Monday, November 24, 2008

Children in Africa

I love the show "24" and last nights movie "Redemption" brought the familiar adrenalin rush that keeps me at home every Monday night during the season. (I also appreciated that they seem to be toning down the torture scenes this year).

Something else rose up in me last night as I watched it though. Severe grief for the children of Africa. I was unable to speak as I watched the mother begging for the embassy to save her and her baby. I was shocked at the scenes of boys being turned into soldiers. All I could manage to pray was "Oh God those are your children!"

For I, the Lord, love justice
I hate robbery and iniquity. Isaiah 61:8

"I walk the dirt roads of Uganda
I see the scars that war has left behind
Hope like the sun is fading
They're waiting for a cure no one can find

And I hear children's voices singing
Of a God who heals and rescues and restores
And I'm reminded
That every child in Africa is Yours

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky
To the depths of the ocean floor
And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
You're the Maker and Keeper, Father and Ruler of everything
It's all Yours"

-Excerpt from Steven Curtis Chapman's song "Yours"

So what can we do? Let's pray for the children of Africa, the millions of them, and act when God tells us to act. One way we can act is by visited The Dunga Orphanage Project website.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I am so amazed at how God shows his love in ways we can know and understand.

I opened my cupboard and took out a can of tuna fish to feed my cat. I was out of cat food. I was out of bread. I was out of pretty much everything that we use from day to day. Thank goodness that we'd grabbed some extra napkins from Little Caesars on our last visit or we'd be out of toilet paper too.

How did we end up here? And yet I feel that God's hand is securely on us. His severely loving hand.

Not being able to buy groceries has hit me harder than anything else. It's not a far away creditor or a utility company in which to negotiate with. It's our home, our family, our livelihood and our life. Suddenly it has felt like the floor has slipped out from under me and I've searched around frantically at times in order to secure myself.

I feel like I've failed. I've failed to care for my family. I've failed to sustain them in their needs. I cry out to the Lord, but feel the familiarity of my words hitting the ceiling and falling back. Frustration and despair have overtaken me.

I walked into church the next morning and someone handed me a plane envelope. I turned away from the crowd to open what was not expected. A beautiful card and a $50 gift card to a grocery store. No one signed the card. I made my way into the church kitchen to get ahold of myself. To be honest two thoughts hit me. I worried that I must have been complaining about our situation and felt bad and undeserving. Also, how far would $50 go with our family of seven? On the other hand the thought of someone caring that much for our family filled my heart with gratitude.

During worship we sang Psalm 40.

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

Waited in Hebrew means to bind up or twist together. The root word is only used when talking about waiting on the Lord. I love that.

Then I remembered. When I was a struggling single mom there was a day when my cupboards were completely bare. I needed milk. I needed bread. Something to feed myself and my young daughter. I made a list of the groceries that I really needed and wondered how I would make it another week before payday. Then I went into work and my boss said, "Don't I owe you a little bonus?" Then she handed me a $50. I was surprised and grateful. After work I went to the grocery store and found every item on my list. Lastly I threw in a pint of Ben and Jerry's, just because I love it. The bill, including the last minute ice cream, came to $49.72. I let Shariah get a gum ball and I thanked God for his obvious provision.

In church the tears poured down my cheeks as I realized God's love for me. He cares not only about our family needing to eat, but also for my feelings of failure. He cares about my need for a love that is tangible. Suddenly I felt the force of His severe love envelope my being as a raised my hands in worship.

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:3

Psalm 42 - my version

I sit here in silence. I am suddenly aware of my breath rolling in and out like waves on a calm beach. I wait to hear something but instead the stillness washes over me as I sink deeper and deeper into myself.

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me. Psalm 42:7

Then I hear something. A sound from within rising up. I don't recognize the feeling but the closest thing that I can relate is needing to vomit, but without any trace of nausea.

Uneasiness. Fear. Panic. Pain.

These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
among the festive throng. Psalm 42:4

My mind seeks to understand consequently pushing the sound back to where it came from. No! I cry. Whatever that was, it needed to be heard. I search for the sound in vain.

Lord, You hear my prayers. You hear them when I can articulate my needs and my thanks. You hear when I cry to You. You hear when my soul cries to You and I know not what it wants, except for You. When I don't know what I pray, You know.

Satisfy my soul's thirst, Lord. I will remember You, in Whom my hope lies. My Savior, my God.

By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life. Psalm 42:8

Monday, November 3, 2008

A kitchen sink conversation

Arise, shine for your light has come.

Lord, I am so far from ready to shine or arise. I must be hearing you wrong, afterall I am very tired and my emotions are running high.

I created you a women with emotions, offer them to me as a sweet perfume. Sit at my feet and listen.

I feel so empty, distracted and unworthy. My failures are strewn out before me and they call my name.

I will call you by a new name. My delight is in you.

I'm too critical.

You are redeemed of the Lord.

I hold onto bitterness and resentment.

The nations will see your righteousness and all the kings your glory.

But I have not love, not even for myself.

Drink of my cup, proclaim my death, which is my love for you.

But I am not strong. I am weak, weak in faith, weak in love, weak in joy and so very tired of the fight. Giving up looks easier and the fact that I entertain that thought shows how very very weak I am.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Lord, I pray that you arise, and shine your light on this place. Take my emptiness, my guilt and my shame and fill me with your love. Help me believe. Raise me up to live for you.


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