for Oregon?  I looked up the Maryland DMV and sure enough... it is legal to drive barefoot.

I was numb.  I was angry.  I was frustrated.  All those years that I rushed to ruin my freshly painted pedicure because I believed it was illegal to not wear shoes while driving.  Humph.

I know it seems trite.  It is.  But the truth is that I really would have gone to the mat on something that I learned in my childhood and believed it was true.  I never questioned it.  For 40 years!

And the lesson of all this AND why I am sharing it with you... What else did I learn in my childhood that isn't true?  What other beliefs have I left unchallenged?  Not driving barefoot didn't scar me for life, but I wonder if there are other things I have adopted as truth that if I took the time to look at them would prove to be untrue.

Actually, I'm a little afraid to let my heart and mind go there.  But I won't go alone.  God will go with me.  And some of you will walk alongside me, too.

And I wonder if you might have something that you need to challenge, too?  Perhaps related to your value and worth.  It might be difficult but it might be life-changing. 

And you can be certain of this - The next time I go for a pedicure you can bet I'll leave the nail salon sans shoes!  Want to join me?


Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Desert of Depression:
Celebrating January 15th, 2006
My 9th Anniversary


White Sands National Monument, New Mexico 
photography by Anthony


She still visits me
although she is not welcome.

She knows that I am stronger.
But that doesn't bother her.

She's persistent.

She takes advantage of any situation.
A mispoken word.
A hurt feeling.
Hormones.
The weather.
A head cold.

She'll just try to sneak in...
she is slow and subtle.
And sometimes I let my guard down...
and I let her in...
And I become just like her.

But it isn't for long
because I have learned her weaknesess...
and I have learned my strengths.

I have heard that she has been visiting you lately.
And you are having a hard time resisting her.
You are weak.
And she knows it.

But she is no longer a secret.
We don't have to hide her anymore.
Although some do.
I don't.
I can't.

Depression.
Has been defeated.
On January 15th, 2006
she came for a visit.
And she was ruthless.

But God has comforted me
in my troubles.
So now I can
bring comfort 
to you.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 
who comforts us in all our troubles, 
so that we can comfort those in any trouble 
with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 
2 Corinthians 1:3-4