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. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Grace, n.


Will your grace run out
If I let you down
 ‘Cause all I know
Is how to run
‘Cause I am a sinner
 If its not one thing its another
Caught up in words 
Tangled in lies 
You are the Savior 
And you take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful 
Beautiful 
Will you call me child
When I tell you lies 
Cause all I know Is how to cry 
I am a sinner 
If its not one thing its another 
Caught up in words 
Tangled in lies 
You are the Savior 
And you take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful 
Beautiful 
You make it beautiful

Brokenness Aside - All Sons and Daughters (lyrics)

* * *

The words to this song struck me as I was walking the other morning. I had just had a conversation about works, discipline, grace and the LAW with our Christmas company. 

How foolish we are to think we can work hard enough and be good enough to live in real grace. 
Oh, I think we believe we can, but it is always the grace of our own doing and there are strings attached when we get out of line. 
We can live in Grace, but the grace we are made for is a gift. 
Because we are uncomfortable with this gift we live like Martha, doing every thing we can think of to be good enough.
Finding our worth in "busy" not being.
Never can we see it.
That is until we can no longer manage and come to the end of ourselves. It is never pretty and some don't recover, some say things to Jesus like, yeah, if you want me, you can come and find me. I am done!
And, He does come.
He comes with the Grace that is free, just like Paul talks about in the book of Romans. 
I am pretty sure getting knocked off your donkey, not being able to see and changing your name is the equal of coming to the end of yourself. So, I am taking Paul at his word about this Jesus and the gift of grace.  
Paul gets it and he helped me see.
Seeing was painful, knowing just how foolish I had been. 
I can't keep every single law, I needed a Savior. 
I should just let Jesus do what He does best. 
I will believe that it is greater to live in Grace and be loved knowing He loves me, created me and has everything good for me.

Brokenness aside, He makes it beautiful!     

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Black Baby Doll


I got a phone call from Alyssa last week, she found a picture of me that she said I really needed to see. We are in Colorado right now, she is in Atlanta, so she said she would scan it and send it to me. While we talked she said, you know that doll you always talked about? Did she have a knitted dress on? She did.

I hit download and when the picture finally opened I was happy to see her, she was exactly as I remembered her. For some reason I didn't remember my mom having a picture of me with this doll. I loved seeing it and thinking about how my life has turned out. 

It seems so long ago, yet I remember it so clearly. 
Some of it is really painful, but I believe that the Lord took every detail and has used it for good. It is important to know some, no, most of the details didn't fit into place for a very long time. I was in my thirties before I remembered the love I had for a certain black baby doll and could see just how important she was then to my life then and now.

I grew up with a single mom until I was eight years old and she remarried. We lived in the projects near the University of Minnesota where my mom was attempting to go to school. 
She was dealing with heart breaking things that often left her unable to care for us. During this time we lived on welfare and I remember being alone a good bit. My brother and I would often been separated from my mom because she couldn't care for us.

It was soon to be Christmas, but we had no tree or gifts in our living room. I remember my brother and I sitting in the living room watching television. It was most likely the "Brady Bunch". If my mom would have been in the room it would have been the "Tom Jones" show.
(Her outfit should be a dead give away that she LOVED Tom Jones.)

There was a knock at the front door.
I remember opening the door, it was dark and cold outside with snow blowing like crazy. I could see down to the street as I looked at the man standing in front of me, a flat bed trailer like you use for a hay ride was waiting for him at the street along with a group from the Salvation Army.
I don't remember what he said to me and I don't remember if my brother got a present. I am sure he did, but as I look at the picture I don't see anything. 
This, is the only present I remember getting that year.
The only other thing I remember is my Uncle Bill coming with a Christmas tree for us.

I don't know if someone called the Salvation Army and told them about me and my brother, but I do know that I loved that doll.
I remember her dress was hand-made to fit her body perfectly. 
I loved it.
I loved her.

Looking back, someone took the time to make her a new dress so that I would have a baby doll with a pretty dress, very important when you are five.

