Archives For love

For The Love of Community

August 17, 2015 — 8 Comments

FORTHELOVEpicThere are few things in life that end up working out the way we envisioned them or had hoped they’d turn out, right? I mean think about it; did marriage, parenthood, complete financial freedom by the age of 40 work out the way you expected & dreamed when you were 18 and knew it all? How about that waistline? If you still have your 18-year-old-body after birthing several children, you’re a freak of nature. I mean, I love you, but you’re barely human.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a big dreamer. It’s gotten me into more than a few pickles in my life… because reality often wins out over dreaming big… and blah, blah, blah… whatever, man. I think I’m finally figuring out how to dream without being devastated when reality happens in the midst of the dreaming.

A few months back I prayed a big prayer for God to enlarge my territory & that His grace would empower me to be who He created me to be… to create hope & inspire others to know Him simply by loving them. earth-shattering, right? 🙂

Welp, the Lord answered that prayer but in exactly ZERO ways I thought He would. Of course. Yet His plan worked SO much better than my dreams! Imagine that!

I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in Jen Hatmaker’s Launch Team for her new book:

‘For the Love’. Y’all it releases TODAY, the 18th.

As part of the Launch Team, I knew there would be perks like an advanced copy of the book, the opportunity to write an endorsement, getting to be in a private FB group with the other #499 Launch Team members & Jen herself, but what I didn’t see coming has perhaps been the greatest gift…

Community. Authentic & Grace-filled Connection. I mean, as close as you can be to people online, that is what our band of #500 have become… a tribe, a community, a safe haven in which to blossom & be messy. No religious requirements. No hoops. No judgments. Turns out, it’s possible. 

And it’s crossed from just being online to truly developing friendship in ‘real life’ through meet-ups & such… for many of us I believe we’ll be friends long after the Book Launch dust has settled.

Rebecca Beckett said it best: “Jen didn’t just write a book; she wrote a community.”

These ladies & Jen have opened their hearts to each other. It’s a place to practice what the book itself is all about… giving grace, removing the impossible standards we place on ourselves so we can truly love our neighbor as ourselves… no matter how different we may be from one another.

This book is a melting pot of hilarity & practical wisdom. I’ve often talked about how funny it is, but one quote I want to leave with you, that I believe sums up not only the point of the book, but the point of the Gospel:

“Maybe we can lay down our fear and criticism, self-directed and otherwise. Maybe if we let ourselves off the hook, we can let others off too, and discover that God was in control all along, just as He tried to tell us. He is good at being God! Hooray!” ~ Jen Hatmaker, For The Love

Give it a whirl… the book AND laying down the fear & criticism… there’s so much freedom & peace in grace, y’all. So much.

If you haven’t already purchased your shiny new book with shiny new words, in honor of the book launching today, I’m giving away one of my ten copies (hey, no snickering! yeah, I ordered TEN! hush it!) Entering is super easy because complicated giveaways give me a headache and multiple instructions are sometimes hard to follow! Bless our hearts. 🙂

Share this blogpost. Then comment below OR on my Facebook/Twitter post telling me that you shared it! #BOOM you BOSSED it! 

Contest starts NNNNNN…NOW & runs through next Monday, the 24th. 

Thanks for sticking with me, readers! Thanks for letting me be a dreamer… sometimes a flaky one… okay, a lot of times a flaky one. I’ve received so much grace and you know what it feels like? It feels like Love.

Shine On… For The Love! 

Danielle 
Ps. Now go share this post with your friends, then let me know you shared it by leaving a comment here OR on my Facebook/Twitter post. Then, you are entered! Capeesh?

I could not have said this better myself. These words need to be read (& heeded) not only by Evangelical Christians but Christ-followers all across America. Thank you Ed Cyzewski for this call to action & anthem of freedom. A fantastic way to put our compassion into action is through The Legacy Collective, a non-profit started by Brandon & Jen Hatmaker which is a new kind of Giving Community focused on partnering, pioneering, and funding sustainable solutions to systemic social issues locally & globally. It’s sort of brilliant.

