Faith

With a Hurting Heart

My heart hurts right now.

I’ve always had a tender spot for those who are broken and hurt, but since Eleanor was born my response to hurting children has exponentially grown. Today my students have been taking a final exam and I’ve allowed myself to get a little distracted while they worked. I’ve been browsing through some of the blogs I follow and have found the Lord is really poking at my heart in some specific ways.

Two things you should check out.

First off… This girl, Katie, left her life in Nashville a few years ago at the ripe old age of 19 (or something like that, maybe even younger) to move to Uganda and adopt children there. She’s a mom to anywhere from 10-14 kids at any given time (they often take in babies who need help short-term in addition to the ones she has legally adopted). It’s amazing how she’s given up dreams of a “normal” American life to go do this awesome thing. She doesn’t blog often, but when she does it’s thought-provoking. Her last entry is especially heart-breaking. And as I think of that malnourished three year old with “dogs licking her face, flies swarming her wounds… sitting in her own feces… unable to walk or even crawl as the dogs ate her food and the children of Masese threw stones and sneered”… oh, when I picture that little girl I don’t see a small black baby, but rather the image my mind conjures up is one of the tiny little white girl back at my own house… I see my own baby girl in those circumstances and it cuts me to the core. What if it was my Eleanor like that? What if my baby girl, the one I’ve loved and birthed and soothed and nursed… what if she had been born into that world?

Second… Through reading this entry on Beth Moore’s blog I was introduced to an amazing ministry in India. As Our Own is committed to rescuing girls born in the red light district of India – (from the blog:) Their ministry is committed to showing a little girl in India how much value she has in Christ. She is living in a very dark, unsafe brothel and her own mother is a slave to many men. Her mother is unable to care for her because she is not free to stop working. Her mother could sell her young daughter to the brothel and escape a living hell. But her mother wants freedom, protection and life for her child. Her mother is saying, “Help me by helping my daughter.” Check out the website and see what I mean. The stories (seriously, go read them) are heartbreaking but the ministry is amazing. And again my heart cries out: what if it had been my blue-eyed angel born in those circumstances with men leering at her and planning terrible sins committed against her? What if my girl grew up in a world where she didn’t know love or healthy attention because her mother couldn’t bear to show it even if she was able?

A few days ago I held Eleanor in my arms and kissed her sweet neck as we took the dog out for a walk. And I was struck in that moment that I won’t be the perfect mom… I won’t make the right decisions every time… she won’t always be happy… but she will be loved. And cared for. And never go hungry. And not all babies are born into the luxury those simple things describe. I squeezed her sweet little body tighter in my arms and prayed thanks to the Lord for giving her to me.

And I also pray that the Lord will give our family the heart and desire to reach out and provide a place of rescue to girls like those. In high school my youth pastor used to suggest that we pray that the things that break the Lord’s heart would also break our hearts. I don’t always grieve my own sin like I should, but when the innocent are trampled and taken advantage of, my heart crumbles. I hope we will have a home that is open to these children and that we will be willing to take on the financial, emotional, and physical  burdens of opening our arms wide to the broken. Lord, cast that vision before us and help us to love well in the meantime.

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Weight Check!

Well, a few weeks ago (two, to be exact) I asked for prayer for our sweet little girl. At 5 weeks, 4 days, she was weighing in at 7 pounds and 13 ounces. This put her weight in the 8th percentile.

Fabulous news! As of today (7 weeks, 4 days) she’s a “whopping” 9 pounds, 3 ounces. She’s now in the 20th percentile! That’s 1 pound, 6 ounces in just two weeks! A healthy baby needs about 1-2 pounds per month, so she’s doing great and catching right up! We’re so excited. It’s not where we want her to stay, of course, but it’s fabulous news! So thrilled that my little string bean is becoming more of a round green bean. (Hah.)

