There was a group of bloggers that went to Haiti not long ago. I guess you could say I went along with them. I found myself eagerly following their journey, swept up in their enthusiasm, fear, and trepidation about what they would see, hear and discover.
On Facebook and through each of their blogs, I packed with them, boarded planes with them and prayed with them. I was there, at least in spirit, while they waited in airports and when they touched ground there. I was wrapped up in it, but from a safe distance.
I read the first reports, saw the pictures come in one after another. Each sharing their own personal journey…..in their own words. And there was power in their words, because of what they saw.
Like drumbeats in a native village, the stories came back from each writer, along with the stunning pictures that went where words could not. And it wasn’t just the stories, it was the real people attached to them. People whose faces would be forever imprinted on the hearts of each writer.
I myself slept in my own comfortable bed as they told about how a Haitian Pastor slept on the ground outside by the orphan children that he was protecting, because as Duane Scott said in his post today, “A shepherd never leaves his flock.”
I was in prayer with them when they landed and came back to this land that must have felt a little bit foreign even after being in Haiti a few days. This land where normal means, buying the next model of IPhone simply because you must have the latest and newest version, not because there is anything wrong with your phone.
What they saw changed them from the inside out. Not only that, it has changed me too. I learned some things from them:
That a handful of committed people can make a big difference……and you don’t have to go to another country to be impacted and feel the change yourself, (but it helps).
That God doesn’t want my leftover gifts. He wants my heart.
That I am thinking harder and longer before I purchase something.
That even though I can wake up depressed like I did this morning? Over there in that country little children and adults are living in conditions no one should ever live in, and they are still smiling.
Singing, rejoicing……but they are also
Fainting in classrooms for lack of food.
Being kidnapped and raped.
Living with fear night and day and never ever feeling safe……
And God is watching how we respond, how I respond.
Each of us can make a difference. If only half of us went without one Starbucks Latte per day, we could build houses in Haiti.
If God moves you to do so, you can sign up for a project or make a one time donation right here, or find out more by clicking my “Help One Now Button.”
If God doesn’t lead you to give, then pray for those courageous souls doing God’s work over there. Your prayers make a difference!
“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” James 5:16, The Message.
Since I started in this new area at work, I have unvolunteered myself for a couple of things I really had no business volunteering for in the first place. I know me right now. Several things in my life right now are stressing me out big time. When I started counting them all I realized it would be even more amazing if I weren’t stressed.
Today started off strange right off the get-go. The person I left at my station last night had transformed herself into a cactus. She focused her prickly laser-like vehemence on me as soon as I came in. It seems I left one thing undone which she proceeded to turn into her own personal very big deal. She left a nasty gram in bold print on my computer, detailing everything that happened as a result of my little mistake. The mistake by the way, that could have easily been corrected in about 5 minutes if she had chosen to respond in a different way.
I felt bad for her co-worker, who is a very nice lady. She was rolling her eyes behind “the talking cactus.” Then later, I was scolded for not showing up to lead stretches yesterday afternoon. That was my fault, it was my turn. Not only that, I was told that my stretch leading was not adequate. I needed to hold them for 20 seconds each and include more of a variety. So I marched over and took myself off that list too.
Sometimes we disappoint people, ourselves, God. It can’t be helped. I have learned some things through this, though. That if you are stressed to begin with, don’t raise your hand up in the air and volunteer for more.
Sometimes you have to take care of you.
Sometimes you just have to “check out”
After the stretching incident I went outside for a few minutes to regroup and play my “Words with friends.” It helped.While I was out there, I studied a little brown sparrow on the wall. I meditated on that little guy.
I noticed all the variant shades of brown. There must have been 20 that I could see. He was really a work of art. Then I remember what Jesus said about sparrows…..how they are valued by the Father. Noticed, counted. And how not one of them falls to the ground without Him knowing.
And He values you and me even more, much more, the Bible says.
I breathe deep. I start over. And now I will say a prayer for the counterpart that will come in tonight. I will be kind. Because I know there must be a reason why she acts as she does.
I also know that despite all the conditions in my life right now that are threatening to create that Perfect Storm? I have resources, I have people in my life who help me, support me, love me. And some have none of those things.
And writing about it really, really helps.
And most of all? I know the One who specializes in calming stormy seas.
Hi Lori, We worked on the fence today as I told you. The real hard part is done. Ron forgets I am 84. We did bending over all day, I can not do that….I came home and took a shower and relaxed in bed for awhile. I went out on the back deck in the cool breeze and took Merton;s book and you Prayer Closet book to read. I ended up reading your book for an hour and a half. You know I read good books but I was mesmerized by your writing, you write like Thoreau or Kathleen Norris. about nature and life. I can’t tell you how absolutely blown away by your talent. I Love you, Dad.
There is no price we can ever put on the value of good words. And because it was done for me, now I make a habit of doing it too. I never leave my Mom and Dad’s without leaving something under their pillow to find after I leave. And I leave notes around the house where I know Elaine will find them too. She had many words thrown at her growing up, but many were not good. Most were negative.
Edifying words have the power to convince someone they can really do anything they set their mind to do. But negative words have the power to demoralize and destroy. Sometimes those words make someone set out to try even harder to succeed, but all too often they leave a wake of destruction.
Some people spend all their lives recovering from the sting those words leave behind.
God loves it when we give out good words…….He knows their incredible ability to heal, to mend, to uplift.
And that person who has been on your mind? It’s time to write them a note or email . It may come just in time.
And then leave one for God too, even though He already knows what you are going to say…….
And if you have ever thought about setting your blog to print, I would encourage you to do so. It makes a wonderful gift for someone you love. Sure, they can get on the computer and read it, but there is something about being able to hold your words in their hands. Like having a bit of you with them.
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24
and gather them from the ends of the earth.
Among them will be the blind and the lame,
expectant mothers and women in labor;
a great throng will return.
They will come with weeping;
they will pray as I bring them back.
I will lead them beside streams of water
on a level path where they will not stumble,
because I am Israel’s father,
and Ephraim is my firstborn son.
Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me…….
See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant…….
And the word of the Lord came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “I see a rod of almond tree.”
Then the Lord said to me……..”You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:9-12
As I read these passages the thought came to me, “All of us who are writers are stewards of God’s words are we not?” It is extremely humbling. As I read these passages, it hit me. Those of us who write about the things of God need to be accountable for those words, not only what we say but how we say them…..
Today I am linking up with Duane Scott. He has some powerful and timely words that I wanted to share…….
Blessings and peace for your Monday, counting my Gratitude as well.
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day”
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the Lord.
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.