what do your harness bells say?

Today I have really struggled with trying to find something to write about. It is usually something simple that will happen in my life that sparks my mind into writing..but lately, my life hasn’t been simple enough. The void sitting before my mind definitely attests to how busy Ive been lately. Today, however..my bible became a bridge that I used to cross that void. I asked the Lord to please help me find something through his word. Go figure..when I opened my bible my eyes fell upon Zechariah chapter 14. At first when I read the title of the chapter, “The Lord will rule the Earth,” I was excited about writing on the topic of Jesus’ second coming. I was amazed at how well things work together when you are in God..the end days, the rapture of the church and the second coming of Jesus are topics that I am incredibly interested in. The Lord leading my eyes to this chapter also strengthened my belief that these prophecies should be very relevant to the generation in which I live. On a side note..I really do believe that we could be seeing Jesus very soon. Now, getting back on topic..as I began to read Zechariah chapter 14, with each verse that I read, my excitement began to dwindle. With utmost faith, I believe the things in Zechariah 14 will one day happen..but still, the challenge of writing about something that is so significant and something that I am not bright enough to confidently share with others made me say, “Really Lord?” I kept on reading though. As I neared the end of the chapter I read verse 20..and I understood it. The relief that I found from being able to understand that one verse made all of the other verses that i hadnt been able to understand seem far less important.

Just like the confusion and doubt that I faced while reading through zechariah, so our christian walk can be at times. This same confusion and doubt are also what can keep many away from becoming a christian. The confusion felt from trying to grasp all of the complexities in the bible gets the best of me often (very often), and I was born into a family steeped in the bible. It’s hard for me to imagine how a person who has never been exposed to christianity might feel when trying to figure it all out. I mean, where do you even begin?.. I doubt my ability to conform into being “good” enough for Jesus all the time, and much of my 27 years here on earth has been spent seeking to find confidence in my faith. The doubt that a person who is looking into this whole “Jesus thing” for the first time or that a new christian must feel has to be monumental.

There is good news though.. Even between the lines of ancient text written by men who lived thousands of years ago the simple answer can be found. Even in the midst of things that you dont understand God’s unfailing love for us and the path to freedom that he has already paved for us is made clear. It has been laid out right before our eyes..and when we see it.. the relief that it brings  will make all the other stuff that we dont understand..all the other stuff that has kept us from seeing Jesus..it will make all that seem far less important.

“on that day even the harness bells of the horses will be inscribed with these words: Set Apart As Holy To The Lord. And the cooking pots in the temple of the Lord will be as sacred as the basins used beside the altar.” – zechariah 14:20 

In the old testament the words, “set apart as holy to the Lord,” were engraved on the plate of gold worn on the head-dress of the high priest. The high priest was appointed by God and was the only person ever allowed to enter into His presence. The high priest, in some ways, represents our feelings of doubt…our feelings that we will never be holy enough to have a relationship with the Lord. The symbolism of the high priest shows an untouchable God who has separated himself from humanity because of their sin..it shows how truly unworthy we are and the sentence that we deserve. In the old testament, the only way to go before God and find forgiveness was to sacrifice an animal. In those days animals were needed to survive, from animals families had food, milk, transportation..life. And it was only by slaughtering something so crucial to survival that you could be worthy enough to be forgiven… animals who were innocent of sin..their blood was the only hope for a man to be saved.  Zechariah was written during this time..it was written before the ultimate sacrifice was sent to earth to atone man from sin and to bridge the gap so that ALL men could enter into the presence of God.

on that day even the harness bells of the horses will be inscribed with these words: Set Apart As Holy To The Lord..

Dont you see? This is the answer that people seek..that I seek. On that day..on the day when Jesus gave his life on the cross for us..even horses are worthy. What was once written for the only soul allowed to go before God was now available to everyone. The blood that Jesus shed on the cross poured to cover EVERYONE..no matter how much sin.. because of His blood shed for us we can go before God empty handed..it’s not what we have to sacrifice before God that brings us forgiveness anymore. Because of Jesus we can be “set apart” by God..or, we can be made holy by God.

..And the cooking pots in the temple of the Lord will be as sacred as the basins used beside the altar.

If doesnt matter how dirty you are..it doesnt matter how ordinary you may think you are..because of Jesus, God looks at all of us as sacred vessels.. vessels that He can fill with happiness.. vessels that he can use to work in the lives of others.  Because of Jesus we are clean..because of Jesus we are worthy.  If you can just understand this then you understand the foundation of christianity.. all the other things will eventually be shown to you or maybe you’ll be like me and live your whole life not understanding everything in the bible. As long as you continue to see what is important .. all the other things that once made you question your faith will become less important. Keep your eyes on Jesus, for it is by knowing him that you may know life.

For God is not of confusion, but of peace.. 1 Corinthians 14:33

out of the darkness comes light. out of hate comes love

..He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. – john 8:44

And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. – 2 corinthians 11:14

an entry from my journal dated September 3, 2004:

With the day falling rapidly before my eyes, I sit here wondering.. pondering a couple of things. When the sun rose this morning so much lay ahead. Now, I sit in sadness; is it life that I dread? The sky’s purple haziness is all that’s seen. The beautiful morning light of earlier was a waisted dream. A dream that I spit out..not caring of how I feel now..low. sad. waisted. dark. Id feel so much better if i’d just taken part of all that couldve been given to me today. But I passed it by hissing a curse into the sky. I hate being lonely, so occupied with regret..drowning in sorrow, suffocated by forget. The sky’s purple is now black. Night has come. Like the light, all that couldve is snuffed out as well..on this couch..in this room, ive entered some kind of hell. The flames dont really burn me, they just laugh and singe the only part that’s left of me. I’ll wake up tomorrow just a little more burnt, but maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to reach this roads end..this road i’ve paved for myself..this neverending road of hurt.

