clearing the clutter/running the race

clearing the clutter/ cleaning out closets; could this be a metaphor for something else in our lives?  Could it be our calendars that need clearing and our hearts that need cleaning?  Seems like we focus more on the first of these tasks than we do on the second, to the detriment of the second, I might add.  In our culture we are often burdened by our accumulation of “stuff”  all while we continue to add more to what we already have.  For myself, I know this can be true.  Give me a clear surface in my home and I will clutter it, an empty drawer and I will fill it as I will any extra closet space.  And somehow I manage to do this without going out and buying more stuff,  I apparently already have enough stuff  to fill every nook and cranny, every drawer and closet available.

Blessing or burden?   Maybe the line is fine between the two.  One minute we’re feeling blessed by our abundance,  the next we’re feeling the weight of the burden that our possessions have become.  Consider this, there’s actually a store called “The Container Store”.  That’s right,  we need to buy things to put all our things in. If you had any doubts about our over abundance, just note the proliferation of self storage units, they are everywhere.  Here our unused possessions have shelter (often climate controlled and safety patrolled) while a world away actual people are without reliable shelter and safety.

” . . .  let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  (Hebrews 12:1)  I can’t read these words without hearing the “Chariots of Fire” music playing in my head as I picture people running and discarding things as they go, letting go of the things they carry in their arms and on their backs, until  they are finally free of all those things that weighed them down, and they run effortlessly, unencumbered toward the goal.  A goal which is unseen at the moment, but of such great value that everything they have discarded along the way is of no consequence to them. They are pursuing the pearl of great price and they are willing to pay that price. And so they run.

So I must ask myself, what is hindering me?  what sin entangles me?  what am I hanging onto that I need to let go of if I am to run this race of life in Christ with dedication and perseverance?  “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”  (1 Peter 2:1)  Wow!  those are heavy burdens for my heart to carry while running the race of life.  No wonder I get tired.  If I could let go of those my load would most certainly be lighter.  “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice .  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  (Ephesians 4:31)  More heart stuff to let go of to lighten my load and something to strengthen my heart for the rigors of the race; kindness, compassion and forgiveness.

Maybe my burden is unnecessarily heavy because of the weights my heart carries rather than because of the objects my arms carry.  How often do I hear the expression, “with a heavy heart”?   What do I need to be casting off?  “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.  (1 Cor. 13:3)  Clearly, I can clean up my physical clutter but unless I allow my Creator to clean out my heart, I will still be running this race burdened and entangled by my own sin.  He’s the only One who can clean my heart because He’s the Maker of my heart.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  (Psalm 51:10)  That is my prayer, if I am to run this race well.  “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, . . . ”  (Philippians 3:8-9)

So for now, I will continue to run, casting off what I can, both tangible and intangible as I go.  My load should be lighter if I continue, as God enables me, to cast off what hinders and entangles me as I run.  By God’s grace, when I get to the finish line, I will be running free and unencumbered.  So I will “fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith,  who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  (Hebrews 12:2)

this post inspired by Kristi Jo, my friend and sister, who runs this race beside me (as do so many others)  we want to be women who finish well

sincerely,      Grace Day




I gotta guy

Yes, you read that right, I gotta guy.  But before you jump to any conclusions, (now don’t deny it, I know you have already) allow me to explain.  And I assure you, I can explain.  I do have a guy and he’s a great guy;  hard working, handsome,   smart, honest, reliable and personable.  All the things you would look for in any guy.  But he’s not just any guy, he’s my guy, my go-to guy.  No, it’s not what you think.  (what DO you think at this point, anyway?)  He’s my financial guy.  My market guy.  The guy who’s got my back. Everyone should have one such person.  There, the cat’s out of the bag so to speak.

How did I end up with a guy when I didn’t even know I needed one?  Good question.  Well, turns out IRAs and such are kind of tricky and you can’t just turn them into regular money sitting around in say a savings account.  Not without penalties and paying taxes and other such objectionable outcomes.  But there was some new rule about these kinds of accounts which took effect recently.  That would explain all the mysterious, very official looking mail I’ve been receiving over the past year in preparation for this new law being implemented. This has been mail comprised of official looking documents,  telling me about financial happenings that I do not understand, using words that I do not recognize as from my own language.

