May 3, 2012

Excuse Me

So this thing with saying “Yes” is that it’s hard y’all. Sometimes it feels like I’m all roots and no wings. How many reasons can we find to say “No” versus reasons to say “Yes”? Think about something  you’ve been wanting to say Yes to. Why haven’t you?

Fear. Insecurity. Doubt. Apathy. Laziness.  {Fill in the blank.}

But truly, saying “No” tends to create more of these negative emotions and weighs us down. Yet a prayed over “Yes,” well, that can make us touch the sky!

In four days, I’ll be taking-off into the clouds with a “Yes,” which for a hundred reasons almost didn’t happen. Next Monday evening my feet will trod the dusty streets of El Salvador with Compassion International.

Ironically, this trip is a result of my saying “No.” Last time I was in El Salvador, two beautiful funny kiddos gave me this token of love. It was their only trinket. Only. One. Uno. Solo.

The next day I felt that familiar nudge from heaven. I was to give one of my own beloved bracelets away to any mama who God pointed out to me. But it was special. No way was I giving away what meant so much to me. No one would be receiving this gift my dad bought me over 20 years ago in South Africa. No, my bracelet was truly irreplaceable. No no no.

Y’all, I stepped off the plane in my hometown two days later with both bracelets in hand. One bearing selflessness. The other, selfishness.

My lack of “Yes” dragged me down. It nagged at me. Tore at the corners of my heart till it unraveled and fell apart.

Two years later, I shared this story of my misplaced treasure and Compassion picked up on it. They asked if we could create an advocacy video based on my “No.” Would I travel back to El Salvador to film?

This time I didn’t hesitate to say “Yes!” Because this film will be shared at concerts, events, churches to hopefully inspire others to connect with a child in need. And I’ll be asking those who see this short video to say “Yes.” Yes to giving a child wings to fly into their own happy sky, with a full tummy, brain, and heart.

So, excuse me “No” and your hundred reasons, I am preparing to take-off into my “Yes.” As I do, I want to leave you with this encouragement . . . if one too many “No’s” has left you bogged down. If you are fearful you’ve been left behind or left out because of saying “No” one too many times, chin up and wings out friend.

God has remarkable ways that He redeems all things… even a hundred “No’s.”  Seek His wisdom for the step you should take. I’m believing with you that your time to take-off into your “Yes” is now!

{Just  a hint of a whisper for you to include in your prayers today — might your “Yes” today be sponsoring a child? Think about it, please? Grateful if you do.}

{SugarBoo Designs via Grace Interiors & Design}

xoxo,
Sam

February 25, 2012

When Life Squeezes Us

The chair creaked as my friend shifted her weight. I never liked that scrawny chair in my office in the counseling center. Its arms, too close for comfort, seemed to intentionally squeeze the pain right out of my clients. Seemed to be having the same affect on my friend visiting me. This chair was too lightweight to carry the load of hurting people and heavy hearts. I sat across from her, hoping her tears shed were lightening her load.

For a week she’d carried the hopeful joy of what she thought was an unexpected pregnancy. But this was a hope to be deferred. It wasn’t time; not yet.

Not for quite a while. And then one day she joined us for dinner; we feasted on good news as we stood in the kitchen. Arms and elation entangled, we cried again. This time, it was time.

I remember the day she was born; a day when life was squeezing the pain right out of me. I shared my hurt with a friend on the way to the hospital. “You must believe He’s faithful. Don’t let the days slip by in doubt, no matter how long this hope is deferred.” I held that truth and I held that sweet baby, Sophie Brooke.

Her name means Wisdom and Peaceful waters. And aren’t those the things we need when the load is painful and hope is put on hold? Wisdom reminds us of His faithfulness to ease our load. And peace calls us to a place where pain doesn’t squeeze us so hard. For every season and stage of life. For when wombs are barren – to when cribs are full – to when the nest clears out … and every moment in between. Because the days are fleeting and I need Him every hour. I need to say yes to seeking His wisdom and resting where He guides me. Even when — especially when — life closes in and hope seems distant.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
Psalm 23

{Sophie’s Sweet Feet}

xoxo,
Sam

February 22, 2012

The Best Thing to Treasure

Popping in from Proverbs 31 Ministries? Thanks & welcome!

Several times I’ve shared about my sweet friends from El Salvador. These two adorables here….


…and talked of their gift to me—-a smudged tiny wooden bracelet. And I think of my friend Anna. An equally beautiful Greek grandma brandishing a rolling pin and hugs while scurrying to and fro in her beloved slippers. She had oomph and wit and got married in her early teens. You see, she loved her man Pete something fierce, and no boat would carry him across the ocean without her. Lady Liberty could keep her hands off.

