The Last 24 Hours

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If you want to emulate Christ, you must know Christ. And so often, I think the American church has got it all wrong. I don’t think it is fair or right to point fingers and there are many Christians and churches who are doing it right. Ultimately, I think each of us must evaluate our own lives in light of the life of Christ. Are we seeking to live like He did? As I have blogged about quite a bit recently, the idea of hospitality and serving others seems to continue to be a theme God is pressing into my soul. I think it is because for so many years I have been so busy with so much, I have forgotten we are to be busy with a who, not a what. We are to be seeking Christ, not seeking tasks, projects, notches on a resume, or shiny awards.

The other day, one sentence in the book I was reading stopped me in my tracks. The author was talking about the last hours of Christ’s life and how He spent those last precious hours. He had the unique advantage of knowing He was going to die. We do not know when death will come. A study of the last hours of Christ’s life reveal what was important to Him and this is what caused me to stop. To evaluate. To think. To consider my own life in light of His.

The night before Christ was crucified, He broke bread with his closest friends. He didn’t travel to an exotic locale, He didn’t check one more thing off His bucket list, He didn’t make some grand spectacle out of his last hours. He simply shared a meal around the table with those He loved.  What a beautiful picture and humbling reminder this was for me. In light of the fact I have no clue how long my time on earth will be, how am I living out this principle? Am I spending my precious time with people? Am I inviting in those I love to eat around the table? Am I taking time for small moments? For ordinary events that I may never be able to write on a resume or put on an award application?

People were most important to Jesus. He spent time with them, He cared for their souls, and during His last moments before a brutal death, He fed them a meal, washed their feet, and comforted their souls.  This is the life we are called to friends. This is the good work.

But why oh why is it so hard? I will be the first to admit my schedule gets out of control. I have a toddler at home and a husband who works a lot so a clean house happens for about .5 hours a week. Some nights our “dinner” consists of sandwiches, leftovers, or eggs and toast because this momma is exhausted.  But in studying Jesus’ last hours, I realized I so often miss the point.  He didn’t expect perfection out of people. He met them in their brokenness, in their hurt, in their moments of need and shame and despair. He didn’t come to them in a spiffy business suit looking like he stepped off the cover of a magazine. He came to them with open arms and invited them in. He invited them to a messy life, to a hard life, to a life of sacrifice, and joy, and hope, and peace.  And with His last moments, He spent time around the table eating, drinking, and serving.

This is the good work we are called to do in this broken world. It is not to have perfect houses or perfect kids or perfect resumes. It is to spend our time sharing our brokenness with those around us. It is to open our messy homes and say come on over. It is to nourish the body and soul with food and hope. It is to love. And I believe in doing this, we will see a world transformed once again by the message of hope and love Jesus brings to us all.

 

 

Photo by Chelsea Francis on Unsplash

Put Down the Expectations

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My word for the year was authenticity. And right now, being authentic means admitting to myself (and ya’ll) my expectations set me up for a dark dive into struggle.  See, buying your dream farmhouse with dreams to fix it up is very different from living in said dream farmhouse in need of fixing up. Pinterest boards full of Farmhouse decor are exciting, but ants covering your counters and bathrooms not working are not. I have spent hours aimlessly wandering or doing nothing because I am so overwhelmed by it all. Perhaps though the aimless wandering gave me ample time for much needed soul-searching. I realized in all this expectations can set you up for massive disappointment. Reality is often different from what we picture or what we see on other’s newsfeeds and Pinterest boards. And when your expectations and reality clash, it can all come crashing down.

As I have sorted through these feelings and tried to get to the core of it all, I realized so much of it comes from wanting the finished product without the hard work. It’s wanting to post a perfect picture of your pristine kitchen when the reality is three days of dirty dishes, unpacked boxes, and ants. It’s feeling like you need to fit into society’s version of acceptable instead of giving yourself grace because you just moved, have a toddler, and between you and your husband work outside your house 100+ hours a week. It’s carrying it all on your own when we were never called to those burdens. So here are three things I am working on as I reset my priorities and put my soul-searching into action.

