Thursday, June 28, 2007

Well thanks to my friend Lori's recommendation and my friend Donna's purchase and delivery I am presently reading "Irresistible Revolution" and it's a MESS YOU UP book.

Read this quote last night and thought it beared repeating and some serious thought from at least this heart.

"We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside...but one day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that a system that produces beggars needs to be repaved. We are called to be the Good Samaritan, but after you lift so many people out of the ditch you start to ask, maybe the whole road to Jericho needs to be repaved." -- Martin Luther King --

It seems that God is bringing so many things across my path. The death of a dear friend in an impoverished land, seeing 8 year old little boys on the streets selling their last 3 bags of bananas at 10 pm at night, reading books where God is revealing to other people ways of living that resonate with my heart, reading the Scriptures and realizing that the same God who said repent and be baptized also said sell everything you have and give it to the poor and His Son who spent most of His life teaching us a counterculture way to live in the kingdom of Heaven NOW.

Makes me wonder what changes need to be made in my own life and what changes I could help to make that would produce the qualities of this kingdom of Heaven that is capturing my heart and making more sense than anything else has in a while.

I highly recommend this the way!!! Blessings on your day dear ones...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Welcome Home...

Well it's been another hum dinger of a week around this place...imagine that!!! Life never seems to be boring around here. Each day presents new adventures and so many ways to learn about God that if I miss a couple, the next opportunity is just around the corner. I am certainly being schooled in HUGE ways right now no doubt.

As many of you have now read on someone else's blog, Luvin (my prodigal son that I blogged about previously) showed up at our gate on Thursday night about 6 pm. Cindy came running back to the porch and saying Luvin's calling you, (which is the phrase they use when someone's calling on the phone and when someone's calling your name), so I was trying to figure out whose phone he was calling on and how he got the number. I stood there looking confused and Cindy said mama come on. So she led me out to the gate where the kids all said, Luvin is out there, and he was timidly off to the side hiding. So I had the guard open the gate for me and I walked out to meet him. I hugged the stuffin's out of him first and then I had all kinds of questions. What are you doing here?? How did you get here??? Long story short, he had escaped from Casitas Kennedy under the wall at 5 am in the morning...spent all day long on buses going first to Jimmy Hughes cause he knew how to get there and he knew that Jimmy knew us. He asked Jimmy for enough money to get here, and Jimmy also gave him some shoes, as he was barefoot. Then he asked for the name of the town we live in and Jimmy told him Santa Ana and so in little boy writing on a Wrigley's gum wrapper he wrote Santana and showed it to every bus driver he could find and asked them to bring him home. When he showed up he had used his "extra" money that he didn't use on the bus to buy fruit for all the kids. He came bearing gifts from a very sorry little heart. So we talked for a few minutes and he said mama I'm sorry, I'll do whatever you want me to do, I will learn the good things, I just want to come home. A broken heart wanting back in the gate, who had traveled a LONG day to get here.

So needless to say Luvin is back home. We are still working on the paperwork with the judge again, but that'll be worked out soon. He is very different so far. Obviously with a past like his, the rough edges will not completely go away in a 2 week stay at Casitas, but his eyes and his heart are much softer. We sat down last night to start memory verses together every week and he loved that. I gave him a notebook with a cross on the front and when I gave it to him he kissed the cross. I just believe God's love and God's word change things, and it gives me all the hope I need for this little guy who fought to come home.

Please pray for us. We aren't here for easy and fortunately we have a crew here who are committed to fighting for the down and out. So we'll battle from our knees and ask that you join with us and battle from yours.

If I feel one iota of the joy about my boy being home that God does when His walk back to His gate, I've learned yet again more about the amazing love of God and all that means.

Blessings to you on your week dear ones!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Time Marches On...

Have you ever just sat back and wondered why the world doesn't stop when someone is in such horrendous pain?? I have, just this week in fact.

One of our dear employees passed away this week, leaving behind 4 children ages 4 to 14 and a wife who doesn't have a clue what she'll do without him as she raises her children in this country that is so difficult. I don't remember another time in my life when I heard the cry of pain in such vivid ways. Gut wrenching imploring cries for God to help her and give her strength.

Ashley did a beautiful job of telling the story on her blog and so for the sake of this heart (which may be entirely selfish) I'm gonna just let you read her blog. You'll find it as the first post if you hit her link on the right side of my blog. Very honestly I'm having a hard time reliving it to tell you about it.

