But why….

Why go all the way around the world? Why try to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak your language? Why pay to serve? Why?

I say why not.

Why not let her know she’s worth it? Why not get out of my comfort zone for her? Why not make a personal sacrifice? Why not let it hit home by seeing it with my own eyes?

She has infinite value, He said it in His Word. He created her with purpose, with plans for a full and rich and beautiful life, and that’s been stolen from her. Day after day she’s told she’s not worth it, she’s treated like nothing more than an object. She’s told that her life was a mistake, that she’s just the result of a loveless night of lust, and I’m sick of it. I’m sick of those lies she’s believing, I’m sick of the simple needs that she is denied. I’m sick of it all, and I’m sick of the fact that I could just so easily close my eyes to it all. I could go about my days just like I did for the majority of my past and just pretend like it doesn’t exist. It shouldn’t be that easy! I shouldn’t be able to change the channel, close the magazine or turn off the radio to keep myself in my safe little world. I’m sick of it, and it has to change.

So watch me go. Tell me I don’t have to go all the way over there to see it, because I agree, I see that too. But I also know that He’s called me. He’s asked me to go, and now the ball’s in my court. He’s sending me to her, He’s challenged me and broken me and picked me up out of my own filth and tears. He’s asked me to go, but what about you? Where is He sending you? Can we do this together? Can we choose to be honest about this life, this world we’re in? Let’s look outside our Pottery Barn lives and see the dirt. Let’s see the hurt, the sadness, the pain and the sickness. But don’t get depressed, don’t be discouraged. If you keep looking, you’ll find it and it will break you. You’ll find the hope in her eyes as she sees you coming. Look for that, and then you’ll get it. Then you’ll understand why I must go.

So what do you say?

Take my hand- let’s go.

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With Strength that is not my own, Sam

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Oh I just, I just want to be like you

I couldn’t fit all the words in a status update on Facebook, and I made myself too busy to write it on real paper in order to fly it to you on time, but I have a few things to say to you, and I want the world to know. I want them to know them woman I know, to hear stories of your faithfulness, your successes, your glory moments. Sadly I don’t have many photos of us, so let’s start planning our family photos for October right now, ok?

Mum,

Right now I’m staring out the window of my house in Hawaii, I can see the ocean from where I sit, but even more so I see the rain pouring down in front of me. It reminds me of all those times growing up as kids where our whole family would make it’s way out to the front porch on the farm and watch the thunderstorms. It’s a simple little memory, but it proves my point: you wanted us to be together. From matching dresses lined up in the church pews, to devotions time at breakfast, communal baths and sharing rooms, we were together, and that has made all the difference. You taught me that even if you have nothing, you still have each other, and whether you like it or not, your family will be there waiting for you.

One thing I remember most about you is your honesty, how you are willing to say what’s going onside of  that beautiful brain of yours, even if it’s a short sentence of “I’m not sure where I’m at right now.” Your honesty has challenged me- in good and bad ways- but has been such an encouragement. When I’d come home from school upset because I was being teased, you always just told me “If they don’t like you, that’s their loss- you just go on being you and ignore them. They’ll come around one day.” You never told me to change, you never gave in to my desperate pleas to buy me name brand anything, because those things didn’t matter. What mattered to you was being real, being honest about where you’re at, being Christ-like, and having fun.

I woke up this morning thinking about how sad I was that I wasn’t going to be with you today. I imagined the look on your face as you walked into your surprise birthday party last night (I won’t say the number…) and wished I could be there, but we both know that God’s plans are not our plans, and I rest easy knowing we are both incredibly blessed. But as I picked up my journal I started thinking “Today is Mother’s Day, and although I’m not a mum, in God’s timing I will be. What kind of mum do I want to be?” And I thought of you. I want to be a mum who encourages her children to be who God created them to be, to release them from my expectations and let them be free to be themselves. I want to be a mum who treasures quality time with each child individually, who takes the time to nurture them one by one, and shows them the joy of having a big family. One day I dream of being the woman that people shake their heads at because she cheers so loud, celebrates every small achievement, and stops in the middle of her day to drop to her knees in prayer with her babies. I want to be “that mum”. I want to be the mum that has little eyes rolling at me because of my simplicity, but at the same time, those eyes know that in a heartbeat, I’d be there fighting with them. “If you need me call me, no matter where you are, no matter how far, don’t worry, baby.” That will be me.

And how can I guarantee that will be me? By letting that be me, right now. I need to live those words out now, and for that example I look to you. Even this past week I called you, and as you walked around making dinner for my lucky dad, I got to pour my heart out to you, to tell you about all the tears I cried this week, about all these fears I’ve had to get over. And you didn’t rush me or interrupt me, you just listened. You found places where we connected, where God has been teaching us the same things and you related to me. I hung up that phone and was so conflicted- I felt so blessed to have you to talk to, but so sad that I wasn’t there in person before you with a cup of tea.

Mum, I could go on and on about you, and I need to do that more often. I need to let you know how grateful I am for you, how you’ve raised me up to be the girl I am today. Although it makes me sad knowing we’re over 7000km away from each other, I know that God has us both where He wants us, and we just need to trust Him. Know that I’m missing you from out here, and can’t wait for the day when you get to come visit me. I’ll show you all the prettiest places, take you to the sweet cafe’s, bring you to Monday morning worship where you can sing your heart out, and let you rest in the Hawaiian sun. I love you. I miss you. And I can’t wait until the end of September when you get to spoil me I get to see you again.

