Rescue Operation


On the day of the Boston Marathon bombing, many unsung heroes reached out to help those in dire need.  Nurses, doctors, and by-standers all rushed toward danger to tie tourniquets, carry wounded to ambulances, and hold the hands of those who cried out in fear and pain.  These brave souls thought not of themselves and their personal safety — they dug deep and poured out their hearts when others ran away in fear.  Their gutsy sacrificial service challenged me — Would I have done the same?  Would I have run away in terror, or would I have stayed and helped?  Would I have made those bloody streets my mission field?

I think sometimes I prefer “easy service.”  I open up my home and break out the salsa and chips for a group of people who look like me and talk like me and have petty, insignificant problems like me.  Am I willing to get my hands dirty and deal with the bloody mess of the world?  The red-stained streets of Boston caused me to wonder.

Last year, my home became a messy battlefield.  First, the bomb of sickness blew up in our midst.   Then, depression and anxiety ticked away threatening to decimate every last inch of our marriage.  During this season, God sent brave caregivers who prayed over us, cooked and dropped off meals, and spent time encouraging our spirits by just standing near.  Two amazing friends actually spent a week at my home during the worst of the mess — they played board games with me to distract me, sang worship songs to encourage me, and spoke words of life and peace over me when all I could see was darkness.  I will never forget their kindness.   My life was not pretty at that point — and they did not fear the ugliness of the situation.  They were willing to get their hands dirty in my mess.

Yesterday, I was reading in II Corinthians 1 about how God allows us to walk through dark times in order to prepare us to be a part of His “rescue operation.”  Apparently, God’s special agents of comfort must first be initiated in the “school of hard knocks” in order to gain the courage and understanding needed to come along side those in need. Paul explains

“We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since He’s the God who raises the dead! And He did it, rescued us from certain doom. And He’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part” (v.9-11, MSG).

The rescued make the best emergency care givers.   Having experienced the mess themselves, the blood and guts does not make them squirm.  In reading through this chapter, I see a clear job description for God’s rescue workers:

1.  They themselves have been through hard times with God at their side (v.4a).

2.  They are willing to come alongside the hurting with comfort just as God once stood beside them (v.4b).

3.  They offer what they have learned through suffering to bring healing and salvation to those in need (v.6a).

4. They spur on the discouraged to keep moving with unflinching endurance and face forward (v.6b)

5.  They firmly believe that God’s comfort is always available for the suffering (v.7).

5.  Through difficult times, they have learned to fully rely on God, rather than themselves (v.9).

6.  They are confident that God is able to deliver and will continue to deliver (v.10).

7.  They understand the power of prayer (v.11).

Based on this job description, are you ready to make the ugly streets your mission field?  Will you stay and help bandage the wounded, or will you run in fear?  I am praying that God helps me to be brave and extend His healing to those who need Him most.

Q4U:  Have you experienced God’s comfort and healing through the hands of one of his rescue workers?

My one-word focus for the year is “fruitilicious.”  Find out what that means here.

Thanks for stopping by!  I would love to connect with you on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Joining like-minded sisters today at Faith-Filled Friday, Thought-Provoking Thursday, Tell His Story, Playdates with God, Hear it on Sunday: Use it on Monday, and Soli Deo Gloria.


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Lessons Learned in 3D — Timing is Everything

Exactly 364 days ago, I ended up in the ER.  A surgeon was called to remove my sickly gall bladder.  Tomorrow, in honor of this occasion my husband is having his gall bladder out.  (Apparently, God has an incredible sense of humor.)  Timing is everything… and God has perfect timing.   He is teaching me and stretching me through this experience.  I am learning much.  I pray He doesn’t keep us in the hospital school room for long.  In the meantime, here in no particular order are 10 things I learned this week:

1.  I love the symbol of the butterfly.  It reminds me that God is transforming my life.  Eileen at The Scenic Route grabbed my attention with her post “The Broken Butterfly.”  She reminded me that God loves broken people, and I should, too.

