Monday, August 30, 2010

Bored Americans

I attended church yesterday as usual. But I gotta tell ya, my pastor killed it yesterday. I love my church and I usually always glean something from his messages, but yesterday I could have stood up and cheered.

He has been teaching a series of messages called "DNA" which is basically about the makeup and structure of our church....meaning the people. He and the other leadership have a vision for our church to not just show up on Sundays, but to do life together.....AND to answer the calling to the great commission of the gospels...to go out (locally or internationally) and share the message and the love of Christ. Sharing the love of Christ means to be generous with everything that we have.....our love, our money, our skills, our words of encouragement, our physical presence.......love encompasses so much.

Pastor Pete shared many alarming statistics about poverty, traffiking, death, unclean water, orphans, torture, etc.....all throughout the nations. Alarming statistics.

The message to stir us to move was incredible. But it wasn't even the message itself that I was most moved by....(although on its own, it was moving). What I loved the most is that my pastor was completely and utterly unapologetic.

He made no apologies for offending those who don't give.
He made no apologies for stirring those who don't move.
He made no apologies for those who don't love........others.
He made no apologies.....and I applaud him for that.

Afterall, Jesus doesn't apologize for the truth being the truth. Pete said missions isn't supposed to be a program in the church. It is why the church exists. Period.

Pastor Pete says we get bored. We are comfortable with our lives that are far too glamorous and far too easy....(those are my words not his).

I encourage you to hear the message. It was incredible. You can go to www.crosspoint.tv and you'll be glad you did.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

On My Heart

Since I posted the urgent need for 45 kids needing school fees to return to school next week, I have received pledges for 7 kids. I am so thankful for that.

But something is bothering me.

For those of you who follow along with my blog here and on facebook, or to those I sent emails to regarding this issue....there is something you need to know.

Fatima doesn't ask me for anything.

I have positioned myself to be taken advantage of her if she wants to take advantage of me. But she hasn't. And I believe I will have the wisdom and discernment to detect if she were ever to try. But that is not what is happening here.

Of all of the orphanages I have visited in Zim over the past 2 years, it is evident that hers are run in such a way that the best interests of the children are being served. Her orphanages are about the children. There is a distinct different between Fatima's orphanges and the others I have visited. Distinct. Of all of the orphans I have met in Zim, hers are the most likely to survive physically, mentally and spiritually. Her accounting is accurate and her books are wide open. More than anything, her heart is for Jesus. She is saving these children for His glory. Not her own.

So, I have partnered with Fatima, unofficially. I have a feeling that if I started 4 orphanges here for 70ish kids, I would need help too. That's all. She needs help.

As for these kids not having their school fees.... yes, I'd prefer more notice to know how I could help, but that isn't going to always happen. One of the boys in her teen home, Keldon, sings on the praise and worship team at church and I noticed he needs some ties. I contacted Fatima to ask her what colors he needs because I am sending a package next week. She replied to me and let me know to be praying for school fees for the other kids because a donation had fallen through.

I prayed. I'm still praying. And I figured, I could at least try to do more than pray.

Will I lose sleep if the kids don't get to go back to school?

Yes.

Do I feel solely responsible for raising enough money to send them all?

No.


But I do have a dream. One I am trying to find the courage and the money to put into action. I so deeply want to start a non-profit that will help in these situations and whatever critical situations come along. And I want it to grow and be huge. I want big donors. I want small donors. I want to provide a source for the orphans as well as provide an opportunity for the community of Christ to come together and do something meaningful for tender lives.

So, for now I'm doing the best with what I have. I hope you all will continue to walk this journey with me, without worrying about the process too much.

I cannot do this alone. Jesus is the giver of all good things. He is the provider.

He is nudging me.

That's all I know.

Friday, August 27, 2010

URGENT NEED

Today I purchased a laptop for Fatima, to replace the new one I was taking to her when I traveled there earlier this month. That one was stolen from one of the airports.

I'm only telling you this because I want you to know that I put my money where my mouth is.

As of this morning, I have learned that one of the orphange regular donations did not come through, and currently 45 of the 70ish kids Fatima cares for do not have school fees to return to school next week. The cost is approx $88 per child. 45 x $88 = $3,960.

My husband and I are going to sponsor school fees for 6 children. I am praying you will help me get the other 39 sponsored asap. Please strongly consider. I have many blog readers and facebook readers....and I am reaching out to anyone.

