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"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Wear Red


I wear red.

It is the symbol of honor, love, and prosperity.

Once, not so long ago, I did not wear red.

It just didn't seem fitting.



I was not prosperous.

I come from a poor part of my country.

Sometimes my father had a job working the fields.

Sometimes he didn't.

We never had enough.



I was not loved.

Girl children in my country are often not valued.

My birth meant an arranged marriage,

A dowry,

Both expenses far beyond the family budget.

My grandmothers had hoped for a boy.

"A boy takes care of you when you get older."

That's how it is here.

That's how it's always been.

They blamed my mother for bearing another girl.

Intentionally or not, she passed that blame onto me.

In our culture, the males are most important.

Whenever we sat down to eat, my father would be fed first,

Then my younger brother.

Whatever was left,

Which was never much,

Went to me.



I was not honored.

A girl,

And a poor one at that,

No one had much respect for me.



I was married young,

One less mouth for my parents to feed,

Less dowry money to be paid.

My husband was poor, as I was.

We had four children together.

He struggled to provide for us,

Always doing his best,

But it was never enough.

I was pregnant with our fifth -

My rounded abdomen just beginning to show -

When my husband lost his job

And our meager income was gone.

I didn't know what to do.

An acquaintance whispered to me about a program at the local church.

They would find a sponsor for one of my children -

Provide education,

Health care,

Job skills -

All the opportunities I never had.

And these benefits wouldn't be only for my child -

They would help our whole family!

They would teach me and my husband how to read,

How to better care for our children,

Other ways of earning money.

They would provide all of this for us -

Even before a sponsor was found, if we were accepted -

And it would not cost our family anything!

I could not believe the generosity of these people,

Or of the people around the world willing to reach out to us in our need,

People who didn't even know us!

For the first time, I had hope -

Hope that my children might have a better life than mine,

Hope that our family might find greater stability,

Hope that we had a future.



My five-year-old was accepted into Compassion's child sponsorship program.

She has a sponsor in Australia who writes to her every month.

The love that this stranger has for my daughter never ceases to amaze and bless me.

My husband and I are learning how to read.

My children all attend school.

My daughter goes to the development center

And comes home telling us about all she learned,

And telling us about Jesus.

I hadn't grown up religious,

But, naturally, had been taught about the many gods

And considered myself a Hindu, as most other people in my community.

Now, my family and I go to church every week,

We have heard the wonderful news about the One True God,

And how He sent His Son to rescue us -

To rescue me -

Me, who's laid as much blame as my mother ever did,

Me, who's carried resentment more than I've carried my own children on my hip,

Me, who's been angry at the whole world and taken it out on whatever or whoever was within earshot.

Yes, there is grace even for me.



Now, I am prosperous,

Blessed with enough to provide for my family,

Blessed with time and moments with my children,

Blessed with opportunities and hope for the future.



Now, I am loved,

I am loved by my children,

By my husband,

And, most of all, by the Author of the Universe.

It's funny how love makes you come alive,

And how it makes you love right back.



Now, I am honored,

I may not be honored by my parents,

By my community,

But I am a daughter of the King,

And there is no greater honor than that.



And, so, I wear red.

It seems to be the most appropriate color.






It's blog month over here,

Blogging for Compassion,

Trying to get 3,160 children sponsored this month.

Honestly, the ability to make a difference,

The ability to develop a relationship with a child,

To teach,

To learn,

Is one of the greatest gifts God has given me.

Please consider joining us in releasing children from poverty

In Jesus' Name.





