To the Mama Fleeing Terror Tonight

mama

We were sleeping over at my parents. All three of us in the little guest room. My husband and I were in the full-size bed, and my daughter, age 3, was in the Pack n’ Play close beside.

I woke up to her crying in her sleep. I reached down and rubbed her back, hoping she wouldn’t wake the whole house, until she fell back asleep.

But a few hours later, she was crying again. Frustrated, I tried to quiet her. But this time when I reached down to touch her, I felt she was wet.

Soaked really.

I felt around, and realized: she had wet the bed. And it must have been hours ago–because it was cold.

“Oh, baby, come here,” I whispered in the dark.

I lifted her out, she wimpered. I laid her down on our bed. Peeled her wet underwear off from her body. And went to the hall closet to grab towels.

I dried her off. Found some clean, dry Minnie-Mouse underwear in her bag. And laid her on a towel between Brandon and I.

She fell instantly to sleep.

And after I did my best (3:30 A.M.) job of cleaning up the Pack n’ Play, and carrying all the pee-soaked blankets, towels, and undies to the wash–I finally crawled back in beside her.

As I lay there, all three of us cramped in this little bed–my mind began to wander. I’m not even sure why, but I began to think of  the mamas in the world fleeing terror tonight.

Just two summers ago, I wrote a post about Christians fleeing from ISIS in the Middle East. The husbands and children were being beheaded in parks. The wives and daughters were being raped and murdered.

And I remember how my heart wrenched each time I thought about their reality.

And what happened? Do I think it just stopped? Do I think it’s all better now?

Just because I don’t hear about it on the news, or see it on TV doesn’t mean this horrific reality of my sisters in Christ across the ocean has gone away.

Just because all my T.V. shows me is stupid clips of Donald Trump, and the Cavs winning the Finals, and the World Cup, and a thousand other forms of entertainment–doesn’t mean that my sisters across the ocean are suddenly okay.

It just means no one is talking about them.

But just lean in for one moment with me. And remember the least of these that no one is talking about…

Our sisters across the ocean, are running for their lives tonight.

Their homes have been invaded and destroyed.

Their husbands have been killed.

Don’t just think of the masses. Picture one woman.

Picture her olive skin. Her dark hair. Her deep brown eyes.

And her babies are hungry, and there is no consoling them.

She doesn’t have the luxury of scrolling Pinterest, and pinning ideas for DIY projects in her home. She has no home. She has no nursery for her babies. She is running every day, from place to place.

She doesn’t have the stress of a busy summer schedule, or checking things off a fun bucket list, or packing for vacation. She is living on the run–to survive.

She isn’t worried about her clothes being trendy–all she has is the clothes on her back.

She doesn’t complain about making a meal plan or grocery shopping–how she would love that luxury! She is thankful to even find any food at all. Any clean water, that will sustain her and her babies another day.

And when her child wets the bed in the night–she has no clean, dry clothes to put her in. She has no linen closet full of white, fluffy towels.

She has nothing.

She peels off the wet underwear, and hangs them to dry. She takes off her own clothes to wrap her child in. And waits for morning to come.

To the Mama Fleeing Terror Tonight,

I never think about you. But tonight when my daughter woke up soaked in pee, I did think about you.

I thought about you tonight, as I lay next to her, until a hot tear rolled into my pillow.

I thought about you as I looked over and saw my daughter and husband, sweetly sleeping in safety. Without threats, or danger, or gunshots, or bombs in the distance.

Where are you tonight?

And what are feeling right now?

I just want you to know, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I forget about you.

I’m sorry that I don’t pray for you, or even think of you.

I’m sorry that I complain. In all my luxury, I complain. And grumble. When my internet doesn’t work. And when I have to grocery shop. And when I say, “I have nothing to wear.” I speak like a fool when I say that.

I know this isn’t much.

But here in America, I am dreaming of you tonight.

Because you are one of “the least of these,” that Jesus loved so dearly.