 

The Supreme Court Just Gave American Evangelicals a Gift

 

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Evangelicals are tenacious, persistent, and driven when they want to fight for a cause. The problem is that American evangelicals have been swept up in fighting for the wrong cause for a long time.

When the Supreme Court ruled to make same sex marriage the law of the land, American evangelicals received a gift that many don’t want: official permission to fight for people in need instead of fighting against same sex marriage.

Whatever you believe about same sex marriage, the role of government, and the future of the church in America, disagreeing with same sex marriage on moral grounds does not demand a public campaign to prevent it from becoming legally sanctioned. While I remain committed to creating room for affirming and non-affirming evangelicals who unite under the common banner of saving faith in Christ, evangelicals in America should have never made legalized same sex marriage a central moral issue to fight in the courts.

While I don’t believe Matthew 25 is exhaustive in its presentation of what matters to God, we do get a glimpse of the kinds of people who have internalized and lived out the message of Jesus. They work to alleviate the most pressing needs of others in our world.

That isn’t a call to relativize our sexual standards. Rather, I see Jesus pointing us toward the issues that pertain to the most basic aspects of human dignity: food, shelter, clothing, justice, and sickness:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,

I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,

I was a stranger and you invited me in, 

I needed clothes and you clothed me, 

I was sick and you looked after me,

I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

We can disagree all day about same sex marriage. Heck, the majority of evangelicals will most likely continue to disagree about this issue for another 20 years until the millennials take their place in church leadership.

However, there’s no denying that millions of people around the world are suffering significantly, and Jesus wants us to focus our energies on serving them. If there was ever a group of people who should give a damn about children dying of hunger, deeply wounded people suffering in prison, and thousands upon thousands of refugees fleeing unprecedented violence in the Middle East, it should be American evangelicals.

It’s not like these massive global needs are a secret:

Over 49 million Americans and 870 million people overall in the world are going hungry (source).

750 million people worldwide lack access to clean water, leading to diseases that disproportionately kill children under age 5 who are unable to fight bacteria (source 1,source 2)

The U.S. prison system incarcerates over 2.3 million people, including a disproportionate number of African Americans (source).

Over 100 million Christians around the world face severe persecution, including the believers living in refugee camps after fleeing Syria and Iraq (source).

Over 500,000 Americans are homeless (source), but worldwide an estimated 1 billion people are living in housing that is inadequate (source).

If you care about preventing terrible things like human trafficking, rape, forced prostitution, and child soldiers, partnering with groups that empower communities to meet these basic needs will go a long way in keeping potential victims safe, healthy, and in control of their own lives.

Declarations about the collapse of civilization because of same sex marriage ring hollow when we consider that Americans toss 31.1% of our food while allowing millions to go hungry, fail to ask whether our ridiculously high incarceration rates ruin thousands of lives that could have been set right through treatment programs, and Christians in the Middle East have to flee their villages after ISIS invades, steals their women and children, and threatens to kill anyone who refuses to convert.

If God is going to condemn us over anything in America, it’s going to be our indifference and inaction when it comes to feeding people, giving out clean water, offering shelter, visiting the sick, and helping the prisoners, not a Supreme Court ruling.

It boggles the mind that evangelicals in America have long seen this ruling coming, but we have fought tooth and nail in what many suspected to be a losing cause. So many millions of dollars and hours were tossed into legal battles that were a long shot at best.

And yet, we have always had financial resources, competent charities, and passionate workers who are more than willing to travel to the ends of the earth to fulfill the very words of Jesus. If we collectively gave these most basic causes just a fraction of the time and energy that we had devoted to fighting same sex marriage, who knows how many thousands or millions of lives could have been saved.

We have been given a gift: The Supreme Court ruling means we can stop throwing our time and money into fighting same sex marriage and fulfill the words of Matthew 25.

