Sons and Daughters: A New Venture in Community

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“A picture is worth a thousand words,” the old adage goes. A picture tells a story.  Everybody has a story… What if little snippets of peoples’ stories made us feel more relevant and inspired us to be more intentional about how we live our story? What if we realized we do not stand alone?  What if sharing our stories connected us as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the One, True, Living God?  A vision, a thought, a desire burns within me to share…
Dare I step out in faith on this pursuit?  Despite feeling like Moses, not eloquent or outgoing enough, I think I must say ‘Yes!’  Wanting to capture the Imago Dei, the very image of God himself, in people, I’m going to start a new creative writing journey.  I will go out into the uncomfortable (for me), unpredictable place of community to uncover the blessings of a person’s story.  Hopefully I can bring light to The Lord’s hand moving in the lives of His precious children.  Hopefully it will link hearts, bring comfort, and reveal purpose.  Hopefully, it will magnify God in this place, this little Climate City that can feel so dark sometimes.
My first blessing:
edited OliO L I V I A.  Brave. Merciful. Humble.  She greets me with a comforting warmth that makes me giddy to spend time hearing her story.  Before we know it, 3 1/2 hrs passes and when we finally look at our phones, she has 15 minutes to race to an interview for a volunteer position.  Graceful and calm, she rises to her feet laughing.  She chooses joy.  She has fought for it.  I’m convinced she bleeds it.  She didn’t always have a joyful, warm heart.  In fact, as a little girl, she made a conscious decision to harden her heart.  She believed a hard heart would protect her from the constant pain of abuse and neglect. Six years old, she had thoughts of suicide.  Wanting to be loved and seen, she found deliverance in the arms of Jesus.  She gave her life to Him then, and again as a young adult.  She is one of the most courageous people I’ve ever met, trusting wholeheartedly God’s good and perfect plan for her. She is a redemption story.  The passion and faith she exudes will leave the biggest skeptics questioning themselves.
Olivia, who ministers in Grants Pass to local teen girls, is adjusting to American life after a 3 month stint in Iraq.  Saying yes to God, she went to serve at a safe house for women and girls who’ve escaped ISIS.  There, called a ‘butterfly,’ she floated around serving wherever there was a need.  She counseled girls, taught classes, played games, danced, washed clothes, cooked…listened.  The victims who came to the safe house ranged in age, from 10 to late 30’s.  All were alone and had witnessed their family members getting killed or sold into slavery.  As she described their stories of escape, my heart cracked wide open.  One young girl had dressed as an ISIS member, pretending to be one of them until she got out.  Another, having learned this from watching movies in her younger years, was able to hide her cell phone from detection devices inside a brick wall by scraping the grout with a bobbly pin.  “Tell me that isn’t the hand of God having her watch those movies in order to prepare her for her day of escape!” Olivia says.
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Olivia glances back at the wall-sized map behind her.  She yearns to travel the world, stealing back souls from the enemy, one precious child of God at a time.  “I hate the enemy,” she states, with fire in her eyes.  I have no doubt she will do that, as every word she speaks is life-giving.  You are pure.  You are lovely.  You are beautiful.  YOU are all those things, too, Olivia.  I am so honored and blessed to have spent time experiencing pieces of your story.
**Hoping to fill my insta with more inspiring, extraordinary people soon! @sons_n_daughters**
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When Our Little Town Shut Down

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‘Twas the 6th of December and all through the town,
People were dancing joyfully as white stuff fell down.

Projected to come was four to eight feet
Of fluffy eye candy you could almost eat.

First, little specks, then big cotton balls!
It covered the land in no time at all.

Mothers quickly burrowed through bins of snow gear,
As children anxiously awaited the snow they’d cohere.

A day of to-do lists, errands and chores
Quickly transformed into playtime galore!

With school being cancelled, we had the whole day
To run, dig, build, sip, bake, snuggle and play!

The oldest bursts in exclaiming, “We must capture this now!
The detail of this one perfect snowflake, oh wow!”

A glorious day on the farm, indeed.
Like entering upon a kid’s blissful dream.

yipee

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Saturday and Sunday brought more of the same,
Cocoa and coloring, snow forts, cookies and games.

Sleeping in, Christmas movies, waffles and soup.
From a most busy season, a chance to rest we recouped.

For some who found it hard to sit down,
The choice wasn’t theirs, but the driveway’s they couldn’t get down.

The light, delicate snow that had delighted all on Friday,
Was frozen solid, making it unsafe to drive on the highway.

So much more than school was suddenly cancelled.
Practices, scrimmages, concerts, church and most plans to travel.

Restaurants, small businesses, church buildings and streets
Were unusually quiet, as our ghostly town fell to sleep.

But, the luxury of rest some souls just couldn’t afford.
They had to get to work, find daycare, or just simply got bored.

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For some who ventured out, braving slippery streets,
A great, giant ditch in their car they did meet.

Accidents, spin-outs, sirens and lights
Sprinkled our town, causing worry and fright.

Frozen pipes made for no water for unfortunate ones,
Including us, but to Grammy’s house we could run!

Never before had a bath felt so first-class.
Why is it things magnify more appealing, just out of our grasp?

Monday and Tuesday, five days in all,
Many things were cancelled, they continued to make the call.

Some were ecstatic, I’m looking at three of them now.
However, some ranted and screamed, “Ridiculous! Why can’t this town own a snow plow?”

kids snow

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As for me, I sit here with Java in hand.
Reminded of how God has a plan.

We hustle and toil, we contrive and we burn,
Thinking, “It’s all figured out, I’ve got nothing to learn.”

But then nature’s flurry knocks hard, so we stop in our tracks,
Forced to sit in silence, faced with the facts.

We are not in control, not as much as we thought.
A glorious plan the Creator of the universe did wrought.

A plan for the land, the animals, the sea,
And there’s a plan, most importantly, for you and for me!

You can count on it to be good, steadfast and true.
It simply requires a willing heart from you.

With a heart bursting wide-willing I come,
May my heart beat love, hope and faith like a drum!

I will wait with joyful expectancy,
To see what the world does with this child for whom there was no vacancy.

The child, a Savior, the pinnacle of God’s plan,
To gather His people to His loving, gentle hand.

Whether we scurry about with our calendars full,
Whether we’re on vacation and out of school,

Whether we’re up at dawn or sleeping still,
Whether it’s sweltering hot, or if there’s a chill,

May we trust in God’s plan throughout every single day,
Knowing His purpose is ours if we’ll stay,

In the grip of His Grace, in the presence of His face.

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