I've learned so much in the past few days yet again. I learned that when I'm weak He is strong, that when I'm asked to do things that I CAN NOT do, that He will carry me. I've learned that you really can build a family with people of all different colors and backgrounds and ages and you can all come together and love each other a great deal. I've learned that poverty can be so unforgiving sometimes...and it's made me want to sell everything I own, when I have realized in new ways our excessive abundance while most of the rest of the world is starving and hurting so badly at the injustices in the world.

I've walked into a free hospital now and realized that people die here from things that in the States wouldn't take more than a couple days to fix. I've seen gurney's lining hallways and I've seen caskets that cost $200 as opposed to $20,000 and realized that they hold the contents of the dead just as well. I've watched a one room home become a funeral parlor and I've watched my pickup truck become a hurse as I drove it up the hill to a burial plot that had been dug by hand without any machines to lower a coffin into the ground. I heard the dirt hit the top of the casket in one of the most sickening sounds I've ever heard and I watched a 4 year old daughter lift her hands up to me as it did and beg for me to let her bury her head into my shoulder and hide as she listened to her mother wailing in grief. As she did I did the only thing I knew to do in that moment and I put my hand over one ear and my mouth near the other and I sang "I Love You Lord" to drown out some of the noise and also to remind myself that when I get it and when I don't, I love Him, I love Him, I love Him, and I will choose to praise Him regardless.

I've now done something here that I wish I would NEVER have had to do. I've seen death and I've experienced it with these precious people. It's changed yet another part of this heart that needed reformed I guess.

I'm ashamed honestly. Today I find myself totally ashamed. Ashamed for having so many things I don't need while a man dies in a hospital you shouldn't have to take your animals to. Ashamed that I'm so self absorbed and so comfortable while a family worries about where they'll find money now that their provider is gone. I'm just ashamed of me. Ashamed of us I guess. I'm ashamed of my American mentality that gives me all sorts of justifications to have what I have as if I deserve it in some way. And sometimes I have false guilt, fair enough, but I'm not sure today is one of those days. Today I think I'm very fair in feeling ashamed and maybe just maybe this time will call me to further action.

Please join me in praying for Santos' family, they need it desperately. Then please join me in praying for "us" all the "us's" that need to give til it hurts so those who hurt might not have to so much anymore. We can't change the world all at once, but I'm tired of that keeping us from changing corners of it at a time, cause that's possible and I'm tired of thinking small when we've got SUCH a HUGE God!!!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Thank You...

Well for those of you who were so faithful to pray for all of us this morning, the trial is over and the children didn't even have to testify. The brother ended up pleading guilty to the charges and will be sentenced to 15 years in prison.

I fully expected to walk into the courtroom and want to rake the boys eyeballs out thinking do you have any idea how you have messed these children up?? Do you have any idea how horrific these flashbacks are for this little girl...any clue? Instead what happened was that I walked into the room and I had to talk myself into believing that this was really happening, that I was indeed in the courtroom, that this indeed was a real judge in front of me, that these were the opening remarks from each of the lawyers, that this was NOT a movie...and then the most unlikely thing happened, I locked eyes on the perpetrator and what I saw on his face was the most forsaken remorseful face I've ever seen. He didn't try to deny the charges, he didn't have anything to say except that he was guilty and with a 21 year old face and what appeared to be a little boy heart I could feel nothing but pity for this one. I thought I have no idea what has happened to you in your life that would so mess up your mind that you would do this and now have to pay for sooooo long for it. He'll be 36 before he ever sees the light of day again.

Granted am I upset with what has happened, oh HEAVENS yes!! Every time that sweet little girl goes into a trance remembering what has happened, I'll hate it all over again.

But I'll never forget the face of guilt I saw today. It was pitiful and I will pray that it is touched by the hand of God in ways I'm not even sure how to pray for yet. Cause God loves Him too and wants to rescue him. Sometimes I forget that, today I couldn't.

Thank you so much for your prayers, God led the way and kept the children from having to see or even hear any of the trial and once again we're reminded of His faithfulness! We appreciate you all so much!!

Pray Saints...

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO SHARE THIS WITH YOUR CHILDREN, THIS ONE SHOULD NOT BE SHARED IN IT'S ENTIRETY AND WANTED YOU TO KNOW THAT AHEAD OF TIME. Thank you however, for involving them in this and making them a prayerful part of these children's lives. I believe God hears their prayers best because they come from such pure places. I just want to protect their little hearts and this one will be hard for even the adults in the bunch.