We need not lament, lick our wounds, or bemoan the “terrible” world that our grandchildren will inherit. For millions of people around the world and even in our own neighborhoods, the worst has already happened and will continue to happen.

We need not wave the white flag of surrender on same sex marriage and pray for God’s mercy. If we’re going to take the words of Jesus seriously, know this:

God’s judgment has been upon us long before a single state allowed same sex marriage.

God’s judgment came upon us when we left people hungry, thirsty, sick, unclothed, and alone.

It’s time to stop blaming the court system. If we disagree on same sex marriage, that is our right. That doesn’t change the call of Jesus for his followers, especially American evangelicals at this time. We have our marching orders. We shouldn’t act surprised at who we’re called to serve.

We aren’t called to fight against someone. We aren’t called to litigation.

We are called to fight for everyone—especially those suffering in the most basic ways.

The longer we engage in legal fights against same sex marriage, the more apparent it becomes that we’d rather throw ourselves into any losing cause than obey the most basic commands of Jesus.

Let’s take our tenacity, energy, and resources and throw them into serving the people who are suffering the most in this world.

We may even hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant,” one day.

Building Hope

July 11, 2014 — 1 Comment

Have you ever seen hope? I’m going to show it to you…. but first I have a huge announcement that has been years in the making!

One of our main goals in partnering with the Bheveni Community in Swaziland, through Children’s HopeChest, is to only take actions that will benefit the children & community long term. We prayerfully look for opportunities (such as health, education, discipleship, etc.) that will empower & create self-sustainability. Soooo….

We are Building: Bheveni Together! God has moved on the heart of a donor to pledge $25,000 to provide a Multi-Purpose Building at Bheveni! Hallelujah! The completed project cost is $30,000 —> we are SOOOO close! Once the project is 100% FULLY funded, we can begin construction.

The community around the carepoint is excited – they have enthusiastically agreed to help do the ‘grunt’ work! Which is wonderful, because this will be their building that will be used in many ways – preschool, library, grief counseling classes, lifeskills training classes, health classes for the teenagers, and perhaps at some point church & further schooling for the older kids. Once the building is complete, we believe there is a way to get electricity to it and only cost about $2,000 more! THIS WOULD BE A HUGE, HUGE Blessing!!!

If you’d like to be a part of ‘Building: Bheveni Together’ let us know! We can hardly wait til this project is fully funded so construction can begin! In fact, here’s a link to give: Building: Bheveni Together. At the link you’ll need to include this info:

Designated/One TIme Gift: {Enter your donation amount}

Reference Number: SZ3006000

Notes Field: Building

Please let me know if you gave, as I do not personally have access to the individual donations. The picture is an example of a similar structure that would be built on the Bheveni property. It is much, much larger that what we have now!

BuildingExample3pics

 

I said I would show you what hope looks like… Next week we are hand-delivering these letters & pictures (and more!) to the children of Bheveni Carepoint in Swaziland, Africa.

These letters & pictures are why I posted this:

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Really though, get your tissue ready because these are precious.

The 7, almost 8 year old Bella made an incredible self-portrait! Her eyes & smiles are REALLY that big! Thanks Bella!

The 7, almost 8 year old Bella made an incredible self-portrait! Her eyes & smiles are REALLY that big! Thanks Bella!

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A Minnesota day care full of happy kids decided to share the JOY with kids in Swaziland! Thanks guys!

Loving the bright colors!

Loving the bright colors!

Can you say WOW?!? These kids have raw talent!

Can you say WOW?!? These kids have raw talent!

The Lollas were so thoughtful to make Banele his own bookmark!

The Lollas were so thoughtful to make Banele his own bookmark!

This goes down as one of my favorite sponsor letters ever! Thanks Isaac!

This goes down as one of my favorite sponsor letters ever! Thanks Isaac!

