A Prayer for a Broken Nation

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My second alarm pulls me out of bed at 6:39 and I stumble to the bathroom still heavy with sleep. Email notifications come tumbling in and another screaming headline falls heavy in my chest.

More dead and injured in these racial wars and haven’t we had enough??

Yet another round of bullets tear through skin and hearts and the seams of this nation.

What has happened to you, America? When did you become a land of fear and hate instead of the freedom you sing of?

How can we “keep calm and carry on” when people are fighting each other, as if people are the enemy?

We have pushed God out of the picture and failed to see the spiritual war waging around us. Faces buried in technology and hearts bound with busyness and striving, our souls are starving for love and acceptance. Our words have become weapons, putting down and wounding the very people God has created and called beautiful.

It’s all part of Satan’s cunning plan – his plan to break the heart of God by hurting the ones He loves – blinding humanity so they fight each other instead of coming together against him, the true enemy of our souls.

I see a video of flashing lights and gunshots and motionless bodies and the tears stream down these pale cheeks. I’m not proud to be an American today.

Yet my heart is grieved for this country of mine and what am I doing about it?

I’ve often quipped, “Oh, I’m just not into politics…” and carried on with my head in the sand but is this right?

Conviction cuts deep.

Father, I ask that You would shake our sleepy bones from their graves of complacency. Break our hearts for the state of this world and this nation. Awaken us to be the people You have called us to be. Give us the faith to stand on Your Word and the courage to speak up and speak out for Truth.

“The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities,
take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks
and foreigners to work your fields,
But you’ll have the title “Priests of God,”
honored as ministers of our God.
You’ll feast on the bounty of nations,
you’ll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
and your joy go on forever.”

(Isaiah 61:1-7 MSG)

Family of God, this is our anointing too. We are the prophets, the messengers of God in this age.

I implore you to search your own heart. Get on your knees before God. Let Him break your heart for the things that break His. Allow Him to humble you, and to raise you up again by His grace to be the hope that this would so desperately needs.

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If ever there was a time that Daniel’s prayer rang true, it is now:

“I turned to the Master God, asking for an answer—praying earnestly, fasting from meals, wearing rough penitential burlap, and kneeling in the ashes. I poured out my heart, baring my soul to God, my God:

‘O Master, great and august God. You never waver in your covenant commitment, never give up on those who love you and do what you say. Yet we have sinned in every way imaginable. We’ve done evil things, rebelled, dodged and taken detours around your clearly marked paths. We’ve turned a deaf ear to your servants the prophets, who preached your Word to our kings and leaders, our parents, and all the people in the land. You have done everything right, Master, but all we have to show for our lives is guilt and shame, the whole lot of us—people of Judah, citizens of Jerusalem, Israel at home and Israel in exile in all the places we’ve been banished to because of our betrayal of you. Oh yes, God, we’ve been exposed in our shame, all of us—our kings, leaders, parents—before the whole world. And deservedly so, because of our sin. ‘Compassion is our only hope, the compassion of you, the Master, our God, since in our rebellion we’ve forfeited our rights. We paid no attention to you when you told us how to live, the clear teaching that came through your servants the prophets. All of us in Israel ignored what you said. We defied your instructions and did what we pleased. And now we’re paying for it: The solemn curse written out plainly in the revelation to God’s servant Moses is now doing its work among us, the wages of our sin against you. You did to us and our rulers what you said you would do: You brought this catastrophic disaster on us, the worst disaster on record—and in Jerusalem!

‘Just as written in God’s revelation to Moses, the catastrophe was total. Nothing was held back. We kept at our sinning, never giving you a second thought, oblivious to your clear warning, and so you had no choice but to let the disaster loose on us in full force. You, our God, had a perfect right to do this since we persistently and defiantly ignored you.

‘Master, you are our God, for you delivered your people from the land of Egypt in a show of power—people are still talking about it! We confess that we have sinned, that we have lived bad lives. Following the lines of what you have always done in setting things right, setting people right, please stop being so angry with Jerusalem, your very own city, your holy mountain. We know it’s our fault that this has happened, all because of our sins and our parents’ sins, and now we’re an embarrassment to everyone around us. We’re a blot on the neighborhood. So listen, God, to this determined prayer of your servant. Have mercy on your ruined Sanctuary. Act out of who you are, not out of what we are.

‘Turn your ears our way, God, and listen. Open your eyes and take a long look at our ruined city, this city named after you. We know that we don’t deserve a hearing from you. Our appeal is to your compassion. This prayer is our last and only hope:

‘Master, listen to us!
Master, forgive us!
Master, look at us and do something!
Master, don’t put us off!
Your city and your people are named after you:
You have a stake in us!’”

(Daniel 9:3-19 MSG)

 

 

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A Prayer for a Broken Nation

Home. Happiness. Here.

