Tuesday, August 30, 2011

SCTN 5K: A small endeavor with the hope of a huge impact!

Many of you already know that I am going to walk in the Stop Child Trafficking Now 5K. As much as I may volunteer for things that I am passionate about I have begun to feel a little discouraged. No matter how much I do, I feel as if I can never do enough. In some ways I feel as if doors will remain closed in certain areas of my life and in the life of my husband and I. There have been many doors that I have been knocking on for some time; only to either have them remain closed or slammed right in my face. Ouch! To say the least, there have been many "ouch" moments. Other moments have been a dull ache as I wait.

Then as I have tended the aches, the pains, and sat down to talk with God over things, I know that doors will open in time and miracles will take place. These moments have only drawn me closer to God, as well as with other people who see me for who I truly am. And it is in these moments that the fight inside of me goes further than just for myself. It draws me out from myself to bring a voice to those who have none. And this is why I am walking the SCTN 5K. It is one of the small things that I can do to help fight for the boys and girls being trafficked, many of them who are right in front of us.

What are you fighting for? 
What love letters are you writing?
Who will you impact?
How will you be remembered?

These are all questions I ask myself often as well as many more. When I have an answer that I do not like, after God reveals the good, the bad, and potentially even the ugly, then I ask God to help change it. In the process, God calls us beautiful, and helps transform us into magnificent masterpieces. I pray to be a masterpiece of his unconditional love, hope, and power! I pray that even in small endeavors such as a 5K to SCTN that it will have a huge impact. This is my hope. And my dreams, which God is still forming in me, are even bigger than that.

What are your dreams? What are your hopes?

If you feel led to help me with mine, please feel free to go to my personal page to donate or sign-up to walk with me.

After all, "I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world"
Mother Teresa

Monday, August 22, 2011

Built tough. Made to Last. Camp 2011

Last week I had the privilege to be a camp counselor to seven girls from KidZTown at the Garage, which is the kids program at the church that my husband and I are volunteering for. There are still many things that I am processing from last week, many of which are things that I learned about myself. It was a week filled with many learning experiences that stretched me further than I thought it would. I came away feeling as if I had been blessed twofold. These kids are amazing and full of such passion, ambition, and hunger for God and his love.

I went to camp not really knowing what to expect and prayed fervently for God to use me in ways that these girls would never forget. It is my prayer that they came away feeling very loved by God. One of the messages that God placed on my heart to communicate to these girls was how valuable they are. Since these girls (ages 8-12) are in the stage where they are defining their identity based on what they see and hear from others, God wanted them to hear from him how beautiful they are. Girls these days are bombarded by so many more messages of how they should look skinny, sexy, beautiful, and attractive to men. All it takes is one to listen to the most popular songs, the latest movies, commercials, and sometimes-even Disney to see that outward beauty, and sexual attraction is what matters most.

The theme for our cabin was that each of them were beautiful princesses of God and that they are each his beloved, a beautiful diamond. God wants them to see themselves in this way so that when others (including different sources of media) tell them otherwise, they can remain steadfast in his love and truth for them. I can recall one day, one of my cabin girls got mad at me when I told her how valuable she was and just how beautiful God thinks she is. She ran from me and yelled that she was ugly. It broke my heart, but yet it was something that I could relate to. I remember feeling ugly at a young age not fully understanding why, and I was usually too eager to believe what surrounding voices filled with lies told me about myself. I pray that the seeds of truth God told me to plant into their hearts and minds will grow beautiful Japanese cherry blossom trees in full bloom.

Camp this year had the theme "Built tough. Made to Last" which talked about building a spiritual life with God that was growing strong everyday in everyway. It was amazing to worship God with these kids and see how the Holy Spirit was awakening new things within them. A different cabin girl was very hungry for more of God and his love. She sought him further every day and found her heart opening up in new ways to the Holy Spirit working in her life. This hunger and thirst was so encouraging to see in her! It is a prayer that all these kids would hunger such as this gal did and is continuing to do. Please be praying for them as they continue to hunger and thirst for more of God and how he would use them.

Throughout the week, I found myself amazed at how God was revealing himself and his will for my life (as well as my husband) throughout the different activities, cabin time, and chapel services. It was amazing because I was usually very busy keeping track of my cabin girls, "disciplining", directing, leading, singing, listening, and participating in the activities. I think I learned how to listen to the Holy Spirit's voice amidst what seemed like noisy, organized chaos. And it made my heart come alive more recognizing that even though I had come to camp to minister to these kids, that God was also ministering to me everyday. God's message for these girls was also for me. His love and heart for me, as well as others, continues to amaze me and make me speechless.

