Before we head out in the misty rain bundled from the cold, before we fire the ovens for the turkey and the cakes, before we choose our festive clothing and raise the Christmas tree. . .
a quiet moment comes. . .
in the library this morning. . .
where we commit our day and our Holy Days to Him. . .
we Pray Thanks. . .
we Live Thanks. . .
God is using Compassion International to show us the way. . . to Give Thanks. . .away.
Will you join us in praying for the Philippines today. . .and perhaps Give some Thanks Away?
Every day we cannot keep crying and praising God for answering prayers that you and thousands others are praying from many countries in the world.
We used to cry because we felt overwhelmed and helpless.
Now we cry because we have seen that the needs are gradually being met.
There is a big challenge that remains through the relief and rehab process. Please continue to pray with us.
Pray that there will be sustained efforts to protect the children and women who are most vulnerable in times of disasters. Pray that God will stop any outbreak of cholera, dengue and other epidemics.
Pray that the makeshift tents and relocation areas will be protected from those child trafficking syndicates who pretend to offer help but who will induce the parents to give up their children in the guise of adoption.
Pray that the clearing and cleaning up of debris from roads and cities will be expedited so that there will be easy access for help and relief to the people living in the most remote towns.
Pray that there will be a concerted effort among evangelical churches, denominations and Christian NGOs and ministries to come up with a comprehensive relief and rehabilitation collaborative effort. Pray that all political barriers will be overcome so that the country will see the Body of Christ at work, preaching Christ in word and deed, caring for the widows and orphans.
In Jesus' Name, pray. . .
Glass cases filled with ledgers spiraled around the room and in upon itself like a chambered nautilus.
A visitor to the Wallace DeWitt museum in Williamsburg would have to draw nearer to one of the glass cases for a closer inspection of the ledger within before the meaning, at once horrible and pitiful, comes clear.
The open ledgers reveal a system for poor mothers seeking a haven for their babies in London of the 1750's.
This haven was Foundling Hospital, newly built by generous artists and poets and one amazing shipbuilder of the time, but it was a thimble of solace in a sea of trouble. Only 200 babies could be admitted each year. The process for admission was simple and inelegant.
The mother reached into a bag and withdrew a colored ball.
Red meant the baby was turned away, to almost certain death.
A white ball meant the baby was accepted, and mother walked away, arms empty.
Each page of the ledger is a record of such transactions. An inventory of the infant's clothing was made, and some identifying thread or token was unpinned from the tiny breast and tucked into the ledger before the page was turned.
The open ledgers, stuffed with silent threads and tokens these past two and a half centuries and circling a long path of glass cases before the visitor, speak plainly: most children were never reclaimed.
They became the Foundlings.
i will go down the hall tonight to the bedrooms of my two daughters and while they sleep, plant a wondrously thankful kiss on each sweet forehead.
i will pray for children tonight, especially for our Enjel and Yannes and their families in Indonesian villages on the other side of the world.
And lastly this one quiet thought surprises me,"Adults can be lost, too."
And i wonder, dear heart, if tonight you find yourself abandoned. Small tokens of empty promises unclaimed and scattered about you. i have good news.
There is One who looks for you.
In His arms, you are among the Foundlings.
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,but the Lord will
take me in.
The afternoon slides soft and silky across my arms, the overhead fan sifts my bangs,and the ocean sings through open window. The little Singer whirs, and she stitches a hem in soft white cotton, making billowy curtains to catch the sea breeze like a sail, but now she stops to listen.
Somewhere on this planet, the wind ran amok. . . left its boundaries and gouged a path a mile wide, and twenty miles long, indifferent to an elementary school that lay in its path, its cell leaping over the university where my beloved nephew, so far from home, studies, before it dropped its screaming load next door, one town over.
Images of roads winding through open fields fill the TV screen. . .and then second thought comes. . .these are not fields.
These were neighborhoods.
The cell phone beeps, social media signals, my mother calls, my brother in law writes, "He is fine." And finally nephew surfaces with a few lines, "No words. . .gut wrenching. . .the silence. . .unbelievable. . .terrible. . ."
And the cage of my theology rattles. It always rattles in the path of a tornado.
My theology holds for man's evil to man.
But a tornado rips the seams, expands the rib cage, lifts the heart into the vortex of stinging rain and darkness ripped by lightning, and draws up such a grief that will not express itself. Instantly, the earth's people become less, and something more. . .a widow stands where once stood a husband, the childless replaces the parent, the orphan the child, the homeless the homeowner, the dismembered the one once whole. . .
And, i want to shout to the heavens, "What were you thinking?". . . and struggle for truth.
Because He is the same God today that He was yesterday. He knew when the location of the school was chosen and the foundation was laid in the path of today's destruction. He knew. And if He did not stop it, He knows more.