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Ciniso is going to love this tiger and acrostic sign! He will feel so special!!!

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A dragonfly, a cliff, sunshine & a rocket… its the stuff boys dreams are made of!

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This is the kind of care package that will make any one feel loved by this family! I mean, who can resist a polar bear & a puppy!

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I hope you take time to read this letter. The lost art of actual letter writing… perhaps it will inspire you to write a letter to someone special!

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The 2nd paragraph has tear stains on it, sorry! *sniff sniff*

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If Meluleki ever thought he was alone or unloved… there’s no way he can now.

Now see, these letters aren’t even written to you, these pictures aren’t even drawn for you, but don’t you feel like you just received a ginormous hug from a long-lost friend? Doesn’t it restore your faith in humanity? Doesn’t it inspire you to go create hope in someone’s life?

Shine On! (and go write a letter!)

Danielle

ps. Here’s that link again to invest in Building: Bheveni Together.

At the link you’ll need to include this info:

Designated/One TIme Gift: {Enter your donation amount}

Reference Number: SZ3006000

Notes Field: Building

What Do I Know?

August 27, 2013 — 6 Comments

Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 9.04.33 PMI’m sorry.

I don’t know.

Its almost embarrassing how often I have to say these two phrases. But whatever, because I’m highly aware of how much I still have to learn about life. That list could go on & on & on

and on.

This list of what I know is much shorter, so here it goes!

I know:

1. First of all, I know I don’t know much. Most of what I have learned though, has been learned in the valleys, not on the mountaintops. Embrace the valleys.

2. God isn’t just great because of the BIG things He does. His most majestic greatness is revealed in the fact that He cares for every single detail of our lives. His Love is Endless & Reckless. Whatever it takes.

3. There’s a whole lot of stuff to be thankful for and having a lot of ‘stuff’ isn’t one of them. 

4. Money, like Love, is meant to be given away. Show me someone who freely gives both money & Love at the expensive of their own comforts, and I’ll show you a compassionate, joy-filled being. Michael Oh nails it in this video clip about Missions & Money. A generation is rising that is so in love with Jesus, their own entertainment & comforts are but an afterthought. The Gospel must be preached in all the world. And this generation is gonna take their resources of time, love and yes, money to make it happen.

5. Godly men are hard to come by. If you’ve got one, keep him even if you’d like to kick him in the pants once in a while. Focus on his strengths and maybe he will too. Okay, still learning.

6. There’s no pit deep & dark enough that God’s loving arm can’t reach. Trust me, I’ve been to the bottom of several. Remember valleys & whatever it takes.

7. Kids are a gift from God… even when they drive a momma to the edge of Ca-razeee Town. Some answers to your prayers are wrapped up in these precious gifts, just waiting to be opened for the right time. As Mark Batterson says, our prayers never die. They live on through our children & grandchildren.

8. God wants R.E.A.L (Relationships Exhibiting Actual Love), and so do people. Western Christianity has somehow turned a relationship with God into a formal affair, made complete by donning a fancy outfit & attending a posh venue every weekend just to say you were there. It gets old, fast. Or imagine inviting your family over for a steak dinner, except when they arrive you give each of them a detailed, step-by-step recipes of how to make a juicy T-bone steak, creamy mashed potatoes, and even a mouth-watering baked from scratch apple pie, complete with illustrations! They’ll be quickly disappointed and probably get out of there as fast as they can! PEOPLE ARE HUNGRY FOR REAL FOOD not recipes about food!!! And God wants REAL HUNGRY people at His table! Know a group of Christians who, instead of forming a committee to contemplate potentially voting on serving the needs of their community, are actually serving up real food in the real world? Go. Seriously. Go. That my friends, is church! 

So that’s all I know. Today. Tomorrow I may even forget some of these (especially 5 & 7).

So tell me, what do you KNOW? Today. Share a comment or drop me an email daniellebrower@gmail.com. I’d like to share some of your life lessons in future posts. Together, we might just realize we know way more than we thought.