Well as one of my very dear friends, (and as a sidenote one of the funniest and most delightful people I know) says, when she really means she wants it to be..."so pray saints." I've heard her say it when we're giving her a hard time about the love of her life that she's found within the past year and we're asking her about a wedding date...with the sweetest grin on her face overjoyed cause she doesn't know if she can wait another day to spend her life with this sweet guy, "well pray saints." I've heard her use the phrase in reference to the conference we all get to be privileged to be a part of in our area, called Women of Purpose, when she really wants us to know that she really feels deeply about something, "so let's pray saints." I have grown to love the phrase, I heard it first from her, but it resonated with me. I think I like the word "saints" maybe it's what does it to me. Regardless I find myself every once in a while saying to myself gonna need a "pray saints" day. I smile thinking of Brenda as she says it and the heart from which she says it.

I say all of that to tell you that tomorrow it's gonna be a "pray saints" day. As we've shared before we've taken in some tough cases this time. God has prepared us up to this point, perhaps spoiled is a better word, and we've had fairly easy moments with these kiddo's. Not always delightful and didn't always feel easy at the time, but whewww we know now that we've been spoiled.

Tomorrow we go to court with 3 of our kids we just took in for the trial of their 19 year old brother who has molested both the 9 year old, Pamela, and the 5 year old Daniela. We've spent the past several days watching Daniela have what we believe to be flashbacks which have been horrible, horrendous, scary, and painful to watch and I cannot imagine how painful to endure. She looks as though she is fighting someone to get free. I'll leave all the details out cause they're just hard, but I feel convicted to share some of them in the hopes that even though reading this across a computer screen you might know these things are so REAL and might be called to pray in some very heartfelt and deep yearning kind of ways. So tomorrow this 9, 8, and 5 year old will walk into a courtroom to tell the truth about their life and they're so scared. We talked to them for a while tonight and told them they must tell the truth so that this can be a part of the past and they can have a new future, but talk about difficult. Up until now, no one has spoken about the fact that he's hurt Daniela too and only Pamela knows about it. She didn't tell anyone in an effort to protect her little sister. So tomorrow the truth will come out and they'll have to tell it and in a sense relive it.

Please hear this from the deepest places in my soul..."PLEASE PRAY SAINTS!!" They need your prayers. Pray that Satan's hold over this family would be released and that these sweet children might be set free. Please pray that tomorrow ends the torture and begins the steps toward freedom that a child should be able to enjoy. Please pray that the Healer would show up in the most tangible beautiful ways and be balm for these aching hearts and open wounds. Pray for them first, but please pray for us as well that we might be His hands and His heart. Please pray that we'll hear when He speaks and we'll walk so closely in His footsteps that they look as though they are one. We need His wisdom so desperately and we would love if you'd cry out for it with us...for us!!

It's a "pray saints" day my friends. So let's rally around the throne and lift up 3 kiddo's who need all God's saints to gather at the foot of the cross. I'll meet you there, first thing in the morning!!

Blessings dear ones!!

Monday, June 04, 2007


If there’s a tear left in me today, I wouldn’t begin to know where to start looking for it. Might be a couple left in my toenails, but I’ve cried the rest of them out I can assure you. I have had the most difficult day that I’ve had in this position in this place. I had to take one of our little guys back to the judge today and say that he couldn’t stay. Now, for those of you who know me, I’m the girl who roots for the underdog to the end. I don’t give up on people and I believe that the power of God can always change a person and this is certainly no exception. I believe this little guy has the opportunity to change.

Now what you need to know is that when we bring the kids into this home, they don’t come in as “some project” or another kid, they become sons and daughters to this heart. They are in visual form the reason I came. They are knit to my heart much like yours have become knit to yours based on the fact that they came from your womb. I don’t know how to explain all of that, I just know that it’s true. I cry when they hurt, I want to jump up and down when they do things well, I want to show every picture I have to everyone, God birthed within this girl a momma heart and I didn’t know it was happening, I just know that it did.

So when I brought Luvin in, he wasn’t just “some project” or “another kid who needed a home” while he might have been that for moments, with every night he waited for me to kiss him goodnight and every time he walked out of his room wanting me to hug him good morning and every time I watched him make progress with his anger or make a right choice instead of a wrong one every single time he wanted to help me do anything I was doing or be with me wherever I was going…he became more than just the kid who needed help, he found a spot in this heart as my son. He called me mama and asked if he could first and I said of course. So allow me please first of all to tell you there’s not just an empty space at our table tonight or an empty bed in a room there is this wide empty space in my heart that is begging God to take care of a little boy that I love.

