Un-Punishable

I sipped my frozen pumpkin pie latte slowly… while reading over the same chapter of Danny Silk’s “Culture of Honor” for about the third time. At this rate, this book won’t make it back to the friend who loaned it any time soon. I think she’s ok with that. Continue reading

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Questions of the Heart

I was realizing while looking back over my blog how little of the journey I actually shared. God was “perfect, very incredible,” as my friends in Thailand say, and carried me in ways I didn’t know He could through the good, the bad, the ugly. In the middle of the journey, when I was so close to simply giving up and saying it wasn’t worth it, all I had to give were questions:

Why am I here?

Why can’t I give up my dreams?

Why does “why” seem to get me nowhere here?

Continue reading

The Glad Worker

Joy is prayer – Joy is strength – Joy is love – Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.

~ Mother Teresa ~

During the last couple of weeks, Jesus has been challenging me in the area of having joy. It started one day when He told me to repent for not being a happy christian. It seemed a little odd at first. It made me feel like happiness was something I should always possess, or that I couldn’t be real with how I was feeling. But he prompted me to see that the Joy that is our strength and is the fruit of His Spirit isn’t somber, but full of cheer. Continue reading

Tirak

Orange.

The color filled my vision when I first closed my eyes to pray before making some prophetic jewelry. I wrote it down… then more whispers came from the Lover of these Souls.

Beloved. Fire. Revelation.

Simple. So simple. A few more words came as well, in a jumble of sorts. I selected some beads, deciding as I did to put the word “tirak,” the Thai word for “beloved,” with some orange beads. I settled down with some friends from Extreme Prophetic’s Operation Extreme Love school to string the beads.

Later that night, I went out with some friends to give out the prophetic jewelry we had made. We had a few encounters, and then I was drawn to this ladyboy dressed in orange. Knowing the gift opens the way for the giver, I approached her and offered her the bracelet. At first, she thought that I wanted to sell the bracelet to her. When we told her it was just to bless her because God loved her, she began to listen. She asked what we wanted. I told her I just wanted to bless her. I asked her how we could pray for her to bless her and she said she wanted a good journey. So I asked what her dream was. A boyfriend, she replied. I told her that I felt she wanted a boyfriend because she had a deep hunger for love because she hadn’t always been loved well. She said yes, no one had ever loved her. I told her that God has always loved her and would love her until the day the world ends and beyond. I said that God was calling her beloved. That He loved her so much that He knew she would be wearing orange that night. And He just wanted her to know His love. I told her I would pray for her to have a good journey in life, but I also wanted to pray that God would show her His love. She said we could. And so we prayed. And God showed up. And she felt loved. Perhaps for the first time in her life.

And she said wanted to know this God who loved her. I was shocked. It was so simple. But she became a child of the Lover of her soul.

Reality Check from The Soloist

It hasn’t been easy here. I am discovering more of who I am. Sometimes I like what I find. Other times, I don’t. I have found through being the only foreigner on my team that I have a high need for meaningful interactions with others… not just an exchange of pleasantries, but my heart soars in those moments that I get to connect with someone else deeply. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen all that often right now. Something to do with not speaking Thai yet.

I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands lately, though, to work on remedying that not speaking Thai thing. I’ve also been really asking God to search my heart and show me His for my time here. And what has come to me in these times is something that was spoken over my life the very first day I said yes to God’s invitation to go to Thailand: “He’s calling you to be a friend to the friendless.” At times, I’ve wondered, what’s so powerful about that. Why He wants me to be that for people. And why it must be such a lonely place to walk in.

The other day, I borrowed a movie from a friend… Just to have an infusion of English in my day, or so I thought. But as “The Soloist” was spinning in my laptop, I began seeing the parallels between my life and the life of a journalist, Steve Lopez, who befriended Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless man. I found myself crying when Steve’s wife told him, “You couldn’t stop that earthquake. You can’t fix LA. And you’re never going to cure Nathaniel. Just be his friend and show up.” And I felt the Ultimate Soloist reminding me that’s what I’m here for… just to be a friend. Just to show up. Is it significant? Sometimes I wonder… But I continued feeling the Ultimate Soloist playing the strings of my heart as the final scene from the movie rolled:

A year ago, I met a man who was down on his luck and thought I might be able to help him. I don’t know that I have. Yes, my friend Mr. Ayers now sleeps inside. He has a key. He has a bed. But his metal state and his well-being are as precarious now as they were the day we met. there are people who tell me I’ve helped him. Mental health experts who say that the simple act of being someone’s friend can change his brain chemistry, improve his functioning the world. I can’t speak for Mr. Ayers in that regard. Maybe our friendship has helped him. But maybe not. I can, however speak for myself. I can tell you that by witnessing Mr. Ayer’s courage, his humility, his faith in the power of his art, I’ve learned the dignity of being loyal to something you believe in. Of holding onto it. Above all else, of believing without question that it will carry you home.

I am encouraged in being reminded that being a trustworthy friend to these ones can bring hope and a sense of value…. or “change his brain chemistry, improve his functioning in the world.” However, I don’t believe that I was sent here simply to see things improve in such small measures in the lives of those I have befriended. In the day-to-day moments where I cannot see that my friendship is helping them, I choose to be loyal to this: I believe that the melody and harmonies of God’s everlasting love are powerful enough to bring a shift to the thinking not only of one, but of nations. I believe that though I cannot fix Pattaya, He can. I believe that though I cannot cure these ones, He can cure the most broken of hearts.

As I learn from the One who is Jealous for these souls, I am also learning much from these ones. I am seeing the power of their friendships in my life. Someone told me yesterday, “You are my best friend.” I was humbled at those words, as I have not yet been here three months. The other day I was crying because I was homesick and and a competitive dancer let down his tough facade to let me know he knows how it feels to miss home. A former prostitute said she knew what it’s like to miss one’s family because she misses her daughter. And they told me they would pray for me. And meant it. Maybe my love is changing them. Their love is changing me. And God’s love is changing all of us. What a beautiful symphony we will play as we arise as the Sons and Daughters of the Living God, playing with the Ultimate Soloist, releasing a song of love that will change everything.

Scrawlings in the Sand…

After being on the beach one day with prostitutes, drug dealers, abusive husbands, and battered women, I began to wonder, “What did Jesus write in the sand that day that caused the silence of the Pharisees? What was it about this Friend of sinners that left these accusations in the dust?” (See John 8:2-11)

Did He write, “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord” (Hosea 2:19-20)?

Did He write from the prophets, reminding them of how their torn love from the Father was like being caught in the act of adultery?

Did He list out the laws… all the major and minor that we are not capable of keeping?

Did He write the secrets of men’s hearts?

Did He write of His faithful love?

Does it matter what He wrote? Or was it simply that LOVE, incarnate, was in their midst?

Many have wondered. I am wondering now because I feel as though I am sometimes caught by those, who though well meaning, are trying to set a trap for me. “In the law of Moses…” they say. Oh but what does the law of Love say? Does this Love demand that we lay down our sin before we can approach Him? Or does it take on our sin, knowing full well we cannot overcome our brokenness on our own?

Many point out that Jesus told this woman, “Go and sin no more.”

How many see that Jesus told the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7)?

I am not without sin. I refuse to throw a stone at these ones. I will let Him be the one to say, “Go and sin no more.” I will hear Him whisper this in my own ear. I will read His scrawlings in the sand until these marks of love are inscribed on my heart. But I let my stone fall to the ground. I will learn the way of love, from the One who came, not to condemn, but to save. And I will walk with Him in this way so that Love is made more manifest in me.