Shine On!

Danielle

Screen shot 2013-05-26 at 11.04.36 PMThere are days when you feel you’ve got a pretty good handle on life… or so I’ve heard. I occasionally peek into the lives of my friends (my sisters, my coworkers, my Facebook friends) and walk away thinking they’ve got a particular area of life cornered. One of my sisters is extremely organized with her time. Oh, if you ask her she’ll say she’s not, but trust me the girl probably has summer 2016 already planned in her google calendar. She’s amazing. I’m in awe of her vision & determination to live life to its fullest.

I used to be like that… well, sorta. But I’ve fallen far from the organizational tree. Just this week I failed to send my son to two special events; a band concert in which he was supposed to play the drums and a student government celebratory party. These were both pretty big deals in a 5th grader’s life, especially if that 5th grader has Asperger’s Syndrome & desperately wants to be one of the regular kids. Planning ahead & making back up plans are essential in keeping meltdowns at bay – for both of us!

Where have I been lately? I’ll tell ya… I’ve been trying not to lose my momma marbles. The past two months rank high on the If-I-have-to-handle-one-more-meltdown-I’m-seriously-gonna-drop-my-basket scale. Any parent of a special needs child will know exactly what I mean.

But before you start to say, ‘Awww, bless her little heart’ – your sympathy is not what is needed.

This place of desperation and near-the-edge emotional stress is right where I’ve needed to be. Why? Because I loooooove craziness? Because I thrive on drama? Nope. In fact, craziness & drama tend to wipe me out. Normally, I like to sleep or eat my way through drama… or both. 

Not this time. Not these past few months. I’m right where I’ve needed to be – clinging to Jesus to get our family through each day. And it hasn’t been pretty. Waking in the morning, writing in my prayer journal throughout the day… Crying out for His grace, mercy & strength; knowing I can’t (nor do I want to) do it without Him. Without Him, we fall apart. Without Him, crisis overtakes & consumes us.

I’d rather have Jesus in the storm than a posh, comfortable life without Him. Any. Day. I’ve been experiencing that daily grace and I’d have it no other way. I’m hungry for more of Jesus – I want my needs, my desires to pale in comparison to my desperation to know Him & make Him known to those around me. If that means being in a storm that pulls me away from self-reliance, that’s where I need to be. In the eye of the storm.

I’m reminded of Psalm 91 daily that says,

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.’

He has been with us. He continues to be. He just needs to be invited. God’s a Gentleman y’all. He’s not gonna invade our lives if we don’t want Him to! I think Christians have sent the wrong message to the world; the message that says, ‘If you rely on God, He’ll keep you from harm’s way and everything will work out. You’ll be able to give a testimony that God saved you from hardship.”

Let me tell you guys: If you rely on God, He’ll be with you IN harm’s way. Everything will work out in eternity, but it’s not necessary for us to know right now why God allows us to experience hardship & pain. Its our job to simply trust. And somehow God takes that trust and turns it into a testimony of His faithfulness.

Its as simple as this, God’s light IN you can shine more brightly through darkness than it can in a well-lit, comfortable room. We choose, don’t we? We choose comfort or we choose His plan. And it is guaranteed that His plan is anything but comfortable!

Its been my daily prayer that even through the past few months (heck, years!) of difficulty that God’s light of love & faithfulness will shine brightly through our family. It makes my heart ache a little to think of the times that I’ve whined, cried & complained or let my anger get the best of me. I wish I could share more about what’s happened with my oldest son, his AS and the school system these past few months, but I won’t risk compromising others’ trust just to give you a good story.

I can say the ‘Momma Bear’ in me has awaken a few times in order to protect my son as I’ve thought necessary. And really, I’m not proud of that. There’s a part of me that wants to be the model-citizen with children who follow the rules, mind their manners and have lots of friends. I’ve thought that’s how people will recognize God’s light in me – when we look & act put-together.

