Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A God Moment, Undeserved

On Tuesday mornings I lead a short devotional at the middle school my kids attend. A couple of weeks ago I was having a rough morning and I was seriously thinking of skipping it. I had a horrible sleep the night before that resulted in a good-morning pounding headache and the kids were exceptionally morning resistant that day. As I fumbled through my morning routine I very familiar scripture verse came to mind and I knew I had to fulfill my commitment to the kids at the school so I dragged myself to the school. I was being obedient, just not enthusiastically so.

When I arrived at the school, my own kids were the only ones in the library waiting for devos to start. I knew it. Nice weather and all the little dudes are out playing soccer instead of coming inside early for devotions. I was irritated at the big time-suck that morning was turning into but I waiting. I stood in the room, watched the clock and thought of my bed and a nice, tall cup of The Precious. Just as I was about to send my kids outside and head for home, the doors opened and within a minute the room was full. Nearly 50 kids! I shared Isaiah 40:28-31 with the kids …

27 28 
Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

We spent a few minutes talking about how our strength is not compared to a hummingbird, who has to flap its wings constantly and quickly  to sustain flight, but to an eagle who has to relax and trust the wind to carry it, to help it to soar. When I was done talking I prayed for the kids and sent them off to their classes.

As I was leaving the school, glad that I had followed through with my commitment, I ran into one of my Buddies from Kids' Church. He was waiting outside the school for his grandma to pick him up because he wasn't feeling well. This little dude had lost his father a couple of months ago and although I had thought of him often and prayed for his family I hadn't had the opportunity to connect with him. I asked him if he wanted company while he waited and he said sure. We sat in the sunshine, talking of vacations, sports and favourite things to do in the summer. When his grandma arrived he said good-bye and hopped into the car.

I sat there for a few moments. Humbled and grateful. And sure that I received far more from my encounters of the morning than I had given. Despite my stubborn self-focused ways, God still manoeuvred the morning and gave me the opportunity to encounter Him in the conversations I had with  all of those buddies that morning. In the large group I was reminded that my strength is never enough but my willingness is a good starting point and in that one to one conversation I realized that God often uses the ordinary, everyday moments to remind us that He sees us and loves us.

Kindness doesn't cost anything more than time .. just be willing to give that much.

And I will, too!

If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. 
~ William Penn

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Join the Vigil

Unless you live under a rock you've probably heard about the 274 Nigerian girls who were kidnapped from their school on April 14. Since the news broke internationally, social media has been flooded with calls to Bring Back Our Girls. While I support the sentiment, retweeting or reposting this hashtag has seemed trite to me in light of the enormity of this tragedy, so I haven't. I've not said one word publicly about this kidnapping until now. I didn't want to retweet something because it was trendy or make some kind of hollow call to action when I felt powerless so I've been silent. But I can't be silent anymore.

Today is Mother's Day. I've spent the day helping the children in our church celebrate their mothers and  relaxing while enjoying my own children. This has been a peaceful day that has filled my heart. I've feel content, blessed and blissful in my motherhood today … until I decided to get a little reading in.

I'm trying to read the Bible all the way through and I've fallen behind a bit so I thought this afternoon would be the perfect opportunity to catch up. I got seven verses in and was stopped cold. The next thing I knew I was grief-stricken, angry, heartbroken and dedicated to the action.

"And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?' (Luke 18:7). When I read that verse I suddenly felt empowered to do something. I felt capable of taking meaningful action in support and defence of these missing girls. I could pray and I could call on mothers all around the world to join me.

As peaceful and lovely as this Mother's Day has been for me, there are hundreds of mothers in Nigeria (and thousand of mothers around the world) who don't know where their babies are. All they know is that their children are missing and in danger. All they know is that their world is off kilter and their hearts are full of grief. I can only imagine how alone they feel in this pain. But they don't have to be alone. I can stand with them. I can kneel with them. I can pray for their child as if they were my own. I can cry out to God and He will hear me.

You can cry out, too.

There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today. Mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers who have been trafficked and are living in bondage. This is not okay … but we can do something. We can take action.

Join me in a global prayer vigil. Set your alarms to 7pm local time. When the alarm goes off pray. Pray for the Nigerian girls and their mothers. Pray for the millions who live everyday in the bondage of slavery. Pray for those on the front lines, fighting for justice. Pray for our politicians and law makers, that they will be compelled into action. Pray.

I commit to pray everyday at 7pm until slavery is history. This isn't just about these 274 missing girls … it's about our missing generation. Cry out to God with me, pray today and everyday.

Tweet, retweet, update your statuses and share your prayers for the victims of human trafficking #jointhevigil #makeslaveryhistory #bringbackourgirls!

 "Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees." 
~Corrie ten Boom