Category Archives: Love Where You ARE <3

Dear you <3

Just sharing a note I sent to my email group today…feeling the need to encourage some of God’s children out there who seem to have been handed a bit more than we can handle lately <3

Hello out there,

It is absolutely beautiful here in Central Illinois today.

Yesterday was as well.

Perfect early summer weather that some of us wouldn’t mind having every day through the first crisp days of Autumn.

But as my husband always likes to remind me…corn doesn’t grow well without that hot and humid stuff that tends to make me wilt.

Growing seasons are like that.

Conditions that bring on stress make for hearty plants.

This is true spiritually as well.

It is in the seasons where we feel pressed and tested, where we are dry and the climbing goes from steep to deep with very little low country to catch our breath.

Those are the times when God is stretching and growing us in ways that refine and define us and make us fit for His Kingdom.

And this morning, I am thinking of so many of you dear ones who are in the midst of hard seasons.

Some of you are dealing with health issues – for yourself or for someone you love – or both.

We have precious friends who are recovering from surgeries and injuries.

We know so many who are bouncing grandchildren on their knees so mommy and daddy can rest, while advocating for aging parents who can no longer make clear decisions for the needs of daily living.

We have treasured friends who are waiting for test results with faith-filled believing prayers.

We have loved ones who are facing this day with broken hearts as they forge a different path than they would have chosen; even as they let God heal them and lead them forward into the new normal.

And I sit here at this key board and I picture faces to go with all those scenarios.

Friends from work, church, neighborhood, around the world…and my own beloved and familiar family’s faces are in that mix here and there.

So the tears fall and the prayers go up to the only One who can help us all.

I just want you to know today, that you are loved.

That the situations you are facing matter to God and to your brothers and sisters in Christ.

When one of us in the Body is hurting, we all suffer.

When one of us is healed, delivered, strengthened…we rejoice.

You are not alone today.

He is with you…He is with us…
He is IN us…
we are united in Him.

A strong army made up of sometimes frail soldiers…made strong in Him.

I pray you know His peace…His love…His HOPE …. within you today <3

Abhor evil…cling to what is good

In a normal day it is not uncommon for me to cry several times.

Tears will slip out when I am talking or thinking or praying.

I rely on family and friends to regularly point to the corner of their eye as a tip that I have smears of mascara that need tending.

Yesterday I shed tears twice for people I don’t know at all.

The last time was just before we headed to bed as I cried for parents who were frantically waiting for news on the fate of a child outside a concert hall in Manchester, England and for first responders who had to hold it together as they did what they do in the mayhem.

I shed tears for the deception that leads someone to take his own life so that he can take out as many strangers as he possibly can.

I shed tears for a world system that keeps thinking somehow if we all just agree to disagree we can end the bloodshed and the confusion that comes when we all do what is right in our own sight, refusing to believe there is anything called Absolute Truth.

And I realize that’s a lot of thoughts swirling around the chaos that has become so much of our daily diet thanks to the internet and 24 hour news programming.

We can get so overwhelmed that we shut down.

So let me share the other thing that caused my heart to lump in my throat and generated some gentle tears at work.

Around lunch time a couple came in the store that I see from time to time.

I don’t know factually, but I assume they are husband and wife.

She walks slowly with one of those four-pronged canes. He gently holds the back of her jacket…just enough to steer her and keep her upright without her knowing it.

She’s a shopper and I totally get her.

As she gazes over each display, something will catch her eye and she will reach for it.

If she lingers more than a few seconds with it, he will gently ask her if she likes it…does she want it?

He will use his free hand to hold it for her and when he gets her to a place where she is holding steady, carries them to the counter and starts their pile.

I don’t like interfering with this tender dance they have going.

But as they move farther from the counter area; I begin to become the runner for him.

When she has covered the whole store, he asks her if she is sure she is finished. Is there anyone she is forgetting?

He will suggest some upcoming birthdays and events and when she’s sure she is done, they come to the counter.

I ring it up and he pulls out his wallet.

He never asks why she wants this or that.

He never makes a joke about her spending too much or the cash he is doling out.

He simply attends her shopping.

He lovingly takes her arm and the bag and he always says they will see me in a year…to which she says she hopes it’s sooner than that.

It will be.

Even now my throat is tightening and tears sting.

While I can pray for anyone in the whole wide world, I can’t do a thing today to offer comfort or support or love to the wounded around this globe.

But I can love the people I will come in contact with today.

I can extend a gracious patience with them.

I can be tender towards them and wait on them…and I don’t mean wait for them to do for me….I mean serve them..attend them…be attentive to them.

Not just for them…but because the world will see and know Christ by the way we love one another <3

 

A special day here on the Journey <3

First off, thanks for taking time to send comments to our Rachel for her beautiful post yesterday – blessed her and blessed us <3

Today I am celebrating another offspring because this one…

has a milestone birthday.

Not Joel.

This one…

We celebrate her life and the joy she has brought to us and to all whose lives she touches.

Several birthdays ago, she told me she woke up and her first thought was waking in our home as a little girl.