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Home is waking tucked between pillows to the light leaking through rain-glazed windows.
Happiness is opening worn pages to favorite passages and finding strength in familiar truth.
Home is omlettes and homemade biscuits and apple butter with the roomie.
Happiness is growing into a language you hope to one day call your own.
Home is the endless stream of motorbikes weaving around your car on the bypass. It’s street food carts and little warungs and rice with every meal.
Happiness is little cafes and dark coffee and rainy afternoons. It’s acoustic ballads in the headphones and doing work you’re passionate about.
Home is the presence of a heart you trust. One that whispers, cease your striving and just be. I take you as you are.
Happiness is knowing that before all your doing, you are already enough.
Home is a meal shared with family from all over the globe because there’s nothing like food and Jesus to bring people together. It’s probing conversation and honesty.
Happiness is here and now and this.


*the other day, a writer friend of mine asked me what home and happiness meant in the context of that day. this piece was the result. thanks josh!
Home. Happiness. Here.

Indonesia Has My Heart

IMG_7610September comes and I hit the ground running.

Day one brings school ministries and lunch meetings and new faces.

IMG_8190Everyday new faces. And trying to remember all the names when most of them are Asian and unusual…I’m getting there.

Day three brings community and new-found family and I knew that very first gathering that I was all in. Happy tears. Grateful tears.

IMG_7623Suddenly I could see how everything had been leading up to this. Because all of my hobbies fall into place here and all of my skills and experience are being called on and this, this is where God has been working to bring me all this time.

It all made sense now.

Suddenly my planner is full and everyday holds new adventures and good food and genuine friendships.

IMG_8807[1]Suddenly meetings are my favorite because when great minds and big hearts get together to dream and plan, amazing things start working themselves out.

I’ve never encountered a community so passionate and creative and infectious.

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These people are changing Bali. And it won’t be long before the ripples start reaching other shores. I have no doubt.

Because here the dreams are big and the faith is bigger and impossible situations are simply opportunities for God to step in.

Indonesia has captured my heart.    IMG_7954

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Indonesia Has My Heart

Home Across the Pacific (Thailand pictures)

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Bangkok skyline

It was incredible coming back five years later to the country that had such an impact on me growing up.

I was raised to have a curious mind, to explore the beauty of language, to love cultures different than my own.

It was in this city that I found Jesus as my best friend, where I learned that family is one of the most important things you can have, where I became convinced that Thai food is undeniably the tastiest food on the planet.

I knew such a huge part of me was wrapped up in this land of traffic thicker than the humidity and blatant stares and friendlier smiles. I remember days when all I wanted was to leave. But you can never run from who you are. Missions runs through my veins and I knew I’d come back. I’d always come back.

This time it felt strangely like…home.

Home is one of those words I always stumbled over.

What is home?

I had moved so many times early in my life and I rebelled mentally about settling in the unexotic Midwest. And it wasn’t until I’d been back to Thailand twice, Kenya, Costa Rica, and finally Greece to realize that this little Midwest city that could hardly be called a city wasn’t such a bad place to come back to.

I fell in love with the smallness, the simplicity, the coffee shops, the culture. Even after my two closest friends moved several states away, I was content.

And for the first time I knew how it felt to be planted – my roots grew a little deeper. Suddenly I realized I had two beautiful places to call mine.

Friends come and go and home isn’t always where all the friends are. My people span too many continents for that.

All at once I realized that home was less about my surroundings and more about my heart. It was about the coffee shop I visited two afternoons a week, where the Americanos are strong and the baristas know my name. It was about my favorite streets and downtown memories and old houses full of character and charm and stories to tell. It was about the library brimming with the worlds and adventures that filled my childhood summers. It was about family and shady trails and quiet creeks.

It was when I became content to call my little Midwest “home” that Bangkok suddenly felt like home as well.

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Now I’m packing my suitcases and moving back to Southeast Asia, though a new part for me – a little smaller, a little more beachy, a little less familiar.

I’m less sure than ever about what the future holds and far more excited than I ever hoped to be.

New country, new people, new adventures to be had and memories to be made.

I am so looking forward to adding Indonesia to the places I call home.

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Home Across the Pacific (Thailand pictures)

Coming Home

lizzy

I spent my Thanksgiving holiday on ski slopes and in Winter Park, Colorado with some of my favorite people. It’s a tradition of ours, to escape to the mountains once a year. For those of us whose family spans the globe, we are each others’ family.

Here come the lonely and misunderstood, the chameleon-like. Few have one place to call home, one culture to claim as their own. This is our diversity and our common ground — the pangs of cross-cultural living.

As for me, my heart has leaked trails through those mountains and across African plains, through Thai villages and Latin American cities. I’ve bled wonder in ancient Grecian ruins and spilled love into eyes when language failed us, where small brown hands cupped my face and whispered beautiful in foreign tongue.

My heart will never feel whole on this earth. Home is a strange concept to me, only an innuendo in the company of those I love dearly.

Yet I no longer revolt at returning to this Mid-west city where my family has settled for over a decade. Where the cafes and farmers markets have become a part of me and familiar smiles slip my coffee across the counter. Where church is somewhere I feel alive and there will always be a soul to sing with, a song to dance to.

Friends have come and gone and perhaps this will always be a place of passing through, but for now my roots sink a little deeper here.

For once, I don’t mind.

Coming Home