2.  Mia at His Loving Embrace shares her story about freedom from captivity.  I love a good redemption story!  He redeems all — I must never forget.

3. Last year, after surgery, I struggled with depression. I am so thankful for those friends who battled for me and helped point me toward healing.   So, I am passionate about helping others who struggle. You are not alone.  There is a great deal of misunderstanding about the subject, and I love how Shaun Groves clarifies the difference between sadness and depression.   Depression is not just being too sad.   Please read Shaun’s explanation.  Like me, he has lived this story.

4.  I am so honored to be a monthly contributor for Moody’s Start Marriage Right.  They provide a wealth of helpful information for couples.  I love the advice in this post by Ryan and Heather.   We all need to “come clean.”

5.  Sarah Mae is a blogging ninja.  This year, she published a great book for young moms with Sally Clarkson.  Her post this week was also on parenting, but I was so convicted by it personally — I needed to read this.

6.  Steph at Everyday Awe challenged me to “examine my limits” in this post.  I realize sometimes I push the envelope, and I like it.  This is not a good thing.

7.   There is strength in sisterhood.  Don’t believe me?  Read this beautiful post by Ann for (in) courage.

8.  Here is a big “AMEN” to Ann’s post:  Alicia at the Overflow encourages us to open our eyes and see the beauty of all the sisters around us.

9.  Jody at Three Way Light shares how “one person touched by love over a cup of coffee can change the world.”   She made me a believer!

10.  Have you ever had an awkward moment where the Spirit tells you to talk to a total stranger?  You know, that nudge you get to “be Jesus” to a person you normally would never talk to.  I so related to Michelle’s story.  I am praying I will be braver…I am praying I will stop.

Q4U: What did you learn this week?

Thanks for stopping by! I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

I am joining Rachel, Jesse, and friends this weekend for


Eye on the Prize

finish line

My parents own a Pekingese puppy named Fifi.  She has captured their hearts and eats way too much food from the table.  A happy dog, her bubbly nature has added great joy to my mom in her retirement.  Fifi is spoiled to the core (I should know, I lived there before she did, and I was spoiled as well).

A while back, my man and I decided to take Fifi for a walk to stretch our legs and have a private chat far away from the attentive ears of my nosy Cuban relatives.   We grabbed her new leash and headed out to the golf course behind my mom’s house.  It was a glorious Florida day with blue skies and sunshine — a perfect day for a nice stroll.  With my man and my doggie sister in tow, I smiled and began to stride toward the center of the green.

I didn’t make it far though.  I immediately realized that we had a problem.  The dog was easily distracted.   She would take about two steps and stop to sniff at a rock.  Then, she would walk back 3 steps and dig in the dirt.  I tried coaxing her with a sweet, enthusiastic call.  I attempted to pull gently on her leash to prod her along.  I did not have much success.  After about 20 minutes, we had progressed less than 5 feet.

I thought of Fifi tonight when I read Proverbs 15 where the wise man cautioned:

“A life frittered away disgusts God;
He loves those who run straight for the finish line” (v. 9, MSG)

Fifi definitely did not have her eye on the prize.  She strayed off the course and had no sense of urgency.  I realized tonight that I am a lot like her.  I am sure that sometimes God is wondering what I am doing frittering around in a spot that He has moved on from.   I need to keep my eye on the prize.

This past week, I read a lot of stories about courageous runners who ran an unexpectedly tumultuous race in Boston.  In the marathon of life, I must show that same kind of courage and discipline.  I pray every day that God will help me to finish well.

Q4U:  How do you stay on course in the race of life?

My one-word focus for the year is “fruitilicious.”  Find out what that means here.

Thanks for stopping by!  I would love to connect with you on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Joining like-minded sisters today at Tell His Story, Playdates with God, Hear it on Sunday: Use it on Monday, and Soli Deo Gloria.
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