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

January 27, 2012

One Good Man

“I see Mercy’s dating you,” she says as if it’s common to say such things. As if I knew this fact. {I didn’t.}

True, there have been glints of Mercy hanging around: softer heart, gentler words. But dating? One must tread lightly; such things could lead to a lifetime commitment.

A laugh tries to move past her statement, but it sticks. Though she and I are editing 10’s of 100’s of 1000’s of so many words during our meeting, hers won’t go away. Days after, they trail me and greet me at my front door and bid me good morning.

There’s this list I etched in the early spring of life. Qualities of a dreamed of man-husband. Some sweet, most naive, like flowers that bloom too early, before the frost has been chased away till winter. Give him blue eyes, tall legs, guitar fingers and a fondness for snow, Lord. And a passion for You, a heart for missions, goofy humor, and desire to have a house full of children . And swirl in this and that and the list went off the margins.

Now? In the summer of my time, the list blooms with  just one characteristic sure to weather all seasons: good.

Because surely goodness and mercy walk hand-n-hand. Dream of giving love and money and peace. Care for the least and the more than enough and everyone in between. Ride the wave of justice to set captives free. Walk humbly with God.

Surely, goodness loves Mercy. This Mercy dating me, asking for my hand, my heart, my life.

I can’t help but think: if this is what the Lord requires of a man… must I need more?

Oh sure, my heart still leans toward many of those things on my adolescent list. I’ll gladly lay them down though for that greater characteristic. Then again, many of them are embedded in good. So, I’ll whittle my list down to that one thing: good. Well, perhaps there’s one more quality I’d want a husband to have: a desire for a good wife.

And so, I’m accepting Mercy’s hand as I wait for one good man.

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. ~Micah 6:8

 

 

xoxo,
Sam

December 26, 2011

A New Year, A New Heart

 

A while back I traveled in El Salvador with Compassion International.

Honestly I was hesitant. Going across the world meant going to a place in my heart I feared. A place a dream was buried. A dream I was afraid to re-awaken — should it die again, the grief would be insurmountable. When this dream is surrendered to the Lord, it ruthlessly, tenderly breaks me. In a thousand good ways. But it’s not been surrendered. It’s been locked up and covered with the dust and debris of hurt, mistrust and disappointment.

Disappointment not in the dream. Rather, in the dream Giver. The Giver of all things… life, faith, desire. I know this is Truth. But my reality had shifted to a lie in which the Giver was the Taunter…dangling the proverbial carrot, always in sight; always out of reach.

He’d been trying to talk with me about this misunderstanding for some time. But life is a superb sound barrier. I didn’t want to hear about it, “If this dream isn’t going to come true by yesterday, don’t mention it again.” As the day to leave for El Salvador drew closer, I desperately buried deeper the place my heart dreaded. Disdained. Hated even. I wasn’t fond of who I’d become. It was ugly. Seriously filthy.

The first night in El Salvador we shared how we could pray for one another.

It was then I heard the knock. My bygone dream rapping. “Let me out. Talk about me. Be accountable.” And so I did.

I told of my love for missions, particularly foreign missions. And the grand temptation to turn my heart off…detach…withdraw from loving the one in front of me well. Because I was given that dream when I was a little girl and carefully tended it for two decades. I was convinced it’d been shut down; I’d been deceived.

It’s scary to trust again. To greet the edge of a dark cliff, jumping takes faith. The possibility that maybe {holding breath here} maybe… the dream isn’t really dead, perhaps it’s just on hiatus… hibernating… germinating… cultivating…well, sometimes that feels like too much to bear. Is a twist on the old adage true? “It’s better to have dreamt and lost, than never to have dreamt at all.” I’m beginning to believe so.

Reality and Truth held my hand in El Salvador and gently eased me away from the lies, hurt, mistrust. Being with children who laid their tiny hands on my head in prayer. Radiated joy though they know more pain in their 6 years than I will ever know in 86 years. Proclaimed the goodness of our God with no reserve. These awakened the dream in my heart. And I know, part of its dormancy is my fault. I must take time to nourish it through local missions, writing letters to my CI kids, loving the ones in front of me well.

An open heart gives way to open ears. Honestly, I still catch myself holding my breath. I’m jumping gingerly. But a miracle happened I can’t ignore. A dead dream came back to life; and hope was resurrected. And each day since, the Holy Spirit has gently tapped me on the shoulder and now I’m listening. He reminds me that yes, indeed, He is the Giver of all things. Life, faith, desires. And Truth. For this I am grateful.

~Does this resonate with you too? I’d love to dialogue. What dream do you pray is revived this year?

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. ~Ezekiel 36

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~

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

xoxo,
Sam