Inspired to Action blog posts by Rebecca Pratt
On one of my Africa trips, my husband asked one of our local anti trafficking team members what it was like to work with me. This team member said, “well to be honest, your wife is very different now, than when we first started working with her years ago.” My husband asked, “how so?” He proceeded to say that when faced with a problem, I used to just quickly tell them what they should do to fix the problem, as if I always had the answers. “Yet now, she does not do that anymore,” He said, “she stops and asks everyone to pray and to ask God to help us come up with the solution that would be the best. She consults God on everything now, instead of quickly just trying to come up with a solution. She is very different to work with now, which is very nice.”
This conversation made me realize a few things.
Taking control of things in my life comes very natural to me. By nature I have a more dominant personality, so I can easily bulldoze right through relationships if I am not careful. In my younger years of being married and having young kids at home, taking control of what was going on around me was what I did to give myself a sense of security. Yet to be honest, I really never felt secure in who I was or in what was going on around me. I was just barely surviving through these young motherhood days with taking care of a husband and three little children under the age of five, and I did not take time for self reflection.
Through lots of rough roads, I have learned that real security and healthy living comes from a completly opposite spirit than I used to walk in.
Holding on tight and trying to keep control of people and circumstances has brought about a lot of stress and anxiety and huge disapointments through my lifetime. Had it not been for implementing this new action, I do not think my marriage would have survived, nor would my relationships with my grown kids, and other friendships be as strong as they are today.
The action I took that has saved my relationships, and actually gave me a new lease on life by helping me to live differently, is the action of letting go of trying to control my life and the lives of those around me. I have found that releasing control and handing every area of my life to God, has been the most freeing and amazing way to live. To my great surprise, I am walking in peace and security now that I am not hanging on so tight to everything and everyone in my life. In doing this, I have found God to be fully trustworthy. I have tested this letting go thing now for years, and my anxiety and fear of the future has faded significantly. Even when circumstances around me are far from peaceful, i still have an inner peace, that circumstances no longer dictates. The Scripture in Matt 10:39 says, If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
What does releasing control look like for me on a practical level?
Marriage wise, I decided when my husband makes mistakes, or does things differently than I feel he should, that I will not freak out on him and try to fix everything. I will process with him carefully, and increase my prayers for him.
Children wise: Now that my kids are grown and have families of their own, my role has changed with them. When they go through tough stuff, I have learned that the best thing i can do for them is to be available to process, if they want that, yet praying for them, and releasing them to God, has proved to be the most important thing I can do as a mom and has actually made our relationships strong.
For those around me who are making bad choices: Praying for them, and ducking and allowing God to hit (speak or convict) them, is many times more productive than my words could be.
In all my relationships: Being more purposeful with listening, instead of giving my opinion so quickly, has given me more time to hear from God as to what I should say, instead of quickly speaking into a situation.
Regarding our work in Africa: I have come to the conclusion that I do not know what is best each day. Every situation is different and sometimes incredibly overwhelming. I have to hear from God every day as to what He wants me to do and then learn to walk in that. His ways are always way higher than my ways.
As we give up our lives and surrender our full heart and will to the Holy Spirit (God’s spirit), this is when we are able to fully come alive. God’s incredible power becomes activated in our life and God is able to accomplish beautiful things through our lives.
These are just a few of the many things that happen when we choose to give up our lives to God.
We receive power to accomplish whatever God asks of us to accomplish. Acts 1:8 For you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.
You will be taught what you need to know for life. John 14: 26 But the Helper the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to remembrance all things that I said to you.
You will bear much fruit. John 15:5, I am the vine you are the branches, He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing.
You will ask for things according to God’s will, and it will be done for you. John 15:8, If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit.
God will give us everything we need when we need it. Romans 8:26-29 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know whaat we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he searnces our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.
So my bottem line is this; YOU CAN TRUST GOD WITH YOUR LIFE. Go on ahead and test this theory. Give up, and let go, and hand your life in every area over to God. I can guarantee you, that is when you will really find your life, and the anxiety and stress you have by hanging on so tight, will begin to fade away.
a starving baby girl weighing only 4.4 lbs as a five month old was heart
wrenching. (Actual picture of her posted here). As I held this little one, named Lucresse, in my arms she was
panting fast and quick shallow breaths as if at any minute she would take her
last. I honestly did not know what to do. I sat down and placed my hand on her
chest and began to pray. “Oh God, please help this little girl. If it be your
will, spare her life and give this little one comfort and peace”. As I prayed
her breathing became normal and peaceful. Once my prayer was over, her panting
started up again. I sat dumbfounded, honestly not knowing what to do next. I
knew Lucresse would soon die without immediate intervention. She was starving
My motherly instinct
was screaming for me to rush her to the nearest hospital, but a quiet sense
deep in my heart that I felt was God’s quiet voice was guiding me to do the
encounter happened in Oct. of 2013 in a village in Benin where we had just begun our anti trafficking efforts in the rural areas
where the life of a child had no real value. Mothers were selling their
children for a mere 20 dollars due to poverty and not having the means to feed
all their children. Selling their children so that they could have relief from
feeding and caring for an extra mouth became a way of life for these villagers.
This was just a way of survival.
a meeting where I was sharing with a group of mothers why they should not
traffic their children, this tiny baby girl caught my attention. No
one seemed alarmed by this little one’s condition, and in their mind if this
baby died due to her mother working in the fields all day and only feeding her
one time each night, well it was simply the will of the gods that destined this
child to die. In their minds her death would not have anything to do with a
a heavy heart that evening a plan came to mind to task one of our female anti
trafficking team members to oversee Lucresse’s health, along with this little
one’s mother. She was also tasked to teach all the women in this area how to
take care of their babies and to share about the value of life.
Lucresse and her mother had a four-week
stay in the hospital getting her up to eight pounds, and hours of oversight by our
team member. With every village mother watching this situation extensively,
women were getting trained on how to take care of their babies.
weighed in front of the villagers weekly, and extensive teachings were given to
all the mothers of the village on how to take care of their babies and how to
help each other to take care of their little ones.
forward to this month in January of 2016. To my shock and amazement just two
year’s later we are seeing a huge culture shift due to our anti trafficking and
micro finance efforts in this village. Not only have we been able to stop the
trafficking of children, given over 80 women micro loans so they can begin to
feed their own children, but we are also now seeing mother’s properly caring for
their young ones.
Many of these women have committed their lives to Christ, and
their testimonies of huge life transformations because of what the God who
created them has done in their lives is unbelievable.
this recent visit to Benin, the mothers were very eager to tell us how thankful
they were to be shown a better way, (God’s way) to care for their children.
