Saturday, September 29, 2012

life is not a tea party

Nausea sweeps over me. I find it hard to hold back the tears as I read:
 ... the State Department ... released a global study focused on human trafficking titled "Trafficking in Persons." One angle the study focused on is child prostitution in America, finding that 83 percent of girls prostituted in the U.S. are born in the country ... According to the Minnesota Girls Are Not For Sale campaign, about 213 underage girls are sold every month in the state ... - MN Girls Are Not For Sale, Washington Whispers
The innocence of childhood is a delicate fabric, easily torn away, right here in the United States. Gentle watercolor images of American Girl dolls, grandmother and granddaughter shopping days, and tea parties on tiny tables and chairs slip away into something much darker - the horror of human trafficking, slavery.

We are making progress. We have a long way to go.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

Every decision I make impacts another life, multiple other lives.


39 Slaves work for me, and though I've never paid for sex, I hesitated to pull down the zipper. Will you be brave?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

your book, her story

"It's your book!" Joanna does not like the suggestion that her name appear on the cover as co-author.
"But, it's our story." I think it is a great idea ... —John Sumbo, An Honest Look At A Mysterious Journey

The opening pages embraced me like a well-worn upholstered chair at the cabin of a friend, a familiar place and time, an unexpected starting point for a mysterious journey.

Is it my own junk? Or something in simply being human that makes me want to avoid stories like this one, the crushing medical issues, the helplessness of the hospital bed, the difficult road of convalescence? And in writing that question, I find that the direction I was taking this post has turned.

There is an urge to quit typing.

Tell her to bake a cheesecake. js

This is the best part, my favorite page, the opening of the chapter STUNNED ... a mirror in my heart to the story of Moses, a man who asks God to choose someone else.

God asks us to trust. We struggle.

When God is clearly calling us to take a step of faith, to act
in some way, I don't think He's too excited when
we sit around and talk about it some more ... 
even if we're talking to Him. js

In my borrowed copy of the book, the author has written a message to my friends Melinda and Larry, and beneath it, tucked into the lower right hand corner, a notation: Ps 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul. 
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake. 
Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 

You prepare a table before me in the presence
of my enemies. 
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. 
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life, 
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord


Captivated by the story Perfect Fit
The bedside wife Artifact

Monday, September 24, 2012

an unfamiliar trail

THAT wasn't as easy as it sounded. THAT was uneasy, difficult, exhausting, and apparently, difficult to watch, to witness.

THAT was easy to write, wisdom snipped from Covey's '7 Habits' book.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Most of us do not listen with the intent to understand. We're usually speaking or intending to speak. When we listen differently - with the intent to understand - we listen with our ears, with our eyes, and with our hearts. We listen for feeling and meaning. We sense, we intuit, we feel. We focus on receiving the deep communication of another human soul. Stephen Covey, excerpt
today i can't even recreate the experience factually here. we were exploring Exodus 2, Moses' childhood and early adulthood, our childhoods, parental impacts, things learned by mimic and observation, the strength of doing over speaking. we moved on to examples of good people without faith in Christ. i forget the question that came next, an exploration of death and life, doing good versus faith, what does the Bible tell us? the response from behind me, poorly quoted here, 'hell will be full of good people' ... is probably not even close what was said. i don't remember because i wasn't listening, i was choosing instead to pounce with "Love Wins!" a reference to the work of Rob Bell and my faith that God has a bigger, more inclusive plan for broken humanity than 'turn or burn' ...

but that is not the THAT that was uneasy, difficult, exhausting.

THAT was what happened next: an invitation to seek to understand before seeking to be understood, to repeat what the other person had said, to engage with a tell-me-more approach rather than a dissertation of my own thoughts and beliefs. i was ill-equipped, unprepared, nervous ... feeling a little incompetent and grateful for the reprieve when Perry asked the other person to repeat himself. this time i heard something softer, in part because i was listening and in part because as he repeated, he phrased it differently.

'that was softer, he said it differently' were the words that eventually bubbled up from my heart, past the lump of fear in my throat.

THAT that was uneasy, difficult, exhausting ... a sprint on an unfamiliar trail.

later i would go over the experience with the person on this earth who knows me best and he would ask, was Perry picking on you? no. honestly, i admit it, i opened my mouth, raised my fist and invited THAT in the same way i'd been doing all my life ... the conversation was softened by a knowing nod and duet of laughter.