 

  1. Accept help. Seriously, unpacking is the worst. But when your mother-in-law offers to help you unpack the rest of your kitchen, take her up on the offer. No one is going to take away your super mom status because you couldn’t do it all by yourself.  This has been really hard for me because I tend to be pretty independent, but I have had to admit I can’t do it all. I am still working on asking for help from others, but baby steps.
  2. Unplug from Pinterest. And any other social media site making you more overwhelmed. I gave up pinning farmhouse decor and stopped scrolling through my app aimlessly.  Someday my house may look like one of those pictures, but for now, it looks like a tornado came through and left a wake of empty boxes, random clothes, and nonperishable food which happens to be all over my kitchen.  There is no magic wand I can wave to make my house perfect and right now I have to be okay with the “character” of the house.  I have to settle in and live there and not feel like because the walls aren’t painted or the house isn’t perfect, I am somehow less than those around me. This is tough. Comparing our reality to other people’s highlight reels is oh so easy.
  3. Give Grace. As I mentioned, I have spent a lot of time soul searching as I have dealt with an onslaught of emotions surrounding our move. I am Type A to the max and grace is hard for me. It’s hard for me to accept and it’s been hard for me to give. I honestly think so much of my struggle comes back to beating myself up for not meeting some impossible standard I set for myself. But we bought a house in need of a lot of work and the work has humbled me. It has caused me to cry and to laugh. It has caused me to get on my knees and to realize the life Jesus is calling me to is so different from the life I have been living. Jesus doesn’t ask us to get our house in order first. He asks us to come to Him and rest. To accept His grace. His stamp on us says we are bought, we are covered, and we are redeemed. He says His burden is light. I preach this message a lot, but for some reason letting it sink into my own heart has been harder. The burden I have been carrying around felt like a ton of bricks. It felt like expectation and perfection and pressure and the need for my life to appear put together. The more honest reality is both my house and my soul are a disaster. They are both in desperate need of grace. One for physically being left empty for years and now housing 2 working adults and 1 messy toddler and one for spiritually being starved for years. Neither will get to their full capacity on their own. Both will require work and grace and patience and acceptance.

Friend, Jesus invites us to come to Him with all our burdens and weariness and He will give us rest. Are in a season in desperate need of rest? Do you struggle to give yourself grace in our picture-perfect world? Let’s trade our heavy burdens and Instagram filters for the burden of a Savior who is light and life and unconditional love. Seems like a better deal to me.

 

 

You Are a Missionary

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Growing up, the term missionary was reserved for a group of people who left the comforts of America to go serve a foreign people group. I believe God calls people to serve in remote parts of the world and missionary is a very accurate term for them. As a church, we should support and pray for them and continue to send people around the world to serve. But this Sunday, the pastor at my church asked us to consider the fact we were indeed all missionaries.

If Jesus is Lord of your life, you are part of the mission of God. You are a missionary.  Over and over in scripture, we see God as a God of mission and purpose. He is on a mission to save the lost. And His mission is not reserved for a specific class of people. Matthew 28:18-20, often referred to as the Great Commission asks us to go and make disciples of all nations. Your community is very much a part of all nations and the charge to go and make disciples is not reserved for the few who go, but it is a charge for all who claim to follow Jesus.

Matthew 28: 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Maybe you are a missionary called to your children’s school. Or to your workplace. Or to your neighbors. Wherever God has called you to live and serve, there is your mission field. This is your “all nations.”  What would our communities look like if we all stepped into the role and calling of missionary?

The tough part of being a missionary is you must carry a message. A message which some find rude and ignorant. The message of Jesus is hope and love. But it is also one of condemnation for those who do not believe. John 3:16-18 paints this picture clearly,

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned,but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

 

Jesus is the answer, but how we communicate the answer matters. 

 

We did not get out of our condemnation on our own. We did not come to salvation based on our own merits. And we cannot carry a message with strings or requirements. I love how my pastor put it, “ Jesus is our ultimate motive, not our ulterior motive. Perhaps loving those around you means they never convert. This does not change our charge as missionaries carrying a message. This does not change the heart we are supposed to have for our communities. And perhaps if we loved people simply because we are loved by Jesus rather than loving them towards conversion, this would change everything.

What does it mean to look at life as a mission field? How can we be people of mission here? Perhaps it starts with the same ways we would propose to be missionaries in foreign lands. We begin to pray for those around us, for our communities, for our leaders. We build relationships with the people in our lives. We survey the areas we live and assess the needs. And then we bring the message to our mission field. We bring it through our lives, our love, our service. We bring it by dropping off a meal to the neighbors or working hard in our jobs or encouraging our children to befriend the lonely kids at school. We see the mom in the drop-off line who needs some extra encouragement today or the neighborhood that needs a voice to help it find its own. Can you imagine how our cities might change if we all viewed them as mission fields? If we stopped complaining about them and started loving them. If we stopped taking from them and started giving to them. I believe it would be revolutionary.

