Things to Pray…

So many things to pray for…

So many things to praise for…

Today there are so many things on my heart to pray for, some for jobs, others for healing, a few for peace, and numerous others for clarity and guidance…

Today is one of those days where everything I do has left me with more things to pray about and more moments of silence and stillness while talking to my savior.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14

If you feel inclined here are a few things on my list of prayers:

Prayers for processing and approval to move quickly (as in today).
Prayers for peace and guidance tonight.
Prayers for healing for two different women’s fight with cancer.
For friends waiting to hear back from the courts to finally bring their son home from Ethiopia.
For healing for a friend’s relative.
Salvation for a couple friends.
Jobs for a couple friends and relatives.
Clarity and guidance for a few different people.

Deceits and Doctrines…

Once a very long time ago my family faced a very hurtful period of time due to “the church.” Going through those experiences was not at all fun, and really quite challenging in almost every way (even though I was only 7, I remember it all fairly vividly). However, what did happen is our family genuinely became a unit, and while my younger brother was just a baby, my older brother and I talked and speculated about what was going on, we shared what we each heard and discussed what we had been told. We knew mom and dad were not necessarily telling us everything because of how young we were, and we were ok with that because we knew and were living the story with them, not to mention we saw and experienced the hurts with them, in our own ways, and above it all trusted them to take care of us.

One of the biggest things produced during that hard time in our family’s history is an aversion to anything resembling partial truths. I have so many memories growing up of one or both of my parents responding with righteous indignation over a partial truth, especially if it pertained to something in the Bible. Sometimes I did not understand the passion behind their response, and other times I understood crystal clearly why they were so upset. However, it has been a very long time since I have encountered the Truth taken partially and changed in a dramatic way, in fact, it has been so long that I almost forgot the feeling and emotional (and probably realistically spiritual) reaction I have when it does happen… I had forgotten to the degree that for the last month, I could not figure out why I have been so agitated and had serious aversions to specific situations. I attributed most of my internal frustrations with various other things going on in my life, lack of sleep, stress, relationship conflicts etc.. However, it was not until a roomie sent me this passage that it clicked inside of me what I was struggling with:

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.
In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. 
 Prescribe and teach these things. Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you”(emphasis added by the NASB version) – 1 Timothy 4
Thanks to my parents, I have a serious aversion to false doctrines and being deceived.. even if it is only in small ways due to omitting essential information. To this day, I find myself getting worked up, frustrated and passionate when people take things out of context or when they try to spin a half truth, especially as it pertains to the words of my Lord. 1 Timothy 4 is a clear reason as to why I think it is such a big deal. Today I am thankful to finally understand the emotions going on inside of me.

Face to Face…

Today is one of those days where the weight of who I really am is what is covering my vision. Sometimes I think it is really good for us to come face to face with not only our brokenness, but how much and how often we really do not get things right. Our feelings so often are completely legitimate, we can have perfect rationale, and then we come up against someone else’s situation and are made aware of how we have actually completely blown a situation. I, like anyone I suppose, really dislike days like today, but also realize that they are vital to our growth and humility, which ultimately is a good thing I guess.

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” -Romans 8:26-31

The Verses in my Head…

The last week has been full of thoughts and prayers rolling around in my head, and at the same time, absolutely nothing to share. Not that I do not have things to share, cause there are a lot of different and unexpected things I could drone on about, some exciting, some weird, some frustrating, and some just aggravating.. but at this point it would just be noise (for your eyes).

So instead, I leave you with a few verses… These verses together are explaining the thoughts in my head as of late.

“How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart all the day?”  – Ps. 13:1-2a

“Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.  
I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord;
I have no good besides You.’” – Ps. 16:1-2
” Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
You will make known to me the path of life…” -Ps. 16:9-11a
“I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.” – Ps. 17:6
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” – Ps 19:14
“To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
 O my God, in You I trust…” – Ps. 25:1-2a
“Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.” – Ps. 27:14

Prayers For My Husband…

Over the last few years, I have been praying for, writing in my prayer journal, and thinking on a fairly regular basis for my (to be) husband.

My prayers eb and flow depending on things going on in my life, the things that are pressing or burdening my heart take over the prayer time, sometimes I will just utter a quick “And please help my husband with things going on in his life, guide him, and help him to know you are near…” and then I’ll move on. Other days I am so caught up in praying for my (to be) husband that I end up laying in bed awake for more than an hour… There are days and even weeks when I forget to even think to pray for him, and then suddenly I will be burdened to pray for “whatever situation and decisions are going on or needing to be made” in his life.

It struck me the other day that it is a little odd that I pray for my husband (present tense) as if I have one.. haha.. Which, I do not… Nor do I have any hint or indication of who he might be. But, at the same time, I find it unique and comforting that it feels normal to use the present tense, especially since he does not have a name in my head yet, I do not have a face or voice to give him, so the only other option is to call him my husband..

Lately I have been praying a lot of clarity, guidance, and for him to hear God’s voice clearly… There is a pretty good chance part of those prayers are due to the fact that I am needing and wanting those same things from God, but at the same time, I have yet to feel like I am running out of things to pray for clarity and guidance on for him… And, then I have been asking that God’s timing in our meeting be perfect, and to keep both of us from growing impatient and making mistakes.

2012 is just a different year.. I am still not sure what to expect from this year.

