Friday, July 26, 2013

Broken... FMF

We watch the commercials on the tv - you know, the ones with the kids who are malnourished and literally starving to death. Those commercials are designed to break our hearts for those in need - to get off our entitled, over-fed American booties and at the very least right a check. But to me what that communicates is, "See these kids? They're broken. They need help. Since you've got it together, why don't you fix their problem with just a little bit of money?"

But you know what? I've met those kids. I've seen their faces and heard their laughter. I've also seen their tears and watched them be in the middle of a field all alone, with literally no one who cares if they live or die. It's there, in our world and it's very very broken.

But you know what else? So am I. I am broken. My poverty may not look like theirs - I may not need clothes, food or a job, but I am also in need. My brokenness is just all covered up in a pretty layer of American pride, self-reliance and entitlement. As much as I try to not be these things and think this way, it's true... and it's ugly.

Today I'm reminded that being broken is beautiful. It's beautiful because it's something that unites all humans - our imperfection makes us one. Our need for each other makes us one. Our ability be with someone else in their brokenness and let someone enter into ours is what makes ashes turn to beauty. Embracing brokenness today...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Present - FMF

The greatest gift you can give someone is the gift of being present.

Life is hard, we need each other. Gifts, flowers, cards - those things are not needs, they are extras. What we need is someone's presence. When I am truly present with someone, there's nowhere else in the world I would rather be than with that person.

Here's a secret... I never, ever regret being present with someone. Ever.
I can't help today but think of one of girls in my first Bible study; this week she got diagnosed with inoperable cancer. The doctors are doing everything they can, but they're quickly realizing it's too late to save her life. She has weeks to months left in her short 27-year-old life. ALL THAT MATTERS to her, in these last weeks and months is the presence of those she loves... and the presence of God. That's it. There is nothing that matters more.

During hard seasons of my own life, you know what I remember now? I remember who was there, who sat and cried with me, prayed with me, asked me questions, tried to cheer me up. I remember Cecilia walking in my room with a glass of wine for each of us, plopping herself on my bed and asking how I was today. I remember Lizzy faithfully texting me every single day asking how I was and how she could pray. I remember Alisha helping me do the simple things - like get groceries and tie my shoes and get dressed when my body was in too much pain to do those things. I remember Emily showing up at my house uninvited, with food, knowing that if she didn't, I probably wouldn't have eaten that night. I remember my husband walking in, long before I expected him because he knew his presence mattered.

The "things" we buy for those we love are great, but they will be soon forgotten. The hours you give, the tears you cry, the hugging, the showing up - that's what sticks. That's what's worth it. So this weekend, I challenge you to think of someone who needs your presence and grab a latte or a glass of wine and go be present.

Five Minute Friday

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Beautiful - FMF

I spend a significant amount of my time overseas - in communities all over the globe. I'm grateful for a job that takes me to places where I see more of Jesus, where the Gospel gets bigger and the world gets smaller. It's changed me. It's made me see how God makes beautiful things out of messy places and messy people and messy communities.

The thing I think is the most beautiful is the community found in other countries that we, as Americans don't have or value. We live for ourselves - we rarely open up our homes, our wallets, our lives to our own families, let alone those who are different than us. We live such independent, self-focused lives and it makes me sad. I want to be in a community that's a beautiful mess like the ones I see in Haiti - where people feed their kids, their sister's kids and their neighbor's kids because if they don't, then who else will? They live in one big house, love each other and get on each other's nerves, but they provide real, genuine community for one another and they understand what it's like to "have each other's back." They would give anything for someone they love to have food, shelter, education and a future...anything. And that's beautiful.
While we sit in our houses with more than we could ever want or need, may we remember today that messy is beautiful, community is beautiful, living for something other than ourselves is beautiful.

Five Minute Friday