{on their wedding day}

Anna had a house full of children, then grandchildren, and others she took in and served and fed. Oh did she feed. Her and her slippers and picnic tables lined up in her always-warm-from-the-oven kitchen. We’d hold hands in a circle, extending into the living room, and give grace. And she’d give double heapings of adoration and eggplant parm while padding around in her much-loved slippers.

Until one day a new guest in her home commented how lovely those cherished slippers were. Now, Anna and her man left the turquoise shores of Greece for the winter white of Maine. On cold wood floors, slippers are a nicety.

But not a treasure. Not to Anna at least. I watched as this gray-haired Yaya removed her slippers. The bustling house full of over 30 hungry creatures faded into the blazing warmth of the fire place. Or was it Anna’s selflessness burning a hole into my heart? She slipped her guest’s shoes off; fitted her slippers on their feet. I may have heard Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.

Even this first-time guest sensed what we seasoned company knew. Anna’s slippers were special. But Anna wouldn’t take no for an answer. For to her, these slippers weren’t the treasure; but they told of The Treasure. And isn’t He worth letting possessions go and having chilly toes for?

I want a love like Anna’s. To follow my Man across the world, should that be where He leads. And invite others into our home, life, heart. Serve them and feed them with the richest of fare. Warm them by my passion for the Word. And give. Oh to give what I can’t keep in the long run anyhow.

We’ve all got something that can be used to tell of our greatest Tresure. I missed my chance with my South African bracelet. But here’s the grace: I’ve had other chances. And will have more. I wonder, would you share how you let go of a treasure in order to share The Treasure please? Sure would be good to hear and be encouraged.

I’d love to share with you the honor of sponsoring a kiddo or two from Compassion International? Like my friends in the photos. Click here…  If you do, will you please tell us about them? You’ll be entered to win this lovely bracelet.

{pictures from El Salvador below} {{the kid’s precious gift}

{bringing their family rice, soap and other needs}

{their home is under the tarp}

{inside their grandmother’s home}

{they loved taking pictures with my camera!}

{God’s treaures}

xoxo,
Sam

November 22, 2011

Please Don’t Judge Me

Sometimes love requires the sacrifice of your possessions, your time, or some other precious commodity. ~John MacArthur

Please don’t judge me. I’m going to confess something and ask for mercy.

I have some priorities misplaced. Suppose I’ve known for some time, but it reared its head madly on a trip to El Salvador with Compassion International.

These two joys? I love them. They invited me into their home.

Led me into their dreams of being a police officer and a doctor.

They held my hand. Extending blessings they had not in silver or gold, but in love. Selfless love. Love that longed to be shared in stories and smiles and what rare, few tangible gifts they had.

I’d come to their home to extend gifts myself; extend mercy. But they exceeded anything I had to give. This. This bracelet.

They wanted it to be mine. She nudged her brother, too shy to give it to me herself. Beaming, he presented it as if the royal crown. They leaned down from the window and gently slid it on my wrist.

I declare, diamonds can not match the worth of their hearts, this gift, that moment. Be still my heart.

I had another precious bracelet with me. Simple and wooden, gifted to me over twenty years ago by my dad. Picked out on a trip to South Africa. The next day in El Salvador, the Lord challenged me. “Can you give your bracelet away like these precious children gave theirs to you?”

Please, don’t judge me.

Paralyzed with indecision, I wrestled before I left my room. Torn. My heart soared, anxious for that moment I’d spot the little girl or mama to give it to, sharing love. My heart sank, anxious to part with my sentimental treasure.

And therein lay the problem. My misplaced treasure.

I’m embarrassed, oh… more than that. Heartbroken. I’m sick to say, I couldn’t wouldn’t give it away. Both bracelets journeyed back to the United States with me. One harkening to selflessness. One to selfishness. I thought I was really something that day, bringing mercy to these kids with beans and rice, soap and smiles. Me with my jewelry box cluttered with bracelets. I am the one lacking much; the one in need.

Need of new perspective. New treasures. New truth – I don’t want to have possessions I can’t won’t don’t love others with. New mercy. And thank God that is available.

The crazy thing is, I’ve since lost my South African bracelet my dad gave me. Isn’t that the way it is with earthly treasures? They’re meant to easily slip through our open hands and heart, huh?

Next time, next time I’m giving it all. Are you with me? {might you want to start today with a sponsorship of a CI child, like these two cuties?}

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;  therefore I will wait for him.”  The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. ~Lam 3:22-26

Can we make this song a prayer today? Click here for lyrics to worship along~

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xoxo,
Sam