May God bless you….

I read this tonight and found it to resonate within my heart.

I often find that some of our Christian cliché’s do not find a place to settle in my heart…

Oddly, these words do…

I wonder what God is blessing you with as you journey through this wild winter and early days of 2014…

I invite you to share with one person how God is working through your discomfort, you holy anger, your tears or your foolishness…

May God bless you with a restless discomfort 
about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships,
so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for
justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

tearsMay God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer
from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may
reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe thatfoolishness
you really CAN make a difference in this world, so that you are able,
with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

Living and loving well….

Today I read this and thought it was worth sharing.

I often wonder how much less complicated life and relationships would be if we only could live by the following principles.

Wouldn’t you find it refreshing if you knew the people you were in relationship with were willing to live with compassion and honesty. I wonder how those you are in relationship with would respond if they knew they could trust you for the following?

I encourage you to read and maybe even print the following and consider how your life might look different if you committed to a less complicated life.

why complicate life

Experience defining reality…

It has been a good day here in Louisiana…

This morning we all set off to roof a house. I could feel my anxiety start to climb..

I don’t really know how to roof a house and I do not like to climb.

I can lift heavy things, but I lack agility and I was hoping I would somehow find a place to offer something  meaningful.

Well, as I stood and waited and wondered I began to think about how my experience defines my reality. I have not had much experience roofing and so I must be realistic about what I can offer. My lack of experience combined with my fear made roofing an unlikely place to shine today. And so Laura and my Mom and I decided about 1 pm to head back to the warehouse. Much to our surprise, we ran into a woman from another work team who needed assistance staining floor boards to be laid in a home that was flooded during the hurricane. I felt confidence flood my soul. My sister and I used to make spice boards and stained lots of boards. My Mom refinished furniture regularly when we were growing up. Again I remembered how my experience shapes my reality. I happily stained floor boards for hours this afternoon.

I realized I had to be willing to walk away from where I wanted to be useful in order to find the place where I could be useful. It was a good lesson for today.

lighthouse frozenAnd as I write, my mind drifts tot hose at home who are dealing with bitter cold and lots and lots of snow.

I must say I hate to miss a good snow storm….

Well, tonight we are in a state of emergency here in Louisiana. They are expecting snow and ice and today they shared that it hasn’t really snowed here in 20+ years. He said we will see people taking video’s of the snow and grown ups will be making snowmen and throwing snow balls. The city has shut down for the next two days, schools are closed for the next two days, all overpasses will be closed and Highways will begin to shut down tomorrow. I watch in awe of a community that knows how to function in a hurricane and yet what seems minimal to us, causes a state of emergency. I am reminded again that our experience defines our reality.

I am praying for my friends, family, co-workers and clients at home who battle very cold days and treacherous travel with 12 to 18 inches of snow piled up. I am praying for the community (our team included) here who is expecting freezing rain, a few inches of snow and probable power outages.

I wonder if you consider the fact as you deal with friends and family that our experiences define our reality?

It helps to bring context to how we respond and understanding to things we may not understand.

And now we are going to hunker down on this 50 degree night and see just what it is like to experience a state of emergency in LaPlace, Louisiana.

Sunday thought…

As we journey into the week and start our work tomorrow morning, I wanted to share this simple and profound thought…

Following Jesus is simple but not easy\????????????????????????

Love until it hurts and love some more.

Mother Theresa

It is easier to consider this in the midst of the strangers we will meet this week. I also want to apply this at home.

Loving till it hurts in some relationships is risking more and offering more of myself…

Loving till it hurts in some relationships is offering less and inviting someone to changed behavior. (and removing my critical spirit and stance of judgement)

Loving till it hurts in some relationships is daring to ask, what would it look like for me to love you well?

Loving till it hurts…and loving more!

I wonder if any face comes to mind as you read this?

Who are you loving till it hurts and then loving more…

What a beautiful invitation for everyone involved!

 

 

 

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy….

blue skyJohn Denver sang that song today as I drove the highway to LaPlace, Louisiana.

There is something so true to those words…

There was an abundance of sunshine today and blue sky….

Coming from the dreary days of Michigan winter, sometimes I feel like Sunshine and blue sky might fix just about anything…

And then I remember the work we are here to do.

We are here to repair homes destroyed by the effects of a hurricane.

I am not sure how those we meet will approach the hardships they face…

I am not sure if hope anchors their souls or if they are living in a pit of despair…

I am not sure if they will speak of an abundance of God’s provision or feel bitter by their loss….

It was a highlight of my day to drive the highway with the sun shining today, especially while so many I know were dealing with the blizzard back home…

But tonight I am reminded that Sunshine and blue sky doesn’t really fix things, but for me it changes my perspective.

It is my hope we will bring hope and warmth into the lives by our presence and labor and freely share with those we meet the hope that does anchor our souls…

 

And miles to go before I sleep…

That was my thought as I pulled out of the driveway this morning. We were heading out on our mission trip and making it as far as the Missouri/Arkansas border 49 car pile upbefore we called it a day. There was a looming awareness in my mind of yesterdays tragic 49 car pile up near Michigan City.

winter weatherThere was a very real unknown sense of how the roads would be for travel. The wind was strong and there were enough cars in the ditch or flipped over that made me wonder how the day would unfold….

And I kept rehearsing the words…and miles to go before I sleep!

I was grateful to be driving my own car. It felt familiar and I know how it handles.

I was grateful to be riding with my Mom and Joyce, two people who I am very at ease with.

Even with those comforts, I could feel my anxiety and I could acknowledge that as we drove into the unknown, and because I knew there were miles to go before I sleep, that I was feeling vulnerable.

I am happy to report that the roads were clear and the sun shone. The temperature climbed from negative six to 26 as the day went on. As I pulled into our Quality Inn tonight, I could feel great relief. The miles were complete and the worst of all I had thought through did not occur.

And as I am now ready to sleep, I am aware that the wind is howling back home. The cold is frigid and there are people at risk due to the weather. I am aware that there are lives that were changed yesterday in that pile up and they were all just traveling miles to go before they also slept. Why are we protected and others not? Why are we warm and others not? Why is a question that can unsettle my soul…

I may never know or understand….

It may not be mine to know or understand…

And so as I call it a day, I simply end it with Thank you Jesus and bless all who are hurting and cold this evening!

Packing my bags…

I am preparing to head to New Orleans on Friday….

I have my Dutch schedule arranged and my house ready for week-long guests.

I have an amazing office staff who function with great ease if I am there or not and I am starting to think about packing.

I am traveling with a team from Shawnee Park CRC (which includes my Mom) and we are focusing on home repair from the effects of Hurricane Isaac in 2012.

isaacToday I began thinking about a hurricane in 2012….

I began to consider how quickly I call for support when I have a leak…

I began to envision the destruction of homes as the result of a hurricane and how many days have passed since the help has likely come and gone from this community.

I began to consider the impact of living in the midst of destruction and tragedy…

I began to marvel at the resilience of the human spirit…

I began to consider the faces of those we will work along side of and serve…

I began to wonder how God will use our team, our stories, our aches, our blessings, our time…

My bags are almost packed and my heart is curious…

Stay tuned…