So many of you have reached out to tell me that you were praying. In fact, it was amazing how many people have contacted me by email, text, or Facebook to share their support. Some of you have even contacted our family to say “I don’t want to stress Erin out, but know we’re praying.” I’m overwhelmed at the measure of support. Thank you so much, we appreciate the prayers and know that the Lord has honored your requests for us.

Keep praying! We have another appointment in 2 weeks and hope to have great news then for continued growth. In the meantime, enjoy her Week 6 and Week 7 photos below.

Week 06

Week 07

Prayers for Eleanor

Eleanor_0113

I hate even typing this blog entry because I’d rather stay private with our struggles. It’s hard to admit we’re having problems and that life with our baby girl isn’t perfect all the time. But right now, my desire to have people praying for us is bigger than my desire to appear like I have it all together (and trust me, looking like I have it together is a big deal for me). Some of you know that we’ve been having issues with Eleanor’s weight gain. For those of you who don’t know, here are the details as quickly as I can manage.

On Jan 16th Eleanor was born at 7 lbs, 6 oz. As is typical, she lost weight while in the hospital and when we left she was at 6 lb 10 oz – this was nothing to worry about as it was within the realm of normal newborn weight loss. However, over the last 5 (almost 6) weeks, she’s gained back the weight excruciatingly slowly. In fact, she only hit her birth weight about 2 weeks ago, something she should have done within 10 days of birth.

As of yesterday she weighs 7 lbs, 13 oz, meaning in nearly 6 weeks she’s only gained a net 7 ounces. In the weeks since birth she should have been gaining 4-7 ounces per week.


At birth Eleanor was in the 47th percentile for her weight. Yesterday at 7 lb 13 oz, she’s in the 8th percentile – an alarming fact.
With the extremely low percentile for her weight, words like “malnutrition” are being tossed around… totally freaking. me. out. Her percentile puts her in a range called “head sparing” – a condition where an infant’s body preserves her brain (her head circumference is in the 45th percentile) but stops growing elsewhere. I’m shaking just typing this out… I’m picturing the orphans you see on tv with large heads and skinny bodies… how is it possible Eleanor could be described that way?

I’ve been breastfeeding since her birth and we supplemented for about a week between 3-4 weeks – once her weight started climbing I switched back to exclusively breastfeeding but I realize now I shouldn’t have done that. I don’t want to use formula (I’m worried my milk supply will be depleted) but I’m more concerned about her growth. As of now, I’m demand-feeding her (I’ve been doing that for a week and a half now) and attempting to give her a bottle of formula after each feeding to “top her off.” She doesn’t always take it but I’m trying.

Please pray for us…
Pray for Eleanor’s health first. Pray that she would chunk up FAST. Pray that the Lord would protect her brain as we’re trying to get her body to grow. Pray that there would be no long-term effects of this nutrition shortage.
Pray for me. It’s so hard not to take this personally and think that it’s somehow my fault… is my milk deficient? Is there something more I can be doing? I feel like a bad mom, that I’ve missed signs of her discomfort or poor health. It’s easy to feel defeated. I know breastmilk is best and I’m trying to pump myself full of calories so I keep producing good, high-calorie milk. I’ve had a few people (in public, not friends) comment “oh, was she a preemie?” which just stabs my heart because NO! She was a healthy baby and was exactly the perfect size at birth and only 2 days early. I’m becoming so defensive and jumpy about any comments directed at her weight.
Pray for Bronce and me – this is putting a lot of strain on our relationship and I don’t want to sacrifice the closeness we’ve gained since having Eleanor as we deal with this unforeseen struggle. Having some doctors in the family has added extra strain as they give recommendations (which we appreciate very much, but it does overwhelm us!) and as they occasionally freak out (which makes us freak out more since we’re rather uneducated about all of this).

a heart for orphans

The Lord is constantly pricking my heart with love for the unloved. I’m still selfish, greedy, and completely focused on ME, but in small ways He’s opening up my sinful heart to love others.

