A Cry for Humanity

It was a convergence of wrenching heart moments. First came two hard movies within days of each other: The Impossible which is the the miraculous true story of an entire family who survived the tsnumami; and Hotel Rwanda which depicts the incredible true story of a man who saved 1268 Africans during the genocide in Rwanda. Next came this “ah-ha” revelation as I spent the day at Dollywood with my girls and some friends, only to come home to the horror of the death and destruction caused by the Oklahoma tornado.IMG_1050

How does the human soul carry such deep and diverse emotions? How do we celebrate the small victories when the devastation is so great. One family was reunited when 150,000 families had loved ones swept away by the sea. One hotel served as a haven to 1268 Hutus and Tutsi when one million corpses were left after the murderers were driven out of Rwanda.

Dazed and terrified children were pulled alive from school debris while other parents waited and searched in anguish for their child’s dead body to be discovered.

In light of this, my “ah-ha” at Dollywood seems so small now.

But perhaps as I connect all these emotional dots it is bigger than I realized. For the first time, as I entered into the mass of humanity that Dollywood attracts, my eyes and heart were seeing people.

Real people. Not the classes or the accents, not the perfect flesh or flawed flesh, not the beliefs and attitudes expressed through clothing, tattoos, or language, but I saw real people.  The flawless, fake “image” of beauty had no place here. What was real and true and honest was the weary but willing parents holding the hands of elated children. It was the mentally handicapped man who could not stop laughing and clapping his hands because he was so excited. It was the fit and obese, the rich and poor, the educated and hicks, the blasphemers and believers, all standing in line together, screaming together on rides, enjoying their loved ones, enjoying…life.

Enjoying. Life. Together.

If we truly are but dust, a flower that rises and falls, a vapor that appears for a moment then vanishes, if we truly are to savor every moment…then all these real life stories of great loss must prompt us to ask…are we? Am I? Are we seeing the beauty of God, the gift of life, the sufficiency of Grace, the overwhelming presence of the Spirit in our daily lives?

Because I am concerned, stirred and agitated that if I do not, will not savor it in times of blessing and peace, will I have the stamina and practice to rely on it when the my world spins out of my control?

Thank God today. For your life. For your loved ones. For His Life and Love.

“You lead me in paths of righteousness for Your Name’s sake” Psalm 23


Christmas Red

I am sitting tonight by the last embers of our first official fire. The first fire kind of marks the beginning of winter in our family so it is a big deal, at least to us. I love watching it blaze bright yellow-orange then transition into varying shades of reds. And as I sit mesmerized by the fire, changing before my very eyes, I am remembering our first night in Charleston.

It was truly one of those moments when you didn’t want to blink or breathe for fear of missing something supernatural. There was a sunset, which is always beautiful at the beach. But moments after the sun had gone down, the sky turned a vibrant red – so red that the water in the marshes and the ocean reflected red. Not pink, but red. Blood red.

The thought came to me, “The world is covered in blood.” We were on historic ground, where much blood had been shed, that of native Americans, soldiers in the War for Independence and in the Civil War battles. Thinking of the sacrifice of wars, I felt this grateful grief come over me. They died that I might have freedom.

The expanse of the red sky was so great that the whole landscape was covered. Any place that there was water – the intercoastal, the beach, small inlets – it looked like great pools of blood. I sat there breathless in awe. I heard it again: “The world is covered in blood.”

And it hit me. “All of creation groans for the sons (and daughters) to be revealed.” Creation was groaning and reflecting the greatest sacrifice, reminding us of the Blood that was shed for the whole world. The blood that has truly set me free.

After this vivid picture, I notice the color red seems a little more dear to me this Christmas. More than a merry color, it helps me remember the “why” of the season, by His stripes we are healed. So this Christmas, think red.

Real Question #5: What About Boredom?

May I be candid?  Boredom is often a lack of vision and gratitude.  Hear me out.  When you lack vision and purpose, then you can easily feel like what you are doing is beneath you or insignificant.  But when you know the greater good or goal, then the mundane (which is still mundane) becomes part of a bigger puzzle rather than the end result.

For example, laundry wears me out.  It is tiresome, boring and never-ending.  But it is not the sum total of me as a woman, wife or mother.  It is a piece of the mundane that simply gets done.  Here is where the gratitude kicks in.  The other day, I literally said out loud as  I was changing the clothes over, “Thank you, Lord, that I don’t have to carry all these clothes to a river and pound them with a rock.  Thank you that I have machines that wash and dry them.  Thank you that I have clean water to wash them in.”  Granny always said, “Count your blessings.”

If you find you are “bored” with your life as a whole, then that is a great invitation to go back to the Lord to discover your strengths, dream and passions.  I am currently reading the  book, Your Strongest Life.  It is specifically written for women who want to live life to the fullest.  I highly recommend it as a temperature check on whether you are checking out, wimping out, or launching!



Don’t know if anyone else has indoor-outdoor pets, but this is the season of fleas. The warm and cold weather is like a breeding ground for these tiny annoyances. So what started out as a random event, “Hey look there is flea on my leg,” soon became a overwhelming lament, “Mom, there are fleas all over my room.”

Funny how fleas multiply so fast.  There’s probably a Biblical truth tucked away in there. But we called the Orkin man to treat the house and called the vet to get some Advantage Flea treatment for the cats and dog. However, the reason I write about this tiny but powerful menace is because they reminded me of a story.

Corrie Ten Boom was an amazing woman who survived  the concentration camp in Holland during the Holocaust. We read her book, The Hiding Place, out loud a couple of winters ago. Her story of walking through such hell and still holding on to God, and believing that God was holding on to her, was life-changing.

She recalls a time when the dorm she and her sister lived was unbearable. The building that had been built to accommodate 400 people now housed 1400. Too many women. Not enough food, water, space, or blankets.

It was infested with fleas.  Everywhere, all the time, they were covered with biting fleas. And there was no Orkin man to call.

But like the smallest of flames push back the darkest of nights, these two praying women continued to believe that God was able to meet their needs. In their smuggled Bible, they came upon Thessalonians where it says  to “give thanks in all circumstances.”   By faith they began to thank God for all the terrible circumstances they were living through, one by one. But Corrie and Betsy both stopped short: How do you thank God for fleas? Finally, they came to a place of trust and rest, that yes, even the fleas were part of God’s goodness to them.

Weeks later, they found out that the reason they had been able to openly read their smuggled Bible, lead weekly Bible studies, and publicly pray with the women in the dorm was because the guards would not step foot in their dorm…because of the fleas.

Will you go there? Will you thank God for all the bad, hard, hurtful, annoying, painful places in your life? Will you still praise His name?

God really is working all the things in your life, all your fleas, for your good. So thank Him, by faith, believing that He alone sees beyond your circumstances and what He is doing in you, and through you.