Humble and Prayerful

Sometimes there are no words that can be said, or written. As the world keeps throwing fast balls in our (a collective we of the world’s) direction. In these instances it’s not the words written for the sake of being shared or read that matter. It’s the words spoken straight to our Father, confessing our humble, desperate need for His help.

LORD, WE NEED YOU.

Bless, comfort, heal, redeem our brothers and sisters all around the world.

We need each other.

And we desperately need you.

Amen.

pray

Please consider taking a moment today to pray for somebody, anybody. Perhaps a country who’s name you only hear during opening ceremonies at the Olympics. Maybe a family in Syria or one facing constant fear and attack. Or, it could be your neighbor, or someone in the next cubicle over. Adventure into the unknown, pray for someone you don’t know, or for something, or someone, who scares you. Remember that statistics on the news are more than numbers, and each one has a group of family and friends now, unexpectedly, learning to cope. We need to take care of each other. Listen to each other. Pray for each other.

If you need prayer, don’t be afraid to ask, or send some requests up for yourself. It is not selfish to ask God for whatever you might need, feel, hope or desire. He’s listening, always.

Prayer changes. Prayer moves. Prayer heals and comforts. Prayer releases. Prayer loves.

I’ll start. You’ll notice that my words are not perfect. They may even seem too floofy at times. I am far from the “perfect pray-er”. Though God blessed me with a capability to move people through words, these still seem to fall flat. My prayer won’t cover all the needs of the world, but it’ll be a start. If we all do our part, share kindness, speak meaningful words, and pray the prayers on our hearts, then we will be…

* LOVE * PEACE * FAITHFULNESS * KINDNESS * GOODNESS * PATIENCE * JOY * GENTLENESS * SELF-CONTROL * COMPASSION * HOPE * MERCY *

* the hands and feet of Jesus*

*the change*

Dear Lord, bless this reader. Meet them where they are and please, Lord remind them of your presence and your light. Spread your compassion, peace and healing over England, and specifically Manchester. Clear away any traces of fear of the enemy and instill an inexplicable hope and peace in all the attendees at the concert, and the families of those taken, too suddenly, from their lives. Please Lord, remind this world so consumed by dark happenings all around that YOU ARE STILL IN CONTROL. Oh we desperately need you Lord. Bless my brothers and sisters, those who know you and those who have yet to have the pleasure. Be present in us, with us, and through us. Grant us your peace. 

May we experience the beauty worded in Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” I can’t imagine Lord, what it’s like have safety constantly in jeopardy, but I do pray this Scripture over our whole world and every single person in it, that we will not fear evil, FOR YOU ARE WITH US, ALWAYS.

Thank you Father.

Amen.

Pink Rush

Pink coated my cheeks when my eyes caught your glance.

Interesting now, how I cannot seem to get you off my mind.

New to you, I’m sure you were simply trying to get acquainted.

Kindling a fiction of nothing, my hopes illuminated a meaning more.

 

Ridiculous I feel, digging deeper into a shallow glance.

Understanding I have this deep desire to be understood.

Special seems to be the word that companions this wistfulness.

How, oh how, feelings flow when a glance cascades a rush of rose.

DSC_0123

 

Leaving Better

Today I found myself traveling an hour and half away from home to take a test. It sounds exciting right?! Well, actually, it was!

Mantorville, Minnesota is a small town northwest of Rochester, Minnesota. Before a few days ago, I never knew it existed. I have been out of state for the past six years, nevertheless it is a small dot on a map that can easily be overlooked. Then again, so is the town where I grew up.

It would have been easy to GPS my way into town, take the exam and then leave without anyone ever having a clue I’d been there, but that’s just not my style. Deep down I have this desire to leave places better than when I found them. This doesn’t mean I’m some super hero passing through, changing one life after another after another. It can be as simple as my tedious habit of drying off each sink I use in a public restroom, assuming paper towels are handy. Today it meant that, and also one act of kindness manifested by God.

