25 Days of Thankful Day #2: Freedom


Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned;  that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Colossians 4:2-4

I am most thankful today for the freedom that many courageous people over the years have fought and died for. The freedom to walk around in my own home in safety and peace. To do all the simple chores around the house that I do take for granted. The freedom to pray without fear of someone pounding on the door waiting to arrest me. Freedom to go to work….drive my car…..go to the gym.

Freedom from fear of being kicked out of my homeland.

All over the world there are people who were living and working and enjoying freedom just like me. They were prospering in all kinds of different jobs for which they were trained. They educated themselves to better their community. They enjoyed success. They were raising families. Today they are in refugee camps. Their homeland was wrestled away from them violently, their old freedoms are only a memory. They watched their churches and homes be bombed or torn down and some of their Pastors arrested or killed.

My blogger friend David Rupert answered God’s call and went over to those camps. He went into the danger zone and interviewed many of these people. You can read their stories here on his blog. What they have been through, I can scarcely imagine. And yet, in their eyes you can still see joy, and you can see the bond that can never be broken. Because even though they have lost everything, they have their faith and they have their God and each other.

I so appreciate his courage for going over there to bring back their stories because now when I am going about my day doing what I am still so free to do, I think of them. And I pray for them.

Now it’s not just something that is happening somewhere else, it’s something that’s happening to my brothers and sisters in Christ who someday I will meet in Heaven. I can only hope and pray I would be as courageous and strong as they have been if I were put in the same position.

I truly hope I never have to find out.


One thousand (plus one) love letters to God


 Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God’s presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God’s name. Malachi 3:16, The Message

When I glanced up at the number of posts I thought, “It can’t be. How could I have passed 1000 posts and not have known?”

One thousand thoughts, one thousand meanderings, one thousand words I have set free to see what God would do. One thousand dreams, one thousand hopes, one thousand love letters to God.

One thousand ways I can share my faith, as well as my victories, things God and I and you did together……….One thousand times I have failed to love, and one thousand fears set free. It’s amazing really, what He has done with these words. Like bread cast upon the waters, He has carried them further than I ever thought possible.

I stare at the shore and wonder at my own words that have washed up from somewhere I never suspected. Only God can do that. When God stirs words they have a way of coming back full circle. I think of how they’ve come back from people I never dreamed would read them. I think of the ones who sowed the Word into me when I was young in all those Sunday school classes and sermons. To those that first sparked life and hope into my heart I would say this:

“It was the seeds of your own kindness and love for God that caused these words to grow.”

One thousand mornings of entering prayer like a sealed jar, my hope flickering like the candle, I sit back down and wait on Him to find He has already been there. It’s always Him who waits for me. Sometimes I’m not even sure where to start so I don’t. And it’s okay, for the waiting itself is Holy.

Once the words start tumbling out I experience a resurrection that I can no longer keep to myself. I find that God is not scared of what tumbles or flies out of this jar, whether black unnamed thing or brightly colored butterfly, and it seems that neither are you, dear reader. Many of you are still here.

The most important thing I have learned is how much He loves me, and that is what I want you to know.

And what He has taught me through all of you. I have learned that when I harness my words to prayer, miracles happen and when we join our words together it feels much like communion. I could never repay the friendships, the community of love I have found through writing. Your comments never fail to humble me.

Every now and then I think I might just seal this jar and keep the lid screwed on tight, who wants to see this mess anyway? But I thank God that never lasts, that feeling. The love I feel for God is so strong this flesh cannot contain it.

So here’s to 1000 more love letters to God.

And you…..

I thank you for hanging in with me this far.

They made me want to go


Every now and then, something you read trickles down to your actual life and it changes the way you think, even the way you live. Something stirs in your soul and reawakens you to something you believed all along.

Good words capture the power behind the action and get it right.

They open you up to new possibilities and remind you that one person can indeed make a great difference in the world, and a few can do even more. Like all great dreams, this one started in the heart of one person, Chris Marlow and like a tumbleweed on fire, that one dream spread to others and they made it their dream too.

And I would never have known about any of this without my friend and fellow blogger, Duane Scott. He was a member of the blogger team that was going there. Oh, I knew about Haiti and the terrible earthquake that happened but like everything else we hear about in the news, it gets sandwiched, stacked on top of every other catastrophe until they all get lost in the big stack of awful stuff.

It all leaves you feeling kind of helpless and like it’s all too big, too futile.

I followed the chronicles of the Haiti blogger team eagerly. When they all boarded the plane, I almost felt like I was going with them. Then, as I read the stories, my tears splashed on the page along with theirs. It was all so much, all too big, the need too great.

I read about the Pastor and his wife who slept out in the open between the children and the child rape and the food that was never enough. And I also read about their great faith and their big smiles and I heard about the church services that went on forever because the people just couldn’t stop praising God. Hello? Something is wrong here.

Then I heard about the school they wanted to build and I learned how my little dollars could make a difference by joining Pure Charity and backing the project. When I figured out that even ten dollars can make a difference over there, I started to change how I spent here.

And now I can’t stop thinking about that school, that playground, and those kids out there playing in the bright Haitian sun.  I think of how my niece doesn’t have any kids to play with after school and I think of how much all those children would love to play with her and she with them.

And I can’t get that particular vision out of my head. Why are things so uneven? My niece is special needs and sometimes other kids aren’t sure how to play with her, but I know those kids would because they have special needs of their own…..which one of us doesn’t?

I was raised to be grateful for what I have, and I am a person who has always been mindful about the plight of the poor. I send a check each month to my sponsored child through World Vision along with my prayers, which can never do enough.

And I never lay my head on my pillow at night without thanking God for my bed. I ask myself why they were born there and me here, with so much. And I know that just thanking God is not enough.


Help join me in making dreams a reality for these kids, and for your own neighborhood kids as well. Join Pure Charity and back a project today.

You won’t be sorry you did.

And to think it all started with the Haiti bloggers and their stories, and how they almost made this hobbit-like, comfort loving, safety-concious barely leaving my continent homebody want to go there.