Monday, March 31, 2008

Once Upon a Time . . .

I promise someday I'll write about something other than my work downtown -- but today is not that day - Today, I want to tell you a little story . . .

Once upon a time there were three little boys who I loved: Quadree (7 yrs), Jonovan(aka "junior" - 6 yrs) and Jauntez (3 yrs). They lived with their mom in a small apartment in the Atlanta Housing Project of Herndon Homes. Unlike many of the other kids in the neighborhood, all three boys have the same father, they know who he is, and they even see him on special occasions like Christmas. Their mom works at Mrs. Winners Chicken for minimum wage, making it difficult to provide for her sons' needs.

All three boys use language to describe women that is best reserved for female dogs, and throw around curse words like they're nothing. They throw full-on temper tantrums if they dont get their way, they know more about sex, drugs, alcohol and violence than I do (and I'm almost 20 years older than all of them) One time at church, I caught the five year old pulling a picture of a naked woman out of his shoe.
In short, they have had to grow up far too fast. Quadree and even Junior are often responsible for taking care of Jauntez; they dont always have clean clothes to wear or three meals a day, and they dont really know their father. I'm not sharing all this to say that their mom is not a good mom, or so you'll feel sorry for them, but because I realized something about these boys this week at Canvas.

Matt talked on Friday night about the resurrected Christ, and specifically how God is the God of restoration. And all I could think about was how excited I was that one day, these boys (hopefully) will get to sit on their REAL daddy's lap. And if that isnt a picture of restoration and hope - then I dont know what is!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A drop in the ocean . . .

We had our second Metro Kidz at Thomasville yesterday, and our Easter Egg hunt this Sunday - so that means lots of time with lots of the kiddos (which I love!) But it turned into one of those times where I felt overwhelmed by the depth of the kids' needs. This week, there are two boys (brothers) involved in our ministry whose mother was stabbed to death; this week, one of my girls (she's about 8 years old) came to me and told me that when her mom gets stressed out, she asks her daughter to bring her weed to "calm her down"; this week, two ten year old kids were fascinated by the fact that I had 2 wedding rings, and when I explained that one was my engagement ring, they asked in bewilderment: "engagement? what's that?"; this week, the kids love trying to name my baby for me (they come up with names like Santicia, DeMario and Breunshay) and in an effort to match their names with the baby's last name, they asked what my last name was - when I replied, they quickly clarified by saying: "no I mean what's your baby daddy's last name?" . . . I could go on and on with sad/touching/heartbreaking stories about the life these kids face everyday. The truth is, as a friend pointed out this week, sometimes it feels like I'm just a "drop in an ocean."

But then in the midst of my discouragement, the Lord has given me brilliant moments of hope and encouragement. Like this Sunday during the Easter Egg hunt, one of the moms told me that her little boy (Steven) went the wrong way and didnt find a single one of the 3500 eggs scattered around the park. When the other kids found out, they all gave him some of their eggs -- one of the oldest boys even put a dollar in one of his eggs and give it to Steven - I was so proud of my kiddos!

And then later that day, the Lord revealed what it is that most of these kids are really missing: the chance to just be kids . . . They're so busy being tough, looking out for themselves and their little brothers and sisters, that they dont even get to experience the joy and innocence of childhood. But on Sunday I was watching some of the kids play on the playground, each of them eagerly clamoring for me to watch them on the monkey bars, or go down the slide - and they would grin in delight when I exclaimed that I had never seen better climbing or sliding -- and I realized that's exactly what we are giving these kids at Metro Kidz: a chance to enjoy being kids!

So thank-you kids for reminding me of why I do this, and thank-you Lord for encouraging me with Mother Theresa's reminder that "we can do no great things, only small things with great love."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


From: Beautiful Heritage

Clothed in skins the schemer lies
and says he is another
deceptively he wins the prize
of blessing from his brother.

“Who are you, child?” the father asks
and guilt’s mouth opens wide
Jacob, supplanter, takes the step
and tumbles deep inside.

The years have passed and there he sits
the reckoning has come
In darkness and in silence now
he faces all he’s done.

And then the metaphor becomes
a thing of flesh and bone
and wrestles he with unknown foe
until the night has flown.

In brokenness he weeps and clings
a blessing now he pleads
from hand of Him who holds His life
and everything He needs.

The dawning light reveals the Face
of strange and awesome Truth
and once again the question comes:
“Just tell me…who are you?”

With hard-won, sweet humility
the gamer sheds his skin
“I’m Jacob: robber, liar, cheat…
all these and more I’ve been.”

The answer comes from mercy’s throne:
“The old is past and done
from this day forth be Israel
for you have overcome.”

An injured man, he has a limp
forever he’ll be lame
the mark of One with love too great
to let him stay the same.

In heaven’s trove there is a pile
of stones made pure and white
and to each one who overcomes
they’re given with delight.

They are not gems, not made for trade,
nor meant for public view,
inscribed upon them are the names
of those He has made new.

Not human names, nor idle tags
bestowed with thought unknown;
but from the Lord’s own heart they come
His view of us, His own.

The devil slings his epithets
and hopes we will believe
ugly, unloved, hopeless, fool!
all this and more he seethes.

Stupid, liar, dissolute,
wicked through and through!
Ruined, worthless, undesired
that’s the name for you!

You know the names Accuser brings
you’ve heard them all life-long
But God the Father has just one
that trumps the devil’s throng.

Hold on throughout the darkest night;
though wrestling, don’t resign.
Hold fast until the blessing comes
and trust the Lord’s design.

For when that Day dawns bright and clear
we’ll know as we are known;
our name received, we’ll enter in
and be forever Home.

scripture references: Gen. 32:22-32, Hos.12:3-5, Rev. 2:17, Rev. 12:10


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