In His economy, one life led to salvation is worth it. Any child we lost today went immediately into His presence and is whole, and loved, and filled with unbelievable joy. . .And only He knew why this was better for each one, than a life that lingered longer here.
i stumble with words. But i know.
God is good. He will provide a comfort like nothing on this earth.
Watch, Beloved. Watch for Him. There is a wind that comes through every window.
For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in Your book
before one of them came to be.
~Psalm 139: 13 - 16
Twenty-two years I’ve known her. But on days like today,
when the tread on the flint is a little more weary, a little more burdened,
when deep hollows half-moon her eyes, a clip holds the hair out of the way, and
a wool shawl winds its warmth around her small shoulders as she bends hours
over the notes in her lap in the light of the computer, I think I see the wee
one, all five or maybe ten again. Now and again she looks up at me, steady gaze
from solemn brown eyes that always seem to look through. Disappointment has run the heavy timber of
its lance at her heart, and briefly she feels too few to win the battle. Prayer
spent, we sit in Quiet and speak truth, tucked in among the pillows on the wide
bed, she at one side, I at the other, and afternoon light gilding her fair head.
We travel through the corridors of His Word until we come to a well lit chamber
where He waits for us, a table is laid before us. I watch her nourished. And then a gift from Him Who made her
and knows her best ~this little video of a five year old delivering Henry’s
speech to small band of men facing a formidable foe of strength and number.
A darling five year old.
St. Crispin's Day.
That it was a Gift of Grace and love and joy to her this day could not have been more evident than if it had been wrapped in a bow and tagged with her name.
The Thoughtful player is to your right for you to pause if you would like to listen to this wee one. His small voice speaks large things. Be encouraged, my friend, to fight on. . .
Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous?
Do not be afraid or discouraged,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.
In the wee hours this morning, a sea turtle crawled out of the ocean, up the dune into a low-slung swale, dug a cylindrical hole about twenty-eight inches deep in the dark, deposited one hundred and one eggs, covered the hole with its long flippers, and labored back to the sea.
Statistically most of the hatchlings will not make it back to the sea before being scooped up by a seagull. Only one in a thousand live to adult hood.
She lays her eggs on the ground, and lets them warm in the sand, unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal may trample them.
The N.E.S.T. volunteer Barbara began her patrol on an ATV along the north beaches as the sun rose. Up and down the sand hills, skirting the rising tide, she scanned the pale gold grains for distinctive marks. A small bubble of excitement rose from the pit of her stomach when she sighted the tractor-type treads forming a wedged-shaped vee from surf to dunes and back to surf, like an arrow pointing the way. She called the hotline. This was not going to be another false crawl.
~Jessie stands beside the "crawl"and original nest site
Sunlight spilled into the cottage bedroom and across my prayer journal. Suddenly, it seemed very clear that whatever else i decided to do that morning, the first priority was to set up chair, blanket, and umbrella on the beach to save the family a spot.
~a rare Kemps Ridley, nest 5
And that is how i came upon Barbara and the seven other volunteers carefully transferring one hundred and one ping-pong sized eggs to a hole above the tide line.
i am still overcome.
i walked a mile last year to see the caution-taped bit of sand where a nest was supposed to be (click here). i followed the progresses of the seven nests found last summer on the volunteer Facebook page.
and here i was, a warm June morning stumbling upon my very first open nest only two doors down from our cottage.
i wish i had the eloquence to tell you what i am feeling. i wish i had my Elisabeth Elliot book Keep a Quiet Heart here, because she could tell you for me. What i do have is Scripture, and that is beyond the best way to express what i know to be true.
"I have commanded the ravens to feed you . . ." ~1 Kings 17:4.
The Bible is eloquent on God's sweet commands to nature. . .
the morning (Job 38:12) the skies (Psalm 78:23) the sun (Job 9:7) a great fish (Jonah 1:17) a plant (Jonah 4:6) a worm (Jonah 4:7) the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea(Psalm 107:25) (Luke 8:25) crystals of ice (Psalm 147:17) the clouds (Isaiah 5:6) the lightning (Job 36:32)
and He called that big, beautiful prehistoric turtle mama to choose this spot along thousands of miles of shoreline. . .only two cottages down from my door.
i can barely rise from knees in humble thanks. . .
for this gift of grace, a turtle nest, yes.
But more, that he would call me to see.
#0694 - sea turtles
#0695 - my sisters in the cottage by the sea
#0696 - the first sand castle of the season
#0697 - little boy tucking in close to me on the sofa while he plays his hand held game
#0698 - little face waiting for me to get up from a nap, "Can you play?" he asks. And that, my friends, is why i am taking naps
#0699 - kites, racing games, walks to the pond
They hug the same mommy who spanked them last night. . .
play with the same friend who made fun of them yesterday. . .
and imagine endless gardens growing through the cracks in their sidewalks.
They always engage life with their most AUTHENTIC SELVES.
Wouldn't it be amazing if we could be children again?
~ T.D. Jakes