Category Archives: How to extend grace in your community

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation

When I was in school, we always knew it was coming…the first writing assignment of the new school year. Without fail, the subject matter was “What I did on my summer vacation”.

Most years I didn’t have anything exciting to share. I was sure no one wanted to know that we emptied every room in the house and cleaned them from top to bottom. I took for granted our weekends spent at Rock Springs from early morning until the park ranger locked the gate behind our Plymouth well past dusk. I had no idea how wonderful that was.

Whether your family takes lots of trips, cramming as much as possible into the summer break or you choose to stay close to home and dial activity back a notch, summer is a great time to relax, unwind and take a break from the structure and demands of the school year.

That is good. I believe God designed seasons for our benefit and enjoyment. If ever one was designed for fun, it is summer! Unless you are a snowman, of course!

School resumed this week for most everyone and if not, it will in the next few days. I wonder if teachers still give that ancient writing prompt?

I was thinking about all this one morning last week when there was a soft knock at the door. My neighbor stood with her toddler in tow, a painted canvas in her hand.

It was early…she was reporting for pre-planning at her new job where she teaches kids with special needs and after she left, I thought about how she spent her summer break. I know for sure she completed some projects around the house, took some family vacation time and enjoyed the respite from the demands of her job as a teacher.

kelley fosterWhat if I told you this mom of three, transitioning to a new school in the Fall, also managed to raise awareness and gather a huge quantity of needed items for a local fostering agency?

That she also painted Bible verses on over forty canvases, raising more than $400 to combat world hunger?

With the help of social media, she shared each cause with intention and lots of friends and family joined with her to make a difference.

In the quiet after she left, I thought about my good intentions. The truth is, I have all the same excuses that you’ve heard or you’ve spoken. I came to grips with the truth. I have a choice. I can respond to the need or look the other way.

Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

I can keep walking; I can step around or over or cross to the other side and pretend I don’t see, but he knows and I know that I’ve seen.

Are you with me? Have you already felt that reminder in your spirit? Or maybe you aren’t quite sure where to start.

  • Think about the things that make your Mama Bear (or Daddy Bear) heart rumble. For my friend, it was foster children carrying their belongings in trash bags, or being removed without even a change of underwear or pajamas; it was the image of children starving when hers are well fed.
  • Carve out some intentional time to stop and dwell in the heaviness, to hear God’s voice. He will move you to a response.
  • Look at your calendar, explore the options for service and then set a goal. The best way to start a plan is with the end in mind.
  • Protect your margin – down time ensures that your heart is tender and compassionate rather than overloaded and stressed.
  • Press the start button as soon as possible.

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

By grace alone,

lorraine

About Foundation for Foster Children

In 2008, the Foundation for Foster Children (FFC), a 501-c-3, was formed to address these staggering statistics. In collaboration with Community Based Care, a federally funded program, FFC provides an integral tier of support that goes beyond the basic needs of wellness and safety. This coordinated effort provides a comprehensive approach to addressing the outcomes from abuse and neglect.

The hallmarks of our program, educational support, personal development, and life-skills guidance target the areas essential to changing a child’s direction from poverty, crime and government assistance so that they can better become independent, contributing members of our community.

 

About Global Emergency Response Coalition

Formed in April 2017, the Global Emergency Response Coalition is a lifesaving humanitarian alliance made up of eight of the world’s largest U.S.-based international aid organizations, whose unified goal is to work collectively to deliver relief to millions of children and families in need.

Scripture quoted from Luke 10, New International Version

 

I Want What I Want

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I Want What I Want

 

As I stepped into the salon, Kate looked up from her client and smiled, her dark lashes fluttering as she flashed a bright smile. “Hi Lorraine! I’ll be finished up here soon, okay?”

I sat on the lumpy parson’s chair next to the bay window and selected a worn magazine from the stack. Flipping through the pages, I focused on her client. They chatted about styling tools and I silently admired her cute outfit. “Love those thongs”, I thought. I almost asked her about them and then noticed the Tory Burch signature hardware on the strap.

They finished up and I caught sight of the exquisite setting of her diamond ring as she pulled her Louis Vuitton tote from the shelf behind me. Kate excused herself as they walked toward her Lexus, cheerfully chatting.