Nope. Its just not true. In fact, I’ve found most people just want to know I’m for real. Sure there’s a few people that just plain don’t like me, what I stand for, that I go all the way to Africa to help kids, or the fact that my son’s special needs require accommodations that just aren’t fair to the other kids in class. {Fair? Is it fair that he has Aspergers and they don’t? Fairness is not even a factor.}

Back to most people… 

Most people identify with difficulty. Most people, when they realize your life isn’t a bed of roses either, will open up and share their own trials with you. I’ve gained some amazing friendships lately by simply being vulnerable & honest enough to say ‘this is really hard. I need help.’

Christian, here is some unsolicited advice:

Hurting people don’t give a rip about how prosperous & put-together you look! You know what hurting people need? A preacher? A judge? NO! They need a friend! A friend who sees their pain, listens to their cries and walks through it with them.

And I know this because I am a hurting person. Aren’t you? I’ve been wounded, I’ve been rejected, I’ve been ostracized. It sucks.

This is exactly the reason Jesus came to earth. God saw the human race was aching for fellowship, brokenhearted, alone and tormented by their own pain… and He came as a friend, in the flesh, to bind up our wounds to heal our broken hearts, to be with us!

And the last thing He said before He returned to heaven, after taking the world’s sin upon His shoulders? He told His disciples to go into the world and preach the same Good News that He did! The Good News is many things, but above all else it is a message of love and acceptance in spite of our flair for screwing things up.

That, my friends, is the same Good News we are to be showing to the people in our lives. Knowing we’re loved in spite of our own ‘crap’ should having us running with open arms to other weary, broken, lonely people that religion has turned their noses up at. 

So if this place of desperation & difficulty I’ve been in will let me walk more closely with God and let me comfort & mourn with someone else going through the same stuff… well, I’ll walk it out every day knowing I’m not alone and never will be.

Now, how about you?

Maybe in your case you’ve felt the sting of rejection one too many times? Ever had a real friend be there for you in your ugliness & mess, and STILL love ya?

Shine On! 

Danielle

ps. Notice anything different about us? Yep, we’ve changed our name. The men who read this blog were starting to feel hurt that change seemed like it was only for moms. So welcome to Live4Change! In the coming weeks & months you’ll start to see regular posts from several co-contributors. Some of my trusted friends will be sharing their stories, their journeys, and dreams. Lets be inspired together to live in such as a way as to shine His light & love to a hurting world!

The Cost of Compassion

February 28, 2013 — Leave a comment

“Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to a place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.” ~ Henry Nouwen

TheBIGifIn 2009, Mike & I read a great little book called  Red Letters: Living A Faith That Bleeds  It is not an exaggeration to say that God used the words of that book to change the course of where we thought our lives would go.

A snapshot into our life back then: We had a good source of income, a big ole house, great neighbors, even better family and spent most of our time indulging in things that would maintain our comfortable lifestyle. Sounds pretty good, right? Don’t get me wrong, we were/are not millionaires. Not even close. But hey, why not try to look like one, right? It’s the American way! But nothing – absolutely nothing was filling the aching inside both of us to live a life that would draw others closer to Him. For a while, we felt like all our extra time was spent just taking care & repairing the THINGS we had spent good money on, anyhow! Can I get an amen?

But He, in His lovingkindness, answered those aches… just not like we ever thought.

After reading Red Letters, we looked at each other and said, ‘WOW! Where have we been all of our Christian lives?” We knew we couldn’t go back to life as usual. We started simple enough though. We took one small step to sponsor a young lady in Swaziland, Africa through Children’s HopeChest. Just like when our own boys were born, God used this little girl to show us a deeper level of love & acceptance than we ever thought possible.

It wasn’t long after that an opportunity was presented to me to help other kids in Swaziland find sponsors too. I thought, ‘I know allll kinds of loving people, who when they find out what these kids are going through, will be moved with compassion and help however they can!’

