Thursday, April 29, 2010

Just Do It

If you have been reading my blog for any time now you may have noticed that Haiti and her people have been a common topic for me. I know that it is because there is a supernatural calling on my life to "do something". So I am. Where I can, when I can and what I can. This in not to say that other areas of my life are not important but in this season I feel led to speak out often. This is the thing that I know to do.
The other day I was talking to my daughter Gwenn in Haiti about the canister drive that my friend Dennis and I are doing in our area. She said Mom you know what your doing is "guerrilla aid" I knew at once what she was talking about and it felt good. We don't have committees or officers, we don't have bylaws or rules. We know what needs to get done and we do it. As much as I would like to be on the ground in Haiti I know that my work for Haiti is far more important right here, right now. James 4:17 says: "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."
It is interesting that "Guerrilla Aid" is a humanitarian aid program. Really the concept puts us the Body of Christ to shame. It seems like the (American) church makes doing good things hard. We beat things to death with our committee meetings and our care to do everything the way it has always been done that we sometimes fail to do the good we know to do. We are always looking for approval and support and we sometimes fail to seize the moment to do what is right.
I am beginning to see how we live in this bubble that keeps us clean. And safe. Who ever said that we would be safe? Being a follower of Jesus is not safe. If it is maybe we need to reconsider how we are living. It is not always safe, or comfortable or pretty.In fact, the opposite is often true.
How is it that I can see the work of Jesus in Barton Brooks, a man who does not publicly claim to be a Christ follower? Why is it that I identify so closely with the work of a secular humanitarian? It is because the word of God is somehow written on his heart. He is doing the things that Jesus has commanded us to do. He is caring for the widows and the orphans in their distress. He sees a need and he goes to meet it. This is what the church should look like. We need to get dirty.
I don't want to step on toes unless of course they need it. The Bible tells us about what the last days will be like. Earthquakes, war, famine, signs in the heavens. (Matt 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.) The point of this scripture is not to alarm us but to comfort us and to tell us to be ready. God wants to find us doing the things that He told us to do. And what did He tell us? To care for the widows and the orphans. I think each of us is being called to 'do something'. James 2:14 summed up says "faith without works is dead". Simply to believe is not enough. The evil one, the father of lies, Satan himself is a believer. But he is not a follower of Jesus.
For those of you who remember the 1970s their was a slogan that said "Just do it!" I think it was a Nike ad. Well, I believe today that we could all borrow that slogan. Do the good you know to do. Don't know what you should be doing? The bible tells us to ask for wisdom. That does not mean we have to go off in some room for 40 days with a gathering of counselors to help you decide what 'good' to do. Just a simple "Jesus show me." He will. Then "Just do it."

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:26-27 (in Context) James 1 (Whole Chapter)
Romans 2:12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
James 2:18 (New International Version)

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
James 2:14-18 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Seaglass Christmas

Last week I took a seaglass workshop which was taught by Fran Peel in Manteo the the Dare County Arts Counsel offered. I was excited to get off work on time and didn't miss any of it. My thoughts about working with this art were how much blessing could pour back into Haiti.
The glass was all picked up by my grandchildren (which included the orphaned and abandoned children in my daughter and son in law's home) along a dirty strip of beach in Jacmel, Haiti. I thought that if I could learn this craft then I could go back to Haiti and teach it there allowing for a way for income to be generated in this area. What I didn't know that day was the passion that would be born in me to learn and create and learn and create some more. I have spent countless hours at night sitting at my craft table picking out matching earrings and wrapping wire around glass.
Tonight I decided to try something new. Fran had showed us briefly how to create seaglass nativities. I tried it tonight and was really blessed to see the results. Fran said that the glass selected determines the value of the piece. Well, I really don't know much about what is more valuable. Or really exactly what valuable means.Because really, value is determined but what someone is willing to pay.The value to me is that God can and will take our garbage and make something worthwhile and maybe even pretty from it. But I know that this piece tugs on my heart and I will hate to see it go...but really, it's just a thing. A thing that blessed me to create, will bless someone to buy and give, and will bless the people in a little coastal town in the poorest nation in our hemisphere.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I bring an offering of worship to my King

Sometimes it seems that what I have to offer is so small and pitiful. God doesn't need the dirty and imperfect things that I have in my hand. But He does not see my offerings the same way. He sees the heart with which I come to Him and He sees what is on the other side of that offering. So it is with this sea glass. The street child in Jacmel Haiti who extends his dirty hand with an offering just because it pleased him to do so does not see what this grandmother in another country, another world really, desires to do with his offering. He does not know that his offering will come back as a blessing to his community. He does not know that many will be blessed through him. He just knows that he offers what is in his hand. Child, you have taught me so much in this.