As we began the process of highlighting my hair to hide some of the evidence of my age, I mentioned the previous client. “She’s beautiful; and she has lovely taste in accessories and cars!” Kate agreed and we went on to catch up on one another’s lives.

A day later I sent my sweet stylist a text with a selfie, thanking her for my new look. She responded with an innocent comment that made me stop and think.

“You look stunning! You look like you drive a Lexus and wear Tory Burch.” She was humoring me based on my comments the previous day. I admired the woman’s sense of style and her impeccable taste, but that was really all that I knew about her. Was it that obvious that I might have wanted her stuff, if only for a moment?

I hesitated and then responded to her text from a place where God is working overtime to transform my heart. “I hope I look like I care about people; that I would drive my Passat to wherever you are when you need something.”

Lest you think this is a rant about designer handbags, it’s not. I own some; but I don’t want to be defined by the clothes I wear, the bag on my shoulder or the car that I drive.

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Image is powerful. I’ve wrestled with wanting a certain look and with not looking my age while not looking like a fool who’s in denial about her age. I want to be a Godly woman with great taste, who loves people. I want what I want.

Last night I sat in the quiet of my living room. It was early evening and the sun was streaming in the window as it crept lower toward the horizon, landing on the pages of a book I am reading. A phrase jumped off the page and I was arrested by it.

The author, Jennie Allen, was sharing a conversation she had with her friend, Jessica. Jessica spoke these words: “Jennie, I think most of us live thinking there is a medium. A place where we can live regular lives and serve God too.”

The truth is that when we finally surrender our lives, there is no medium. There is no contentment in living in the middle. I’ve spent most of my life precisely in the middle. Medium seemed safe and moderate, you know?

Your surrendered life won’t look like mine. For some, a surrendered life is a fifteen passenger van filled with car seats and kids who may or may not bear resemblance to you. For others it’s a hut in Africa or a shanty in Haiti. For some young adults it’s contentment in singleness and for others it’s contentment in a marriage that needs healing. There are moms who are worn out and worn down by a rebellious child they continue to love unconditionally.

Jennie went on to say that the only way to live is to die. It’s backwards and counterintuitive, isn’t it friend? And yet, there it is:

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—
Romans 6:6 NIV

 I want what I want. But in Christ, when my heart is truly his, when I am fully surrendered, I will want what he wants. Every day he’s opening my eyes to the reality that my pilgrimage is short compared to eternity. He’s realigning my priorities.

This is certain. When we approach Mt. Zion in the heavenly Jerusalem, as countless thousands of angels sing and God’s firstborn are assembled in a joyful gathering to welcome us, it won’t matter who we wore or what we drove. Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant will greet us, speaking forgiveness.

On that day, my only adornment will be his grace. I think it looks really good on me.

Stunning, in fact.

Grace to you,

lorraine

I referenced Jennie Allen’s book,
Anything – the Prayer that Unlocked my God and My Soul.
I highly recommend it and you can get it here.

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Excuse Me, That’s MY Tiara

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Excuse Me, That’s MY Tiara

It was less than a week after my birthday. While not a Hallmark milestone year, it was a benchmark for me. Suddenly I was eligible for even more “senior” discounts. At 62, theater tickets and even hotel rooms are cheaper.

I receive your blessing, Lord. I didn’t come this far to walk away from a good deal!

While I was willing to embrace the discounts I was not willing to accept the tag. Senior.

My parents were senior citizens. Senior citizens grumble about their “fixed” income and eat dinner at 4:00 to avoid crowds and save two dollars.

I was scrolling through Facebook, which always makes me feel better about myself. Right there on my news feed was a post about the Disney Princess Half Marathon – my friend had just signed up. Suddenly (and a bit impulsively) I was in.

You should know this about me: when the total of any purchase approaches high double digits my pulse quickens; if it hits triple digits I need a gut check. And yet I navigated over to the web site, whipped out my credit card and shelled out $185 to register. I was giddy – it might have been the tiaras or the hopes of a “dream come true magical experience”, but I had grand visions of crossing the finish line, hand in hand with my dear friend.

I imagined we would spend hours comparing training schedules and cheering each other along as we added distance and shortened times.

I made a meme for my Facebook cover. I wrote it down in my goals. Oh, this was going down, friends.

