The Curse of Thorns

…Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground…”

God speaks these words to man after he disobeys the one-and-only command God asked of him in the garden. (Genesis 3, ESV)

Until then, life was perfect. Man lived in unity with all of Creation and with God. They would walk together and talk. But, the day he decided that he desired to be like God, he realized how little authority and power he had. He is the image of the Creator but could and would never be God Almighty. In his desires, man sold his birthright of the earth to Satan and death took hold.

Thorns and thistles did not exist until this point.

A scientist I know explained thorns as: a leaf, branch, or flower whose potential is cut short. Something beautiful and life giving, when its potential is cut short or not fully realized, becomes painful and intrusive. A thorn is not good for anything. It only causes pain and hardship.

victoria-2016-90When the curse fell on mankind and his relationship with was God severed, potential of the earth and those in it was cut short.

So, it is no minor detail to flip to a story written almost 1500 years later of Jesus. Matthew 27:27-31, Roman soldiers, completely unaware of the curse, twist together a crown of thorns and beat it into the skull of Jesus to mock him, saying “Hail, King of the Jews!”

Onto Jesus the curse of the fallen potential of man and the earth was placed.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

The Prophet Isaiah foretold the coming Messiah who would take away the sins of the world, bearing the curse of death upon himself.

Even knowing this, how many still live like we are under the curse? The day Jesus died Death lost its power on mankind. Jesus took back our birthright for us. We no longer have to live with the potential of who we are cut short or not fully realized.

The curse is broken. Are you producing flowers or thorns?

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The Single-Person-Food-Cycle

As I sat down to eat my 4th night in a row of the same dinner, I thought I would share what dinners are like for a single, 31-year-old woman.

As it is with many full-time volunteers, my support from donors comes in once a month. This means I have to budget everything out for the month.

I break the monthly amount for food down into 4 parts usually. While the intention is always 25%-25%-25%-25%, somehow reality is more 50%-30%-15%-5%. It is a vicious cycle. You just checked my math, didn’t you?

Week 1: The previous month ended with me barely having enough to eat, so now that I have plenty of money in the envelope. I am going to treat myself for “suffering” through last week. Plus my self-inflicted fast left me with no energy or motivation to cook. Therefore, I eat out or get take-away and go out for coffee with friends. (Keep in mind, I live in SE Asia, so eating out is not horribly expensive, however, it still more expensive than making small meals at home.)

Week 2: I feel guilty and realize how much of my food budget I blew in my first week. Additionally, all that Pad Thai take-away and coffee gave me the energy to grocery shop. I proceed to the 4 different stores and markets Cambodia requires to find all I need for a well-balanced, beneficial week. I spend my entire weekend cleaning, chopping, cooking, and making a four-star chef feel inadequate with the healthy gourmet food I “whipped up.” However, it is just me to eat this meal made for a family. So I eat a small portion of it and either freeze or refrigerate the rest. For this week, I eat the delicious, nourishing meal every… single… night.

I no longer like this meal.

Week 3: The budget is almost shot, but there is some salvage. I decide I want to accomplish something other than spending my weekend cooking and doing dishes, so I only proceed to one grocery store on a tight budget. $5 for a box of cereal, that can make at least 3-4 meals. Or I opt for the rice crackers and quickly blended hummus for dinner. Sometimes oatmeal with some frozen fruit does it.

Sitting on my couch*, I munch happily on this plain meal in a bowl that only took me a few minutes to put together.

*Keep in mind, I have a table. Week 3 meal just doesn’t merit a table.

Eating peanut butter on a long, wintery hike when I was back visiting in the States.

Eating peanut butter on a long, wintery hike when I was back visiting in the States.

Week 4: I search every bag and pocket for money. Scraping it all together, I determine I do not have enough except to replenish my toilet paper supply. Then, I go through my cupboards and try to get creative with frozen fruit, dried black beans, and peanut butter. I also lament how low my coffee bag is getting. I may not survive this week.

God forbid it is a 31 day month… I may go hungry a few evenings or stave off the hunger with a few tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter (I really don’t like peanut butter much, yet somehow I still buy it and have it for emergencies.)

I endure because I know I will start the singles-food-cycle all over again and feast like a queen in a week.

I realize in these moments, I am grateful that I do not have to be accountable for feeding a husband and child cereal for 3 nights in a row.