And so I did with all this mail what any normal person would do with such stuff. No, I didn’t throw any of them away, they looked too legal and arbitrarily binding to do that.  So I “filed” them,  which is to say they ended up in stacks of “important” but incomprehensible papers, stacks that I moved about from time to time, all the while promising myself that I would actually read them one day soon. (but only after taking some financial or economics classes at the local university first in preparation for the reading of my very important money mail)

So little did I know that the deadline for this change in my financial future was fast approaching.  (how could I know?  I hadn’t yet read my mail)  One day recently, I was at the bank on a much more mundane matter, which I COULD understand and take care of myself,  when I ran into my financial guy.  (no surprise, he works at the bank of course)   He clued me in on what I needed to know,  saving me hours, no days, no months of trying to decipher and understand all those letters I had ignored, on my own.  I am forever grateful.  I didn’t know I needed a financial guy, BUT I DID.   He found me, when I wasn’t looking for him.

Such a weight has been lifted.  He is looking out for me.  If I make money, he makes money.  He has my best interests at heart.  He has my back.  He will watch the market for me, I don’t have to.  (which is good because how does one “watch” the market anyway? I don’t have a clue and I don’t have to,  I GOTTA GUY doing that for me.)   So I am free to watch the clouds or the grass grow or the sunset, whatever it might be.

So, all this got me thinking.  I’m glad I gotta guy, a trustworthy, more than competent guy to deal with my temporal earthly money.  But the really wonderful thing is that, I GOTTA SAVIOR!  I didn’t know I needed one, (indeed didn’t realize just how hopeless my situation was apart from Him), wasn’t looking for one, but He found me when I wasn’t looking for Him.  My Savior has paid my sin debt on the cross, a debt I have no power or ability to pay.  He’s got my back, He is trustworthy.  And I have trusted Him with my past (forgiven) my present (He’s working in me now) and my future (He’s preparing a place for me even now in eternity with Him)

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  (Romans 3:23)

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.   . . .   But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:6 & 8)

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  (Luke 19:10)

“Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God-”  (John 1:12)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.”  (John 14:1-3)

Yes, I gotta guy, a financial guy and that’s good news.  But I GOTTA SAVIOR and His name is Jesus.  He sought me out, paid my price with His own life, He’s got my back and He’s coming back for me! And I can take that to the bank!  (pun intended)

My hope for each and every one of you, dear readers, is not that you gotta guy, but that you, like me, gotta Savior.  He is equally available to all.  “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  (2 Peter 3:9)

sincerely,        Grace Day





Zealous for Zambia

My preferred mode of transportation is my own two feet, my bicycle runs a close second and a kayak would be my third and final preferred mode of transportation.  My bent toward motion sickness, which seems to increase with the years, makes all other forms of transportation less desirable to say the least.  So what, you ask, would compel me to spend close to thirty hours in an airplane? (one way) Nothing but the love of Christ and the generosity of a sister and brother in law. Believe me, nothing else would get me on a plane for that amount of time! And so, against all odds and logic, that is how I came to be in Zambia for Camp Life. The opportunity to serve a Savior that I love in a tangible way, to make an eternal difference by impacting this temporal world, was an offer I couldn’t refuse.  Who would?

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.'”  (Matt. 25:40)   That’s what Family Legacy is doing.  These children, who are brought to Camp Life, are “the least of these” in their culture;  poor orphans, considered more a burden than a blessing to those who provide what care they can for them which often isn’t much and doesn’t include school because even the government schools cost money that they don’t have.  Without access to education the futures of these precious children don’t look any different than their presents.  They are without the hope that things can get better for them.

This is where Family Legacy comes in and makes God’s word a reality for an ever increasing number of orphans and vulnerable children.  “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress . . . ”  (James 1:27)   ” . . . Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”  (Isaiah 1:17) Family Legacy is living out James 2:15-17 every day,  “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

Family Legacy’s faith is very much alive, as their many actions on behalf of these once overlooked children show on a daily basis.  They have built and operate twenty-two and counting schools located throughout Lusaka, that these children can attend free of charge once sponsors are found for them.  You see, the opportunity to go to school is not a given in Zambia like it is here.  I was thinking that the circumstances of some of the students in my inner city school are not that different from those of the children I saw in Zambia.  But there is one crucial difference, here these children have access to a free, public education. They don’t need a sponsor to be able to attend school.  In the U.S.,  education is denied to no one.  And education is the way out of their current circumstances both here and in Zambia.  But in Zambia, the children don’t have automatic access to school. Until now, with Family Legacy in the process of changing that, one child at a time.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There is so much more to this ministry, I learned during my week at Camp Life.  Mark 8:36 says, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”  Family Legacy knows this, their goal is so much bigger than just an education, it’s a Christian education the children are receiving at Legacy schools.  At Camp Life and at school the gospel is made known.  Their bellies and their souls are fed, the first with food, the latter with God’s living word.  Temporal and eternal needs being met together.  As James says, we can’t separate the two,  we’re not supposed to.