Have you ever had that feeling, like God’s asking you to do something? For me, it feels like a slight pressure on my heart, or really, my soul. I always know it’s God, because the idea usually includes me taking a risk or doing something seemingly uncomfortable at the time. Though it’s usually simple or menial, I regularly try to shrug it off. But God is persistent, even, and especially, when the task doesn’t really make sense to me. You want me to do what?! Really? Are you sure? … Are you still sure? Yes, God’s patience with me is impeccable, and so is His grace. If I’ve been learning anything this past year, it’s that I always feel better, and adrenaline-rushed, when I take those tiny risks of faith and obey. I also repeatedly learn that God always comes through, always.

Arriving in town with time to spare before the merit test, I found my way .2 miles down the road to the County Seat Coffeehouse. Their sweet, yummy coffee drink list was extensive, but unfortunately I knew they would make me shaky, and distracted by the need to use the restroom while being tested, so I resigned to a cup of delicious chicken tortellini soup. I smiled awkwardly and distracted myself with Facebook and Instagram as I felt the eyes of the elders of the town look upon me, knowingly recognizing that I was an out-of-towner. They seemed nice nonetheless; Minnesotans generally are. I dined and ditched (pre-paying of course) and giddily jaunted the .2 miles up to the courthouse.

Upon entering, I was greeted by the officer behind the security entrance. He gladly offered me directions to where I needed to be: down the stairs, to the right and then to the left. In Conference Room 1 surrounded by seven other ladies of varying ages, I mused at the fact that half of them, including the test proctor, received the memo to wear cuffed capris. Clearly, we were all testing for the same job and we seemed to dress the part.

This exam, my second test of the week, humored me through angry customer questions, and cleared me of the test anxiety I once felt as a student. Actually, I quite liked it. I thoroughly enjoyed categorizing numbers and calculating the petty cash totals allotted in the example pages of the test. Honestly, though, my favorite part was editing. I really love editing. I didn’t realize how much until this exam. Perhaps I’ll become an editor when I grow up… Well… and a writer too!

Post-exam, the kind security officer wished me well, and I was off to celebrate my fine office support abilities with a sugary, delicious drink from the coffeehouse. Can you say Peanut Butter Bliss? With one sip of that sugary delight you’d join me in the ooo-ing and aw-ing of coffee meets sugar meets peanut butter. Accompanying my well-sipped sugar rush, the .4 miles more of meandering readied me to gas up my Honda, and head home. However, while I was feeding “Horse” my sturdy, steady Honda, I felt the pressure as I heard the still, small idea:

What if you ask the security officer if he wants a coffee?’

“No God, what?! I already have mine. It’d be weird. Why would I do that? I’m so not doing it. I know you’ll love me anyway.”

I will, but you’ll never know what would’ve happen if you did.’ 

“Playing with my curiosity strings God? … So not cool. I’m still not going.”

‘Okay…’

As I drove up the hill beside the courthouse, I pulled in. I had to know what in the world God was up to. Plus, a part of me gets a thrill out of random acts of kindness. I parked, and headed towards the courthouse doors, again. I spotted another worker visiting with the security guard and I almost turned around, but I was already through the first set of doors. No turning back, no turning back.

There I was. There he was. Arms crossed over my stomach, I confidently asked if I could get him a coffee from town. He mentioned to the other worker he was more of a soda person, and thanked me in a questioning way. I told him he was sitting there through it all, and he had been so kind to me, I thought I’d offer to buy him a coffee drink. Though he didn’t accept, he seemed grateful for the thoughtfulness, and if anything, the officer behind him seemed amused. Continuing to chat, he asked me if I was local and was applying for a job with their county. I told him no, that I drove in from the cities and was interested in work even further north. “I’m all over the place, “I confessed with a chuckle. He smiled just the same, and offered his knuckle. Just kidding, but he seemed grateful nonetheless. (I can’t turn down a rhyme.)

Afterwards, I felt that familiar rush that comes alongside these random-acts-of-kindness moments. It was the same rush I felt last week when I paid for the fries of the lady in the drive-through behind me at Wendy’s. I don’t know what happened, if either really made a difference or not, but through the beats of joy I felt, I know that God was grateful for my obedience (which in the end, is all that really matters). I do hope to see the big picture someday – the giant scheme that perfectly fits together all these acts-of-kindness puzzle pieces.

