What If . . . 

When I was in high school, I thought very seriously about trying to get accepted into Annapolis, the Navy Academy in Maryland. For awhile, I was pretty serious about this idea & tried to accomplish some of the entry prerequisites. In hindsight, that idea seems pretty crazy, particularly when I think about my personality & abilities. 

Today, as I thought about the Annapolis idea, I found myself thankful that God has been directing my life, with great skill & wisdom. I thought about what my life would look like had I gone down the Navy Academy path – WAY different, for sure!  
So here’s the brief takeaway: let’s be mindful that we let God direct our steps, lead our decisions & manage our priorities. It’s very true that Father Knows Best :)

hot topic: ovaries and lynching

This morning, I read about Angelina Jolie’s medical update related to her ovaries and cancer.  Given the history of cancer in her family, she seems to have made a well-informed decision.  Kudos that she lives in a country with such sophisticated technology, medical facilities and modern thinking about women all combining to give her the power to be in a position to make such a choice.

In contrast, I’ve been following a situation in Afghanistan where a woman challenged an imam about his sales of amulets and how she was subsequently attacked, beaten, stamped on, run over by a car, killed and her body burned.  There has been a large outcry in Afghanistan against such brutality against women and we’ll see if anything substantial changes for women in this country in the future, based on last week’s atrocities.

I find it interesting, as a woman, to live in a world at this time, with such extreme contrasts:  a woman freely discussing what might be considered private body parts and a woman being treated worse than an animal for standing up for her convictions.  Women have always played an interesting role throughout history and in the Bible, but no one has ever treated women with more dignity, grace and poise than Jesus.  Check out my Jesus’ Chicks book for some really cool insights and opportunities to know Jesus more intimately :)

Getting Cozy with Help

  

 

 I don’t like asking for help, not at all. I’m very independent & entirely appreciate doing things in my own, full stop. So, if you’re like me, or know someone that specializes in being independent, this blog might be enlightening, maybe.

Last week, I had surgery on my shoulder to repair some damage from a stupid snowboarding accident. Since the surgery, I’m confronted with some choices: 
*I can ask my daughter to help me or I can be clothing impaired, at best ,) 
*I can ask for help with cooking or we can all eat microwave popcorn, kind of
*I can get some help with the pain or be cranky & unsocial
* I can get used to asking for help or just grit my teeth for a season & hope that no one obliterated in the meantime
All this to say that Jesus called the Holy Spirit our Helper. So for me, when I’m independent minded, I find myself resisting Who the Holy Spirit is in my life: the Original Help :)

Checked Luggage

In this new age of budget airplane travel, airlines are looking for all kinds of ways to squeeze out an extra nickel. Some airlines will serve their customers only water & require payment for anything different. I also flew an airline that charged me for some of my carry on luggage & it’s now customary to pay for one’s checked luggage on domestic flights. So I find myself carrying my luggage for almost all of my travels, to save money. 

If I’m not careful, I also tend to carry my luggage with God, rather than checking my  luggage, baggage & excess weight into God’s proficient care. I’m learning to check my baggage with God more consistently & not just when I’m overwhelmed :)
Ps 55:22 says to cast your cares on the Lord for He cares for you. Stop carrying your luggage through life :)

Fools Gold

When I was growing up, I learned about the Gold Rush & how some people were tricked by “Fools Gold”, thinking they’d found gold only to be disappointed that the shiny metal was nothing more than shiny metal. 

This lesson is speaking to me again here in Angola, where Saving Moses has 6 malnutrition clinics.   Two of our clinics are less than an hour apart. The first clinic is very rustic, seemingly primitive & seems to lack even the bare essentials. The electricity has only been added in the last few years & whenever I hang out there, it almost feels like I’m camping, but our moms will live with their babies in this place for an average of 3-4 weeks in what we would consider primitive & seemingly uncivilized conditions at first glance. Some of the staff are frequently high school graduates interested in going into medical school so they get their feet wet, literally, starting at this malnutrition clinic. 
The second clinic, about an hours drive away, is a seemingly sharp contrast. It’s definitely a more modern building, adjacent to a medical school & staffed with medical students & health professionals running around in white lab coats. On the outside, it looks like it’s far more developed & we would often conclude more effective than the first clinic. 
But the reality is the opposite. The first clinic, albeit rustic, is highly regarded & well renowned for specializing in malnutrition. With our therapeutic milk, 80% of the babies in this clinic survive & grow to be healthy kids. In this seemingly backwater clinic, people will travel for literally hundreds of miles to get their babies to what they consider the best possible care to survive the ravages of malnutrition – all in a place that barely has running water. While the second clinic looks better appointed, it’s not as effective nor well regarded for its malnutrition work. 
Just because something looks shiny & bright on the outside doesn’t mean that it’s golden, effective & even healthy on the inside. Paul tells us in the New Testament not to be deceived by the external & what we see but rather to be led by the Holy Spirit in our hearts, attentive to the Spirit of Truth :)

Just When You Think it’s Safe

We live in a highly sophisticated world where I can do the milk delivery order from my phone in remote Angola & where we can monitor brain waves with highly technical equipment & medical discoveries & developments that are thoroughly revolutionary. And yet life is still very frail & can hang by a breathless thread. The first baby when I got out of the car in Angola a few days ago was dead & being carried away to be prepared for burial. The last baby I saw before leaving Angola was gasping for shallow breaths & gazed with a fixed glaze, looking death in the eye. In the middle few days, we’ve had massive joys, experiences & beautiful connections. 

One lesson I bring home from this trip is that I am most alive when I love well. Please be praying for Josiana, her picture below  She’s 1year & 2 months & she’s the last baby I saw before leaving



Sometimes

I’m taking a pause here in Angola, sitting on the ledge in one of our malnutrition clinics for Saving Moses. I’m pausing for lots of reasons, one of which is to have a few minutes to absorb & process. I can get so thick in the middle of all of these babies & moms that I get more than a little overwhelmed. I don’t get overwhelmed by the smells, milk mustaches nor knobby knees or elbows. I get overwhelmed by love – the love of Jesus for each baby, in all of her frail humanity, sometimes suspended in each rapid breath. I get overwhelmed by her eyes looking deep into me with curiosity, some anxiety of the unknown but most of all by the common life we share as humans. We live different lives but we are glued together & anchored in love. 

Sometimes a person should pause to reflect, absorb & let the feet get rooted deeper & deeper into genuine love. I find myself deeply in love with Jesus, sitting on the ledge here in Angola & I’d love to have you sitting next to me sharing this experience of deeply rooted genuine love.