I often say, I feel like it was a seed God planted in my life when I was so young to help prepare me for my life now.
I have told this story many times to my friends, in our newsletter and even to the Salvation Army folks who live and work in Haiti about how God can use a simple act of random kindness to prepare us for greater things to come in our lives.

I now live in a nation full of beautiful black babies. A handful of them come with their mothers to our program on a daily basis. 
I think about their lives and how different they can be because of random acts of kindness by others who care for them at a distance never meeting them.  Just like the man who took the time to deliver my black baby doll, or the woman who took the time so many years ago to make the beautiful home-made dress.

At face value, in today's world, this was not the politically correct gift. I am sure this is why the Lord says so often that we should be child like in our faith. I also think we should be mindful of how powerful random acts of kindness can be and never dismiss what the Lord can do in the heart of a child. 
A child who may be hurting, who needs to be seen and remembered.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Truth Process



“Truth demands progress and change, and is always for the benefit of all souls—even if you must travel through a difficult learning process or make a shift as a result of facing the truth.”

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Boy, The Label and The Game



The Boy, The Label, The Game


I didn't see it coming, the hit, the runs, the lessons. 
None of this is really about baseball, it is about me and you, a boy, his label and the beautiful thing that happened. 
It is about the things we try to control, the things in the margins, the curve balls life throws at us.

His label makes us uncomfortable because he lives without a filter. At times he can be like a pressure cooker, when he reaches capacity his mouth bursts with words. 
Words that boys shouldn't say, often inappropriate. 

It is this sudden, unfiltered, raw part that makes me just nervous enough that I can almost talk myself out of going to the games. But this game, it isn't about me, it is about being the one who cheers on the side lines for another boy, my boy. 

Me, the mom, I watch the boys father sit on the sidelines when he can be at the game. The bleachers are not really his seat, they are just the place he paces from while talking to himself because he can't stand it any longer. He begins to walk back and forth wringing his hands processing every single move the boy, his son, with the label makes. He gives direction, correction, he pleads and gives unwanted advise to every move the boy makes while he plays the game. 

I am only sitting on the outside, on the inside I am holding my breath, pacing and pleading with the father of the boy with the label who plays the game. 
Dear God, please. Please let this inning, this game be over. 

And then, in my selfishness, out of the margins it lands in my stomach, this is how he must live every single day with the boy and his label in the game we play called life. 
There is now a war going on in my head and my heart while my stomach flips and flops like a fish out of water.  

Resisting the urge to leave, my mind drifts back to the conversations had during the draft process at the beginning of the season. There was much talk between the coaches about the boy with the label. I could feel that feeling again, you know the one you got standing on the play ground in elementary school while someone yelled, Red Rover, Red Rover". Your heart raced, please pick me, don't let me be last. Only now, I knew perfectly well the boy would be last, he was always last.   

In this game that young boys play with their dads as coaches, or even in the game of life for that matter, we tend not to like the unpredictable things, but being put in a box tends to backfire as well. We hate to be controlled just as much as we hate being out of control. 

This isn't different at our house, the only thing that is different is the fact that the coach lives at our house not just my boy who plays the game. 

The coach would have to make a choice from the beginning, draft day. What to do with the boy, his label and the fact that he was part of his team. It was decided that he would play just like anyone on the team. The coach would have to help the father, who is a single parent, get the boy to the games. This game was one of those games, only this time if the boy with the label didn't come to the game they would forfeit. This "F" word or the other one for that matter are not in the coaches vocabulary. He would make sure the boy would play.

The day was beautiful, my work papers laid out in front of me on the picnic table would serve as the distraction from the fish flopping on the dock of my stomach. The game, it was a good one. So close, back and forth with the hits, advances and runs. 
We wanted a win and so did they. 

The pressure was thick, we needed a hit to move forward. It was the boys turn at bat. He is chubby, his stiffness makes him awkward, yet you can see something child like and tender. 
His label protects and discriminates all at the same time making it impossible at any given moment to know if the boy will bat or if his label will bat. His eyes and attention are on the coach, who stands just off the first base line hoping to avoid a trip into the margin where distraction can cause the pressure cooker to explode. The label seems to find success in the margins leaving everyone, including his father, the coach and the cheerleaders on the sideline feeling more like Jonah trying to find his way out of the fish that once only flopped on the deck of our stomachs. 