One of the most specific ways that’s happening is with the orphaned here in the US and around the world. It seems every time I look around I find a friend or friend-of-a-friend who is adopting internationally. I am grateful that Bronce and I both have the desire to open our lives and our home to children not born naturally as Rodgers.

We got an amazing glimpse of that when our dear friends and neighbors in Nashville adopted two incredible little boys a few years ago. In God’s perfect plan and beautiful irony, the boys are the spitting image of their brown-haired, blue-eyed parents. They didn’t set out looking for children that resembled themselves, but they have a striking family. Here’s the six of us together a few months ago:

2009 12.28 Adams Visit 008

Man, I love those kids. And their hilarious parents. Oh, the trouble Bronce and Jason have created over the years with fireworks and sidewalk chalk. But I digress…

Bronce and I have watched as many of our friends have struggled with infertility and the pressures that brings to a marriage. We don’t know if that’s the path the Lord has marked for us, but we’re grateful that before that season of our lives even begins we already know that we have plans to adopt. Like our beautiful friends in Nashville, we would love to adopt multiple children – to keep a family of siblings intact, if possible.

But regardless we know that God has some kids out there who need our special blend of order and chaos – children who will thrive in a home filled with an organized dad and a procrastinating mom, with laughter and emotions and fantastically awesome grandparents nearby. I know the Lord is growing these two selfish “adults” into people who will love and care for His needy babies.

Anyway, these early morning ramblings were brought on due to a blog I just read. A friend posted the link to this website, which tells of the horrors of a children’s prison in Africa. It’s a reminder to me that the Lord loves these children more than any adult around them ever can or will. And it’s a call to pray, however the Spirit leads you.

Kampiringisa

“Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him! Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” Psalm 68:4-5

Stronger than me.

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” Isaiah 42:1-3

I have a friend who is stronger than me. She has been through hell and back, and her faith is strong. Like, really strong. I’ve seen her deal with a lot of hard crap over the last few years, and her trust in the Lord has not wavered.

Today her mom died.

We’ve known for weeks that this was coming soon, but it doesn’t help the pain. She’s hours away – but I really want to wrap my arms around her and hug her till she can’t breathe.

L, if you’re reading this, I love you. You’re stronger than I could ever be. You have faced this challenge with grace and elegance, clinging to the Lord in a way I deeply admire. You have my deep love and appreciation, and I’m blessed to be your friend.

mexicoLynae

Fulton Falcons

I’m blessed to work at Fulton High School. I’m honored to work for people who love those kids and will work hard for them to succeed. It’s a hard place to work, it’s a school full of troubled kids, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

Bronce and I are blessed to attend an amazing church where the Gospel is preached every day. Don’t believe me or don’t know what that means? Listen to the sermon this weekend – it’s the real deal. Click here: Jan 24 – The Wrath of God Satisfied

Right now Fellowship Church is walking through a 36-week focus called “Engage” focused on four principles – Worship, Grow, Serve, and Invest. You can see more about it here: Fellowship: Engage

The church staff is collecting stories of ways our congregation is already involved in some of these areas of focus. One of the pathways we’re looking at is “Increasing Involvement in Relationships with At Risk Youth” – here’s where my love of Fulton High and my passion for my church collide in a really beautiful way.

Not only am I surrounded by godly, attentive folks at church, but the principal at my school is a wonderful, godly man. He also happens to attend Fellowship, and this Sunday they presented a video of him explaining a little about Fulton. Please watch it – it’s 5 minutes, that’s it! 🙂

Ryswyk on Vimeo

Greetings from Tijuana!

I realized I never posted this! Darn! Here’s the first half of my Tijuana post. I’m not sure if I even created the second half of this, so I’ll post the first half and keep searching…

I just got home from the Mexico Reunion meeting… oh I’ve missed these kids! We talked some about how we view things differently here in the good ole U-S-of-A since returning from Tijuana, and it was an interesting time of reflection. I think overwhelmingly we were all amazed at how hard life is in Mexico, particularly in the area of Tijuana we visited. But talking about it and viewing a slideshow and video from our trip really made me want to put the trip into words. So, here I am. The much promised blog entry is being written. I’m not sure how long this will take, it feels like quite a work in progress. We’ll see.