I need to send as much money, up to $3,960 to Fatima next week....by Wednesday. If you can help, please contact me asap. You can click on the donate button at the top left of my blog, you can mail me a check, or I am happy to drive all over TN to pick up your penny jars. Whatever.

I am working to start a non-profit where your future donations can be tax deductible. Not quite yet though. Thank you for giving anyway.

Can you help?

Father God, the future of these children is in your hands. You hold them steady with or without school fees. You have filled them with you peace and your love. They know you and for this I rejoice at high decibels. Thank you Lord for what you are about to do in their lives and in the lives of every joyful giver. I praise you for them all. You are holy and you are love. In your sweet name, we serve in your spirit. Praising you, Jesus. To your glory, Amen.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Spunky P"



The adorable animated girl on the left in both of the above photos is Precious Z. She is the youngest of all of this group of kids. I met her the first time I visited Zim. Despite her younger age she was living in the home with the older kids. She soon was moved into one of the other homes to be with kids her own age....but I've been blessed to see her every time I have visited Zim because she always requests to see me and it is known that I always focus my attention on the teenagers.

The second time I visited Zim, I didn't think I would see her because I had been told she was moved to one of the other homes that Fatima runs. But then I saw her sweet little face in the modest sized crowd and I remember it clearly. I gasped with excitement and I reached out my arms to her and I specifically spoke her name, grabbed and hugged her. I had not seen her in 11 months and had only met her once, but I spoke her name. I remembered her. I knew her. And it blew her mind. She did not expect me to remember her name because there are so many of them. She did not expect me to light up with extra voltage. But I did.

Because of our special connection, she was permitted to come and spend the entire week with us on my most recent visit as well. Soon she will be old enough to move back in full time.

On one of our outings we had a picnic at a park. After enjoying the lunch and the park itself, we were treated to a large bowl of popcorn. We all sat around sharing the snack and it got quiet. I saw opportunity in the silence and so I recommend a simple exercise. I asked each of the kids (all sitting in a big circle) to say one word about the person sitting next to them. I explained that I wanted to hear how they would describe each other so I would learn a little more about each ones personality. They giggled and chattered and then they began. Little Precious Z was the first to go and she said one word about the girl sitting next to her. It was a funny exercise. I was not to participate in the game....but I got dragged in. At the end of the circle, Sarah was supposed to say one descriptive word about Precious Z and then the little game would be over. But Sarah wanted to say something about me instead....and so she switched it up a little. We all laughed and thought the game was over, until little Precious Z said "what about ME?" Oops.....she was waiting on a descriptive word from me. The only word that came to my mind...and it came abruptly was "spunky". I said "spunky" and the laughter roared. They didn't even know what spunky meant, but somehow they all knew that it fit her perfectly. And it does.

Later that day the kids initiated an impromptu talent contest where they took turns singing and dancing. Little Precious was encouraged to sing. I told her that her stage name could be "Spunky P". More roaring laughter. And thus the nickname was born.

We called her "Spunky P" for the rest of the week, and if I know anything about those kids, they are still calling her Spunky P. She was so proud of her nickname and so honored to be the only one with a special name from me.

The day before I left, Spunky P came up to me, put her arm around me and walked beside me. On our little walk together she told me the love she feels from me is even more than she ever felt from her own mother. As you can imagine, this crushed me. I do not know if her mother has passed or if sweet little Precious Z was abandoned. But I know this. My love for her blesses her life and encourages her in ways that I never would have fathomed. And she knows the Holy Spirit in my heart is where my capacity for love comes from.

God bless sweet Spunky P. She is an amazingly strong girl with gusto and spunk. She packs a lot of power in her small package. And she is not afraid to gush about her feelings and wear her heart exposed. What a gift she is to my soul.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rural African Church

So, the first two times I traveled to Zim, I was able to attend a church in the city. It was a great church (same church both times) but if I'm being honest, the church was led by white South Africans, and I was truly dying to attend a rural black church in the middle of nowhere. Ok, not nowhere....but you know what I mean. I hope. This time my wish came true. There actually was not a plan at all to go to church on that Sunday. I'm not sure why, but I think they must have thought I would prefer to go to a white church, and so it was never even mentioned. Until I asked on Saturday.....are we going to church tomorrow? Everyone looked around at each other and began discussing our options. In Shona. So I couldn't understand. I eventually just chimed in and said, in English of course, I would love to go to a rural church. They all smiled. I offered, "I'll be the only white person won't I?". They said, "Naaaaaaaa". They lied. I sure did get some looks. But I couldn't have been happier. And I couldn't have felt more at home with all of my beautiful Zim friends.