"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 
You need to persevere so that when you have done
the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." 


p.s. this verse found me this morning, displaying on BibleGateway when i turned on my computer, and my belief that nothing is random soothes the blisters of my disbelief

photo credit: Annie's Simple Life 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

9 years old

I don't know what to do with this:

Average age for first time contact with pornography is around 9 years old.
Average age for seeking help is 30-35 years old.

The anecdotal evidence from women and men, the stories shared with me in the past 3 1/2 years, and my own experience as a child, echo truth here ... and I don't know what to do with this.

Pray for curious children exploring nightstand drawers, closet corners, internet histories, video stores?
Pray for teens who are babysitting or mowing lawn, exposed in homes where adults are too casual?
Pray for casual adults who don't realize the risk?
Pray for wounded adults who realize the risk and choose to be careless?
Pray for adults who are intentional?
Pray for adults who look the other way?

Pray for healing and restoration.
Pray for grace and mercy.

Pray that we not look away.

But this is a people robbed and plundered;
All of them are snared in holes,
And they are hidden in prison houses;
They are prey, and no one delivers;
For plunder, and no one says "Restore!".
Isaiah 42:22


stats: 10 Seconds
prayer guide: Salvation Army

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Undone Again

I often feel ill-equipped to engage the world, to speak the pain in my heart, to feel and express the damp oozing left behind by decades of life.

I am filled with joy and jealousy, healing and suffering, passion and sloth. How can one life feel so duplicitous?

Exploring Exodus 2 on Sunday, a question is asked:
"Why are we so reluctant to call on God?"

My answer is swampy darkness itself:
"We believe there is a chance God will say no."


Over a year ago words flowed from the heart:
"... If I live to be 100, my life is half over ... and the thing I want to do is public speaking ... changing hearts and minds with words ...
heaven on earth
we can take it with us
not the $
but the people
Yes. No."


Today, I find myself attempting vulnerability while engaging in a very public debate sparked by the word "pro-aborts" ... and I am feeling ill-equipped with every keystroke.

"He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, 
to proclaim freedom for the captives 
and release from darkness for the prisoners..."
Isaiah 61:1

I am an encourager, a writer and speaker of words.

I will risk crossing the picket lines.

I will risk walking into the dark places God calls me.


an old blog Undone
a beautiful resource Care Net
photo credit Tim Markley

Monday, September 17, 2012


you only live once

What is keeping you from living life to the fullest?


This morning I think of my friends, ordinary women and men embracing life with extraordinary courage, and I wonder what is keeping me from living life to the fullest too?


Sunday, September 16, 2012

force, fraud, coercion

It was unexpected, the revelation that she'd been manipulated into prostitution, this young woman among the attendees at the human trafficking seminar.

The presenter kept his composure, drawing on his decades of experience in law enforcement. Only those in the front row or two saw his eyes glisten with held back tears.

The myths of human trafficking help us sleep at night, help us believe this is happening somewhere else to people who don't look anything like us, that our daughters - our sons - are safe.

Traffickers do not discriminate. Using force, fraud or coercion, traffickers induce and recruit from all facets of humanity: wealthy, middle class, impoverished; immigrants and citizens; children and adults. Traffickers come to steal, kill and destroy.

In 1981, the General Accounting Office estimated there were 600,000 American children, under the age of 16, working as prostitutes in the United States. (

 Are you surprised?

 Help dispel the myths. Learn about human trafficking.

 Traffickers are counting on us not to care.


Some resources to get you started:
Celia Williams, PhD
Polaris Project

Monday, September 10, 2012

Leap of Faith

magnet by

Are there times in every life when panic sets in? When we find ourselves in circumstances that leave us feeling trapped?

This week as Fellowship explores the first chapter of Exodus, the midwives Shiphrah and Puah are new to me.

The king of Egypt tells them, "When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live."

The consequences of disobedience are unspoken.

As the story unfolds, we read that the midwives fear God and do not do what the king of Egypt asks. Shiphrah and Puah do not murder the male babies in the shadow of childbirth, make it appear as though children were stillborn, died of natural causes.

In choosing to let the boys live do the midwives risk their own lives? Are they afraid?

Called before Pharaoh and asked why they have let the boys live, the midwives answer, "Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive."

So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became
even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God,
he gave them families of their own. Exodus 1:20-21 NIV

When I am feeling trapped or cornered, I often want argue my way out, teach 'Pharaoh' about right and wrong, instead of trusting God to guide my actions and my words.

Instead of panicking and trying to take control, I'd be so much better off  in remaining quiet, choosing as my transportation a leap of faith.