Tag Archives: love

Will You Look?

My heart goes out to Adrian Peterson. No parent should have to bury their child.  No toddler should be intentionally harmed, let alone killed.

But can I be real for a second? What about all the other children who are killed every year? What about the ones killed by their actual parents? What about the millions of American children who are physically, sexually, and emotionally abused in this country – maybe even right next door in your rich educated neighborhood – Every. Single. Day.

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You know those commercials about foster kids? Those kids are foster children because their lives were at risk as a result of how their PARENTS treated them.

So yes, pray for Adrian Peterson. And thank  God that it wasn’t him who murdered his son. Thank God that the child’s abuser has been identified and held accountable. Thank God that Mr. Peterson has the financial means to pursue justice for his son.

But don’t stop there. Pray for the children dying slowly behind closed doors. The ones who are afraid to go to bed at night and the ones afraid to wake up in the morning.  The ones who are safer in their dream worlds while hell rages around them. The ones whose brains have been damaged so that they can’t control their emotions, reactions, or moods. Pray for the kids squatting against a wall for hours because they spilled something, or the ones forced to drink hot sauce because they interrupted, or the ones wearing long sleeves to hide scratches and cigarette burns. Pray for the ones who fear death so much that they are afraid to ask for salvation. I’ve called almost 150 of these children “my kids,” and I know the gritty details of stories that would haunt your dreams… they haunt mine… the stories of real, live, small, beautiful, amazing, unbelievable, resilient, powerful young lives.

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Pray for the children no one hears. The ones no one even suspect have a problem because they are clean and like to laugh, or because they get good grades. Pray for the children who will never be noticed because they are invisible, who will never be redeemed because there are no resources, who will be blamed because no one speaks for them, who will be lost because no one has the courage to look, who will be broken because no one takes the time to properly love them.

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Pray for all the kids watching all the attention this story is getting and wishing it was them, just so someone would care and fight for them.

And then look, if you dare. Because these kids are all around you… in every store, every restaurant, every classroom, every neighborhood, every church, every playground. They are there waiting, watching, wondering if YOU might finally be the person who sees them.

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I looked, and it has been the scariest and most rewarding adventure I could have possibly imagined. It has been my honor to know and see and fight and love with and for them. I am stronger and tougher and more forgiving and more resilient and more passionate because of them. They are my heroes.

May this precious lost child be the window that allows us to see them all.

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It is My Honor

Take my life, Lord.  It’s Yours.

Take my feet, Lord.  I’ll go.

Take my hands, Lord, I’ll do.

Take my mouth, Lord, I’ll speak.

 

I don’t know why we don’t think to say . . .

 

Take my ears, Lord.  I will listen.

Take my eyes, Lord.  I will watch.

Expand my heart, Lord.  I will absorb.

I listen.  I listen to so much.  I have heard things that would shock you.  They would amaze you.  They would break your heart.  Things you’ve heard about on TV and think you understand, but you don’t.  You don’t want to think that it’s an actual truth for actual people right now in this very second.  I know this because I used to cry during Law & Order, but it still wasn’t real until I met people.  Don’t feel bad.  How can you really know?

But I don’t watch Law & Order anymore.

I don’t care about the headlines.

There is no law to this stuff.  There is no order.  It’s not a headline for me anymore.

It’s a face.  It’s a body.  It’s a voice.  It’s a smile.  It’s a hug.  It’s a dance.

So I listen.  Take my ears, Lord.  I listen and I never grow tired of listening.

Listening is not the same as hearing.  It is seeing words, the nuances of them, the symbolism they hold, the deeper meaning.  Sometimes they are a Picasso; I listen for the reason to such muddled rhyme.  Sometimes they are a Monet; I listen for the details that have been stroked into mystery.  Sometimes they are a photograph, and the picture is so very clear . . . but only from one angle.