Let me tell you a little about this service. First off, Keldon serves in the praise and worship team. I loved watching him worship. We sang, on our feet, for a solid HOUR. And yes, there was dancing....see, me....right at home. The next part of the service was fascinating and beautiful to me. They had prayer leaders and healers at the front of the sanctuary, and people came up to be prayed for. It was intense and focused and loud and full of faith. This lasted about 40 minutes. One attender stood up and gave his testimony of healing (from the previous week). A newly engaged bride was prayed for and celebrated. And then the preacher spoke for about 30 minutes. It was a LONG service, but it was so wonderful. I truly loved it.

Here is a very short video of just a little bit of one of the worship songs. I couldn't resist getting the flip recorder out for this, but I didn't want to be disrespectful so I kept it very short. Enjoy. I did.



video

Monday, August 23, 2010

Zim Trees

I took as many photos of trees as I took of kids. I know....that might be a little insane, but I love the trees in Zim. They are so awkward and interesting. The are beautiful. I love them. Enjoy.










Asher, Shawn & Spencer

All three of my sons have gone through or are going through a major transition. It's been a little hard on this momma.

Asher began Kindergarten last week, and so for the first time in his young life, he is away from me full-time during the day. I wasn't ready. He was.

Shawn now goes to his school 3 full days and 1 half day, whereas before he was strictly half days with an occasional full day here and there. I wasn't ready. He was.

Spencer is moving into an apartment with a friend at the end of the month. I'm ready. He thinks he is ready, but we won't really know until he has successfully paid some bills for a couple of months. He is working full time and planning to go back to school next semester. Oh....the what if's are larger in his life....and I worry. Can't help it.

Soon I am sure I will enjoy the extra hours I have to myself during the days. Those hours will either give me more me time, or give me more work time without having to get creative. Both are welcomed.

Just thought I'd let you know what's going on around here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Journey He Marked for My Weary Feet


Trying to put into words the most radical, moving, awe inspiring, lesson and blessing of my most recent journey to Zimbabwe...... is so difficult.

If you are a Christian, and one who truly studies the scriptures, then you know the new testament is full of testimony and instruction to spread the gospel throughout the whole world. Everyone needs the gospel..... if we believe it is the truth...then we should be radically intent on making sure that strangers to Jesus get a chance to meet His spirit, personally. Keeping this in mind, my initial interest in traveling to Africa to serve orphans, was with the hope that I could introduce Christ in their lives. I quickly learned that Zimbabwe has many Christians, and not only that but these specific teenagers who I have been serving, know Him well. Very well.

As recently as the days before this past trip, I was questioning God. Why was He sending me back? They already know and love Jesus....so other than offering them my simple love, words of encouragement, and treating them to some special moments....what really was the point? Yes, I asked this. I did. And I was feeling doubt.... but I still went. I went because I love them and I wanted to see them. I wanted to rejoice and celebrate the truck that was purchased for Fatima. I wanted to be available and accessible....as the kids are full of truly deep and meaningful questions. But in the back of my mind and in the depth of my heart.....I wondered if this would be the last time. I wondered if there was any real point or benefit to THEM for me to come there. I knew there would be plenty benefit for me.

I didn't realize while I was in Zim that the kids were tracking my every move. I didn't realize I was being inspected and evaluated. (This white woman keeps coming to see us....why?). I didn't realize that I would speak words they would memorize. And I didn't realize that my hugs were worth more than gold.

....until they told me.

They had a farewell party for me on my last evening. And on my last morning, they circled around me in prayer, anointed me with oil, and spoke the sweetest words of gratitude to me. One of my dear friends on this trip couldn't come to my farewell morning because he was crying. I guess he couldn't bear to say goodbye. i know the feeling.....and so i sobbed in front of them.

I cannot really bring myself to type out the things they said to me. I'm not feeling proud, I'm feeling deeply blessed just to be able to see the fruit. I can really only tell you the 2 things in general that they have learned from me, by meeting Christ in my spirit.

