Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Modern day slavery.

I recently finished reading this book, and I wanted to share it with you guys because of the profound effect it had on me. It is very easy to read. I finished it in two sittings.

This story is the memoir of a woman named Mende who was abducted from her village as a young child. She was beaten and raped, forced to work endless hours with no pay, subjected to mental torture (on top of the physical), and taught that she was nothing more than a worthless slave. I'm sure you've heard these stories before. But here is the unique part about Mende's story. She is my age. She is living today.

While I was in school complaining that I didn't fit in or worried because no one liked me, she was fighting for her life. She talks about one date in particular - New Year's Eve, 1999. I remember what I was doing that night, too. She was working as a slave. I was sitting at home, feeling sorry for myself because I was sick and had nowhere to go.

It is so easy to see ourselves as the main character in our stories. After all, we don't know anyone else's story like we know our own. However, this book showed me once again that we are all but a small part of a bigger story. I am not the main character. We have a bigger purpose. We exist for more than to work, make money, buy nice things, then die "happy." None of those things end up mattering in the end.

"...your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
~ Matthew 6:10

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

...because they know his voice.

Sometimes you say a prayer, wait for an answer, and still have to step out in faith, not knowing for sure if you've made the right decision. Then, on beautiful days like today, things happen that confirm that yes, that was the tiny voice of the Lord guiding your heart in that process. Yes, your decision was right. Maybe I, a stupid and wandering sheep, am finally learning to listen to the sound of my shepherd's voice.

"He calls his sheep by name and leads them out... he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice."
~ John 10:3-4

They know his voice. At Christmas this year, this passage became one of my favorites. My "niece" (and by niece, I mean her parents are some of my best friends and insist on calling me "Auntie Cankles" to their child whom I love so dearly) taught me a beautiful lesson. Lindsay and Kenna were sitting next to me at church, and Bryan was leading worship. Between songs, Bryan started to speak. Kenna, who had almost fallen asleep, started waking up and fussing. She had heard her father's voice, and was straining to find him in that room full of people. She began to whimper because she couldn't see him.

Tears filled my eyes for two reasons - first, because I realized how many children do not have the privilege of recognizing their father's voice. They grow up in this scary, fallen world without the protection of that loving voice. But second, because I realized what a beautiful picture that is. We should know our Father's voice. We should strive to hear it, and to see him in the midst of whatever crowded moment we are living in. His voice should carry over all distractions.

I'm not sure where all of this came from. I guess I always have revelations when I get to see the sun rise. :-)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Free Live Recordings.

Hey guys! Ben Gibbard (Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie) and David Bazan (Pedro the Lion) did a concert last night in D.C., and it was featured on the concert series of NPR. So, that means you can listen to the live performances for free on! Very exciting, especially for those of us who live in cities not cool enough to bring in these types of musicians. :-)

Have a lovely day! Oh, and Happy World Fair Trade Day tomorrow, May 12th. Visit Ten Thousand Villages or the Fair Trade Federation to learn more. Find your local fair trade store and support them!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Joy in Suffering.

God is so amazing. Sometimes I just have to sit back and admire the intricacies of his work in this world. It's so easy to miss it. Yet when you look for it, it surrounds you inescapably.

I've been privileged to sit under the teaching of the book of Job recently, and found myself wondering while listening why I wasn't suffering in my life. After all, as it says in Romans 5, suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope. So while wondering that, I suddenly begin facing all these independently unimportant challenges that, when piled all together, began to rob me of the joy I have in Christ. I have been frustrated, grumpy, and feeling slighted at every turn. I have been selfish and quick to anger instead of "abounding in love," which covers a multitude of wrongs.

Today, I suddenly realized that all of these things are my opportunity to grow - they are a type of suffering! No matter how miniscule the trial, if I am not using it to allow Christ to refine me to his image, I am not making the best of my situation. It was one of those beautiful times when you feel smart for a moment, then stupid for not realizing your simple mistake before.

God, help me to always see each trial, no matter how slight, as an opportunity to be molded to your image. I want to be more like you every day, no matter what that entails. I know this is a bold prayer, but (I think, I hope, I pray) it is the true desire of my heart. If I don't truly desire that the world see you glorified, then I have no purpose on this earth. Let my weaknesses be holes through which your glory shines.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

New Top Friends.

Please take a moment to check out my new top friends list. Some of these are organizations (like the ONE Campaign or Invisible Children) that I have known about and supported for awhile. Others, I am still learning about.

Please use these links to learn more about the issues that affect our world, and what we can do to share the hope and love of Christ with those around us (although not all of these are Christian organizations, they are doing things that I believe Christians should care about). Love you guys. :-)

P.S. Read this book. :-)