Sunday, March 23, 2014

Love Mercy

March 8th was International Women's Day.  In honor of the day, Kristen Welch guest posted on Ann Voskamp's blog about the work that Mercy House Kenya does for women there.  The post moved me that day; you can go back and read it here.  So, on the spot, I decided to buy a Love Mercy Bracelet.

It's a simple heart charm strung on a piece of twine.  A circle that connects my heart to the hearts of the women in Kenya.  With the bracelet comes a little card.  It says:

Tie this bracelet on and pray for girls so far away, Share their story from your heart, When the bracelet naturally falls off one day, You will know you've done your part.

Mercy Maternity House helps girls in Kenya find grace and protection in the midst of difficult, often unplanned, pregnancies.  They offer a safe place for them to learn how to care for their child and themselves.

The story of Mercy House really touched my heart.  I love having this simple bracelet that reminds me each day to pray for the beautiful women that are apart of this ministry.  In my plushy, American life, sometimes it's hard for me to remember the deep struggles facing girls, many my own age, all over the world.

  Rape, prostitution, and slavery aren't apart of my world.  They are one of those ugly topics that I just don't often think about.  Yet, it's reality to too many women.  It's the painful nightmare that they are just trying to survive.  And I want so desperately to make a difference.  Just to let them know that they are loved, that they can be beautiful daughters of the King, and they have support in raising their babies and facing this world -- that's something I want to do.  And right now, tangibly, I can wear this bracelet and tell everyone about Mercy House Kenya.

If you'd like to buy a bracelet or learn more about Mercy House, please visit them here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Psalm 101

Psalm 101 caught my eye as I was reading my Bible this morning, and I thought I'd share it with you all.

I will sing of mercy and justice;
To You, O Lord, I will sing praises.

I will behave wisely in a perfect way.
Oh, when will You come to me?
I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.

I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall depart from me;
I will not know wickedness.

I liked how the Psalmist is reminding himself of all that he wants to be, and how he should walk with God.  It's like he's telling his heart who he wants to emulate.  So, I want to echo this psalm today.  "I will sing of mercy and justice; to You, O Lord, I will sing praises..."

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Counting Gifts. Or Fleas, as the Case May Be.

It's funny how easy it is to count "gifts" on Christmas morning.  There's the new watercolors, dangling earrings, and a little ornament for the tree.  One, two, three.  But ask me now, in the middle of March, when there's a blizzard flying outside and cold uncertainty piling up in my heart.  Where are these gifts?  Because a new, shiny wristwatch, wrapped up in a miniature box with a bow is an easy gift to find.  It's right there, clasping my wrist.  But, quickly those material gifts run out when you're counting 1000 gifts.  I'm not a millionaire, with stuff piled around.  And I think there's more to a "gift" than the tangible, physical matter that lays before my eyes.

And so, when I'm daring to find Joy today, and every day this year, I've begun to look for things that are a little less obvious.  It reminds me of the story of Corrie and Betsy Ten Boom.  When the two women were taken to a concentration camp, infested with fleas and reeking of urine, Betsy thanked God for those fleas.  She smiled and breathed out a prayer of thankfulness for the dirty bugs clinging to the very sheets she had laid her head upon.

They didn't know it then, but later they found out that no guard would come into their building because of the horrible fleas.  And so their Bible study flourished undetected at that camp, and God was glorified.  Because of fleas.  But God was glorified long before those hours of studying Scripture.  He was glorified before Betsy and Corrie had shared the Gospel with a single soul in that concentration camp.  When Betsy thanked Him from the depths of her heart, thanked Him for the very thing that she detested most, He was glorified.

There are gifts everywhere.  In everything we touch, in everything we see and hear.  God has a purpose and a gift in every circumstance, even when it seems impossible to be true.  Even when our lives are filled with fleas.  God has a purpose, even for that.

Thank you, Father.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Today starts Lent.  Those forty days that tread on the road to Easter morning.  I never paid much attention to them before.  It's a busy time -- these forty days.  There's two birthdays in the family to celebrate, usually a recital or two to practice for, the end of school is in sight , yet so much more work needs to be done.

My grandpa, a Catholic, observes Lent.  And that's all that I knew about it.  Yet, there is something about Easter.  You shouldn't just come about the day, and celebrate it.  You need to build up to it, and savor it, and dwell on it much longer than one day out of three hundred and sixty-five.  Easter isn't a holiday, it's a lifestyle.  And Lent is the time set aside to clear our minds and our hearts, realigning our hearts with the reality of what Easter means.

I don't know why I paid attention to the idea this year.  Maybe it was because for the past month, as I was interning on the creative arts team at my church, we were preparing for forty days of Church-wide prayer.  Creating content for an initiative to pray for those who don't know our Savior with the intent to do something about it.  And it made me think about Easter differently.  It isn't just a holiday, it's a revolutionary concept that can change your life.

Maybe it was a song, stuck in my heart as I surfed the internet, filling my mind with mindlessness.  Garbage in, Garbage out, What goes in is found out, All can see what goes in me, I pay the price...

Lizzie says that the song is annoying.  It sticks in her head.  Yet, that's the point, isn't it?  What goes into my heart stays there, gets stirred around, and comes back out again in some way, some form.  In this case, it's a melody.  In some cases, not so much.

So maybe all this made me decide to focus, for forty days, on something more than mindless monotony that the world unceasingly chants.  It tries to lull me to sleep.  And here I am, with a Love so explosive, so beyond comprehension -- yet I'm drifting to sleep.

This year I want a Lent that drives me to see Joy in something beyond myself.  In something beyond the internet and the TV.  In something beyond material things, and the possessiveness of me. I want to breathe out something else these next forty days, and forever, really.  I want the reality of Easter -- of a brutal murder of a radical God and of a power that brings a dead Man to life to change humanity forever -- to be what people notice in me.