March 12, 2015

Seeking Justice—After the Red X day.

(updated and posted from last year)
This post has been floating around in my head since the End It movement. (which I whole heartedly support and agree with)
However…..for change to happen…..we HAVE to take it beyond that.  Creating awareness is the beginning. 
 Action should and needs follow.

Micah 6:8
As Micah 6:8 says we are to “act justly” 

After our local Nefarious event I received a lot of questions.  Many people were confronted with the depth of trafficking for the very first time and realized what a wide scale problem it is and also how close it hits to home.  People wanted to know what they could DO. How they could help from their little corner of the world. 

To answer that question,  below are some ACTION points for fighting trafficking.

1) Educate others on trafficking.  This is a crucial element in the fight against trafficking because there are so many people who do not know about it at all or the depth of the problem.  Once people know, a response is required. One response is to do nothing or react with apathy. Another response is to learn all you can about this injustice  and to begin to share with others the hard facts of human trafficking and then acting upon that knowledge.

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
― William Wilberforce

2) Support organizations that fight trafficking or provide aftercare for those rescued.
www.ijm.org
http://www.polarisproject.org/
http://love146.org/
http://agapewebsite.org/
http://richmondjusticeinitiative.com/ 
http://newcreationva.org/
http://www.thea21campaign.org/
3) Support and volunteer at local women’s shelters and rescue homes.
I am so very excited about True Mission coming to Virginia!  I have met with Steve and Tracy Singleton (Founders and Executive Directors) and with Jimmy and Cindy Thompson (Virginia Directors) and love their hearts, knowledge and passion for these girls! The vision is to provide gospel centered restorative care in a long-term residential program. I encourage my local friends to jump on board with us!  We still need 10 acres of land in our area to build this house on!

4) Become an advocate for vulnerable children in you area. Become a foster parent, provide respite, support other foster parents, train to be a CASA volunteer or a mentor.
These children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking.
http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jul/29/nation/la-na-child-sex-20130730

5) Support organizations that fight poverty and empower men and women so that they do not end up a statistic or being taken advantage of in their desperation. 
There are many are great organizations out there that fight poverty. Do your research..…of course you know I am partial to Project HOPEFUL Awassa!

6) Stand against injustice. Whether it’s inappropriate joking in the workplace against others, racist attitudes or bullying….. choose to make a stand. If something seems off…look at closer. Report if need be.

7) Fight against pornography. So many times this is thought to be just “entertainment”.  It is not. It fuels trafficking and leads into other sins. 
Great blog posts on that:
http://www.covenanteyes.com/2011/09/07/the-connections-between-pornography-and-sex-trafficking/
from a friend whose job is to investigate sexual internet crimes:
“Great article. Just more evidence and reiteration of what I see in my profession. Please keep sharing this. It is so much a reality for our youth. The socialization and sexualization of our children is at every corner.
The proliferation and availability of electronic devices and the ever changing apps of social media has created a catastrophic cocktail that is destroying the souls and lives of our children. Unfortunately, parents are allowing these devices to babysit their children and are leaving a dark, ugly and evil world at their fingertips.
Whether out of negligence, inattention or ignorance it is being allowed in the home, the responsibility is being left up to the children and not being controlled by the the parent(s).
As I have said and will continue to say... We need to stay in our children's business, any and all of it.

With the proliferation of internet availability, social media and etc, the pornography industry and the demand for it has gone through the roof.
Most have no concept nor want to believe that this behavior and activity is the engine behind human trafficking along with money, drugs and etc.
And churches have become a flock of ostriches by burying our heads in the sand refusing to do anything and get involved.”
8) Educate your children.  Teach them about the pitfalls of pornography and how it invades your soul.  Teach them to safeguard themselves.  Give them rules for the internet and phone. Then enforce those rules! Check out their Facebook, Vine, Instagram, Snapchat and other accounts. Demand access and passwords.  Not to snoop or pry—but to safeguard. They are CHILDREN. They need protection and we as parents are responsible for their welfare and protection.

9) Shop with purpose. There are so many great places to shop from that are fair trade and that support men and women around the globe who work very hard for very little and that ensure that fair prices are paid for their hard work.
Delicate Fortress is one of my favorites and who I work with but there are so many out there! These are great places to do your shopping!

