Prayer for Superbowl Weekend

No, I’m not asking you to pray for a certain team to win this weekend… I dont even know who is playing in the Superbowl (except maybe the team from Indianapolis, I assume, since that’s where the thing is being held?? Really… no flippin’ clue)

But I am asking you to take a minute to pray this weekend, because although zillions of people will be enjoying the game, food, and the festivities surrounding the game, the Superbowl is also one of the largest events of the year for human traffickers. I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer, but this is something that has become very important to me as I’ve learned more about it, and each year, traffickers “ship their product” (young women, girls, and boys) to where the demand is high. The Super Bowl attracts many men to the event’s area each year, and they are more apt to take part in things they might not normally do in their own hometowns, therefore the demand for sex-for-sale goes way up this weekend in that city. The traffickers are crude businesspeople (huge understatement, I know) who are happy to respond to the whole supply-demand deal with “freshly imported merchandise.” I can’t even begin to imagine what these young victims will have to endure this weekend.

I dont know if your relaxing weekend includes watching the game or not, but would you please take a moment to pray for these women and children who are being trafficked? Think of them as your own wife or sister, as your own daughter or son…then pray like that.

If you attend GCV and want to join me in praying for these people together, Meet me at the back of the auditorium at 10:30am tomorrow and we’ll pray in between services.

To learn more about fighting human trafficking in the US, check out:
SOAP
Doma
On Facebook search for Price of Life and She Has a Name.

Thanks in advance. Love to you all.

India Chronicles: 15 Starfish

Who knew there were starfish in India?

The light of my life this past month has undoubtedly been 15 beautiful little girls in India. A few years back, our church partnered with a local ministry based in India to build a children’s home for abandoned girls. There, females are not valued as much as males, so there tends to be a high population of homeless and abandoned females. Some of the girls now living at the children’s home came from physically abusive backgrounds and wear their scars blatantly on their faces. Some of them were abandoned by their families who couldn’t afford to care for all of their children and their scars are a bit more covert. Some were even going to be killed at birth or sold to a brothel, but their parents were convinced to allow their daughter to be cared for at the children’s home instead. No matter what their background, these girls would have led unimaginably horrid lives, if they’d even survived at all. But because regular everyday people cared enough to invest in them, I saw with my own eyes how these girls are now growing into the lovely young ladies God has created them to be.

The children’s home is situated on a lush, calm, quiet, and secure property where the girls can be free to run and play without fear of harm. It is so peaceful there that I frequently would lose track of time, just enjoying the fresh air and the sunlight. But beyond the borders of that property,  nothing could describe the environment better than the word chaos. Dirt, fumes, trash, human waste, noise, and constant commotion characterize the streets of the city, and that’s the pretty decent, middle-class part of town. In this part of town, we saw many people regularly urinating and allowing their children to defecate on the side of the road, in plain view of all the cars crammed into rush-hour traffic. We passed by a huge trash heap where a mangy dog, a scrawny cow, an elderly man, and a young child around 4 years old were all side by side digging through it. I assume they were looking for something to eat, although it’s possible  they could have simply been passing the time. Either way…what kind of life are they living, that small children and old men have been brought down to the level of scroungy animals wandering in the street?

When I think of that stark contrast, I really get a picture of the world the girls could have lived in, and I’m so thankful for the healthy upbringing they will now enjoy. What an incredible difference. I am humbled to be a very small part of that difference, and when I think of how little it really costs me, not only in actual money but in time and energy, it’s truly nothing at all. For less than the amount that Todd and I will spend when we go out to dinner with friends, or the amount I would spend on a new pair of shoes, each month I can help provide a safe home, medical care, a private education, and a loving environment to a little girl whose family could not take care of her. And best of all, this little girl will someday know that her life was changed, not because of me, but because of Jesus. I am devoting my life to following Him and He says that if I so much as give a cup of water to these little ones who need love & care, I am doing the same to Him.

