The “Forgotten” One

In the crowded, dirty street she sits most days. She’s only seven, but as alone as one could be in this world. The sounds of Kampala, Uganda is all she’s ever known. Dirty, ragged mess would be the words used to describe her. Those that see her are forced to avoid her hollow eyes. They hold too much pain. They look away to preserve their own souls. Pitiful as she is, she still has questions. There are some on the street who have lost this gift. She understands. Being numb seems a better way to survive. But for now, she is left wondering why…
She sees a mother carrying a baby and wonders why she doesn’t remember her own mother. She takes a moment to imagine one, but like smoke, it quickly fades. It seems like everyone has someone. Even orphans like herself seem to have a brother or a sister. She wonders why she is forgotten. At that moment a bird flies above the street, singing a tune that causes her eyes to gaze upward. for a moment, the feeling of loneliness is gone…
She sees across the street, a man buying plenteous amounts of food from a vendor. For a moment she dreams the food will be for her and wonders who will eat it all? Why does no one buy food for her? She wonders why she is forgotten. At that moment, a gentle breeze blows past her face, causing her to feel a moment of rest from the searing heat. For a moment, her sadness blows away with the breeze…
People seem so angry. They carry stern faces and are always going quickly from somewhere, to somewhere. They seem important when they have somewhere to go. She wonders why she comes from nowhere and goes nowhere. She wonders why she is so forgotten and unimportant. At that moment a cart rushes past, spilling a piece of fruit at her feet. She quickly picks it up and treasures her gift from no one, and for a moment forgets about “somewhere”.
Another day in the same street, she would usually try to forget. But tonight as the sun goes down, she actually gives thought to the day. For a reason she can’t explain, she remembers the little bird, and the song. She remembers a breeze and her special piece of fruit. She wonders again, but this time, instead of wondering WHY she is forgotten, she wonders IF she is forgotten. Didn’t someone make this world? IF they did, did they make HER? If they made her, do they CARE? If they care, is she FORGOTTEN? At that moment in a sky filled with twinkling stars, a shooting star caught her eye …and it was then she knew the answer. In this moment, she was not forgotten.

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It Was You

Have you ever read a really good book and been totally blown away by the ending?  I picture our lives like this. We’re in the middle of the book after the first few chapters and have way more questions than answers; the plot thickens and characters take on personalities.  Conflicts arise. Single chapters of a book are like events in our life. At the end of a chapter, nothing makes sense.  I’m usually emotionally troubled at the end of the chapter. …maybe because I’m only seeing one chapter of a very BIG book?  I don’t always get it, but I read on…wanting resolution. I know it sounds trite and “cliche-ish” to say “in heaven we will understand the unjust, life-changing situations that break our hearts here”, but that is the hope we have…that there is something I am misunderstanding; that resolution will happen; that justice and truth will prevail!  So the lyrics for this song came from thinking about what it will be like to be enlightened to the truth that God was there all along.

Like reading a great storybook ending

The crazy twist I couldn’t see

Now I know that’s how you work

Silent and patient behind the scenes

Chrorus

It was you all along

Clearing the path I’m walking on

It was you every time

who sent packages of hope for me to find

It was you.

As this book closes, I’m crying

I misread every sign

You were the one giving selflessly

Weaving your perfect heart to mine

Chorus

It was you all along

Clearing the path I’m walking on

It was you every time

Who sent packages of hope for me to find

It was you

What is it Going to Take?

What does it take for me to trust God? My mind has been contemplating the ongoing incremental decisions that are involved in trusting God everyday, every minute in life; the renewal and focus of our minds off of us, and on Christ; a purposeful acknowledgement that God has His loving hands on/in our lives.  The apostle Paul, in Philippians 4 tells us to rejoice and not to worry(opposite of trust) (vs 6)  resulting in a peace (vs 7).  He then tells us what things to think on (vs 8): things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, things of good report, things with virtue and praise.  It  is surprising that the chapter goes on to highlight the up’s and down’s of Paul’s life (vs 11-12).  When I am tempted to doubt, to worry and not trust,  it is usually driven by circumstances that are uncomfortable to ME. I wonder if we listen a little closer to Paul’s admonitions about rejoicing always and learning contentment because of the things he suffered.  He did not hide his afflictions and preach a “salvation makes this life perfect” gospel.  Instead, he shared the sorrows and struggles and said “Guess what?  These troubles do not mean you have to lose peace, you CAN be content in them, you CAN trust God” (Sonya’s paraphrase) After this list, he gives us the much quoted verse (13) “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”.  We quote that verse and apply it to our lofty goals and endeavors, but do we apply it to our life when we are raging with “WHY” questions, doubt, and fear?  I have a feeling that this verse is so much more about the strength to respond to God with trust, when circumstances are not looking too good, than it is a magic bottle to be rubbed when we feel like we might not win a prize at the race. God is bigger than our problems of mistrust and He shouldn’t be defined by them.  When something bad happens, we blame God; when something good happens, we smile and think how happy God is with us.  This thinking causes us to lose trust when He doesn’t fix our circumstances and causes us to take some credit for ourselves when things are good.  It says more about the power of God when we are content and peaceful in a storm, than when we give great accolades for God on our sunny days, right?  That is the power of God revealed to us. God is in the storm, in the blessings, in the questions…and thankfully, He  is steadfast, loyal and loving even when we try to humanize Him to look a lot like us (which would not be beautiful at all).  He’s calling us to trust Him as God. He’s trying to patiently “Fix” us, not necessarily all of our circumstances in this life; bringing us to a place of knowing Him deeper, which always results in loving and trusting Him more.

So here are the lyrics to a song I’m working on:

What is it going to take?

What is it going to take?

