How do we live with such contrast?

It is a constant struggle.  A GOOD struggle.  How do we live with plenty, serve the poor, and not be in a constant state of angst?  Each one of my kids have asked me that numerous times over the years.  Coleman asked one time, “How do we eat steak and know that our friends in Haiti have nothing to eat?”  Each time I come up speechless because there is no answer to satisfy and I don’t think there should be an answer.  We need to sit with this dilemma and decide individually how we reconcile it.

Kenny and I just went on an anniversary vacation.  Typically our trips together are to Haiti but this time we went away and took in beautiful scenes like waterfalls and hiking trails and ate delicious food.  In the back of my mind was always my friends in Haiti.  The hard life they lead.  The protein deficiencies in the children.  The lack of electricity and water.  And the images are always there in my head and forever placed in my soul.

As we drove from one excursion to another or late at night or over dinner, we talked about our friends in Haiti, pitched our organization to a guy on the airplane, called Jean Marc to see if he had started school, gushed with stories to Lynn (our amazing hostess on our trip), and brainstormed about my trip to Haiti coming up in a few weeks.  Some will say, “You deserve to get away and not think about that.”  My response to that is, “Are you crazy?”  They are not a project I need to put on a shelf that I can pick up later….the people in Haiti are a part of me just like my own children.  It brings me life and it is a bond in my own family that keeps us grounded and aware of God’s kingdom, which happens all over the world.

So now to get to the question, “how do we live with such contrast?”  We sit in it.  We don’t divert our eyes when we see the pictures.  We don’t distract ourselves when God puts the poor on our hearts.  We stop.  We think.  We pray.  We learn more.  That is how the world is changed-one person at a time.

Besides marrying an amazing man and having 4 awesome kids, serving in Haiti is my biggest privilege.  I don’t know why I get to go and be with people so much wiser and so much stronger than I am.  I am not qualified- I have no real skills and no real qualifications.  I just heard God say GO and I went.  I don’t know the language, I am more out of shape than every Haitian in the country, I don’t know all the right Bible verses, and I can’t get done in a week what they do in a day.  But I do know how to hug a child with sincerity and show tough love to a student not doing well in school.  And God says that is enough.  Just go.

I don’t know where you are in this journey God has called you to live but I wonder if you think about the poor and their needs.  I wonder if you love deeply and give of yourself sacrificially.  Maybe we just need to think and pray about it more and God will do the rest.  We don’t have to figure out today how to eat steak and enjoy it while other people are hungry- but we need to ask ourselves the question and then LET GOD.

Being the Bridge

As I hiked today with Kenny, the sight of this bridge stopped me in my tracks.  Such a simple little thing but for me it represented something more.  As soon as I saw it I told Kenny it surely should make it into one of his sermons and then I remembered I had a blog so I could stop trying to give him preaching ideas (after 20 years of doing so) and write it myself.  A relief for both of us!!

We all need people who are bridges in our lives.  You might be wondering what that even means.  My definition is someone who helps us a reach a place we feel we cannot get to on our own.  My kids are my bridges to understanding their generation and my husband is my bridge often to understanding Scripture.  (It is a true blessing to be married to a walking Bible concordance).  My friend, Leila, is my bridge to becoming a better teacher and Nancy bridges me to the life of a missionary in a third world country.  We all have bridge builders in our lives.  Who are yours?

As we understand that Jesus was the ultimate bridge to God because our sin kept us helplessly separated from Him, we know we are not supposed to be Jesus to anyone…..however, through  teaching, disciplining, sharing the Gospel, and loving people we are to be bridges.

Whose lives are you impacting?  Who would say that your care and love are pointing them to Jesus?  A smile and hand shake is not cutting it on a Sunday morning.  Who are you bringing?  Who are you walking beside? Who are you showering love on when they least expect it?  I am not talking about your best friends……I mean the lost, the broken hearted, and the lonely.  Does your heart ache for them?  Is your life positioned so you even have contact with anyone besides the people just like you?

We must look to Jesus and know He has called us to live like He did- to walk with tax collectors, prostitutes, and lepers.  In our day, that means all who are far from God.  I will let you fill in those blanks.

We must become alive and truly live.  We can’t sit back and spend all our emotional energy on what theme park we are taking our kids to this summer and how we are going to overindulge them.  As you reflect back on your summer, how much has been about you and yours and how much has been  about seeking to find ways to be a safe refuge for hurting people?  How have you modeled Jesus to your children?

Let’s make these last few weeks of summer matter.

We will be talking about subjects like this every Wednesdays at First Presbyterian Church from 6-8 PM.

Who is with me?

A Love for Writing

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to write.  I still remember 7th grade at Southwest Middle School learning how to diagram sentences and thinking that I was coming alive in school!  That sounds so weird as I write it but since I was bored to tears by math and the sciences were too technical for my brain, words became my best friend.  Spelling became an obsession and another teacher in middle school said if we could find grammar or spelling errors in the newspaper we could bring them in for extra credit.  Just today we were at a national park visitor center and they misspelled “cemetery” and I about jumped through the roof…but don’t ask me to tell you where ANY states of the US are located, which bodies of water surround us, what bones are in my arm, or how to do my son’s fourth grade math. I can spell them all for you and alphabetize any of them but that is IT!

We all have to find our groove and the English language is mine.  I have tried to conquer other languages as well- Spanish and Creole- but clearly those are not my groove so I am sticking with English and thanking God for translators.

People have asked me why I did not have a blog for a long time….but want to know the truth?  Until a few days ago I did not even know what one was. Honestly.  I am not from this generation of bloggers, instagramers, selfie takers, or hashtaggers.  In fact I have NEVER hash tagged in my life.  Still not sure how to do that but I HAVE decided to try the blogging.  I have a lot to say as you probably already know so I am venturing into this official world of internet writing.  EEEEEKKKK!  I am not very cool or catchy AT ALL but I think God has taught me a few things that I hope to share on these pages over time.  Let the journey begin….