I listen to the silence.  Silence can scream or whisper, cry or laugh.  Sometimes it’s a blank canvas ready to be filled.  Sometimes it’s a whole painting covered in white and trying to trick you into thinking there’s nothing there.

Can you hear the symphony of silence?

I wonder how much Jesus listened.  All those nights on the road, sitting by the fire, sleeping on the ground.  You know there was whispering.  You can’t camp without whispering secrets.  How many did Jesus hear?  How many sleepless nights of processing that identity crisis demanded by the Rabbi?  All those things that never went into the Bible because they are private.

I know so many secrets.  SO many secrets.  So MANY secrets.

And I watch.  Take my eyes, Lord.  Let me see what you see.

Watching is not the same as seeing.  Watching is patient looking.  Watching waits for what it needs to see.  Watching is about paying attention to what you want me to see, not about visual entertainment.  So I wait for the clues you give me.  I see the tiny things.  The fidget of your left shoe.  Your glance at the clock.  That you sit on your hands every time I ask you about a certain something.  How you copy how I sit.  How you are different today than you were yesterday.

I use my eyes to see your eyes.  Your beautiful eyes.  The windows to your soul.  Shallow, deep, wet, dry, so honest, so deceptive.  The more I watch you the more your eyes tell me. The more I watch you, the harder it is for you to hide, and I won’t let you.  Your eyes scream at me, they beg me, they shut me out, they push me away and pull me back.

Your eyes ask me to know without words, but I can’t.  Not really.  I see the secret, caged up and covered over, but only you can set it free.

I wonder at all that Jesus saw.  All the places He went, all the people He met.  He doesn’t need words to read my eyes.  He understood with only a glance.  Sometimes I wish I could do that, but most of the time I’m glad I can’t.  Eyes can’t be speed-read.  Not by other human eyes.  They must be carefully perused and explored.  With permission.  You have to develop a relationship with the eyes you watch.

I know so many eyes.  I have seen so many things in them.

And in watching eyes – in truly watching them – those eyes watch mine.  They test me.  They plumb the depth in me.

Do you really care?

Do you understand?

Do you want to understand?

Are you as scared as I am?

Do you really think there’s hope?

Do you like me?

Do I?  Sometimes I’m not quite sure.

Then the greatest and most important question of all:

Am I worth it?

Yes, you are.  Without a single minuscule electron of doubt.

All of these questions my eyes must answer.  Lord, watch them through my eyes.

Then I step back and I write, because I must.  I summarize.  It’s cold and clinical.  Client. Clinician. What I saw, what I heard, what I said.  What you did, what you said.  But as I consolidate my thoughts and memories outside of The Space, outside of that moment that’s all about you . . .

I feel.

My heart cracks just a little bit.  It’s okay.  Your pain is not my pain, and the cracks in my heart heal quickly.  I have absorbed.  I have taken a small part of your symphony, of your questions, of your fear and pain and confusion.  I have swallowed it and made it mine, so that your load can be just a tiny bit lighter.  So your eyes can be just a tiny bit brighter.  So your silence can be just a tiny bit more peaceful.  How it weighs on me some days!  The melancholy I feel that is your pain combined with my joy at the honor of sharing it with you.

It is my honor.

The privilege overwhelms me.  Who am I that you should trust me?  That you would tell me your secrets.  That you would let me know your eyes.  That you would let me share your pain.  I will ALWAYS have enough time.

I promise to guard this gift with all of me.

Let me listen.  Let me watch.  Let me absorb.  Let me share.  Let me give.

And again, I think of Jesus.  All that He has absorbed for us.  All the pain He carries for and with us.  But He is so much stronger than I am.  Because of Him, my load is so much lighter.  My eyes are so much brighter.  My silence is saturated with peace.

I think of Jesus, how He listens, how He watches, how He absorbs.

How could I possibly not give my ultimate best to do the same for you?

I think of Jesus, and it hits me in a new way, maybe really for the first time. . . I am a mirror.  I get to reflect the Great Mystery.

And the honor is all His.

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