Living The Life That God Has For Us....

God's Plumbline Ministries is called to repair devastation in the lives of God's people allowing restoration both physically and spiritually. Providing creative solutions for employment, education and life skills allowing God to repair and restore hope.  Empowering each community to establish a secure foundation both inside and out, while keeping in tact God given talents and uniqueness, not focusing on man's ways but God's ways.  Developing working relationships within social and economic circles, working hand in hand with community leaders to bring the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Color Runs - More Thoughts on India

Huge loads of freshly cut sugar cane fill the side of the road. 
Some are being pulled by white Brahma bulls.
It is harvest season in India.
It is really a sight to see, these pink bulls feel like royalty walking around. 
The proud owners take them to the temple, sprinkle them with pink powdered dye making them holy, holding great value and honor.  
A headband made with fresh flowers make a ring on their forehead.
We throw this same powder in marathons and call them "color runs".
I wondered what other things we do not knowing it is part of Hindu culture.
My desire to capture these pink bulls in a photograph was met with humor that I was unaware of until the day we walked in the villages where I would learn to make kalamkari fabric. 
One of the pastors stopped in front of a fly infested hut filled with black bulls and said,
 "do you need a picture".
Funny, very funny! I did bust out laughing with them. 
- - - 
There is a park in the middle of town.  
It is closed during the day, chained and locked up tight.  
In the coolness of the night friends sit with friends, children play and dance in the rainmaker. 
Here you will find a different life, one freed from the oppressive heat of the day and the work it requires.  
There is a lightness in some of the people, others still carry their burden.
Others sit mindlessly watching the movie playing on the giant screen. 
Christians, not daring to look at such sin the Hindu world takes part of.  
As we walk, I am told repeatedly that this is sinful and bad, very bad.
I try to focus on the our conversation. 
I am thinking about Paul and the very things he didn't want to do he did.
It seems to be the perfect word picture. 
Tell everyone it's bad and see if they really won't look.
It seems I had found the garden of Eden – everyone making a choice between good and evil.
- - -
Rows of white taxi’s line the streets, it seems they could be from the time of Casablanca.
There are trucks named “Tata” that have nothing to do with breast cancer awareness.
It is a harvest season now, the trucks look more like Transformers from the movies with tiny faces peaking out from under the over flowing rice straw. 
Filling both sides of the road forcing you to pass on the shoulder, fighting for the leftover space with the field hands, goats, sheep, water buffalo, bikes and auto rickshaws. 
I hear my grandfathers voice playing over and over in my head – 
an inch is as good as a mile, an inch is as good as a mile.
When there is less than an inch, I bust out laughing. 
- - -
Shepard’s still tend their flocks, carrying the tiniest of lambs. 
Patiently they stand, waiting, keeping everyone in line, away from traffic.
Their crossing is priority.
You wait for them to pass.
- - -
Water buffalo seem set the pace for life, meaning themselves and the people. 
Crossing the road at will, never minding where they lay, sitting just in the line of traffic. 
Not to worry everyone will move.  
There is a rhythm to it all. 
Rules not understood by the visitor.
- - -
Tiny children walk about, there is no fear or doubt.
Each in a uniform carrying huge back packs that seem empty. 
It's odd.
They must be full of dreams I think to myself.
Dreams bigger than any life time could hold. 
They seem airy and light.
Or...was it airy and light because they are empty. 
Empty for so many of them as is the reality that lay before them.
I hold my breath and scold myself. 
These thoughts should never be spoken to a child with such hope.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Merry Little Christmas!

We Wish You A Merry Christmas!
Aaron, Parker, Dan, Sheila, Alyssa and Madisen

Galatians 4:4-5
But when the set time had fully come, 
God sent his Son, 
born of a woman, 
born under the law,  
to redeem those under the law, 
that we might receive adoption to sonship.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Under Grace

"Every day I am getting to know people, at any rate their circumstances, 
and sometimes one is able to see through their stories into themselves – 
and at the same time one thing continues to impress me: 
here I meet people as they are, far from the masquerade of the "the Christian world", 
people with passions, criminal types, small people with small aims, small wages and small sins – 
all in all they are people who feel homeless in both senses, 
and who begin to thaw when on speaks to them kindness – real people; 
I can only say that I have gained the impression that it is just these people who are much more under grace than under wrath, and that is the Christian world which is more under wrath than grace."

 – Bonhoeffer, Barcelona

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

No Stick Bills - Thoughts on India

The contrasts here could fill eternity.

I see in pictures, but can’t get my bearing on directions.  I have driven the same roads for two weeks, looking, watching and seeing something new every day.  Everything here seems like a picture I can crop it in my mind finding the odd, the beautiful, the sad - each having a story. 

In big white letters painted free hand on the red building, in both English and Telugu, read “no stick bills”.  
For two days, I thought do they get that much food on their money that they are sticky?  
Finally, I asked Raju what does it mean? Was it about food? 
In his kind smile, holding back laughter he said, no, like sticky paper signs on the wall.  
Of course, "no stick bills"! 

In fields there are pyramids of bricks, built next to houses built by bad wolf just waiting for a huff and a puff. Poverty allows for you to make the bricks just not to buy them for yourself and family.

Water is still carried in pots just like the little girl in Jungle Book catching you off guarding while you search through your memory of the movie looking for clues that may help you understand the magic of this place.