With Ashley in the passenger seat and Luvin in between us today we drove to the judge’s office and made the longest 45 minute drive of my life to date. I thought of every single option, I doubted every decision I was about to make, at least 15 times I wanted to turn the truck around. I replayed the past 2 weeks in my mind, with every single scene from the moment we picked him up until the moment we dropped him off today. Every smile, every hug, every memory.

See the problem is that he came from a family that beat the tar out of him and he’s a 12 year old boy. He lived on the streets for a while and has “street” mentality, which basically means, tough guy wins. So he came into this house with all of that and wanted to hit our kids and tried to run away numerous times and he just took soooo much time and energy. Not one second of which I would take back, because I know that somewhere within his heart tonight he’ll remember that it was done in love. Oh please let him know it was done in love Father. Let me interject here, that I never came here for easy. If easy was what I wanted I can assure you I’d be sitting on a deck tonight or in a den or with my best friend or around the table with my family. I’d be with people I love, not far far away, crying for little boys who seem as though they never had a chance. So it wasn’t for a lack of want to or willing to on my part. It truly wasn’t and in the deepest places of my heart I know that’s true.

The problem or the privilege depending on how you look at it at the moment is that I have 15 other little hearts here that are trusting that we will keep this as a safe place when they’ve never had another one in their world. They are willing to put their trust in this white girl that when I said I’d take them home that somehow that would prove to be better than what they were leaving and with everything in them they latched on to the fact that for the first time they would be safe here. So even when it means it rips a part of my heart out to do so I am forced to make difficult decisions to keep it that way to the best of my ability. When our kids were scared of his “tough guy wins” mentality I knew something had to change. Now let me tell you that not one of these sweet ones has failed to ask me where Luvin is tonight. He became part of our family and I pray we all learned lessons in the process. I want them to know that God called us to love each other, that this house was opened for the outcasts and forgotten of the world in some ways and that they will come in “difficult” packages sometimes but that we will attempt to love them like Jesus. I am not interested in raising a bunch of “saved” from their situation kiddo’s with no heart to save the rest who are in similar boats. I want them to live with a heart like Jesus, so desperately I do. I hope we learned some of that together over the past 2 weeks, I know I did.

As I wept this morning and have grieved in no uncertain terms today, I thought about how God must feel so often when He offers us everything and we say no thanks, that looks nice, it is nice, but I’m not willing to give you all of my heart to get it. Not willing to go by your rules. Not willing to choose you over everything else. I think He feels much like I felt today. I think He cries. One thing I know for sure though, He never forces. I get to decide. I can stay within the confines of his property and within His heart or He will allow me to walk away. Somewhere in my humanness I thought walking away meant that He kinda gave a “well you made you choice” huff. I realize after today that with tears coming even from His celestial toenails He weeps that we didn’t choose Him.

I had no idea how much of the God story would be revealed as I walked out the calling to be here with some precious children that God sent into my life and have built homes in this heart. I have learned more about them in my daily dealings with them than I have learned in 30 years otherwise. They teach me something every single day.

Today the lesson was horrendously hard…but yet I love God more after today if that’s possible, cause I loved Him so much it hurt yesterday.

As a final note, I told Luvin that my house was always open to him that he was my son and that when I told him that it wasn’t just words, he was leaving an empty space in my heart that would forever be his and anytime he wanted to change and wanted this home more than he wanted to fight and be rough and run away to other places that this home was his for the taking but it came with rules because it had to for the safety of everyone. I cried my gutts out when I left him at the judge’s office. He cried too. I reminded him that I loved him and I’d pray every single day for him. I will.

I would ask that you’d pray for him too. Tonight there’s a 12 year old little boy that doesn’t know where he’ll pillow his head and this is a whole new element of trusting God for me. I have to believe that as huge as God was to bring Rudy and Brayan home, he’ll find a way to bring him “home” to, wherever home is that will change his heart. If it’s here, we’ll welcome him back with open arms, I can assure you. If it’s not we’ll wait for the seeds that God asked us to plant to grow and wait in eager expectation to see him in Heaven and I’ll squeeze him until his head pops off.

Lord, please be near that little 12 year old heart tonight when the one he trusted to call “mama” can’t tuck him in or hug him before he sleeps. Will you please be so real to him and find him a home that can help him find his way. He wants help God he does, he just doesn’t know it yet. Would you change his want to? In the meantime will you help this momma heart to trust you with all of your children that you’ve granted to my care, even this one that for at least a time had to leave.

Guess I did find a few more tears as I wrote this. A few still in there. I figure God did too, every single time I wandered away.

He never gave up, we won’t either. Please pray with us and for Luvin…my son who I miss tonight in ways I’ll never be able to explain!