Perhaps this would be a good time to mention that I hate running. I love the idea of running; but running hurts me. It twists my guts in knots; I get something called a “stitch” in my side. With every foot fall I feel the jolt, first in my feet and then up my legs and into my torso. I literally feel like I’m pounding the pavement.

After I’ve been in motion (I can’t run very far, but at least my body doesn’t revolt against walking) for thirty minutes or so, the nerves behind the third and fourth toes on my right foot begin to burn. It’s somewhere between fire ants and electrical shock. It’s most painful with foot fall, so it’s only hurts every other step.

My breathing is labored and because I’m panting so hard I’m thirsty before I get to the end of my driveway.

I should also mention that this friend lives as far away from me as you can get and still be in the Continental United States. With almost three thousand miles separating us, our joint training was not impossible, but highly improbable for two people who can’t seem to get together for an occasional phone call.

You have a question, don’t you? You are dying to ask. 

Go ahead…I’m waiting.

Okay, I’ll ask it for you.

Why in the world did I think this was going to happen?

Twice I’ve positioned myself along a fence near the finish of the Disney World marathon. I watched every face as I checked the status of my runner on my smartphone. The first time, I was torn between urgency and dread.

26.2 miles. How could her body endure such punishment? And yet, I never took my eyes off the course as I scanned every face for the one that I loved. My child.

And I saw her. She was smiling, she was running well, and I cried. Relief and pride and joy swept over me. My baby girl had done it. 

Again last January I stood near the same place, watching. When I spotted her I made a spectacle because I wanted to make sure she knew I was there. It was a harder run; she hadn’t trained as well and she was hurting. But she did it. I know she had to dig deep to cross the finish, but she did.

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My beautiful daughter and her son at the finish.

 

Each time, I carefully surveyed the runners. They were all shapes and sizes. Some were running alone, others part of a team. Some ran for a cause emblazoned across their chest; others I was sure ran for reasons much more private but no less noble and meritorious.

I was inspired. I allowed myself to consider the possibility. I decided I would do that. One day.

And so it is not surprising that on that day, as I considered the number of days I hope to have left, I knew it was time to walk right into the dream that was birthed in my heart years earlier.

But August came and with it some significant pain that started in my hip and radiated down my leg and into my shin. I rested.

The pain persisted. It got a lot worse when I walked any distance. I relented; an appointment was scheduled and the diagnosis was harsh. Arthritis.

The short story is that I can’t do 13.1 miles. I’ll never cross that finish line, exuberant yet exhausted.

I’m been bummed. I’ve felt guilty about wasting the money. But most of all I’ve wondered what else is no longer possible. I have regrets over things not attempted. I also am beginning to understand why some of us are less “Snow White” and more “Grumpy” with age.

I’ve given this some time to marinate in my heart. I’ve asked God to cover it with grace and mercy as I consider what He would have me do next.

He is amazing ya’ll. He began to roll a highlight reel of my life. He showed me the races I have run; the ones where I crossed the finish line bloody and bruised and alone.

There were some where I barely could barely walk as I held the hand of one who came alongside and literally walked me across the finish. I saw the times that I crawled, too weary to look up…but he was always there.

I don’t know if I have days, years or decades left in this life. I don’t know how many of my dreams I’ll realize. 

But I know this for sure:

When I cross the the final finish line, he will be there waiting for me.

He is watching, he is checking my status and when I get near, he’s going to make sure that I see him. I believe he will take my hand and help me across.  

It’s true that I won’t be running with a tiara but I am his nonetheless. 

Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;honor him, for he is your lord. Psalm45:11

The hardware of this life’s races will pale in comparison to all that he has for us in heaven.

 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because,
having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life
that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12 NIV

He will give you a crown of beauty for ashes. Isaiah 61:3

Can’t stop, won’t stop,

lorraine

Lemons and the Presidency

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Lemons and the Presidency

It’s inauguration day. This is not a political post; it’s safe to continue reading. Well, not exactly a political post. Perhaps you should proceed with caution.

Coincidentally, a friend gifted me two big bags of lemons. And what do you do when life (or your dear friend) gives you lemons?

You make lemonade. In my case, I made lemonade for all of my coworkers and I even shared some of the lemons (I hope you don’t mind, Regina!). With all the love one can muster on a Friday at noon, I squeezed those lemons in the break room; I added sugar and cold filtered water. Refreshment for all!

