Posts tagged #prayer

sing in faith.

sometimes, moments in life give us a glimpse of heaven. joy bursts through every fiber of our earthly being and it's not enough to stumble over words in order to explain how He's provided or come through in a moment of need. sometimes, situations around us just overwhelm. sickness, family issues, debt, insecurities, loss of jobs...sometimes we ache for reprieve but know there's no end in sight.

and i'm pretty sure if you're breathing, you've experienced one or both of these moments.

lately, my life seems to hold more of the latter. and so this past Sunday, when matt carter was talking about how the word hallelujah serves this incredible purpose of giving us a piece of language to describe Christ's goodness, tears began to fall.

because sometimes, in those moments of difficulty, i question His goodness.

i forget about the wait. i forget about this biblical discipline - woven into the fabric of who we are as His children.

i forget that our lives, comfortable and brimming with extraordinary excess, were meant to be spent on behalf of others.

i forget that the beauty of wait, where we see His goodness - His presence - in the midst of these difficulties is found in the singing.

it's easy to sing when things are going well. it's easy to throw your hands up and praise when you just got a raise or that guy you like smiles at you. it's real easy to smile when your bills are paid on time or when you receive good news from the doctor.

but what about when you lose a job, or when infertility steals your hope for children? what about when lies threaten to tear apart the family you've worked so hard to protect? what about when sickness weaves itself silently into loved ones?

do you sing then?

oh yes. you sing. you sing in faith.

you sing in expectation of Rescue. the night doesn't last forever - and His silence may be proof of something deeper - something more significant than any of us can imagine.

you sing in obedience. and this is the hardest of them all. this past week, Russ & i stepped out in faith knowing disappointment was certain. we could verbally commit to what He's asked us to do, but that's about it. we knew saying yes was half the battle, but our hearts wanted more. regardless, we followed through with first steps - despite our lack of necessary funds. sure enough, our expectations were met with brick walls - impossible to get through but perfect for God to shine. at the last moment, when we were certain the last chord of this song was finished, He came through in ways we never anticipated. obedience. it's the hardest willingness of them all but it's most often the way He proves Himself worthy of our full attention and praise.

and you know what? because of that shattered brick wall, i'm able to see with more clarity the reason for our wait. and you will too.

because, on the other side of His provision, you understand the no's. the disappointments suddenly take on this beautiful hue of protection and you're left with no words except hallelujah.

Posted on December 7, 2010 .

prayer.

Over the past few weeks, one of the constants getting me through has been the knowledge of a few prayer warriors approaching the throne on my behalf. I'd shoot a text message or email or a half-hearted whisper in the midst of a stress-induced situation, and immediately I'd feel peace.I'd like to do the same for you. What's pressing on your heart today? How can I pray for you? Leave a comment - anonymous if you need to - [anon@anonymous.com works fine for the e-mail] - and know that today I'll be lifting you up as I go about my activities. And, if you leave a comment, those who come after you will be able to pray for you as well. One thing I've learned this week: where He leads He provides. Take heart where ever you are - He knows.

What's burdening you today?

cheaper than leather shoes

She glances at the man out of the corner of her eye and quickly wipes the stray tear inching down her cheek. Her body aches. With a resigned sigh, she crosses her legs and pulls her jacket closer to her skin. What’s underneath would hardly count for clothing, and she silently hopes she won’t be sent to the streets this evening. The man leaning against the wall taking in his surroundings catches her eye and smiles. Her heart sinks and she braces inwardly for him to come over. “How much for a massage from this one?” he asks, pointing at her with a foreign glint in his eye.

The shop owner glances behind him, following the man’s gaze. Looking the girl up and down, he shrugs. “Twenty. Good price. She’s new here…” catching the man’s eye he whispers just out of earshot, “pretty inexperienced.”

The man’s smile stretches in unnatural ways – barely meeting his eyes. She sees the exchange – his hands shaking as he hands the small wad of bills to the owner. Hiding her grimace, she straightens her back and steels herself against the pounding of her heart. Her friend sitting next to her grabs her hand and gives it a squeeze, tracing her palm with her pinky. Their secret message: hold on. rescue is coming. this nightmare will end. hold on.

