Tread on Trafficking – May 1 to June 30

If you’ve read my blog before, you may know that I have a heart for young women – especially those who don’t have a direction. If you’ve read my story, you know that at a young age (too young, I think), I was having sex with a young man I thought I was in love with. I had given up my dream of waiting for my prince because I thought I’d found him but that is a whole other post.

I wasn’t forced to sleep with him. Not like these girls.

Girls as young as  8.  I have a cousin who is 8.

These girls come from a multitude of situations.

Runaways.

Sold by their parents.

Women who are on vacationing alone or with friends (anyone see the movie Taken? Yeah, I don’t doubt that has happened).

Men and boys are trafficked. Not so much for sex (sometimes they are though) but more for labor. In India many men and boys are made bond slaves for family “debt” that goes back 2, maybe 3, generations.

LOVE146 is an organization that wants to put an end to child sex slavery and exploitation. They fight for the girls who don’t have anyone else fighting for them.

Because now in the eyes of their family they are not worthy of redemption.

Lord, we know they are. Because I am worthy of redemption in my Father’s eyes.

What can you do about it?

Well, you can sponsor me for all of the miles that I will bike/walk/run from May 1 through June 30. (Go here to make a donation.) I have two goals. My first goal is to bike/walk/run 400 miles in 8 weeks – that’s 25 miles per week and roughly 4 miles per day, 6 days a week (Hey, Sunday is the Sabbath). My second goal (and the most important one) is to raise $1/mile = $400.

This is a great motivator for me to be active and healthy while doing something to change the lives of young boys and girls who are trafficked.

I will be blogging through this process daily as well and I will let everyone know how close I am to my goal.

So what do you say? Will you help me raise money for these girls?

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Book Review: I Will Carry You by Angie Smith

I first happened upon Angie Smith’s blog well over a year ago. I can’t remember if it was before or after her daughter, Audrey, came and left this world. I do remember that I spent about 3 days “catching up” on her blog. Yep I read every post from the beginning.

Because I wanted to make sure that I knew the WHOLE story. Because that first post I had come upon touched me so greatly that I had to know about this sweet girl’s complete story. Because it mattered. She matters.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the book (from the back of the book):

Angie Smith was eighteen weeks pregnant with her fourth daughter, Audrey Caroline, when doctors discovered conditions leaving Audrey “incompatible with life.” Faced with the decisions whether to terminate the pregnancy, Angie and her husband chose to carry Audrey for as long as she had life. This began what turned out to be three months of loving and carrying a little girl that was not expected to live more than a few minutes.

Audrey Caroline lived for over two hours, weighing three pounds, two ounces. Yet, in the midst of the sorrow of loss, there was still joy. Angie weaves the faith-filled story of Audrey Caroline with a biblical story of hope to help us all to understand how better to copy with loss and disappointment.

In I Will Carry You, Audrey’s mom tells the sweet story of her baby girl who changed the world. Be part of Audrey’s story as you read of this mom, her daughter, and the family’s faith — you will be among the changed!

I was sort of biased before I even started reading this book because I fell in love with Angie and Audry through reading her blog, Bring the Rain, but I enjoyed this book. (Er, enjoyed isn’t exactly the word I would use but I’m having a brain lapse.)  Although I’m not a mom, I was deeply effected by Angie’s story.

What effects me most about this story is Angie’s faith. As a Christian myself, I know that there are times when we don’t

I Will Carry You book cover

understand God at times when He seems to be taking from us. But this walk isn’t easy. (This is where I am going to be a little critical.) Unfortunately, there are some Christian circles who make it seem like walking with God is… well, a cake walk. (No pun intended.) But Angie is very open about the fact that this isn’t an easy walk.

This walk with God isn’t about it being easy. It’s about believing that He came as a man named Jesus who lived without sin to die and become the sacrificial lamb for ALL of our sin. It is about having faith in God and trusting that He has our best interest at heart. It’s about striving to live to glorify Him.

When I read this book, that is how I felt. It also helped me to understand the depth of grief a parent goes through when they lose a child. I hope that I can take some of what Angie wrote and remember it if I ever have a friend who is grieving.

I would recommend this book to any parent who has lost a child or any adult who has a friend who lost a child. What is also great about this book is that there is a section on helping children through the grief process. This section is good for parents who have older children. There is also a section of resources, too.

**Disclaimer: I purchased this book on my own and I am not being compensated in anyway from the author or publisher for this review.**

Insanity

The saying goes: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

(If you go here, you’ll get the actual definition, but we’ll use what I wrote above for this post. :-))

Today, I finally broke from one of the relationships that I always went back to expecting something – ANYTHING – about it to change.

And it was hard. And easy. At the same time.

It was hard because I’ve known him for a long time – 14 years long time.

But here’s how it was: we’d hang out for a while. My emotional attachment would rear its ugly head and I’d get it in my head that we would be good as a couple. (Enter the stereotypical needy girl.) So, I’d try to bring it up and that would usually be the end of hanging out because he doesn’t want a relationship right now (and right now has lasted about 5 or so years). (Exit boy.)

And there’s emotional baggage and physical attraction that has been lingering between us for, oh, about 14 years. While I have been open to taking our friendship to a dating relationship, he was not. There was a time when he may have been but it came and went.