Will you pray with me today and ask the Lord how to live our mission right here? How to step into the role of missionary in our own communities and how to carry His love to those around us? 

 

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It Starts with Sacrifice

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In September of last year, my dear husband and I looked at a house. It was a big white farmhouse on three acres and we immediately fell in love. And I mean in love. We started talking and dreaming and pinning ideas on a secret Pinterest board. The house was a foreclosure so in our budget and although we were not looking for a house, this house was perfect. It had almost every detail we wanted in a house.

house2

It also had a lot of details we didn’t want like mold and mice.  But nevertheless, we moved forward.  Did you catch above we looked at it in September? Of last year.  It has taken 6 months to get to this week. Yesterday we signed all the papers to make that white farmhouse our house. It has been a long road. And it really hasn’t even started.  While on paper we own the house, to make it our home is going to take a lot of time and effort.

Life is like this. We may all wish we could wake up tomorrow with beautiful hair, perfect skin, and a beach-ready body. We want our homes to look like magazines and our children to look and act like models. We strive and strive for some societal version of happy and realize at some point, we are exhausted, our house is a mess, and the Instagram filter just isn’t cutting it anymore.  Because the good things in life take work. A lot of work. It takes work no one will ever see. And requires sacrifices no one will ever notice.

The first thing we have to do in our house is remediate the mold so it is safe. This is an expensive process no one will ever notice. No one will walk into our house and say, wow, the mold remediation looks amazing.  But it is necessary.

Sometimes I hate necessary. I want the fun and frilly and pretty. I want the finished product before the initial step. But this is not the life we are called to live. We are called to patience, to sacrifice, to quiet, to love, and to running the race with endurance. To run with endurance means you have to train. It means you can’t just wake up and run 26.2 miles because you think it sounds fun. You may have to start with one mile. or 5 minutes. It means you have to put in the necessary training to reach the goal. Jesus promised us He would be with us each step. He promised His burden was light. But He promised us if we lived like Him, it would be tough. It would take hard work and sacrifice. It would take lots of mold remediation before you get to new paint colors.

But when you do the hard work, the end result is so much better. Sure, we could ignore the mold, slap some paint on the walls, and call it a day. But in a few months, we would all be sick and have a much bigger mess on our hands.  God isn’t asking us to paint over the tough stuff, He is asking us to dig in and work hard to get rid of it. He is asking for the hard work and sacrifice. And He has promised in the end it will be worth it. In the end, we will see Him and we will be complete.

My house here may never be perfect, but I know at some point, I will look around and all the hard work and sacrifice will be worth it. At some point, we will be able to put new paint on the walls and know we aren’t covering up the problems, but we are highlighting the beauty.

Friend, what do you need to remove from your life to get to the beautiful? What sacrifice or costly decision do you need to make to take a step closer to Jesus? It won’t be easy, but I promise you, it will be worth it.

 

The Best Chocolate Cake

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A few months ago, after a period of some significant health struggles, I cut gluten and dairy out of my diet. The transition wasn’t terribly awful, but it has been a constant source of lessons in self-control, self-care, and humility. I hate asking other people to accommodate me so much so that I spent a lot of money on a lot of tests to tell me what I already knew. I needed to cut the gluten and dairy. But hey, now I have a doctor to blame my extra fussiness on right?

In all seriousness, it had been a rough season of mothering, working, volunteering, and struggling every day with the heavy weight of anxiety, fatigue, and a stomach which often refused to cooperate with me.  I knew something was wrong. I knew something had to change. I also knew I wanted to try to attack the problem holistically. So while yes I did adjust my diet, I also starting making time for quiet, studying, reading, and slimming down my schedule. Perhaps the last one was the toughest in our society of more. But back to the diet.

A friend of mine asked me yesterday as she was salivating over some donuts (she is on day 21 or something of Whole30) if it ever gets easier. I said yes with the caveat I feel so much better so it’s not worth it. Which is mostly true. It does get easier and I am feeling better. But I think it’s getting easier because I am learning self-control, not because I am any less in love with pizza and donuts.  Case-in-point, several weeks ago I convinced a group of girlfriends to take a detour on our way home from Nashville so I could get a gluten-free, dairy-free donut. It was glorious.  Some days, as I watch co-workers or friends eat foods I used to love, it’s tough. It makes me want to abandon ship and say “ah what’s the point.” I am learning, though, anything great in life takes work. Hard work. And sacrifice. And lots of moments salivating over donuts and then walking away. Not because a donut is bad. But because there is something better.