Closing her eyes, she breathes deep his scent as he walks up to her. She studies his shoes for awhile. Leather. Expensive. A small scratch on the right foot – almost as if he ran into a twig while running. She refuses the realization he probably paid more for his shoes than he did for a short session with her. His hand wrap around her small arm and she winces at the strength. Her pulse becomes erratic and she lifts up a silent prayer, hoping someone is listening. Please let this be a dream. Please let the pain end.

Someone is listening, right?

The man with the scuffed leather shoes walks heavily into a side room and shoves her into the corner. She stumbles, struggling for footing before collapsing on the makeshift bed. His breathing grows ragged and the slow whoosh of a belt slaps against the straps as it comes undone. She focuses on his shoes, strewn carelessly across the room. The pain comes and she fights for breath under his weight, but she’s in another place. There’s mud on his shoes but something catches her eye. There. In the middle of mud – almost buried by grime – a small flower radiates with color.

Life in the middle of death. Beauty in the middle of devastation. Hope in the middle of despair.

A tiny tear slips unnoticed and she feels a sharp pain as the man slaps her – his ring digging into her cheek.

“Stop crying you whore. You want something to cry about? I’ll show you.”

Her heart threatens the protection of her ribcage – with a cry she begins to fight. Kicking. Screaming. Biting. As long as she’s breathing she will hold on to her humanity. Her innocence. She will not let go. The pain inches its way to every part of who she is but every space of life battles for survival. Her tiny fingers wrap themselves in his hair, pulling the strands from his scalp in small clusters. Her little feet beat rhythms against his legs, creating bruises he’ll have to explain away. For a split second, she thinks she may have won. His weight shifts and she watches as he gets up and turns away, rummaging through his pockets. Her eyes widen and her head starts shaking vehemently, pleading for mercy. He grabs her ankles and wrists, tying them with a rope. The fibers cut into her skin and all hope, all life, all beauty shrinks away. She is no match for his brute force, his laughter reveals this is just a game to him.

She loses strength and collapses against the sheets, pulling herself as far away from him as possible. She will smell his scent forever. She will wake from nightmares with his face inches from hers. She will never get away from his taste. She will never hide from his force.

She is his captive. She lays there. Lifeless. Forgotten. Invisible.

Finally, the man finishes, grunting with satisfaction. Broken again by a man she doesn’t know. she fights the rage, lacking the energy to act out on her impulses. She reacts the only way she knows how. She waits and hopes.

He puts on his leather shoes, the weight of his steps now matching his physical force. Walking over to where she still lay motionless, his eyebrows sink in confusion. She’s hidden her face against the pillow, her shoulders still quivering from the sobs she held back during the session. He places a timid hand on her arm and she turns to look him square in the eyes. It’s the first time she’s forced him to look at her – truly see her. She waits.

One second. He sees life and hopes and dreams. Two seconds. He sees despair and pain and hopelessness. Three seconds. He sees peace and acceptance and waiting. Four seconds. He sees beauty out of ashes and restoration out of destruction.

His destruction.

The man jumps back, his breath skipping a beat before turning and running out of the room. She follows him with her gaze, and only when his steps become distant does she allow herself the dignity of mourning.

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foster care: relationships

"To give birth is incredible. To foster a child is divine." A foster mom told me this after a brief freak-out. This whole process - paperwork, studying, collecting data and preparing to be responsible for living and breathing but broken human beings - definitely overwhelms at times. And Thursday night, in the midst of documentation and stories of bio-families turning on foster parents and what you deal with on a day-to-day basis, my heart questioned just how much I was willing to put it through.

But see, here's the thing: it's not about me. Russ & I may deal with some feisty individuals - we may get some kids who have been through things we couldn't even imagine. But that's okay. If I truly believe rescue is possible - if I believe the story of redemption supersedes any of my preconceived notions - than my focus will not be on what I can or cannot gain from this experience.

My heart may be broken in this process. In fact, I pray it does. I pray my heart stays tender to the leadings of the Spirit. I pray I always stare into the eyes of those He has entrusted to me and see them as Christ sees them. I pray I forget about my comfort - if for just a second - to remember the comfort of others is more important.