I know there are thousands of children out there who may not get the same opportunities as these girls, other children who I will never have the opportunity to help. My world is small and my resources are limited. And that breaks my heart. But if every one of us looked out into our world and fixed our eyes on just one face…one child or one homeless person or one mentally disabled neighbor or one lonely widow or one depressed teenager or one man who just lost a job or one woman who society has given up on…if we just focused on extending the love and mercy that Jesus has extended to us…if we just decided to make some tiny sacrifice for the sake of that one… then we could all make a big, big difference.

The 15 beautiful girls there at the children’s home reminded me of a little modern parable that has been circulating in many forms over the past several years. It goes a little something like this:

One morning an elderly man was walking on a nearly deserted beach. He came upon a boy surrounded by thousands and thousands of starfish that had washed up onto the beach at high tide. As eagerly as he could, the youngster was picking them up one by one and throwing them back into the ocean.

Puzzled, the older man looked at the young boy and asked, “Little boy, what are you doing?”

The youth responded without looking up, “I’m trying to save these starfish, sir.”

The old man chuckled aloud, and queried, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you possibly make?”

Holding a starfish in his hand, the boy turned to the man and, gently tossing the starfish into the water, said, “It made a difference to that one!”

Whether you are tired of hearing that little story or not, I pray that none of us ever get tired of hearing the message it conveys. I pray that I never get tired of hearing that message. I pray that we all find our starfish, and let Jesus show us exactly how to throw it back into the ocean.

Choosing Enough

I had to stop at the grocery store today to pick up a few things since we’ve been away from the house for over a week and there aren’t many staples available in our kitchen. I stood in the bread aisle bombarded with hundreds of choices. Thousands of slices of bread stared me in the face. White. Wheat. Low carb. Whole grain. Honey oat. Rye. Whole wheat white. 90 calories per slice. Homestyle. Cinnamon swirl. Bread, bread, bread…so many choices of brand and type and taste.

Why? Why should I have SO many choices for something as simple as bread??

Of course it’s nice to have choices, but I just returned from a place where the people had so very few choices. Not just when it comes to bread, either. Many things in their life aren’t really a choice at all. I met people who live in a leper colony and do not even have leprosy or any other disease. They live there because their parents live there. They were born of a leper, which may as well make them a leper too, for all that it matters in their society. They are the untouchables. Societal outcasts who do not get to choose their place in life. They can choose to leave the colony, sure, but their status in society makes them outcasts nonetheless. They couldn’t choose a career path or an education or a person to marry outside of those walls. The only thing I can think of that they could do would be to get out of there, run away to a developed country, and never tell anyone where they came from. But by what means would they be able to do such a thing? They have no money. They have no job. They have no possessions to trade for a ride outta that place. They simply survive until it’s their time to die. They don’t really have viable choices otherwise.

So…it makes me wonder why I get to have all these choices about everything under the sun while others elsewhere have little choice about anything at all. I am not posing a question of destiny, but rather a question of enough.

How is it that I should have plenty while others have nothing? Wouldn’t it be better for us all to just have enough? Wouldn’t it be possible for everyone to have enough?

I truly believe that there are enough basic resources (food, clean water, shelter, clothing) for everyone on this planet to have enough to survive and even thrive. I just think that there are some of us (ME) who have grown accustomed to a lifestyle that allows us to have more than enough. I am not necessarily saying that having more than enough is an evil, terrible thing. Not at all. But I’m starting to think that having more than enough while my brothers and sisters around the globe and right next door have very little or even nothing is not something that will allow me to sleep well at night. Why should I have MORE than enough when there is another human being on this planet who doesn’t even have enough to live on?

So, you’re a socialist, then? Not at all. I am not proposing that we draw a line in the air, and whoever has something above that line will have it taken from them and redistributed to those whose stuff doesn’t reach up to that line. No way. I don’t think that people who have worked hard to make a living ought to be robbed from any more than anyone else should. (Did you hear me, congress??) I do think that the way this business gets fixed is the same way everything gets fixed…by changing one person’s heart at a time. You see, if all of us truly looked at those around us as our brother or our sister, our child or our mother, then our hearts would be different toward them. We would want to examine our situation and resources and try to figure out how we could best use them to help someone else have access to a life that includes consistent safety, health, and dignity. (Sounds a little like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness….hmmm) The same kind of life that we enjoy.