Isn’t that what Jesus offered us? An abundant life (John 10:10). Not an easy life. Not a life full of sunshine and roses. But an abundant life. A life of less burdens, less anxiety, less striving (Phil 4:6, John 14:27). Note: I did not say an easy life or a life without struggles or heartache or loss.  Jesus said if you follow me, you will have trouble. He said if they persecuted me they will persecuted you. He didn’t offer us an easy life. But he did offer us an abundant life and he promised to never leave us.  He promised us something better.

Slowly, I am learning to live in light of the something better. To say no to the current shiny object in light of what is better. To say no to the food I know will land me in a heap of pain, frustration, and anxiety. To say no to the activity that doesn’t build community or fit on my short list of things important to me. To give up the pursuit of the good for the pursuit of the best. Good isn’t bad. And perfection is not the goal. But leaning into self-control and sacrifice and discomfort can be good gifts in certain seasons. They certainly have been for me. And in case you are bemoaning my diet or convinced everything I eat must taste like cardboard, I present to you one of the best chocolate cakes I have had in my life. Even my husband liked it.  Enjoy:)

CHOCOLATE CAKE LAYER CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE
(grain-free, refined-sugar-free and dairy-free)

INGREDIENTS:cake

For the cake:
2 cups blanched almond flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp Himalayan pink salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp vanilla

For the vegan chocolate ganache:
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
4 Tbsp coconut oil
4 Tbsp maple syrup
½ cup almond butter
¼ cup almond milk or coconut milk

DIRECTIONS:

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 6-inch round cake pans with coconut oil. Mix almond flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, water and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir to incorporate. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

For the vegan chocolate ganache:
Melt chocolate and coconut oil in thick saucepan or double broiler. Stir and remove from heat when melted. Slowly add maple syrup and stir to incorporate. Allow to cool. Transfer mixture to mixing bowl and beat in almond butter until a thick, whippy frosting is formed. Add almond or coconut milk as needed for consistency.

To assemble the cake:
Allow cakes to cool. Place one cake layer on a plate. Place a dollop of chocolate ganache on top of cake and smooth over the cake. Layer the second cake over the ganache layer and repeat with a layer of ganache. Store the cake in refrigerator until serving time.

 

 

Scandalous and Scornful

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graceScandalous. Scornful. Unusual.

 

And no, I am not talking about any current political or celebrity figure.

The book of Matthew and thus the New Testament begins with a genealogy. You know, the ever long passages of scripture going “so-and-so begat so-and-so.” The passages we are tempted to ignore, skim over, or skip past to get to the meaningful text. The verses we can use to support our stance or encourage or admonish. Who cares about a long list of someone’s family tree. The thing is, you can learn a lot about a person by exploring their ancestry. You can find out a lot about someone by knowing where they came from or who was in their family line.  Association via one’s family can make you famous or rich or notable. It can also make you poor or small or forgotten.  So to fully understand Jesus, we need to look at those included in his family tree. Don’t worry, I know He was the son of God and Divine incarnate, but Matthew starts his gospel with Jesus’ earthly family tree and thus we should pay attention.

 

There are two unique things about Jesus’ family tree. His lineage included women, which never happened and included a bunch of rowdy, off-color, far-from-perfect characters. I want to spend some time on the first point. Today we might not think twice about including women in a family tree. Matriarchs throughout history have done incredible things and stepped up to often change the course of history itself. But in Jesus’ day, women were second class citizens. They were rarely included as disciples of great teachers or participants in great works. Not only did Jesus welcome and include women as disciples, he gave them an often equal seat at the table, instructing, including, and admonishing them much as he did to the men who followed him.

 

In Jesus’ family tree- five specific women are named and counted among those who were part of his lineage. These were not your spiritual matriarchs. According to author Stephen Binz, each of these women was considered an outsider and each had a scandalous and scornful marital or sexual history.  The women included in the line of Christ were prostitutes, adulteresses, unwed mothers-women today we may view with scorn and disgust. Women today we may not even welcome in our churches, much less give them an equal seat at the table.

