We Are #DallasStrong

15 Jul

They call it the deadliest day for law enforcement since 9/11.

On July 7th, a twenty-five-year-old former U.S. troop opened fire, sniper style, on a peaceful protest on the streets of downtown Dallas. Injuring over a dozen law enforcement officials and killing five, his mission was clearly stated: “I want to kill white cops.”

For us locals, the names and faces of the fallen police officers have become familiar. Not knowing where to go or what to do, North Texans made their way to Dallas Police Headquarters on S. LCaitlyn Nick at DPDamar St., where a makeshift memorial had sprung up.

On Thursday, July 14th, I took my two children to see it.

My plan was simple: show my nine-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter that God trades beauty for ashes.

They had seen it on the news, but none of the pictures could prepare them for what we saw.

We saw a mountain of flowers, stuffed animals, posters, and crosses covering and surrounding two police cars.

We saw people holding hands and praying.

We saw the Red Cross on hand passing out water.

We saw a divided people uniting in love.

Perhaps the most profound thing I noticed was the grief etched on the face of every single officer we spoke to. The men who died in the line of duty were their brothers and friends. They were lunch buddies and confidants. Real people with real stories; who left real families behind to mourn.

But underneath the grDPD Memorialsief was gratitude.

There is an oft-neglected ministry that we are inclined to forget about, and that’s the ministry of simply showing up.

We shook hands, exchanged words, and hugged necks, and each officer said the same thing.

Thank you so much for coming. It means so much. Thank you for your support.

A verse of Scripture that I’d memorized years ago began to play through my mind:

He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.

—Psalm 147:3

When we rally around our wounded, we become a part of the binding process.

My children and I talked about the ways we saw God working. We discussed the ministry of showing up; how presence comforts when words fail. How signing a card says far more than our name, and how a hug or a handshake heals wounds.

You see, God works miracles of healing all the time, and His favorite instrument is us.

I want in. (more…)

Trusting For the Better “Yes”

5 Jul

We have all been there.

Praying, pleading and begging God to speak, act, or move on the behalf of ourselves or someone we love. At best, God seems silent. At worst, downright absent.hope sign dreamstime

I’ve been there a million times, but one incident, in particular, stands out. It’s how I ended up in Dallas/Fort Worth.

At the tender age of twenty-one, I had my Bachelor’s degree in journalism in one hand and my dreams in the other. Fresh out college and ready to go, I papered Kansas City and Topeka with resumes and demo tapes, all to no avail. I couldn’t understand it. I had spent an entire summer working on camera as a news reporter at the NBC affiliate in Topeka. I had spent over a year as a news personality on our highly acclaimed college radio station. I had believed with all my heart that God had opened doors and paved trails up to this point so that I could work in radio.

Where was God now? Why wouldn’t He speak?

No doors were opening. In fact, neither my degree nor my experience seemed to warrant a return phone call.

Then finally, a crack. KBEQ in Kansas City was looking for a  promotions assistant that would, along with several administrative duties, load and unload the promotional van. It paid $16K a year, approximately $11K less than I was currently making at my until-I-can-get-my-dream-job job, and I went for it.

Nothing.

Nada.

Nyet.

With my broken heart and my tail between my legs, I did what I believed God was telling me to do and drove down to the DFW area so I could, gulp, move in with my parents and figure my life out. (more…)

On Shootings and Sweet Potatoes…

13 Jun

There’s no telling how long it had been there.sweet potato

Our first inclination that something was amiss was the fruit flies. It started with one or two. Puzzled, I moved a perfectly good bunch of bananas to the kitchen table, where they sat in a decorative bowl.

No luck.

Next, I moved the avocados.

Still no luck.

The fruit flies were definitely coming from the pantry, and while they weren’t taking over, they were certainly pesky, so I continued to investigate. I rearranged, scrubbed, and scoured, and still couldn’t find their source.

On June 13, 2016, barely a day and a half after the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States, I sighed as I put away the groceries. We had talked about the Orlando tragedy all morning long on 90.9 KCBI, and my heart was heavy.

Grabbing a plastic bag of sweet potatoes and swatting away another tiny bug, I cleared a space in the corner on the bottom shelf. That’s when I found the fruit fly lair.

In disbelief and disgust, I pulled a thriving sweet potato plant out of our pantry and into the light. How in the world had this thing grown? There was no light, no water, no plant food! I keep a pretty spic-and-span kitchen, how had this escaped me?

Remarkable, isn’t it, how something can flourish in the most hostile conditions.

On a day of grieving and prayer, I am strangely comforted by the sweet potato. It reminds me of a few things. Like how God’s purposes are never thwarted, and how things that stun us into silence do not shake Him. If God decrees it, it cannot be stopped.

Just try to thwart God’s will. Two-thousand years ago the Pharisees and Sadducees crucified our Savior, and the grave had no power to hold Him.

Can I say that again?

Death, in the face of Christ, is like an ant in the face of a boot.

It’s a non-issue, a non-threat, not even a stumbling block.

Upon Christ’s resurrection, a tiny band of bumbling, bickering boys became an unstoppable band of brothers who took the Gospel to the farthest reaches of their world, and since then the Church has spread across the globe.

Satan can throw stones, but as history has proven time and again, the harder he presses, the more we press on.

I am sick to death at what happened at a nightclub in Orlando, and everything in me is crying out for justice. But in the face of my sadness I resolve to this: (more…)

Dear Mom With the Difficult Kid…

7 Jun

Then little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

Jesus said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” When He had placed His hands on them, He went on from there.

—Matthew 19:13-15 NIV

tantrumI am a mom of two, and an aunt of ten awesome kids, so that means there are twelve children in my life that I love as though they were my own.

One of them struggles.

All kids come with a set of challenges spanning varying degrees of difficulty, but one was dealt a tougher hand than the others. The diagnoses have changed throughout the years—always tentative and never definitive—but have included sensory processing issues, obsessive compulsive tendencies, and severe depression.

Are we having fun yet?

This kid’s mom and I are closer than close, closer than skin, and I have watched her struggle since this precious child was six months old. One incident in particular stands out.

The child was in Pre-K at a private Christian school, where the Christian parents are supposed to act like Christians. (more…)

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