Something incredible happened this week

Something incredible happened this week. I was introduced to a new little girl.  This girl was sweet and had much potential.  But this girl was so misunderstood due to serious learning disabilities.  She couldn’t function in so many ways, so many settings.  Her mom thought her frustration and stubbornness was the overflow of a hard and rebellious heart.  Her lack of attention in school and certain subjects as laziness.  Her moodiness and selfishness to be exasperating character flaws.

However, this little girl was dying for love, understanding and security.  She needed someone who would patiently embrace her differences and lovingly guide her through the frightening, dark labyrinth she was trapped in.

Instead, this girl faced alone her struggles with learning and understanding the simplest things.  Math was a foreign language with no translation.  Hearing books read out loud was ‘wa-wa-wa’ in her ears.  She couldn’t focus on what she had just heard. She couldn’t make sense of what she WAS able to focus on.  Her world was frustrating, confusing.  She could see that others could ‘get it’ but she couldn’t.  Too young and immature to express her feelings, thoughts and frustrations, she coped by shutting down.  There were no smiles, no eye contact, flatness in her expression, no response or tiny voice.  It was not just an academic issue, it was a life issue.

Mom grew increasingly worried and exasperated.  Feeling increasingly inadequate she prayed for help.  Everyday battles and ugliness drew tears and anger.  Feelings went from ambiguity to almost a repulsion.  Certainly a strong dislike.  Barely tolerant of this daughter’s behavior.

Then one day, mom met a woman who God used to change everything.  She helped the mom to see that inside the hard, cold, angry exterior was beauty.  She knew how to chisel the bits of marble away until the angel she saw inside, emerged.

Suddenly, mom’s eyes were opened.  She understood.  She saw! She could see her little girl’s beauty!  It would take work, maybe years of careful, loving diligent and even painful, effort.  But God gave mom new eyes to see the precious treasure that was her daughter.

When mom went home, she realized that her feelings and reactions toward her little one changed.  There was a tender, patient and understanding heart when faced with the same resistant behavior.  She cheerfully diffused ugly faces by creatively enticing smiles and hugs.  Then when she said goodnight to this one tonight, a strange, unfamiliar squeeze in her chest took her off guard.  It was a feeling she hadn’t had in years towards her daughter.  It was love.  Tender, eye-soaking love.

I can’t wait to get to know this little girl better. The freshness and calm I feel when she comes bounding in the room with smiles just delights me.  Something exciting happened this week.  I met a sweet, young lady and suddenly I know how blessed I am when she calls me mom.

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Haiti: We can do more than pray

This is long but please read

Please don’t turn a blind eye to those in need in Haiti. They are suffering in ways that are unimaginable. Lately, the Lord has been stirring our family’s heart toward those who are in need – namely, the poor, the hungry, the naked, the blind. Our initial motivation to help was to appease our guilt or some similar reason, however, as we read the words of Christ, I cannot help but see his compassion and concern for those who suffer in poverty.

LUKE 14:12-14

Last week, I listened to these verses read in Luke 14:12-14 where Christ tells his audience to not serve those who are able to pay you back but to bless those who are “poor, crippled, lame, blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS

I plead with my fellow believers, for the love of Christ, to put feet to our theology and have compassion on those who are helpless and unable to ever repay you. Your reward will be great in heaven!

I read this indictment against Israel, and wonder how much this applies to me.

Ezekiel 16:49 “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.”

I ask myself, Did God place me in one of the most prosperous nations in the world only to pad our retirement funds, stuff our waistlines, adorn our houses and divert our attention to pleasure? I really don’t mean that saving money and eating etc. are sinful. But we can forget that the Lord has equipped some to be able to jump in when necessary to minister to those who can’t help themselves. I do believe that if you are able, now is one of those times. Praise the Lord that He is merciful and abundant in His provision to us!

What happens in the next few days are critical as they will need equipment to move large debris that will save people trapped under collapsed buildings, they need the basics – food, water, shelter, and medical supplies – so that those who survived the earthquake will survive the elements and injuries they’ve sustained. They need money to mobilize aid in the places that are needed most with the supplies that will be most helpful. If you can, I would urge you to take two minutes and make a donation to any of these organizations that I have listed below. If you know of others that are respectable and honorable in their ministry, please post them here.

DO MORE THAN PRAY: SPREAD THE WORD

Of course, we will pray. We will not forget that the God of the universe, the Sovereign Lord hears and answers prayer. However, another thing you can do is spread the word. It’s another world out there, one that doesn’t touch us. Look at those images and see if your heart doesn’t get stirred by the suffering. We can lift up prayers and open our eyes in response to the gospel that Christ preached. But we can do more than pray.

* Copy this and post it on your own facebook notes. Tag as many people as possible.

* Take one day and encourage others to take a few minutes to pray and make a small (or large) donation!

* How about challenging people to give up one night out and donate the money saved to Haiti?

* Wouldn’t it be surprising if we opened the news and there were no headlines drawing our attention to the disaster? How about giving up your status update for one day to remind our friends that there’s more to life than the errands we ran that day?

* I’m not writing this as an indictment. Just a heartfelt plea to come out of our comfort zones for just a little and take a good, hard look at what people are suffering right now!

TEACHING COMPASSION TO OUR CHILDREN

I have some ideas of what we’re going to do with the children in order to give my children opportunities to extend compassion and aid. I’m really bad about this as I’ve taught my kids the opposite!

* I’m putting up a little map of Haiti in our kitchen.

* Print out the page on Haiti from Operation World and start praying for this people group

* Get a roll of quarters and let your children do extra chores, etc. and give them money to put into a donation jar. Let them watch you make the donation on a website.

* Read verses that speak of Christ’s compassion.

* Sell some items (toys, books, clothes) and raise some money to donate.

* Let your older kids get exposed to some of the photos that vividly show what happened. I think we shield our children too much sometimes. Shield them at your discretion, however, let them see some of the nightmare that these children in another part of the world live through.

* Fast through one or two meals. Every time they feel hunger, have them put a coin into a donation jar.

* One person wrote that she’s making bread and baked goods to sell to raise money. Great idea!

ORGANIZATIONS

Children’s Hunger Fund

Samaritan’s Purse

Compassion International

Sovereign Grace Ministries Disaster Relief

Feed My Starving Children

Northwest Haiti Christian Mission

World Vision