A prayer for Sex Slaves, written by Scott Sauls

Last night I went to a video screening sponsored by the West Chicagoland Anti-Trafficking Coalition (WCATC). The video was Call + Response, a combination documentary/musical benefit shedding light on the issue of modern-day slavery. I’ve put more information about the film near the bottom of the post, but what I really want to share is the prayer, written by Scott Sauls, that WCATC co-founder Terri Kraus prayed at the close of the event. Please join me in this prayer today.

Lord Jesus, no one knows suffering, oppression, and abuse like you do. As we come together on such a weighty subject as human slavery and trafficking, we pause to remember that you were sold for money by a scoundrel, so that other scoundrels could have their way with you. You were made a slave…pierced, crushed, and punished, even though you had done no wrong. You had your innocence violated as you were led to a dark back alley. You were stripped naked and abused—pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities. You sympathize with human suffering. And in time, you are committed to end it…to renew the world until there is no more death, no more mourning, no more crying, no more pain. In the meantime, Father, you give solidarity to victims, and support to those who protect and defend them. We do not know what we would do if you were not a defender of the weak, a lover of justice, and full of grace and compassion toward those who hurt.

It is because you love justice and are full of compassion that certain things anger you, Father, just like they anger us. You get angry when vulnerable people, created in your image, are threatened, exploited, degraded, and used. The victims in whose honor and for whose protection and rescue we gather today, are most certainly among these people.

We are grieved and sickened by the way that shame, fear, manipulation, exploitation, injustice and abuse destroy the lives and crush the spirits of slaves around the world and also slaves in our own state, towns, and neighborhoods. We are comforted to know that you are sickened too—and that you, Lord, hold the power and the will to change things. You are the King of heaven’s armies. And so, Father, we ask, please…

Put an end to this wicked and ridiculous industry. Bring justice. Crush evil under your feet.

Save those who are trafficked and exploited. Give them a chance to be physically, spiritually, relationally, and emotionally whole.

Protect all children, youth and adults who are the targets of abusers and human traffickers. Oh God, guard their lives and hold their hearts.

For the traffickers, for those who facilitate slavery, and for those who buy their illicit services…would you frustrate their efforts. Bring them down and take them out. Bring them to justice. Change their hearts so they will forsake their ways, we pray.

And for those like ourselves who have the power to help, because it is often through ordinary people that you choose to bring about extraordinary change—faith communities, potential donors of money and wisdom and time—please stir our consciences, enflame our hearts, call us to action. Show us what it means to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with you. Show us what it means to respond compassionately and decisively on behalf of those who need help and rescue. Show us what it means to freely give love away, just as we have ourselves freely received love from Jesus, the One who was exploited and handled and sold to his oppressors for thirty pieces of silver so that we could be saved from everything that’s wrong with us, and also from everything that’s wrong with the world—Jesus, by whose stripes we are healed. It is in his powerful name that we pray. Amen.

I did some research today and found several other prayer guides and devotionals specifically related to justice issues. The links are below:

She is Priceless Devotional

Salvation Army Prayer Guide (really, really good!)

The A21 Campaign prayer guide (also has some action steps and a great list of verses)

72 Daily Prayer Points

 

NOTES ON THE CALL + RESPONSE FILM (PLUS LINKS):

The film featured activists such as Gary Haugen of the International Justice Mission, David Batstone of Not for Sale, Dr. Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves; public figures such as Madeleine Albright, Dr. Cornel West, and Ambassador John Miller; author Nicholas Kristof (Half the Sky); celebrity activists such as Julia Ormond, Ashley Judd, and Daryl Hanna; and musicians Cold War Kids, Switchfoot, Moby, Talib Kweli, Natasha Bedingfield (among many others).

The film is now eight years old, but it is still very relevant. The number of slaves at its making–27 million slaves–is no less today, and the call for an abolitionist movement is needed. There is plenty of commentary on this documentary, so I don’t necessarily want to comment on it, other than to say that if you get the chance to view it, you should.

There were, of course, parts of the video that horrified me yet again with facts I already knew but often try to forget. Reading that children as young as seven are used as sex slaves is far different than seeing a video of a little girl tell about what she has to do on a daily basis.