The coach repeats again and again, look at me, look at me until his focus is clear and the goal in sight. He would swing and miss, with no filter, telling the pitcher loudly just what he thought. Blue, the Ump, was at a loss for words now saying something about the inappropriate confrontation when suddenly the boy yelled back silencing Blue who is now off his game. 

The pitch. 

BAM! 

He connected, it was out of there, he was running. 
The tears poured out from behind my sunglasses. The whale spit us all free and we leaped to our feet, cheering for the boy. An error was made at first and off he went to second. Awkwardly running, pushing past all the things the label defined his life to be. 

Suddenly, like reaching in a pocket only to find a surprise, he was just a boy. The boy who saved the game, renewing our hope in the underdog, suddenly he was every one's boy.

We are fearful at best. 
I am sure it isn't of what he is, but what we are not.  

There are lessons to be learned from the boy, his label and the game. He tries harder, he yells when he can't take it anymore, says what he thinks no matter what, he wants to be a part of the team, he cries easily, he will charge the mound with anger, he deeply cares if he plays well.

A beautiful thing happened because of the boy with the label.   





Sunday, September 1, 2013

Lessons in Real


Lessons in Real...



"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. 
"It's a thing that happens to you.  
When a child love you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt? asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.
"When you are Real, you don't mind being hurt."
Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse.
"You become. It takes a long time. 
That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. 
Generally, the the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joint and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

- The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Bagamoyo


Bagamoyo, has been rolling around in my head for weeks now.

It, the idea of it, the place, it made me physically sick. Well, the history did, the collections gathered from history. It all made my head spin.

How? Why are there places like this place on the planet? Then or now for that matter?

I asked the tour guide,"who comes up with this stuff?" He didn't answer me.

Robbin Island, Mandela's cell, it made me sick too.

The day before this trip I assured myself and I would be just fine.

I wasn't. I had to excuse myself before I hurled.

It was official I cried at both.

The chains, pictures of men bound at the neck walking for months. Not days or weeks, but months. They would carry another man's greed across Africa.

Final destination, Bagamoyo.

Chained to a post on the sea shore to wait for the ship. The ship that would take you to Zanzibar. From there you didn't know where you would spend your life, but no one ever came back to this place. If, if you made it to the beach at Bagamoyo you would join the others who would "lay down their hearts". 


Bagamoyo, in Swahili, it means, lay down your heart.

"Humans as Merchandise" was the title of the book I purchased before I bolted out of the museum to catch my breath. Outside, as I waited for the others to finish the tour, I watched children play at the near by school. All I could think was...humans are cruel


I have seen this kind of thing in some way shape or form in every country I have been in. It is the thing I don't like about seeing the world. The ways people are hurt, betrayed, sold and used.

But this time I think it was the meaning of the name and the way it happened. People making a choice to lay down their hearts, on purpose. Life, their life, was no longer theirs to live.

Today the chaining posts still stand as a painful reminder next to the fish market at the seashore. They are rusted from the sea air and years gone by, truthfully, you almost don't notice them in this place masked in tourism, artisans and hotels.  That is, unless you are just curious enough to ask, "what are all the random pillars are for?" Pictures of the men in chains flash rapidly through your mind unsettling your stomach again.


There are also two churches in Bagamoyo standing not so far from the museum. The white one and the smaller of the two, is the place Livingstone, yes, the Livingstone was laid in waiting for the ship that would take his body to it's final resting place. He too, laid down his heart but for a very different reason. It was for a people that didn't seem to understand what he was saying, yet they walked for months carrying his body out respect so he could go home. It all seemed so ironic on this place, the walking, the respect, going home, free will and slavery.

It had been several days since our trip and I hadn't even began to unpack the different lessons I learned, this place where humans had become merchandise and laid down their hearts. Now I was wondering if we have really changed all that much. 

Slaves, chains - bound physically and emotionally, a battle over hearts, freedom and free will. It all seemed like the very same battle being fought since the garden.


