Friday, October 31, 2014

A Halloween Challenge

This mornings' F*cebook is filled with kids dressed in cute costumes, adults dreaming of raiding their kids' treat bags, and Christians giving their view on whether one should or should not participate in Halloween. And all of it has once again left me somewhat confused.
Before I go any further, I'd like to say this...
This post is not about the should or should not of Halloween. 
 From what I've seen most people seem to have come up with a decision on what to do with this day.  For some it was an easy decision.  One they didn't think about twice.  For others, it's been an ongoing dilemma.  Each side has "proven" their case with scripture verses.  Good for you for doing some research to support your case!
What's got me a bit confused is this...
We all spend an awful lot of time thinking about, discussing, arguing, proving our point using scripture about things that are dear to our hearts.  And that is very often reflected in what we post on F*cebook.  I'm not suggesting that these things are wrong or inappropriate or that we should stop talking, posting, discussing, etc. 
What I am suggesting, is this...that we take a good, long look at what we are actually communicating to our friends, family, coworkers, neighbor...the world. 
This is where it hits VERY close to home for me!
I am a born again believer.  I believe that God sent His son Jesus Christ to earth to face a horrific death on the cross.  I believe Jesus rose 3 days later so that I did not have to pay for my sin...the payment would have meant my death.  His grace and mercy and unbelievable sacrifice is what gives me eternal life! 
I believe, with every fibre of my being, that I am to love God with ALL my heart, soul, mind, and being.  And I am to love others as myself. 
BUT, here's the problem.  The part that leaves me confused and quite frankly convicted, is this...
Is what comes out of my mouth, what I post on F*cebook, what I fight for, what I think is worth sharing, discussing, arguing about, a reflection of that love?
Quite honestly it's not! 
When's the last time someone talked to you, argued for, posted on fb, or challenged you to... for the family down the street that is struggling cause their teenager is in a rough spot? a true friend to your pastor or his wife...someone they can trust 100%? 
....reach out to the family that is dealing with grief over the recent loss of a loved one? 
...tell your kids' teacher what an amazing job he/she is doing?
...thank the person with the mundane, dead end, unnoticed job? 
...encourage the single mom trying to raise her kids on her own?
..share what Jesus has done for you? the "unlovable"?
The list could go on and on, but you get the picture.
Perhaps this hits me at this time of year cause in two days, Orphan Sunday is celebrated.  Over the years I've approached many church leaders/churches about participating, asking them to bring awareness.  And guess what?  Only one church has ever agreed to participate!  You know who you are and I thank you for your willingness to be different and raise awareness!
I've repeatedly posted about Orphan Sunday on f*acebook.  Only a few people have ever reposted the link or even "liked" the link.  It's kind of discouraging!  Please understand, that I know that being as passionate about the orphan as I am may  NOT be what God has called all of you to.  That is NOT what confuses me.  Rather, it's the lack of empathy and compassion needed to be moved to action of some sort. 
We all seem to have no problem sharing links we like.  We have no problem "liking" things we like.  We have no problem discussing, talking about, sharing about things we like.  It really doesn't matter how important the topic may be. 
 Here's the questions I have been asking myself...
"Is what I fight for really a direct reflection of the heart of God?"
"Does all I say, fight for, argue about, post on F*acebook, reflect what I claim to believe?"
And most importantly..."Do I love others as myself?"
The harsh reality to that answer once again makes me fall before God, in tears, confessing my sin, confessing my lack of love for Him and for others.
So here's the challenge...let's take a moment to think about what motivates us to discuss, share and fight for the things important to us.  Are these things really that important, or are they simply a distraction, keeping us from communing with God?  Are they hindering us from loving others as ourselves?
Whatever you find yourself doing or not doing today, may you feel His presence so intensely that you can not help but reach out in love to those around you!

Friday, October 24, 2014


If you've visited here for any length of time, you know that the journey I am on is filled with it's fair share of difficulty, heartache, and pain.  Sometimes it feels as though we only get brief moments of "normal".  It feels as though most of our days are difficult.  Some days I think I'm a complete whiner and wuss! Then I look back over the past 8 years and realize there may just be a reason I feel overwhelmed.  As you know my Dad passed away in June of 2006, after a brief 2 week battle with liver cancer.  That Christmas my Mom was rushed in for emergency surgery on a massive cancerous stomach growth.  In December of 2007 my mom passed away.  2008 was spent grieving, learning a new normal.  In July of 2009 Malia joined our family.  We had many months of difficult adjustment followed by a few short months of relative calm.  Raina joined our family in December of 2010.  More adjusting.  2011 marked the year that we knew we had to take some drastic measures to protect one of our boys from severe bullying, and entered the difficult (at least to me) journey of homeschooling.  In 2012 we knew there was another child waiting for us in China and thus began the fundraising.  The fundraising effort almost did us in.  It is something I wish we had never done.  Not because we didn't need the funds, but because of the negativity/judgement we faced.  In July of 2013 Jackson joined our family. More adjusting. More dealing with some less than supportive people.
I've waited for many years for life to become easier.  More relaxed.  Less stressful. 
But what I wanted and imagined is not happening...unless I choose each and every day to see the beauty in the little things.  Kids waking with a smile, family suppers,  kids delighting in little things, minutes alone with Martin, hugs from teens, gorgeous fall weather.  I'm learning that this thing called life is ALL about the little things.  It's about embracing the "here and now".  It's about taking what comes our way and seeing the "beautiful" in it.
All these years I know that God has been working.  Working to mold me and shape me into what He wants me to be.  In the past 2 years I've finally begun to see and feel the difference in me.  Even Martin has noticed.  I'm seeing myself more and more as God sees me.  I'm beginning to embrace the difficult.  I've begun to see the good in it.  I still struggle some days with self pity, doubt and questions.  It seems so unfair sometimes.  But I am beginning to see that "difficult" can be a very good thing.
On the days that I struggle to not let the "difficult" rule my life, I am reminded of the song Blessings by Laura Story.  It perfectly sums up what I've been learning.