Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What A Common, Not Famous Girl Can Do...

I hear you, I'm reading all about your pain and sorrows... Yes, I'm overwhelmed too. I want to fix this mess, kiss it's wound and make it all better, but in the mean time....

Some of us are busy teaching peace for all people, action for injustice and hope for a united and free tomorrow.  We aren’t the loudest, the bravest or the most read but we are making the biggest impact. We are throwing the pebble and watching the ripple effects and they are coming. 

We are the diligent, the steady day in and day out makers of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bedtime story readers. We find purpose in the common and teach character above popularity. We clean scrapped knees and wrap up injured ankles all while mending heartaches and solving algebraic equations.  We find ways to bring the teachings of Jesus into real life situations; the Good Samaritan and Fruits of The Spirit are alive and well in our homes and on the streets we cross.

We are crying on pillows for children in the news who are being shot and killed with hands up in surrender, our knees are bruised from the kneeling prayers for victims of ISIS, Ebola and girls gone missing later to be found in backyards of mad men with hollow eyes. Our hearts are beating too fast our anxiety is threatening our joy and we are preaching No Fear but we are medicating every symptom at the delight of pharmaceutical sales reps.

The world is falling apart…and all the kids want is a warm full belly and a whispered prayer of assurance that Jesus indeed has the whole world in His hands and He certainly loves all the children …red, yellow, black and white. 

We are the passers down of The Truth and if we don’t hand them the baton of Faith…we leave them running with hands open to receive whatever message is mainstream …it sounds a lot like “Your life has little value. Serve yourself first, turn your back when it gets tough and sell out your soul for fame.”

I do not desire my humble prayers to go viral but better yet…they will go directly to the ears of God who promises to listen.

“The LORD hears His people when they cry out to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.” ~Psalm 34:17

He will not be mocked.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” ~Galatians 6:7

And He will avenge His people. All of them…
He is fighting our battles…

“Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you.” ~Deuteronomy 3:22

Sometimes when I don't strike while the iron is hot on a subject...it is only because my every thought is wrapped up vulnerable at the Throne of God waiting to hear His response. 

But at the end of the day your silence can be misunderstood just as easily as your hot off the cuff reaction…I want my kids to know where I stand on the cultural issues we are facing today.

They need to know that my first reaction to the news of Michael Browns murder was that I SO badly wanted to hold the trembling hands of his mother and cry with her, wipe her tears off and listen to the stories of how he made her laugh when he was a toddler… before the world was against him…I want her to know if I was there,
I would have stood in front of that bullet...for any child.

I want to pray over her aching soul and tell her I will never forget his name. I want her to know I am teaching my children to respect the abusive history of African Americans and the message of “do not look at color” isn’t the answer. Why would I want them to miss your beauty? I’m teaching them to appreciate the hand spun creations of Jesus Christ. We were all made in his image…we are beautiful in His sight and have value with purpose in His Kingdom.  All of us…

I need to believe that most of us rocking and raising this generation are teachers of a new Way. It can feel like the smallest influence but really…it’s the biggest impact you can offer. When your children leave the home, what each parent has packed their bags with will ultimately be the change mankind is crawling around on the ground searching for desperately.  

I’m a hopeless romantic in the love story of Jesus and His people…He is coming after us. Hear that with passion and tippy toe standing excitement...He. Is. Coming. I want to be found preaching Grace, Hope, Forgiveness, Justice, Love, Equality, Freedom and Redemption in my home. 

You will never look into the eyes of a human being that Jesus did not die for. Never. We are breathing because of His breath. Our posture should be adoration. 

You are a difference maker…you…the one holding tiny hands crossing the street. Our job has never been more important. Let them see you grieve…let them witness your rage against mistreatment of God’s people. Let them find you with hot coffee and Bibles open seeking His will. Let them hear you pray for other people’s children…bring them with you to serve in your local community.

I get it…I’m a dreamer…I’m still wearing my faded red KONY t-shirt…I painted the front porch in it last summer and asked the Lord one more time to reignite my heart for those head line stories everyone loves to jump on board with, throw 25 dollars at and forget it with the season change. I want to be faithful in the long dark alleys… not just the spotlight.  Join me. Join me. Join me. Please.

Don’t give up hope that tomorrow we could see half the violence…half the heartache…half the depression. Be the voice of healing for your children and the children around your circle of influence. Keep reading the news articles so you will know how to teach, pray and serve. Don’t turn your back. Turn your outrage into action.

When you have spent your time teaching equality for all genders and races you see that it works. When your children, all four of them, are shocked at racist hate and hostile glass ceilings you whisper a thank you. They are listening, more than that they are paying attention to what moves you. What you tolerate. 

I am convinced the solution won't be found in the hands of any government. It rests in the palms of Jesus and in the mothers who dream. It's the millions of little movements more than it's the one big moment that makes the change happen. 