I had bought a ginormous plastic purple drinking glass for her that year and set it in her room for her to see first thing in the morning.

For some reason she remembered it and that year she said the thought of it made her feel loved.

We laughed to think that such a simple memory was tucked away in her heart for such a time as that morning.

As parents, we pulled out all the stops for birthday parties…we didn’t have Pinterest but we had the public library and Parent’s magazine and we were all into themes.

Games, decorations, food…were all centered around the theme of the  year…and she remembers a plastic glass perched by her bed.

Makes me smile to know she knows she is loved <3

So happy birthday Sis…may your day be filled with delights that echo through the years to come…

you…

are….

loved

<3

The big day has arrived…and we are ready!

Courtesy of IJM

I went over to Champaign yesterday afternoon and picked up our numbers and our shirts and we are as trained and ready and funded as we are going to get.

Tonight we run in the 5K….which seriously? Zach and Rachel have a friend that just ran the Boston Marathon in less time than it takes me to figure out what I am going to do with my day….but…hey…

it’s all good.

Thank you for those who donated to International Justice Mission for Russ and me to run <3

Stopped at the WBGL booth and Ryan Springer said thank  you too…honest he did.

If you have a heart for those who are victims of human trafficking, you can still make donations to IJM through WBGL here //www.imathlete.com/donate/WBGLsRacetoEndSlavery

Other agencies that we support in these efforts are:

<3 Our local crisis pregnancy center – yes…in each of your communities there are those who are trafficked and, often, they end up at centers like our New Life Pregnancy Center where they receive loving care. Here //www.newlifepregnancycenter.com/

<3 She is Safe a ministry that reaches underserved areas around the world rescuing and offering education and training for the least of these. Here //sheissafe.org/about/

<3 House of Grace in both Thailand and Ghana: ministries that were founded by Mark Rutland and rescues girls from being sold into sex trafficking. here //globalservants.org/index.php/ministries/house-of-grace

There are many others I am sure – but these are the ones we support.

Support with resources and prayers and tonight….

our hearts will literally beat for their freedom.

Thank you for joining us in prayer to finish well.

God bless you all with a good weekend and be thinking of us tonight!

See you on Monday <3

 

 

Blessed from rubbing elbows with the Body

How was your weekend?

Ours was full and as I sit here mulling over what to write you all today, I keep thinking how much I hear church and church people dissed these days.

Not just by the world, but by other believers.

I hear things like how we are hypocrites and how all people know about us is what we are against…and how we need to live it out better…and how the reason people leave church is because of people in the church…

and like I said … that stuff is said by BELIEVERS.

So I look back over the weekend we just had and I thank God for the Church of Jesus Christ I got to rub elbows with this weekend…

Like Friday night as we packed into an overflow crowd of friends and church family and people I have never seen before…200 plus strong…and enjoyed a wee visit to Ireland through the varied talents of a variety of musicians.

Right there in the cafe and lobby of our church. A whole different way to worship…with the Body…

Saturday we attended the pancake breakfast at the church of some long-time friends. We go every year and eat enough carbs to last us quite a while.

We sit at the tables with people we don’t know, but we make conversation because we love Jesus…and pancakes, of course.

Then there was Sunday morning when I stopped in the prayer room and found a spot at the table where two warriors kept their heads bowed in prayer for the services and the people who would be gathering to hear God’s Word.

And when they lifted their heads…the peace and the slightest remnants of tears because they had been at the Throne on behalf of the hearts and souls entering the doors of our church or the ones God is calling who have not yet responded.

As one left to attend the worship service, one lingered and we talked a bit.

We talked about things of God…about what we lack and how He provides…about His grace and His mercy….about hope.

Not because we have the answers but because we know He does.

And we shared and encouraged and gave Him glory and she went on and I stayed.

Encouraged and edified because I am part of something bigger than just me, myself and I …IN Christ…I am attached to the Body.

Later we went up and watched these yahoo’s while their mommy and daddy went to rub elbows with some other parts of the Body.

They had small group and so they left the basketball games that our son-in-law would love to watch…and they studied a bit and talked a bit with other young couples around their age.

And they prayed.

Not because they have all the answers but because they know who does.

And they came home and we had dinner together, which was as much a circus as a meal with three boys can be….and their dad got up and picked up macaroni and broccoli from around the high chair and there were numerous reminders to finish the protein and keep the milk glasses from the edge of the table….

I am quite certain this morning they are wiping up crumbs and doing it all again…

as they try to apply the good things they talked about last night.

Living out their faith one messy day at time.

Just like all of us who follow Christ.

Sometimes falling short…sometimes seeing a marvelous sign post of God’s faithfulness.

Pressing on…

elbow to elbow…

side by side…

arm in arm…

with others who love Jesus.

Not perfect…but not hypocrites or phonies or anything ..just fellow sojourners…travelers on the journey…learning as we go.

Let’s be careful how we talk about each other.

The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church:

every part dependent on every other part,

the parts we mention and the parts we don’t.

If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt,

and in the healing.

If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.

1 Corinthians 12: 25-26    The Message <3