The moment in my life when my hand scribbled those words into being was ohh so dark. My mind was like a run down movie theater with a broken reel that only played the same dreary preview over and over. There was no joy in my life. A future of hope and happiness was kept just out of reach –  I could never get past the previews – I could never make it to the movie. My sin had programmed my soul to believe that I was not worthy to ever experience anything of substance..anything that had purpose was just a dream that I truly believed I would never reach. Every time that I would get close to that happiness..the happiness that I so longed for, I would mess up..I would involve myself in something that just dripped with sin, and it would cause me to start over further than where I had begun. Thats how satan uses sin to ruin your life. It’s not going to be some sudden change of heart..it wont be some quick decision you make that will change your course. As it says in the verse above, he can transform into an angel of light..he isnt going to dangle ugly things before your eyes to draw you away from the Lord – he is going to make the things that could destroy your life look beautiful not like something that will send you to the grave.  It’s his mode of destruction to bait you with small sins that don’t seem so bad..these small sins will keep sending you back a little bit more further from the purpose filled life that God created you for until one day you will be so far away from happiness that you will lose hope in ever reaching it..just like I was when I wrote what it written above.  In your silent defiance you will slowly push yourself farther away from believing that you are even worth the change required to reach happiness. The beginning of this descent may seem innocent at first..the bad decisions you make will seem to be no big deal..but, let me tell you, from someone who has fought (and is still fighting) her way back from it..it is indeed a big deal – a life or death crossroad. Once you have completely placed yourself on satan’s path of deception you will not be able to remember the innocence it was at the start. All the little sins that once seemed so harmless will eventually lead  you to a place where you cannot remember how to be good..you will not be able to identify with the person you once were. The idea of having a meaningful life with a divine purpose will have been completely wiped away from your mind and you will hate who you have become. I say all this stuff with such confidence because I have been there. It is only by the grace of God that I was given the chance to redirect my course. Even now, satan tries to fool me into falling back into the pit of despair that I found rescue from only by the blood of Jesus.   If you don’t allow your eyes to be opened then you will one day reach your end just like satan wanted you to. To reject the change that living for Jesus can only give.. you will pave your way into a land of empty dreams and worthlessness. Just like the sad testament of my life that’s written above, you will find yourself chained in a life where you can never see the beauty of daylight.

There is an answer though..his name is Jesus Christ. He will take the wasteland that your life has become and turn it into a fruitful orchard. He will sweep you from the destructive path that your sin has placed you on.. He will lovingly guide you to the path which leads to beautiful things. He will turn the hate that you have in your heart into a love that you cannot explain. He will take you out of darkness and show you the light of dawn. If you surrender your life to Him you will begin to love your life.. you will begin to love yourself, for he will show you all of these things. Finding Jesus is not difficult..

 And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. – matthew 7:8

even if you have no clue who He is or how He would make a difference in your life..if you are desperate to find an answer and everything that you have tried on your own has failed you..i urge you to give Him a chance. If you ask with a true heart he will show you who He is. In Him is life ..happiness ..hope ..redemption ..forgiveness ..love.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. – romans 10:13

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. – psalm 103:12

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new – 2 Corinthians 5:17

a beautiful follow up from saturday

I know that I am supposed to begin my journey into the book of Proverbs, but I feel that i must dwell on this topic for just one more post. Yesterday after church we went to lunch with my parents. My mother told something that caused my mind to be filled with wonder at how good our God is. He truly is wonderful. If you have not read my post from Saturday, you may want to before you read this. (ill make it easier for you..here it is) Saturday night I rolled around in bed for a good while..i was scared that my blunt honesty in that days post might have upset my family..i mean, i was talking about my mother’s grandfather. I know that they agree 100% with the post..it is because of how they raised me that I feel so much passion about the subject..but, still to see in writing that your grandfather may be in hell is not an easy pill to swallow. Thankfully, she was not upset by my unwillingness to censor my tongue and yesterday at lunch my mother shared something with me for the first time. My great grandfather was born in Pickens County, South Carolina in 1912. He lived a hard life and raised his family through the heart of the great depression. He worked his fingers to the bone in the cotton fields and continued to work hard until the day he died. What ultimately caused his death was pneumonia , however what caused his ordeal to begin was, while burning trash in his front yard, he caught himself on fire..a 91 year old man out burning trash..like I said, he was a hard worker until the day he passed. He was flown to the burn center in Augusta, Georgia. Even in his critical state, he managed to pitch a huge fit when he found out who his nurse was going to be. The things he yelled at that kind woman I dont even want to know.. just because of her skin color she had to endure such pain from the mouth of my great grandfather. Nonetheless, the outcome of this story is beautiful..our God is beautiful. I wish I knew her name..but I dont. What I do know about her is that she was a steadfast christian lady who showed my great grandfather great love. Week in and week out she nursed my great grandfather back to health and loved him the whole time. After his skin graphs he was able to go home. Once he got home, sitting in his living room..sitting in that same old blue chair that as a child I always remember seeing him in..that same chair that he had spoken such hateful things from for all those years..as he was sitting there, tears began to fall down his weathered face. He cried out to God..he told him to please let him see that nurse again so he could tell her that he was sorry. He cried out to God in repentance.. telling him that all these years he had been wrong. A few days later, God answered his prayers. He came down with pneumonia and his skin graphs began to show problems.. he had to go back to the hospital, this time he would never leave there alive. He would, however, get to ask that sweet nurse for forgiveness.. to tell her that he had been wrong. in a previous post, the beauty that pain can bring, I talked about how wonderful our God is and that even if his plan for us is painful we still need to pray through it and seek the beauty that lingers silently behind our struggles. I wonder if that beautiful nurse knows how much God worked through her..i wonder if she knows that, besides the blood Jesus shed on Calvary, she is the reason that my great grandfather made it to heaven. I cant begin to imagine the pain that she felt as my great grandfather cast upon her soul fiery arrows of hate just because God created her with a different skin color than him. I cant imagine how much she probably dreaded going into work because of it all..but praise the Lord for her! She prayed through it..she walked in there day after day and shared nothing but the love of Jesus with him. She WAS Jesus. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”…these were some of the last words that our savior cried out from the cross..from that place of pain and abandonment. Almost everyone had turned their back on Jesus but still he prayed for them..he loved them, and it is because of that love that any of us can make it to heaven. That nurse suffered through persecution but never did she stop praying and loving my great grandfather. The pain that my great grandfather endured those last few weeks, im sure, was something that very few of us know. Its hard to see much beauty when you think of an old man being burnt to death..even though, it was this exact situation that saved him from an eternity of fire. God in his MERCY, allowed him to go through such a terrible ordeal because God loved him..God knew that it would take such a painful end for my great greatfather’s hardened heart to be changed. I wish so badly that I could send this to that nurse..i want her to know how grateful my family is for what she did. Her pain..my great grandfather’s pain..from out of it all such beautiful grace flows. I cant wait for her to make it to heaven..i know that when that day comes my great grandfather will be waiting for her. He will see no color..he will only see her as a beautiful child of God..the woman that, through her pain, forgave him and led his heart to heaven. In closing, may I just say that it is my prayer..my never ending hope for the church…that we all begin to see one another as beautiful children of God. We cannot wait until our heavenly eyes make this change..because without making this change on our own, i am afraid to say that heaven probably will not be an option.