With a sense of pride they presented Lucresse to me to show me how well she was
this same room, where Lucresse was once dying and no one was alarmed, I was
watching women eager to show us how much they have changed and how they have
understand that their children are important.
is beautiful to be apart of these huge transformational stories, where we have
been given front row seats to a God who is all about redeeming, restoring and
rescuing! Amazing! To read more about this work and what we are doing, you can visit: www.orphanreliefandrescue.org
This picture was taken last week. Lucresse is shockingly healthy!
In walking through depression years ago, then writing about it in my book “Inspired to Action”, in my 9th chapter, Depression to Expression, I often have people ask me to give them a quick overview on how I overcame this. Many of us have gone through depression in one form or another, or know of a friend who is going through this, and know all to well this is a process in walking through many steps to overcome it. For some it takes only months, for others it takes years. My journey with this lasted about 2 years. Our minds and bodies are fragile and if we allow our lives to get out of balance, depression is an easy thing our minds can fall into. Through the many stressors in life, some who struggle with depression may need more intensive steps than this, but this is what I still abide by personally today to stay healthy.
10 Steps to Kick Depression and to keep it away!
1. Spend extra time with God and foster your relationship with Him. He reminds us who we really are and what He created us for. Give God the opportunity to show you how much He loves you.
2. Give yourself Grace. Forgive yourself for past mistakes. Learn to love yourself.
3. Focus on helping those in need around you. Stop focusing on Self.
4. Become more eternally focused. Spend your time on things that will last into eternity. Stop fretting and worrying about the petty things in life that won’t matter a year from now.
5. Learn to Laugh a lot and to forgive a lot. Choose to not allow people’s comments or insults to affect you. Let things roll off your back.
6. Do not allow life’s hard circumstances to dictate your attitude. Choose joy daily.
7. Take care of yourself and take time for yourself. Get adequate sleep, eat right and exercise to increase your endorphins. It’s proven that lack of sleep and too much junk food does not allow our brains to function properly. We also need to give ourself permission to enjoy a hobby or two.
8. Get accountability for the things you need to change in your life, such as addictions or wrong thinking or disciplines you need to put in place. Choose counseling, a life coach or a good friend to keep you accountable.
9. Push yourself to be around healthy positive people who encourage you. Do not hang out with those who discourage and bring you down.
10. Let go of trying to control every area of your life and place your whole life in God’s hands. Let go and Let God! You can trust Him.
When we are hit from all sides with crisis after crisis, we can sometime
wonder where God is in all of it. Does he care? Does He know what is going on? Is
He on our side?
In 2 Chronicles 20, The King of Judah, Jehoshaphat loved and served God
with all his heart and was in distress when he heard there were three kingdoms
coming to fight against him in battle. He knew they were completely
outnumbered. He cried out to God for help. In the 20th verse, he
cried out saying “we do not know what to
do, but our eyes are upon you.
I know in my own life, I have cried out to God many times with these same
words when I have come to the end of knowing what to do next with overwhelming
circumstances than hit me.
As Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah were seeking God, the spirit of
the Lord came upon Jahaziel, a Levite, in the midst of the assembly, and he
said, “Thus says the Lord to you; “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of
this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
17) You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand
still and see the salvation of the Lord who is with you.
By faith in what God had told them Jehoshaphat led the children of Judah
in worship and praise for what God was about to do to rescue them.
In verse 22 it says, when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set
ambushes against the people of Ammom, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against
Judah, and they were defeated.
In our own lives it is very important to understand, that there is power
when we worship and praise God. I
love how it says WHEN they began to
sing and praise, God caused the enemy to turn against each other, and when
Judah got to the battlefield all they saw were dead bodies. No one had escaped.
Through reading this I am challenged to integrate a lot more times of worship
and praise into my life and a lot less worrying and trying to figure out how to
fix the problems around me. This is a great reminder that the battles raging
around me are the Lords. We can trust that He is still on the throne and that
God is the one that will fight for us when the circumstances of life seem too
much for us to bear on our own.
In September 2013 we were able to rescue 40 children from becoming trafficked in Benin. The children are all in school and we are working hard to help the parents with small business endeavors so they can feed their children. We are seeing beautiful results from these endeavors.
Five sewing machines were provided for our anti trafficking team to manage in the village. Three sew machines are being used by 3 villagers. Each person who is using the machines each pay 14.00 per month to use the machines. In 14 months of paying monthly to use their machine, that money will be used to purchase the machine they are using, and it will become their own. Another new/ used machine will be purchased for another woman or man to start their sewing business. The 14.00 dollars that goes into the pot from those who are sewing is being used to loan to woman to start small businesses. Little micro loans are being made for 4.00 per woman to purchase food things that they can make things to sell in the market with. The woman are paying it back at the end of the month with an extra 20 cents added for interest. These ladies are all so poor, these amounts are working for them to start up small income businesses. They have around 50 women doing these small businesses from those loans. This has become very successful.
The other two machines are being kept with one of the team members of the Anti trafficking team. She is teaching the woman at her place how to make bags and purses. She just started doing this. She said she will let me know how this goes. She is trying to find higher income generating things for the women to sell.
These are two testimonials from 2 parents of children on the feeding program we implemented with the children who we helped get into school. We are providing a hot lunch at school for the 40 rescued children.
Here are two testimonials.
I am the reason why the team came to our village . In previous years I could not buy a uniform for my child, or provide school supplies for him, so he was never able to go to school. This year every thing has changed, my child has a school uniform, school stuff and is able to eat food every day at school. I notice that my child never misses class and loves to go to school because, he knows he will get something to eat there. God bless the team
I had a plan to send my child to Nigeria this last year, but when the team came asking for names of children who could not attend school, and who were going to be sent away, I quickly gave my child's name to the team. I am thanking the team for giving my child food at school every week. The food they are getting at school keeps them from coming home at 10 am to look for food at lunchtime. Most of the time they would not return to school because they had no food to eat. God has used the team to solve this problem.
I am so thankful to God and to all those who are helping us to make sure these kids stay rescued and not another statistic of trafficking. This is incredible work.
If you have ever heard me speak at a retreat, or seminar, you would not be surprised if I stopped my sharing for a few minutes and had you go off by yourself for 5 to 10 minutes to hear what God might say about you. These times have become a highlight, as I watch people come alive as they hear what their creator has to say about them. I wanted to give you the same opportunity at home through this blog. The bottom line is, we can never get enough affirmation from our creator, as the enemy is always lurking around to discourage us. Try this little exercise and be surprised by God today and the beautiful words He wants to speak over your life.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NIV
The enemy loves to lie to us and tell us how horrible we are as a person and as a friend, or as a mother or father. What a failure we are in every area of our life. Satan is full of condemnation. This is not how our God operates.
With our own children or grand children, nieces or nephews, do we tell them what a horrible person they are? No, quite the opposite. We tell them how much we love them and what they mean to us. In the same way our Father in Heaven is a good and wonderful God who is always trying to get our attention to show us how much He loves us and how for us He is.
Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:9-11 NKJV
It is important that we all learn how to receive God’s love and affirmation. If we can understand how He feels about us, there is nothing that will stop us from wanting to serve Him.
Here is a little exercise I like to give people to tangibly learn how to hear God speak to you. You can do this everyday if you like.
Sometime today take 10 minutes to go off alone somewhere by yourself. Take a piece of paper with you and write down this question. God, How do you feel about me?
When alone, quiet your heart and mind, maybe look out a window at God’s creation. After a couple minutes of quieting your mind, ask God that question.
After asking that question, I want you to write down the first impression/thought that comes to your mind when you asked God this.
In doing this exercise, I have learned a few things that tend to happen
when trying to hear what God is saying to me that I will share with you.
The first thought/impression is usually God, the second thought/impression is usually me disputing that it was God speaking to me. The third thought/impression is usually the enemy telling me that it for sure is not God.
God is usually very quick to respond to our question because He loves to tell us how much He loves us and what He thinks of us.
We are the ones who have a hard time receiving it and the enemy for sure does not want you to accept anything good that God has to say about you.
If you got something that was negative and it does not align with the character of what God would say, then do not accept it. it is not God. Take some time later and try again. Always remember the character of God.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalms 139:13-16 ESV
As I faced a large group of mothers before me this week who traffic their children, my heart was unexpectedly broken.
Each mother, in the area we are working with in Benin, can barely feed their children and can rarely ever afford to send their children to school. They do not even make the $1 US dollar a day wage.
My task was to tell them to not traffic their children. as this is one of the largest child trafficking area’s in Africa. My team and I were asked by the Judge that incriminates the traffickers, to please get our people into these villages to see what we can do to help these children and parents.
When rescuing the children from the neighboring border of Nigeria, his heartache is having to take the children straight back to the villages where the parents have sold their own children. His heart breaks as to how young these children are. 5 to 10 years old is the average age. Once taken back he know’s the child will once again end up in the trafficking ring. “Please Rebecca, just get some of your team in there to try to help these parents and kids”, pleaded the Judge.
So after much prayer and planning, Orphan Relief and Rescue was able to form a partnership with a group of pastors who have become our anti child trafficking team. We are targeting the three top villages who traffic their children, as advised from the Judge.
We were able to rescue 40 children from becoming another statistic of trafficking this last month, by providing what they needed to get them into school. If the parent can send their child to school they will not traffic them. The parent had to sign a contract with us as well, saying they will never traffic their child out if we help them. This initial cost was only 800 US dollars to do this.
With the women before me I shared about the value of a mother and child relationship. That God has naturally given each woman a mother’s love for her child and we must never break that. We are never to get numb to what God created us to be, which is the nurturers and protectors of our children.
One woman stood up and said, that she has so many children she does not know what to do. Her husband died and he had other wives who have also died and now she has many, many children. The only way to survive is to send the children away. She cannot manage them.
Another woman stood up and said she also has over 10 children herself and is pleading with us on behalf of the younger woman to help them to not have so many children. They do not know how to manage all of what they have. I shared their need to go to a clinic and get what we call family planning, (birth control teaching and training). As well as our team can advise them on how to do this. But as of now, if you have the children in your care already, please do not send them away to work. (They feel they are just sending their child away to work for their own survival, they cannot grasp the concept of what happens once that child is sent away). “There are others ways to make sure your children can be taken care of, I said. We can help advise you with some practical solutions. God has a plan for each child. Every child is unique and special”, I tell them.
I shared in depth of what happens to their child once they are taken. I did not hold anything back. My heart was connecting to each of these women as I looked into their desperate eyes. My thoughts condemned me as to the reality that I personally will never be able to ever fathom the magnitude of what they have to deal with on a daily basis. Their daily decisions are unbelievable. At the same time, God had me there standing on a dirt floor in a building full of desperate mothers. I have learned over the years that these appointments from God are never an accident or fluke. They are God’s plan to show people His heart for them and for their children. So that is what I did. I shared God’s heart and the realities of trafficking.
As I shared what happens when they send their child away, I am not sure that some of them even believed it, or maybe they just did not want to believe it. This is the way things have been done for hundreds of years in these villages. It is how they survive. Yet, I did see others who I knew did get it and their hearts were being softened in ways they had never expected. God was shedding their calloused layers off of their hearts as I spoke. They were hearing about a God who values lives and individuals.
This area is known for being the voodoo capital of the world. Sorcery and witchcraft are intertwined with every area of life here. There are only a handful of people that are Christians in these villages. All you have to do is look at their eyes to see the difference. It is quite a reality check as you can visually see that the eyes are truly the windows to the soul. People who are deep into practicing voodoo have an blank look of darkness in their eyes. Their eyes look glazed over and hollow. Those who are Christians have a brightness to their eyes. They have a completely different look to their eyes. Even the babies of the mothers who are involved in this witchcraft have these same eyes. The picture above is one of these babies with the blank eyes.
So we are not just dealing with poverty, we are also dealing with the evil spirits that keep these family crippled and numb to their God given sense to want to nurture and to protect their own. That is at the core of the bigger problem
People ask me, what is the solution then? My response is, “Jesus”. The almighty powerful God of the Universe who created each of us unique, special and incredibly valuable and has a beautiful plan for our life. When we practice or play with witchcraft, it will destroy us. Everything we touch will be cursed. We see huge visuals of that in the villages. It leads to death in every area of our life. It numbs and deadens our natural God given intuitions, such as loving and nurturing our children.
Education and practical hands on training and teaching, micro enterprising and other practical things have to be intertwined with the spiritual teachings as well, or they will still be crippled.
The answer all goes together. The core is Christ, and the peripheral is practical application and education. This all has to come about through relationship.
Always showing love and value to every man, woman and child who comes into our path, as we represent Christ wherever we walk. We are to never cease to pray for eyes to be open and clear so that people can be set free for their children and families sake to break the cycle of this awful
practice of bondage and trafficking.
Sometimes we wonder if our prayers really make any difference. Are they making an impact? Are destinies changed? Are accidents thwarted? Are lives saved? Are Nations and people groups impacted?
In reading about Esther and Daniel and the many others of strong faith in the bible, as well as things I have seen God do personally, I can say for sure, a strong yes! Our prayers do affect change wherever we go and in whatever we do.
When Esther was getting ready to go before the King to plea for her people to not be killed, she first gave a message to all the Jewish people to begin a three day fast and prayer time. Before this prayer time, the King was giving his right hand man, Haman, his approval to do whatever he liked in his kingdom, including putting together a decree to wipe out the entire Jewish people group. The King was not alarmed or concerned by any of it. He encouraged Haman to do whatever he pleased with this people group.