We want our freedom, yet often the very things we choose end up leaving us tied to a post at the shore of only god knows what, waiting for a ship to take us out of what we hate, only to leave us all in the place of laying down our hearts because our lives are not our own. Never knowing that a man, not a doctor, a Saviour, came and laid down His life for us even though we just didn't get it, he was bringing us a freedom that spoke of things eternal, but we wanted it all our way and now. He didn't wait around until we figured it out and we finally got it, he just knew that it was going to be the one thing that set us free so He did it with all His heart. A handful get it, love him and make the journey. Others make the journey, they just do it as slaves never knowing love or freedom.

The miracle, He can mend a heart that has been laid down never believing it would know love again, never healed or restored.





Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Skinny Silent Haitian Boy By Madisen Lynch




When you stare in the Haitian’s deep brown warm eyes, it’s like a winter day, but you’re inside by a
warm fire reading a good book. 

Actually, you’re in the streets of Haiti where it smells and there is garbage everywhere and it’s hot everyday.

 Haitians stare at me forever, though the car window but than your cars starts moving. 

With hands out the Haitian children leaned against our window to see into a locked car with a sad face.

“Mom, can I give this little boy some money?” I asked my mother.

“No, you can’t!”  She replied to me.

“Why not?” I whined.                                                                                                      

Because if they see you ever again they will ask you for money every single time.

Haitian money is eight to one to American money or only a few cents per dollar.

“Fine” I mumbled to myself.  

We finally started moving and he was still standing there with that same sad look on his face.

 It is hard for many children to grow up in a third world country.

 In Haiti many children beg for money on the streets.

My parents are missionaries and we lived in Haiti and have just come back to the U.S.

We are lucky, as Americans when we get something like food.   

You eat some of it and then you throw it away.

People in Haiti would love that food in their tummies.

So feel lucky for what you have.

I can’t stop remembering that boy’s face.

 It’s like a sticker on my brain.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

He filled the hole in my heart! - Guest Post



The dark hole smelled of death, it was silent and sour.

It was the culmination, the final resting place of universal shame, a holding tank for failure.

For three days it was spoken of with disgust and despair
 by those whose hopes had been pulverized by a betrayal of trust.

For others who celebrated the death of the man laid to rest in the death cave, 
it was a proper memorial sight to the fraud. 

The clown.

Still for others who loved Him deeply it was a sacred place, 
for it was the bedchamber of their Lord and friend.

The unbelievers didn't know, that after three days there was a stirring.

The dead man opened His eyes and grinned.

He was alive, just as he knew he would be. 

His promise, he would keep.

He was giddy with joy as he stood up to leave the cave that could not hold him.

Jesus laughed out loud. 

I am the Resurrection, he said aloud.

The cave trembled at the sound of his voice. 

Heaven filled the hole.

The hole was now holy.

Jesus is alive! 

He filled the hole in my heart too!

Love...E

(This has been a guest post by Eileen Lynch)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Philemon



His eyes glanced upward catching mine. 
He would look just long enough, wondering, but not necessarily caring if I would scold him for playing, playing in the middle of the church service.  
Honestly, I was thankful for the distraction. 
 I have lost just enough of my religious thinking to think that this was anything more than a show. 
I hoped it wasn't for my benefit because I wasn't impressed.
My salvation is no longer found in “longer is better”.
As in many places not knowing the language makes it harder.
There is frustration in that.
Along with wanting to see the harvest, rather than trusting in the planting process.

I had already glanced over my notes for my evening message.
 I was now reading the words of Paul in Philemon.
The words in this tiny book get me every time.

“I am sending him, who is my very heart, back to you". 

I closed my eyes holding those words in my heart.
I wanted them to write themselves on my heart so I wouldn't forget this kind of love.
I glanced back at the playing boy. 
I watched him take the loose paper that had fallen from the curled pages of his paperback bible we had purchased a year ago. 
He was neatly folding the paper into three perfect paper frogs. 
Frogs that could jump if he tapped them just so with the tip of his finger.
Three dancing frogs. 
I had to smile.
My legs jumped from sitting too long, the heat made me sleepy, but I dare not sleep with half of the congregation watching my every move.
 I was the visitor, a.k.a the blond girl who can't get her clothing right to save her soul with  tattoo's on her feet now being forced to sit on stage, something I hate.
Sometimes I sit on the floor with the congregations just to prove a point.
It messes with things so I do it on purpose.