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. – John 2 : 9  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3 : 28

“That doll is the wrong color, little girl”

this will be a short post..and it is not a part of my proverbs thing. I have a bridal shower at 1 today..and I am running around here like a mad woman trying to get everything ready..however, what just happened enraged me by such great measure..I just had to write about it real quick.

 

Today Trinitee, Rory and I loaded up and headed to the Dollar Store for a last minute card and giftbag. I had a little extra money so I let Trinitee pick out a Barbie; she picked out a beautiful ballerina Barbie doll and was so overjoyed by it. As we were checking out the man behind me in line said something that made my blood boil..i almost beat up an old man today. Thankyou Lord for giving me self control and wisdom today that stopped me from doing so. “That doll is the wrong color, little girl”…WHAT! I was furious. There was a black man and his young son right behind him in line too. This man just so happened to have on a christian t-shirt, thankfully..because it was his t-shirt that allowed me to think quickly without punching him. “How dare you say something like that to my little girl”, i said. “Are you a christian?..i see you have on a christian t-shirt” i asked him. Of course he said he was indeed a christian..”how can you call your self a christian and break one of the most important commandments that Jesus Christ himself gave us..are you not aware that Jesus told us first to love him with all of our hearts and second to love our neighbor?” I went on to say..”what if the man standing behind you moved his family into the house beside yours..would you continue to not love him just because he is darker than you..how dare you tarnish my Lord’s name by wearing that t-shirt and saying things that are evil and go against what he teaches..If you are really a christian I demand you to apologize to my little girl and tell her that you were wrong.” The old man looked shocked..the cashier stood there speechless..the gentleman and his son just looked at the old man waiting for his response. The old man stuttered a minute and finally said, “Im sorry little girl, your doll is fine.”

I walked out of that store today on fire..christians of all colors need to remember that racism is a SIN. I have grown up hearing my mother tell stories of my great grandfather and how racist he was..i remember as a small child hearing him at thanksgiving calling people on tv very bad things just because of their skin color. My great grandfather went to church..he was what many would call a prayer warrior..a pillar of his church. i hate to say this..this breaks my heart to say this..but unless my great grandfather repented before he died..unless he allowed the Lord to change his heart..unless he did these things, he did not make it to heaven. You cannot stroll into heaven with hatred engulfing your heart. You cannot stand before Jesus if you have broken the very important commandment he gave to us. Just because you are from the south..or  because thats just how things are in your family..nothing you can try to say to make racism ok justifies it in the eyes of God.  Any christians reading this who harbor racism in their heart..please know that unless you change your ways and repent.. it is very unlikely that you will make it to heaven. Hating a person and spreading your hate IS A SIN.

my stepdaughter, Trinitee and her sister

on victory over the mush

My brain has been on “mush mode” the last few days. I have had many things to scribble down, but its just the lack of motivation and the time bloging takes that has caused my inspirations to be wasted. My silence has pushed a lot of things to my mind’s back burner..but I will get to them one of these days.

Tomorrow I am going to start a series on the book of Proverbs. I am fascinated by the overwhelming amount of knowledge that is written between the leather covers of my bible..especialy the book of Proverbs. Things written thousands of years ago are still so relevant in todays world, and I find that to be so wonderful. God wants us to prosper..He wants us to find such joy in life, and I am just so thankful to have a God like that.

I’m just going to be completely transparent this evening..I want this blog to reflect who I really am..what is really on my heart. One of the main factors that has caused my mind to be so mushy this week..is money. Ohh how I loath money..stupid money. I wish being a stay at home mom was a paying job..unfortunatly it is not. My husband works so hard for us..he really does. Sometimes though, no matter the back breaking work he does, his efforts come up a bit short. The last few months have definitly been those kind of months. God is so good though..he always provides. We always have food..we always have just enough. this months rent was really starting to look like an impossible task..and any of you who know financial problems first hand, you know what the stress of it all can do.

This past Sunday my father spoke a great message from his heart..a message that really brought my mind out of the pit I had been grovling in. He spoke about our duty as christians to love and help the orphans and the poor in this world. Yes we are poor..but our poverty in no way compairs to the poverty that billions in this world face one grim day after another. At the end of the message my father gave an invitation to give. A call to bless. We always pay our tithes but reaching into our pockets for something more than that 10% that we are used to is something that caused Jonathan to look over at me..in just one look we had an entire conversation.

How can we give anymore..we can’t afford anything extra.
God will take care of us. Period.

so, with a cheerful heart we gave..out of our financial hardship we gave. God is so wonderful..he is so gracious..his promises never EVER fail.

