Monday, August 24, 2009

What a weekend!

I had the amazing opportunity this past weekend to combine two of the biggest blessings of my life - my friends and advocating for orphans. About six months ago I became familiar with an organization called Children's Hope Chest which is a child advocacy organization working in Russia and Africa. Since getting to know their Senior Leadership team AND the amazing volunteers who serve with them I am hooked. The incredible work they do impacts the lives of so many children who are in desperate circumstances. In fact, I'm so hooked that I'm going to Uganda with them in just 2 weeks!

So, my friend Sarah and I decided to host a fundraiser for HopeChest Uganda. AND we got the amazing privilege of having our blogger friends Brandi from Florida and Lindsey from Oklahoma fly in to help us out! And oh my...did we have FUN!!

We sold hand made aprons...

We sold t-shirts that Lindsey's wonderful husband had made...

We sold Ugandan paper bead necklaces...

We sold Tom Davis's books...

All together we raised close to $2500 - awesome!

But what I loved the most (besides hanging out with these wonderful women) was seeing people's eyes opened to what is going on in Africa and how THEY can make a difference!

When they walked up to the front door they saw this...

And they read Margaret's story...

When they walked in the room they were met by amazing photos that were taken in Uganda by Ria hanging EVERYWHERE...

They read about the 5 things they can do to help the 50 million people living with AIDS...(you can too at!)

It's amazing to me how hearing stories about these children makes the situation there so REAL. I can picture it, I can cry over it, I can be moved to ACT. I should not be paralyzed by the need but encouraged that it takes so little to do so much.

This weekend was more than I could have asked for. I was reminded again that God WANTS us to be involved in caring for His children who are in need and hurting. And it's not just the children who are transformed as we respond - we are too in the process. I think that's pretty amazing.

So, while the weekend may be over I know the changes God is making in my heart are not..the dreams that He's given me are real and I can't wait to watch them unfold.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Little Words, Big Impact

Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, O my soul!

I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortal men, who cannot save.

When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,

the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
the LORD, who remains faithful forever.

He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,

the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.

The LORD watches over the alien
and sustains the fatherless and the widow.

- Psalm 146:1-9

I think I'll leave it at that tonight.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Neither Here Nor There

Honestly, I'm having a ton of thoughts lately. I'm not sure exactly how to put words to them. So, the odds are I won't very well. :) They have to do with my place in this role in helping to bring God's kingdom to earth now and how overwhelming it feels on some days. And then on other days how amazed I am by God's love for me and humanity in general.

I'm finding rest in the fact that God just wants me to love Him. My first and foremost responsibility is to know Him and to love Him. Everything else flows out of that.

I'm trying to remind myself of that. The God of the Universe is head over heels in love with ME. How in the world did that happen??? I don't have to wonder about how it happened. I just have to soak it up and let if flow out.

I was looking at the sunset last night as I was driving home and started to think about all the people in the world who are under the same sky...courtesy of the God who loves them. What sort of Love leaves the comfort and splendor of heaven for the stuff of earth? A God of love, that's Who. I can't think of any other reason that would motivate that sort of sacrifice.

He loves me so...He loves you so. Wow...what does that mean for our lives? Does that motivate you to give everything for the One who gave everything for you? Doesn't life feel like more than just ourselves? Doesn't it feel at its core that it's about everyone else which ultimately leads to Him?

I know I need grace to live that out. Becoming others focused in a me focused world is not easy to do. There is SO stinking much of me in my life. But I can chip away at it until there's less of me and more of the One who created me and gave Himself for me. It doesn't feel fulfilling anymore to live for myself. I want to live for Him...wholly and completely. Does that require sacrifice and discomfort? Absolutely. But the return is more than I could ever have imagined.

Life is rich. It is full. Not by the world's standards, but by God's. What an adventure we are on! Every day... a new opportunity to love our Savior and others more. To chip away at ourselves until only He remains. I'm thinking THAT is life. To the fullest.

"But I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." - Philippians 3:12

Monday, August 10, 2009

Not Sleeping

"He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep."
- Psalm 121:3-4

The God of Universe never sleeps. He is ever active - moving, listening, answering - making Himself known.

While we sleep His arm which is mighty to save is reaching out and lifting up those who are bowed down.

He is whispering to the lonely that they are not alone.

He is sustaining the weak.

He is filling the hungry.

He is comforting the sick.

He is breathing hope into the hopeless.

He is bringing light to the darkness.

He is covering the orphans with His love and rejoicing over them with singing.

He is listening to the cries of His children.

He is moving on their behalf.

He is moving on mine.

He is bringing justice.

He is.