Christ used me to teach them....
1. true brotherly love that breaks down racial and cultural barriers
2. go out and share the love of Christ with others

They thought only Jesus would love them. Now they know that a human being who is absorbed in the love of Christ can love well. The Bible doesn't teach love as a method of tolerance. The Bible teaches love as a method to living. The children see this now. And the bible teaches to care for orphans and widows....but it doesn't teach that it should stop there. These orphans know that they are not just to sit back, relax, and wait for everyone to come and love them....but that they have feet. They can walk. They can love. They can spread the gospel.

I had been caught up on "the gospel". I was thinking that the message of the gospel was to teach about the story of Jesus. I was failing to realize that sharing the gospel is more than sharing the story, but most importantly sharing the "message of Christ." That message...... love. These wonderful kids knew the message of love but hadn't seen it put into action outside of Fatima. Now they have. They saw a white woman from Nashville, Tennessee put love into action. And now they want to go out and put love into action too.

My last morning in Zim was so hard. I sobbed uncontrollably, more than once. Words were spoken to me that I truly felt I didn't deserve. We said our goodbyes inside of the house, again outside on the lawn, and again at the airport. Every one of them accompanied me to the airport. Everyone of them walked in and watched me check my baggage. I would later find out that everyone of them stood outside for another hour, said prayers, and watched my airplane disappear into the clouds.

The pain in my heart for missing them is excruciating. But I praise Jesus for the journey he marked for my weary feet.

I love you Lord.


p.s. about the photo. i took numeous photos of interesting trees in Zim. i'll post more soon.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I Miss Them So Much It Hurts





To be honest, I just cannot stop thinking about them for even a minute. If you think that sounds dramatic or exaggerated, you would be incorrect. They are imbedded images, sounds, smells, and emotion in every crevice of my heart. I love them so much. I miss them so much. I am sad.

I see them in my living room, in my car, at the grocery store, at church and in my kitchen. They are everywhere. At this point, I believe they will be in my whole life, forever and ever.....even though so far away.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Few Steps On the Other Side of the World

This is not all of the girls...just a few. I LOVE this first photo of Bev (aka Bevi). She is wearing a sweet little summer sweater that I bought from Target. I just love the way it fits her perfectly. Bevi wants to be a Broadcast Journalist. She is a great speaker and presenter.




This is precious #3. She is studying for Risk Management. She is an amazing girl.


This is sweet Sarah. Sarah is in a life skills program and is learning to sew. She is a questionable life ahead of her. I asked her if she is afraid, and she securely told me "no." She also has an incredibly precious singing voice.


This is Precious #2. I love her so much. She is forever smiling and always have a huge warm hug to give. She is a great dancer.


This is Emily. Emily intrigues me a great deal, however I know the least about her. She keeps to herself, seeming to not need affirmation or attention. But she is stunning and I cannot stop looking at her beautiful face. On my last morning with the kids in Zim, Emily stood up to say some final words to me. She spoke with profound wisdom and sensitivity. She shared a part of her heart with me that I've never seen before. She rocked my world and she sealed my love for her.

If you keep coming to my blog to read about this adventure that is my life, between my growing in faith, my special experiences with my family, mothering 3 boys, mothering a child with Down syndrome, and traveling to Africa to minister to orphans.....well, I thank you. It is not a cliche to state that I have been forever changed, again.

I've asked God a lot of times over the past 2 years.... why Zim? Why THESE kids? They are already Christians.....so what is my purpose in their lives? He used the kids to reveal some of the answers to me while I was there this time. I'm still trying to process the magnitude of the few steps my feet have trod in Africa, on the other side of the world.

I'll share more soon. For now, all I can do is praise Jesus.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blessed - Double Double






Those amazing kids in Zim who I have grown to cherish and adore live in close proximity to some amazing sights. But they have never seen them.

Fatima managed to negotiate a facilitate for our group of about 20 to go to 2 wildlife parks, 1 quiet park with a small lake, and a gorgeous national park of caves. While there did end up being some costs involved which I was SO thankful to be able to afford, and 2 annoying road blocks (literal ones) with fees to get through..... the kids and I enjoyed 4 excursions while I was in Zim.

The cave and the sleeping pool within it took my breath away. It was a spectacular sight. The photos did not come out very well due to the darkness. I cannot begin to describe the majestic color blue of the water. It looked impossibly beautiful. I could never describe it.

The animals at the 2 wildlife parks were incredible to see. My very favorite of all of the animals were 3 owls unlike anything I have ever seen before. Nothing like these owls exists in America...however I could not get photos because their habitat was so dark.