Wild Ride: My Daily Commute

TuktukAfter wedging the bulging contents of my bag into the straining front basket and wind my purse strap around the handlebars several times, I put on my bike helmet. False hopes of a good hair day are literally crushed. Wheeling my bike out the front gate, I balance the rear of it with one hand while closing the heavy gate with the other hand. Just inches from my front tire, a motor bike whizzes past, telling me it is now or never.

In a dress, no less, I take a running start and jump on my bike, and proceed down the road. If I slow, I tip to one side or the other. Even on tiptoe, I strain to put both feet on the ground from the height of my seat.

Dress tucked neatly between my legs, pedaling ensues. I dodge a huge pothole, within seconds of that a motorbike passes me on the left, another on the right, another is oncoming. All this while keeping a close eye on the stray dogs, a food vendor next to the road cooking breakfast for patrons, the gaggle of small children chasing the street dogs, and the construction workers on my left heaving loads of bricks and cement over their shoulders. They stop to point out the white girl on her bike. I am not sure why, as this is my daily ritual.

Vigorously I ring my bell to inform them I am coming. No one listens. I veer around one of the men who is casually lighting his cigarette in the middle of the street.

I need to turn left. Despite the “natural flow” of traffic being on the right hand side of the road, one cannot merely make a left from the right lane. So, I ease to the left side of the road, slow a bit, and turn the corner to face oncoming traffic. I am blind around the corner as a large umbrella over a push cart blocks all view. A car approaches from behind and honks. A bike and three motos approach from ahead. One passes on my right, the other two on my left. I ease over, while checking behind my shoulder simultaneously watching people headed into oncoming traffic from the next intersection. I dodge another pothole the size and depth of a small crater.

I ring my bell again as I enter the intersection. Traffic – all at different speeds – enters the intersection from all four directions. Left, left, right, straight, brake. Brake slowly, brake quickly. This is a split second of my thinking. It is all I can focus on.

Dust billows and I cough, blinking to overcome temporary blindness. A huge parked truck has taken up the right side of the road, so traffic moves into the left. My handle bars miss the truck by mere molecules of air, as an oncoming car squeezes past on my left. I can feel the breeze of the car, its mirror fitting neatly under my left handle bar grazes my leg. But, I am not fazed. This is normal. I brake as a tuk-tuk drives slowly ahead, heavy laden with white women in bright tourist clothing from the market talking and laughing within.

Since I sit so high on my bike, I survey the oncoming situation, quickly calculate speed and distance in my head, and begin pedaling with might-and-mane to overtake the tuk-tuk before the large SUV and three oncoming motos catch us. Head down, leaning in, I whip around the tuk-tuk and merge directly in front of him, but slightly faster just in time for the SUV to pass.

He honks.

Everyone honks.

I have learned to ignore horns. They can mean one of many things.

One, “I am coming.” Two, “You are in my way.” Three, “You cut me off.” Four, “I just honk every few meters for the hell of it.” The latter is the most likely.

Despite it being morning, sweat rolls down my back. It tickles my spine, but both hands on both brakes are necessary at all times.

I turn down a very rutted road. Jarring every bone in my body, I bounce around choosing the least disastrous pothole to dive into. Not hitting a hole is not an option. I raise myself off my seat a bit, bend at the knees, and ride the potholes. Some filled in with loose rocks and I struggle to gain control as a moto swerves directly ahead of me to miss a huge hole on his end of the street. I take evasive action, while trying not to slam into the vehicle on my immediate right.

To take a left onto the next busy road, I cut quickly into oncoming traffic, turn at the petrol station, and bike through people pumping gas, followed by several motos who do the same. We meet oncoming traffic, dodge left, dodge right, and eventually end up in our lane again. A small steep incline greets me. I have two options: slow and look for traffic or pedal with everything to get up this hill. If I slow, I will tip over and fall into traffic, so I stand up on my pedals again and go for it.

I wedge through a tight jam of vehicles all trying to turn different directions at this intersection. They are woven together in a barely moving grid lock. I try to bike on the shoulder, but there are too many oncoming vehicles driving down the wrong side, so I meld into traffic. One moto barely misses me as the man talks on his cell phone neatly tucked into his helmet. I pass a moto with a melancholic toddler dangling over the front handle bar, a woman clutching the driver’s midsection with another child sandwiched between them, and a load of groceries balancing on back. Her dark hair is streaming in the breeze; plastic flip-flops clad her feet. Silently, they watch me go by.