I have no idea who God will place in our home. There are still months left before we can even consider finishing the process. But this past week I was able to take a deep breath and place a lot of questions at the throne. He knows who needs to be with us - whether for a season or forever. He knows when it will happen and how. He already knows the story - and He already loves them. And this is absolutely beautiful to me.

So, over these next few months there are a few things you can be praying:

  • Over the past few months, Russ has been approached with some solid leads concerning jobs. Our prayer is that he hears - and soon - about a job that fits his heart for people and food. We don't want just any job. We want him to be where God leads - anything less will be second best and will most likely cause him to be miserable.
  • Our lease ends in May. Currently we live in a one bedroom apartment. We are looking in a specific area on Austin and have a few houses on our radar. Wisdom about exactly where is crucial - our search is highly intentional.
  • That God would begin to prepare our hearts. Currently, we are undecided about age group/specific level/"adoptability" - my prayer is that Russ and I would be in complete agreement.

These next few months will certainly be crazy, but absolutely breathtaking. I can't wait to see how God will move. For now, we will take the next step...ever so timidly...and trust in His provision.

Posted on March 28, 2010 and filed under adoption.

how quickly we forget

I woke up this morning burdened for Haiti. I sat and did my 750 words and the only thing that came out was how I missed it and how the orphans were calling out to me and how I felt absolutely helpless to do anything except pray for their freedom.

And then I forgot.

I mean, I forgot. I got so busy with my day-to-day life and making copies for my seniors and clicking buttons during students' presentations and grading papers before the deadline, Haiti was the furthest from my memory. I hate this. I hate the fact it's not weighty on my soul. I want to be so taken with the plight of the orphan that I can't go very long without letting my heart's knees bow before my Creator on these precious childrens' behalf. Something has to be done. The rains are coming. Shoot - the rains are already here, wiping out tent cities - and here I am. Safe. Protected. The only frustration being that I can't crawl into my warm bed and take a nap.

I'm spoiled.

It's no secret there are thousands - thousands - of orphans in Haiti. Even before the earthquake the crisis with orphans was staggering compared to other parts of the world. When the earthquake hit, so many people suddenly became passionate about these orphans.

"Where will they go?" "Can we adopt them?" "What steps need to be taken?"

Words like humanitarian parole became common in our vocabulary - replacing, just for a moment - our fascination with the latest reality TV show. Haiti was our reality - 0ur neighbor in distress. I wonder how many of these people once so passionate and focused on adopting are still intent on following through with this thought of expanding their family? The truth: Haitian adoptions have completely closed. The hope: those feeling the pull two months ago will continue to research. Continue to pray. Continue to believe the call to love the orphan isn't a suggestion but an expectation.

Whenever Russ & I talk about adoption, we always have Haiti in the background. Even though we know the country has closed adoptions now, we believe eventually it will open. Haiti, for the past ten years, settled itself deep in my bones. The people haunt me. The smells tease me. I know my story with Haiti is not complete, and the pull of adopting from this country is more than intense.

So this morning, when I woke up with this burden to pray for the orphan, I had this incredible, sinking feeling.

My child is waiting for me.

My child. It is my future waiting in the rain. It is my future dealing with loneliness and abandonment and hurt and anger and fear. My daughter is crying with no one to cuddle with her. My son is looking for someone to feed him.

My child is waiting for me.

This broke me. Suddenly, my prayers took on a different hue. I've always felt attached to Haiti. My prayers have never been distant - but this, this is different. This is my family. And as I sat there on my knees, praying and crying and seeking His face, I never thought I would forget the feeling.

But I did.

I'm praying dangerous prayers now. I don't want to forget those who the Lord is close to - and His scripture says He's close to the brokenhearted.  I want to be where He is, and if you've stayed up to date with what's gone on in Haiti, you know despite the devastation, God is certainly moving within the church there. It's beautiful. I want to be desperate for Him to save these orphans as if it were my own child. I pray He haunts our dreams and whispers names in our ears until we pay attention. For a couple weeks, He had us by the chin - forcing us to look. But He won't do that forever.

For me, I'm praying He will.

Posted on March 23, 2010 and filed under adoption.