Posts tagged Love.
you should never feel ashamed of the person that you are. Have you ever thought and pondered the fact that God created you? He created you. You. Out of any thing and any one else He could just as well conjure up, He chose to make you. You are lovely. You are made in His image. He crafted you just the way that He wanted you to be, and He did it for a purpose. You have a purpose here because God doesn’t mess things up; you are no mistake. You are not ugly. You are lovely. You are loved!
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
I will praise you forever for what you have done;
in your name I will hope, for your name is good.
I was sitting here surfing through different blogs (procrastinating…as usual) when I came across a picture of the twin towers burning. Of course it instantly caught my eye, but what instantly caught my heart was the picture beneath it which portrayed a weeping police officer in salute; mourning the loss of his respected brothers.
Then I felt it…the heavy heartache, the lump in my throat, the stinging eyes. I’ve always been extremely sensitive and compassionate towards anything 9/11 related, and I wanted to take a minute to reflect, and pray. I closed my eyes and began concentrating on the tragedy; the pain, the suffering, the loss and the hopelessness.
Only a few moments later these lyrics began to harmonically flow from my laptop’s speakers:
Now’s the time for us to rise and
carry hope and let love shine and
show this world that mercy is alive;
Now’s the time for us to rise and
carry hope to hopeless eyes and
show this world that mercy is alive;
we will rise in the wake of Your love…
And not by accident. Lord, fill our hearts with your compassion; let our love be active here…
A couple weekends ago I was able to work with an organization that reaches out to women trapped in prostitution and/or living in poverty. We held a thanksgiving dinner; women of all ages, shapes, sizes and colors came out, but they all had one thing in common: they are all broken.
Me and my good friend friend Gabby walked around with a pack of index cards and asked the ladies to write down one thing that they are thankful for, and the answers appeared to be endless. We had women writing down answers as simple as “life,” and “health,” and other answers were more intricate like “being 4 years clean,” and “leaving my abusive relationship.”
One of the ones that shocked me the most was when we walked up to one of the ladies and recieved nothing but a blank stare. “Why would I do that,” she said, “when I have nothing to be thankful for?“
When she said that, my whole body froze up. “That’s not true,” I said. “There has to be something.”
“What about life?” I asked.
“I’m depressed.” she replied.
“What about food? Food is great!”
“Food makes you fat.”
“What about nature? It’s beautiful out!”
“My dog just died,” she informed us dryly.
“I have diabetes.”
“We’re going to think of something,” Gabby and I insisted.
She laughed bitterly, “go ahead and try. You ain’t gonna hear it from me.”
Some time passed by, and Gabby and I kept handing out the index cards. After that encounter I began noticing the way some of the women hesitated, or the way they looked at the other women they were sitting with with an expression like I don’t know what to say; it was such a far stretch from the regular crowd of ladies who had been more than willing to share what God has done in their lives, and it broke my heart to be so exposed to the women out there who sincerely believe that they have nothing.
A little bit later the woman who originally said she had nothing to be thankful for placed this hideous black feathered hat from the donation table on top of Gabby’s head. She began joking, “You have to wear this until you guys come up with something that I’m thankful for!” We all started laughing at how silly Gabby looked with the hat on her head, but the woman who was laughing the hardest was the woman who placed it there.
“You’re laughing,” we said, “that’s something to be thankful for!”
“You guys said it,” she replied slyly, “not me.”
Women were still flooding in, and we were still getting answers from them. We had two native american women come in; one had down syndrome and couldn’t control the movement of her tongue. When I asked her, she willingly took the index card and walked away, but came back to me moments later and asked me to write it down for her. I smiled, and prepared to write:
“God has blessed me with an apartment,” she told me. “And I am so happy.“
Her words were simple, and I think that’s what was most special about them. When she said that something inside of me gave out, and I can’t even explain it. I just felt my heart melting and my eyes watering as I scribbled it down for her.
When I asked the other native american woman she came with she told us about how her nephews had quit drinking and smoking, and how thankful she was for that. Then she looked over at her happy companion with down syndrome and smiled, “Her,” she said, “I’m thankful for her.”
At another table sat two women who were obviously close friends. The one wrote her’s down secretly, and her friend gave us the blank stare.
“I don’t know what to write,” she confessed.
“You recovered from that terrible surgery,” suggested her friend.
She stopped and thought for a moment, “…not if it wasn’t for you,” she said to her, “you were the only one who was there for me. You were the only one who helped me.”
She wrote on the card and handed it back to me. When we looked it had only one thing written on it: Shelley. When I looked back at them they were smiling at each other.
One of the last tables we went to was an older woman who was sitting with the woman from earlier who first said she had nothing to be thankful for. She, too, stared at us without knowing what to say.
“I don’t know,” she said.
“Put down that you haven’t killed your husband or your boyfriend yet!”
Me and Gabby looked at each other.
“My husband’s already gone,” she reassured us. “But I haven’t killed Jerry yet! That’s a good one!”
“Am I really writing down that you haven’t killed Jerry…yet?” I asked hesitantly.
“Maybe you should write ‘thankful for controlling anger!’” Gabby jumped in.
I was so relieved that I didn’t have to write down anything about not killing Jerry…yet.
There were some answers that were so inspiring, answers like, “I am thankful to be here, in this place, with you guys.” “I am thankful that I have found Jesus in this place.” “I am thankful for all the wonderful things God has blessed me with since I gave Him my life.”
There was another woman who took the index card, looked down at her little daughter, and said softly with a smile, “I know what I’m thankful for.”
What I shared with you doesn’t even begin to cover all the answers we received; and for the one’s who kept their’s secret we’ll never know. But it was interesting to learn all the different types of reasons that these ladies would be thankful, and all the types of reasons that prevented them from being thankful.
I wasn’t given an index card, but I’ll tell you what I’m thankful for: I’m thankful for this night. I’m thankful for the time I was able to spend speaking with and learning from these women. I’m more than thankful that God is answering my prayers and showing me the world, preparing me. Exposing me. That He is breaking my heart for what breaks His.
There’s a broken world out there, and a broken world means broken people.
So never stop being thankful for what God has blessed you with.
And always be a blessing to others so that they can be thankful.
For those women (and men) out there who believe they have nothing…don’t you think it’s about time we tell them about Jesus?