Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Have You a Heart That’s Weary?

Have you a heart that's weary,
Tending a load of care?
Are you a soul that's seeking
Rest from the burden you bear?

Do you know, do you know, my Jesus?
Do you know, do you know, my friend?
Have you heard, have you heard, He loves you?
And that He’ll walk with you to the end?

Who knows your disappointments?
Who hears each time you cry?
Who understands your heartaches?
Who dries the tears from your eyes?

Do you know, do you know, my Jesus?
Do you know, do you know, my friend?
Have you heard, have you heard, He loves you?
And that He’ll walk with you to the end?

Words and Music by: Vep B. Ellia and William F. Lakey

From my weary heart to yours --

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Small, Dark and Handsome

16 years ago this spring,
I met a dark-haired, dark-eyed, terribly-handsome man,
and I loved him the moment I met him.

In those days, he was even shorter than I am,
and, I admit, quite immature,
but, in time, he overcame those challenges.
Now he towers over me by more-inches-than-I’ll-admit,
and is even more handsome than the day we met.

This special young man is my nephew,
my first and oldest,
and he was a thrice-given gift.

First, God gave him to his birthmother,
who realized that, as a single mom,
she couldn’t raise him as well as she’d want.

So, with a unique blend of love and heartache,
she gave him a second time...
by placing him for adoption with my brother and sister-in-law.

And, generously, on an ongoing basis,
my brother and sister-in-law give their son a third time...
by sharing him with me.

Four years after my oldest nephew,
another small, dark, handsome man joined our family.
He too was thrice-given --
by God, by his birthmom, and by his parents.

I am now the proud auntie of two handsome boys.
I lived for decades before they came to me,
but now I wonder how I could have felt life was complete without them.

My boys and I don’t share the same genetic history,
we have different racial backgrounds,
and my name is not on their birth certificates.
But I am their auntie,
and they are my boys.

I don’t do the hard work of training them,
feeding them,
or making sure their closets contain
pants long enough to cover their ever-growing legs.
But they are my boys.

They are not flesh-of-my-flesh
nor bone-of-my-bone...
but, irrevocably,
for good and for always,
no matter what,
they are my boys.

absolutely nothing,
will ever change that.

Every day,
I thank God for giving them.

Every day,
I’m grateful to my brother and sister-in-law for sharing them.

Today, I also want to say,
”Thank you, birthmoms.”

You made a choice.
For your sons' sake, you made a sacrifice.

Did you also know what a precious gift you were giving to us?

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you for giving me my boys.

To learn more about adoption,
and attend an upcoming seminar
presented by Steven Curtis Chapman
and Focus on the Family,
please see http://www.endthewait.ca/tour/

-- Reenie

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Step to The Front of the Line

We who are in Christian faith communities believe every human being is precious in God’s eyes because He made us in His image.

We believe our worth will never be diminished, no matter what other factors come and go.

We believe that people with disabilities and other challenges are as valuable to God as those of us whose challenges are less visible.

We nod fervently when we read that the Bible says God chooses to use people who are weak, for His glory. (1 Corinthians 12)

From early childhood, we’re taught to sing,
“Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me....”

We cheerfully quote what Jesus said:
“Whatever you’ve done for the least of these, you’ve done for Me.”(Matthew 24)

So why...I ask you...Why-oh-why-oh-why do we so often not act that way?

Within my lifetime,
I've been delighted to see enormous improvements in how communities
accept and welcome people with all kinds of visible challenges.

I could give you a long list of agencies within my own city,
government-funded and otherwise,
who energetically,
work for the inclusion and benefit of people with disabilities.
I can’t tell you how deeply grateful I am for these agencies’ work.
What a difference they make for people with special needs
and for those who love them!

But it grieves my heart just as much
that there are still so few churches
who actively welcome people with disabilities.

We, who by the most basic statements of our faith,
declare that we value those who are weak,
often act like they have no worth at all.

We ought to be at the front of the line,
leading the way,
raising the bar,
setting the example.

What twists a knife in my gut is that,
we’re usually at the back.

And, oh --
we’re not just compliantly following along as someone else shows the way.
We’re often as-far-back-as-we-can-be,
dragged along with our heels dug in as-deep-as-we-can-dig-‘em.

Some of us even have even thumped ourselves down on the path,
refusing to move at all,
and making every effort to slow down anyone else who might like to move forward.

At my city’s local amusement park,
large and threatening signs prohibit queue-jumping.

the Church is in a different kind of line.

In this line, we’re invited,
even urged,
to march up to the front of the line.

Yes, we have been late to do this,
but the good news is that it’s not too late.

Let’s stand up for what we say we believe,
ask God to help us fix the attitudes we need to fix,
and pull our heels out of the sand.

Let’s march right up to the front of the line
and start leading the way.
-- Reenie

Monday, March 7, 2011

He Knows Her Name

Speak up for those who cannot speak themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

This weekend, I was privileged to see the world premiere of “She Has a Name”, a play about human trafficking.

A teenage girl, known only as “18”, has been trafficked from her home in Cambodia and now works in a Bangkok brothel. When an international justice agency plans to bring a court case against traffickers and pimps, “18” is the only girl willing to talk, so she becomes their key witness. Her world is ruled by greed, ignorance, and fear, but I dared to hope we’d find out who “18” really was. I wanted to learn her name.

The night I saw the play was its second last in Calgary, before moving on to Red Deer, Alberta for several nights. After that, hopefully, it'll tour numerous North American cities. I hope many people will buy tickets, go to see it, and feel their hearts gripped by its message.

I must, however, issue this caution: She Has a Name is not for everyone. For many viewers, the play’s frank language and explicit scenes would be repulsive.

No, She Has a Name is not for everyone, but its message definitely is.

We who live in sheltered societies need to understand the pain people experience when their lives are dominated by poverty, desperation, greed, hunger, slavery.

We need to be aware. We need to act. We may be called to actions large or small, but I believe we all need to act in some way. (The websites listed below will offer suggestions.)

Every girl, woman, boy and man, every human being, who is sold and traded like nothing more than a money-making machine, has a name. The people who “buy” them don’t care about their names. Those who pay for their services don’t know their names. Perhaps it’s been so long that the victims themselves have forgotten their names.

But there is a God Who planned them and made them and loves them.

He knows their names.

And He calls those of us who are called by His Name to work to bring justice to those whose names no one else remembers...to give hope to people whose names He can never forget.

Speak up for those who cannot speak themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.


-- Reenie