Nothing will top the priceless joy that I received as I witnessed all of these dear kids seeing the animals for the first time. Every one that I asked confirmed for me they had NEVER seen a lion, a baboon, a monkey, a zebra.....never! Even I have seen these in the zoo. The kids were overwhelmed and so excited with each excursion. They proclaimed over and over that it was the best time of their lives.....and they realized for the first time what an imaginative creator we have. The kids had the best time of their lives. And I got to watch it all unfold. I got to hear their words of praise and even see some of their tears of joy.

They LOVED the monkeys. They LOVED the lake. And they LOVED the bus rides around town, to see where they live. What an amazing unexpected gift to me on this journey.

Everything I experienced in Zim blessed me twice. Once for me and once for what I got to observe in the kids. They sang this incredible worship song many times while I was there...in fact I've heard it on every trip. I don't know all of the words, but there is a part of the song that talks about being blessed....and then the low background vocal part says "double double". It actually sounds very African...the rhythm and sound of the song. It was only on this trip that I realized they were singing "double double". Prior to now, I thought it was just a sound. Now i know. And I have been blessed....double double.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fatima

This incredible woman is Fatima. Most of you have already heard so much about her. I know more about her now. She is a very highly educated woman with 2 degrees. She was fortunate to complete some of her studies here in the United States. She returned to Zim and held a high level position and enjoyed the finer things in life. She has been married for 27 years and does not have children of her own. She gave up those finer things several years ago to serve orphans. She has started 4 orphanges and 1 incredible school. She oversees everything from their medical care, schooling, food, clothing, shelter....everything. She employs a Pastor for them to have regular bible teaching, and the also all go to church. She has 65 children, and yet she no longer has a salary. This woman has sacrificed so much to put others before herself. It is such hard work. Logistically, very complicated and very expensive. She is drained and exhausted, but she has been called to this and she does it well, with a passion, and in service to the Kingdom of Heaven. She loves Jesus.






The photos above are of the little lodge/cottage she found for me to stay in while I was there. Fatima also found a security guard to protect my lodging from 7pm every evening until 6 am every morning. His name was Phillip. I found out the evening before I left that Philip had done this at no charge. He and I had great conversations every night. He showed me his pocket bible that he was reading from in the middle of each night....with his little pocket flashlight. He and I spoke a lot about life and about God having something special for us. Philip was still waiting for his "something special". He isn't waiting anymore. Now he knows that his everything is special.

See the 2 beautiful flower arrangements Fatima gave me? She also stocked my lodge with groceries (including Pringles!) and toiletries. I had no idea I would be treated with such incredible honor. It was amazing. There were many surprises in store for me, I had not known. I'll share some of those tomorrow.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Death Amidst Life

What do you see here? I see a dead tree in the middle of a pond of water. This tree in Zim has been coming to mind a lot. How does a tree die submerged in water? I thought water was life giving.

Look at the life that is all around, evident in the evergreens, the wildflowers, and the other greenery on the earth and in the water. Healthy life is all around this dead, hopeless tree. I wonder how long it will continue to stand before it falls over and floats away, to rot and decay from the inside out? And, will anyone notice? Will anyone care?

This tree isn't much unlike the orphans in Zim and throughout the world. They live surrounded by thriving life, going largely unnoticed, untended, and uncared for. Sad, when nourishment is so close and even often, in abundance.

The greatest source of nourishment isn't water or food. It is love.

Love saves lives.

Love is free.

I don't want to be the love the stands still and remains quiet. I don't want to be the love that gets close but not close enough. I don't want to be the love that gives only once I have received. I don't want to be the love that only nourishes my own.

I want to be a representative of the love that keeps the branches alive. Jesus.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Softness

Stunning, simple beauty. She is a 20 year old orphan, at a University for Risk Management. She is more fortunate than most. Meeting her was an incredible highlight of my visit to Zim. Who am I kidding? Every moment was a highlight.

This one has such grace and poise. She literally looked after my every move with love and servanthood. She wanted me to be safe, comfortable, and cared for. She has the sweetest smile and the sweetest voice. If I could design a daughter, she would be just like her.

Yes, she has a name. A perfectly fitting one.

She is Precious. And I miss her.

about the stars

I'm not ready to talk about the kids yet.

I'm not sure how or why, but the sky in Africa seems closer to the earth and the stars are even more brilliant. I must tell you that nights in Zim are dark. Really really dark. Can't see your hand in front of your face, dark. And this is even truer when the electricity is not working, which is like, every night.