While this road boasts two traffic lanes in each direction, there are about seven vehicles wide going each way. I end up in group of motos packed behind a large dump truck but in front of a tourist bus. The flow quickly slows pace as a Lexus SUV decides to make a left turn from the right side of the road, blocking out everyone.

The only road rule here is the big vehicles win.

I am the only person on the road who seems to have a problem with this situation.

I try to balance on my bike without touching the ground as our pack of motos and bicycles grows tighter. More motos join from cramming in behind the bigger vehicles. I hesitate to put my legs down for fear of burning them on someone’s hot exhaust pipe, sitting mere inches from me. I tuck my face into my arm pit in a hope the black billowing smoke coming out of the truck will not go directly into my lungs.

While we wait, the nicely dressed moto driver on my right decides he should be on the left of me. He makes eye contact and then shoves his front wheel directly in front of mine. Despite the fact he will not fit, he seems to insist magic will happen. Rolling slowly forward, he moves closer and closer. I glare at him. He is unfazed. Traffic begins to move, but I am trapped until Mr. Moto can slide past and proceed to block out more people. I swerve behind him and start biking again. Looking over my shoulder while simultaneously checking my surrounding from every direction and watching oncoming motorists, I ease closer to the right side of the road. This time I slow to swerve around the metal cart, laden with coconuts, and is pushed down the road. Yes, a person is physically pushing this down a main street.

The vendor determined his coconuts will sell better on the other side of the road, so he precariously weaves his coconut cart through the dense traffic.

All the while, a car, three motos, and a tuk-tuk appear on my right. Without glancing in mirrors or over their shoulders, they shove me back to the left. I have no choice as they will not yield.

The immaculately clean Lexus ahead of me brakes without warning. How do I know it is a Lexus? The owners here find it a point to show their status by having the words, “LEXUS” printed as large as possible and painted on the side of their vehicle. A pale Cambodian woman with long painted nails and several large diamonds adorning her hands sits behind the wheel. She is also on her cell phone. She did not stop for any reason other than to gape at the buildings on the other side of the road.

I scrutinize oncoming traffic and proceed to pass her on the left while dodging more oncoming vehicles. Absorbing back into the lane, the vehicles slow again as a man steps into the road with his hand out and an orange glow stick. A truck reverses out of a business and onto the road. The man waves it back. Brave motos slide past from behind, as other vehicles squeeze around his front. I wait. After doing a five –point turn, the truck is now out and accelerating.

We start again.

Just as we pick up speed, a group of uniform clad school children are on the road. Some of them run. Some of them walk. Not one of them looks. Now they are in four different places on the road. My heart almost stops. I make eye contact with one directly ahead to determine if I bike around her on the front or the back since I have no time to stop. I decide to go behind her when she panics and freezes. I swerve to miss, cutting off a moto with three men on it who honks at me.

Crisis averted.

I am now stuck behind a moto with live chickens dangling by their legs off the back. The other moto ahead balances four natural gas bottles bungeed together. I hope and pray he does not crash.

I am sweating profusely at this point but do not notice.

Hitting more potholes and running over my one millionth plastic bag littering the road way, I merge again. This time. I need to make a left, but now there is a cement barrier down the road. I stop my bike, step on the barrier, lift the bicycle and contents, point it the other direction, and wait for traffic to clear before I set it in the lane, jump on, and start biking to match the speed of traffic. While doing this I weave right to take the next turn.

More honking.

It is now raining. Tuk-tuk drivers pull over to put on their plastic rain ponchos. I just keep going. The potholes quickly fill with water, so I can no longer judge their depth or location accurately. The dirty, wet spray from the vehicle up ahead hits my face; I ease my speed and turn my head to avoid it. Soon I am pedaling in six inches of sewage running down the side of the road. My feet are coated. My nostrils assaulted but stopping is not an option.

Eventually, I make it. I just cycled about three kilometers.

Welcome to my daily commute. An extreme sport in and of itself. I lived another day. Praise the Lord!

 

A Day In The LIFE

Selfie2014-1A rat the size of a small dog scurried past as I put down my kick-stand and removed my sweaty helmet. “That is a HUGE rat!” I exclaimed while no one was around to listen.

