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Showing posts from 2017

ROI

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In the past few weeks, I have come across a number of individuals who have expressed difficulty in loving and spending themselves for children in their home who will soon return, or have returned, to their less-than-thankful parent.  Loving those who often do not love in return is a hard thing to do, which is why most people do not even entertain the idea.  The difficulty here is surfaces because they are unsure if there will be a return on their investment.  They are realizing that there is no guarantee that the time, money, and sacrificial love they have poured into this child will be something that will take root and grow.  The extra education, sports clinics, teaching of letters, improved nutrition...  There are times when families feel that they can no longer spend themselves and help a mom who is clearly not appreciative, nor using her time without her children in the way they would like her to.  Valid.

Recently, a family we have been supporting has given us reason to believe th…

Divorce Care at the Soup Kitchen

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I have often thought that the Divorce Care and Loss/Grief Counseling at church should merge with Compassion & Justice Ministries.  Because that is the avenue to wholeness and it is this brokenness that allows the heart to really serve well.  Richard Rohr said in his book, Breathing Under Water,"I think your heart needs to be broken, and broken open, at least once to have a heart at all or to have a heart for others."  
I would have to say I agree.

As a newly single mom, my recovery from this curveball came in the form of spending time with women who were homeless and some mission trips with my girls to areas in the U.S. and other parts of the world.  We were given the opportunity to come alongside and serve others and I took advantage of this pretty much because God seemed to be telling me to get out of my own head/ego.

When googling this correlation, I found that it is not a new idea.  An organization called "PROJECT GRACE", founded by Catherine Stern and Caro…

From Racing to Resting

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About fifteen or twenty years ago, I competed in a team (three-women) ironman triathlon competition.  I was the biker (not in the photo - that's just a stock one - they're way cooler looking).  After completing her leg of the race, our stud swimmer was the first one out of the water.  This put me in first position as I took off on the 112-mile race through the beautifully uncluttered, farmy-smelling roads of southern Wisconsin.  After several miles, I noticed that I was not seeing any road markings or people and a sense of discomfort in my gut began to take over.  I made the decision to turn around, return to where I started (if I could find it), and see where I may have gone wrong, if that, in fact, was the case.  It was.  The beginning of the course had not been marked until after I had started.  My swimmer was too fast.  I had gone an extra twelve miles.  Due to the fact that I am a competitive person, and knew I already had extra mileage ahead of me, I rode mad for the fir…

The Outsiders

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I know.  My mind automatically goes to "Pony Boy" and "Soda Pop", but those are not the "Outsiders" that I am referring to here.  It's actually the blood-pumping Needtobreathe song I am referring to.  If you haven't heard it, here: https://youtu.be/Q5DJcbfYoTg    When I figured out what it meant, I finally realized why.  The band's genre is different from other bands.  They know this.  They do not fit into one group and feel as if they are on the outside looking in.  They actually see this as an advantage because they can do their own thing without having to fit the mold of an insider.  Hence the refrain;


And through everything we've learned, we've finally come to terms - We are the Outsiders!"
One of my daughters learned this lesson the hard way.  She wanted to be in the popular group - shocker.  After a couple of years, she learned that the fight to get into the inside group wasn't worth it.  The FOMO that it created in her b…

Brave Love

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It was the third time I had heard this message:  Are you going to beBRAVE OR SAFE - because you cannot be both.  Each time, I am moved to want to fearlessly change the world.  While I wanted to apply it to my everyday decisions right away, like riding on a motorcycle or pressing on the gas through the yellow, I realized I probably shouldn't use this motto in parenting my children (yet), so I probably shouldn't use it in my smaller, daily choices either.

So, what are the A-21 Campaign's founder, Christine Caine and International Justice Mission's CEO, Gary Haugen, referring to when they empower everyone within hearing distance with these words about being brave or safe?  It's the big stuff.  It's the stuff that's in our hearts to do, but we're not doing because we're too timid and afraid.  Reading 1 John this week, I discovered the reason why:

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment..." 
1 Joh…

The School of "The Other"

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“…God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son…” Rom 8:32 MSG“Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretentions of the “somebodies”? 1 Cor 1:27 MSG
When something is exposed, it is:  made visible by uncovering - left uncovered, unprotected, vulnerable - or, it can reveal the true (and often not pretty) nature of something.

In light of this, after reading 1 Corinthians 1:27 recently, I understood it in a new light.  While I do think that Paul is talking about us being the “nobodies” (to keep us humble), which he started out saying “not influential” or “of noble birth” then went even further with the “nobody” word to really hammer in his point. I am now starting to think that this verse can also mean that when we view someone as a “nobody”, that just may be our cue to start liste…

Are We Building Walls or Bridges?

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I have a confession.  I almost applied for a job as a Child Protection Specialist for the State.  I am coming to a point in my life where I am considering full-time employment and this job description was challenging, nearby, paid well, and required (almost) every degree that I have.  But as I read it again, I couldn’t get past the sentence that required me to remove a child from their home.  Despite those circumstances that legitimately call for this, the image of having a child in my hand who desperately wanted to be with his mom, yet I was pulling him away, visually formed a wall of judgment and separation between me and “the other” that I have spent the past several years breaking down.

You see, I have spent the last several years volunteering and working for Safe Families for Children.  While it has been hard and messy, it has changed my life.  I have also spent the last several years going on short-term missions trips (STMTs) and recently had the opportunity to lead a team in Ug…

Scandalous Grace: Some Thoughts about Good Friday.

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A friend loaned me her extra copy of "Geography of Grace - Doing Theology From Below" by Kris Rocke & Joel Van Dyke about a week ago.  I have to admit, I struggled to get through the first half, but because I knew she has similar passions as I do, I persevered through and it did not disappoint!

Here, I came across another thought about The Prodigal Son story (so many lessons!) that has stumped me - in a good way.  Rocke & Van Dyke explain that in these verses of Luke 15, the Father continually shames Himself.  Ewe - really?  Tell me more, and why this is a good thing?  I do not know that I want a God who shames Himself.  Or, do I?
Here's where we see it; He lets his youngest son have his inheritance before He dies.  He runs out to welcome him after the son's betrayal.  He even throws him - the one who turned on Him - a party.  In the context of the culture that this was happening in, this behavior is embarrassing - shameful.  (Yes, the use of capital "H&…