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Because the heart is torn…

Fredrick Beuchner writes “The place God calls us to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

I read this quote in a book I  read Kisses from Katie. This book spoke directly to my heart and left me open, raw and convicted. This book outlines the true story of Katie Davis who had 18 years old leaves the comfort of her middle class family in Tennessee and heads to Uganda. Where Jesus calls her to love and live her life.  Being his hands and feet.


She promised her parents it was for just a year then she would return and go back to college. As she talks about leaving Uganda for the states her heart was torn in the comfort of what she had always known and the people she loved and the love and calling she felt for Uganda.  Home was no longer where she had been but home was where God was calling her.

Now enter my own story… I have had this book on my reading list for literally two to three years. I took it with me last week for a quick trip back to “Home” Kansas City. The place I have lived most of my life. The place I got married, had 4 amazing children and my extended family lives. The place I first heard God’s calling on my life, the place where so many memories are and friends reside.

I started the book in the airport on the way and I finished it in the airport on the way home. I am sure that everyone around me as I finished that book and big tears streamed down my face thought I was emotionally disturbed. (there might be some truth in that statement but that is blog for a different day!)

My heart was torn. You know torn with all the good things I have and the reality of millions of children are dying from treatable disease and hunger every day. Torn because as much as I love Kansas City and the comfort I find there it is not my home now, I was a visitor in my home town, just passing through. Home is the place that God has called me. He didn’t call me to Uganda like he did Katie Davis, which seems more like Christ work, feeding, clothing, healing and educating orphaned sick children. He called me to the Lehigh Valley to be his hands and feet. It really is the place where my deep gladness and the world’s hunger meet.

The mission has never been more clear. Our Lehigh Valley might not look like Uganda where she serves but there are thousands of people who do not know my Jesus. Time is crucial. We have to be intentional. I have to be intentional. I have to be bold and courageous. I have to put my will down and pick up HIS WILL! I have to be crystal clear on what it is he is asking me to pick up and what he is asking me to lay down.

You see my heart might be torn at times at where exactly home is but that is just temporary. My citizenship is not here on this Earth, it is in Heaven. And there are people who need Jesus who are in my circle of influence and my one and only job is to Go and make disciples. Jesus left us with the great commission. There is no Plan B! We are the plan.

And I let my comfort and my own will keep me from doing and being all that he has called me too.  And as I finished the book, and tears streamed down my face. A story begin to play out in front me.  A lady from what I am guessing an African country, speaking broken English trying to board her plane. She had a carry on bag, but this carry on was bigger than what they allowed you to carry on for free, so she was going to have to pay $45, they did not accept cash. She opened the suitcase showed them there was nothing but clothes, nothing dangerous she said. The gate agent said She could not travel with that suitcase unless she could pay. She begin to cry while everyone just stood there watching her.  Finally, I stepped up and paid the $45. She turned to me and bowed thanking me and saying Bless you. And I was reminded again of how often there are needs all around us and we just stand watching or worse yet turn away, when we have the means to help the need. Jesus didn’t meet needs because he investigated them thoroughly to see if they really were needy or scamming the system. He simply met the need.

I am confident I will never see this lady again here on this Earth, but her face and her eyes are embedded on my mind. I hope that someday when I see my Jesus, I find her face among those who are there.

So today I wrestle with what is My will and what Is God’s will. I wrestle with what the best next step is for me, my family and the church I lead. I wrestle with what is my American Dream and what is God’s dream for us.  I wrestle with expectations. I wrestle with my own sins. I wrestle with my own failures. I wrestle with the hurts of those I left behind. I wrestle with schemes of Satan to destroy families, mine included. I wrestle…

And I rest. I rest in Jesus “the author and perfector of my faith”. I rest that he who has called me will not leave me. I rest in his faithfulness. I rest in that one day I will see Jesus face to face and my prayer is that on that day I hear his words “well done my good and faithful servant!


One more chapter…

Thirty Two weeks… Twenty Two hours of labor… Colton Thomas made his appearance. 5 Pounds 3 ounces 17 inches long. I remember the long night awaiting his arrival. Praying that the steroids that they gave me would be enough to help his little lungs. Hours after he arrived, the doctors and nurses found themselves working with a baby that was dying. 6 times he coded, 6 times they shocked his little heart. Finally stabilize enough to transport to the Children’s Mercy Hospital. The Doctor following the ambulance because he was sure by the time they arrived the baby would be gone…

Days turned into weeks as little Colton lay lifeless on life support. The NICU has labeled little white boys as “wimpy white males” they have the lowest survival rate of any preemies. There were days we just didn’t know if he would ever wake up. I remember vividly one day standing over his bed with my hand beside his and crying out to God to heal my baby. Tears ran down my face and one by one they would hit his naked little back. He didn’t even flinch. In that moment I remember asking the Lord for his will to be done in Colton’s life. If  it  was his will that he live that he would… and if it wasn’t that he would hold me. I prayed life into him and ask God to grow him up into a Man of God that would change the world someday.

Colton a few days later decided he would wake up and fight. His little body begin to grow and heal. And within a couple of months he would join us as home.

Here we are 18 years later, preparing to send him away to college. I thought by the third one it got easier. That somehow your heart is prepared for the fact that your precious littles are grown and ready to fly, all the while you pray they remember their roots. 3 children in 3 years.  Colton is preparing to join his siblings at IWU next year… and I am preparing for a few more tears and a lot more praying.

Chapters are being written so fast it seems that we don’t always get time to enjoy the story. I can’t go back and hold him but I can hold on to the many memories I have. I can look forward to see what God will continue to do in his life. I believe that God did save Colton for a purpose. And today my prayer is that he finds it and walks boldly in it. To say I am going to miss him, is an understatement. His laugh, his sense of humor and his hugs.

In Deuteronomy it says The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” I know that the Lord himself has gone before Colton. He knew exactly how his little life would begin and he knows every step there after.  Colton I pray that you will be a Kingdom Builder and Culture Changer. Use your gift and talents for His Kingdom to bring Glory to God your father who saved you for such a time as this.