Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
|BJ and Ian earlier this summer|
Sunday, June 17, 2012
...human trafficking is an industry that brings in over 32 billion dollars each year
...925 million people will go to sleep hungry tonight
...nearly 2 million children are sold in the commercial sex industry
Injustice fills the world with darkness and pain...and when we overlook those who are suffering, what a grave injustice that is.
BJ and I have spent the last 2 years living with my parents so that we can finish school. We have shared a car for 4 years. We have significant school and medical debt. We rarely go out to dinner or go see movies. We can't take a vacation and it seems like every time we start to get ahead, we have a new expense to deal with. And yet, we have more than most of the rest of the world. As I type this, BJ is giving Ian a bath. The water is clean and warm. In a little bit, I will sing to Ian and place him in his crib, which is safe, soft and in a private room with AC, a fan and a night light. BJ and I will put away the large array of clothes strewn across our room and then sit down to read. Later tonight, we will go to the refrigerator to fill up our glasses with clean, safe ice water. We'll finish the night by crawling into our queen size bed...nestled comfortably under clean sheets and a warm comforter. Our stomachs will be full. The AC will be running and we will have two fans blowing on the bed to keep us comfortable. We'll close our eyes and sleep peacefully, locked up in our safe home...without any reason to fear danger coming in the night.
My mind now wanders to the mother who will not have that experience tonight. She watched her babies cry from hunger and listened to her littles one cough, knowing should couldn't do anything about it. Her children are thirsty because the water they have access to isn't safe to drink. She prays for them and lays on a floor with them pulled under her arm, because she knows there are violent people who could come and take them under the cover of night. Maybe she is a mother who is crying tonight because tomorrow she will have to watch her children continue to live in slavery, or her daughters were sold into prostitution and she will never see them again. There is no government funded school loan for her and her children. There isn't a lock to keep out dangerous men. She cannot ring the pediatrician-on-call when her baby gets sick in the middle of the night. And when she finds herself the victim of abuse, the police won't come to help her. I think of her, and the millions like her, and I feel sick in the core of my body.
By the standards of many of our peers, BJ and I live on very "little". But in reality, we live in incredible abundance. We are the 1%. So much of the rest of the world is suffering, and yet it is so easy for us to feel burdened because we have to deal with debt from the college education we received - something much of the world will never have the opportunity to attain.
When I was coming to the end of my third trimester with Ian, I had set up the nursery just like the picture in my head. My parents had graciously given up the second guest bedroom to be used for a nursery and we had painted it, filled it with beautiful furniture and stocked the closet with sweet baby boy clothes. One afternoon, we came home to find that my dad's German Shepherd had gotten into the room and unleashed an explosive bathroom experience on the carpet. The smell wouldn't leave (eventually the carpet had to be replaced). I was devastated. I remember sitting in the hallway at church and relaying the story to a friend, expecting her to rub my back with sympathy. Instead, she gave me a half-smile and said, "just remember that there are a lot of mothers in Africa who would love to have nursery that smells like dog poop." Her words felt like a punch in the stomach. And they were so true.
We have more than most of the rest of the world and we have a responsibility to be good stewards of that gift...using it to care for those who understand what real need is...and to defend those who are victims of injustice and have no other advocate to plead their case.
Like A River
There is an incredible campaign going on at our church right now and I want to invite you to be a part of it. You may go to a different church, or you may not attend church at all. My invitation is for everyone, regardless of affiliation. You can do this in four ways:
(click on the words in bold to be taken to a site or video for more information)
1. Sponsor a child through Compassion International
2. Gather up your spare change and participate in Anything for Change
3. Go A Week Without and donate the difference
4. Come to the Freedom Concert and Freedom Marketplace next Sunday night (6/24)
If you want to participate in #2 or #3 but are unable to come to any of the services next Sunday, please let me know.
Justice is at the center of God's heart. My prayer is that it would be at the center of our hearts and that we would all participate in seeing justice roll like a river throughout a broken and hurting world.
Friday, June 15, 2012
What it looks like
What it doesn't look like
Friday, May 25, 2012
In the past 8 years, I have…questioned my faith, found my Creator...developed life-changing relationships, experienced the loss of some of those relationships...spent 5 years in an incredible job that taught me about people, responsibility, organization, ministry, and God...bought my first car, totaled my car....experienced heart-ache from the wrong guy, met the right guy and learned what it actually meant to love someone...got engaged, got married and moved out of my parents house...built relationships with amazing middle and high school students, watched these students grow up and leave for college - some of whom are now graduating and getting married themselves…flew on a plane for the first time, traveled outside of the country for the first time...along with BJ, stepped away from our jobs and moved back in with my parents...experienced pregnancy, had a beautiful baby and became a mother...and learned a lot of things the hard way.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012
When I first became pregnant with Ian almost two years ago, I had a number of friends tell me that I should sign up for weekly updates from Baby Center. And let me tell you, they were right! When you can’t see your growing baby and watch how he is changing, it is thrilling to get an email with a picture of what he looks like, facts about how he is developing and how big he is. Then the baby gets here and in those first few months, every piece of advice or information feels like a lifeline that’s been thrown out to saving a drowning mother.
But as the months went on and Ian grew, I began to feel a parting of ways was on the horizon between these weekly emails and this new momma. Developmental milestone charts felt stressful to look at – what if Ian didn’t show some skill that the chart said all babies at his age should be able to do? I gradually paid less and less attention to the emails and just focused on Ian.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past year, but one of the best decisions I made was to choose to not worry about if Ian was “on track”. Somewhere around month 5, I stopped looking at charts and reading about what was coming next. I don’t add up how much he is eating from each category in the food pyramid. I don’t read about what toys we should be introducing at which age and I try to hold our plans very loosely. I decided to just be and let Ian be. Otherwise, I would be a miserable and anxious mess.
What I know is this…Ian is a smart, healthy, and happy baby. We have a great pediatrician who will let us know if Ian is ever behind in a certain milestone. We try to eat a balanced diet and I believe that at the end of the week, he has gotten what he needs. When Ian is bored with one toy, he finds something else that is more interesting to play with (which usually isn’t a toy at all). And if I follow his cues and trust my natural instincts, I think he will continue tell me what he needs and what “stage” he is at right now.
I once heard someone say, “don’t worry, when he gets married, he will walk down the aisle, be able to feed himself and wipe his own bottom.”
Which brings me to the t-word and a parting of ways. Up until his first birthday, my weekly emails have said “your baby at x-weeks/months”. Now it says, “Your TODDLER at 12months, 1 week”. Toddler?? He may be growing up fast and becoming increasingly independent, but he is still a baby in more ways than not. I’m not in denial and I know that at some point over this next year, he will transition to being a toddler. One day I’ll look at him running around the house and think, “wow, you really aren’t a little baby anymore.” But that day isn’t here yet, so I’m not quite ready to apply the term "toddler" to my baby. Soon enough the day will come, but not now. I understand why people call babies toddlers as soon as they turn 1, but it’s just a word that represents a shift that happens at different ages in different babies.
Realizing that helps me to see that it’s ok for a parting of ways from my weekly emails now. They have been so helpful, but Ian is an individual and isn’t on anyone else’s timeline. I’m just going to watch him, trust the instincts God gave me, and love him. And for now, I’m still calling him my baby.