So, what does a bushel of lemons have in common with inauguration day?

Here’s the thing. I know that some of my fellow Americans are not happy today; heck, some are downright mad and others are just worried. Life just gave them a big bag of lemons.

Can I tell you a secret? If I let myself go there, I’m worried, too.

  • I’m worried about the current social climate that allows children to opt out of watching the inauguration. Seriously? Will we also allow future generations to skip chapters of their history books if the era included people whose political and/or social platform is different from theirs?
  • I’m worried about our penchant to pull scripture out of context and quote it to suit our agenda. If you really want to hold others to Levitical law, perhaps you should go review ALL OF IT. Shellfish, anyone? How about isolating the menstruating women? Or stoning a disobedient child.
    Let’s dole out GRACE with abandon. That’s what Jesus was all about. (I didn’t say there aren’t consequences, friends, but go read it all.)
  • I’m worried about feminists who will reject a woman who wants to champion women’s rights if she doesn’t agree fully with their stance on a woman’s right to choose.
  • I’m worried about people who I know who were willing to “unfriend” me over my choice in a recent election. The rhetoric was ugly and hurtful….and shocking. I thought we were friends. Where does that sort of ill will come from? I understand your reason for your vote; I hear you and I respect you. Disagree with me if you will, but disparage me? Where are our manners?
  • I’m worried about prejudice. I hurt for my friends of color. I worry about my little grandson. What will he face as he becomes a young man of color. With his limited sight I keep having visions of him with Sally Fields and that awful scene in Places in the Heart where, in spite of his blindness, Mr. Will knew something was up and the KKK showed up for Moze. I’m in tears again as I think of the hatred and violence.

That’s the short list, friends – it just hits a few of the high points.

But I have wonderful news that will give you sweet hope; it will combine your current big old bag of lemons with some love, sugar and ice and refresh your heart.

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The lemons came to me; I didn’t plant or nurture the tree; I didn’t even pick the lemons or put them in bags. But when I got them, it was in my power to add some love and sugar and allow them to refresh and bless.

God has got all of it, friends. It’s up to us to take each day, whether the circumstances we face were of our own planting or someone else’s, and do our part to spread the love of Christ.

The question I have to answer today, and each day, is this. Where is God calling me to notice a place where I can infuse love and maybe even a little sweetness to make a difference?

Ask him, friends. I don’t think you’ll have to look beyond your home or your workplace or perhaps that neighbor who voted the other way.

Not worried, because He’s got us (I’m actually right under his wing, resting in his shadow…

lorraine

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 91:1-4

 

Modern Day Folk Tales and  The Day God Said Pizza

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Modern Day Folk Tales and  The Day God Said Pizza

I’m thrilled to welcome my cousin, Julia (always Julie to me) Brown, to the blog this week. Julie and I sat with our paternal grandmother as she read The Little Red Hen from the Golden Book illustrated by J. P. Miller, it’s lessons of responsibility and consequences gently but securely rooted in our young character. All these years later we find ourselves coming from different directions, but with the same moral burden for the children who are at risk.

She recently shared this sequel to the original tale and it resonated with me. What are we, the evangelical right doing to support the women who have chosen life. Are we pro-life or simply pro-birth?

There’s An Egg in My Barnyard

One day an out of town hen arrived in the barnyard, laid an egg, and then just left. The animals all stood around looking at the egg, trying to figure out what to do, as it was soon going to hatch.

Some of them teamed up and made signs saying “Leaving eggs in the barnyard is a sin! Immoral Hens Will Not Be Tolerated!!”. That kept them super busy and they clustered far away from the egg to discuss the bad hen’s sure descent into hell.

Some formed a club to promote the idea of each individual chicken being responsible and accountable for himself and the dependent members of his own family. They knew if that were true there would be no future eggs in the barnyard, and they were right.

But the egg still sat in the barnyard.

Some said, “Just break the egg now; that will end the problem”.

There ensued a vehement battle between animals for and against the idea, but the egg still sat in the barnyard.

Some of the animals just sat in front of the barnyard TV with remotes in hand, farting into the couch cushions and watching reality shows about slutty hens.

The Little Red Hen, whose name by the way was Elizabeth, took the egg home and sat on it. When it hatched, she taught the little chick what to do.