Much love, Mum

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With Strength that is not my own, Sam

What if…

“Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.

All day long I put my hope in You.”

Psalm 25:5

I’m going to ask you a question, but first I must set the stage. I love prayer. I love the way God communicates to us through prayer, I love how it unites us as brothers and sisters, and reminds us that He is in control. I love prayer, but I have one question.

What if  YOU were the answer to your prayers?

This question is mostly for me, as I’ve been assessing my prayer life, the things I’ve been asking God for and to do. Over the last few months I’ve been blasted with these huge issues- children being raised without fathers, girls getting sold/taken/forced into sex slavery, forced abortions, malnutrition- the list keeps going. As I’ve faced these issues, I’ve just built up this anger almost. “God, why is this happening?? Why isn’t anyone doing anything?? GOD, please DO SOMETHING!”

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There was no booming voice. I didn’t see an angel or get struck to the ground, but He spoke, and it was clear as day. “Sam, you keep asking me to do all these things, but I want you to go. I want you to act. I want you to be part of this, to do this together with me. I’ve asked others before, but they continued with the same prayer you’re praying. Well, now’s the time. YOU go. Be an answer to your own prayer.”

What if, instead of asking, “God, would you please do something to stop this?”, we asked “God, what can I do to help?” Instead of looking at the big picture and getting overwhelmed at the thought of it, we just went to see one person. Instead of seeing the figures of 132 million orphans and saying “I can’t change that by myself”, you took on the call from countless Scriptures and said “I can take care of at least one. At least.”

God is looking for a partnership here, He’s looking for a daily relationship. He cares about the in’s and out’s of your day- every single detail. He is a good Father, He doesn’t favour any one of His children over the other, so why do we? It keeps hitting me that because of His grace I was born in the family I have, but so easily I could be the 12 year old in Togo who can’t afford her $10 school fees, and as a result gets sold by her parents into prostitution. It could have been me, but it’s not, so what am I going to do about it? I am a strong believer that we are blessed so that we can bless others, so let’s do this. Please excuse me if my posts start asking more of you, if they make you uncomfortable by asking you to look at uncomfortable things, but this is my heart. I’ve noticed such a shift in my focus since the day I landed here, and I’m letting that be a beautiful thing. I’m choosing to see change in a new light. Will you do that with me?

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Just that Sunday school answer…

“I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will take you by the hand and guard you, and I will give you to my people, Israel, as a symbol of my covenant with them. And you will be a light to guide the nations. You will open the eyes of the blind. You will free the captives from prison, releasing those who sit in dark dungeons. I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols.”                     Isaiah 42:6-8

I don’t know about you, but I have to admit that when I read books or blogs and there’s a Scripture written in, I have a tendency to skip over and get to the rest of the writing. Perhaps its a sin, perhaps I’m being lazy. Either way, if that’s what you did, I’d like to encourage you to go back and read over those 2 simple verses. And if you didn’t skip, good on you! I’ll encourage you to go back and read it again also, it’s just that good.

Who is God talking about? Is it me? Has He called me to demonstrate His righteousness? What about Isaiah? I mean, He’s the one writing all this down, was He the one who was called? I mean Isaiah was definitely called, but this isn’t talking about him either. The very one this is talking about is the One who changed everything. Jesus.

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Jesus is called, by God (as God?), to demonstrate righteousness. He is guided by God, given to the people to fulfill the covenant made to Abraham that through his descendants, all the nations of the earth will be blessed. (by the way- that’s you and me) Jesus is the light to guide the nations, He opens the eyes of the blind. Jesus sets the captives free, releases those stuck in darkness. God’s glory is promised and given to Jesus, and I have a surprise for you: It’s all about Jesus.

Quite the surprise, right? Look across the world, compare all the religions, stack them up side by side, and I guarantee you won’t find anyone quite like Jesus. You won’t find another god who chose to leave paradise in order to be beaten and betrayed, or a god who chose a donkey to enter the city as a King. You won’t find a King who deeply cares about each person, who can instantly see what’s inside someone’s heart, and responds appropriately and in love each time. You’ll never find a god who chose to be a servant, and to love the one who betrayed him- even as He hung dying on a cross. I promise you, you won’t find another Jesus.

But. Did you know that aside from all the amazing things Jesus did, aside from the walking on water, multiplying fish, healed bodies and silenced Pharisees, His deepest desire is to love you? You, the one who wasn’t even alive to see Him then. You, the one He thought of as He hung there with nails smashed right through His hands and feet. He desires to love you, and not just because He has to.

You know the kind of love I’m talking about? It’s the kind that changes the world. It’s that love that sits with you in Starbucks and listens to you talk about anything, just because He wants to hear your voice. It’s that love that watches your favourite movies with you, and holds your hand or rubs your back, just because. The love that sits on the floor with you when you feel like a failure, or when you’re so frustrated with people, work, school, your spouse, money, everything and just let’s you cry. That love that’s just there, and you feel it.

See, it’s really quite simple. When you experience the love of Jesus, your world will change, I guarantee it 100%. How can I be so sure? Because love changes everything. Every single person who encounters Jesus changes, because as you become more like Him, you become less like who everyone tells you to be, and actually just become more yourself. I could go on, I could talk for hours, but I’d be wasting my breath (typed words…?) if you didn’t get this point- Jesus’s love changes everything.

Will you let it change you?  

sam

With Strength that is not my own, Sam