The activists and celebrities in the film were passionate and articulate. Here are a few quotes that jumped out at me:

Ambassador John Miller spoke about the fact that the abolitionists in England were fighting against a slave trade that was not only legal but was considered moral by many of the ruling class. He then said: “We need a 21st century abolitionist movement” with the same courage and outrage.

Ashley Judd, on moving on from indignation–which she said almost all of us feel when we hear about this terrible issue: “Every person has the spiritual responsibility of cultivating that indignation till it creates action.”

Ashley Judd, speaking about the labor slavery that is often used to produce our clothes, our technology, etc.: “I don’t want to wear someone’s despair.”

 

 

Beauty from the awful, Day 3 in Uganda

Julius (who is getting married to beautiful, smart Hope very soon) working with the kids at the school in Kitange.

Julius (who is getting married to beautiful, smart Hope very soon) working with the kids at the school in Kitange.

Sometimes God works great beauty out of what seems to us most awful.

We saw that on Monday. (I was unable to get onto Internet to post this blog yesterday, so I’m a day behind.)

Rachel with three little friends

Rachel with three little friends

We first went to the Kitanga slum in Kampala. It’s far smaller than the Kibera slum in Nairobi, but we also got a far more personal look into it. A little over five years ago I visited this slum and met a pastor who had begun a church in it. When he started sharing Christ with the community, children and teenagers began coming to him. They either weren’t safe in the homes they had or they had no homes to go to. The pastor began letting them sleep in the church, and then moved in himself with his wife so they could keep the children, especially the teen girls, safe at night.

So Kitange had a good church. It was a start.

The new school in Kitange

The new school in Kitange

Well, just a few months ago Kitanga also got a school. Preschool classes all the way up through 5th grade meet in a building on the edge of the slum, and administrators plan to add another grade each year. When we pulled up near the school in our vehicles, Kitanga children, most dressed in their uniforms, flooded to greet us. They showed us the inside of their school, and presented a small program. I asked their principal if they have to pay school fees, and he told me they use a sliding scale, and that many do not pay anything at all.

There’s some beauty!

Anna and this little sweetheart spent the entire morning together.

Anna and this little sweetheart spent the entire morning together.

We went back outside, threw a couple soccer balls into the field, and the older boys were off, leaving the girls and babies free to show great interest in us. I listened to a couple of folk tales from the ringleader of a group of 11-year-old school friends while the soccer girls swung babies onto their hips and played with toddlers.

Light the World has an active ministry in the slums. DSC_0048Several of the children at Mercy come from there, and Mercy works with their families to try to rehabilitate them until they are able to take the child back. L the W also offers microfinance loans to women who need them.

So after a little while, we split into groups and went with LtW staff members to visit some of the families in the neighborhood they are working with. We all have different stories, but I will share mine with you. My team (Dave, me, our Em, Emily Mascari, and Anna Lindus) had Wilfred as our leader. We went first to Florence’s home. Florence is leading a women’s prayer and Bible study group in Kitanga. She and her husband Moses accepted Christ a few years ago. She runs a small duuka (shop) next to her house and hopes to expand it to provide

Moses, Florence, and their little girl, Asfa

Moses, Florence, and their little girl, Asfa

more income for their family. We entered her home, taking our shoes off at the door so we did not make a mess on the tarps spread across the dirt floor. They sat us on the couches that nearly filled the room, honoring us while they sat on the floor. Florence took their baby from Moses and we learned a little of their story. Their baby, Asfa, is five years old but looks about two. She had a fever when she was very young and it resulted in brain damage that has left her mentally at the age of a baby and physically with very stiff limbs.

DSC_0056I have to be very American here and say this: any middle-class American would enter the slums and say, “This is no place for a child to grow up.” That is what our first impression would be.

That impression would be wrong.

The best place for Asfa is exactly where she is. Her parents adore her, and it was clear not only by the ways they looked at her but by her physical condition. Her skin was clean and perfect, with no pressure sores. The entire time her parents were talking with Wilfred, Florence was unconsciously doing physical therapy with Asfa, stretching her feet and hands, moving her elbows and knees, making her stand up for a few seconds and catching her when she tottered. Florence showed me the notebook she keeps for Asfa’s medical records, carefully filled out with every time they could afford medication and the illnesses and treatments she has had.

Beautiful.

Moses sang us a song he wrote about his faith in Christ, about how we should all bear fruit because we are connected to the Vine. That, too, was beautiful.

