Monday, November 26, 2018

The Cracks in My Soul

Hey Friend,

I don't know about you, but the holidays, for me, are often bittersweet.  Our Christmas season doesn't resemble a Norman Rockwell painting, and I find myself becoming envious of those who seem to have those perfect family holiday Facebook posts and Christmas cards.  

Thanksgiving was filled with tears for more reasons than one. Surgery, family illness in all varieties, unforgiveness, adult child issues, struggles, then add in missing those who have passed, and a new "normal" has been thrust upon me that I'm not willing to embrace.  I realize I have cracks in my soul that need filling.

But, as I make this pilgrimage toward the birth of Jesus in a manger, I am drawn to the Psalms of Ascent.  These are Psalms or songs that the Israelites sang as they made their way back to Jerusalem for the various feasts and celebrations. 

I as read the Psalms, I was drawn to the verbs or actions of those making their way home:

1.  "Call"      Out of the depths I call [to the Lord]... Psalm 130
2.  "Wait"     I wait for the Lord, I wait...Psalm 130
3.  "Bless"    Lift up your holy hands in the holy place and bless the Lord...
                   Psalm 134     

4.  "Trust"    Those who trust the Lord are like Mt. Zion...Psalm 125
5.  "Fear"     Happy are those who fear the Lord, who "Walk" in His ways...
     "Walk"    Psalm 128.
6.  "Rejoice"  I rejoiced...Psalm 122
7.  "Pray"     Pray for the well-being of Jerusalem... Psalm 122

And perhaps my favorite:

8.  "Lift"       I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come
                   from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and
                   earth.  (Psalm 121:1-2)

My "help" does not come from better health, restored relationships, lack of struggles and trials, no, it comes from the Lord.  Through it all, I cling to the fact that God is good.  He is faithful, and His grace is sufficient in all circumstances.  He will never leave nor forsake me.  

So instead of looking around me to my circumstances, I lift my eyes to the mountains and I call, I wait, I bless, I trust, I fear the Lord, I walk, I rejoice, and I pray.  

God is gracious and He will fill in the cracks if we simply call upon His name and ask.

God not only fills the hole in our heart, He fills the cracks in our soul.

I think sometimes I get a little greedy and I want it all (all good and no bad).  The rain, however, falls upon the just as well as the unjust.  I need to realize that God has already given me every good thing. I need a renewed perspective.

He has given me Himself and He has given me the gift of salvation and Sonship through the sacrifice of Christ, my brother.  He's also given me the gift of a holy guide and counselor.  I have it all...everything else is just the cherry on top. 

God can take the broken pieces of my life, fill in the cracks with His love and grace, and build a beautiful mosaic of my life that points directly to Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, help me please to adopt a more eternal perspective as I view life.  Let my joy be in my salvation and in my relationship with You.  Give me the strength to count my blessings with gratitude instead of counting my sorrows.  I give thanks for this Advent season as I wait, with expectant anticipation, to celebrate the good, good gift of Your Son.  Thank you for filling, with love, the hole in my heart and the cracks in my soul.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed...

Monday, November 19, 2018

This Is Who I Am

Hey Friend,

Though my father was a great dad, I very vividly remember him telling me to "stop wearing my heart on my sleeve and toughen up."  For this ultra-sensitive young girl who felt things SO deeply and cried at the drop of a hat, he might as well have said, "Go climb Mt. Everest." 

I've had friends tell me that I "think way too much." I've grappled, for a long time, with these being "bad" things.  I always felt that I needed to have a tougher exterior and to let hurtful comments roll off me like water off a duck's back, but that's not how God created me.

He gave me the gift of vision (all that thinking), and He also gave me these deep feelings so that I could have the compassion to actually feel others' pain - to relate to them in the heat of their struggles.

I don't think I would have had the love and passion to start a school for orphans in a terror-ridden country had I not been that girl who wore her heart on her sleeve and was pretty tender inside.  God designed me this way for a reason, and even though it's sometimes hard being me, I am coming to realize that God was "knighting" me for a mission.

In following God in a plan that only God, Himself, could have dreamed up, Redeemer Christian Foundation has grown from a handful of orphaned and impoverished children to be seventy-three strong and growing.  Several years ago, I approached Samaritan's Purse (Operation Christmas Child) about getting Christmas shoe boxes to the children we serve so that they would have something to open on Christmas.  Sadly, they told me that where we operate is TOO DANGEROUS even for them to go in.  There had to be a way....

Unlike other countries, no missionaries or even western humanitarian aid groups are allowed to come into this Middle Eastern country that many ministries deem to be the most hostile to Christians.  A clinic that was set up to immunize young children from polio was bombed by an extremist group.  Things have only gotten worse.  We can't fathom what it's like to live there day in and day out??

At Christmas and in the year ahead, I so desperately want to tell these precious children that they are NOT FORGOTTEN.  We have to work with the rare few Christians in this country to bring the love of Jesus and the hope of an education to them.  In their country they are spit upon and called "the unclean ones."  I want to bring them presents that say YOU ARE GOD'S BELOVED CHILD.  Jesus came this Christmas just for YOU!

"Giving Tuesday" (a movement started to combat all the commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday) is November 27th this year.  I was wondering if you would join me in telling these precious children that they matter to God, to us, and they are not forgotten??  Let's give to those who have so little.

RCF, Inc. is a 501c3 charity with Gold Seal status with GuideStar - the "go-to" authority to track non-profits.  All gifts are tax deductible.  

You can visit our website:

Or mail a check to:  RCF, Inc., 103 Silver Lining Lane, Cary, NC  27513.  Be sure to include your email address for tax receipt.

Ariel view from the top of the school to surrounding slums

What a contrast of love found inside our school! 
Sweet little Rose, one of our youngest students

Monthly Park/Sports Day to get out of the slums and get to be kids :)

Then say to the Lord your God: "I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them." (Deuteronomy 26:13)

Thank you and blessings to you this Thanksgiving...