Visits…

I have to admit, one of the very best things that has transpired due to living in DC is that I get to see so many people more often than I think I will ever have the chance again. Because DC is such a hub for transportation, things to do, and is centrally located on the East Coast, it makes seeing friends easy… Once or twice a month (on average) friends crash at my place either because they are passing through, they are wanting to visit DC or because work has brought them here. I love how many people I see, how many additional hugs I get, and how many chances I get to catch up with people simply because my location is in DC.

I am so thankful for this chance.

This week, one of my best friends from college is visiting while she’s on spring break. It will be fantastic to spend the week playing, sharing my life with her, laughing, and just being friends hanging out again. I am so excited about this week, even though I am working half days all week long to reduce the amount of vacation time I take off, plus it gives her a reason to sleep in! haha

I am so thankful for being here in DC because of opportunities like this.

Invisible Children and Kony…

I have had so many conversations about the Kony 2012 campaign by Invisible Children over the last few days. This all fascinates me from a non-profit, communications, and media perspective. It engages me because I love and have loved Africa for years upon years. It excites me because I am a huge advocate of DOING something, of making a difference, or engaging in things that will cause change. It speaks to me because it is an incredibly moving campaign and goal.

With all of that being said, it saddens me that there are things that are coming out as less than above board in regards to Invisible Children and their management of finances. Now, I do not know all the ins and outs of the situation, I have gotten and read lots of information and talked with people some of whom know a lot about the situation, and some know next to nothing. I have yet to make my decision as to whether the ways in which Invisible Children has handled their money over the years is accurate and straight forward. Personally I have not found anything I find alarming, but I also recognize that I do not know enough about the financial laws of non-profits to make an educated decision. I am completely behind the campaign, and the programs Invisible Children claim to be work with and towards, yet, I also recognize that there are a lot of allegations flying as to the allocation of funds, and with so many from so many different directions, there is a chance some of them are accurate.

With that being said, my biggest frustration with the Christian community at large is the idea that because there is something potentially wrong or broken with what is happening (or more specifically in this case with the group trying to do something) let’s throw the baby out with the bathwater mentality. Since there is a chance Invisible Children (who as far as I know actually are getting investigated) is handling things incorrectly, let’s give up on fighting for what is right, just, and loving. Meaning, if Invisible Children’s campaign is not the avenue for which to get rid of Kony (and quite frankly many other terrible and evil men), then what is? How DO we accomplish the idea of what Invisible Children is presenting without necessarily having to go through their organization?

I have a serious problem with pointing out the problems, the flaws, and the issues in an organization, a person, a mission etc.. without then posing an alternative option.

Let’s say, Invisible Children are actually complete scoundrels; sad day, and thousands of people will feel hurt and betrayed (myself included). However, what then? Do the thousands of people who believe in the cause suddenly disappear and go on about their life (a fairly likely possibility)? Do we stop fighting for the 30,000 children (who many are actually adults now) that have been soldiers at some point in their life? Do we stop working to create educational opportunities for them?.. If everything with this organization ends up coming out as a sham (gosh I hope not), what then?… I do not know the answer, and as with most things, I am fairly certain it is not a simple or easy answer. What I do know is that regardless of the personal motives, the financial missteps, the lack of communication or the perfect storm of it all, the result of creating a conversation (or thousands of them) is a good thing, I hope that justice is served, and I hope that this all begins to open doors and educate people on so many more things than just Kony, Invisible Children, non-profits, and mass media. I hope that along the way, people become wiser (not more jaded), and begin to open their eyes to the THOUSANDS of things around the world that need people’s time, energy, and money to solve. I hope people stay involved, even if all of this falls apart.

My biggest frustration with this whole thing is the criticism by so many Christians without an alternative option.
My second biggest frustration is the “not my problem” attitude by so many Christians…

With a completely different shift and focus on this whole thing, I am completely fascinated by the approach, the effect, the mediums, the masses, and the campaign as a whole. I mean, it all appeals to me because I love Africa, children, African children, and people in general, but also I think a large part of the reason it all intrigues me so much is because most of my career has been spent in non-profits, all of my career has been in communications, and people as a whole fascinate me. Which means, the video, the campaign, the messaging all of it are an incredibly intriguing cause and effect situation to observe and watch play out.

So, what now?
Be involved. DO SOMETHING.
Even if being involved for you (as it will likely mean for me) includes giving money to organizations involved that you know you can trust because you believe in the cause… But, stay in this particular conversation. I have no problem at all with raising awareness about Kony, Kony 2012, the LRA, the Ugandan issues (including the mostly post-war problems that they are currently facing), and Invisible Children. Raising awareness about these things is not the issue, bringing these things to light as atrocities that need to be addressed is a good thing, no matter who you are. The frustrating thing (that I truly hope proves to be false) is the financial accusations of money/donation mismanagement on the part of Invisible Children.

Regardless of how things play out with Invisible Children in the end, and regardless of what comes to light with their financial situation, do not voice an accusation on the cause without having an idea of how to do it better or without a way to help. Whether with this cause or life in general, complaining about the problems without a solution just makes you a part of the problem… If your sole way of “doing something” involves finding a way to help (this cause or another that you yourself are called to) does not actually involve Invisible Children, then do that!.. Just do something instead of pointing to the problems while you sit back lazily on your couch. I do not presume that this cause is for everyone (we are all a part of the body with different roles to play), but be careful not to point to the problems that others ARE called to without giving them the appropriate help planning or way in which they can fulfill their calling. There is a chance this will all blow up, that will be sad, and I will be frustrated (and likely blog about it then too), but instead of making this about one organization’s lies, it should be more about the issues and cause itself.

“For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” – James 2:26