Month: May 2016

hello goodbye

Hello goodbye. All in one day; more like 8 short hours. Meeting my 3 sponsored children in Tanzania in a few days will be a fast and furious ride on the emotional roller coaster. Hello goodbye.image

The Hello time will be a joyous time. Everyone will be full of smiles and anxious nerves too. Hello time will be introductions and hugs. Can’t go wrong with a hug and a smile; they easily cross all language barriers. Hello time arrives with a very full heart and a very long list of questions for my new friends. Hello time will include bubbles. No better way to break the ice than blowing bubbles together.

Hello time will be their small hands in mine. Hello time will answer the question, “Why did I travel so far?” Two precious little girls and a handsome little boy will be the answers. Hello time will be tracing their precious hands on paper as a treasured keepsake. Hello time will be a flurry of taking pictures and silly selfies. Hello time will be sponge time; soaking up everything about each one of them and their lives.

Hello time will be time together: playing, swimming, laughing, eating. It doesn’t matter what we do as long as we do it together. Hello time will be blessing them with a backpack full of goodies. The doll and stuffed bear I selected many months ago will have little arms wrapped around them. The deflated soccer ball will be full of air and kicked around by little feet.

Hello time will be a very happy time.

Goodbye time will come too quickly.  Goodbye time will bring tears for me. Goodbye time will be whispering in their ears, “I love you so much.” Goodbye time will be believing they understand my words and my tears. Goodbye time will be processing the hard fact I won’t see them again on this earth.

Goodbye time will be taking one more picture and squeezing in one final hug . Goodbye time will be remembering God holds them tightly in His capable Hands as I let go. Goodbye time will be waving as their bus pulls away. Goodbye time will be giving thanks for the many memories. Goodbye time will be praying specifically for my new friends and their needs.image

Goodbye time will be praising God for gifting me with  His beloved children that He calls Hilda, Jackline and Goodluck.

Let’s Walk Worthy!

photo credits:

fortheloveofhellogoodbye.tumblr.com

www.pinterest.com

 

 

just a touch

She knew it would only take a touch, just a quick one. She was determined and she was desperate. Who wouldn’t be desperate? Enduring a bleeding disease for 12 long years would test my patience and my sanity.

How do you describe the feeling of  ‘beyond hopeless’? What does life look like when you are standing on the brink of complete despair?  Shyam Balami lost his house in Nuwakot, a village at the foothills of the Himalayas, during the ‘Great Quake’ in Nepal on April 25, 2015. Shyam thought he had nothing left to lose. But he was wrong. A powerful aftershock, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake on May 12, 2015, struck and destroyed the temporary shack he had built out of salvaged materials to provide some sort of basic shelter for his wife and two children. It collapsed around him, shattering his right leg. “I don’t feel scared any more. I have nothing left to lose.”

Maybe that was the bleeding woman’s mindset too. “I am not scared because I have nothing left to lose.” So she waited.  The rumor was that Jesus was coming this direction. He healed people and she needed healing. Just a touch. Undaunted, she pushed and shoved her way through the male-dominated crowd. The nasty, degrading remarks didn’t faze her.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

The crowd noise began to crescendo. He was here! But she quickly lost sight of Jesus as He was swallowed up by the swarm. Everyone wanted something from Him; her included. A look, a word, or a touch.

She was on a healing mission and she would not be denied. So she maneuvered her way towards Him; straining, stretching, and struggling. Three steps forward; five steps backward. She reminded herself, “I have nothing left to lose.” Low on energy due to her condition, she fought her way into the mass of humanity. Just a touch. “I don’t need to touch Him. Just a brief touch of His clothing will do. Quickly and no one will notice.”

But He noticed. Jesus knew the instant she touched His clothing. Her game plan didn’t include getting caught or being noticed or getting called out by Jesus. But I doubt that she cared because she had been healed! Instantaneously and miraculously. She experienced a feeling that she hadn’t felt for 12 long and agonizing years: wholeness.  Falling at His feet, she confessed. “It was me.” And Jesus was very pleased. “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

She was healed and she was praised in front of those who had treated her as a sickly nobody.  Her simple but brave faith was recognized before the crowd by none other than the King of Kings. I imagine her feet never touched the ground on her way home following this Holy encounter.

Don’t all of us just need a daily touch from Jesus? I know I do. Some days it is a touch for physical healing. Some days it is a touch for mental peace. “Calm me down, Lord.” Many days my marriage needs a touch. Other days, my finances or my family. Many parts of me needing many touches from Him.

Some days are answered with His gentle healing touch. Other days, He leans in and whispers, “My grace is sufficient for you, Krista. For My power is made perfect in weakness.” Now go in peace, my beloved daughter.

Let’s Walk Worthy!

Photo credit: Mural from Encounter Church

 

invisible

Soap is an American sitcom that originally ran on ABC from 1977-1981. The show was created as a night-time parody of daytime soap operas. A delusional character named Burt thought he could make himself invisible by simply snapping his fingers. snap-snap

Some days I want to be invisible too. Oh, to simply snap my fingers and disappear would be an awesome super power to enjoy.  I could just hide from people and the world with all its problems.  When life gets messy, ‘snap-snap’ and I’m gone. image

But what really hurts is when I am treated like I am invisible. I am present, I am breathing in-and-out but no one sees me. I open my mouth and words come out but they fall on deaf ears.  There is a conversation going on all around me but I am unnoticed. That is a very lonely place to be. I decide that everyone else must be more interesting, more engaging.  So I melt into the background. No one will notice my tears anyways.