One of the other messages that God spoke to me about was having a mother's heart. In the process of preparing to be a Step Mom, I have been praying for God and his wisdom. I feel that this week of camp was a wonderful time of preparation for the beautiful stepdaughter that will soon be a part of my husband and my life. It was helpful to see God answering this prayer right in the middle of camp. It was encouraging to see how I was able to learn from each experience and see how the girls left camp somewhat or greatly changed. These girls taught me a lot and I hope that I in turn was able to teach them a lot about God and his love for them. I hope that I was able to write love letters from God upon their hearts that they will never forget.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Royal Family Kids Camp

Yesterday I had the privilege to help with camp registration for our local Royal Family Kids Camp program. I was not able to get it off of work to be able to be a camp counselor. This was something that both my husband and I struggled with because our hearts really go out to these kids. For those of you who do not know, RFKC is camp for foster kids. It is their one-week event of the year to get away from their hard lives and be shown how valuable they are. They get to enjoy what it is like to be a family as well as know just how much they are loved.

During registration I was given the role of helping hang out with the kids before the bus arrived to send them away to their secret camp destination. The two hours that I had did not seem long enough to shower them with all the love that I felt that they deserved or needed. But I knew that it only takes a second to plant a seed of love in someone’s heart and God can grow it into a beautiful cherry blossom tree!

Many of the girls were my shadows. Some of them knew me from the Church program and felt safe to tag along with me. Others seemed to just know that I was there to love and protect them for that time. It was encouraging to see how they responded to me. It brought me hope, amidst the heartbreaking things I saw in their eyes, when some of them began pouring out their hearts about how they felt about what was going on in their lives.

I still see their faces. Many of them revealing innocence stolen, shattered dreams, hope lost, and in place of love, fear like a big blackberry bush, which has taken over their ability to trust and live in freedom. I recall one whose eyes revealed such despair that it seemed as if someone had been feasting on her soul, stealing away all that God had made so beautiful and good.

My dreams for these kids are: that they would live in safe homes and have full stomachs of good food everyday. The broken parts of their hearts and lives would be mended through the years. Freedom instead of bondage; Love instead of hatred, bitterness, or rage... Oh that perfect love would come into their lives and cast out fear! Joy instead of shame; Peace instead of fear; Light instead of darkness; Truth instead of lies; Forgiveness instead of revenge; that they would come to see how amazing, how beautiful they are! My dream is that their broken lives would be made whole and instead of seeing themselves through the eyes of those who have abused and abandoned them, that they would see themselves through the eyes of God. They are his most favorites! I say this as a prayer and I know that this is a piece of the heart of God for each child.

My heart aches for what has been done to them! I have the hope that the seeds of love from RFKC will harvest a beautiful cherry blossom tree in full bloom to be able to destroy the blackberry bushes that are trying to take over their hearts today. Please pray for the abused, the neglected, and the stolen ones today so that they may find themselves in the arms of Love and be restored. Write a love letter upon their heart. Plant a cherry blossom tree that will bloom love, joy, forgiveness, peace, and freedom!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dream Big: Stop Child Trafficking Now

One of my passions is to help the abused and neglected. Most recently I have been looking for opportunities to help organizations that are in the fight against sex trafficking. Stop Child Trafficking Now is a non-profit organization. They "target the source of child trafficking-- predators who supply the sex industry everywhere in the world, including in your local community." They hold 5k's to help raise funds to fulfill this vision. I am currently trying to decide whether I will walk/run this 5k or be a part of the volunteer staff for this event. Either way I will be creating awareness for this worldwide issue. It seems like something so little in the vast sea of sex trafficking victims, johns, and pimps. But one small seed, such as a 5k fundraiser, can produce a HUGE forest of hope, safety, and love and provide restoration for sex trafficking victims.

It is an issue that many do not want to face. It is an issue that will sadden your heart. You will see through the eyes of sex trafficking victims the depth of darkness and bondage that was forced upon them. Hope was taken; love was stolen; their names re-written; their voices silenced; innocence and purity ripped from their hearts. Instead of a normal life, maybe even a beautiful dream, they live and have lived in a nightmare. And who will help them?

You. Me. Friends. Family. We all can do our part in some small way or for those who desire to pursue this more, your impact can save many lives! I am not writing this to promote or sell anything. I am merely pointing out one way that we can help sex trafficking victims. There is hope. And we can choose to love by helping in whatever way we feel led to, even if it is staying on top of the current issues and not ignoring them.

On the Stop Child Trafficking Now website they give information about their vision, purpose, objective, partners and how you can help. I was drawn to many things on this site and will get involved. One tab on their site I encourage you to look at is the Red With Love tab. Go to the site and at least watch the "Red With Love" video. The message is clear. Each of us can help in the fight against sex trafficking.

Dream Big! Your impact is great! Lets go fight for these children, teens, and adults. Lets take back their life and give them new hopes, new dreams; let us help them find their voice again, and restore what was stolen and ripped from their very heart. A new beautiful life of love instead of a nightmare is my dream for them. It is God's dream for them. How will you be used to write a love letter in someone's life today? You may be their only hope. Dream Big. Save a life. Write a love letter. Grow a Cherry Blossom Tree blooming with fulfilled dreams.

We are their hope. Stop Sex Trafficking Now!

Just click on my Title- Dream Big: Stop Child Trafficking Now and you will be taken to: