Page 1 -- South Africa - May 4, 2011 (visiting a township school)
Even writing these words seem unbelievable. Today was our first full day here.
From a distance the children here appear to be like the children I see at home, dressed in their school uniforms scurrying between classes. But as I come closer, as I step toward them and only slightly deeper into their world I begin to see the evidence of their hard lives. A scarred face, a deformed hand, the blind eye that wanders. Some of their eyes are dulled by what they have seen. The hearts ache because of what they have endured.
Many of them have watched AIDS steal the breath of their mother, their father, their sister, their brother, their friends. They've watched this dreadful disease take from their communities and families. They've buried their loved ones, forced to grow up too quickly.
Many of the girls have been raped or sexually assaulted. Many of these children are HIV positive. And although they are only children themselves, they now have the responsibility of raising their younger siblings in a often chaotic and uncertain world.
Yet, I see deep within some of their eyes glimmers of HOPE. They have heard the message of Loving South Africa through the care and provision of LSA's partner organizations. These words echo in their minds "You have inherent value and potential". They are reminded and shown this life giving truth -- through education, through training, through accessible health care, through music, through sports, through hugs, through listening, through encouragement and challenging them to more...
I heard it every place we went...don't forget who you belong to and what you have to offer our world.
I saw HOPE in their eyes and souls.
Noblesville, Indiana - November 17, 2012 (sitting in my kitchen)
I've missed writing and journaling. (confession my last entry was October 3). These times help me process, pray, remember, HOPE and live.
The ink on the next several pages allow me to pour out what I've been holding tightly... It is as as I write, I am releasing the burden I've been carrying alone to God and He graciously receives it. I end the pages of my journal with these words.... A fitting end to this particular journal!
In the midst of these challenging and difficult days watching my mother's health continue to decline, I journal and pray asking God for a miracle allowing us to not only survive but to love each other well. I pray for eyes to see and ears to hear -- I pray for HOPE to well up inside us. Help us remember who we belong to and that we each have something to offer our world.
So you see, without these pages I would lose track of my journey with God. I would lose track of where we've been and potentially miss where God is now.
Journaling for me is not an optional spiritual discipline; it is a necessity. Writing helps me process, pray, remember and HOPE!
What spiritual discipline is a necessity for you? Soon I'll be off to find a new journal the pages of this one are filled.