The nights' sky took my breath away on more than one occasion. I witnessed 3 sunsets with a red sun, an orange sun and a pink sun....all of which made me somehow shiver. Majestic.

I don't know how many stars there are in the sky, but I know the latest statistic of the number of orphans in the world. 167,000,000 (one-hundred and sixty-seven MILLION). Motherless. Fatherless.

If you could reach your hand into the nights' sky and touch a star, would you? If you could reach out and touch an orphans' life, would you? One of these needs the other.

You could be a star.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Navigating the Well

The bucket at the well, it goes down empty and it rises up full.

In the hours since my return home from Zim I am alternating quickly between a full bucket and and empty bucket. I can't tell when I'm sinking or rising. It is an impossible experience to describe. I am full and empty.

This 3rd time, it was amazing. Amazing is a weak word in this moment, because more than amazing, it was enormous splashes of love, and then dark pits of despair. The gloriousness seemed to snatch me up into the heavenlies. The darkness crushed me like a boulder on an ant.

I've opened up my heart to the extreme this time, and I have prepared warm rooms for Keldon, Richman, Layman, Richard, Promise, Boaz, Zig, Nichola, Jefrey, Precious #1, #2 & #3, Ruth, Sarah, Emily, Winnet, Pastor Phillip, Pastor Breshnev, Fatima, Theresa, Lovejoy, and Bestman, to dwell permanently within it.

I'll share more soon. Until then I'm just trying to figure out how to navigate in the well.

(see previous post for a video)
I am so thankful to be home with all my boys. I missed them terribly. This morning however, I'm missing the kids in Zim. Here is one of our bus trips to the various sites we visited, which I will share more about soon. On every ride to and from each site, they sang one worship song after another with the greatest of joy and celebration. Enjoy this one.

Zim songs on bus #1 from melissa irwin on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Unremarkable

Long ago I worked for a physician/surgeon and I had to transcribe his patient notes. His job was pretty intense, in that he was a trauma surgeon in the ER for one of our finest hospitals. I was young, mid 20's maybe. I can recall the first time I heard him describe something as "unremarkable". I don't think I had ever heard that term before. I had heard "remarkable" of course, but never the polar opposite of that.

If something is unremarkable in the medical world, it just bascially means there is nothing to determine that it is worth remarking about. Right? Often times, he would do an examination and declare the entire medical situation to be "unremarkable". Nothing was wrong necessarily. Nothing major. Or nothing of importance. In the medical world, I suppose it is a good word.

You would rather be found to be unremarkable than to have cancer, or aids, or heart failure or diabetes. In fact, we'd all love for our medical reports to be unremarkable.

But how about your faith? If God took out his scopes and his tools and began to examine your faith, would He find it to be "unremarkable?" Oh Lord, I hope not.

I want your faith and my faith to be "REMARKABLE". In fact, I want for our Heavenly Father to have so much to remark about that He cannot stop talking. I want His remarks about me to be:

  • she trusted me in the face of uncertainty
  • she went with beautiful feet to the places i sent her
  • she knew I was in control even though she didn't know what I would do or allow
  • she never gave up Hope
  • she loved even when it was difficult
  • she forgave even when it didn't make sense to
  • she treated everyone with the kindness i planted in her spirit
  • she hugged people she didn't even know
  • she talked about ME and she shared my truth
  • she comforted others
  • she believed in me even when others thought it weak
  • she loved me first
  • she taught her children they could talk to me
  • she read my word and marveled at its mystery
  • she gave out more hugs than she received
  • she knew that I could and would love anyone, regardless of their sin
  • she didn't try and judge the hearts of others, even when she was tempted
  • she intentionally tried to love people that she didn't like
  • she gave things up for me
  • she listened when i spoke to her
  • she discerned between good and bad
  • she valued wisdom
  • she wore grace like a gift
  • she begged for mercy and then praised me when I lavished it upon her
  • she knew she wasn't greatest or least...and she knew that didn't matter anyway
  • she valued hearts over position
  • she was fair
  • she always had a song in her heart
  • she talked to Me in the dead of the night and in the glory of the morning
  • she wept over things that break My heart
  • she didn't run away
  • she served My kingdom
  • she won hearts for Heaven
Our Lord God cannot say all of these things about me yet, but I pray that He can say some of these now and before I die, I pray He can say them all, confidently. I want my faith to be remarkable.

And I want this for you.