Sunday, July 12

We all arrived at the church Sunday evening to drop off our luggage, make sure it fit the guidelines in terms of weight, and cover some of the last details before our journey began. At this point the evening was a wash of names and faces, as I was still trying to figure out who everyone is! I led a Senior girls small group this year but wasn’t very involved in the Sunday morning ministry to the HS students, so I signed up for the Mexico endeavor knowing very few people. It’s strange to think back and realize there was a time I didn’t know and love these kids…

Monday, July 13

We’re off! After meeting at the church around 10am to gather everyone, we had a time of prayer and devotion before loading in the bus. The first leg of our trip was driving to Nashville, where we would board the first of two planes. On the van ride there, I sat in the back row with Timmy, Jacob, Grace, and Lynae. The girls and I played Phase 10 nearly the whole ride. 🙂

Through the entire travel time – from the moment we left Knoxville to the moment we arrived back in Knoxville 8 days later – we were divided into travel teams. Each leader was responsible for tracking their 5 or 6 kids everywhere we went – it was much easier than doing massive head counts. We also coordinated paying for meals in the airport through these smaller groups. At right is a photo of my travel team, (left to right) Gabe, Grace, Stephen (yes, he always makes that face… you’ll see it as a recurring theme!), Lynae, me, and David.

We had a brief layover in Denver’s extremely crowded airport and began the third leg of our journey with a flight into San Diego. We arrived late in the evening to a large welcoming party of friends (Fellowship interns and new friends from Mexico!) ready to help us get across the border. After retrieving our luggage (praise the Lord, none was missing!) we piled it in (and on!) the vans and headed… nope, not across the border just yet! First we had a very, very important stop to make…

In-N-Out Burger! Yep! After a 14-hour journey, there’s nothing like a good, healthy dinner. Also, this was our last glimpse of American food before heading into Tijuana. Hey… does anyone know what happened to that goofy video of us singing the TJ song? Did Alex take it?

Anyway, after a FEAST of burgers and fries, we piled back in the vans to do the border crossing. It’s interesting that as you cross into Mexico, even at 11pm, you get nary a glance from the border guards. (Coming back into the US is a very. different. experience.) If only they’d taken a closer look at our van… can you believe they let this group of trouble-makers in? 🙂

Once we arrived we tried to take in our surroundings, but it was so dark we could hardly figure out where we were. Instead… we gladly unpacked sheets, blankets, and pillows… and slept.

Tuesday, July 14

One of the perks of the 3-hour time difference is when we finally woke up around 8am it felt like we’d slept in till 11am. Breakfast was a feast of Mexican goodness… eggs, refried beans, homemade and delicious flour tortillas (man, I could go for one of those now…), and the yummiest and spiciest salsa your tastebuds have ever craved.

Because we were starting the VBS and haircutting ministries Wednesday, we spent today “advertising” our arrival. We drove over to La Colonia to let the locals know we were here! As we met the adults and children, we gave them bags of rice and beans that we’d put together earlier at Pastor Albert’s church.

La Colonia is one of the most impoverished parts of Tijuana – and if you know anything about the poverty all over Tijuana, then you know that’s really saying something. It’s an old dump that has become a neighborhood, with houses clinging to the edges of the canyon walls as though they’re hanging on for dear life. The area is full of people with great need and with great hearts. I think we were all shocked to see this blue house – one of the largest and nicest in the area – but there are two signs to notice… the one on the right says “my house and me we will serve the Lord” and the one at the left says “Thanks Teneese.” That’s enough to make me sit down and soak it in… While I sit here in my beautiful home and type this blog entry, these people are in Mexico and are grateful for what I’ve done. It’s so humbling. And so nothing at the same time.