Soon the boy would take a string from the fray at the bottom of his blue jeans and tie it around a real live large beetle bug. 
Yes, the kind that make you jump when found in your room, your shower or your bed.
This beetle bug dared to walk right into the middle of the dancing frogs.
I was loving this mini circus. 
A show in a show thought my crancky self.   
He took the string, gently tied it around the beetle bug making him work like the big white bulls with the pink powder pulling the sugar cane carts on the street.
The beetle bug was pulling one of the dancing frogs.
His face beemed, mine too.  
The boy no longer glanced my way, I no longer counted the minutes until the show would be finished. 
Not the circus of dancing frog, the one in the pulpit.
There was no longer a language barrier, I understood just fine.
Finally it was over, children dismissed and I would pray for those who needed prayer. 
The magic word "Amen" was uttered and without a nudge he was gone.
The dancing frogs, the distraction, seemed to have no value.
They didn't leave with him. 
I glanced down where the circus had been performing, he had left them just as easily as he had made them. 
I considered taking them and saving them but thought it not very spiritual to disrupt the other show taking place.

As I stood praying for them, asking Jesus to come touch them, be real to them, heal them, bring work for them, give them hope, I was thinking about Paul, Philemon, the boy, the beetle bug and dancing circus frogs.

“I am sending him who is my very heart back to you".

 The tables now turned, my words had no meaning, they didn't speak English.
Ironically, maybe I was the show?
In my heart I was there to be His hands and feet. 
Please, Jesus you will have to do the rest.
I prayed there would be no barrier, that His heart, my actions would speak in place of language.
Lord, let my words be like dancing frogs and beetle bugs, let them connect.
Let this not be a show.
Lord, let me send your heart back to them.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How It All Started


“It was a trip of firsts, so many wonderful firsts. The smell of strong black coffee brewing in a sock, sweet with sugar swirling around in a tin cup. Women who swept the red dirt making it clean, the first time I saw fabric hanging in the place of an absent door blowing in the wind.  The first time I knew poverty wasn’t just about being poor, the first time I saw people walk all night through the mountains for medical care, care that might only be worm meds, antacids and something for the pounding in their head from hunger and dehydration. The first time I saw how so little can do so very much, the first time I saw people fight for a bowl of rice and beans.  It would be the first time I would leave my heart in a place I didn’t understand. 

When it was over, there would be one less child in this world who died in our care, life had some how gotten bigger and smaller at the same time, black and white pat answers turned gray and my circle of friends got smaller.  Not intentionally, not instantly, stuff changed, what was important changed.
No, I changed.”

And that is how it all started...


One short-term mission trip to Haiti and I was on a mission to do something about what I had seen.  I wasn’t one of those people who come home, sell everything and get on a plane the next week.  It took several years for me to figure out what would work. I hated the idea of a feeding program or orphanage; they only seemed like a bandage being applied to a hemorrhage. I was looking for long-term solutions.  

All of that fell into place when we met the missionary woman in the mini skirt and the hippie who should have been driving a VW van. My idea of shipping over one treadle sewing machine at a time to them quickly turned into over forty being donated to us. Next there was a meeting with the hippie and his wife, lots of prayer, a few tears and finally after seven years of trips we would make Haiti our home. Not with the idea of a business mind you, it was just going to be a sewing program teaching a hand full of ladies a trade to find a jobs with the intention of creating ways for them to keep their children fed, in school and with a place to live.

It all seemed logical that women needed to be empowered. They didn’t need pity they needed jobs, jobs and the courage to believe for a better life. Well, as the saying goes in Haiti, it is mountain after mountain. We had our first graduation and ladies with no place to work. Our sewing school would now grow in to what is Haitian Creations.

All these years later, I am still driven by the boy who died on the boat, the ladies who had the courage to change and this one thing the hippie said to me. He said, “What if you are the one the Lord has called to push through and you don’t do it?”