She loved it so it would be well adjusted and happy. She taught it right from wrong so the little chick could grow into a fine grownup chicken who would contribute to the barnyard community.

While all this was happening there were several other animals that were concerned, and could see the groups that were forming weren’t really addressing the IMMEDIATE issue of the egg in the barnyard.

For one reason or another, they weren’t able to take the little egg in, and they knew The Little Red Hen was carrying a heavy burden they should share.

So they chipped in as often as they possibly could and helped, and the little chick grew into a fine grownup chicken.

Moral of the story: There’s an egg in your barnyard; help.

THE END

Perhaps this story has you wondering about your role in the life of the egg in your barnyard. You might enjoy this post about ways to help foster families in your area.

Last week I had a Facebook message from a sweet girl who grew up with my daughter. She asked about how she might help them, in the midst of a particularly trying situation with a foster baby.

She wrote: “Hey, I keep thinking about Elizabeth and her family and I feel like God is leading me to send pizza. Pizza, seriously? My desire this year is to focus on listening and obeying so here I am…”

A few hours later, Elizabeth called with a report on the day. She casually mentioned that it would have to be a – wait for it – pizza night at their house. She was just too tired and too late returning home to cook.

Imagine the sweet friends joy when she realized that she had, in fact, heard God say “Pizza”.

By his grace caring for the eggs in my barnyard,

lorraine

 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27

More about Julia:

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Julia Brown is a recent retiree, after having spent most of her career as an executive administrative assistant in the corporate world and the last 13 at a local police agency. In her retirement, she has arbitrarily decided she is a textile artist and has several art quilts in various stages at this writing. She lives in a 215 square foot camper in the western North Carolina mountains with her husband and her sewing machine, while they build their retirement home. She has been so moved by Lorraine’s account of her daughter’s life as a foster parent, she decided to add one more title to her name, that of foster parent advocate. While she says she can’t move mountains, she can carry a handful of sand at a time.

 

 

Sock Monkey for President

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Sock Monkey for President

I registered to vote within a week of turning eighteen. I would have done it on my birthday, but I had another event…I got married. As my mother would say, we didn’t have two nickels to rub together, so we didn’t go away on a honeymoon trip. After the wedding reception my new husband and I traveled the short distance to our single wide, fifty-foot-long mobile home. We spent the week getting better acquainted with each other (if you know what I mean) and occasionally venturing out to take care of married adult person responsibilities.

One afternoon in particular we drove to the local courthouse where I could change my legal name. I had a learner’s permit to drive and a social security card. That’s right. I was married and not yet legal to drive a car by myself. ‘Merica.

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Maine Lighthouse – Photography Credit Karen Slabaugh

I have a terrible memory. While my sister remembers our childhood in great detail, I remember the address of my only childhood home and the name of the schools I attended. I don’t even recall the names of every teacher from elementary school. But there are monumental occasions that were imprinted on my heart and therefore, my mind.

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Working  Horses on Amish Farm – Grabill, Indiana

One of those is standing at that counter with my new husband. We wanted to vote in the presidential election of 1972. It was a big deal.

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Mt. Ranier, Washington – Photography Credit Jamie Dedmon

Of course, when registering to vote, one must declare a party affiliation. We looked at each other and without any discussion, chose Republican. I would love to tell you about how we researched the tenets of the party, but the truth was that our parents were Democrats. It was about as rebellious as we ever got. ‘Merica.

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Fireworks ‘Merica – Photography Ctedit Karen Slabaugh

As it turns out, our conservative views aligned with the party for most of our forty-three years as voting citizens of the United States of America. We didn’t always vote for the Republican candidate – in the spirit of full disclosure, I was party to electing Jimmy Carter because he was a Southern Baptist. ‘Merica.

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I’ve been at this “adulting” thing for a long time and I like to believe I’ve matured It’s been a long time since I made important decisions based solely on rebellion. But it’s 2016 and this election cycle is the scariest, most absurd circus I have ever experienced. I can’t be the only one who wants to write in the sock monkey.

