In His arms

The climb at first sight seems unattainable and risky but when you include a team of experts with your calculations than you see the end in sight. This is true with anything you do from scaling that rock wall to chartering a plane to Haiti’s; you plan using others input to make your plan come together. So, you would also need others to guide you on your journey to your heart.

My experts consist of counselors, pastors, Holy Spirit, Bible, authors, and church family they know me best. Trying to make this journey on my own would take me nowhere really fast. I tried that once and it was a disastrous to think I could accomplish what others do in a day, month, a year. Silly really…

Why did I think I could do this on my own? Let me give an example that the Holy Spirit gave me:
Looking across Lake Bountiful (my name for lake) I saw Jesus Christ on the opposite shore. I thought gazing at the water it would be a short distance I can swim this. So, I set out at an easy pace and found that there was a under current and looking up at the shore I wasn’t any closer. Getting tired I turned back and found myself back at my side of the lake. Scanning the shore I notice a boat and pulled it over and got in and set the oars to start my journey again. Again, my focus was not on Jesus Christ but my ability to pull on the oars to glide across the water. Looking behind me I wasn’t going across but going down stream. “AWWW!” Turning the boat around and focusing on the horizon and rowing at the same time was hard and tiring. I was caught in whirl pool spinning me out of control and was back on my side of the shore. “Aw!” Dropping to my knees I cried “Lord, help! I can’t do this on my own. It looked so simple. I thought I could do this. I was wrong. Please, Lord Help.” Standing up I gazed across the water and I found myself staring into my Father’s eyes the bluest of blues and I reach out and I was in His arms and He held me tight.

When you experience the arms of Christ and His forgiveness it transforms you to another place and person. All of sudden you are not alone in your plans for your future you are asking for others input. You are praying for God’s will be done in your life. The Holy Spirit pricks your heart and you begin to change and forgive. Why? The Lord forgave me of my sins for He gave up His life for me. So, I can have a life with Him. A relationship that brings tears to my eyes… When I think of all He has done for me and is still doing for me; my heart wells with love.

My Jesus is real and there is nothing I can do that will send Him away. He says in his word that He will never leave me or forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5) The Lord has a plan for me for hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) The Lord fights for me. (Deuteronomy 3:21) There is hope for a tree if it be cut down it will sprout again.(Job 14:7)

Do you know that the door is always open (John 10:9) for you. When you approach this door do it with boldness (Hebrews 4:16). Focus your eyes on the prize which is Jesus Christ. God raised us up with Jesus Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 2:6) We who are sealed with Christ have everlasting life. But, you who do not know Jesus Christ and is still playing at the gate will have fire and damnation. We do not know when are time is up on this earth we can die tonight in a car crash. Do you want to take that chance?

The Lord is waiting for you to come out of this world. I lived in this world through some horrific times do I want to repeat that time? No!!! My time now is hard with unemployment but the Lord keeps blessing me with His presence and His provisions. Life is good. My hope is in the Lord. I trust Him with my life and future. I can’t imagine life without Him. He is the hand that guides my walk I do nothing without Him. Jesus is light to my darkness.

Come to the waters of Lake Bountiful and give your life to the one whom will turn your tears into hope. In His arms you will find rest from your burdens. In His arms you will find peace that passes all understanding. In His arms you find refuge and strength in times of trouble. In His arms your heart will flourish and grow in the likeness of your Father. In His arms you will have eternal life in Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Lord that I do not have to do this life alone. You have given me eyes to see and ears to hear. You have given me a church family that prays for me and we have life together.

I pray Lord, that you draw your people to yourself and impart your Holy Spirit to live in their lives. Give them wisdom and strength to walk this path. Put your angels around about them keeping them safe. Bless them, extend their boundaries, and keep them from evil in Jesus Christ name. Amen.

Do you see what I see?

One Christmas Eve back in the mid-90′s I headed out to Kensington Avenue with my good friend, Shirley. She had called me a few days earlier to invite me on a very special mission. So, I said yes, as I was always ready for a bit of intrigue.

Packed in her trunk were about twenty gift bags filled with toiletries like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc. Shirley had prepared each bag with loving care and a silent, yet thoughtful, prayer went up as every one was completely filled.

Kensington Avenue is located in one of the ugliest areas of North Philadelphia known as the “Badlands”. I used to live and work just five minutes from the strip. After dark, and after most of the shops along this street (covered by the Elevated Train track overhead) were closed, out of the shadows crept the prostitutes who were ready to begin their workday. Dressed in dingy, skimpy clothing, with tired and vacant eyes and slouching shoulders, each girl began her silent sales pitch.

As we began our journey down this dimly lit avenue, bundled up and tucked safely in Shirley’s car, I could recall the words she spoke to me over the phone. It went something like this: “These girls just need to be touched with God’s love. Who else is going to do it? We’re His hands, Summer. I just want to make sure they know that God knows who and where they are, and that He loves them.” How could I resist?

One by one, as we inched along the street, we gave the bags away with a few words of hope. I wish I could say that they all responded with immense gratitude and that many decided to walk away from their lifestyle. But, no miracle happened that night. None that I could see anyway.

But, the memory of that evening is branded in my mind. And I thank Shirley for the invitation.

In 2002, I helped start a ministry to prostitutes along the railroad tracks in Zone One of Guatemala City. I’m no longer with that ministry, but my husband and I have maintained a relationship with one of the ex-hookers I’d met there. Her name is Sheny, and she’s HIV positive. She’s got three kids and we help them throughout the year with food, clothes, school supplies, etc. Sheny’s got a job, but only earns the equivalent of $200 a month, which barely provides for the rent, food and medication she needs to keep from dying too soon.

She’s got quite the story, Sheny does. Her life history makes mine seem like a fairy tail – and I didn’t have it easy.

I’m not tooting my own horn or patting myself on the back by sharing this with you. The truth is, it’s a sacrifice for me to give of my money, time and energy. Oftentimes, I’d rather stay inside my cozy home and enjoy being with my husband and son. But, I’m always haunted by the fact that there are millions of people hurting in this world.
So I give.

I wish I could give more. I wish I could do more.

We have gifts nicely wrapped under the tree for Sheny and her kids this year. Nothing fancy, really. Just blankets and some toiletries. But, we’re happy to give, because we know that through giving God’s love is communicated.

Shirely’s still living in Philly, giving of herself constantly.

How will you spend your Christmas? Will you give to someone in need? Who do you know that’s hurting?

It’s a challenge.

Don’t do it to make yourself feel good or to ease your conscience. Give because you know someone needs it. Open up your heart and life and pour out kindness and gentleness and mercy.

Don’t think you have anything to give? Everyone has something.

Our budget was extremely tight this year, what with the newborn baby and all. But, It’s worth it to love someone else, no matter what the cost. So we’ll be in debt for a couple of months. So what.

Give.
Help.
Love.

Merry Christmas!
Summer

(Originally written December, 2007)