Since we returned from India, we’ve barely spoken about the experience. The things we have talked about have been very surface…the funny anecdotes and things we saw.  My heart is wrenching after seeing and hearing and feeling the things we did. We just haven’t processed it all quite yet. I looked into faces of people who have lost their hope because they have no choices. Their hearts are sick because they cannot see another way. In the face of things so overwhelming, I found myself wishing for just a second that I didn’t care. I wished that I had never seen any of it, or that I might forget what I saw. Because sometimes, the problems just seem so huge that it seems like nothing will ever solve them. And how do you give hope to someone with so few choices anyway? But that wish didn’t last very long. The more I thought about it, there was one choice that I decided I was glad to have. You see, I decided that I can choose to have a little less than I could. I could choose to cut back in a few areas and still be able to have enough for myself, and give someone else the opportunity to have enough as well. I like this plan way better than having plenty while my brother or sister sits by with nothing. I can give up my plenty, still have enough, and make sure someone else has enough too. No one will take from me what I have…I will freely give it.

If I break it down and look at the numbers, the truth is that it really won’t even cost me very much. If I freely give up one Starbucks coffee, one trip to the movie theater, a new pair of sunglasses, dinner out once a month, and new lipstick colors for the spring, I’ve already made room for one more girl at the children’s home where I visited to have a life of enough. In doing so, I’m really not restricting myself or limiting myself…I’m freeing myself to share my plenty in order to give someone else enough. That’s one choice I’m thankful to have and honored to make.

 

…and Life Gets in the Way

So I noticed today how my everyday humdrum parts of life really kinda get in the way of my creative pursuits. Bummer.

Like, for instance….my job. That pesky thing is really taking time away from my writing. Rude!!

And showering, washing/drying/fen-a-g-ling with my hair, shaving my legs, and putting on makeup…those things are getting a little demanding, having to be done every stinkin’ day and all. (Don’t worry, I’m not giving those things up. You’re welcome)

And exercising. Yeah, I’m just about through with that flippin’ business altogether. (Okay, so I’m not really, but there’s no way I’m going to stop complaining about it!) I actually have fallen into a very (VERY) strange love affair with running. And now I’m signed up to run a race even. 4 whole miles (that is a marathon to me, thank you very much!) and that’s happening in about a week. WHAT!!??

[breathing into a brown bag] moving right along…..

Writing, I love you. I really, truly do. And I know I neglected you for too many years and now that we’ve just gotten back together, I hardly spend enough time with you. And now people are starting to ask what is up with us and it’s getting all awkward at dinner parties and such. But I really still do love you. I don’t want you to leave… really. I’ll change someday…I promise.

Anyhoo…. I am loving writing lately so much that I think about it a lot. Like when I shouldn’t be thinking of it. Like at work. And when I’m sleeping (yep, dreamt about submitting an article the other night…yikes!) and I’m starting to prefer it to my day job. Which is super fun and way crazy scary all at the same time.

But…what do we have here?? Another creative flame that may be fanned into existence again??? Dut-da-da-daaahhhh…

I need to get back on the jewelry-making train. And….fast. Why, you ask??

Because in [early!] December, my little bitty pieces of wearable art just might inspire someone to buy them in order to give the money to an awesome organization to fight a hideous monster.

Eyebrow raising yet??

More to come soon on that… (I’ll give you a few hints: Gallery Hop, Doma, awesome. There, that’s all you get.)

For now, let’s just say that I have to get BUSY on this project, and all that non-important mumbo-jumbo like eating and sleeping and working and showering and blow-drying and exercising (especially that!!) is SO going to get in the way of this resurrected love, I just KNOW it….. *Sigh*

Please pray for me…I need a lot of stamina in the upcoming weeks. For my job (need a little extra motivation on that one too, please,) for the upcoming race I’ll be running on Thanksgiving morning (woohoo!!) and most of all for this new project that will take a lot of time out of my schedule in the next few weeks. I’m psyched and inspired and even though I’m tired, I’m feeling very alive right now. Check back with me in a couple of weeks on that one…

Goodnight friends…thanks for listening (reading!) my rambling.