Asmin and I

Asmin and I

Dave prayed over that little family, and as he did, I was so glad to once again see Wilfred and Light the World in action. Wilfred knows that the best thing for both children and their parents is for the child to be in the home God placed him in. When you take a child permanently away from parents, they lose hope and motivation. Of all the children at Mercy, only a few are adoptable because all of the others have some form of family who can—and who deep down want to—care for them. Wilfred wants to share Christ with the families and work with them so they can become fit families for children. Then fathers work hard to pay school fees and put sufficient food on the table, and mothers can really care for their children.

We next visited Asmin, a Muslim lady, at her home that she has made clean and even pretty with a lovely curtain separating the sleeping and living areas. We asked if we could pray for her, even though she follows Allah. She said yes and prayed first before I prayed over her, asking that she would know the Christ who will draw her close to God. Asmin has a sweet presence about her, and she hugged me, drawing my head close to her own, when we finally left her.

This little girl was put in Dave's arms in the slums.

This little girl was put in Dave’s arms in the slums.

Then came the surprises. Someone came up to Wilfred and told him of a baby that was in trouble, so we trekked through some narrow paths, avoiding line-drying laundry around our heads and water runoff at our feet. When we arrived, neighbors handed Dave a tiny little girl (at least we think it is a girl). Nine months, they said, and she couldn’t have weighed more than 10 or 11 pounds. They told Wilfred the father had abandoned the family, and the mother goes off working but does not care for her baby. They were angry about the state of the baby, and the women’s raised voices drew several drunk men to the area. “Take her,” they told Wilfred. “She needs care.”

But Wilfred, without talking to the mother, was not ready to just take the child, so he had Dave hand her back (Dave was all set to take her, but we know we are also, to put it plainly, CLUELESS about the bigger picture!) because he wanted to get out of there before the crowd got too agitated. He will send Julius (his assistant who does a lot of work in the Kitenga slum) to the house quietly to make more inquiries—and then he will probably take the child.

We discovered this house in the Kitenge slum was where our son Patrick was found

We discovered this house in the Kitenge slum was where our son Patrick was found

We visited one more house, another Moses who has a child being cared for at Mercy. He showed Wilfred the progress he is making so that his girl Prossy can return home.

That was, honestly, enough to process and pray about for an entire day, but we were also scheduled to visit the hospital, with its rows and rows of metal beds with children in various stages of sickness, their parents camped out on straw mats by their sides because they have to administer the majority of the care. I first prayed with a woman whose two year old came down with a fever four days ago. His body still radiated heat, and she patiently urged juice down his throat, sip by tiny sip. She was so calm, and I couldn’t help but think how frantic I would be in her shoes, watching my child grow more listless by the day, knowing that hope was slipping away.

I checked on the soccer girls who were holding babies and chatting with mothers. As I walked down the hall to find another group, I passed an open doorway and saw a room that, though full of beds, held only one boy, skeletal, sitting up on a crib at the far side of the room.

Skin stretched across cheekbones, neck reduced to the size of the spinal column, eyes that were far too big for a shrunken face. I’d seen faces like his in pictures of concentration camp victims, but never, never in real life.

I pretended I didn’t notice the open door and continued down to check on the other group.

But on my way back I was with my friend Angel (I lived with her during the five weeks I was in Africa several years ago), and she said, “Mama, do you want to visit here?”

Holy Spirit took over, and I said yes without thinking much about it. We met Agnes and Eugene, and they introduced us to Earnest, who is 7 (same age as my PJ) and who began having diarrhea 4 months ago, and is now vomiting and coughing besides. I put my hand on his foot, and felt his cool, thin, dry skin. We looked at the x-ray and prescriptions given by the doctor (not that we could do a thing, but it just felt like a way to express sympathy). We listened to their calm recitation, and I fought to keep my face as smooth as theirs.

I asked if I could pray. Both said yes, and Agnes told me that she was a believer in Jesus. “God is my only hope now,” she told me.

“He is our only hope all the time, really, isn’t he?” I said.

Her smile stretched wide and she nodded.

Suddenly, just before I began to pray, soccer girls filed in. They laid hands on me, and I let what was in my heart spill forth in words, and I knew the Holy Spirit was groaning in far better utterances than my limited language in the very presence of God.

In the middle of my prayer, I felt something cool and dry touch my hand, and when I opened eyes, I saw that Earnest had put his small hand on top of my own, his fingers curled over mine. That did it. I had to turn away and sob quietly.

