Archives for posts with tag: rescue
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Backyard view, Shelby, North Carolina

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”

~Helen Keller

Amen ❤

Maybe because dear friends reflect the light we so need to see during darker times.

Maybe because sometimes we need others to remind us of what is true, who we are, who God is.

Maybe because perspective changes when we know we’re not alone.

Maybe because friendship is a gift that gives and takes at the same time…gives encouragement, takes a share of the load.

Maybe because courage to take the next step into the unknown can come from being encouraged by one that’s in there with us, through it.

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Shelby, North Carolina

And sometimes we might not want to share the darkness…we might want to pretend that all is light, that all is al-right or “fine”. We might want to isolate ourselves to protect others from any of the “darkness” going on. Not a good strategy I’d say, no matter how noble it may appear. Here’s a tidbit:…”isolate” comes from the Latin root “insulatas” which means, “made into an island.”  And we all know, “No man, (or woman) is an island” (John Donne).

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New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Am thinking it’s kind of cool that friend-ship has the word “ship” in it because sometimes we need a ‘ship’ to go rescue a friend that has a mental blip when they think maybe they need to be an island…and that ship sails in and reflects and reminds and rescues one that’s emotionally needing to be drawn back in. In the same way that a ship navigates the very waters that isolate the island, friendship can permeate the walls that keep us locked up ‘in our own worlds’ and keep others locked out. Friend-Ships sail through those rough waters to bridge the gaps…

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New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Yes,”Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” And here’s the cool thing that Helen Keller seemed to know as she wrote the above quote, There is often beautiful-pared-down-for-real connection that comes when things aren’t all smooth sailing. There’s an awareness of need, a gratitude for others, and a sincerity that often comes with darker times. Silver linings don’t only come on clouds. They come in stars. And stars shine when it’s dark.  They seem to shine really bright when they are furthest from the light.  Friends that walk along side in the dark can help us see clearly the beauty that’s there in the midst of the reality of what isn’t. They can remind us of the truths of scripture that are anchors to our souls and hope to our heart.

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New Smyrna Beach, Florida

So I’m not sure whether life is smooth sailing for you right now, or whether you’re on rough seas. Or maybe you’re finding yourself drawn to become an island. Am thinking we all feel that desire to just check out for a little from time to time. My encouragement is to draw near. Draw near to God. Draw near to friends and family who know and love you well. (Not perfectly for that’s way too much pressure for any of us to bear, but well….well like a deep well that knows you to the depths…and what they don’ t know, they’re willing to…)  Yes, draw near…fly that white flag of surrender if you find yourself isolated on an island and call in the ships.  Friendships, that is. Call. Seek. Move toward.

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Austin, New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Take it from me…there’s treasure when the ship meets the island. Even Helen Keller who lived in darkness chose friendship and companionship over light and sight. That’s incredible! Am thinking she really knew what she was talking about for I’m sure she knew a thing or two (hundred) about isolation. Yes, there’s something to be said for smooth sailing, and light-er times. But oh, the depths of knowing that no matter what you’re facing, there are those who are with you in it. That’s a tangible heart-encouraging gift. And I’m so so thankful for it. More thankful than I’ve ever been for you see, I’ve had my turns at being ships and islands.  But recently took my turn as an island. And am so very thankful for the sweet ship that sailed on in. Thankful. Renewed. Back on track.

Blessings~

Heather

P.S. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) That’s the verse ringing in my ears right now. When we fly our white flag, He’s the “ship” that will always, always come in, no matter how far the island or stormy the seas. Love that.

 

 

 

LIGHT VALUE OF ONE

Teaching place value to second and third graders is no easy task. To understand that a “one” has a different value depending on the value of it’s position, well, that just takes a bit of time and practice to wrap one’s 8 year old brain around. Or, one’s 50 year old brain, or 27, or 75 year old brain.

Because one is just one, right?  No, not when it stands in the hundreds place.  Then it’s one hundred.  Or when it stands in the millions place, it’s one million. Or when it stands in the trillions place?  The value depends upon its position.

I don’t know whether my brain is on teacher overload or what.  But I actually woke up thinking about place value.  And then my thoughts turned to value….to the value of One.   One idea.  One gift.  One ability. One person.  One life.  And my thoughts turned to what we place value in.  The “place” in the previous sentence is a verb.  A verb, an action, a determination to do something.  What do I place value in?

One child overseas thousands of miles away who dies from ebola…that is one.  One. One missionary (Kent Brantley) who comes from serving those with ebola and contracts the same disease is just one.  But the value placed in that one man, through others rallying support, love, prayers, money, and medical resources…is it equal to the one unknown child who dies from ebola?  Or the One young girl who is caught up in the sex trafficking industry who is nameless even to those in her daily life…is she of the same value as the one sweet little girl who was the child of missionaries serving in Thailand who passed away as a result of an illness? This precious child’s parents were there to rescue little girls who did not live in freedom.  Thousands across the globe rallied in prayer as this little girl succumbed to her illness.  Did she have more value than the little girls who her parents came to the country to save? It depends on who is placing the value.