We hadn’t really talked in a while – maybe since last summer? And about 2 months ago I saw him when I was dropping off mail at the end of a work day. It wasn’t until about two weeks that he texted me saying that we should hang out.

Sheesh. Do we really need to get back on the not-so-merry-go-round again?

So in the last couple of days I made the conscious decision to listen to what I believe the Holy Spirit was saying to me about this relationship – it’s time to put it to rest. But I was scared to let it go. To say goodbye.

I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Forget about mine. Like that really matters right?

So today I did it. I let go of a toxic relationship. I am stopping the insanity. Because we’ve tried too many times where I’ve expected a different outcome.

There is no other outcome except the outcome which God has already planned. His plan for my life was foreordained even before He created Adam.

The best decision I ever made was to hear the Holy Spirit call me to Him and obey it. Thank You, Lord, for calling me to You.

I hope this encourages someone that no matter how hopeless a situation is, there is hope of something better. What may be our second choice, in reality may be God’s first choice for our life. We need to learn to listen to God when He is telling us that a situation isn’t right. It may just be commissioned by the enemy to cause us to stray from the narrow path God has placed before us.

God’s Chisel

A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook today. I just wanted to share. I don’t have any commentary for it, it speaks for itself. I hope this blesses someone today.

Change Your Perspective Part 2

**God has really been dealing with me about my perspective, my outlook, lately. It really is a constant thing that I am wrestling with.**

I looked up the definition of perspective on www.dictionary.com and there were 8 different meanings to the word but the ones that stood out to me are:

“the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc.; in having a meaningful interrelationship”

“the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship”

“a mental view or prospect”

Our perspective is our point of view, how we view the world. As a Christian, we aren’t too look at the world like we used to. We are to see the world through the eyes of Christ, from a heavenly realm.

No, we aren’t to look down at people, to feel superior to others. That’s not what I am trying to say, although it could be misconstrued that way.

The Bible says that we are “raised up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6)

We are to be seated with Him in the heavens so that we can see His view – His perspective – on any given situation. His view is the best kind of view because He sees everything – the beginning, middle and the end. He doesn’t see the little details but the big picture.

God’s view is the end result.

Because He already knows every situation that will come along that will position us to make a decision AND He already knows what we will decide. We just need to trust in making the decision that will glorify God.

That means that we may not always make the easy choice or the popular choice.

An example of that from my own life was when I decided to go to China last year. It wasn’t even so much a decision as an acknowledgment that it was something that God wanted me to do.

I’d never been out of the country before – not even to Canada and that’s only about a 6 hour drive from my hometown(!). Not only was I going to go half way around the world when I’d never been out of the country before but I was going to a country that isn’t exactly Christian-friendly. Yikes!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before here but my mom and sister weren’t exactly excited for me. In fact, my mom almost didn’t allow me to move home. (I had to move back to my parents house just prior to leaving. And I have a great church family. There were 3 couples, including my pastor and his wife, who offered for me to stay with them.)

My China story is only an example of seeing the big picture and not just the little details.

Because I could have obsessed about the fact that China isn’t exactly safe for Christians. I could have freaked out about the fact that I had to travel on a plane for 20+ hours each way(!).

But I didn’t.

My only focus was that God had a plan for my trip.

I was really affected by that trip and I a year later, I’m still affected.

Unfortunately, I’ve become very focused on the little details instead of the big picture. And I need to get there.

Changing my perspective.

Sacrifice

The past 2 Thursday night services and yesterday has had me thinking about Jesus’ sacrifice.

He sacrificed everything for us. He gave His life for you and me.

What am I (any one of us, really) willing to sacrifice for Him?

For many people, God has blessed us with jobs and homes and the ability to buy just about anything we want because we live in a county where just about anything you can imagine is available to us. (If you can’t find it locally, all you need to do is go online and google it.) It’s ok to have all of these things but what if these things become idols that we value more than we value our relationship with God?

Would be willing to give them up so that we could grow in our relationship with God?

One point that has been made recently by a pastor that I know is that there is a mentality in the Church as a whole when it comes to fighting for the moral core of this country.

Are we fighting so that we can continue to live in our comfortable Christianity or are we fighting to restore a Biblical worldview back to our country?

For me, it wasn’t something God has blessed me with but my heart’s desire.

I’ve discussed my desire to be married and have a family more than once here but this weekend I became convicted about that desire because it has become an idol for me.

I am beginning to see that it was becoming more important that my relationship with God. I know that he will give me the desires of my heart – after I seek His kingdom first.

So, I’ve had to consider the question:

Am I willing to sacrifice my desire to be married if that’s what it took to grow in my relationship with God?

Would I give up the idea of a human relationship that mirrors my relationship with Him – for Him?

Yes. (Really, it’s more like, “Well, alright. If You want me to.” Now. I’m working on getting to a definitive “Yes.” It won’t happen over night though. I must be patient with my heart and mind.)

Why?

Because I don’t want to be married unless it’s a Godly relationship. For ME, unless God is part of the marriage, it’s not worth it. So if God asked me to give up the dream, I would have to say OK and pray that it is only for a season. I know that no matter what God has my best interests at heart.

So I’m going to ask the question:

What are you willing to sacrifice? Is it something you’ve been blessed with that has become an idol? Is it a desire of your heart?