Reasons 4778-4892 today,

(Still in Job - basing my counting off this series),

Always so amazed at His Grace:
 
  1. He answers out of a storm (Job 38:1)
  2. He has plans (Job 38:2)
  3. He questions (Job 38:3)
  4. He laid the earth's foundation (Job 38:4)
  5. He marked off the earth's dimensions (Job 38:5)
  6. He stretched a measuring line across the earth's dimensions (Job 38:5)
  7. He knows upon what the earth's footings are set (Job 38:6)
  8. He laid the earth's cornerstone (Job 38:6)
  9. He laid the earth's cornerstone while the morning stars sang together (Job 38:6)
  10. He laid the earth's cornerstone while all the angels shouted for joy (Job 38:6)
  11. He shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb (Job 38:8)
  12. He made the clouds the sea's garment (Job 38:8-9)
  13. He wrapped the sea in thick darkness (Job 38:8-9)
  14. He fixed limits for the sea (Job 38:8-10)
  15. He set the doors and bars of the sea in place (Job 38:8-10)
  16. He told the sea, “This far you may come and no farther” (Job 38:8-11)
  17. He told the sea, “[H]ere is where your proud waves halt” (Job 38:8-11)
  18. He has given orders to the morning (Job 38:12)
  19. He has shown the dawn its place (Job 38:12)
  20. He has shown the dawn its place that it might take the earth by the edges (Job 38:12-13)
  21. He has shown the dawn its place that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it (Job 38:12-13)
  22. He has journeyed to the springs of the sea (Job 38:16)
  23. He has walked in the recesses of the deep (Job 38:16)
  24. The gates of death have been shown to Him (Job 38:17)
  25. He has seen the gates of the deepest darkness (Job 38:17)
  26. He has comprehended the vast expanses of the earth (Job 38:18)
  27. He knows the way to the abode of light (Job 38:19)
  28. He knows where darkness resides (Job 38:19)
  29. He can take light and darkness to their places (Job 38:19-20)
  30. He knows the paths to the dwellings of light and darkness (Job 38:19-20)
  31. He was already born (Job 38:21)
  32. He has lived so many years (Job 38:21)
  33. He has entered the storehouses of the snow (Job 38:22)
  34. He has seen the storehouses of the hail (Job 38:22)
  35. He reserves the storehouses of snow for times of trouble (Job 38:22-23)
  36. He reserves the storehouses of hail for times of trouble (Job 38:22-23)
  37. He reserves the storehouses of snow for days of war and battle (Job 38:22-23)
  38. He reserves the storehouses of hail for days of war and battle (Job 38:22-23)
  39. He knows the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed (Job 38:24)
  40. He knows the way to the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth (Job 38:24)
  41. He cuts a channel for the torrents of rain (Job 38:25)
  42. He cuts a path for the thunderstorm (Job 38:25)
  43. He cuts a channel for the torrents of rain to water a land where no one lives (Job 38:25-26)
  44. He cuts a path for the thunderstorm to water a land where no one lives (Job 38:25-26)
  45. He cuts a channel for the torrents of rain to water a land where no one lives, an uninhabited desert (Job 38:25-26)
  46. He cuts a path for the thunderstorm to water a land where no one lives, an uninhabited desert (Job 38:25-26)
  47. He cuts a channel for the torrents of rain to satisfy a desolate wasteland (Job 38:25-27)
  48. He cuts a path for the thunderstorm to satisfy a desolate wasteland (Job 38:25-27)
  49. He cuts a channel for the torrents of rain to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass (Job 38:25-27)
  50. He cuts a path for the thunderstorm to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass (Job 38:25-27)
  51. He is the rain's father (Job 38:28)
  52. He fathers the drops of dew (Job 38:28)
  53. The ice comes from His womb (Job 38:29)
  54. He gives birth to the frost from the heavens (Job 38:29)
  55. He gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone (Job 38:29-30)
  56. He gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the surface of the deep is frozen (Job 38:29-30)
  57. He can bind the chains of the Pleiades (Job 38:31)
  58. He can loosen Orion's belt (Job 38:31)
  59. He can bring forth the constellations in their seasons (Job 38:32)
  60. He can lead out the Bear with its cubs (Job 38:32)
  61. He knows the laws of the heavens (Job 38:33)
  62. He can set up His dominion over the earth (Job 38:33)
  63. He can raise His voice to the clouds (Job 38:34)
  64. He can cover Himself with a flood of water (Job 38:34)