It says in Esther 6:1 that after three days of fasting and prayer by the Jewish people, the King could not sleep that third night. He was agitated all through the night. God kept him up with the remembrance of Mordecai and the fact that Mordecai had brought to light the plot his Eunuchs had to kill him. Not knowing Mordecai was a Jew, it bothered the King that he had not honored the man who had saved his life. This was just the beginning of God’s plan to change hearts and to prepare the soil for what Esther would present to the king to spare her people. This sleeplessness came about as the Jewish people were praying.
Another Example in the Bible was with Daniel. While he was reading the prophet Jeremiah’s writings, he discovered that it was prophesied that the Israelites’ captivity would only last for 70 years. It had almost been 70 years. Instead of just expecting God to set the Israelites free, Daniel suddenly feels the urgency to pray and fast for this to come to pass (Daniel 9:3). Somehow, he understood that prayer had a huge part to play in bringing that prophecy into existence. In Daniel 10:12-13 an angel appeared to Daniel and spoke these words to him: “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days: then behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.” This was speaking of the spiritual battle going on in Heaven as Daniel was praying.
The Israelites were set free soon after that.
There are many examples in the Bible that give illustrations of how God asked someone to pray or act upon something which would enable God’s will to come to pass. Jesus even told us in Matthew 6:9-10 to pray that His kingdom would come and that His will would be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Why would Jesus ask us to pray this, if it was just going to happen? We are His representatives on Earth. He needs us to pray and ask for His perfect will to be accomplished.
In the work we do in Africa, we have seen over and over again that as we pray, and people such as yourself pray, many amazing things happen. Kids are able to be rescued. Abusive situations are discovered, and interventions are able to take place. Strong favor is upon everything we touch. God’s highest is being accomplished. May we each continue to pray like never before for God to continue to accomplish all that He has planned, in and through our lives as we reach out to help those in need in front of us.
This little boy's life was rescued because of prayers. His name is Ezekiel. He was destined to die without outside intervention. He had a life threatening hernia the size of a cantaloupe on his groin area. God made a way for us to help rescue him deep within a Liberian village up country where there is no medical care. We were the first white people to ever come to their village. His destiny was changed through God's intervention through our prayers and efforts. God's heart is to restore, redeem, and to rescue, and this is how we prayed according to His perfect will. Surgery was successful on Friday Aug. 16th.
This little girl is from the same village in Liberia where we were able to help rescue Ezekiel. She along with all the village kids were given new clothes, flowers for their hair, and stuffed animals. Precious kids whom God has some beautiful plans for.
As a Jesus follower we have been given EVERYTHING we need to live a victorious and beautiful life in partnership with Christ.
We have not been promised an easy life by any means, but we HAVE been given all the tools we need to overcome every hardship and difficult thing that comes our way. God made sure, we as His children were given every spiritual gift to be able to live free, redeemed, restored and healed in every area of our life. As we embrace how God has destined us to live, we in turn are able to help usher others into this same victorious way of living.
In the bible, in the book of Ephesians, Paul was trying to get the church of Ephesus to understand the kind of life they could live if they would just embrace what God had already given them once they accepted Christ into their lives. These were Christians who were living like spiritual beggars, yet had a rich spiritual bank account that God was waiting for them to embrace. Paul let them know that they had no excuse to live in a defeated manner.
As Christians we have it all, adoption, acceptance, redemption, forgiveness, wisdom, inheritance, the seal of the Holy Spirit, life, grace, and citizenship. We are rich beyond measure.
I love how Pastor Tobin Wilson from the Lake Burien Presbyterian Church put it in one of the church newsletters.
Simple but powerful. Based off of Psalms 23.
The Lord is my Shepherd ----- that's a Relationship!
I shall not want ----- that's Supply!
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures ----that's Rest!
He leadeth me beside the still waters -----that's Refreshment!
He restoreth my soul ----- that's Healing!
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness --that's Guidance!
For His name sake ----- that's Purpose!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death--that's Testing!
I will fear no evil ----- that's Protection!
For Thou art with me ----- that's Faithfulness!
Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me -----that's Discipline!
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies------that's Hope!
Thou annointest my head with oil -----that's Consecration!
My cup runneth over ----- that's Abundance!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life----that's Blessing!
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord -----that's Security!
Forever ----- that's Eternity!
God has given us EVERYTHING we need through His great love for us, to live VICTORIOUSLY.
During my one on one meetings with the children at our orphanage/safe home, something very unexpected happened.
I asked the little 11 year old girl in front of me, how she was doing. I asked her if she felt safe and protected here at the home, and at her school, due to my knowledge that she had watched her parents be brutally murdered in front of her,
I had to be very careful not to try to make this a big emotional ordeal, but wanted to see how she was doing in her heart. I told her I knew about her parents, and wanted her to know that we want to make sure she is doing okay, not just physicaly, but also emotionally.
She said she does feel safe here. I asked her if she still has nightmare’s about her parents death. She said, "yes, I will never forget". We talked about what to do when she has those nightmares. I told her how proud I was in watching her as a big sister to her younger brother and sister. I told her that her mother and father would be so proud of her as their daughter.
Then God did something I did not expect. God gave me a glimpse of this being my own biological child, and me being the one brutally murdered looking down at this conversation, with a caring woman speaking to my child. I felt like God spoke to my heart these word, “if you were dead, what would you want this woman to tell your child for you?" Oh my goodness, I immediately said in my mind to the Lord, “I would want her to grab my child in her arms and hold her, and rock her, and kiss her, and tell her how proud I was of her, and how much I love her, and that she is not forgotten or alone.
Then I felt like God spoke to me and said, “Then do this”. So I looked at this precious little girl, and asked her if I could represent her mother and rock her and hold her like her mother would have. She shyly said yes, and climbed into my lap, put her head into my chest and allowed me to rock her and kiss her as I told her how much her mother loved her and how she will always love her into all of eternity.
Without her being aware, tears were flowing down my face in deep emotion, as this precious girl stayed nuzzled into my chest. My translator started talking to me in English so this little one could not understand, and began to tell me to stop the tears, because this would not be good for her to see, I told her I was trying, but God was completely breaking my heart for this little one. She then also became emotional, and for the next few minutes we both worked hard to get our composure, with this sweet girl unaware of what was transpiring above her, as she was lost in this embrace of love.
This was just a fleeting moment in time, yet for the rest of the day, this precious girl clung to me every moment she could.
God re-reminded me the need for every child to be recognized as an individual. In the masses of children and need. Each child has a name, a dream, a destiny, and a story. Each child needs a special touch from God through our life.
The people in Benin are beautiful and have truly won over my heart.
I love to see the huge redemption story God is unfolding, as He works to redeem so many broken lives. The difficult thing about this country is watching so many people go through incredible pain and hardship in the name of culture.