So here’s the thing. In the natural world, the value we place is so dependent on location, position, prestige, ability, appearance, and the list goes on. Just as there is a ones place, a tens place, a hundreds place, the world seeks to measure us according to our position of value.   But, in the eyes of Christ?  One is One.  And One has infinite value.  He has loved us with an everlasting love.  Period.   Whether ‘we’ are an ‘unknown’ in some obscure place with very little ability or prestige, or are well-known in the most prestigious of positions, we are all seen with the same value through the eyes of Christ.  And that’s a beautiful thing no matter what our position in life is.  We are all “One in a million”.  All Loved and Valued.  All standing in the same “Place value”.  And that is an incredibly valuable thing to wrap our brains, and our hearts around.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Oh, and here’s a sidenote that I can’t leave unsaid on this subject.  There’s an organization which focuses on the value of one. The Exodus Road is an organization which exists to pursue, find, and rescue those whose lives have been overtaken and enslaved by the sex trafficking industry.  The Exodus Road focuses on the value of one. It strategizes, determines, risks, and exists to rescue, recover, and validate the value of lives enslaved, one life at a time.   ONE life at a time.  To support this amazing non profit organization, please go to the link above.  To date, they have rescued 326. Three hundred twenty six ONES.  Three hundred twenty six lives who would have otherwise been trapped in an underground world which exists to  undermine and  de-value the mind, spirit, and body of the victims residing there.  This dark underground world exists to create  a mere existence.  The Exodus Road values each person lost in the sex trafficking industry and paves the way to help them to find their way out, and to find their way back to knowing that they are valued.  Each and every one.

May those of us who know, believe, and trust that we are valued, in turn, value. And that will in turn multiply the value of one.  But, multiplication?  That’s a lesson for another day…

Blessings,

Heather

If a tree falls saturation

if a tree falls,

and no one hears,

does it even make a sound?

Of course it makes a sound. Doesn’t it? Of course. Just because no one is there to hear it doesn’t negate the fact that it would make a thunderous crash to the ground. The effects would be felt and the impact would be made. Wouldn’t it?

I think we’re living in a world where a lot of trees are falling. They are making a sound. Some are dramatically crashing to the ground and causing devastation. Some are falling quietly with little known impact as if they had come and gone, lived and died, and no one noticed. Even though there are people around to hear, they are not being heard.

And they are more than trees. They are people. They are daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, mothers. They are children, teens, and young men and women. They are in our neighborhoods, cities, and across the ocean. “They” are falling and crying out in a world that is overcome with noise and stigma and busyness. It is a world that is often unaware and deaf to the sound of their cries, ignorant to the fact that their world even exists. And that they are falling.

And…Who are “they”? I am writing concerning the plight of human trafficking victims. Girls and boys, men and women involved in the sex trafficking industry which has swept cities, countries, and the intangible world of the media.

Until about a year ago, I didn’t have ‘ears to hear’. Not about this issue. I thought I knew to some extent of the realities of the sex trafficking industry.I’d prayed for victims, read stories, but it was way out there in a ‘forest’, if you will, far, far away. I didn’t go there. I didn’t tune in. It was as though I knew that forest existed, but kept myself at a safe distance. Deaf. Little children involved in unspeakable acts? Wasn’t something I wanted to spend my time thinking about. But for some reason,I felt a pull to learn more and to get involved. I read the book “God in a Brothel” by Daniel Walker. I read Laura Parker’s Blog, and learned more about the organization that she and her husband Matt had formed, The Exodus Road (https://www.theexodusroad.com/). Somehow, my ‘ears to hear’ were more tuned in and I found myself wanting to help…in whatever small ways that I could, and praying for those who were on the front lines… witnessing, hearing, those ‘trees falling’ so to speak.

And what can I do? Well, my first thing is to take this ‘unspeakable’ issue, and speak it. Call it what it is. It is dark. It is sin. It is devastating. It is a reality. It is difficult to come face to face with the realities of what human beings can do to one another for a sum, a thrill, a moment in time. But if we don’t speak it, it won’t be heard. And the cries of those caught up in this tragic underground world, their stories need to be heard. Knowledge is power. So is awareness. Child pornography and prostitution, children being abducted and used, these are the unspeakable issues that need to be brought into the Light.

I love the verse that says, “The Light shines in the Darkness and the Darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5) Human trafficking is about as dark as one can imagine. The contrast, the beauty of Light entering into this world is an amazing thing. There is hope for those entrapped in this world, but it needs to be brought from the outside in. Someone needs to enter in…to shine the light in the darkness, to see the hidden, and hear the unheard.

The Exodus Road isn’t just an organization that hears, they are truly one that runs to the front lines. This is an organization which is committed to literally going in and rescuing those living, breathing, falling, dying in this hidden world of human trafficking. They are shining light, both literally, and spiritually in a dark world. And lives are being rescued, and changed.

Jesus talked about having “ears to hear”. It didn’t matter how much He spoke or preached until there was a readiness to hear, an openness to listen with more than mere ears. Well, I’m hoping that more can have ears to hear. That we could truly be bending our ear to hear the “trees falling”. That we’d put ourselves in situations in which we don’t shrink back from involvement in difficult things, but boldly address the needs and our possible role in making a difference.

So…back to the question.

If a tree falls,

and no one hears,

does it even make a sound?

Of course it makes a sound. Doesn’t it? Of course. Just because no one is there to hear it doesn’t negate the fact that it would make a thunderous crash to the ground. The effects would be felt and the impact would be made. Wouldn’t it?

My answer is “Yes”. I believe it makes a sound. But in order to be heard…there need to be ears to hear.

I’m finally listening.

Here are a few statistics regarding human trafficking :

•27 million modern day slaves
•Every 60 seconds, a child is sold for sex worldwide
•Human trafficking is the 3rd largest global industry, behind drugs and guns.

Maybe those three facts are enough to process for one night…

Blessings,
Heather

•The Exodus Road can be found on facebook, twitter (@the ExodusRoad), Tumblr, Vimeo, and Youtube.

Exodus-Road-Blogger

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