Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Haiti: What shall I pack?

Clothes, check.

Good walking shoes, check.

Toothbrush, check.

Camera, check.

Backpack, check.

What else? Cell phone, money, hair products? Hand sanitizer - definitely.

But how were the first missionaries sent out? What was on their packing list?

From Matthew Chapter 10:

“Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. 10 Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed."

Wow, they didn't even need to take a change of clothes? Well what did they take with them?

Read Matthew 10:1-20 for the complete list.

They were equipped with spiritual authority, power to heal, a testimony, a giving spirit, peace, discernment, courage, and the Holy Spirit to lead them.

Lord, help me to remember that my spiritual preparation for this trip is much more important than my physical preparations.

17 days!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Haiti: Why am I going?

During the next 18 days, I'm going to try to spend some time preparing myself spiritually for this trip. One of the first questions I was asked when I began telling people I was going was, "Do you believe God is leading you in this?"

I have been drawn into compassion for those who are considered "less than" by the rest of society for as long as I can remember. I learned early in my Christian walk that God had given me a gift of mercy and a heart that loves rather than one that judges. These are spiritual gifts that He has granted so that I can serve him. My home has always been open to anyone needing a soft place to fall and it gives me joy to be the caretaker. This is the role He has placed me in with both my family and in my church.

I have served in my church as a missions teacher to young girls. I've supported missionaries in financies and prayer. I've been on trips with the youth of my old church to hold VBS and build in Mexico and on the Navaho reservation in New Mexico and Nevada.

I returned to school in my late 40s and received an education in social work. And though I am not working in that field, my heart is drawn to opportunities to empower others to effect change in they own lives as well as do what I can to advocate for those who are marginalized by society.

I tell you these things not in a prideful way, but to tell you that this is how God created me. This is the person He created me to be: A servant to those who the world has forgotten. So when this opportunity to go to Haiti presented itself, I didn't hesitate to say, SEND ME.

I'm not going to Haiti to show the people we'll be working with a better way to do things. I am going to learn from them and partner with them in providing for the children that have been placed in their care. Working together to find ways to give these children a future of hope. If we can raise up this next generation of Haitians to be adults who are educated and healthy and who love the Lord, that will be the best way to effect change in Haiti.

God had also given me a vision that this will not be the only trip I make to Haiti. My prayer is that He will clarify that in the time I spend there and the weeks afterward as I reflect on my experience. But my heart is already open and willing to just follow where He leads.

If you are reading this, I ask you to please pause and say a prayer for the people we'll be partnering with, for the children in the orphanage in Gonaives, and for the team I'll be traveling with. Pray for safe travels, for us to be led by God's Spirit, and for Him to be at the center of all we experience there.

Grace to you,


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Your Hands

My prayer for you today is that you feel safe and secure in His Hands.

Grace and Peace,


Monday, August 9, 2010

Soul Painting

As a child, I was always so envious of the ones whose creative abilities seemed to come so effortlessly. There were always a select few in school who were known as the "artistic ones." I was not one of them. However, throughout my life it seems I've always been drawn to one creative endeavor or another. There was sewing for my children when they were young, latchhooking, cross-stitch, painting of birdhouses. I decorated birthday cakes. I took piano lessons, guitar lessons, a creative writing class. I just never seemed to stick with anything long enough to get good at it.

A couple of years ago in the midst of some struggles with an anxiety disorder, a friend invited me to something called a "soul painting" class at her church. I was desperate for something to help me deal with my anxiety and the opportunity to be creative again drew me in.

The class began with the lighting of candles and prayer. We were then asked to meditate and open our spirits up to God's creative powers. We were given an hour to go to one of several painting stations which consisted of a large sheet of paper attached to the wall. In the center of the room were buckets and buckets of all colors of paint, paintbrushes, aprons, palettes, water, everything we needed to create.

As I was meditating I had a vision in my mind of what I was to paint. It began with 4 mountain like structures, each one with a name: judgment, rejection, abandonment and failure. These were the fears in my life that seemed to be causing the anxiety I was dealing with. The mountains became more human-like in their form and I imagined myself walking among them, yet finally escaping along a path that led to an altar of peace. The painting is very simple and childlike, lacking in any detail or true talent. But the release I experienced from the painting of it was enormous.

This is what led me to begin to explore more about painting. That was just a little over 2 years ago. Locking myself away in my art room and spending hours creatining and painting has provided me with a safe haven, a place to express all those fears and emotions that have caused me anxiety and pain. I had no imposed expectations on being "good enough" to do this. It was simple play.

Now looking back over the things I have created over the past 2 years, I can see how much I have grown and evolved. I am no longer imprisoned by the fears I once had. I am accepting myself as the person I was created to be. I see growth in the way I create, too. It's a wonderful journey that will continue with no expectations on where it will lead.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Art by Sammy Britt
I am a vessel. I am filled by a kind word, a gentle touch, watching another person rise up out of the ashes to overcome, kisses from my grandchildren, divine revelations, answered prayers, art, music, quiet moments at home, walking in the woods, connections with another creative spirit.
These are the things that fill me up. They fill my heart and they fill my life. These are the things that make me grateful. And these are the gifts I sacrifice and pour out into the hearts and lives of others so that they too can be filled.

There is joy in the sacrifice. And with every emptying of my life for another comes a fresh filling so that I can do it all over again.