The girls filed out, and I stayed behind to talk more with the parents. Eugene showed me the medications the doctors prescribed and admitted that they could not afford it all. I told him I would be back.

I gathered Angel and Rachel (our two wonderful Ugandan guides for this day) and Dave, and Rachel came up with a plan. We went back and told Eugene that we would take him with us to the pharmacy and buy him the medication. Then Rachel began telling him he needed to accept Christ. “Dave,” Rachel suddenly said, “Do you have anything to say to Eugene?”

Dave, taken off guard at first, said no, but then he asked Eugene why he had not yet made the decision his wife so clearly had. “I’m not ready,” Eugene answered.

So Dave simply and wonderfully reminded him that it is a gift, unachievable by ANY of us, EVER. We have to simply accept it. “Do you want to?” Dave asked him.

“Yes.”

“Then there is nothing standing in your way. Your sin does not keep you from the grace of God.”

Dave wanted to be sure that Eugene was not making this decision simply because a muzungu was asking him questions. “No, no,” Eugene answered, and then he prayed with Dave while Agnes beamed, and she and I clasped hands and lifted them to the heavens in thanks.

We drove with Eugene to the pharmacy down the hill and filled the prescription for his son. Dave gave him his email address, Rachel gave him her phone number, I waved at him from the van window, and he was gone.

The ride home provided time to pray and think because we got trapped in a traffic jam caused by an 18-wheeler that was trying to fit into an incredibly narrow driveway. (I’m always amazed at how patient people are here with this. School children gather to watch; men walking by stop to give advice; and cars and bodas wait patiently until the truck moves out of their way.)

By the time we arrived home, it was time to grab a quick bite and go to Light the World Church’s cell groups. Most of the team stayed here for the group Wilfred and Vena host, but Dave and I, along with our Em, Julia, and Britta (and Ugandans Isaac and Rachel) headed up the hill in the dusk to a cell group that meets nearby. They welcomed us in and translated all they said into English. Babies nursed, one little girl came and sat on Dave’s lap, and a small boy sitting in a chair in the corner fell asleep and didn’t even wake up when his chair toppled over.

And through all the life that was happening, the members shared testimonies and requests and we sang and prayed and even cried a little. And then, in the dark, we trekked down the rutted dirt road by the light of Julia’s iPod.

The water was off when we arrived, so Wilfred heated water on the electric stovetop, and we had jerry-can showers.

It was a beautiful day

*Please pray for Earnest, Eugene, and Agnes. Pray for Earnest’s healing. I’ve been thinking about him much today.

*I will write about today later (we visited Jinja, where an American friend of mine works with a women’s jewelry-making business—beautiful stuff and a very cool model).

*Tomorrow we are painting at the babies and toddlers’ home and playing with the children there. Julius already rescued the undernourished baby from the slums, and tomorrow I will be going with Isaac to take the baby to the hospital for a checkup and some testing. Please pray for this, too.

*I do have pictures. I’ll try to post some tomorrow. Sleep beckons.

Thanks for reading,

Jen

Chosen Impotence

NOTE: Inspired by the beautiful Easter hymns I’ve been reading this week, I revised a “poem” I wrote a couple years ago. Just think of it as word-dabbling, not real poetry. I wrote this at Christmas time after I saw my first blown-up nylon Nativity scene.

Another lawn-nativity,

This one inflated,

Blown air shaping colored cloth

Into Mary and Joseph, the wise men, the shepherds.

Hmm,

I am reminded of the Michelin Man or Pillsbury Doughboy.

But distaste aside,

The smallest blob of puffed nylon,

Decked with a curved-line smile and dots for eyes,

Is still meant to represent

My Christ.

My Christ,

How incredibly helpless He chose to be,

in the form of a baby’s helpless body,

A feeble cry the only tool He had

To summon needs and desires.

How UN-omnipotent he seems.

 

Winter gives way to new spring.

A different icon dots church fronts, some yards,

Fewer places than the last.

And, generally, of sturdier material.

No nylon certainly.

Yet the central subject is the same,

But isn’t.

The infant flesh is grown, and

Covers a man’s sinews, bones and muscles

Carpenter-strong.

This Christ, though, is also frail, with

Only a thin line between Him and destruction.