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I will not. I am going to be responsible and I’m going to cast a vote for the person who I am slightly less afraid of than the other. ‘Merica

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And then I will turn to the only One I absolutely trust; I will ask for mercy for myself and for our country. I will walk in faith, not fear, believing with all of my heart that He has this. His eternal plan has little to do with the Office of the President. I am a child of the King and my eternity is secure.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortresss; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.
Trust in him at all times, O people, pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah.  ~ Psalm 62:5-8

Grace upon grace,

 lorraine

I Had an Out of Body Experience Last Sunday

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I Had an Out of Body Experience Last Sunday

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We were exhausted from three full days of moving and packing, but it was Sunday morning. We might have been tempted to skip church, but we had to check out of the hotel and the house was hardly relaxing, filled with moving boxes begging to be unpacked. There was also the minor detail of this being our son-in-law’s first official Sunday on staff. There was never a doubt that we would go to church.

We joined others as they came from classes and streamed from the humidity of the parking lot to the cool sanctuary. The bright room was filled with people greeting one another and settling into their seats.

We chose a spot about a third of the way from the front and our twelve-year-old grandson joined us. I finally exhaled, thankful for this pause in the midst of a very busy few days. I pulled him closer; I had to quietly admit to my Father that this grandma’s heart was anxious over all of this change and its impact, especially on my precious grandchildren.

The room was full of people who were mostly strangers to us. While the worship style was familiar and comforting, it was not what we are accustomed to.

And yet, as we sang hymns of the faith, my heart was full. I was able to set aside my mental list of tasks and goals and enter into genuine worship.

I was out of my normal “body” but it was good. It was as if God underscored his promise to prepare the way for his children.

“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you;
he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV

 

Are you dealing with change today? Are there circumstances that have brought you to physical and/or mental exhaustion? Perhaps a pause, the one thing you have no time for, is the very thing you most need. Get still, and listen. Then share with me what He speaks to your heart, will you?

In need of more grace every day,

lorraine

 

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A Native’s Response to the Terror Attack on Orlando

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Olrando Skyline

Photography Credit: Jeremy Reper

I have lived in Orlando since 1956. A purist would argue that I’m not a native, but my roots run deep through the sandy soil of Central Florida.

I spent summer afternoons swimming in Lake Fairview to escape the heat of a house without air conditioning, eating grilled hot dogs at a concrete picnic table while swatting away flies.

I vividly remember the Wigwam Village Motel that once stood on the Orange Blossom Trail with its teepee shaped cottages. In those days, the roadway’s name suggested adventure and opportunity to discover new frontiers.

Charming. That is how I would describe the city where I grew from a toddler. The City Beautiful. My home town. I love this place.

Thanks to a certain mouse, my hometown has grown beyond anything I could have imagined, from just over 52,000 residents in 1956 to more than 2,000,000 today. It’s diverse; it’s teeming with professional sports teams and cultural venues. It’s not the sleepy little town of my childhood.

To the world, it’s the gateway to Disney theme parks; to people like me, it’s home. It’s the place I learned the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship.

Today my city and her surrounding communities are in mourning. Home became a target, and the unthinkable happened in our back yard.

Much like a family, we need to rally around one another, setting our differences aside. This is not the time to argue with an uncle about politics or religion or anything else, for that matter.

I have another citizenship that was impacted by the events of this past weekend.  I’m a Christian.

For Christ followers, this is a sacred moment, a call to be the Church. We stand on holy ground.

The weight of it is too much and so I pray that we will get this right:

 Our hearts are heavy, God. We cry for those who have received word of loved ones gone; we ache for those who wait still.

Remind us that you catch every tear and make note of every sorrow.
You linger with those who mourn.
Teach us to linger in the uncomfortable places.

Fill our hearts with your compassion;
give us wisdom and grace far beyond our human capacity.

We ask you, the great physician, to heal the wounded.
Show us how to lift up the arms of those who are doing the work we cannot.

Here in the home of the happiest place on earth, hundreds have no joy.
Restore in us the joy of your salvation; make us vessels of your joy
so that we may pour into the lives of the hurting.

As a community of believers,
make our feet be beautiful,
carrying your perfect love to hurting people
.

Take us to the places you would go;
give us the words that you would speak
and one more thing, Lord…

You gave a donkey a voice to get the attention of Balaam; and when he finally understood your mission he said “Am I able to speak anything at all? The word that God puts in my mouth, that shall I speak.”

Let us speak only the words that you put in our mouths.

Lift up our faces that we may behold your beauty in the midst of ashes,

lorraine

The (1)

Photography Credit: Jeremy Reper