My landlords have a small dog with matted, tangled grey fur. His name is Tony. Tony has dreadlocks coming off of his rear end. Tony needs a good grooming. I can usually smell Tony before I see him. Sometimes, Tony loves me. Other times, Tony pees on my floor or lunges at me and snaps. I am pretty sure this rat could take Tony in a fight.

I saw the rat again today on my third floor balcony. Thankfully, he did not notice my open door. I am not sure who should be more thankful as I devised how to get rid of him. Poison? Trap? Or beating him to death with a broom if I find him in my home?

This comes in the wake of my battle with the ants. I find ants everywhere. I mean everywhere. I keep this house spotless, they still find the one grain of sugar that got away and send thousands to feast upon it. Ants actually destroyed the wiring to my hot water heater in my bathroom. I had to get the landlord’s “nephew” to replace my breaker. This is the same “nephew” who fixed my leaky pipe with electrical tape. Yes, it still leaks. Yes, I have given up on calling the landlord’s nephew and have decided to do support-raising for a tool box.

Did I mention I have a bat living in my bathroom vent? I named him Bartok. He’s pretty harmless except for the excessive amounts of guano he kindly bestows upon my back patio.

Then, there are the weevils. Some are still in white, wriggling larva stage, while others are now full-blown black-with-legs stage. I sift my flour several times to rid my meals of weevils. Extra protein, I guess. Thankfully, Papua New Guinea has prepared me well for life here in Cambodia. I am hardly fazed by these things.

Okay, the rat fazes me. I will crawl up on a table and squeal with the best of girly girls if that rat shows itself in my home. I keep this home too clean to allow him to reside here!

Phnom Penh is a city of about 2.2 million people. We all live within a few miles range of each other, however. I can bike across the city in a matter of 30 minutes. (30 very sweaty minutes). That is if there are not protests going on and riot police start barricading streets. Yes, that happened this week on my way home from work… no, it did not turn into a big deal.

I live within a block of an open sewage ditch. We all refer to it as the “stinky river.” Everyone in town knows exactly where I live when I reference it. Along that ditch is a market where I buy most of my fruit and veg. Don’t worry, it is not grown near the stinky river.

When it rains – almost daily – the sewage here backs up into the streets. I was biking home in the rain the other day enjoying splashing through puddles when it hit me, that’s not mud. Needless to say, I hosed off when I got home.

All-in-all, I am settling in, I won the flatmate lottery. Karen is awesome and we get along great…. when we actually see each other.

I really enjoy my job and co-workers. I cannot talk much about my work. It is intense. Some weeks we deal with women coming to work with black eyes from their “husbands.” Other weeks we deal with employees on the verge of death from AIDS or leukemia. Every day we deal with incredible brokenness. Thankfully there is grace. Grace for us. Grace for them.

There is also healing. Both of those sick women were healed from almost near death. I cannot express the joy that came when my coworkers rushed in to tell me the woman who a few days earlier was too weak to sit up from leukemia is now eating, moving, flushed with rosy color and praising God for her healing!

Every day we also deal with a new beginning. I am learning more and more about the power of God. I could never do what I do without God’s leading. Every day prayer is our biggest tool. Please join me in this.

I cannot emphasize prayer enough.

“Prayer is not flight, prayer is power. Prayer does not deliver a man from some terrible situation; prayer enables a man to face and to master the situation.” –William Barclay

Lift Your Head

This past month comprised of major blessings mingled with staggering heartache. After a high school friend died of birth complications, followed by a tragic suicide of someone back home, not to mention what is going on in Israel, the doings of ISIS, and random passenger flights being shot out of the air over the Ukraine, I felt my heart could not bear any more. Heaviness enshrouded me.

I found myself weeping on an hourly basis. Here I am preparing to move across the world to work alongside men and women who have been forced into sex-work since a young age. How is my sensitive nature ever going to survive?

My prayer this entire year has been, “Lord, keep my heart soft.” I do not want bitterness or numbness to replace the deep love I have to give.

The “problem” with a soft heart is the dilemma of becoming overwhelmed in a broken world.

I did what I should have done in the first place. I took the metro into Milano and found a cute café. I ordered an “American” sized latte, opened my Bible and journal, and prayed, “Lord, I need You. Please, speak to me.”