He dangles from punctured wrists,

Pushes on destroyed ankles to get breath,

Bleeds from head and back and side.

 

Another image of impotence:

He cries,

He suffers,

He dies,

 

The Babe and the Crucified One,

These two,

Celebrated every year.

Is this what God desires?

Could He want monuments to His vulnerability?

These are not the statues human rulers would covet,

No depictions of parade glory and iron-fisted might.

These are moments when the fallen one

Must have breathed victory in the air,

Must have thought himself powerful in comparison.

Could God, with ways higher—and deeper—

Than our own

Be unconcerned with this display of humility?

Be willing to leave us to wonder and seek

This paradox God,

His strength perfected in weakness,

His justice satisfied with the sacrifice of Himself,

His revolution accomplished by love—

With no destruction other than

the single, willing life of its leader

And the symbolic ripping of a temple cloth?

 

A birth, a life, a death—

A chosen impotence

Accomplishing

The redemption of mankind.

The AMEN!

“In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

I took this picture last fall, but spring is a'coming! The trees are blossoming, and there are enough shades of green outside right now they could fill a crayon box.

I’ve never thought much about that one word: Amen. It means “so be it,” and that makes sense at the end of prayer, especially prayers of praise—which is where “Amen” is most often found in Scripture. But this week I read two verses that made me want to study it more. The first is Revelation 3:14, which calls Christ THE Amen and also refers to Him as the faithful and true witness.

The second is II Corinthians 1:19-20, which says that Christ “…is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”

So Christ is the “Yes” of God, the “So be it” of all His promises.

I get that, at least on an elemental level, knowing that there is far more to it, far more to study. Christ said, “So be it” to the entire will of God. He said, “I seek not my own will, but the will of Him who sent me.” He continually turned people’s attention to the Heavenly Father. He did not seek self glory. And in the garden and on the cross, He uttered the hardest “so be it” of all, the willingness to endure incredible agony so the Father’s will, his eternal, all-encompassing will, would “be”:

-So it would “be” here on earth like it is in heaven—that’s the prayer He taught US to pray.

-So we, too, can utter the Amen, the taking on of God’s will and the letting go of our own. II Cor. 1:20 says we can do that, that through Christ “we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”

That’s an amazing thought: we can contribute to the Father’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven simply by saying “so be it” with our tongues and our lives to HIS glory and not our own.

I write “simply by saying,” though I know there is nothing simple about it. I wrestle with laying down my desire for self-glory every day. I’ve been thinking about it for years and writing about it for months, and I will continue to do so. It’s not a “one and done,” “got that one licked” kind of sin issue. (Are any?) The desire for self glory and self control twists itself into every area of our lives and morphs into a different monster as soon as we recognize it in one form.

But there is great hope in that verse: through Christ we CAN utter the Amen. We can accept, even embrace, ALL as the will of a good God. What was impossible has become possible “through Christ who gives (us) strength.”

I got so excited about this I wrote a poem—okay, I wrote a poem because I was coaxing my sophomores to write poetry, and it seemed only fair that I should, too, but, still, this was the idea I wanted to write one about. It is an idea full of glory and worth the efforts of someone who truly is a poet (which I am not). Still, here is my scribbling on the subject:

The “Amen” chorus of

The Angels and Elders,

All of heaven

Was—oh, how glorious—

First sung by the Son.

His life of

“Thy will be done”

And death of “It is finished”

Accomplishing redemption,

Freeing fallen humans

To speak the “So be it” themselves,

To live the “Amen.”

And though mine may falter,

Hiccup,

Sometimes cease altogether,

Oh God, please

Kindle the Christ-placed urge burning deep

In my oxygen-starved cells,

Blow the Spirit breath strong

Till my lungs inflate and

Gather air for

The words,

And the life,

That speaks the truth:

So be it,

Thy will be done,

Amen.