Paul Baloche

the sun cannot compare to the glory of Your love
there is no shadow in Your presence
no mortal man would dare to stand before Your throne
before the holy One of heaven

its only by Your blood and
its only by Your mercy
Lord i come

i bring an offering of worship to my King
no one on earth deserves the praises that i sing
Jesus may You receive the honour that You're due
Lord i bring an offering to You

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I look at thse pictures that gwenn took on the beach in Jacmel, Haiti and I am drawn back. I understand what it means to have a "call" on your life.I think that is why it is ok for me to see my daughter and son in law and grandchildren living in a place that most would never desire to visit. I know the about this call because I can only believe that at some level I am also called there. No, I don't foresee me and Steve selling everything and moving there.I do see me having some deep forvever connection to Jacmel and her people. I look at these photos and I see my grandchildren extending their hands filled with gifts for me! I have not met all of the children but they are "mine" as surly as the children that Gwenn gave birth to. It is a different kind of grandparenting but it is still so very real. I long to bring all of my American grandchildren with me to meet their Haiti cousins.
Since my first trip to Haiti one year ago not a day goes by that I do not miss it. No doubt people are weary of hearing about it from me. I don't really know where this is going or what it all means but I know I am homesick for this little island in the blue water.
I love my home and my life here. I am crazy nuts about all my grandbabies here and love every minute I have with them. But part of my heart will always be longing...for my ohter home this side of heaven.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Don't Get Me Started

I think considering the events of the last few months that I have held up pretty well. Very well really. I mean I am functioning and not like throwing up or crying a lot and all that. When the earthquake rocked Haiti on Jan. 12th my little world here in NC also shook. To the core. And for that matter it is still pretty fluid. I wanted to be there with my daughter and her family but God would have me serve here by caring for the children when they were evacuated.
Two months to the day after the quake we were rejoicing as a family as baby Johanna was born. Nothing like a baby to remind us of how sweet life is.
Eight days later my earth was shaken again as my daughter Gretchen, (Johanna's mom) was medivacted to Norfolk where she spent nine days in ICU and was on a vent which did the breathing for her.
I have rarely cried in all this. But something happens to me when I worship. It's like my defenses are all gone and my guard goes down and I weep. Today I was interpreting (sign language) the worship time at church. My back was to the platform but as the first song began I heard her. My Gretchen who less than 2 weeks ago was on a vent was singing! Just last night I was thinking of the song "Heart of Worship" by Matt Redman. Part of song says:

When the music fades
And all is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that's of worth
That will bless your heart

I'll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the ways things appear
You're looking into my heart

I was thinking about Gretchen's beautiful voice and wondering how it would affect her if she now found it hard to sing. I was thinking about her heart of worship and praying that she would know her value in Christ even is she could not sing like before. But she could and she did. Hearing her stirred such a spirit of thanksgiving that the tears of joy welled up. Deep, deep thanksgiving pulsed though my whole being .
At the same time I am remembering that one year ago this morning I was in a small church in Jacmel, Haiti. I signed the song "Arise My Love" (by Newsong) for the deaf as Gretchen sang it. It was Easter Sunday. I met so many people that morning and was warmly welcomed by not only the deaf community but by others and I found myself longing everyday to go back. This morning I read on facebook that it had rained hard in Jacmel overnight. I thought about the people in the camp and how difficult it must be for them to worship right now. I grieve for them.
The guest preacher was raised as a child of missionaries to Mexico. His dad died I think of malaria when he was still young. How good it was to pray with this man. He asked me something like "What is the ceiling of the emotions you are feeling? What do you really want to see happen?" Wow. So much. I want the suffering to stop. I want my family to be safe. I want the mayor and his men to have radical salvation. I want to be in Haiti. That was a hard question. But I am glad to be asked. I was glad to have someone 'get it' and glad my girlfriend Candy stood with me as we agreed together to see God's hand move.
I realize that I have been avoiding worship and even times of honest prayer since January. I am not yet ready to really open up that gate. I'm doing well. Really, I am. I am just beginning to understand that God wants me to hang out with Him a little more. But I have to set aside some time for this cause it might not be too pretty.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring's First Blush

Last Autumn I decided I wanted to plant a flower garden. I have not always been very good with this type of thing. I like instant results. Gardens take time and work and more time.
Steve put up a fence for my garden and I hung a bird feeder from the small live oak that grows in the inside my fence just to the side of the fish pond. I planted bulbs in the fall and those promises I planted are now dancing on my flower beds. Years after I am gone those flowers will be there to welcome whomever is here to see them.
So it is with our lives. What we sow into the lives of those around us will bear witness to future generations as to what kind of seed we sown. How many times do we hear children repeat some unkind or angry words that they learned from us? What children learn from us they will also teach to their children and on down the line. The Bible tells us the that the sins of the father are passed on to the third and fourth generation. I believe this is referring to this very type of thing. But it is also true that our kind words and good behaviours can be passed on to future generations.How wonderful to hear my grandchildren encourage one another.

The fence in my garden keeps my plants safe from loose dogs, loose kids :) and it gives me a defined space to work in and makes me know that I am in my garden. So it is with boundaries in the lives of our children. Children need places of safety. Places where the influences of the outside world can't touch them and places where they know what is expected of them.
Just as my plants need attention, water and sun and pruning and compost, children need to be nurtured. They need attention and provision, they need sunlight and correction. We need to prune away all that would keep them from growing emotionally, physically or spiritually strong. And like my garden, children should be enjoyed. Watch them dance. The seasons are short, don't miss a single blossom.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010