I wish you were here. That I could share my clothes, and my blankets, and my house, and my food. I wish I could wash your little girls pee-soaked underwear for you. And you dry clean clothes for her.

But I can’t.

But this is what I can do:

I can remember you.

I can pray for you.

I don’t know your name tonight, but God does. And He sees you running.

And I can ask Him, to show me, and convict me, and lead me in real, practical ways–that one day I can help you.

And something else I can do.

I can stop complaining and acting like I deserve all the luxuries I have. And next time I want to complain about something so “First World”, even as the words form in my mouth–may the Holy Spirit convict me, and remind me of you.

May all my foolish grumbling, over Pinterest, and Target, and H&M, be replaced with prayers for you, in your suffering, my sweet sister in Christ.

My sister, I love you tonight. Here in my safe bed.

I am praying for you. I have to believe that it effects you somehow. That it protects your babies. And helps you sleep tonight.

I don’t know if I will ever be in your shoes. But I hope if I ever am. That my sisters across the ocean, will think of me. And pray for me. And my babies.

After all, this is what God tells us to do.

“Resist him, [the devil] standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:9

We are called to pray for each other.

Your language my be different than mine. Your skin may be different than mine.

But we have the same blood.

The precious blood of Jesus Christ, that cleanses us from all unrighteousness. That washes us. Restores us. And makes us whole.

And one day, we will sit down together at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. As true sisters.

I am praying the angels surround you tonight. And the Spirit comes and speaks into your ears, all the words you need to hear. Because you are a beautiful, precious jewel.

You don’t deserve to live in a dump, you deserve a palace, and right now, at this moment, Jesus is preparing one for you.

You don’t deserve to wear stiff, dirty, thread-bare clothes–and one day Jesus will clothe you in robes of white.

You don’t deserve not to shower or bathe–but one day Jesus will wash you, and cleanse you, and heal you.

And on that day, when you finally get to go “home,” the real “home” you have longed for so badly and with tears, Jesus will bind up your every wound, and kiss away every tear. Until the memory of anything painful, is completely vanished.

And His face will shine like the sun. And never will you see anything so bright, or feel anything so warm–as His face smiling into yours.

And for every painful tear, will flow a thousand happy ones.

That’s where I will find you.

In the place of His rescue.

But until then, stay strong sister. Do not lose heart. Do not lose hope.

For “the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10-11

How God Loves Us In Our Mess

sleepingI don’t remember what we were talking about when it happened. I just remember I was having a nice time eating my buffalo chicken salad in the booth of the restaurant when my Mom cried out, “Oh no! Bekah!

But it was too late. My two-year-old daughter who was sitting in my lap, began throwing up right there in the booth. “Give her the bag!” Mom said.

I scrambled for the plastic Target bag next to me, and held it out, missing most of it, and catching only a few ounces. I sprang up from the booth, holding her in my arms, wet with vomit and ran through the restaurant, yelling, “Excuse us!” at a crowd of people in the lobby, who moved like frantic seagulls as we dashed wildly through them. I was still clutching the plastic bag of puke in my hand, which I’m sure left a nice trail behind us.

As we burst into the ladies’ room, she threw up again, on the floor in front of the sink.

I locked us into the first open stall and squatted next to the toilet, holding her frail little body on my knee and told her, “You can throw up in the toilet, okay?” But she just looked at me with her deep blue eyes, and started crying, “I’m sorry Mommy.” She collapsed her blonde head on my shoulder, “I’m sorry.”

And my heart wrenched. “Oh honey,” I said, pulling her close to my chest, “You don’t have to be sorry. It’s okay.”

Mom came in and handed us baby wipes under the bathroom stall door and helped us into our car. She wished me well, gave me a hug and some hand sanitizer. And we headed out for our hour journey  home.