Jonathan put some things on craigslist a few months ago. He has countined to update the ads every few days..but still, not a single call for months. This past week we sold both things. Isn’t it amazing how a God so big..a God who has so much to look over, even still, He looks over his flock on such a small and personal level. One more months rent is paid..who knows what next month will bring, but I’m not going to let it bother me..Satan isn’t going to steal my joy anymore. The promises of God will never fail. As long as we continue to follow his instructions..he will countinue to take care of us. I urge any of you reading this to put Him to the test..

If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving – large or small- it will be used to measure what is given back to you. – luke 6: 38

you are not the father

Today has been rough; Rory has a stomach virus..I have been blessed with a healthy child.. except ear infections this is the first time he has ever really been sick. wow, having a sick baby is not fun! (even though it is nice for him to cuddle with me so much..lately i try to make him be mommy’s little baby again but he just bucks like a wild bull) Earlier today, after hours of him screaming and me trying to force pedialyte down his throat, he finally dozed off. During a final fussing fit before he thankfully succumbed to his afternoon naps call, he managed to kick the remote off of the couch..and there was no way I was going to move after finally getting him to sleep. So, I had no choice but to watch whatever it was that was on TV. Just my luck…it happened to be the Maury show. I used to watch Maury almost everyday..I loved it.  Recently though..Maury has not been allowed in my house. Its just a personal conviction, but i just don’t want the little ears and eyes running around my house to hear about the negative mess that the Maury show consists of. The time when trinitee looked up from a coloring book (that i assumed she was so involved in) to ask me, “why is that boy dressed like a girl?”..that was when i decided no more Maury. Well.. today as i took a stroll down lovers lane with my dear old pal Maury, it made me realize that i haven’t been missing much. Of course it was a “whose my baby daddy” episode (paternity drama is the only topic that Maury covers other than shocking videos or the occasional cross dressing parade) ..that show makes it blatantly obvious how corrupt our society has become..seriously..shows that get good ratings are repeated and we all know how good ratings happen. Apparently daytime America absolutely loves stories about fatherless children..i, however, do not. All the uproar and hoopla over two adults fussing about a subject that is so very sacred and important blows my mind. What seems to really get the crowd going is, “you are not the father”..that is disturbing. Yeah..there goes the once  demanding woman running off the stage..”ohh she’s trashy”..the man once accused of having a child dances around with glee. Seriously!? We like this? What about the child sitting backstage..they don’t care about drama and back-flips. All that matters to them is that they still don’t have a daddy.

Maury might not be all bad though.. it was suffering through his show today that made me think about a little girl that I love dearly. I had the privilege of becoming a part of this little girl’s life a few years ago; she is a beautiful child. She has a good mother..a mother who loves her very much and does her best to provide. This sweet little girl also has a father who refuses to acknowledge her..a man that she has never even met. He lives around here but his exact location is a mystery. The only way that her mother can try to contact him is through facebook..and when she sent him a message there was no response..he simply blocked her. What a selfish coward he is..hiding in silence from his own flesh and blood. He is robbing an innocent child (HIS innocent child) of a relationship that she desperately needs..that every child needs.

and he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children… – Malachi 4:6 

To all the fathers reading this..take a few seconds and really think about how important you are to your children. Your presence will forever be a mark upon their head..mark them with love..mark them with integrity..mark them with worth. Be a Godly force within your home and within your children’s lives. How old your children are matters not, if you look back on the time when your children were small with regret, don’t agonize over it..start now. As many of you know, my husband was not in trinitee’s life until she was three..it was a complicated situation that now, is of little importance. What is important is the present..he takes her to church every Sunday..day in and day out he strives to be a Godly influence in her life..regardless of the past, trinitee now knows that she has a daddy who loves her. If standing up and accepting the responsibility of being a father is something that scares you..don’t run from it, doing this will only lead you to a lonely deathbed filled with regret. Instead, look to God, if you seek, you shall find the strength and courage needed to be a father who will impact your children for the good. For all the Godly men without children..i urge you to not let your influence go to waste. There are countless fatherless children out there who need your guidance and prayers.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young… He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Isaiah 40: 11 and 29

To all the single mothers out there struggling day in and day out..don’t be discouraged. Don’t ever feel alone..don’t ever give up. Stand firm in the Lord for your children.. teach them about Jesus..let your actions BE Jesus. The absence of a loving father in the lives of your children is not something to worry about..it is a challenge for you to show them who their heavenly father is. A child who knows their heavenly father has a future full of love..full of guidance..full of hope. Don’t put the well being of your children at risk by being in a relationship that you shouldn’t be in. Don’t compromise yourself. .your worth far exceeds this..you are beautiful. you are priceless. If you are are in a relationship with a foolish man..run. Don’t let a man that bears bad fruit influence your children’s future..their salvation. Make your relationship with Jesus Christ the most important thing in your life..let him gently lead you. Pray that if he wants you to have a relationship, then please would he send you a Godly man..a strong and righteous man. A man that will lovingly direct your children down the right path. Regardless of any man..if you give your children Jesus you give them the most loving father that they could ever have..you give them a future full of promise.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. – John 14: 18
And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. –  2 Corinthians 6:18

I have touched every aspect of this equation but one..finally, let me write to the fatherless children that may be reading this. Maybe your father abandoned you, maybe he passed away..maybe the father you grew up with hurt you. The situation you were born into does not have to define who you are. No matter how alone you may feel in this world..you are not fatherless. You do have a father. You have a father that molded you..a father who knit you together with intricate care. A father who put you on this earth for a purpose. Like i said before..how old you are isnt important..if you have never met him you still can. He is patiently waiting for you.

In closing may i please ask that you pray for the little girl i mentioned above. I sent her father an email a few weeks ago and i am just praying that it touches his heart..nothing i can say would be enough to soften his heart..it is only the Lord who can..so please say a prayer that God will work in this situation.

