Sunday, March 17, 2013

"I'm UGLY, Help." The Weight of Words.

"I'm Ugly, Help." Those were the words scribbled on a piece of worn cardboard being held by a man on the side of the interstate yesterday near Atlanta.

"Lift It. Fat Chicks Can't Jump!!" Those were the words across the back of a lifted pick up truck that I had to follow for miles as I was leaving the island last week on my way to downtown. I had the same type of feeling after reading each of those phrases. It hurt.  My eyes filled with tears both times.

I was hurt FOR the man that stood in a position of need holding a label that carries so many feelings and I was hurt by the person driving the truck and I wondered if he had any idea that there was a woman crying on her way to work because she was subject to his opinion. But then I have to stop and wonder...does it hurt because it's out there, or because I have put a label on myself to identify with those words?

If you were really honest with yourself what would your sign say...."I'm ____________. Help"

So often we put a label on ourselves that is so far outside of the way God sees us. We look in the mirror and think..."I'm ugly. I'm fat. I hate _____about myself." Or we decide that we won't be accepted because of a trait or feature and then we OWN that label and wear that label and we start to define ourselves by that label. And as if that's not enough, we start to let others define us with that label accepting that it's just the way it is and become hurt and offended when that nerve is touched. And at the end of the day.......we have allowed ourselves to believe a LIE. Sure we all have room to improve and strive for excellence, but we allow the volume of the voice of destruction and self doubt and self pity to be louder than the voice of TRUTH.

Ephesians 3:16-21

Amplified Bible (AMP)
16 May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, [a]through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses [b]mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] [c]unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and[d]become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

What might our signs say if we are founded securely on love? If we are a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself? I'm sure it hurts God's heart to see us wearing and believing a label HE did not design for us. God doesn't give us a label. He has a banner over us and it is love.

Instead of taking our cue from other people, we need to be buckled into how God sees us and He tells us that over and over in His Word. Then...when Satan tries to throw  lies at us, our shield of faith and belt of truth will protect our hearts and minds from the enemy.

You ARE Beautiful. You ARE loved.
This is a fact...because we were Created in the IMAGE of God. We are HIS workmanship.
Your Abba Father (Daddy) is THE greatest artist and creator of all time.
He does not make mistakes.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Only Thing That Counts is.....

"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself 
through LOVE." 
Galatians 5:6

This has been a week I will not soon forget. A week that has humbled me. A week that has changed me.

Although I have been quiet on my blog, life has been anything but quiet. We are now getting settled in Savannah, GA and officially starting The Dream Campaign.

To say that God has hemmed in each step would be an incredible understatement. The amount of confirmation and support that we have received in this transition has been incredible and all God.

Let me share one of these experiences where God has taken a nightmare for some local residents and turned it into an incredible opportunity and time of ministry.

There is an apartment complex in Savannah where we have decided to focus some efforts with The Dream Campaign. We have decided that we want to focus on youth in their own environment. Whole neighborhoods where we can serve and impact families. We passed out 200 Valentines to the residents with this message. 

One of the residents asked if she could pray for US! She prayed over our marriage as we serve together and prayed a blessing over our efforts in the community.  That was February 14th. Little did we know exactly 14 days later we would be presented with an incredible opportunity to "express our faith through love."

Last Thursday as I was going to bed, I happened to look at Facebook one last time before closing my eyes. I saw a Breaking News Report of a 2 alarm fire in the complex where we passed out the Valentines. I immediately sent a text to the Leasing Manager (who has become a dear friend.)

To make a long story a little shorter, we were the first people there to help after the Red Cross.
Over the past 5 days, in partnership with our church (Savannah Christian) and other community members, we have been looking for tangible ways to serve the 26 residents displaced, several of whom lost almost everything. 

We have been able to do everything from deliver clean undergarments to their hotel,  help clean out scorched apartments, deliver new pillows and towels, to helping organize community efforts to replace the items they lost in the fire.  We have met incredible residents who have stepped up and said, "I want to help my neighbor and pay it forward," gave hugs and invited people to church with us for dinner tomorrow night. (And everyone has accepted so far).  I have been able to share about the love of God and people listen....why? Because we are EXPRESSING our faith through LOVE.

Here are a few photos to capture the past few days:

We went shopping today for new pillows and pillowcases, towels and a sleeping bag for a 15 year old boy who will not have a bed tonight. I literally cried as I loaded the cart humbled by the whole experience. 

We helped one family unload all of their smokey,  water drenched belongings from the u-haul into their new apartment. Many were trying to salvage ANYTHING. One man pushed a grocery cart back and forth between the scorched apartment and the new empty apartment ALL DAY, searching to fill it with some semblance of home. 

Although I don't believe God caused the fire. I believe He KNEW this would happen and HE put that nudge in our hearts to focus our efforts here.  

I can not tell you how many times this week we have been thankful to be flexible and available as needed. THANK YOU for believe in us, supporting us and helping us to live out the calling God has on our lives through your generosity and prayers. 

Please continue to pray for the families who will be starting over. Pray that conversations will continue and that the Gospel will not only be shared in our words but in our deeds. That people will know love in a new way.

And please pray for favor for us as we continue the process of trying to move into this complex so we can continue this ministry in a full time/ tangible way though The Dream Campaign.

As you go to bed tonight, lay your head on a clean pillow, snuggle under the covers on a comfy bed, wake up, shower and dry off with a clean towel, put on a clean pair of underwear and clothes and start your day. No matter what tries to steal your thankful. I guarantee there are 26 people who would be so thankful for those simple things tonight. And when you meet someone who is struggling.

Choose Compassion.
It will change your life.