Another friend Lauren over at Mercyink posts about fair trade items often and this post explains why fair trade matters.  http://www.mercyinkblog.com/2013/04/why-fair-trade-matters.html

10) Use your voice politically. Let your representatives and political leaders know that this issue is something you care deeply about.  Call them, email them, write letters, and even visit them in person.  They do hear you when you reach out.  A great site to help you to do this is: http://freedomcommons.ijm.org/

11) Put the trafficking hotline in your phone. Call 1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733). The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls and texts from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

12) Pray. Sign up on your favorite organization’s email lists and pray for their needs as they work.   I have seen first hand how prayer make a difference in huge ways .
I know there is much much more to add to this list. Please feel free to comment with your favorite organizations and other ideas and actions you think should be on this list!

Powerful video on this:
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke


February 24, 2015

Let it be

I don't know about you...but as I have read stories, watched the news, seen images on facebook and blogs...my heart has been so very heavy the past couple weeks. The images of the 21 young men beheaded shook my core.

The images are burned into my mind and heart. I worry about what this means for our world, our country and our friends and family. I consider my daughter with wanderlust and how safe she will be traveling. I think about my graduating son and his desire to use nursing and missions and think of the young aid worker whose life was taken. There's a piece of my heart that wants to gather all my chicks like a mother hen and hold them close to my heart...and shelter and protect and hide under a rock or in a cave.

But that's not the life God leads us to have. He asks us to be in the world. Part of it. Making a difference. Loving others. Taking risks. Doing things that make no sense in this earthly realm but make perfect sense in the heavenly one. All this was heavy on my heart as I was driving to our co-op on Friday and the song Let It Be Jesus came on and I heard these words

Let it be Jesus.
The first name that I call
Let it be Jesus
My song inside the storm
I'll never need another


I thought about those who had lost their lives and the reports that in those ending moments..that Jesus was the name they called out.


Should I ever be abandoned
Should I ever be acclaimed
Should I ever be surrounded by the fire and the flame There's a name I will remember
There's a name I will proclaim
Let it be, Let it be Jesus

I cannot even imagine the glorious homecoming they were ushered into. I weep to think of it.

I tend to worry about things that could happen and at times if I let it, I can become paralyzed and not move. I was feeling that way with this...and the Lord spoke to my heart .... that as one of His children.... is this not the end result of this earthly life? death? and if it comes sooner than later... or in horrific ways or an accident or old age.. what it brings is eternity...in Jesus' presence in a way that I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like...we've only had a teensy taste.


Out of despair...into a life of being bold, strong, and courageous.....living a life that gives witness to whose I am. by word, deed, and those that I love.

For me, to live is Christ
For me, to live is Christ
God I breathe Your name above everything





January 7, 2015

Acceptance

“I am tired of feeling guilty” are the words I moaned to my husband the other night.  They were birthed from a day of not feeling like I made any forward movement in any aspect of my life. A day of feeling of “not enough” in every moment.
 
After a day of comparing myself to every single instagram, facebook status and blog post, I felt…well, conflicted.
It’s a darned if you and darned if you don’t mentality out there.  There are posts to judge and make fun of and soapboxes to stand upon no matter what it is.  All the voices out there telling you the “right” way to think or be.

Hot topics that will make you want to scream or stick your head in the sand.  So many posts that scream to me that I am not doing enough or being enough…at anything.

As a person whose love language is words of affirmation and a reformed (still in process) people pleaser/acceptance seeker in a BIG way….this playground can make my head and heart go into a tailspin at times.

I have contemplated what I want to “work on” this year. Be it my resolution  or my “one word” or whatever you want to call it.

ACCEPTANCE.

 
Acceptance of the people in my life. Where they are at in their journey. Willing to love them in spite of what I perceive to be their flaws or quirks or things that annoy me :)  Willing to support them in their passions though they may be different than mine. Willing to listen to their thoughts and ideas even though they may be polar opposite of what I believe while trying to understand…hoping they do the same for me.

Acceptance of myself. with all my failures and rough edges. Accepting that it’s okay that I will never be crafty mom (though I may give it a good try sometimes. I had a field day with chalkboard paint for a couple months)  I will never be sporty mom (EB takes that off the table) or gourmet cooking wife (I am lucky to remember to cook some days!)  or any of the other things that I wish I could be at times.

And that’s okay.

My journey is mine. and yours is yours. We are all on different paths and made by God for different passions and abilities and shaped by our experiences and past.
Instead of comparing and feeling guilty, let’s learn from each other, support each other (who wants to come craft for me?) and marvel at the gifts God has given each other.

 
Every heart has so much history
It's my favorite place to start
Sit down a while and share your narrative with me
I'm not afraid of who you are

I'm all here, and you're all there
Some of this is unique, and some of it we share
Add it up and start from there
Well, it's all right here

 
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