Friday, November 16, 2012

How to Save a Girl Over Breakfast

Eight hundred forks and knives clank ceramic plates in attempted quiet. Over scrambled eggs and pastries we meet police detectives, city council members, and prostitutes who were trafficked as minors. 

We hear stories from

  • a Frogtown St. Paul girl who is propositioned on her way to and from school each day, waiting for the bus.

  • A Woodbury suburban girl who longed to feel pretty, met a man who told her she was and loaned her money, and then asked her for favors to his friends. "I loved him," she stated softly, looking down.

  • An inner city teen who was given the impossible choice: be the gang prostitute or we’ll rape your mom and kill your little brother. She silently complied for a year until her baby brother begged her to stop, guessing, “[Something’s wrong.] You’re dying. When you die, we all die.” That gave her the courage and determination to stand up against her attackers, come what may.

  • A curvaceous blonde woman who said, “I didn’t think of myself as a victim. I thought I was the one in charge for a while…”  

Breaking Free is but one organization fighting to rescue women and children from coerced sexual slavery. Breaking Free is run by women who have escaped and survived “the life,” and they are passionate about helping other women and children have a way out. Unique in that they offer transitional and permanent housing during their programs (that include counseling and job skills), Breaking Free is in high demand throughout the nation, often getting calls from New York to California asking for room in their program.

The FBI lists Minnesota as one of thirteen states that has a high recruitment of minors, and Minneapolis-St. Paul is listed in the top ten American cities for human trafficking. The average age of entry for prostitution is between 12-14 years old. 

While Minnesota is just my state, human trafficking and the sex trade is rampant, and growing at a ferocious rate. Find your state and other info here.

To read more, see Calls in the Dark and and the exciting, hopeful story in Cookies, Milk Shakes and Hero Truck Drivers and a super easy way to help today!

For an easy way to help right now, and on the Thanksgiving drive to Grandma’s house, see Turkey Travelers: Heroes in Disguise and click print when prompted!

Join me, friend, in fighting this. There are so many easy ways to rescue women and children. Learn more. What have you heard about human trafficking in your area?  

Linking with Emily and Shanda.

Monday, November 12, 2012

When Toddlers Talk of Death

It’s twenty-three degrees and tiny snowflakes lodge in clumps of brittle grass and into corners of the deck. 

The email comes of Grandpa Joe’s death, and we all pause. Stomping up the downstairs’ kids in our odd intercom-manner, they tramp up the steps, and I read it aloud. They listen quietly, soberly, then smile in fond remembrance, and head back downstairs to grieve him as they study. 

Death is new to Daniel. Four years old, full of comic book heroes and Bible stories, death is more of a temporary time-out for him. Perhaps he has it right, actually. 

I crouch low, looking him in the eyes. “Great-grandpa Joe just died. When you die, you get to go to heaven with Jesus.” 

“I want to die and be with Jesus!” Daniel quickly decided. “I want you to die and go too – all of us.” 

“Yes, well,” I pause, swallow a laugh. “Jesus is the boss of that. He gets to decide when we go to heaven, and we stay here until then. Okay?” 

I look into his eyes and hug him close. “Should we look at pictures of Grandpa Joe?” Daniel leaps excitedly and we pull up digital albums, looking at Christmas pasts. He leans in. 

Temporarily stepping out of time…  

I think he has it right after all.

Looking forward to joyful reunions someday, I link with Ann and Shanda. 

I love hearing from you and talking with you.How have you talked about death with your own kids? Or what helped you when you were little? (To join the conversation from email, click here. Thanks.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

He Surprised Me

He surprised me.

I wrote him a note, tracing across my journal page that I was eager to learn from him. "God, talk to me through your word today, please." We were interrupted by supper and elections, but picked up our conversation this morning. Opening my journal, I saw my scrawled note to God and smiled.

Leaning back in my chair, I rocked in time, noted five blue jays out the window gobbling up peanuts, and turned to Malachi. After several years of working my way slowly through the Old Testament again, the succession of prophet books had left me expecting similar material. I expected refugee stories, walls of rubble, and temple re-buildings. I expected encouragements to persevere, reiterated promises of God's love and protection, and occasional warnings. 

He surprised me.

From wrinkled Persian parchment in the 400s BC, God shot me with twenty-first century prose.

He was gentle. He was blunt.

Surely, this is contextual for your Jewish nation returning from exile, God, right? This is spiritual analogy, right?

He wielded soft sarcasm and rhetorical questions. I grabbed my pen, writing back to God, scribbling messy across the page. We talked, he countered. My writing grew slower, sobered. I listened and asked questions.

From wrinkled Persian parchment, he spoke to me in twenty-first century prose.

Linking with Emily and Jennifer

Parchment credit        Pottery credit

Monday, November 5, 2012

Shifting Up in Gears

“You’re teaching Daniel Bible verses!” she exclaimed in excitement. I grinned and shifted into fourth gear, the Saturn humming. On our way to the dentist, Morgan sat shotgun beside me, and Daniel recited “Psalm four eight, Psalm four eight” in the car-seat behind us. 

“Yeah, I’m trying to learn more verses, and I’m excited to have Daniel hear some too.” I down-shifted at a light, my hand still on the stick. 

“You didn’t do that for us, did you?” she asked. 

“I did, but I want to do more of it. Putting them to music seems to work best. Remember …. ‘Psalm 84:5, Psalm 84:5?’” I sang. Morgan smiled widely and sang along. “Blessed is he whose strength is in you, who’ve set their hearts on pilgrimage. Psalm 84:5, Psalm 84:5.” 

“See, the song worked there!” I teased, and peeked over at her. We smiled, remembering other car rides.

 Our Saturn sped closer to the dentist. In the backseat, Daniel bounced his legs and bumped his head in rhythm. 

“With Daniel, this is the verse I whisper in his ears when he has nightmares. One night I made it into a song. 'I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you, O God, are with me.'' I singsonged. Sheepishly, I stole a glance at her again. 

“That’s cool, Mom,” Morgan nodded approval and settled more comfortably into her chair. 

“I want to learn more too…” 

In my home of "two generations" of kids (17,13, and 4), we get to review and adjust our parenting, making changes where needed, adding or removing elements as we go. I am so thankful for that.

Whatever the ages of your kids, join me in being intentional with developing in our kids a love for, and strong handle on, God's word. I'm striving to be more intentional at memorizing Bible verses and teaching them to my kids. What helps you do that?

(For a free printable on praying God's Word for your kids, click here.)

Linking with Ann.