 
 

a letter from a prisoner

My father has challenged me to write in my blog everyday for 60 days..I was (and still am) a bit nervous about it. Writing is something I have always found joy in doing..but it is also a task that drains me..it requires a great deal of thought as well as time..the level of concentration it requires transforms me into an extreme introvert. I dont like to write about things that are pointless or shallow; for me to be able to “scribble things to life” (as i like to call it) I have to be passionate about the subject, and with a 5 year old running around and a 7 month old demanding my time constantly, as any of you who are raising or have raised children know, it can be pretty stinkin hard to find passion even for your husband, let alone for something to blog about. How am I supposed to work something, that asks so much of me, into my daily schedule without compromising it..When I voiced these concerns to my father..he simply said, “it’ll come to you”..and.. Like always, my father’s advice has, thus far, been right.

I was talking to a friend of mine today, when she told me an odd story..thankfully she shared this with me, because until she did, I had no idea what I was going to write about today. She told me about a letter she received. The letter was from a person that she has not spoken to in quite some time…it was from a guy who is now in prison. In the letter he asked her to please call his parents..he wanted her to tell them how sorry he was and that he loved them..he wanted her to ask his mom to please come and see him. My friend can be somewhat shy at times and she told me she was nervous about calling them. My advice to her was that she should do it. The next text I sent her read..thats sad that they havent gone and seen him..shame on them. No matter what your kids do you dont give up on them. If Rory was in prison for murdering someone i would still love him…as I pressed the send button..I knew what I would write about today.

When I look down and see the beautiful face of my son, I forget that one day from his smooth little chin whiskers will grow..as Jonathan hangs Trinitee’s towel up to dry after giving her a bath, Im sure that the last thing he thinks about is how this nights completed bathtime is just one more check on a short list…before he knows it daddy’s little girl wont be so little anymore. No matter how much we beg for the clock to stop and for time to exclude our children it cannot be done. The little hands that reach out for me..the tiny hands that hold onto mine so tightly..this lays upon my soul such sadness to say..but, one day these sweet little hands could become the hands that take a person’s life. If this dark scenario were to one day become reality, my love would not lessen. No amount of evil or wrongdoing done by my child could ever cause me to deny him..I would never fail to be there when he reached out for me..no matter the amount of sinful blood dripping from his hands..I would never let them go.

For almost a decade, I was the constant tears that flooded my mother’s heart. I was the pain that cut into my father’s soul. I was the constant prayer on their lips. My parents never gave up me..they never stopped praying for me. They never gave up on the promise they were given by God. Ive failed my parents more times than I can count..but to them, I have never been a failure..and in the back of my mind, I always knew that. If any parents are reading this who have children that are running from God..dont ever give up on them. Let their name be the constant prayer on your lips..regardless of the evil that has them blinded..dont ever stop being there when they reach out for you. No matter the distance into a pit of despair that they have fallen..never let their hand go. The progress and the change that the Lord has made in me shows the power a mother’s prayer can hold.

If the love of a mother and father can be so unconditional…think about the love that God has for us. If you are reading this and you realize that you are a prisoner trapped in the despair of your own guilt and self hatred..just know..there is no distance that one can travel to that God cannot reach. There is no amount of sin that God cannot cleanse. Even if you are unsure of who God is..in written words or spoken words write him a letter..tell him that you are sorry..tell him you love him (or that you want someone like him to love)..and if you ask him to come and see you(or for him to help you understand who he is)..i promise that he will. The darkest most disgusting crimes will not stop God from answering your letter..The thickest bars and the highest razor wire cant stop the love that God has for you.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. – Jeremiah 31:3

on the beauty that pain can bring

Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching The Passion of the Christ (its on Netflix. if you havent seen it you should watch it) I went and saw it in the movie theater when it came out in 2004..but I didnt have the greatest experience. I will not say any names..but..the person i went to go see it with decided to take a bottle of whiskey into the movie theater..so I barely was able to watch the movie because I was in fear the whole time that someone would smell the terrible scent of it and the person i was with would be hauled to jail (they were underage) It surprises me that I wasnt drinking right along with them..the person I was in 2004 was..well..i guess ill just say an idiot. Even then, during a time in my life that I had no relationship, what so ever, with the Lord, I knew better. I remember sitting there with tears running down my face and the person I was with telling me how ridiculous I was being..we ended up leaving before the movie was over…so yesterday, I saw the end of the movie for the first time.

The movie is wonderful..it is powerful. I skipped some of the more gruesome scenes, like when Jesus was whipped, but for the most part Trinitee watched the whole thing. Some may think how terrible I am for letting a five year old watch a R rated movie..well think all you want. I want her to know at what price her salvation was bought. The things Jesus endured for us on Calvary were far worse than an R rating. I normally have a hard time getting her to watch anything that’s not a cartoon or has talking animals running around..but yesterday she hardly moved.  Since it’s in Aramaic, I read her the subtitles to some parts..but even without knowing the dialog she knew what was going on. I used to have a cd with the song Watch the Lamb on it, but it has been over a year since we’ve listened to it..shes smart though..when she saw the part when Jesus could no longer carry the cross and Simon of Cyrene was made to help, she said, “There’s Daddy Daddy and there’s his little boy!”

I was somewhat disappointed yesterday when the screen went black after Jesus died…why would they show how Christ was seemingly defeated without showing the final result of his victory, I thought. The screen was black for a moment and then a flash of bright light penetrated the darkness as the stone was being rolled away from the entrance of the tomb. The last scene of the movie shows Jesus stand up..he is now clean..his body is no longer covered with dried sweat and blood..his skin bears no bruises or lacerations from the whip..then the camera scrolls down to show the hole in his hand from the nail, and then the screen goes black and the credits start.  The last vision of Jesus’ nail scarred hand really affected me.