An inch is most defiantly as good as a mile in all things India.  
There are no lines in the road guiding or directing traffic, just a few police officers dressed in khaki with whistles and white gloves at times.
Yet no one seems to be a free thinker in life areas.
It seems, thinking in life matters, should follow same rules for driving.
Keep going, don't second guess yourself.
Oh and one last note; when crossing the street, cross with a water buffalo, they won’t hit them, or you for that matter.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Turkey From Heaven (The Forgotten Thanksgiving Blog)

I can't remember who told me Haitians believe turkeys fall from the sky on Thanksgiving.
Maybe it was one of the sewing ladies.
Without fail I think of it every Thanksgiving.
Millions of eighteen pounders, frozen, free falling to earth.

There are no turkeys' falling from the sky, but on Facebook we take an entire month to post things we are thankful for, we even have books that encourage us to make lists of things we are thankful for. I am not one of those Facebook posting type people. I am not good at lists on paper. Admittedly, I have tons of mental lists.

I got up early on Thursday morning to put the turkey in the oven.
I was determined I was going back to bed.
Try as I may, I was not going back to sleep.
I don't know why I wanted to go back to bed, I love quite mornings.
Getting up, I made coffee, scanned my emails, all of them full of Black Friday deals I should be thankful for.  Next I looked at the countless posts on Facebook with kind greetings for this day, Thanksgiving, one of my most favorite days of the year.
This year we would be hosting dinner at our house.
My parents and children all around the table together.

A gift.

As I scanned all of the "thankful" posts.
My heart stopped when I came across one from some ladies I admire who are working as midwives in Haiti. The post read:
"Prayers needed now. 16 year old Kerline (written about many times) is in trouble. Not finding heart-tones. Bedline is 7cm and close to delivering. Please pray for these women and for us".

My heart was back in that place, back in a place of heaviness.
Heaviness for them, for her.
This was Thanksgiving, wasn't this day scared, a day of family, food, friends and celebration.
It stung, my attitude, my selfishness.

Yet, my day with family was wonderful.
Two days of cooking paid off and as a bonus we got a family picture out of the deal.
Christmas cards would be done on time this year.
I tried to dismiss the weight.
The thoughts of what it costs to live out the things we ask God for.
The passions we feel called to.
I wrestled all day.

When all the company had gone, I tried to send messages to my friends.
I hit delete.
I prayed, knowing that it would be in eternity they see this little one living life.
I was praying they could see the fruit of helping one with greater need, having the grace to embrace living outside of their personal needs.

My sleep was filled with Haiti.
I laid in bed waking up early again.
I was thinking about how many people this morning are laying in bed praying for God to use them.
Never knowing what is on the other side, not counting the cost.
Not because they aren't willing, but have no idea.
I was thinking about God.
He is God even when a sixteen year old girl has to deliver a dead baby on Thanksgiving day.
It wasn't sitting well.
I wanted to argue, I guess I was, I just wasn't saying anything out loud.
I had created another list in my head.
I wondered if she thought about turkeys falling from the sky in a better place.
I thought about my friends, their questions for God.
He was after all God.
I thought about how we rush him to use us.
Now knowing, from being on the other side, this was one of the reasons Paul talked about a man named Abraham, "who against hope believed in hope".
Death is no respecter of holiday, family, personal belief or age.
Or our lists for that matter.

How do you recover from the days filled with things that make you questions your core?
Remembering your children and husband will be needing you soon, so will the women who come the very next day in need without regard or understanding for your questions.
Raw, unable to find your voice, the only thing you can do is cling.
Cling to him.
You question, "can this really be my calling"? You have nothing to give.
There is weeping in the cool of the shower, in the silence.
You will feel needy and not want your children to be too far away.

Everything is different.
How you see life, yourself, God, what you need, what you want - nothing is left untouched.
You can't go back to life without passion, without cost and you know it.
You asked him to use you, to touch those who are hurting.
You and your life remain changed, but you don't know how, not yet.

As I lay there, I remember years of asking, questioning why, when, how?
Use me Lord.
Feeling like the Lord was going over me with a refiners fire bringing everything to the surface.
Preparing me over and over again for the things bigger than me.
Establishing within me things that would require new faith, building character.
Finding Him.
Always needing Him.

This kind of pain can destroy marriage, family, self, hope, trust.
We are never knowing what is just over the starting line.
Things causing us to draw on faith, the substance of things hoped for, not seen - defiantly, not seen.  Not knowing needing something greater than myself would be required just to breathe.

There isn't time.
How do you unpack it, touch it, deal with it.
You can't so you tend to move.
Just moving out of habit, going through the motions, so it would seem.
You do it poorly. Tears and emotions come out side ways know you lost a bit of your heart.
You understand why women stop fighting.
There is yet another mountain, another day and not enough strength for either.

Nothing can prepare you for the day when you find nothing left inside to give.
The only thing that remains, the one unchanging thing that you must know better than you know yourself.

He is God.
He sits on His throne.
Knowing all these things, he took them all on the cross.
Knowing all of this would leave us broken. 
He even holds babies that die on Thanksgiving day.
He said, it is finished for a reason.
He wasn't finished, it was.
All the things we don't have the power to change or understand.
The things that leave us with a chip because we don't have answers and feel the injustice.

In His world, it is manna that falls from heaven giving us what we need each day, not turkey.
In a still small voice where deep calls to deep, we can hear him call.
He knows the journey, he gave us the passion, he intends to use it.
He will wait.
For a few more days crying will come easily, for no reason it seems.
It will take time, the kind of time David talks about when he says, He makes me lay down.
It isn't a surprise that the very next thing he will do is restores my soul.
They that wait on the Lord will renew their strength. 
He will make all things new.

For this, I am thankful.