And you know what? Its happened. Alllll those loving people have listened to us for over 3 years now, and been moved to empathetic tears, moved to fervent prayer, moved to action time & time again for children who would otherwise have NO hope of survival.

Did you know that compassion literally means, ‘to suffer with‘?

Another definition of compassion is ‘sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.’

Screen shot 2013-02-28 at 9.18.32 PMWhen we sing in church, “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord… I want to see You.” Compassion is His answer. You want to see God? Go to the hurting, sit with the broken, help the hungry. You WILL see & feel God all around you.

I am utterly grateful for a God who SO longs to intimately love & know His people that He allows for nothing besides Him to fill the void, to fill our longing hearts. Do you get that? How crazy He is for you… for those around you?

So we never saw this journey of ‘compassion’ coming, but I assure you we never feel God’s love more than when we empty ourselves, than when we throw aside temporal things to show His love to the wounded, the lonely, the hurting.

The above Henry Nouwen quote is so true. As wonderful as this journey has been, it has not been an easy one. That’s okay, because as my mother says, God did not call us to a ‘soft’ life. What on earth are we here for if not to love the lost, lean into the forgotten, and lay down our comfy lives for the broken, so that they may ultimately know Him?

For each of us, active compassion will take us down many different roads (not necessarily to Africa!). But all the roads lead to loving more, giving more, and ultimately leading a broken world into the compassionate arms of Jesus.

The cost of compassion…

If it means living a ‘smaller’ life…

If it means having less time for TV & less money for manicures…

If it means giving up vacation time to go extend His love to children half a world away…

If it means suffering with the forgotten & lonely…

I’ll humbly pay it over & over again, knowing that my Jesus paid the ultimate price.

Our journey moves on. We learn more & more every day about what it means to truly love: not for our own pat on the back, but to help transform lives that they may see His saving grace.

We were fortunate to partner with a ministry whose sole purpose is to see lives holistically transformed. The short video below shows some of the ways that the compassion of Jesus has been lived out. I say it so often, but Children’s HopeChest is not interested in creating a name for themselves. They aren’t giving hand outs and creating dependency on foreign aid. They are feeding, discipling, training, educating and giving people around the world the tools necessary to transform their own lives. The video shows a few ways that is happening.

VIDEO: Swaziland: Transformation

I hope you are encouraged to shine the light & love of Jesus, with His compassion as your guide. And in comparison to His great, crazy, all-consuming love for us, the ‘cost’ is not a ‘cost’ at all, but an invitation to further partake in the greatest love story ever told.

Shine On!

Danielle

Should you want more information on what sponsorship means, follow this link. We have over 15 orphaned & vulnerable children in the rural community of Manzini who need a friend & the security of knowing they will be fed, drink clean water, be taught about Jesus, have access to medical care should they need it.

U-G-L-Y…

March 13, 2011 — Leave a comment

U-G-L-Y you ain’t got no alibi… you ugly! hey! hey! you UGLY!

ahh, memories of high school come flooding back, don’t they, when you hear this cheer?

Not sure why my memories traveled back to this rousing cheer… most likely cuz I spent part of the weekend at a girls conference called Dazzle. It was all about helping over 200 teenage girls gain a greater awareness that beauty on the inside matters way more than any beauty you can portray or ‘put on’ the outside. Both matter, but inner beauty should matter more. And apart from Christ, you’re ugly. (I’m paraphrasing  just a tad)

 

Love is Beautiful

If inner beauty really matters more to us, the fruit of our  lives will more greatly reflect Christ. Outer beauty matters, but you can only hide your inner ‘ugly’ for so long. Usually within a few hours (okay, minutes), we are able to get a pretty good read on someone’s inner beauty just by their attitude & what they talk about.