So many times I question the Lord and get upset with him for letting “bad” things happen to me. Just because I am a christian doesn’t mean that I wont be subjected to pain..sometimes I forget that. Pain is still able to affect the lives of even the most dedicated christian. The resurrection of Jesus is the utmost example of the rewards God gives to those who obey his will..but even here, we see evidence of pain – we see the scars in Jesus’ hand. Why did Jesus keep the scars in his hands, feet and side? During the time after he died he went and conquered death, hell and the grave..dont you think he would have been able to remove his scars?

  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe. John 20:7

Jesus’ scars were the only thing that would prove to Thomas that Jesus had risen..the only thing that made Thomas believe. What if the pain and the scars we carry are tools the Lord wants us to use to witness and to reach people living in doubt. What if the Lord were to allow one of his faithful followers to fall ill with cancer just so they would be able to witness to the lost man in the hospital bed beside them..would you say that the Lord is wrong? No matter how painful things in life may be..stay strong in the Lord..seek his will..pray that, from out of your scars..from out of your pain, he will cause beautiful things to rise.

prayers for forgotten children

The time now, as I begin this post is 12:09 pm. It will be hours before I post this..I have to write when my motherly duties (which, by the way, I am so grateful to be able to do again now that my back is feeling a great deal better) will spare me a few moments. Again, it is 12:09 pm, Trinitee got up this morning at 8:30..since then she has had cheddar cheese grits (with real bacon bits in them..just the way she likes) a large glass of milk, a pack of grilled cheese Lance crackers, a juice box, and a string cheese. Like clockwork, we normally eat lunch at noon but on Saturdays Jonathan gets off work at one..so on Saturdays we snack a little after breakfast and wait until he gets home to eat lunch. Without failure, every Saturday, regardless of the snacks she has had, “mommy I’m starving” is what I hear shortly after the clock strikes 12..and today, just a few minutes ago, it was her saying those exact words that sparked my mind to write this.

Throughout the day, i usually spend my free time roaming the internet for articles and for things i feel are worth the few moments of “me” time that i get. Most of the time i end up on websites that drive me into a mad rage..to what degree these things upset me is pointless because no matter what i do..i cant force people to agree or to wake up and take notice. These websites, Jonathan says, have turned his wife into a conspiracy theorist. (Ha..he knew what he was getting into before he married me) Sometimes i try to be normal and do normal things like play games or search around on ebay (how is a girl with no extra money supposed to look on ebay?…i am not capable of “window shopping” without morphing into this “woe is me” jealous person) ive even tried to start a pintrest thing. None of my “normal” endeavors are ever successfull..i always feel like im wasting precious time and short-changing my brain by investing in things that just don’t matter. So…i end up reading articles about fluoride or about the corruption that drips from planned parenthood and other things that i cant change..things that just upset me..things that, according to the authors, only Ron Paul can stop..unfortunatly the probability of most of these things changing is the same as Ron Paul actually becoming president (media black-balled ) so i get all fired up and it usually fizzles out half an hour or so after i get in bed and finally calm myself down enough to sleep. I have sent emails and made phone calls to senators from time to time but, im not an idiot, i know this doesnt do anything. In the perfect manner of this dark earth, yesterday i stumbled upon an article that i cannot shake..an article that, after reading it, has made me come to the conclusion that i will never be the same.

I was only 10 when these things happened..I was off in my peachy little world of no worries and lisa frank trapper-keepers..I had no clue of what it feels like to love a child, or how precious a childs worth is. I know that there are many who do remember this when it happened..something that makes the soul ache, to such severity, is not easily forgotten. I attempt to really understand what makes this world go ’round..I try, with shallow results usually, to really understand politics,…i always come up short, even still, with my limited political knowledge, I can see how this matter should (17 years later) still be a relevent concern.

The article I read was about the 1995 documentary called, “The Dying Rooms.”  Three British film makers, over the course of two years, posed as orphanage workers (with hidden cameras) in several chinese state-run facilities. The footage is shocking, to say the least, I was sick after watching it. It all seems too monstrous to be reality. Here are some exerts from the article:

Mei-ming has lain this way for 10 days now: tied up in urine-soaked blankets, scabs of dried mucus growing across her eyes, her face shrinking to a skull, malnutrition slowly shrivelling her two-year old body. The orphanage staff call her room the “dying room”, and they have abandoned here for the very same reasons her parents abandoned her shortly after she was born. She is a girl.

When Mei-ming dies four days later,it will be of sheer neglect. Afterward, the orphanage will deny she ever existed. She will be just another invisible victim of the collision between China’s one-child policy and its traditional preference for male heirs. She is one of perhaps 15 million female babies who have disappeared from China’s demograph

Two years ago, the South China Morning Post gave the world evidence of dying rooms at Nanning orphanage, in the Guangxi autonomous region. Staff and regular visitors freely admitted that 90 percent of the 50 to 60 baby girls who arrived at the orphanage each month would end their lives there. Nanning orhanage was then overhauled, and the dying rooms there ceased to exist. Sadly, though, the British team’s harrowing report suggests that attitudes toward baby girls so prevalent at Nanning two years ago are rife elsewhere.

To proect those who helped the team gain access to orphanages and whom Blewett interviewed, the documentary does not riamc any of the orphanages In one, a dozen or so baby girls sit on bamboo benches in the middle of a courtyard. Their wrists and ankles are tied to the armrests and legs of the bench. A row of plastic buckets is lined up beneath holes in their seats to catch their urine and excrement. The children will not be moved again until night, when they will be lifted out and tied to their beds.

“They had no stimulation, nothing to play with, no one to touch them,” says Blewett. In one scene, a handicapped older boy walks up to one of the girls tied to a bench and begins head-butting her relentlessly. The girl doesn’t move or make a sound. Such is the lack of stimulation for the children that few of them will ever learn to speak. An endless rocking is the only exercise, the only stimulation, the only pleasure in their lives.