How can a common girl help Ferguson? How can she make a difference in beheadings and rapes and wars…How can she not? Get. On. Your. Knees. 


I had the privilege of holding a friends baby a few weeks ago while she stepped away for a deserving minute. He is about 2 months old give or take so he drinks milk, burps and then his body falls limp and wraps it’s precious self around your waist, head resting on the curve in your arm. There is not one single thing sweeter on this planet... 

As I stood swaying him back and forth I wanted to sing softly over him but instead…I began to feel The Lord strongly ask me to pray over him. This little boy…not my own…He wants me to invest in. Yes, that’s what God wants from us. What a privilege…what an eternal game changer. Get on this movement with me. Find someone not in your family...a young little guy or gal...and intercede. 

As I rubbed his tiny toes I asked this of my God…



Lord, set his feet upon The Rock. Choose him to be a peace maker and a leader in his generation. Give him a firm foundation that he might never question his calling on this earth. Set in his heart at the earliest age possible the teachings of Christ and let his capacity to understand the mysteries of You be far beyond the wisest of men. Grant him health all the days of his life so that he can fully live out his missions. Give him a vision that matches your desires. Protect him from the schemes of man and help him anticipate your mighty right hand holding him up. Set him apart for your glory. Let him be a blessing to his parents and his community. Teach him Your ways and let there be clarity between right and wrong according to Your Word. Bring him friends to do life with who are like minded and encourager's of a Christ like lifestyle. Set His feet Lord. Let his life count for MUCH.  
Amen.   
   
I will never give up.  I will let it shock me when people chose evil over good. I will push past fear and fight for peace. And I will use my voice until God brings me home. It is decided. 

I’m calling this generation to a firm foundation…I’m praying them to The Rock. And that my friends...IS doing something.  

“He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on a rock and steadied me as I walked along.” 
~Psalm 40:2

Don't let it just be me...


~Allison

Friday, August 29, 2014

Don't Cheat Yourself...


 We were all laced up hydrated and ready to go run our big four mile loop. My little jogging buddy is 60 pounds soaking wet with long legs and knobby ten year old knees…she likes to be with her mama and I’m thrilled to drag her, I mean bring her along.  

Mile .50 was coming up and the once gung-ho side kick was no longer singing loudly and smiling. It was more like a “how much longer” out of tune scream. I took out my ear buds and that just about made me give up on the spot. How anyone exercises without the top 40 playing I will never know. 

I could see that if we were going to make it she was going to need a cheerleader. And all though I hadn’t set out with that job in mind, I wanted her to succeed. Sometimes what isn’t a big deal to you, is a beast of a mountain to someone else.

“You got this sister!”

“You are a rock star!”

“Nothing can stop you when you set your mind to it!”

“I believe in you!”

“I’m right here with you…go baby girl go!”

And this went on and on for what felt like waiting for a white Christmas in July. But I knew in my heart this was not an impossible task for her. And when we quit too soon…it can become a habit. Trust me…The pot is calling the kettle black. (Please don’t tell me you have never heard that phrase. Google it. It’s a keeper.)

She was pushing  through every mile one foot in front of the other, red cheeks and sweaty faced huffing and puffing and *all the stuff* and then when we turned the last corner…she did something I never saw coming…

She took off running, well sprinting really, and shouted to me at the top of her lungs “Mom, why are you going so slow now? We are almost home! Don’t cheat yourself…run you can do it!”

Don’t cheat myself??? Where does she get this stuff? (Laughing)


Encourage each other, and build each other up, just as you are already doing. ~1 Thessalonians 5:11

 We weren’t created to do life alone. We need each other for accountability and encouragement. That being said… be careful that the people you are “running the race” with have your back. 

Life is brutal, live it with people who will take out their ear buds, even when it’s inconvenient and rally with you. Reevaluating the people you allow into your life…the ones you spend a whole bunch of time with…is very necessary. If they aren’t building you up…they are tearing you down. There isn’t much neutral ground there.  

Two people are better than one; they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble…A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10&12

Whatever it is that has you asking “What mile is this and how much longer until we get home?” I say to you…

“You got this sister!”

“You are a rock star!”

“Nothing can stop you when you set your mind to it!”

“I believe in you!”

“I’m right here with you…go baby girl go!”

Sprint ahead and keep your eyes on the goal, shake off what drags you down and grab a few good friends to go with you. 

My best friend and I have a saying that truly doesn’t *quite* make full since but we understand it…it goes like this…

I’d rather have four solid quarters than one hundred pennies that I can’t keep up with.” Get it? Anybody?

Happy Friday love bugs…be better than just good this weekend. And hey...don't cheat yourself. 

~Allison   








       


       

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

He Is Not The Lesser...He Is The Chosen.

“You don’t know what you don’t know.”  Are the words that came from my best friend’s mouth directed at a teary eyed me who was standing on the tennis court opposite her with my hand over my mouth. 

I said a word that hurt her to the core of her being. The kind of pain that sends a shock to your gut and makes you stutter your next few words, turning your face flush.

She shook her head and waved her hand as if to say, “give me a minute and I’ll be over it.” I apologized too much, you know what I mean? The kind when you keep saying I’m sorry and the other person really just needs you to shut the hell up and drop it. But you can’t because you feel so horribly guilty…

Even when she had long forgiven me, and she had because she’s really good at that, I still brought myself to the Altar for weeks asking for mercy…and I received it. Finally. 

But I was changed. Permanently. And I have never used that word again. When I hear other people use it, and they do…way too often…a piece of me cringes and I silently whisper a prayer of forgiveness…again.

I know you want me to tell you the word I used. I will…but you have most likely in your mind come up with at least 10 highly offensive words wondering if that’s what I said. I’m curious…did you come up with the word “retarded”?

Mostly I hear people say something very similar to what I said, it sounds like this…”Did you hear about the new rule change the school put into place? That’s just retarded. Who decided that?”  Or. “Can you believe she said that to him? She’s a retard.”

Neither of those is OK. But somehow they are common place in our society. You might not even blink an eye at that word…what’s the big deal?

He is the big deal. 

My friend’s son.

Her first born child. 

Who was given to her by the same God who gave my children to me…but hers has special needs and is classified as retarded.  I have streams rolling down my cheeks at the wonder of him. He has stolen my heart.

Retarded: People who are slow or limited in mental development. Characterized by limited intellectual understanding or awareness, emotional development or academic progress. 

If this is the description of your flesh and blood, the word can no longer be thrown carelessly around. And for the love of the God who hand spun him…do not use it in a derogatory nature…as a slam, slander or dig to describe something or someone you have distaste for.

When I pull into her drive way he is there standing in the window…with his little white dog in one hand he runs to my car and greets me with the biggest smile and high five. “I go with you Mrs. Lee. I get in you car.” He jumps in and we put in an Elmo DVD…we laugh and sing and clap at the ridiculous red character he loves so much.

At fifteen years old he is a diaper wearing, Elmo watching full of nothing but joy and peace in his precious heart child of God…



I have decided that special needs children will experience the fullness of heaven in a much greater capacity than those of us who are considered normal could ever fathom.

I see Jesus Christ in his eyes. 

I witness Jesus Christ through his life. 

He is not the lesser…He is the chosen. Just wait and see…

I now know. And I want to be a part of educating you…the one who doesn’t know. Your words are painful. They hurt hearts of mamas who care for babies that never grow up.

To put it in perspective for you…if you are a Christian…when you are around someone who uses the Lords name in vain like, “That GD dog crapped in my yard again.” Now you see? The name of someone you are in love with being mistreated…it needs to stop. Or all those “Your Mama's so fat” jokes that make people reallllly hot…am I making it clear? Or if you are an African American and you hear someone use the N word. Or if you have a loved one who is gay or a lesbian and you hear some one describe them as a faggot.  

Did I hit enough nerves there? Are your ears red? Mine are...I despise bully's. 

The special needs community is a very forgiving one. They aren’t walking around with a chip on their shoulder angry at the world. They extend more grace than anyone I know…perhaps because they need grace more than anyone I know.

You don’t know what you don’t know. You just don’t. But if you hung in there with me for this long post…you can’t UN-know.

Would you simply find a different word? Help me stop the unnecessary meanness. And if you feel lead…would you do me one more favor?  

It has come to my attention through a series of no good horrible events that I will save for a possible later post…that many…let me say that again, MANY local Church’s are not accepting Special Needs children into their doors on Sunday morning. They “aren’t equip.” Or they “Simply don’t have the financial resources to care for these children.” (I am rolling my eyes as you hand out your free coffee and donuts and walk on the marble floor.)


The Church. The Body of Christ. The hands and feet of a crucified and risen Jesus whose VERY message was to care for the broken and hurting and needy…. are closing the door on the families who need rest and worship perhaps the most.

No... this is not OK with me and I am banking on the fact that it is also absolutely not OK with you either. I can’t personally tackle every single Church…would you make it you business to call yours and find out if they accept special needs children? Unconditionally? Even the visitors? Will you dig deep and look at the departments “policies”? Are they just as welcome as the children with smocked dresses and giant hair bows who sing and recite Bible verses and sit still for the lesson?

You don’t know what you don’t know…

~Allison


John 9:1-3
As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”   

Luke 14:12-14
He also said to the man who invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, least they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Exodus 4:11
Then The Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, The Lord?”