God Exists

First.

I have to tell you a little story. Completely true.

I am in the Holy Land. We are handing out wheelchairs and eyeglasses. I am running around, taking pictures, sewing vinyl wheelchair footrests, counting rolls of velcro for inventory and sorting gifts for gift bags for our local volunteers for the end of the week.

I am the pop-fly shagger. The gopher. The water boy girl for the team.

I don’t mind. I’m happy and humble to do it. I have no idea what I’m doing, but as with improv, you simply accept what someone says and build on it.

“Martha, will you…?”

YES! Would you like fries with that???

I was not perfectly humble. Sometimes I grumbled. But then I would just pout in private, pray and move on when I could smile again. In the Holy Land, my butt-hurt recovery period was very short. Thank God! That 4:30 AM call to prayer came early and loudly. Right into my hotel room from the neighboring mosque. Punctuating the snores of my roommate. I would say my own prayers when I woke to those pre-dawn mournful meditations. I prayed. A lot. All day. For everything. Trying to incorporate that into this American life.

It also helped that I was witnessing miracles on a daily basis. Here’s just one. A tiny miracle that sows seeds of faith.


I was mostly in the wheelchair clinic. We were in a very large community center divided into two sections by a beautiful, dark red tapestry. The wheelchair clinic was about 2/3 of the space and the eyeglass clinic was on the other side of the curtain. Because I was helping with the sewing/upholstery department, I didn’t see but a few glimpses of the eyeglass clinic. I took many pictures, but I didn’t get to know the volunteers or patients very well.

They had a young man helping during the week with eyeglass distribution. He was a local tween or teen. Maybe 11, maybe as old as 13 or 14, I’m bad at carnival-guessing anyone’s age under 18, especially boys. I didn’t really notice him until the final two days.

Before the banquet on Friday, we were cleaning up the facility, putting things away, packing up our gear and returning the space to the condition we found it. Perhaps even cleaner!

I had brought several kid-centered trinkets from my home in the States. We had received an email before the trip about all the families and children that come to the clinics and how they might appreciate games, more interaction, activities and attention. I decided to pack a few things that my daughter didn’t want, we couldn’t use or that were cluttering our overfilled home. Things that kids would love. Stuff for bracelets. Pins for older kids. And a pair of neon sunglasses that were given to us. No one in my family wanted them and they were cool, but a little too…bright for us. 🙂 Perfectly good pair of sunglasses.

Well. They were sitting on our small utility table Friday as we were packing up. I never found a kid to give them to. They just sat all week. I looked at the sunglasses. I looked at my overfilled bag of cameras, computer and sewing accoutrements. Looked around the room and saw Swoopy-bangs Kid.

He had curly bangs. A little too long. Swooped to the side. Cool.

Maybe he wants these shades.

As I walked over to Swoopy-bangs, I had a sudden, slight sinking feeling of “do kids still like things like neon sunglasses? Am I the dorky old lady who offers the nerdy object to the cool kid and is totally oblivious to my own ridiculousness?”

Just ask.

“Hey man, do you want these sunglasses?” in as cool a voice as this 45-year old white lady could muster.

He looked surprised. I couldn’t tell if it was disgusted or thankful surprise, so there was an awkward pause.

He asked with a slight accent, “Who are these for?”

I pointed to him. “You! If you want them.”

He cracked a broken smile, averted his eyes sheepishly and heartily accepted them. Phew! Yay!

Sunglasses given! Smile achieved! Backpack and heart loaded for bear. Cool status confirmed.

What I didn’t know until later that night at the banquet…

Final banquet. Dinner. Speeches. Pats on the back. Gift bags!

Can I just say? As the Gift Bag Coordinator for 2019 Holy Land Trip, stop giving gift bags!

Or, buy one thing and give it. Don’t weigh down your luggage from America, burn jet fuel to get it there and then make some hapless pop-fly shagger distribute your American trash. I mean–Merry Christmas.

Fine. Praying over here.

Gift-bag giving was hell. Not one person was happy with the way I distributed gifts to the local translators. I relinquish my duties as the Gift Bag Chairman for 2019 and may all future gift-giving souvenirs burn on the Gehenna piles of Jerusalem. Ahem. Sorry. I’m still bitter. Still praying.

Anyway. Let us not dwell. LOL

Before the gift-bag portion of our evening, one of the directors of the clinics summoned me. “Martha, do you have an extra bag for this guy?” The director pointed to Swoopy-bangs.

Crap!

“No. I’m sorry. If I didn’t have his name before tonight, I didn’t prepare a bag.”

This had become my script. Before Eyeglass Director had asked this specific question, I had been bombarded with questions over the gifts all week.

Did you get this person on your list?
Do you have an extra bag?
Did you put my souvenir in my translator’s bag?
When are we handing out the bags?
Did you get the tea bags I brought?

Can we hand out the bags:
Before?
After?
During?
In front of…?
Can I be in charge of my bag?

Gah!

*In the voice of Pontius Pilate* I wash my hands of this.