An official of the orphanage tells Blewett that last year, the orphanage had some 400 inmates. They were kept five to a bed in one airless room. The summer temperatures soared to around 100 degrees. In a couple of weeks, 20 percent of the babies died. “If 80 children died last summer, there should be 320 left,” Blewett says to one of the assistants, “but there don’t appear to be more than a couple of dozen children here. Where are the others?” The girl replies; “They disappear. If I ask where they go, I am just told they die. That’s all. I am afraid to ask any more.” 

Brutal neglect is the common theme of many of the orphanage scenes. In one sequence, a lame child sits on a bench near the orphanage pharmacy. It is full of medicines, but none of the staff can be bothered to administer them. The child rocks listlessly back and forth. The camera focuses on her vacant face, trails down her skinny body, and settles on her leg. It is swollen with gangrene. The worst orphanage, the home of Mei-ming, was in Guangdong, one of the richest provinces in China. When the documentary team arrived,there were no children to be seen or heard. Then from under one of the blankets laid over a cot. there was the sound of crying. Lifting the blanket and unwrapping a tied bundle of cloth, Blewett found a baby girl. The last layer of her swaddling was a plastic bag filled with urine and feces. The next cot was the same, and the next and the next. Many of the children had deep lesions where the string they were tied with had cut into their bodies. One child, described by staff as “normal,” was suffering from vitamin B and C deficiencies, acute liver failure, and severe impetigo on her scalp. All the non-handicapped children were girls.

After the documentary aired there was an uproar that spread across the world..it aired in 26 different countries and won several awards even an American Emmy. Chinese officials flat out denied any existence of such “dying rooms,”   (it is spoken about here) they stated that the documentary was a complete fabrication, even though, if you watch it (warning: its tough to handle) it is hard to imagine how such a thing could have been faked. There are also damning reports from the chinese physician Zhang Shuyun, who fled the country with evidence she had collected between 1988 and 1993 proving the rumors of systematic abuse and fatal neglect to be true. Here is a bit from an article that speaks of  Zhang Shuyun’s findings..

The evidence of barbaric behaviour came from detailed official records smuggled out of the country by a doctor, Zhang Shuyun: she worked at the Shanghai Children’s Welfare Institute from 1988 to 1993, and escaped from China last March. Numerous case studies document deliberate starvation, torture and sexual assault over many years. The records indicate that between 1986 and 1992 at this one Shanghai institution alone, more than 1,000 children died unnatural deaths.  

Only after The Dying Rooms thrust these deplorable exterminations into the world spotlight did things start to improve in these state funded orphanages..well at least things improved at the orphanages we are allowed to know about. One report states..

 From 1999 to 2004, the numbers of child welfare homes and residents almost doubled.. Another change during this period is that the central government enacted policies regarding the right to protection for children and social welfare for orphans and children with disabilities, such as, the enactment of the Law of Adoption and the establishment of guidelines for work with orphans and children with disabilities by the central government. Recent efforts have been on promoting relative caring and foster homes supplemental to child welfare homes.

An orphanage in Wuhu, in eastern China’s Anhui province in Aug. 2009.

As you see in the picture above, the conditions in this orphanage have greatly improved from the earlier circumstances where sometimes six infants would be crammed in one rusty crib. Things look so much better..it gives you a sense of hope and relief…until you look to the far right of this picture and see the infant laying there who is nothing but skin and bone. It is wonderful that these  babies are being fed and that their basic needs are being met, however, many studies have proven that babies desperately need to be touched and loved to thrive..even to the point that some infants can lose the will to live because they are not nurtured. it rips my heart apart to think of babies..just like my priceless baby..who dont have anyone to love them. Thankfully adoption has given many of these unwanted children a life where they are wanted.. where they are loved.

Im sure it seems that i have gone on and on about this..but really, what I have written is only the tip of the iceberg. Some are probably thinking right now..why the heck would somebody write about this..that was 17 years ago! Well my response is..why the heck would i not write about this!

Why i am writing this..why i think it still matters, is simple, even for me to understand.(that means pretty simple) You gotta remember that china is a communist country. We see what they allow..what they want us to see. The same force that was in charge while all the documented abuse took place..they are still in charge today. Most recently with the Chen Guangcheng story, the world has been exposed to the gut wrenching stories of the women who are kidnapped and forced to have abortions, many times in their ninth month of pregnancy..the black veil of communism has parted enough for us to see the callous faces of these men..these men who tie women down during labor and wait for the baby to be born..these men who take a newly delivered baby and throw it into a bucket of water like worthless trash.. while gasping for breath in a cold bucket of water, the first and last sound these beautiful babies will  hear is their mother crying helplessly for the baby she never got to touch..all because, to these men, life means nothing. Thank goodness for the millions of good people living in China and for the outside influence that, to some degree, holds the Communist Party of China accountable.. without them, I am afraid to think of how these sweet children would be treated..because to Hu Jintao and the Communist Party of China, these orphans are illegal.. these blameless children are guilty of breaking the law before they are even born.

Let me just requote something from an above article..

Two years ago, the South China Morning Post gave the world evidence of dying rooms at Nanning orphanage, in the Guangxi autonomous region. Staff and regular visitors freely admitted that 90 percent of the 50 to 60 baby girls who arrived at the orphanage each month would end their lives there. Nanning orhanage was then overhauled, and the dying rooms there ceased to exist. Sadly, though, the British team’s harrowing report suggests that attitudes toward baby girls so prevalent at Nanning two years ago are rife elsewhere.

As this shows, these deplorable acts were first exposed in 1993..two years later when this was published nothing had changed. The orphanage in question was reformed but nothing was done to help the innocent life trapped in any of the other institutions. My only prayer is that, in the places kept from the world, history is not being repeated. According to China Daily and ministry statistics there are currently 100,000 abandoned children (mostly girls) living in chinese orphanages. For a country with 1.3 billion people (and, not to mention, a strict population control policy and, especially in rural areas, a strong cultural tradition that values only male heirs) i find it almost impossible to believe that calculation. The Mystery of China’s Orphans, A 2007 piece from The New York Times reaffirms my suspicions..