I’m not bragging, as none of these ideas were of my own accord, but of God. Our Father in Heaven is reaching down to us on earth, reminding us to take care of each other. No matter where we live, how well we know each other, whether or not we agree on our beliefs, how we look or whether or not we are worthy, God asks us to love one another. Take care of each other. None of us are worthy, and no one has it all together. Sometimes all we need is a free coffee on Friday, a compliment on Monday, or a smile on Wednesday. However God asks you to show love, kindness and care, just do it. I promise you that it will make someone’s day, and it will make your day.

Instead of hearing”You better leave,” leave a place better than you found it. Be the change and you will make a difference. I mean look at me – I wasn’t just a stranger in a small town easily overlooked on a map. I was a pebble, hopefully creating a ripple of kindness into a living, breathing community of people who need to know that they are appreciated. They are worthy. They are loved. Even, if only, by a stranger passing through.

PEBBLE

 

“So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” -Luke 10:27

 

The Transplants: Grand-hearts

Disclaimer: This is an excerpt from a collection of stories I’m putting together of the beautiful hearts I knew and loved during my Kentucky years. I’m pulling this story to share with you in memory of G-ma’s 4th year in Heaven. Names are changed to protect friends mentioned in the story.

“Grandmothers create memories that the heart holds forever.” -Anonymous

Carin received the phone call first. You know the ones, you can almost feel the dread in the ringing, and most definitely in the tone of voice of the caller on the other end. “It’s time,” they’ll say, “Not much longer now.” Simple words in any other context, except for this one. These moments create such a depth of sadness in our being that our first reaction is to hit the floor as we nearly drop the phone from our grasp. Even when we know goodbyes are coming, the moment they do show up is always still a surprise. Too sudden. Too soon.

It was a snowy day in February, and Carin pulled herself from her bedroom to the dining room where we all gathered for her. There were eight of us living together in an intentional Christian community as we served in our respective programs. Somehow, throughout the months we had created an inseparable bond, once strangers now closer than friends. Though her emotions were still longing to be alone in this sudden sadness, she pulled herself towards the community that she knew would provide her with comfort and distraction. As she shared the news of her grandmother taking a turn for the worst, and as she mourned the fact that she couldn’t immediately rush to her grandmother’s side (snowy roads in rural Kentucky are not safe to venture along), we did what we all did best, each in our own ways. We sat her down at the kitchen table as one community member made her tea, another grabbed her a snack, as a few of us asked her questions or simply sat together in silence. As long as we were together, we knew everything would be okay. We encircled her in prayer and encouragement. Later on, we distracted Carin with games. Carin loved games more than anyone, and living in this community together we all knew how to love each other best.

together

Three months later.

We were returning from our organization’s National Day of Prayer gathering. My heart was happy from reconnecting with volunteers from the other communities (there were six volunteer houses at the time located in five different counties throughout southeastern Kentucky). Ring Ring. Ring Ring. That ring. I had heard it five months prior when my mom’s tear-soaked voice told me the news of my aunt’s sudden passing. Here it was again. Her voice at the other end of the line. My mind rushed as my feet flew from under me, and I somehow still gracefully hit the floor. I heard words, but all I could feel were the tears moistening my cheeks. I bowed my head as to not make more of a scene while attached to the corded phone in our dining room. My head felt faint. The same words. The same words every time, “It’s time,” strewn along amongst other words. There must have been other words besides, “Not much longer now.”

I knew it was coming. How much sorrow could one woman bear? Losing her son, my father, so many years ago, as well as her daughter, five months prior. Her husband seven years back, and brothers and sisters along the way. Along with cancers and sickness and the wear and tear of an 86 year old body, it was her time. But I wasn’t ready. I’m not ready. Almost instantly after I hung up the phone, or perhaps he hung it up for me, our Czech housemate Radek enveloped me in a hug. There was no shame as I cried. My grandma, my G-ma, didn’t have much longer. She is my person in the world. There is none like her. What will I do without my person in the world? She is… She was. A day or was it three later (time seems irrelevant in moments of love and grief) came the final realization. It was time.

In one sad and unfortunate way, our twinness shone through. Carin was there for me, as I had been her. We shared in sorrow, as we grieved our grandmothers. Together we were sisters, in moments of joy to moments of sadness, always in community via heart, soul, and mind. What a blessing it is to have a soul sister.