At the ripe old age of 35 now, I find myself caring waaaay less about my outer beauty {Side note: I actually need to care more, cuz people are starting to notice how unfashionably fat I am} Anyhow… I want my inner beauty to exude Christ’s character. Don’t you? No, I don’t want to be known as the nicest person in my small town. Christ was definitely not nice all the time, but He did ~ does ~ love people. happy people. depressed people. sick people. crazy people. little people. rich people. poor people. ugly people. all people. That love is beautiful.

So I’ve been reflecting on true beauty. True beauty isn’t about the clothes you wear. True beauty isn’t about how fit/fat you are. Your true beauty lies within you because Christ dwells in you – because you are loved. You are adored. You are made in His image.

Go out into the world today knowing that if you are a daughter of the King of Kings, your true beauty lies within. There is nothing you can do to get Him to love you more or love you less. Lets live out of that abundant love He has for us by seeing ourselves and the other women in our lives through the eyes of Christ. Eyes of Love.

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” Colossians 3:12-14, Message Bible

I’d love to hear some other perspectives on true beauty. How do you define it? And what kinds of qualities do you consider to be u-g-l-y?

Shine On Sisters,

Danielle

B-Team Prayer T-8 Days!!!

September 9, 2010 — 4 Comments

Today B-Team member, Mrs. Elysa Mac, is guest posting! Enjoy!

LOVE IN ANY LANGUAGE

Jesus IS Love In Any Language

Back many moons ago, Sandi Patty sang a song entitled ‘LOVE IN ANY LANGUAGE.’  It was often used during missions programs at churches and student conferences.  It isn’t heard very often these days, but the message is still the same:  LOVE is LOVE in any language.

But sometimes, language barriers and cultural differences can make demonstrating that love in effective ways just a bit troublesome…sometimes a LOT troublesome.

The Beveni Team will be leaving in 8 days on a mission of love.  We want to give God’s love to the children and caregivers at Beveni Carepoint in Swaziland in overflowing and abundant ways.  We want those precious people to know that despite the disease and poverty and death around them that there is a God who sees them and loves them. We want them to know that they are not alone in their struggles.  That there is hope.

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*Please pray for us as we plan and prepare for this amazing opportunity.  Pray that despite language barriers and cultural differences, that at the end of our week at Beveni, every single child, parent, carepoint cook, auntie or uncle, will know that we love them and most of all, that God loves them and that He promises to be the Father they need Him to be.

*Pray that with every thing we purchase, God will use it to bring His love into a life in just the unique way that it is needed.

*Pray that as we plan the activities, that we’ll be creative in getting past the barriers and using all of the activities to draw the kids closer to the heart of God.

*Pray that as we have down time and just talk with the children and the adults at the carepoint and in homes through out the community, that God will bring us to just the right ones that He wants us to connect with.

*Pray that from the very beginning, their hearts will be open to us and that we will be able to supernaturally love them in ways that only could come from God. That God will anoint our words, guide our prayers, give us wisdom, show us truth, direct our actions.

Love covers a multitude of sins…and a multitude of awkward, cultural and language boo-boos.

Plans may not work out, games might not be understand, and a craft may go crazy, but LOVE NEVER FAILS!

Pray that we, as a team, will be overwhelmed with HIS love so we can overwhelm THEM with love, too!

Thank you!

Elysa Mac

Stir up the Lovin’!

July 9, 2010 — 2 Comments

I’d like to hear from my readers today! Tell us all something extra special about one of your kids – your daughter’s beautiful smile, your boy’s adventurous spirit, his tender heart, her latest accomplishment… Or share one of your best memories together ~ like the time your four-year-old  ratted you out as the one that passed gas at the table (oh wait, that was my son!).

I find that when I remember the good times with my kiddos, is often when I’m stirred to create new good times! How about you?

Stir up the lovin’! What’s great about your little bambinos?

Shine On Sisters!

P.S. Hey, you don’t have to be a writer to leave a comment! Just say it as it comes! It works for me! Besides, how often does someone actually ask you to brag on your kids? Exactly!