  65. He sends the lightning bolts on their way (Job 38:35)
  66. The lightning bolts report to Him, “Here we are” (Job 38:35)
  67. He gives the ibis wisdom (Job 38:36)
  68. He gives the rooster understanding (Job 38:36)
  69. He has the wisdom to count the clouds (Job 38:37)
  70. He can tip over the water jars of the heavens (Job 38:37)
  71. He can tip over the water jars of the heavens when the dust becomes hard and the clods of the earth stick together (Job 38:37-38)
  72. He hunts the pray for the lioness (Job 38:39)
  73. He satisfies the hunger of the lions (Job 38:39)
  74. He satisfies the hunger of the lions when they crouch in their dens (Job 38:39-40)
  75. He satisfies the hunger of the lions when they lie in wait in a thicket (Job 38:39-40)
  76. He provides food for the raven (Job 38:41)
  77. He provides food for the raven when its young cry out to Him (Job 38:41)
  78. He provides food for the raven when its young cry out to Him and wander about for lack of food (Job 38:41)
  79. He knows when the mountain goats give birth (Job 39:1)
  80. He observes the calving of the does (Job 39:1)
  81. He can number the months that the does fulfill (Job 39:1-2)
  82. He knows the time when the does give birth (Job 39:1-2)
  83. He knows the time when the does crouch (Job 39:1-3)
  84. He knows the time when the does bring forth their offspring (Job 39:1-3)
  85. He knows the time when the does are delivered of their young (Job 39:1-3)
  86. He has let the wild donkey go free (Job 39:5)
  87. He has loosened the bonds of the swift donkey (Job 39:5)
  88. He has loosened the bonds of the swift donkey, to whom He has given the arid plain for his home and the salt land for his dwelling place (Job 39:5-6)
  89. He made the ostrich forget wisdom (Job 39:13-17)
  90. He gave the ostrich no share in understanding (Job 39:13-17)
  91. He gives the horse his might (Job 39:19)
  92. He clothes the horse's neck with a mane (Job 39:19)
  93. He makes the horse leap like the locust (Job 39:20)
  94. It is by His understanding that the hawk soars (Job 39:26)
  95. It is by His understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south (Job 39:26)
  96. It is at His command that the eagle mounts up (Job 39:27)
  97. It is at His command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high (Job 39:27)
  98. He questions people (Job 40:7)
  99. He questions people, and they shall answer Him (Job 40:7)
  100. No person has an arm like His (Job 40:9)
  101. His voice thunders (Job 40:9)
  102. He adorns Himself with glory (Job 40:10)
  103. He adorns Himself with splendor (Job 40:10)
  104. He clothes Himself with honor (Job 40:10)
  105. He clothes Himself with majesty (Job 40:10)
  106. He unleashes the fury of His wrath (Job 40:11)
  107. He looks at all who are proud (Job 40:11)
  108. He looks at all who are proud and brings them low (Job 40:11)
  109. He looks at all who are proud and humbles them (Job 40:12)
  110. He crushes the wicked where they stand (Job 40:12)
  111. He buries the proud and the wicked in the dust together (Job 40:12-13)
  112. He shrouds the faces of the proud and the wicked in the grave (Job 40:12-13)
  113. He made Behemoth (Job 40:15)
  114. He made people (Job 40:15)
  115. The Behemoth ranks first among His works, yet He can approach it with His sword (Job 40:15-19)

Counting 10,000 Reasons to worship Him: 

(Sylvia's already made it to - past - 10,000!  So amazing to think of who He is like this!)





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Counting in community:


 

2 comments:

CynthiaJSwenson said...

Hi Mary, I read through some of Piper's sermons on suffering. They are very good sermons, but it's all still hard to understand. I think we somewhat have to experience the suffering ourselves to "understand" that God is still good through it. I keep chuckling to myself though, as I recall your bicycle accident & finally, here I make the connection of how you've been studying Job & how "timely" that accident was. You are absolutely right though...God is GOOD! Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

Mary said...

Hello, Cynthia!

It is difficult to understand and we can't really know until we've experienced it for ourselves.

Guess the accident was timely . . . honestly, though, I think it must've been the Holy Spirit, because, through the whole ordeal, I constantly thought and felt "God is Good" - and He is!

Love & prayers for you, too, friend!

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