Jesus’ family tree begins the gospel in the most beautiful way. It paints a picture of a kingdom in which the scandalous, the scornful, the corrupt, and the sinner are welcomed in and given value and dignity. Jesus called the invisible and those with no voice. He spent His days with the lowly, the less than, the sinner. And in a society where women were often nameless and worthless, Jesus gave them a voice, courage, and eternal purpose.

Do you see why this matters so much? When we claim to follow Jesus, we must know who we are following and we must understand not only his ministry, but his family tree. There is no room for any of us to feel disqualified or unqualified or to remove a seat from someone else. Jesus didn’t come blasting society or fighting for laws-instead, he quietly invited the lowly and the forgotten into his community. He gave them a seat and a purpose. He gave prostitutes the chance to save His people and an unwed mother the chance to be the mother of the Savior of the world. He started a revolution by including those who had been discounted.

 

Scandalous. Scornful. Unusual.

 

Those are the women in the line of Christ. And my friend, those are still who Jesus is continually calling to himself.

 

Independent. Multi-Tasker.

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This was the description of women summed up by an author in a book I was listening to the other day. She polled a bunch of women and the theme which emerged was independent, multi-tasker. In other words, women think they can do it all and they can do it all alone.

Talk about feeling hit by a ton of bricks. I could totally relate. I feel the exact same way. All.the.time. Although I might replace the word can with the word should. I should do it all and I should do it alone. Isn’t that the message our culture sends?  Be the perfect wife, mom, employee, church attendee etc. Have a Pinterest-worthy house at all times and host Pinterest worthy events on top of every other thing you sign up to do. Join a board, volunteer, build a resume, or stay home and educate, attend play-groups, take adorable Instagram worthy photos all.the.time.  Are you tired yet? Because I am. Just writing that paragraph made me want to take a nap. But then again, if I take a nap, something else on my ever-lengthening to-do list won’t get accomplished. The author’s description of women was followed by the point of the chapter-Brave enough women know their limits.

Do you know your limits? Do you know when you have blown past what you can handle? Or did you give up a long time ago on limits because it seemed society doesn’t seem to care? Sure, I could find 100 articles on self-care, but for each article on self-care, I could find another on building your brand or image or resume or how to ensure your child is successful or talented or sociable. I will be the first to admit a discussion on limits coming from me is laughable at best. Aside from a husband, 15 month old, and full-time job, I co-chair a board for a local young professional group, co-lead a working group for a different non-profit, and lead a 3rd non-profit I founded a couple of years ago.  Limits? What limits?

Instead of listening to my inner soul and perhaps even the wise counsel of those around me, I am one who tends to keep pushing, keep going, and keep saying yes. That is until recently, I ran smack into a wall.  Not a literal wall, but a wall nonetheless. A wall forcing me to pause. To get help. To start to figure out what limits look like in my own life. I felt God asking me to place all my life in His hands and trust when it was all said and done, I would be okay. The things He was asking of me were not supposed to be so burdensome. They were not meant to destroy my health and marriage and relationship with those around me. But the expectations I had of myself, they were beginning to do those very things.

Matthew 11:28 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Friend, are you weary today? Are you burdened? Perhaps for all of us, the bravest thing we can do in these moments is come to Jesus. To let Him take our burdens, societal expectations, families, and relationships. To give Him our future and stop acting like if we don’t do it, the world will fall apart. Jesus called us to love Him first and love those around us second. He didn’t call us to resumes, jobs, groups, or volunteer activities. Those things are not wrong, but they must come after we seek Him.

So today, let’s lay our burdens at His feet and just rest. Take a deep breath and trust in His hands it will all be okay.

 

Why #boycottTarget is Not the Issue

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image#boycottTarget

If you pay any attention to social media, you have seen the #boycottTarget hashtag. Petitions are being formed and hundreds of thousands are flocking to sign them. I have seen flyers circulating telling people to stop shopping at Target, to call your local store manager and express your disappointment, to stand out front and make your voice known, and even one which suggested printing more and hanging them in your church.

Normally I like to shy away from political things. I would rather write about sunshine and unicorns than anything politically popular, but sometimes something just strikes a chord in me so today I have to add my voice to the myriad of voices speaking for and against the decision made by Target Executives.

Because the thing is, Target is not the issue. Changing the bathroom policy isn’t the problem.  And quite frankly, 500,000 of you boycotting Target because of it is frustrating. I get it. I get you are scared. I understand you want to protect your wives and daughters. I understand the statistics on rape and sexual assault. But what I don’t understand is why it took something like bathrooms to cause you to raise your voice.