I have been a Christian a long time but never cease to be in awe of prayer. Seriously, we get to enter into the throne room of God. The God! Creator of the Universe, Star Breather, Beginning and the End, Spoke-and-It-Is. The One who owed us nothing yet gave us everything.

I have access to Him! He wants to speak to me. He wants to hear from me.

It gets me so excited! Not only do we enter His throne room, we get to sit at His feet… Or, how I always like to imagine it is crawling into His lap, snuggling close and whispering, “I need You.”

As I read Psalms 3 verses 3-4 stuck with me. “But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain.”

Lift your head.

A.W. Tozer writes in The Pursuit of God, “The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of His Presence. The instant cure of most of our religious life would be to enter the Presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God and that God is in us. This would lift us out of our pitiful narrowness and cause our hearts to be enlarged. This would burn away the impurities from our lives…”

Lift your head.

While all of the things burdening me matter greatly to the heart of God, I was taking them on my own. My gaze was nearsighted. I needed a paradigm shift to the vast world around me; the weight of glory; and the eternal perspective.

2 Corinthian 4:16-18 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

What is this weight of glory?

Mark Parker said on my Discipleship Training School (DTS), “It’s all the cracks in our lives that let the Light shine through.”

So often we are caught up in looking at the cracks and brokenness rather than the Light. Lift your head.

We have been given the authority and power through the Holy Spirit to bring God’s Kingdom here on earth. I am on my face fighting for the hearts and the lives of those affected by the tragedies of recent times. But, I cannot lose heart. Because the weight of glory and what is eternal is that one day it will all be made right. One day, all that is just, pure, and righteous will win.

“… For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” 2 Peter 1:4.

Lift your heads.

No edit's necessary. This was a beautiful scene laid before me in France recently.

No edits necessary. This was a beautiful scene laid before me in France recently.

My Open Letter on Abortion

I hesitate to jump into the chaotic, emotionally charged abortion conversation…. if you can call screaming opposing ideas at each other a “conversation.” But, I seriously have been losing sleep over all that I’ve seen in media lately. I think our perspective on the issue has missed the mark and through this I seek to exhort a paradigm shift.

Last night I lost sleep over you. Yes, you, woman who had an abortion. I hurt for you. I cried for you. I saw you in the news. I saw you justifying your actions, making it look like it was simple, easy, and painless. I saw people shouting at you, calling you a killer. And, I hurt.

I cried for you last night.

I cried because if you knew what I knew, your whole world would change.

I cried because I have witness many of my dear friends lose their babies. One of my sweetest, kindest, most nurturing friends lost four. The forth was in his/her 3rd trimester when they died. She was broken and devastated. I cried for her because she would make the best mother and never would get the privilege.

I cried because, as a woman, it is a privilege. Life is a gift, not a convenience. We do not create life, but we get to carry it, nurture it, watch it grow and develop. We get to love it.

With great privilege comes great responsibility. We have thrown off our responsibility and replaced it with entitlement and a right. But, it is still responsibility. When God made us He knew we were strong enough and courageous enough to carry the weight of this responsibility.

We were given an incredible capacity to love. And, here’s why I cry. I hurt for you because you have never experienced love like I have. Our capacity to love is so much greater than we could ever imagine, but how can you know if you were never told? Love is not based on actions. We do not love unborn babies because they give us anything or benefit us. We love because you, me, the baby, the old man down the street, we all have extraordinary value.

I hurt for you because I wish; I wish so much that you knew your value. If you knew, it would change everything.

You are not a cast off from past relationships. You are not weak or incapable. You are not stupid. You are not soiled goods from abuse. You are redeemable. You are not heartless.

You are amazing. You are created in the image of the God of this universe. The star breather. You have so much value. Value to the point that the God who spoke and the world was, died for you. He loved you. He loves you.

If you could see yourself through my eyes, maybe you would glimpse the incredible love, value, and beauty you have in God’s eyes. If you could see all those babies through His eyes, I think you’d see the same thing. Incredible potential. Not a loss of sleep or money, but Hope. An opportunity.

I cry for you because I have held my friend’s babies in my arms. I have seen little toes and little fingers. I have seen smiles and tears. I have felt little arms wrap around my neck and curly heads placed on my shoulder.