After we passed out all the food (which didn’t take long – once they realized we had come, they came to find us!), we gathered at the Rehab center in the middle of La Colonia to play with the kids. Lots more of that would come in the next few days!

Back at the orphanage we hung out for the rest of the day, playing sports outside in the sun (like basketball… which I’m terrible at! No kidding, ask Lynae!). I could usually be found inside gathered with kids around a table and dealing cards. Someone called me the Poker Lady, though we never played poker. Just huge games of Revolution, Spoons, Rummy, and other games good for large groups.

After a great dinner at the orphanage and a wonderful worship time with the youth, we went on our first journey to Calimax. The youth’s obsession with this Mexican grocery store is really something to behold. There’s no way they’d get this excited about heading to Kroger or Food City, we’re talking joy, elation, and some downright begging to go to this place. Now, I’ll admit… it’s pretty cool. And the pastry section is incredible! But still, they’re pretty goofy about it. Then again, I was ready for a nice cold Fanta myself!

Wednesday, July 15

I got up early Wednesday… one of my leadership responsibilities was organizing the food for our daily ministry outings. Though I got TONS of help during the day to put it together, only a few of us left in the mornings before breakfast to go get the food. This morning it was ham sandwiches for 320 people. The assembly line to put this together was pretty crazy…

After breakfast, we packed up in the vans to leave. Below you’ll see two pictures… the first is part of our group outside the orphanage – you can see how secure the place is – there’s a huge orange gate at the right that closes over the entrance at night. The courtyard at the left is fenced and topped with barbed wire. Security is pretty serious in Tijuana, even in the nice part where we were staying (all things are relative, that’s for sure!). The second picture shows just down the street to the right (you can still see the orange orphanage at the left). The fence at the end of the street is the actual US border! That’s how we got cell reception at the orphanage! We could see into San Diego over that hill and could still snag their cell towers.


I ran the haircutting team, which was quite an endeavor. I was blessed by the numbers of our youth who wanted to be a part of that ministry and weren’t at all freaked out by worries of lice and dirty hair. The first day was SO hot… we were in the sun all day without any shade cover, but they were champs! No complaints and they were ready to work the whole time.

We did about 100 washes and/or cuts that day, and had about 300 people total at the church that day. Aside from a few issues with water delivery it went so well!

David was really proud of his mohawk… I think it took like an hour, but it was an impressive haircut and the kid loved it!

After working in the sun all day, we returned to the orphanage to rest and clean up. That night we headed back to La Colonia to Pastor Albert’s church for an evening service. It was a little more charismatic than we were accustomed to, but it was a wonderful experience. Our worship band performed a few songs, some of the girls did a dance Simi had choreographed with them in TN, and then we sang some Spanish songs led by the church’s worship team. Adam did a wonderful job giving the sermon that evening, and it was great to see the interaction of our style and theirs.

On the way back we stopped at a roadside taco stand for the most amazing tacos I’ve ever had.

Seek His Face

“Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually.”
1 Chronicles 16:11

Friday a student blurted out an incredibly rude comment to me and I had to send him into the hallway till I could step out and deal with it. When I had a moment – and the sanity – to confront him, it was a bizarre discussion. I stood facing him and he continued to contort his body so he didn’t have to look me in the face as we discussed his behavior – a response that did not escape my notice. After a few minutes of trying to line myself up in his eyesight and watching him fidget away and set his focus on the wall across the way, I confronted him on not making eye contact. He sheepishly allowed his eyes to meet mine for a few seconds and promptly looked away again.

In the past few weeks I feel there have been a few common themes in the various scriptures I’ve been reading, but one concept seems to be rising above some others. Just as this student only reluctantly made eye contact with me, I feel convicted that his attitude strongly reflects my posture before the Lord. Over and over in the Word I’ve read three simple words: “Seek His Face.” But what does that really mean?