The spirit of Christmas was truly lost on this night for me (it was Christmastime for this part of the world). People were obsessed. It was not a very Christ-like environment and I really had to pray hard. Not judge these Americans for their entitled, demanding, materialistic behavior. I made it through the night. Dinged and daunted, but not broken.

But to refuse Eyeglass Director yet another time, I started to feel defeated. He immediately dismissed his last-minute request and understood my frustration. “Nevermind. He just really helped us out. It’s fine.” I felt bad though because I really liked Swoopy-bangs. We only shared a few words, but he seemed appreciative of such a simple thing like the glasses I handed him. Gratefulness, in anyone, is something I admire and appreciate.

Later on that evening, I was relaying my frustrations to a new friend. We sat at different tables that night, based on our clinic service assignment. So when we got to talk after dinner, she asked how my night was going. We had become fast friends, despite our age difference and geographic extremes. (We live on opposite coasts!)

I told her I felt bad about the kid. “I didn’t have a gift for him. Did I miss his name at the beginning of the week?” She was in the eyeglass clinic, so I thought she might know more.

“That kid?” She pointed to Swoopy-bangs. “Don’t worry. He was there part of the time and he was helpful, but it’s fine. I think (Eyeglass Director) felt bad because the kid wanted a pair of sunglasses from the eyeglass clinic and he didn’t have enough.”

WHAT?!

“That kid wanted sunglasses???” I asked. I was dumbfounded.

“Yeah. It’s no big deal. We just didn’t have enough and he seemed disappointed, but it’s fine.”

“No! You don’t understand. I just gave that kid sunglasses before we came to this restaurant. I had no idea.” I was shocked. Humbled. I just kept repeating, softly. “I had no idea.”

I wanted to run over to that kid and hug him. Throw my arms around his neck and scream “Hallelujah!” But I just sat quietly with shiny eyes pooling with tears and the overwhelming knowledge that God had orchestrated all those tiny, tender moments.

Giving me some pair of neon glasses.
Packing them in my overstuffed suitcase.
Traveling halfway around the world.
Preparing hearts.
Creating desire for sunglasses.
Fulfilling wants.
Planting seeds.
Watering my desperate heart with words from my new friend.

God whispers small urgings to our overwhelmed hearts on a daily basis and we usually drown out his pleas with doubt and busy-ness. But this time, because I was tuned to his grace, alone in a foreign country, relying completely on his protection and will, praying my keister off, I took a small risk and the dividend was immense.

There were so many miracles on this trip of people served. This is just one, tiny example of God at work. But this is a reminder to me. God exists and he knows the number of hairs on your head. In the middle of our struggle, pain, ramblings, writhing, he cares. He is at work. And he cares about a boy, on the other side of the planet, and where that boy will go. Who he will touch. Whether seeds are planted in his brain of kindness and love and providence. And if his eyes are protected and stylish. 🙂

Luke 12:22-27 NASB

…“For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25 And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26 If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.


As I was writing this, knee-deep in word construction and heart-pouring, my computer shut down, unexpectedly. Nothing was lost. Everything was saved. Thank you, God. Thank you, WordPress. Thank you, AutoSave. God exists.

If kind, loving people exist, then God exists. If the watch is designed, the Watchmaker designs.

 

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gods become death

Worlds to disaster
Student surpasses master
When little gods die


Let me die a little way (every day)
So that I may be born in you
If idols die and God survives
Then all that is left is true

Gifted

It has been famously said, by many people, “Life is a gift.” In many ways, with many words.

My dear Christians. Are you still living your life as if it were a gift? That you inherently received grace or life because God knew how awesome you were going to be and you don’t have to do anything with your gift? You just sit and enjoy merely breathing? Staring at your present under the tree and never taking it out of the box?

Everyone on the planet takes their life for granted, at one point or another. People throw their gift on the fire because they lose the wonder of love.

Jesus is the gift.

Your life?

Your life is meant to be the offering.

Empty boxes after Christmas are lives unlived. Unwrapped.

Jesus is the salvation of the world. We are the gold, frankincense and myrrh brought to the foot of the cross by our sacrifice and honor and glorification of God. Our actions, thoughts and faith are the offering. We must be conscious of that every second.

Our existence is not to be brought gifts or to be thanked or to be served. Or to be rewarded or acknowledged for breathing in and out. Our life is to do the will of God.

And when we don’t?

We are not Christians. We are merely people thankful to be alive. Surviving one more day in this crazy, messed up world. That’s the human condition and Jesus is the medicine.

So. Give gifts. Give the gift of love and kindness. Not things. And don’t wait around for Christmas. Make offerings, every day, for love.

Hope Breaks These Clouds

God is close to the broken-hearted
Mercy is where his grace has started
Carved-out justice of rock he made
Starve the devil on blood-soaked pearls once paid
Love falls down in chunks of fluff
All-time sacrifice was more than enough
Undeserved.
Sacred word
Hope rises on this cloud-breaking bird

This is Evil

Thoughts and prayers don’t work if the very people who are praying are gunned down in a CHURCH!