 

Communion

We had communion this past Sunday. I love taking communion, its reminder of the very core of our redemption. If I were a poet, I would write something beautiful about how the bread sits on my tongue a moment longer than it needs to. I postpone sliding it between my teeth, hesitate before biting down on it. “My body, broken for you.” My inner ear hears the small wafer break; my jaw feels the crunch and the release, and I see and feel in a different way Christ’s body being smacked about by the huge, meaty hands of Roman soldiers, His flesh being torn and ripped by the multi-barbed whip, pierced by heavy nails. “My body, broken for you.” I am glad for the time our pastor gives before he prompts us to take up the plastic cup, filled with juice in my church. “My blood, shed for you.” I pour the grape juice into my mouth. It gathers bits of the cracker as it makes its way to the back of my throat and then down, down into my stomach. So much blood–shed in great beads of sweat, in flying droplets of red rain, in a head-to-toe-covering slick, and finally, in a gushing torrent, blood and water mixed, the elements of redemption and purification finally, ultimately provided from a pure, single source. “My blood, shed for you.”

So that we do not bite and devour each other, and ourselves, He was devoured. So that we do not bleed to death from the wounds of our sin, He bled.

Broken body, shed blood.

Amazing redemption.

My Enough

The earmuffs are headphones, the pink shades are, well, shades," and the little man is pretending he is a disc jockey playing some tunes. One of our many "jam" sessions.

11/10/11  I yelled at Maddie this morning. No words, just a primal scream of frustration, eyes wild and wide (I was facing the bathroom mirror and saw myself). It was a “scream or throw something” moment. It was–horrific realization–a moment when I could imagine smacking her, hard. The scream scraped my throat. My ab muscles ached when it was done. Maddie, already in tears before it started, was, of course, in bigger tears when it finished.

I can make excuses: Dave’s out of town; I’m running ragged trying to get all six kids to the three different schools they attend; Maddie had another of her wailing, sobbing mornings because her pants actually touch her body and then the toothpaste stung her lip; I’m battling a cold that makes my head feel like toilet paper is scratching the inside of my ears. But. I. Screamed. At. My. Child.

There is no excuse for that.

I told Maddie I was sorry, I told everybody I was sorry (after all, they’d all heard it), we moved on, we eventually got out the door (though not without more grumbling on my part about hurrying and putting shoes on and getting out to the car), and we made it to our carpool location on time. But the morning felt ruined.

Before they got out of the car, I asked them if I could pray. “Oh, Lord, I blew it this morning,” I said. “Please heal my children’s hearts from the damage I caused. Please heal me. Thank You that You do not lose patience.”

“It’s okay, Mom,” Em said, and I thanked her, though I also said it wasn’t really ok. I held Maddie in a long hug before sending them off to the other van. I took Patrick to school, came home, and lay flat on my face on the library rug.

It took awhile to shut off my tumbling thoughts, to stop the battle going on in my head between penance and excuses. It took the Holy Spirit’s gentle “Shut up” for me to be still, to listen.

“You’re weary and burdened. Come to me.”

“You’ve confessed your sin. I am faithful. I will forgive and cleanse and change you.”

“You’re a new creature. You let the old, dead one rise up like a shrieking zombie this morning, and you sure didn’t seek Me in the midst of the trial, but I am still making you new. I will complete what I have begun in you.”

“Beating yourself up will not pay for your wrongdoing. I paid for it, and I will take care of it now.”

“How can you help Maddie with her clothing issues? Talk with Me about that.”

“I can and will make good from this. Learn more about Me. That will renew you.”

I lay on the rug for several more minutes, feeling limp but cleaned out, able to see more clearly what led to my zombie shriek.

I had gotten all my gears oiled and ready, scheduled this morning down to the minute, and thought of my children like cogs in a machine and myself as the master mechanic.

I’d begun to think, “Yeah, I can do this! A little issue here, little issue here. I’ve got it. I can handle it.”

Uh, obviously, no, I couldn’t. My system rested on ME, and I broke down this morning. Sooner or later I always will, so any plan that rests on my ability or character fails because I fail. I’m human.

Definition of human: “messed up.”

This would all be utterly hopeless if I did not have someone other than a human to rely on, Someone SUPER human, Someone good through and through, perfect to the core.

My God is the only one who does not fail. Therefore, He is the only reliable source of hope.

Only one source of hope. Not a whole bunch of systems and backup plans and “go-to” components.

It sounds a little like a pipe dream, like a machine that looks magnificent but doesn’t function. It sounds unreliable. It’s not enough to rely on.

But it IS—because the source of the hope is enough. Hope in God does not disappoint because HE does not disappoint.

Christ in me, the hope of glory. Christ in me, my All in All.

Christ in me, my ENOUGH.

Note: This was from last week. This morning I realized, with great gratitude, that we have had no tears about clothes for three straight morning!