I confess I was hoping there would be some deeper meaning and that an intense word study would reveal a mystery about our response to His goodness. But no. The specific words mean this… Seek (“to seek, search consult”) His Face (“face”). Yeah, my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance didn’t really blow that one wide open for me. Actually, I laughed when I saw those definitions. I think I was hoping it meant something different since it’s so plain – and it’s the simplicity of the command I find so challenging.

We live in a world where “facetime” is a luxury. Or, in some cases, is just plain awkward. Facebook, twitter, texts… we’re surrounded by ways to avoid not only people’s voices, but their very faces. Communication has become two-dimensional and void of personality. In an attempt to make our world more accessible, we’ve managed to dehumanize ourselves. Even in the toughest of times we rarely seek the face-to-face contact of another loved one, but rather satisfy ourselves with empty platitudes zipped along the world wide web or a 3g network.

There have been a few stages in my life where I’ve moved a significant distance, removing me from convenient face-to-face relationship. As a result, some of my closest friends live anywhere from 2 to 7 hours away from me, making that face-time a true delight. Moving from Birmingham to Knoxville at age 16 was a shock, and my friends and I wrote letters (yes, actual letters! I’ve saved some!) to keep in touch since long-distance phone calls were so expensive. Some of you have no idea what I’m talking about, but this was before cell phones and the wide-spread use of internet. (Yes, there was such a time.)

Handwriting has always been something that I’ve deeply treasured. There’s nothing like getting a hand-addressed envelope in the mail and recognizing the script that has lovingly inked my name. My oldest and dearest friend Robin used to send me letters a lot. She still does; it’s one of the precious ways we communicate. And seeing her handwriting (which has hardly changed over the last two decades!) brings an immediate thrill of the intimacy of our life-long friendship.

The Bible is God’s letter to us. In this impersonal world where we can access His Word on the internet and perform word searches and cross-comparisons, there’s still something special about hearing the pages crinkle as I thumb through the NASB Bible I’ve used for study since 1998. When I see the text I can immediately recognize it as my Bible and the place I receive the Lord’s testimony on a frequent, if not daily, basis. So why is it that if Robin writes me a letter and says “I’d like to see you” I’ll make the arrangements to jump in my car as soon as time allows, but when the Lord says “Seek my face” I’m so reluctant to do just that?

Yet God’s word stays the same. He continues to call us to deeper intimacy. Just like my student refusing to look me in the eye to discuss his behavior, he also lost the opportunity to hear me tell him that I genuinely care about his education – I want him to learn and pay attention for his own good. Yes, sometimes God needs us to seek His face so he can make a correction to our path. But other times He wants us to make “eye”-contact with Him because it’s a place of connection and deeper relationship. Just like my husband and I can spend time together working on a task, running errands, or watching TV… these things are meaningless without the added intimacy of conversation allowing us to speak face-to-face.

Clearly looking into God’s “face” is a figurative thing. I’m not suggesting there is a way for us to note His eye color or the proportions of His features, but there is a way for us to sit quietly and contemplate Him. How often do I “spend time with Him” while driving down the interstate and calling out some requests? Just like that would never increase the depth an intimacy of my relationship with Bronce, it doesn’t work with God either. Just stop. Listen. Respond. Let your spirit be filled.

Psalm 37:7 begins “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” – and the “rest” in that verse isn’t the kind of rest that means “take a break, relax” but rather the kinds that means “Stop. Just stop.” How often do I just STOP and wait for the Lord? Stop what you’re doing. Stop the action and distraction. Seek Him. Quit shoving requests before Him as though He’s a vending machine of happy stuff. I’m not saying He doesn’t care, just that He’d like more of you than your solicitations.

What does it mean to “Seek His Face”? I think it’s different for each of us. But I challenge you to take the time to do it. Can you sit quietly before the Lord for 10 minutes? Fifteen? Twenty? Our lives are busy, but if we eagerly desire this time with Him, He’ll help us find the minutes. See what happens…

I Told You So.