So how can I describe to you adequately, dear readers, the ordered chaos of my week at Camp Life with eleven hundred plus campers, at least one hundred Americans and two hundred plus Zambians working with us to minister to these children for the week?  The week was well planned, with intentionality and purpose behind every activity from time on the playground (which they don’t have), to coloring time ( they don’t have crayons), to being seen in the medical clinic, to getting their pictures taken, to snack and lunch times, to singing and bible teaching times, to learning they have a Heavenly Father who loves them and a Savior who died for them, even to participating in communion,  nothing was left to chance.

We got to see some of the Legacy schools where these children are able to attend with the help of a sponsor.  Family Legacy trains and supports all the Zambian teachers in their schools, the result being that these schools offer a superior educational experience that is not available in the existing local government or community schools.  The students were eager to welcome us and show off their classrooms and school.

We also met our children in their neighborhood one day.  I walked around led by my ten girls, with our two Zambian leaders through the streets, sharing the gospel and praying with anyone who wanted to talk with us.  These surroundings felt so familiar to me, I felt I was back in Haiti in the village where I had done this exact same thing many times.  A world away,  how can we be so unique and so similar simultaneously?  But we are.  I was at home.

As we prayed with two women on their front step I was overwhelmed by the miracle of the moment, the miracle of connection to women I had never met and will probably never meet again (here), united in prayer and in the presence of the One to Whom we were crying out,  He showed up, no that’s not it, He’s always there whether I “feel” it or not.  It’s that I got a clearer glimpse of my God for that briefest of moments, so powerful in its’ impact but so fleeting in its’ duration, leaving me to question whether it really happened at all, trying desperately to capture that which by nature eludes capture because it cannot be contained. But in that moment I knew that this was what the months of preparation and the hours/days in the air were for.  They were as nothing when compared to that moment, which is probably all this jar of clay could handle. For in that briefest of moments I knew that His purpose was being fulfilled in me. Now it’s back to walking blind for me, as it should be.  (we walk by faith, not by sight)

There were other miracle moments I experienced during the week as well, just as powerful and just as fleeting, leaving me longing for more,  more revelation from my Creator.  But I will conclude here for now.  Just know there is still more.  I haven’t even talked about Tree of Life Village, where more than seven hundred fifty rescued children live in residential care and go to their own school there in Tree of Life Village, thanks to sponsors who have made this possible for each one of these children.

I talked about the sense of purpose and intentionality that infuses everything Family Legacy does.  I want to live my life like that.  I need to live here at home like I’m on a mission trip.  In truth, I am, or I should be every day.  Because every day is a mission trip if I live like I’m supposed to live.  There are plenty of opportunities right here in my own community to serve and to make a difference.  I don’t have to choose between missions here and missions abroad.  It’s not either/or, it’s both. Always has been and that’s the way it should be.

I want to live on purpose, compassionately, boldly, obediently, surrendered, with intentionality, with my Father’s eyes and my Father’s heart, listening only to His voice, walking by faith in Him alone.

Yes, I am zealous for Zambia, because that is a place where God is at work and I want to join Him there in that work.

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

sincerely,     Grace Day









something’s off

I know it.  I feel it.  Something’s off and I can’t quite put my finger on it; but it’s not me.  At least that’s what I tell myself.  It’s not me.  But I can only blame whatever it is on jet lag for so long.   The statute of limitations for jet lag has long since and very officially run out.  So now what?  To what do I attribute this feeling of not fitting so smoothly back into my old life, a life which I didn’t leave for that long, I might add?  I mean nothing has changed in my absence.  (well my grocery store did close while I was gone, but other than that . . . ?)   I’m seeing the same people, going to the same places, doing the same things that I did before,  but something’s off. And it’s not me.  Or is it?

Now as I said, I wasn’t gone for that long and I’ve been on short term mission trips before this one.   So I should have remembered this phase which follows the trip, re-entry.  I am attempting to re-enter my old life, which has remained the same in my absence, but I am changed and the fit is no longer as comfortable as it once was.  But shouldn’t the time needed for re-entry be directly proportional to the amount of time spent away?  That would make sense, a formula could be devised, and re-entry would be predictable.  I could know how long until this feeling wears off and I fit once again into the life I left with such temporary intentions, fully intending to take it up again upon my return.  Only now, it doesn’t fit, something’s off.  My old life doesn’t fit my new, changed self.  I have a new perspective because my eyes have been opened along with my heart.  Would I want to close either after what God has shown me?  Would I dare to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to what I have seen and heard, to the need and the opportunity to be a part of meeting that need in Jesus’ name?   