PS: speaking of inspiration: thank you to everyone who requested a topic for me to write about. One problem: The requests are split exactly 50/50 between people who want to read more marriage-related stuff and people who requested everything else! If you haven’t responded to that little survey yet, would you take a minute to break the tie for me? That would be awesome and appreciated. Thank you!!

Taking Requests

I’ve been waiting to write until something big jumps out at me, and it just hasn’t been happening. I don’t know if this is what you’d call writer’s block, because I have lots and lots of ideas. I’ve been writing things down in hopes of developing them into a coherent piece at some point when I have enough time to pound the keys for a while. I’ve had some time, I just didn’t feel like any of the ideas were quite ready to be spit out yet. So I waited. And waited. And waited some more. But I’m not really getting the go-ahead for any of the things I’ve written down. So, here’s an idea…would you take a minute and tell me which of these topics you’d be interested inseeing me writing about next? I figure it’s possible that the 3 folks who have read this little blog once or twice might be thinking “I wonder what she’d have to say about _______?” So here’s a chance. Take a look at these topics (some have already been swirling around in my mind for a while and pick 2 or 3 that you’d most like to see me write about over the next several weeks. If there’s something you’re interested in that you don’t see here, just type it in the comment box. I’ll take a look at the results and start writing on the most popular one in a day or two. I’m excited (and a little scared!) to see what you’ll have in mind…I have to say this is a bit weird, putting myself out there like this with the possiblity of this idea being rejected altogether. But then again, I have a feeling that y’all will come through with at least a few things for me to think about. Thank you in advance!

Cold Turkey Detox Day

I’ve been dying to get to this keyboard and write for the past week, but I’ve been working about 6 million hours a day so that hasn’t left much room for me to actually have a life. As usual. But that’s about to change.

Today marks an important day for me. One that my husband and I have planned and discussed for quite some time. Earlier this year, we had [yet another] conversation about my severe workaholism that turns on with each new school year. Ever since I’ve been a teacher, I’ve had this problem of working way many hours, to the point of excluding and neglecting  much of everything else in my life including my husband, my health, my home, my family, my friends, my hobbies, and worst of all, my relationship with God. I worked so hard to become a teacher because I wanted a career that I loved as much as the rest of my life. I thought I’d attained that. But in truth, what I’ve actually done is become nothing but a teacher. My whole personality (and even maybe my identity–I’m still figuring that one out) has become wrapped up in my career.

I’ve tried many different ways of making this more bearable over the years, but nothing worked because I never just decided I wasn’t going to be this way and did something serious about it. Until now. My husband is 100% hard-core about something when he makes a decision. JUST DO IT is definitely a motto he rolls with. So, I’m taking his guidance and I’m quitting cold-turkey. ( Not teaching, you goofs!) I’m quitting my workaholism. Cold. Turkey. TODAY.

We set the date of October 1st to start my detox from working like crazy…after which I will no longer allow myself to voluntarily stay at school past 5pm (with the exception of one “late night” each week which will be the same night Todd has another committment until 8pm) and I won’t be bringing home any work in the evening or on weekends.

GULP…

So, even though I’m excited about it, because I will actually have a life (!) I am also very very nervous. I have lived so out of balance in this way for so long, I’m not sure what to do to make it go well. I’ve thought about it, talked about it, prayed about it, and I still just seriously cannot see how I’ll physically be able to be the teacher I want to be without at the same time working at least as much as I already do right now. Which is probably why I just need to stop allowing myself to be out of balance, and just figure out how to cope with the fallout later. I know that there is a way to make it happen, I just can’t see it yet. Lord, help me!