Hagar wanted to disappear too. She was serving as a slave in a foreign land. Hagar was given to Abram (Abraham) to bear children since her master, Sarai (Sarah), was barren. Hagar becomes pregnant and suffers mistreatment from Sarai. Yep, Hagar wanted to be invisible. snap-snap

Instead, she runs away. Hagar flees to the desert to escape. She may have thought she was invisible amongst the sand dunes but she was never out of God’s sight. An angel of God appeared and spoke a blessing on her and her unborn child. Hagar’s response? “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13

In what seemed like a very hopeless situation, Hagar grasped an amazing truth about God. He always sees us; the real us, right where we are. He sees us in our deserts, in our valleys and on the mountaintops of life. He sees and He knows and He loves us deep down to the depth of our souls.

Hagar would have another opportunity to test God’s vision and hearing. In Genesis 21, following the birth of Abraham and Sarah’s son, Isaac, Hagar finds herself in another hopeless situation. She and her son, Ishmael, were given some food and water and they were sent off to wander in another desert.

When the food, water, and hope ran out, Hagar places Ishmael under a bush and moved away. She didn’t want to watch him die since that was the only viable option for both of them. Desperation time.

But God heard Hagar’s and Ishmael’s cries and saw their tears. This time He calls to her directly from Heaven. They were not invisible. They were not useless, discarded, or invaluable to the Creator. God saw and heard and He had a plan. “Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Genesis 21:18 (NIV)

On my hopeless and dark days, I want to run into the desert and hide (or snap my fingers and become invisible). I question if the God of the Universe sees little ol’ me. Does He hear my cries? Does He see my tears?  God saw Hagar in all her hopelessness imageand I know He sees me; even when no one else does.

“God keeps an eye on His friends, His ears pick up every moan and groan.” Psalm 34:15 (MSG)

I am not invisible.

Let’s Walk Worthy!

posse

Posse: a group of people who have a common purpose. The street-wise, hip definition identifies your posse as your crew, your homies, people who have your back. I feel better  getting out of bed in the morning knowing my homies have my back 🙂

My posse are my ‘go to’ prayer warriors. They don’t ride horses but they do march into spiritual battles at my side. They don’t carry guns (not that I am aware of) but they are cowboy tough. They are Throne-stormers; going before the God of the Universe on my behalf.

“Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.” John Wayne

imageThey ask the right questions and don’t shy away from asking hard questions: How are you really doing? Do you need anything? How can I pray for you? What can I do to help?

They do the right things: They pray without ceasing. They love me through my sunny days and my dark days. They send encouraging texts and cards. They accept me, without judging. They love me, without trying to fix the problem or figure me out. They show up armed with chocolate.

Exodus 17:12 describes Moses’ posse.

When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up-one on one side, one on the other- so that his hands remained steady till sunset. Exodus 17:12 (NIV)

Aaron and Hur were present, saw a need, stepped up and meet the need. Boom, posse-style. They were united for a common purpose.

Job’s posse can be credited for showing up to comfort him but when they opened their mouths only condemnation came out. Not helpful. “Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid.” John Wayne

My posse makes me a better person. They have my back and I’ve got theirs. Through love and prayers, our bond grows deeper. Time to saddle up.

“Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.” Proverbs 13:20 (MSG)

Let’s Walk Worthy!

Photo credit: nostomanic.blogspot.com

 

 

hunker down

A dear friend has entered a new season of her life: caring for an ill and aging parent. She has become the juggler with too many balls in the air. She is loving on her mom while navigating hospital hallways and deciphering doctor-speak. All in crash-course style. She is a blessing to her mom, but she is exhausted.

imageIn a recent email, she shared how she is ‘getting by’. Isn’t that our goal when life throws us a curve ball?  We just want to ‘get by’. We know our energy reserves are depleted and we desperately need to just ‘get by’.

What is her strategy? She hunkered down. Yep, she got down and dirty God-style.  She intentionally surrounded herself with sermons, praise songs, and kept the line of communication to God Almighty open 24/7. Bravo!

Hunker down: to hold resolutely or stubbornly when confronted by unfavorable circumstances. (It can also mean to squat on one’s heels but that sounds painful and  uncomfortable for my arthritic knees.)

When, not if, our lives get hard and down-right tough, hunker down and dig in. Dig into some Ben and Jerry’s while digging into His Word. (True friends applaud this kind of behavior. You go, girlfriend!) Belt out those lyrics to your favorite praise songs; it is all beautiful music to God’s ears. Soak in some truths online from Andy Stanley or Bill Hybels.  Circle the wagons. Bring in the reinforcements. Whatever it takes to hold resolutely in the midst of craziness.

In the Old Testament, we find out King Hezekiah hunkered down too.  With the arrogant yet mighty Assyrians lobbing threats and bearing down on Jerusalem, King Hezekiah dug in. What was his battle plan? He went to the Temple and spread out before God the latest threatening letter.  In my paraphrase, he said, “Here you go, God. This is all too big and scary for me. There is an army waiting to destroy us. This is all yours.” King Hezekiah didn’t panic and run; he prayed and stayed. He hunkered down before God and poured out his heart.

Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. 2 Kings 19: 15, 16 (NIV)

King Hezekiah held stubbornly in the face of very unfavorable circumstances. He hunkered down before God and waited. And God showed up.

That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning – there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib, King of Assyria broke camp and withdrew.  

2 Kings 19: 35, 36 (NIV)

My friend is functioning on little sleep and using her family leave days to serve as her mom’s caregiver.  But she is holding resolutely and stubbornly in the middle of unfavorable circumstances known as ‘life’.  And God has shown up. Her latest email update included, “God has been so good in a difficult situation.” Amen and pass the ice cream.

Let’s Walk Worthy!

photo credit: gettyimages.com