In the car, she fell fast asleep just minutes after pulling out of the parking lot. And as I drove, she smelled like throw up, and so did I. Her clothes were wet with it, and so were mine. But I couldn’t help glancing into the rearview mirror at her–sleeping with her head cocked, still holding the empty box of wipes I had given her to catch her throw up in.

And I never loved her more.

My heart ached with love for her.

I just wanted to stop the car and crawl back there and hold her, just as she was. I wanted to keep telling her it was okay, and that I was taking care of her, and that I wouldn’t leave her side. I wanted to tell her, even in her mess, that she was still so beautiful to me. That she was never more precious.

That I loved being her mom.

Tears trickled down my cheeks, as I drove the interstate that day. Love-sick for her.

And as I drove, and glanced at her, precious and asleep, I thought of God.

Of how He feels about us.

Because He knows what it’s like to be a parent. He knows exactly how it feels. This. This deep ache of love.

This love I feel today, that is so tender and violent, it would move mountains, and rend heavens, and go to the ends of the earth to rescue her–He feels this all the time.

For His sons.

And His daughters.

When He finds us deep in our mess, our weakness, our sickness, with throw up in our hair and tears on our cheeks. He doesn’t run from us.

He runs to us.

He sprints, He chases wildly. He scoops us into His arms. He washes us. And clothes us. And comes to our rescue.

And this is why He came.

For, “He remembers that we are dust.” And He is gentle, and kind, full of mercy and compassion, slow to anger, and rich in love. “A bruised reed He will not break, a smoldering wick, He will not snuff out.” 12:20

And Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

I look back in the rearview mirror again, and see her. And love her. With aching love. And know, just a little bit, of how God feels toward me. Toward every son. And every daughter.

In need of rescue.

6 Things You Can Do for Persecuted Christians in Iraq

This morning, across the ocean, a woman has just watched her little toddler be beheaded, and her husband hanged with rope, and tonight waits to be stripped naked by two filthy, bloodstained hands of an ISIS militant, who will molest, rape, and kill her.

It’s true. “They are systematically beheading Christian children, raping, and killing the wives, and hanging the husbands,” CNN reports in this must-see video.

For the first time in my life, I cannot ignore it. I can turn the channel, or leave the room, but there is still this un-ignorable weight in my heart. When I speak about it to my friends or family, and hear words like “beheading, raping, and hanging” come out of my mouth, I become too choked up to finish. The Holy Spirit keeps testifying one thing: this is real.

But why do I feel so different about this crisis than all the others that flood across the news feed?  Is a Christian life of more value than a Muslim, or Yazidi?  No.

Then why do I grieve for them more?

Perhaps it is because…

They are my brothers, they are my sisters.

I am connected to these ones.

Born of the same Spirit.

Even though I do not know their names, the sound of their voices, the depths of their eyes…

They are my people.
Through and through.

“These are my people!” Queen Esther cried out. As in, “My own flesh and blood!” When her people (the Jews) were being persecuted, her grief moved to compassion, and compassion moved to high-risk action that would ultimately save them.

God has given us humans this violent thing in our hearts called, “compassion.” But there is reason we feel; it is to drive us to action. Something is not right (be it, Christian persecution, or human trafficking, or people starving while we live in excess)—and God is calling us to do something.

But as so many have said, “What can I do? They’re so far away.”

There are 6 things you can do today:

1. Follow What is Happening
You can’t care about something until you know about it. I am notorious for being out of the news loop. People are repeatedly shocked that I “didn’t know” about major news events. But while I am chanting, “Ignorance is bliss,” people are dying. I often don’t see the point in following the ever-depressing news–because if I’m honest, how does it affect me? (I’m usually consumed with “my kingdom,” when I am called to be consumed with God’s.) Secondly, (though I sometimes wish it), I wasn’t born in the “Little House on the Prairie” era, I was born into this one for a God-ordained reason. What if God has a greater agenda for me than the chore chart that’s hanging on my fridge?