So would you please pray for me? Even though I am having a mini freak-out realizing what a big deal this will be for me, I know in reality that my priorities really are out of whack, and that speaks more about me than just saying I’m a little bit of a workaholic. My life is made up of so much more than just my career–even as important as it is–and I need to remember what those so much more parts actually are. I’m praying for wisdom, for God to show me what’s on my plate that needs to be moved, changed, reduced, or kicked off completely. Interestingly enough, I’ve already had 2 different but very obvious attacks on this new goal that have come up in the past 2 days… I was giddy when I realized it, because that means I’m right on track with making this change. 🙂

I’ll be writing about how things are going along the way (duh) whether it’s good, bad, or ugly. Thank you in advance for your prayers and for kicking me in the boo-tay whenever I need it. Keep reminding me of what’s most important.

I’m looking forward to getting my eyes back on the One who matters.

The DO-ing part: phase 1

During the first week of our read-along of the book of James, we’ve been challenged not only to read the words of the scripture, but to actually do what James says to do: DO WHAT IT SAYS.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (v.22)

There are many instructions for us to follow throughout scripture, some of which are not explicitly clear or can be applied different ways. But this one is pretty clear…no matter the command, James reminds us to DO what it says! Seems overly simple, but although I have read the bible and have a fairly good understanding of it, I admit that I still find myself daily failing at that tiny little detail of doing what it says. There’s that darn obedience thing again, right?

In fact, James pretty much tells us we’d be idiots not to do what the Word says. He says that a person who just listens to the Word of God but doesn’t do what it says is like a person who looks at his face in the mirror then walks away and forgets what he looks like. (v. 23-24.) I don’t know about you, but a person like that would seem pretty daft to me.

So, my daftness aside, I’ve come to a realization. I am the queen of trying to be an overachiever. (Lord help me with those “mmmm-hmmms” that I’m getting right now just from admitting this publicly!) I have a hard time just saying no to people.  I have a tendency to jump head-first into something without a lot of prayer, then I realize I’ve bit off more than I should have, then I can’t do my best at whatever it is, then I get grumpy and run-down, then I’m all bitter for having ever done the thing in the first place. What is that about!? For some reason I always feel like I have to do the biggest and best thing, and I end up ignoring all the little things along the way that really make up the person I am supposed to be. (You have no idea how hard this is for me to be confessing right now….ugh) So the whole big-shebang is not the point. The big events aren’t what make me who I am.  I’m starting to see that the little, everyday moments– the everyday choices that I make– are the actual threads that make up the fabric of my life. So I can sew a big flashy decoration on it if I want, but if the fabric is bad, nothing pretty and shiny will hold anyway.

So, of course when I read the challenge to share what I plan to do to become a DOer, and not just a HEARer of the word, my mind went to all this big stuff about studying for hours every day and starting a big prayer thing and all this other business. But God was so gracious to shut off that line of thinking for just a second and make me breathe. He’s nudging me in the direction of this to-do list instead:

  • Ask God for a bit of wisdom each day before I do something, instead of wondering later if I should have done it
  • Be slower to speak (that’s going to be a tough one!) and more eager to listen (equally tough for me!)   
  • Write letters to both of our sponsored girls this week, Zoila in Guatemala and Donna in India  
  • Spend some time with my mom, without any other reason to visit.
  • Keep a tighter rein on my tongue, by not participating in gossip or other negative talk when the opportunity presents itself (I’m pretty sure I already blew it this one, but I’m hitting the reset button)

What are you planning to do to become a DOer?

Abolition U

A few weeks ago I wrote this post about human trafficking. It’s hard to believe it is even real, but it is. And it’s closer than any of us want to think. What can any of us do to fight such a huge, ugly monster?

One of the ways is to become informed. There are many great organizations and people who are already devoting their entire lives or even just a few hours a month to fighting this sick modern-day slavery. Sign up for this class, Abolition U, with me. It’s offered by a locally-founded organization called Doma International, and these good people are kicking some serious butt against the enemy of human trafficking. They are life-changers. 

 I’m just getting my feet wet with all this, I’m certainly no expert. But every time I see or hear anything about people who’ve been forced into working for no pay, or selling their body for the gain of another, I get angry. No, I get furious. I get furious on their behalf and I want to do something to make it stop. But I don’t know how. But I do know that there is hope for them, and there’s a good chance that God’s people are part of that hope. So I plan to pray about how I might be involved, and I plan to learn whatever I can about it. 