If you talk to most locals up country in Benin, they will tell you their culture does not cause any pain, unless of course, you make someone mad. Then you better watch out. because you may be cursed or poisoned, which is a common remedy to their problems. Otherwise, they will tell you, their culture is beautiful and wonderful. Benin is known for being one of the most cultural african nations. You will notice right away that they love to dress to the hilt in their african material, even if just going to buy something in the street market. It is disgraceful not to look your best. The traditions of their ancestors are practiced in a strong way. There are beautiful things about this culture, but there are equally wicked and evil things, which brings me back to Benin over and over again.
Some may wonder why I regularly highlight the sad things in Benin and not all the good things. I have to say, due to all the injustice to children that I have seen happening here, I am driven to come half way across the world to fight hard for the many helpless ones who have become victims in the name of what is called culture. I would gladly stay in my comfortable home in America, yet I have seen and heard too much, and God will not allow me to stand back and do nothing. I desperately need people to help in this fight, and without telling the stories of the reality of so much pain inflicted on children here, I cannot get the help these kids need. At the same time, I have to also honor and love those in my path, no matter what country I am in, and for that, I do not look at any of those who practice these wicked things as terrible people, I look at them as just doing the only thing they have been taught. It is all they know. They do not understand why life is valuable. This is where the God element has to comes in, along with each of us doing our part.
Without understanding that there is a God who created each of us in HIs own image and takes great value in our lives, there is no concept of why a human life is sacred and valuable.
In the area’s where voodoo and witchcraft is practiced, it is accepted as cultural practices not to be disrupted. This is where no child’s life carries much value, and an orphans life carries no value at all. In their view, them becoming orphaned was destined by the gods, and therefore that child is destined to be in service to others for the duration of their childhood. Horrific abuse occurs to those children in those villages.
The good news is that In these efforts, we are seeing huge progress with each year that passes by. Not only with the children we are able to rescue, but by our shear presence, and others joining this fight for justice. We are making a huge difference as we represent the voice of every hurting child in each village we visit, and in every government office we enter. For that reason, I keep jumping on planes and working hours and hours to keep Orphan Relief and Rescue running, along with our small staff, volunteers and donors. We do this for the sake of the voiceless ones who need us to keep fighting for them in both Benin and Liberia.
Beating an orphan to death and burying them in the back yard with no questions asked, is not okay. Cutting up a child’s face in a painful voodoo ceremony, is not okay. Using an orphan or abandoned child as a slave, is not okay. Female circumcision is not okay. Taking a child bride is not okay. Selling your child into trafficking is not okay. Poisoning a loved one or co -worker to die or get sick, is not okay. Sacrificing children to appease the gods, is not okay (this is now outlawed here, but still occurs). The only things mentioned here that you can go to jail for, are the human sacrificing or poisoning, if someone tells on you and they can prove it. Even then, most are afraid of being poisoned or cursed themselves and won’t tell.
I must make a side note here, that not all of the area’s of Benin are the same. There are different area’s where the things I share about are not practiced. What I share does not represent the whole of the country, yet, in the areas where we work, and in many villages in Benin, it does in a very real way. There are also many local hero’s who are in this fight for justice as well, and for those, we regularly join forces to support and help them in their efforts.
For the lives of the innocent, we will keep fighting, even if it is not culturally acceptable to question these things.
Late Friday night the house mother of our orphanage/safe home in Benin, came to me with her bible in hand, and asked if she could talk and process some things with me. With a stack of sponsorship letters I needed to finish writing for the 19 of our 59 kids who did not receive a letter from their sponsors, I realized what stood before me needed to take priority. I stopped what i was doing and committed to be the listener she needed in that moment. Knowing I had a deadline for the letters to be given out in the morning, along with my translator who was coming at 10 am, I had to intentionally switch my mind to this precious lady who has devoted the last 3 and a half years to being a mother to our 59 children.
In her broken English and lots of hand motions, she shared with me some of her struggles for about an hour. We then prayed and handed it all over to God, I shared some thoughts with her that I felt God was asking me to tell her. This brought her to sweet tears, as she felt like these things were exactly what God was trying to speak to her about, yet she just needed confirmation. She then took my two hands in hers, with tears dripping down her eyes, and thanked me for listening and praying and speaking life into her.
I then got back to my letter writing, grateful for that beautiful God moment, having a keen sense of awareness that I almost missed God in that moment through being in my focused work mode.
I am reminded that through the mundane tasks we have to accomplish, there are spiritual moments intertwined in and through it all, as God is so eager in every circumstance to bring a touch of Himself to others, through our lives.
May we never get too busy to miss these beautiful moments in which God intends to bring healing to those in our path.
As I hit Paris on my layover to Benin, my social encounters come to an end, as I said hello to the French speaking Countries I would be in for the next 12 days. Rarely do I find anyone speaking English at this point in my travels.
When I boarded the plane I asked the woman next to me in my few known French words, if she spoke English, she said no. So my next seven hours were spent in silence.
This has become a common occurrence in my travels to Benin. This never get’s any easier. I listened to my French lessons on my earphones, and used the rest of the flight to sleep, as I had lost one full night’s sleep, and was quite exhausted.
The discomfort of not knowing the language, and my questioning again of why God asks me to work in a country where nothing is personally comfortable, rose to my mind. I fought these negative thoughts, and told the Lord, I am His. I will continue to do whatever He asks, even if I am completely out of my element and comfort zone. I committed once again my hands, my feet, and my mouth piece, however He wants to use them. I am making myself available to whatever He wants to do through my life.
My friend, and Director of the orphanage/safe home we have brought into existence, picked me up at the airport and we had a wonderful time catching up, as English is her first language.
The next day we took the long, hot and bumpy road up country to where our kids were waiting for us, and where my friend dropped me off for the rest of my trip, as she does not live at the orphanage, I then had my translator meet me the following day to begin the work part of the trip with child profiles and updates, sponsorship letters, and all my Government meetings. Which brings me to today. (Friday).
As I arrived, the hugs and kisses crossed all barriers of language, even though it was initially awkward to find adequate words to say except hello, and how are you.
After Eating and taking a much needed nap that first evening with the kids, I went outside my room to face the awkward language barrier again. I was immediately embraced and mobbed by children who wanted hugs and love.
That is the one thing I could do.
They pulled up a chair for me, as they stroked my arms and put their hands through my hair and fought for my lap. We did our usual practicing of French words for me, and English words for them, and had fun just hanging out together into the night hours.
I began to thank God for each life rescued in front of me. 56 of the 59 kids in this home have no parents alive. The little 5 year old girl who was standing in front of me had watched both parents be brutally murdered in front of her. The 15 year old girl who stroked my hair was rescued from being married off at the age of 13 to a Muslim man who had many other wives.