What is it going to take for me trust you?

Do the stars have to be perfectly aligned?

Does life have to focus on me all the time?

Is that what it will take for me to trust?

Chrous

I don’t want to wait for this earth to be

perfect and wonderful just like a dream

with no tears, no pain, no sin, no shame

before I can trust and praise your name

I want to trust you Lord

What is it going to take?

What is it going to take?

What is it going to take for me to trust you?

Will it take seeing your unconditional love

And the freedom you give me so undeserved

Is it as simple as making a choice to love?

to know you more…will mean to trust

Chrous

I don’t want to wait for this earth to be

perfect and wonderful just like a dream

with no tears, no pain, no sin, no shame

before I can trust and praise your name

I want to trust you Lord

A Tribute to Adier, a “Lost Boy of Sudan”

The sunny cheerful cloudless sky

Hides the coming genocide

As villagers in South Sudan

Face terror in their war-torn land

Is there hope?

Is there hope in this?

The pitter pat of children’s feet

Once beautiful, now bittersweet

Alone and running for their life

No mother to calm her baby’s cry

Is there hope?

Where is the hope in this?

Through jungle nights where animals sing

Some carried up in angel’s wings

Then days of desert, hot and thirsty

So many falling, dying dreams

Infested river; heavy choices-swim or bullet riverbed?

No promise sure as water turns from rapids white to crimson red

Where is Hope?  Where is Hope?

Where is hope in all of this?

Refugees they have been called,

“The Lost boys of Sudan”

Like scattered dandelions blown

Left in the swirling winds to roam

Though years and ocean separate

The memories better kept erased

True honor found the man who wields

Forgiveness as his sword and shield

Here lives hope.  Here lives hope

There is hope in this

How proud this lost boy’s mom would be

As he spreads hope through humanity

Hope lives in him

Hope lives…

In the forgiveness he gives.

The Trio “Speaks”

The jury heard the “evidence” of twisted truth and blame

To believe that God is real, is kin to fairy tales and games

Is that all?  Is there more?  Can the defense present a word?

Disappointment wafts through the room- Fear is felt;almost heard


But with walking cane and blinded eyes, Faith takes the witness seat

Articulating brilliant scenes of things hoped for; never seen

As his words washed through their minds, Hope began to chant

Hurt and doubt slither away, truth swells with confidence


But the back door to the courtroom presents a gruesome scene

As Love begins to walk the isle, gasping breath and bleeding

The prosecutor smiles with pride, no jury believes a dead man

But before their eyes, Love’s wounds are healed…

by the Great I AM


Deliberation, swift and sweet, the judge nods in finality

The foreman speaks out loud and clear “We find God, not guilty”

And almost inaudible, a trio begins to hum

The beautiful melodic Faith, Hope and Love

Trapped in Freedom?

Have you ever felt trapped by circumstances beyond your control?  I’m guessing everyone would say “yes” to that question.  Why is it then, when we are faced with that kind of situation in our lives that we sometimes feel alone?  Maybe this is a tool of the enemy to distract us from seeking the truth that we can learn in this place.

I’m thinking about Esther today.  She was “trapped” in every sense of the word; defined by someone else outwardly (part of a captive group where she had no choice-either become part of harem-or win the contest and become queen; neither choice was up to her)   She had even been given a different name.  Was she frustrated, fearful, angry? At one point we see her facing the reality that things were not going so well…the king hadn’t called for her in thirty days (rejection) and she may lose her life going before the king not summoned. Her uncle presented the idea that Esther may be in the palace “for such a time as this”  to save the Jewish people.  She could have reacted many ways… like not caring for anyone but herself…calculating the risks… becoming self-absorbed in self-pity…but instead she accepted the option that presented hope to others.  She accepted the possibility of her death and reached out to all of the jews to fast and pray.  She essentially reached out for true help; help from God.

Not to be a huge rain cloud on a beautiful sunny day, but there are some realities to the story of Esther that can be missed.  We rightly rejoice in the salvation of Esther’s life, and marvel that one woman helped save the Jewish people and celebrate in the sheer triumph over evil, but do we ever consider the person of Esther as an individual?  She was still left in a place not of her choosing.  The hopes and dreams she had as child are only memories in her mind.  Was she sad?  I don’t think so.  I think she accepted her life designed by God and purposeful.  To accept this, she had to let go.  I think that this may be the secret to living beyond circumstances that you can’t control, to live victorious in them.  There are no circumstances that are not controlled; they are just not controlled by us 🙂  I need this reminder as I see what freedom I have…what can and cannot be chosen for me.  Circumstances I can NOT control.  My attitude and acceptance, I CAN control.  There is freedom in that.  Being trapped in God’s freedom, I can live with that.  Agree?

“The Hiding Place”

Today, Brooke and I finally finished “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom.  Through tears and sobs, I read about Corrie dealing with the death of her sister while in the concentration camp.  Her sister Betsie had a hope of helping people see God’s love for them, even the prison guards, until her last breath.  She had a dream to one day help those wounded physically, emotionally and spiritually during the war; a plan to share the forgiveness that she learned.

II Corinthians 4:16 says “For which cause we faint not:  but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”  I couldn’t help but think of Betsie.   Yes, physically she was dying in a concentration camp, but if we had the eyes to see her soul; to see her apart from this physical flesh, we would see strength of massive proportions.  When she saw her enemies, she had compassion on the part of them that we cannot see with physical eyes… their soul.  When she saw her straw, flea-infested mat that served as a bed, she thanked God.  Later, it became apparent that it was the fleas and lice that actually kept the guards away, which gave them time to share God’s Word.

I can’t wait to meet Corrie and Betsie in heaven one day; to thank them for loving so selflessly.