Check it out. Pray about it. Sign up if you’d like to be involved. Below is the email about the class that was sent to me by one of the hard-working folks at Doma. It includes an overview of the course. Hope to see you there!

Hello, Wonderful Potential Abolitionists!

Get ready to change your life–Abolition U will teach you exactly what’s going on with human trafficking around the world and here in Columbus, but even more importantly, it will help you to learn how you can fight slavery with your own resources and talents. For many people who fight slavery, it takes a long time to figure out exactly who’s missions we believe in and how we can help–Abolition U can slim that down to a powerful three day journey.

Here’s a mini-syllabus. All classes will meet at the Vineyard Church, 6000 Cooper Rd. in Westerville, Saturdays, 9-6. People of any and all beliefs, backgrounds and ages are welcome.

October 8
Field trip! We start with a trek to the Underground Railroad Freedom Center. On the bus we will introduce ourselves, pass out the real syllabi, and learn how we all would like to fight human trafficking and have fought it so far. At the Freedom Center, we will eat a great lunch (bring a little cash), and tour the facility, really understanding the role slavery has played in history and how its evil head has reared back up. It’s a truly enlightening experience.

On the way back, we’ll discuss the trip and hand out books to be read for discussion at the November 5 class.

October 29 and November 5
We will meet with representatives from the strongest arms of abolition in central Ohio–top folk from Gracehaven House, CATCH Court, the FBI/CPD, doma and CORRC, who unites us all. We will learn about HT from every angle possible, and how we can best fight it.

Money
It costs $15 to register, please do so by pasting this into an address line:

https://app.etapestry.com/cart/domainternational/default/item.php?ref=1569.0.48486423

Your entrance fee to the Freedom Center and books are paid for.

Teachers
Julie Clark, founder of doma International, and I, an abolitionist for the past three years, teach this class. Please contact me at this email or via phone, 614.684.8060, with any questions at all.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your interest in this issue. Slavery has been knocked out before, and we all need to work together to do it again.

Obedience: I’m in love, again.

I met a new friend today. His name is Danny. I’m in love.

It’s okay, you can tell my husband. I plan to.

It started when I saw him this afternoon, while I was out and about going several different places across the city in a [failed] attempt to buy some new clothes. Not because I’m running around threadbare or naked. Not even close. (You’re welcome.) I just like to buy a couple of new things each year when school starts. You know, new school clothes.

So in all my driving around I was downtown near the arena district when I spotted my new love. There he was, in the afternoon sun, wearing what appeared to be the same clothes he’d worn for days. His scraggly beard was fairly long. He was missing several teeth (which I could tell from quite far away) and he was at least 5 inches shorter than me.

PERFECT.

However, it was not exactly love at first sight. It was more like love at first nudge. I was in my car, coming up to a red light and in the middle lane. He was standing on the sidewalk to my right, slowly walking. His sign said “Homeless and very needy. Please help.” I watched him from the corner of my eye for just a couple of seconds. I could see the disappointment and a little speck of disdain on his face as every driver and passenger kept their eyes starkly facing forward as he walked by, refusing to acknowledge what they’d surely already seen.

A person. A man. A man in need of something. In need of something so badly that he resorted to begging anyone –everyone– to help.

That’s when I heard our love song. Cranking in my car at that exact moment was:

Your love, Your love/ the only thing that matters is/ Your love, Your love/it’s all I have to give

Your love/ is enough/ to light up the darkness/ It’s Your love, Your love/ All I ever needed is Your love

I knew then that I was his answer, at least for that day. God wanted to use me to deliver some love and maybe even provide him with the means to eat that day. So I started to reach for my purse, to get some money out. The light turned green. All the cars around me started to move and I needed to get over. No one was even thinking about acquiescing to my turn signal. I was starting to create a line of angry drivers who were behind me since I was inconveniencing them by making a last-minute decision to change lanes. It was annoying, I admit. So I hit the gas pedal and moved forward onto the freeway ramp I was right in line for. I had a moment, just a moment, where I thought well, it wasn’t meant to be since I wasn’t able to get to him quickly enough. I’ll pray for him. Then…

Why worry about someone’s soul but don’t bother to give them a basic need when you know you can?

FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD. (James Ch.2, the kinda-ghetto Krysten version)

I thought about all the other songs I’d listened to that day while I was out and about doing my thing. The lyrics shot through me light lightning bolts, one right after another.

I want more of you, God…

        I’ve found a love greater than life itself….

                     No place I’d rather be/ than here in Your love…

                                         Nothing can tear us from/ the grip of His mighty love…

                                                            He lavishes His love upon us/ He calls us now his sons and daughters…

                                                                        We’ve only glimpsed/ His vast affection/ heard whispers of/His heart and passion…

So I DID pray, but not for the man. I prayed that he would still be there so I could go do what I knew God was asking of me.  (So I guess I was praying for myself?) I got off at the next exit. I turned around. I got back on the freeway. I spotted my man and found a place to park. I walked toward him and was keenly aware of all the confused and frightened scares of the people in the cars when they realized I was talking right up to him.

I tapped him on the shoulder and told him how happy I was that he was still there. (again, was this for me?)

He smiled his toothless smile and hugged me.

I told him I saw him a little earlier but couldn’t get to him, but that I’d turned my car around and came back so I could come give him some money to help him through the day.(Why did I tell him that? What did I expect, a medal!?)

And you know what he said?

He said: “Well, you didn’t have to do that! All you had to do was love me!”

ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS LOVE ME.

He told me his name was Danny. We talked for a while about how the weather was nice even though it was hot, and how his back hurt and how he just sleeps any place he can find, and how he knows the people who owned the building he was standing near but they don’t have anywhere for him to stay in there. He hugged me three times and introduced himself twice in the span of 5 minutes.  He’d been on the streets for 25 years. YEARS.

I told him I would look for him again, and I will. I told him I would be praying for him to stay safe and for his back to heal. And I will. He was so thankful to hear that, of all things.

The whole experience took less than 15 minutes, surely. But he will last forever whether I see him again or not. I’d been wondering lately if I’ve been obedient to God, I mean anytime recently. I’d seen such beautiful pictures painted in several lives around me, of just pure obedience and the lovely results that follow. I couldn’t remember the last time I was obedient to a nudge from the Spirit. I’d asked Him to bring something to mind so I could remember it, but  God was gracious enough to do me one better…. He gave me a new opportunity to be obedient to his voice. It’s almost romantic.

All I had to do was love him, he said.

Done.

Remember: She has a name. And 24 other things you can do…

One link I forgot to post earlier was to the She Has a Name site. It is a simple portal to let you know what this little group of revolutionaries is all about… http://www.shehasaname.com/ 

You can go online to She Has a Name and buy a t-shirt that will no doubt spark a conversation when someone looks at you funny and asks “what does your shirt mean?” Then you can inform them of the fact that slavery is still very real and it still exists here in America and around the world. Who knows, you may do that one little thing and that may inspire them to do one little thing and before you know it, big things are happening to end human trafficking!! Isn’t that how all great things are done? One little baby-step at a time?

And while I’m at it here, I thought I’d post some other ways you can fight human trafficking. I started you off with one above…buy a t-shirt and start a conversation. Well, maybe that’s 2 things.

Anyway, the folks at Gracehaven have compiled 24 things you can do to fight human trafficking right now. Check out the list and if there’s not at least one thing on the list you can do….well….that won’t be the case so we don’t have to worry about that if.

One more thing…Doma will soon be offering it’s second Abolition U class, which was previously a 10 week evening class to learn everything you need to know to fight HT right now. This second version will be a condensed class, and it will consist of 2 Saturdays in October and a Sunday in November. I’m already on the list to sign up for the class (and sign-ups haven’t even started yet!) so if you’re interested in becoming an Abolitionist, keep this in mind and I’ll post more info as soon as I have it.  From information about previous Abolution U graduates, I’ve heard that during the class you participate in street outreach, raise awareness, visit The Freedom Center in Cincy, and  join with local abolitionist efforts who are rescuing and restoring survivors. Make plans to join with me and learn all you can!