Actions born of thoughtful prayer are what change violence. Common sense can save lives with thoughtful gun legislation.

VOTE!

peacepeAce
does not feaR men or guns.

time will have its perFect results of heaven.
our God will not abIde craven idolatry:
murderous sacrifice oF our innocent children,
worship of weapons insTead of His power on high,
grEed,
thEft,
a complete abadonmeNt of morals or wisdom.
keep your thoughtS and prayers alive

with actionS of this body
stalk and storm Halls of justice
with your powerful autOmatic voices of reason
attack vaUlts of law
where this Love of guns
is stored and protecteD by evil money and favor

oust and roust, Bust virtue out
kill the silencE of idling hands

demand safer lives wIth cautious liberty.
turn over the tables of destiny by eLecting those who should die for you
rather than kiLl in your names.
in thE name
of God,
peAce
should never be down the dark barreL of a privately-purchased democracy.


AR-FIFTEENS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL.

This is an acrostic poem, aligned in the center.
The center column has an equal number of letters on either side in each line.
The power in this country rests in the hands of those with guns and money.
It should rest on the peaceful people.


If you need a high-capacity weapon to protect what you have?
You don’t have what you need.


AR-15s should not be made legally available to murder 15 yos.


Every gun ever made was forged to kill a being.
Every gun ever made has or will kill a living thing. Or multiple living things.
Guns were made for no other purpose.
Only man could make killing so easy.
Karma will call and collect her damages.

This is Evil

I’m reposting this because I’m watching 22 July on Netflix. It was so graphic that I broke down in tears.
I can watch just about any horror movie, but I had to stop this movie and post this blog.
Children should not be shot. Lie bleeding and crying not to die.
Children should never have to fear for their lives.
Children should be able to attend school, summer camp, a concert, the friggin’ mall without fear of death.
Anyone, friend or family, who supports the manufacture and sale of high-capacity firearms is wrong and YOU are propping up an evil industry. I am embarrassed to know you or be related to you. Manufacture of high-capacity weapons needs to stop now.
There’s a special place in hell for those that profit from the murder of humans.
The only reason these guns exist is to destroy flesh.
It must stop. VOTE!

peacepeAce
does not feaR men or guns.

time will have its perFect results of heaven.
our God will not abIde craven idolatry:
murderous sacrifice oF our innocent children,
worship of weapons insTead of His power on high,
grEed,
thEft,
a complete abadonmeNt of morals or wisdom.
keep your thoughtS and prayers alive

with actionS of this body
stalk and storm Halls of justice
with your powerful autOmatic voices of reason
attack vaUlts of law
where this Love of guns
is stored and protecteD by evil money and favor

oust and roust, Bust virtue out
kill the silencE of idling hands

demand safer lives wIth cautious liberty.
turn over the tables of destiny by eLecting those who should die for you
rather than kiLl in your names.
in thE name
of God,
peAce
should never be down the dark barreL of a privately-purchased democracy.


AR-FIFTEENS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL.

This is an acrostic poem, aligned in the center.
The center column has an equal number of letters on either side in each line.
The power in this country rests in the hands of those with guns and money.
It should rest on the peaceful people.


If you need a high-capacity weapon to protect what you have?
You don’t have what you need.


AR-15s should not be made legally available to murder 15 yos.


Every gun ever made was forged to kill a being.
Every gun ever made has or will kill a living thing. Or multiple living things.
Guns were made for no other purpose.
Only man could make killing so easy.
Karma will call and collect her damages.

If Jesus went to the WH

When Donald Trump was elected, I saw this meme.

white house

I threw up a little in my Jesus-loving mouth.

First of all, Jesus ain’t got baggage. According to, ya know, THE BIBLE!

Second, and most importantly, the only way Jesus would have gone to the White House was with a whip or on a cross.

I would personally love to see Jesus whipping all of Congress and driving them out. The money changers. The corruptors. The sellouts. The evil-doers. Let’s do that at the polls this November, y’all. Let’s be the Jesus in the halls of Congress. Turning tables and clearing the house.

If the White House is your temple, if this is where your Jesus resides? Whosoever shall believe in this meme…we ain’t readin’ the same Bible, y’all.

Crafty B out.

work in progress

No penny I wouldn’t save
No journey I wouldn’t brave
No word left unsaid
A million tears I would shed
For your glory

No story I wouldn’t tell
Rain fire from war-torn hell
Allow me to burn
No lesson unlearned
To bring your peace

Pieces of heart
Start over with smart
Put evil away
Take out patience today
Live it all for love

Life is too hard
To avoid getting scarred
Bind these cuts
Give me guts
Sturdy my back for the fight

Right this soldier’s wrongs
Shoulder my burden with songs
Dive deep in my chest
Battle my demons to rest
Rock me down to sleep

Weep for the child I was
Made offerings for broken laws
Gave up my life
Extracted truth with a knife
Found your bright words in the night

Carved out all the cancer
Heard your sweet voice in an answer
Love is the key
Grace on your knees

Finish your work in me, please.