I’ve really been struggling with the concept of “rightness” lately. With so much controversy in our country, from issues at in our homes, to disagreements in our churches and denominations, and magnified by the struggles we’re facing politically, it seems that our country at large is taking sides on a myriad of issues – and we all think we’re “right.”

I want to be right. Me. Personally. This chick over here. This comes as no surprise to many of you, particularly my patient husband. I’m defensive, argumentative, and opinionated. I cling to certain subjects as though they are lifelines and I can argue every side of these issues for hours. And I do. Given that honesty, I don’t think I’m alone in that. I mean, how many of you who are reading this can identify with that. (Honestly, there’s some comfort from knowing I’m not the only one, so let’s at least pretend you can relate!)

It’s an issue that permeates me at many levels. I feel that it’s a responsibility for us to know the truth and be able to defend it. But truly, it’s more that I’ve been defending my own opinions. 2 Corinthians 12:19 says “All this time you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. Actually, it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ; and all for your upbuilding, beloved.” That verse presents such a challenge to me. Having an opinion is good! (Conversely, that doesn’t mean that all opinions are good.) Defending that opinion is good! But if I can’t couch that stance in the gospel, it’s worthless.

We live in a world where rational thinking is not always appreciated. For example, I believe that if I have a grown man standing in a field next to a tree, and I had to choose life for one and death for the other… the seemingly obvious choice would be to save the man and kill the tree (assuming I had to decide). Yet in this convoluted world we find that’s not always the “rational” or “politically correct” choice. We are pouring millions and billions (and trillions!) of dollars into global warming… yet there are people living in 3rd world countries whose lives can be transformed with just a few dollars. Why have we focused our efforts on saving trees and not on saving people? And, lest you assume I’m willing to trash this world because my focus is so firmly planted on the next one, that’s not true. I believe as Christians we have a responsibility to take care of the creation the Lord has given us… I just don’t think we should make it an object of worship. And, for that matter, it’s not just global warming. There is a host of causes out there that have successfully distracted us from Christ. Environmentalism, AIDS awareness, healthcare reform… these are all noble causes with good purpose that can easily distract us from true purpose.

We have made idols of all these causes. We push forward as though God needs our help with these issues, taking them upon ourselves as though we are the world’s saviors. When, in fact, we need our Savior to rescue us from our distraction. “When you cry out for help, let your collection of idols save you! The wind will carry all of them off, a mere breath will blow them away. But the man who makes me his refuge will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.” (Isaiah 57:13) These idols are but dust in the wind. Generations before us had purposeful causes, and the generations after us will also find something to focus on outside the love of Christ. It’s one of many distraction techniques successfully employed by the evil one. Quite well, I think.

“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.” (Romans 1:25) Misplaced praise and attention leads to a frightening lifestyle. Grab your Bible and keep reading that chapter of Romans for proof of that. We should stop trying to validate our sinful lives and behavior, and instead be overcome with the changing power of the gospel. I’m overwhelmed with this concept. My life must be about CHRIST. And if my life is about Christ, I will be obsessed with the things that bring Him glory.

I have a sweet friend who is struggling with living out her faith in her high school, and to me those challenges are the ones the Lord stands up and applauds. I find it hard to believe that He’s getting any glory from activists who chain themselves to a tree in an effort to save it. How about those amazing people in my life who feel called to figuratively chain themselves to another woman or man who desperately needs the saving grace of Christ? That is the kind of activism that I believe brings the Lord to His feet.

“Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it?
Or an image that teaches lies?
For he who makes it trusts in his own creation;
He makes idols that cannot speak.
Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’
Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’
Can it give guidance?
It is covered with gold and silver;
there is no breath in it.
But the LORD is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him.”
Habbakuk 2: 18-19

Lord, let me not strive to be right, but to be loving. Let my concern for my fellow man exceed my love for your creation. Let my actions and my words speak praises to your Name.

Laminin

This video is about 8 minutes, but worth every second.

Ever heard of the protein molecule Laminin? What does it have to do with Christ?

“For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17