I cry for you because I have friends who have had abortions. In those alone moments. In the quiet and the darkness. When the cameras were removed and the agendas set aside, I know you can track their age. I know you will look back and wonder. Wonder, what if?

In that split second, flicker of doubt, you will see their chubby legs and hear their toothless giggle and wonder if you had taken on the responsibility what kind of mother you had the potential to be.

I cry for you because I wish you knew. I wish you knew that it is not too late. You are still loved, not loved because of sex or relationships or social status. Loved because you have incredible value. A love that does not walk away when things get tough. A love that sees through all heartache, all sin, all labels and continues to pour into you. To build you up. To soften your heart. To open your eyes. To bring you wisdom and knowledge. A love to fulfill. A love that takes all the cracks and holes in your life and shines and incredible light through them. A love that brings hope to the most hopeless situation.

I have seen this love. I know this love. And, so I cry for you. I wish you knew.

I cry for you, abortion doctor. At what stage did you take your incredible gift to heal and sustain life and turn it into the opposite? Is your treasure in money and things – a treasure that fades and will never satisfy – worth more than your talent and your calling?

I cry for you, abortion doctor, because you have spent your life chasing what is counterfeit. You are living for a lie. A mirage. You have traded beauty for ashes. Your hands are stained with the blood of the innocent. No soap or gloves will ever remove it.

But I wish you knew. I wish you knew what I know. There is a way to remove those stains. The blood of another innocent. When Jesus hung on that cross over 2,000 years ago. He saw your face and He loved you. You drove the nails through His hands. You have destroyed His remarkable creation, yet He loved you. He loves you.

I wish you knew because it would change everything.

Has anyone told you how invaluable you are? How much potential for good you have? If you knew how much unconditional love was poured out for you, would that change you?

I cry for you, angry protestor spewing hate venom. I do not know or care what side of this debate you stand on. If you are pro-life or pro-choice. I cry for you because if you knew what I know. If you had been loved the way I have been love, then you too would love like that.

You call horrible names and speak death over people with value. Incredible value.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20.

If you knew the love that I know -unconditional love – would it change you?

I cry for you, politicians writing laws, assigning numbers and statistics. We cannot assign value to something that is priceless. How can you regulate the importance of something that has infinite value?

If you knew what I know. If you saw them through my eyes, you would get a glimpse of them through God’s eyes. Numbers and statistics do not increase or decrease the importance of each individual life, heart, and soul. Whether we are fighting for the justice of one or the justice of all, it is worth it.

I cry for you, Church. You claim to know, but I do not think you know the Love that I know. You are content in your blindness. You have been given a gift of eternal value but you have not told them. You have not told the women, you have not told the doctors, you have not told the politicians, you have not told the protestors.

You sit idly by, pursuing the same convenience, treasure, and contentment in the counterfeit rather than the eternal. But you are even worse off because you have been redeemed. You have been given unconditional love. Your sins have been cast away and your life has infinite value, yet you won’t give up your time or comfort to go find the lost and broken.

You have been given the Keys to the Kingdom, but rather than storm the gates of Hell to bring back the lost generations of the aborted, the women, the doctors, you sat down, put your feet up, and tickled your ears with comfortable words and patted yourself on the back for your goodness. Don’t you know you have already received your reward then?

If you know the love that I know, then why hasn’t it changed you? Do you really know? Because if you did, it would change everything.

If you knew what I know, if you had the unconditional love I have experienced, then you would weep. You would weep in brokenness because you would be overwhelmed by the grace on your life. You would weep like I weep because I know that the only thing that separates me from them is Grace. It was never anything I did. I am no better. I am no different. I just KNOW. I am just overwhelmed in incredible LOVE.

Last night I lost sleep. I dreamed happy dreams. I am a woman. I am so grateful I have the privilege and responsibility to help nurture life. I look forward to the day I get to love little people who have incredible value, who will likely take more from me than they give, who will make me fat and tired. I am blessed that hopefully one day little chubby arms will wrap around my neck and little curly heads will lie on my shoulder carrying the DNA of me and their father. Knitted together in my womb, known and loved by our great and mighty God. Image bearers.

My prayer for them – all of them – is that they will know what I know. Unconditional, infinite and incredible LOVE.

1 James 3:14-18. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.  Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.  We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.