After all, I’m not the first person to go on a short term mission trip. Nor was this my first trip on a short term mission.  I have seen poverty firsthand, it already has a name and a face, actually many names and many faces.  But nothing has worn off, rather something has been added, become a part of me each time, making fitting back into the life I left impossible each time.  I should have remembered that and acknowledged the re-entry process, signaled by the awareness that “something’s off” and it IS me.  Re-entry is hard, I have been changed and God will help me find what fits now.  “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)   And God’s purposes are always good.  

He has changed my heart, again.  My heart needs to be continually changed. I’m so glad God’s not done with me yet.  There are ten new spaces in my heart for ten little Zambian girls whose names and faces I now know and carry with me. But His burden is light and His yoke is easy.  This is a joy to carry their stories to those who will listen and to those who might also care.  My Heavenly Father is altering my eyesight, my perspective once again; so that I might view His world more clearly, as He sees it.  Not as I would see it on my own with my selfish, limited perspective.  My Father wants to give me His eyes as well as His heart.  I just need to be willing to receive what He wants to give.

Oh, dear readers, if I could only find enough words or the right words to tell you about this Zambian experience and what God is doing there right now.  It would fill your heart with hope and joy to know that something so wonderful is taking place right now in this little part of the world, even as we go about our daily lives knowing only of the danger and despair our nightly news brings to our attention. I have often heard it said to find where God is at work and join Him there.  That is what I had the privilege of doing during my week in Zambia.

There were one thousand one hundred plus children at “Camp Life” the week I was there, the week I had come to serve.  The theme was, “God is your Father and He loves you.”  Simple, direct, powerful, life changing truth that these children need to hear, made all the more relevant by the fact that these children are orphans and vulnerable children who often have no one to care for them.  They feel they have no hope and no future.  But God’s word says otherwise.  “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”  (Jer.29:11)

As God’s words were spoken out, proclaimed if you will, to these children each day, transformation was taking place in them.  Some of it was visible, but I suspect far more will be seen later as God’s truth continues to work in their minds and find its way into their hearts.  I didn’t realize it was a message I needed to hear as well. (not that I hadn’t heard it many times before over the years)  But God’s word is living and active, new every time.  What do I have in common with these poor orphan children living on the other side of the world, speaking a different language, living a very different life?  Pretty much everything, that’s what.

With both my parents gone, I realize how much I feel my current orphan status.  I also understand having an absent or less than ideal earthly father.  I understand what it is to be lonely and vulnerable.  I am a broken child in need of my Creator’s healing touch and powerful presence just as each child at Camp Life is.  I came to “help” them  and hopefully by God’s grace I fulfilled some of that somehow, but I am also one of them.  I was “helped” as well as my Heavenly Father reminded me that He loves me, too.

We were taught God is our provider, which called to mind, “The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time.  You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”  (Psalm 145:15-16)  And that He is our protector.  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”  (Psalm 46:1)  How can such old words have such a new impact each time they are proclaimed?  Because God’s word is living and full of power.  That’s why our words have the impact that they do.  (I wrote about this in previous post “Walking Wounded”)

It’s a surprise to travel so far and feel such a kinship with those who were strangers only the day before.  I look at my pictures from Zambia as I  try to find my new “fit” here in my old life, something’s gotta give. I am forever changed again, so for now,  something’s off.  (and it is me).

more in my next post, “Zealous for Zambia”   sincerely,    Grace Day

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.”  (Psalm 68:5)






walking blind

It is said that love is blind and that may well be so.  Love isn’t the only thing that is blind, however.  There are blind ambition, blind allegiance, blind fury, flying blind and turning a blind eye.  Then there is faith, which by definition is blind.  “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)  Faith exists in the absence of sight.  If we could see whatever it was, we wouldn’t need faith. It would no longer be faith, it would be sight.

The words displayed in the entry way of my home give voice to this concept.  “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”  (Saint Exupery)  Which makes perfect sense to me in light of these words, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  (2Cor. 4:18)

Walking blind may not seem a very wise way to live at first glance.  But these words play over and over again in my head, “for we walk by faith, and not by sight.”  (2Cor. 5:7)    and my prayer becomes;  “Lord, I don’t know.  But You know and that is enough, that is more than enough.  because You know, I don’t need to know,  I can rest in Your knowing, I can rest in You.  Thank You for being the omniscient God that You are.”

Yes, God knows, God sees.  He’s not walking blind.  “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”  (Revelation 22:13)  “I am God, and there is none like Me.  I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.  I say; My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”  (Isaiah 46:9-10)

God’s not walking blind, but He requires me to.  It’s called walking by faith and not relying on my own understanding or on what I can see.  It’s trust showing itself in obedience until as the songwriter says,    “the day (arrives) when my faith shall be sight.”   Until then, I will continue walking blind, because I follow the One Who sees all things clearly and truly.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.”  (1Cor. 13:12)

sincerely,       Grace Day