One redemption story after the next flooded my mind, and all I could do in that moment was to thank God for this incredible privilege of allowing me to be apart of this work.
This morning I awoke to kids singing praises to God in their morning devotions at 6 am, In my own quiet time, I listened to the worship song called, “Dance with me.” The words hit home as God reminds me that He wants to dance with me even when it is uncomfortable. He will lead, and He wants me to follow in this beautiful dance with Him.
The words to the song echo in my mind “Won’t you Dance with me, oh lover of my soul, to the song of all songs. By your love you have captured my heart. Won’t you dance with me.”
God is echoing these words to each of us every day. “Won’t you dance with me?”
May my answer always be, “Yes, I will dance with you, my Lord.”
Where you lead, I will follow, even when it is uncomfortable.
Psm: 143:8 NIV: Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
Are you living in fear that is crippling you from living your destiny?
Many of us self sabotage our lives over and over by not dealing with the many fears in our life.
Fear of financial failure, fear of rejection or hurt, fear of the unknown, fear of the end of the world, fear of loss, fear of God not coming through, fear of death, fear of losing a loved one...... The list goes on. You name it, we can fear it.
I have realized that most fear in my life ultimately comes from lack of faith in God, and a lack of really understanding God’s character. It can also come because I am unwilling to deal with the issues God has asked me to deal with in my life.
If I am walking humbly before God and seeking God with all my heart, and loving all those in my path and doing what God asks of me each day, then I should never be walking in fear. I can walk free and walk forward in all that God asks of me.
One of the classic stories in the Bible where fear crippled God’s people from coming into their destiny, was in Deuteronomy chapter 1. God freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt showing His power and favor on them. God wanted to give them the promised land flowing with milk and honey as a fulfilled promise to their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When the Israelite men scouted out the land, they were crippled in fear after they saw the people were like giants in the promised land. They came back from their scout out trip, and put the fear in all the Israelites minds, saying they could not conquer them due to their size. Only Joshua and Caleb had faith, but this faith almost got these two men stoned by all the ones who were living in fear.
Because of their fear and lack of faith in God, God did not allow that entire generation to step into the promised land. They had to wander in the desert for 40 years. That whole generation had to die off before God would give them the land. Joshua and Caleb were the only ones of that original group that were spared and given a long life so they could inherit the land with the next generation.
For me, different fears rise up regularly. When the fears come, I have to seize them and take my thoughts captive, as it says in 2 Corinthians 10:5: “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”
Next week I leave for Benin, West Africa. This is the voodoo Capital of the world. The area I stay in is not an easy place to be. Oppression sits in as soon as I hit the ground. I instantly feel depressed and overwhelmed with a spirit of inability to affect change. I feel a hopelessness that comes on me. This is a complete lie, because God is doing crazy and beautiful things in the kids lives whom we have helped rescue. who are living in our orphanage/safe home. Yet when I am there, these feeling seem very real. It is hard to explain.
I also get fearful that I am going to die, the spirit of death is all around, and the death rate is huge with murders, accidents and all around unknown causes of deaths.
I have to stay real close to God and not give attention to these fears at all, or I would not be able to function once I arrive in the country.
Instead, I choose to, moment by moment cast all my cares on Him, like it says to do in 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I have to choose to trust God for my life and for the lives of those in front of me.
I also have to come to a place of surrendering my life over and over to God. If I die, what is the worst thing that could happen? I go to heaven. That really is not such a bad thought. As I have full confidence I will go to heaven.
I choose daily to give my life and my everything to God. He is the boss, and If I choose to trust Him. even unto death. Then I become free.
My dad has a saying “until you are ready to die, you are never really ready to live.” Once we deal with the ultimate worst thing that our minds go to, and that is death, then if we have no fear of death, then there is nothing to fear in this world.
Whatever God asks of us, we can walk freely to do it without the ultimate fear of dying.
That does not mean we do stupid and careless stuff, on the contrary We make sure everything we are doing counts, and that our time is not wasted on what does not really matter. We live each day as if it were the last, and then we never waste our days on superficial things. We also kick the fear right out of our lives, and fully with 100 percent trust, hand our lives over to God.
Then we are truly able to partner with God in whatever He asks, without walking in crippling fear. We are then ready to live how God destined us to live. Free and walking in whatever He asks us to walk in. As we walk free of these fears, we are able to help others come into this freedom through Christ, as well.
I refuse to allow fear to cripple me from living my destiny.
Are you living free and living your life as God destined you to live?
Through life, we are sometimes faced with having to submit to leaders we would rather not have to submit ourselves to. These could turn into incredible testing times for us.
For me, it has been having to submit to different leaders in Africa that are not easy to work under. I know that if I want to affect positive change for the kids we are rescuing on a regular basis, then I have to walk a very careful road for their sakes. I am also keenly aware that I am a direct representative for Christ, and I may be the only true Jesus some of these officials will see. To my incredible surprise, my relationship with these different ones, have been full of favor, and I am seeing God work through these relationships to be able to help many more children.
When unGodly leaders are all around us and we are forced to serve those who are not making good choices, or who may be doing terrible or unjust things, how do we react? Do we pray and ask God for opportunities to allow God to reveal who he is through our life and our actions?
When we see leaders walk in corruption, How do we respond? Do we gossip and try to figure out how to ruin their life? Or do we show value to them and pray each day for opportunities to allow God to have his way in every circumstance in front of us, and to show himself strong through our lives?
2nd Chronicles 16:9 (KJV) says this:
“The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong on behalf of those whose heart are perfect towards him.”
Is your heart perfect towards Him? Can He show himself strong through your life and actions?
All through the Bible we are given incredible examples of Godly men who chose to stand strong in the Lord and to be honorable, even when their leaders were corrupt and were completely unjust. These are just a few.
Daniel is a man who submitted himself to unGodly leadership, yet never compromised his faith and walk with God. In Babylon, where Daniel was a slave, the King had the highest respect for Daniel. His whole kingdom was able to witness the power of God, and came to believe and serve God through the miracles they witnessed through Daniels life. In Daniel 2:48, after interpreting a dream, that only God could have given him wisdom to do, the king promoted Daniel, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon.
His actions and prayer life was also noted in the Book of Daniel to be what God used in the spirit realm to set the Israelites free after 70 years of captivity, through his fasting and praying. Daniel was not intimidated by unGodly leadership.
In Genesis 39-50 we see how Joseph was treated very unjust by many, yet still found favor in all the unGodly leaders that were before him. In Egypt, Joseph was able to interpret the Pharaoh’s dream, and was given all power over Egypt. This gave Joseph the ability to save the whole world from starvation during the 7 years of famine, by storing up grain in the 7 years of plenty. In spite of all the hardship he endured at the hands of others, he never lost faith in God. He showed value and respect to every leader who was over him, and was given favor with each one.