Where have you been the last 5, 10 years as human trafficking has continually been on the rise? Why are you not boycotting companies who use slave labor in their supply chains?  Why have we allowed runaways to fall through the cracks and into the hands of pimps who care less about them? Why are we so concerned over our daughters using Target’s bathroom, but not equally enraged about the girl working in our local strip clubs? Or the 12 year old being sold online to the highest bidder? Or the person working 18 hours a day for pennies to make the dress we will wear once?

#boycottTarget may be your platform today, but what happens if you succeed? What happens if Target reverses their decision? Do you immediately breathe a sigh of relief because your daughters are safe and resume your Target shopping?  Have you really done anything to change the underlying problem or simply convinced Target they need a new PR manager? And what about the trans-gendered who have been equated with sexual predators?  How do they recover from all of this? I may not understand or agree with the lifestyle, but I know I was commanded by Jesus to love the least of these. And when I read a post referring to how small the trans-gendered population is (as justification for the lack of need for any type of policy), I can’t help but think, are they not among the least of these? Are they  not children of God as well?

We live in a dark world. I can relate to the fear. I get the anger. But I also know perfect Love casts out all fear. And I want so desperately for those around me to see it’s not about Target. It’s about the bigger issue. It’s about fighting for a world where sexual perversion is not welcomed, accepted, or allowed. It’s about fighting for the least of these whether they be the girl in the strip club or the runaway from the down the road or the 12 year old on Backpage. And it’s ultimately about how the Church shines the light of Jesus in a dark, broken world.

So please before you call your local Target manager and express your disgust over a policy they had ZERO control over, call your state senator and ask them to increase funding for safe houses and sexual violence prevention and education programs.  Take a minute to stop and pray for the trafficked, the trans-gendered, and your own sons and daughters.  And if you still feel you need to #boycottTarget, do it quietly.   Because those of us working each and every day to fight for the least of these want you to use your voice for the bigger issue, not over who can use a bathroom.

The Hadassah Group

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Whew…

It has been a whirlwind of a few weeks and my poor blog has been neglected to say the least.  Usually writing is an outlet for stress, but lately I have been trying to spend more time reading my Bible and writing in my journal so this writing got pushed to the back burner.   I have also been experimenting with eating healthier which is a fun adventure all in itself (more on that later).  What I really want to share with you today is a vision finally turning into a reality!  (can we all take a deep breath first?)

Two years ago I first read about an organization in Louisville called Scarlet Hope.  I fell in love.  With the ministry, the vision, the idea.  They are doing something most people would think is CRAZY.  They are bringing the hope and love of Jesus to the local strip clubs-a place full of broken dreams, hurting women, and darkness.  Over a meal, a small group would share their lives with women while they were getting ready for their shift at the club. It was not about church, it was about Jesus and His radical love. So I began secretly dreaming, praying, and scheming about what this would look like in my community.  At the same time, I was working on a master’s degree, planning a wedding, and switching jobs.  Not the ideal time to birth a huge vision for changing the community.  (especially when the demons in your head keep telling you it’s impossible and people will think you are crazy)

 

Almost a year ago, I shared the vision with my now husband. I figured if we were going to get married, he should know what he was getting himself into and I needed his support.  His response was to buy me plates and napkins for my birthday. I cried.  From there I started talking to a few people in my life who would become partners in the ministry and supporters of the vision. They would stand beside and behind me as we moved forward, encouraging me each step of the way. They have become best friends, mentors, and coaches. Women I talk to almost daily.

After a lot of planning, praying, training, and long conversations, The Hadassah Group was born.  The mission is simple-to share the hope and freedom found in Christ with local women working in the sex industry.  Three other women and I have traveled to other ministries, gone to training, and spent a lot of time praying and dreaming over this.  Tomorrow night we have our first “official” meeting.  The first meeting where we actually invited people and created some social media buzz about it.

I have to admit, fear mixed with a whole lot of excitement, is probably the most adequate way to describe my feelings right now. My heart is broken for this ministry and I want nothing more than to see other people capture the vision.   I also know it is not in my hands whether this succeeds. I have to do the work, but I ultimately have to trust the One who called.

If you would like to join the ministry or learn more, feel free to comment on here or send an e-mail to hadassahgroup@gmail.com  or if you are local, come to WIRED Coffeehouse tomorrow (9/17) at 6:00pm to learn more.