 According to a U.S. State Department report released last week, American citizens adopted 6,493 children from China in 2006, a decline of 18 percent from the previous year’s total of 7,906. And yet,over a month ago, The New York Times reported that China had prepared strict new criteria for foreign adoption applications because the country claimed it lacked “available” babies to meet the “spike” in demand.

China has always limited foreign adoptions, and it does not publish reliable statistics on the number of children in its orphanages. So how is one to know whether the decrease in adoptions reflects a lack of supply or a lack of demand?

In the week following the report on the new guidelines, more than one bewildered person said to me, “But I thought there were lots of babies in orphanages in China!” My response was to helplessly reply, “So did I.” My understanding of this was based not on conjecture, but on having been to China twice to adopt, having seen orphanages with my own eyes, and on research and other eyewitness accounts. Many hundreds and perhaps thousands of orphanages operate in China, most of them full of girls.

According to a February 2005 report in the Weekend Standard, a Chinese business newspaper, demographers in China found a ratio of 117 boys per 100 girls under the age of 5 in the 2000 census. Thanks to China’s one-child policy, put into effect in 1979 in order to curb population growth, and a strong cultural preference for male children, this gender gap could result in as many as 60 million “missing” girls from the population by the end of the decade.

And what happened to these girls? According to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (a term that takes on a whole new meaning when referring to China), there are about 7 million abortions in China per year, 70 percent of which are estimated to be of females. That adds up to around 5 million per year, or 50 million by the end of the decade; so where are the other 10 million girls? If even 10 percent end up in orphanages — well, you do the math.

The issue of abandoned and institutionalized children remains a taboo subject in China, a problem the government does not even acknowledge exists.

China has announced the lifting of restrictions for foreign journalists in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. Perhaps this will allow reporters to look for answers to some basic questions: How many children are there in institutions in China? Why do visitors need approval to visit orphanages? Why are only certain orphanages allowed to participate in the international adoption program, and what is going on in the ones that are not?

So what am I supposed to do? How are my tears going to infiltrate the hearts of those in charge. After reading these things.. my spirit was badly broken..thankfully, Trinitee and Rory were at my moms so they didnt witness my sadness. I seriously had a small mental break..crying and screaming at God..asking him how He could let things happen like this. God wasnt too upset by my screams..he never gave me that answer I was looking for..but a sudden peace flooded my soul, and I was reminded that every one of those “forgotten” children were now in the loving arms of Jesus..no matter how unwanted or unloved they were here..in heaven they are held..they are touched..they are priceless.

Today is the first time i have thought about these little children in quite sometime. Usually when Trinitee tells me she is starving I just laugh it off and tell her she’s being silly because she has had plenty to eat. I mean, she’s a child..her precious little mind is set on the schedule that I have put her on..I can’t get upset with her for being over dramatic or naively ungrateful. But today was different…Today when she told me how starving she was..the images of those little girls from The Dying Room flooded my mind.. I immediately started crying. She looked up at me, her eyes full of love..she hugged me..”whats wrong mommy?” I explained to her that she doesnt need to say she’s starving anymore..i told her how blessed she was..that there are children who really are starving. She asked me..”what is starving” i tried to explain it the best i could..telling her that some children are so hungry they die. This may seem extreme to some..but I want to raise her to know the truth. I found a picture on my phone of a child who was truly starving..and i showed it to her…”this is what starving means,” i said. She picked up my phone and held it close..almost as if she was trying to look into the child’s soul. A few more silent seconds passed..as she put the phone down I noticed the tears that quietly fell down her sweet little face. She looked at me and said, “im not starving, mommy.” I held her in my arms for a minute before she popped her head up and said, “lets pray for that little girl.”  In our little living room, we held hands and trinitee prayed for that little girl. Her prayer was simple..but so pure..i know the Lord heard Trinitee’s prayer because I felt his presence fill our little living room as she prayed today. We may not be able to win all the battles of this world..but we can pray. We may not be able to save all the innocent little children in China..or all the neglected children across this planet..but Trinitee reminded me today that WE CAN PRAY. We have a God who listens to our prayers..we have a God who is mighty. If any of you have actually read to this point (i know this is way too long..but i cant help myself) please stop and pray…pray for all the innocent children who are alone in this world. Im not sure why I felt the need to write this..but hopefully, God will place a fire inside your soul like he did in mine.

my thoughts on “pastor” charles t worley

IS THIS MAN INSANE!?

A few nights ago, I saw this story on the local news and “ohhh no” was the thought that kept replaying in my head as mystomach turned in disgust. I knew that within days this would be all over the national media..and I was right. I’ve already seen several articles just today talking about the things this NC pastor said…

“Build a great, big, large fence—150 or 100 miles long—put all the lesbians in there. Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out..you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out…do you know why? They can’t reproduce!”

Why would a preacher say such a thing!? I really can’t wrap my hands around it. It is statements such as this that make people think so badly of christians. People who do not go to a good, bible teaching church or have not had a good influence of what christianity is, this is what they hear..this is their idea of Christ..and it hurts my heart. I know for sure that its a rare occurance to ever see any thing positive in the news about christianity..its only the nut job declarations made by nut jobs such as this guy that make the news..and that makes me nauseous. I am a true believer in the bible..but put homosexuals in a fence and let them die out..ARE YOU SERIOUS! What about all the other sinners in this world..WE ARE ALL SINNERS! Its only by the transforming power of Jesus that any of us are granted freedom from sin and even then we fail..speaking for myself, I fail the Lord everyday. I have to lean on Gods grace to cover me and the daily act of repentance..where would I be without Gods grace? where would any of us be? According to this guy we would all need to be in a fence to “die out”..his message not only spits hatred but it gives the redeeming grace and the love of our Lord no credit. As a follower of Jesus Christ may I just say that the things this man said are a rotten example of what Jesus would say.