In 1 Kings 18:4 Obediah was a Godly man who was in charge of King Ahab’s household. It says in 1 Kings 16:33 that Ahab did more to provoke the Lord to Anger than all of the kings of Israel before him. Yet while Ahab’s wife Jezebel was killing all the Godly prophets, Obediah was able to hide 100 prophets from her, thus saving their life. He kept his faith in God and continued to use His life for God’s purposes, even when his leaders were so terrible. He had all the connections needed to secretly rescue these prophets.
These are just a few incredible examples of how ordinary men were forced to serve unGodly men, and yet were honorable, loving and respectful to their leaders, and allowed God to show Himself strong through their life. Whole kingdoms, and thousands of people turned their hearts towards God through their faithfulness and unwavering faith in God.
Let’s choose to be honorable to whomever is in leadership over us, so God can show Himself strong through our life.
Through my life I have found that God is truly trustworthy and really does have the best for my life, and for the lives of those in front of me.
All through the bible God shows us that He is always working towards Redeeming, Rescuing and restoring people.
In 1 Kings 17:9-16 Through a 3 year famine, the Prophet Elijah was told by God that a widow would feed him and care for Him, yet when he reached this widow, she was preparing to make the last bit of food she had, and was preparing to die with her only son.
Elijah asked her to please make him a cake first, and that God would not let her flour or oil run out until the Lord sent rain on the land.
So by faith she did according to what Elijah asked, and it says in the 16th verse, “The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the world of the Lord, which He spoke by Elijah”
This story reminds me of a pretty desperate situation that happened last June, where I had to either trust God or fall into deep despair.
I was in Benin, and Tim was in Liberia. I checked our Orphan Relief and Rescue bank account online and saw that only two thousand dollars were in it. Within two weeks of coming back home to America, I knew I had to wire 10,000 dollars to the field in Liberia for our programs and projects to continue. We had been incredibly fugal with spending, yet donations were at an all time low.
I remember going back to my room at the orphanage/safe home and calling Tim in complete despair and frustration. Thinking it might be time to start laying off all our people and shutting some things down.
Tim seemed unusually calm and said he would be praying as we were quite helpless with both being overseas. God had to come through on this one.
After getting off the phone, I had some one on one time with God. It was pouring rain and my metal roof made the rain sound incredibly loud. I took this opportunity to yell out to God, knowing no one would hear me, because of the pounding noise of rain. I had it out with God, and felt like God could handle it. I let Him know how frustrated I was. My rants went something like this: “We are only doing what You has asked us to do. we are living simply and using every dollar to the fullest, yet here we are, in this desperate state. I am not going to take the weight of all this on anymore, It is yours. Once and for all, I am handing it to you. If you want to close it down, then so be it. I cannot worry about it and take this stress anymore. The end.”
The rest of the day I took time to listen to worship music and just purge my anxieties to Him. It was a complete releasing to God. (I had thought I had done this numerous times before in the last 6 years of doing this work, but this time it was a bit different. It was a release to a new level).
After many hours passed, I felt like God asked me to go over to the window and to look out. As I did, I saw our little orphan boy named Joseph, (changed name) who lost his parents to AIDS and also has AIDS himself, just sitting by himself, as all the other kids played around him. He was extra weak this day. (Pictured here, while in a corporate prayer time).
I walked out and put this little one in my arms and nuzzled him into my chest. He was real stiff, as he never knows what to do with such affection.
I forced him to nuzzle, and he finally relaxed and fell asleep peacefully in my mothers arms. As I looked at Joseph sleeping so beautifully, tears dripped down my face onto his face, as I breathed these words to God, “Oh how I love this little one, yet I know you love him even more than I do. He is yours. I give him to you. If you want to close it all down, that is your call. I am just going to walk forward in what you ask. I trust you with all this.
As I looked around at all the other kids, I begin to remember all their crazy rescue stories as well. And breathed out these same words “They are yours Lord. They are yours.
In coming home to America, We sent a letter out to friends sharing the need. We immediately had one person let us know that they were sending 10,000 dollars which allowed us to wire what we needed to Liberia. Soon after, another couple sent another 10,000, and after that another couple, 5,000 which got a triple match from their business. To our incredible surprise and relief, God got us through the summer months. Then our October event brought in another amount that held us through to the next phase.
All I can say is that God is truly faithful. I am so thankful for the many of you who pray and give as God prompts you, and that God uses each of us to make a tangible difference as we choose to say yes, and to trust Him with the details. Whatever He wants to do. I trust Him. Even if he did choose to close it all down. I still trust Him. All of this is His, not mine. I am just walking in what He asks each day, and that is a beautiful and releasing place to be.
In your life, Can you trust Him with your everything?
The mob of kids swarmed me as I tried to get myself out of my vehicle. Little bodies were plastered to me the minute I opened the door, and hugs came from every direction. The excitement of my arrival never gets old for these precious kids who have stolen a huge chunk of my heart.
I brought new faces with me, and the kids instantly swarmed them as well, asking them their names. The newcomers did not know quite how to react with all this instant attention, but they quickly warmed up to all the affection.
On this trip, Tim and I brought 5 people with us. One doctor, three men from Idaho and one woman from Washington. To read some neat stories of their experiences, you can check out our Orphan Relief and Rescue blog this week, and read our Jan. newsletter. Just go to www.orphanreliefanrescue.org
With each visit back to Liberia, I am checking on current projects going on. Meeting with Government officials to help them in these efforts to help all orphans in distress in their Country. Checking on our Staff, Orphanage Directors and Children, and planning for the next projects coming up.
Our big focus this year is to get a transition/safe home up and running for the children who are in horrible orphanages that need to be closed down, or are currently displaced with no home after being plopped in a full orphanage.
Sitting next to displaced orphans who were taken from closed down orphanages and put into full ones is getting old. On each of my visits, I zero in on the new kids, the ones who have a hard time looking me in the eye. The ones who do not hardly talk. The ones who start to follow me around the orphanages, as if to say in their silence, please fight for me. Please find me a home. Someone to love and care for me.
They are not wanted by the over capacitated orphanages, and were plopped down with promises by the government they would come back for them and place them somewhere permanent. Months go by and nothing happens. The good directors do not know what to do with them. They already have their hands full. These displaced children are the extras that do not belong there.
As I walked into the social welfare office this last week, they asked “Do you have good news for us yet”. Can you open a transition center yet? I saw their anticipation for my answer, and my answer once again was; “We are still praying and believing for the finances for this to come to pass. God know’s these kids need this and you need this for your country.”
As I leave their office, I once again breath my prayers up to the Lord. “Only you can make this happen. In your timing let it be.”