2. Involve Your Kids
I’d like to flash my “mom card” like an excuse for jury duty when it comes to following events outside the playroom or kitchen. And yet, part of motherhood is introducing my daughter to our big world, and to an even bigger God who can save it. It’s okay if my daughter sees me weep over the things God weeps over. Perhaps one day, she will be more inclined to do so as well. In terms of the Iraq persecutions, my toddler and I  have simply been praying for “babies” with “boo boos.” She understands that much.

3. Let Yourself Feel Something

Just like Jack Johnson expresses in his song, The News, “Why don’t the newscasters cry when they read about people who die?” It is easy to be numb to catastrophic events that are so far away. However, author Francis Chan gave such helpful insight in his book, “Forgotten God,” about how to let myself “feel” the weight of injustice right here in my living room:

When he first learned about the realities of children in the sex-slave trade industry, he stayed up in his hotel room and began to think: what if my own kids were captured by the sex-trade industry? He stayed up all night sobbing loudly for them. And the more he thought about it, the more passionate his resolve that there was nothing he wouldn’t do to rescue them. [And as a result gave all of the royalties from his book, Crazy Love, to the Isaiah 58 Fund.]

What if we started actually feeling persecution as if it were being done to our own sisters, our own brothers? Our own children?

For indeed, it is.

4. Pray.
We sing about the God of “Angel Armies,” but do we really believe that? Many feel that prayer is “passive,” when it may be the most active thing we can do for our Christian brothers and sisters overseas. We have no idea that God may be releasing those angel armies at our cries. What is “passive” is talking about praying and never actually doing it (which is what I am guilty of.) But when you engage in fervent prayer, the Holy Spirit will testify in your spirit, what you are doing is intensely active and important.

Remember who you are praying to. Our God is stronger than any military, government, or power in the universe. When He acts, who can stop it? (Is. 43:13) All through Scripture God defeats nations (2 Chronicles 20), strikes armies with blindness, and surrounds his people with angles and chariots of fire  (2 Kings 6), He parts seas (Heb. 11:29), provides food from heaven (Exodus 16), opens prison doors, and story after story, delivers His people. Can He not do it again?

5. Give.
You can donate money to Christian organizations in Iraq. A few legitimate ones are The Voice of the Martyrs (which gives Bibles with the aid), Open Doors and Christian Aid. I usually pass on these because I assume the money won’t get ever get there. But these are solid organizations, and these people need our help.

6. Raise Social Media Awareness

This is what I am doing right now. Many don’t know what’s going on, and will never read my words—but they will read your words. Because they know and trust you. If you have any type of social media account, you have the power to do this. What is God pressing on your heart to say about it? Share that.

You can also upload the picture below to your social media profile to show loyalty and stand with the persecuted Christians in Iraq. Click here to read more about the meaning of this symbol.

I heard yesterday that the only reason America is helping in Iraq, is because they are concerned about the oil and money in it. Maybe that’s true. Maybe not. I don’t know what America’s agenda is about.

But I do know what God’s is about.
And He will advance His kingdom.
He will unite His people.
He will build His church.
And the neither the Islamic State, nor the gates of hell will prevail against it.

Your prayers, or offering, or awareness-spreading may be the only answer to an Iraqi sister’s prayer tonight

….as she lays in the dark on a cold floor with a knot in her stomach, waiting to be raped, clutching onto her last dying hope: not to deny Jesus Christ as Lord.

For when it’s all over, when that ISIS militant is all finished ravaging her body, and deems her “worthless,” and ends her life, by bullet or sword

…she will at last open her eyes to eternity, and see another Man standing before her.

The One who formed her. Who first uttered her name into existence. And knit her together in the secret place. She will look down, and no longer be naked, but clothed, in white. And his warm hand will wipe away all the tears from her eyes and heal all her wounds and whisper, “Before I formed you, I knew you, and you are Mine. Come, I have prepared a place for you at Wedding Supper of the Lamb.”

 

Photo Credit