Over the next few days, Our field director and myself come up with a plan to involve the government with ownership of this project by strongly encouraging them to find a place for us. Work on our behalf. get others involved who could possibly pitch in. Use their influence as a partnership with us.
So in our next meeting, we present it, and it was received well as their desperation has reached an all time high. Now we will see what God will do with all this.
Please pray with us on this matter. We will need around 100,000 dollars to run something like this per year. We need some real God miracles for these precious children.
If God lays it on your heart to give or to fundraise on behalf of these children. WE WOULD LOVE IT!
I look back at all that God has already done for so many, and my faith rises as I contemplate the fact that God loves these children more than we do. They are His, and we just walk forward in obedience to allow Him to do his rescue missions through our availability. I am excited to see what God is going to do with all this.
Through the hustle and bustle of life, most of my day is spent on paying attention to all the exterior things in life that tug at my time. There never seems to be enough hours to do all that life demands of me as a mom, wife, friend, writer, speaker, leader, frequent traveler etc.
Through each day, God is working hard to get my attention. He is asking me to look around me and to never forget that my life is His. All that I am and all that I hope to be in the future is His. My every breath and all my days are in His hands not my own.
He is constantly reminding and encouraging me to nurture my heart. To not neglect the most important thing I will do in life, and that is to nurture my heart in connection with my relationship with Him.
He reminds me of my inadequacies without Him. My success is Him.
The quote by Oswald Chambers comes to mind that says, My public worth is determined by my private time with God.
Through my time with God each morning and evening, God gently pours his love into me, as well as gently convicts me of the things He wants me to address in my life that are holding me back from greater intimacy with Him and possible broken relationship with others. This is a guidance time, listening to my leader and friend.
As I have given God full reign over my heart and life, and am choosing daily to deal with issues that hold me back from greater intimacy with Christ, I have actually found who I am, and what i was meant to do in this world. My life has become very clear and all my inadequacies have begun to fade away. Life is no longer about me, which has become a beautiful thing.
Brennan Manning sums this up in his book Abba’s Child.
The recovery of passion begins with the recovery of my true self as the beloved. If I find Christ I find myself, and if I find my true self, I will find Him. This is the goal and purpose of our lives. John did not believe that Jesus was the most important thing; he believed that Jesus was the only thing. For “the disciple Jesus loved”, anything less was not genuine faith.
Are you ready to find your true self as Christ’s beloved?
As you walk through each day, keep in mind that your public worth is fully determined by your private time with God.
Happy New Year:
Are you ready to leave your battered life behind?
In this new year ahead, it is my hope and prayer that you will be awakened to what you were made to be and what you were meant to do in this world – to live fully alive.
As we have walked through life, each of us have our own stories of hardships and difficulties that have brought us to a level of brokenness we have had to walk through. Some of us have become battered and worn out. Some have become bitter because of what they have had to endure. Others of us have chosen to run to God and allow hardships to bring us to a new level of humility and sensitivity towards others who are going through tough things themselves.
If we have chosen to go down the latter road, then the healing process has awakened us to a whole new level of compassion, allowing us to extend a healing hand to those who we may not have been able to reach before we experienced deep pain. This, my friend, becomes the precious touch of God flowing from our lives.
May you get a glimpse of what it will take for you to leave the dark cellar of a battered life and experience the life which is destined for you.
We only get one shot at life. Let’s not waste our days living for ourselves. Let’s live to the fullest as God intended until we take our last breath.
There is a lot of good out there that we can spend our time on, but there is only one Best and highest for our life and those whom God wants us to touch in front of us.
This year let’s be focused on what is God’s best and not waste our time on what is just merely a lot of good busy work. In the blogs to follow this year, I will be giving you tools on how to determine what God’s best and highest is, and how to walk that out in your own life.
If you haven’t read my book “Inspired to Action”, I would encourage you to get a copy and to read it. It is a great place to start. This book will encourage you to overcome the many fears in life that keep us from living the life God has destined us to live.
There are some days my heart is so heavy with the pain of this world, it is hard to see the hope in it all. In Africa it is seeing and hearing about one tragedy after another that many children have to suffer through. Here in America most recently in our family it is watching our daughter and little grand daughter go through such hardship through a recent divorce full of disappointments and broken promises. Our precious girls have to remain in Texas due to custody issues, and we as a family in Seattle, are forced to either plunge into despair for them, or to trust God with their lives and situation.
I just recently came back from a trip to see them and my heart broke when I had to say goodbye to my little grand daughter, who is only two. She began to plea with me to not go, reaching her arms out and crying profusely saying, “No go mimi, No go”, over and over. This whole scene about killed me emotionally. In her shuffling from home to home in her visitations of mom and dad, she does the same thing when carted from one parent to the next. She does not understand all of this pain.
In my old Testament reading this week, I am reminded of some people who experienced way more unimaginable hurt and trauma than I could ever imagine, yet God was always proving His faithfulness even amongst their painful circumstances.
I am reading the story of Moses’s life in Exodus. When Pharaoh ordered his soldiers to kill all the male Hebrew babies, Moses’s mom hid him for three months, then put him in a basket, praying incredibly for his safety. As she lovingly laid him amongst the reeds at the rivers edge, she had to trust God with her little precious bundle. As a mother, I cannot even fathom the pain and fear she was feeling as she said goodbye to her little baby boy, not knowing what would become of him once released from her arms. Would the soldier’s find him and kill him? Would the basket over turn in the river and her beloved baby drown?
To his mother’s great relief, God did answer her prayers, by softening the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter to take him in and raise him as her own child. God even ordained the circumstances so Moses’s mother could nurse him till he was weaned. (In those days, some scholars say a child was weaned around the age of 5).
Because of Moses’s background, God had a huge mission for him, which we all know was to free millions of his own race from slavery.
I am reminded once a again that God is always in the business of redemption, restoration and rescuing if we will pray for His highest will to be done and to trust Him in all things.
I had my daughter take one last picture of me and my precious little doll baby, before our good byes took place. As I was breathing prayers for this little one in my arms, I would later look at the picture to see God do a beautiful thing for me as a reminder of a visual expression of His faithfulness. A ray of sunshine can be seen shining directly on this precious little one in my arms, as if God were to say “I have got her, she is mine and I am protecting and watching over her. When man fails her, I will not, When evil lurks around her, I am there. Trust me with her and with your daughters life”.
Every day, I am choosing to trust God in all this and with every other circumstance that is completely out of my control.
As it says in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 There is a time for all things. Sometimes we are to do nothing buy pray and to trust God. Sometimes we are to fight, as I do regularly in Africa for justice issues when kids are starving or being trafficked or abused.
The key is, knowing what God is saying for this season and to trust that GOD IS GOOD, no matter what the circumstances are around us. Our job is to stay steady and faithful in what He is asking us to do today. Taking one day at a time. He truly is trustworthy!!