Writer, business woman, lay minister...mother, daughter, wife, friend...with a past and a future. This is my story. This is our story. This blog is the compilation of my experiences and the women I meet in the ministry. It is our gift to you.
*Names may be changed to preserve the confidentiality of the work we do. The facts of their experiences will not be altered. I hope to be honest, unbiased and clear; however, this blog is not a politically correct place. This blog will be used to glorify God, spread the Good News of the saving grace of Jesus Christ and to encourage other believers in their own walk.
I was on Facebook today, posting on my personal page and our ministry page, keeping up with and trying to use most of the popular social media venues for promotion and connection to the rest of the world when I happened across Sarah Palin's page. Of course, cynical me first wonders if she is actually the fingers on the keyboard but none the less, I scrolled down several of her posts, many of which have thousands of "comments". (In her defense, I did find a notation she had made stating this was her only valid and true Facebook account and any others that might be out there are not of her, by her or with her endorsement so, well at least that cynical question of mine was answered.)
She had posts about unions, White House budgets, Obama, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., America's enduring strength, the tragedy in Arizona just to name a few and the thought struck me again for the fifth or sixth time today "what do you stand for, Les?" I had literally been driving my elderly landladys' truck back from the garage for her when the thought just worked its way into my internal dialog, "what do you stand for, what do you believe in, what makes you want to rally and move and get energized?" It was not the first moment that this thought, for some odd reason, chose today to creep into my consciousness but there it was again.
A young friend of ours, just barely 22 now, is active in Young Republican's and the county Republican party here as well as other community oriented groups. She's vocal about many issues and has been taught at a young age to stand up for her beliefs through inclusion in organizations.
Other friends that Mark and I know and socialize with post through blogs and Facebook, Twitter and Linkd In social media sites those things that have their attention. They voice strong opinions, rant and state and dialog loudly about many subjects in our world, state, city and neighborhoods; everything from the current teacher funding cut backs affecting many Texas schools to the larger picture of the recent political turns in Egypt.
But for some reason, today, the thought has been nagging me? What do you stand for?
I work in prison ministry and some might say "well Les, obviously you stand for something and that's a pretty big something." I guess that's true and almost daily I deal with the obstacles that the men and women face as they enter the world outside the regimented walls of their temporary confinement. I am thrown into many facets of social injustice just by trying to help a very small handful of women transition from jail to life. Housing, employment, opportunity, social service barriers, credit histories and lack of resources to just exist for the first week once released from prison; these are but a few of the things I think about and talk about daily but what do I stand for? What cause will I throw my energy into and work my life to its end to change or solve or strengthen?
Then it hits me. It's clearly a part of one greater thing, one greater being, one greater cause that all these fall under and only ONE thing I stand for. And that ONE thing is not a THING at all but the great I AM.
I stand for Jesus Christ and ALL His teachings and ALL His ways and ALL His commands in my life which include seeing to the housing, employment, resources and lack of access to basic needs of the "least of these" He would have us remember; and not only remember, but with love and joy, SERVE.
I don't need a man made political party or an organization to follow His words with conviction and energy and vigor. For while following Jesus and stating His name with boldness may not be popular, it IS right, and lovely, and pure, and noble. Every cause which stands before us, the homeless, the hurt children, the widowed women, the incarcerated, the sinners and the saints of this world are all a part of the cause to which Jesus would have us address with our energies, resources, time and focus.
I may not stand for the popular causes and run with the popular crowd. Mark and I may quietly sit back and serve a handful of women at any given time that have come to our attention but we do so with love and caring and remembrance of a time when someone else did the same for us. We may be a small ministry with small resources, but we are working to solve the larger picture that the big organizations try to touch but sometimes only manage to do so with rhetoric.
Our lives are intimately involved, daily in the trenches where the needs hit the people smack in the face day after day as they wake up. And though we aren't yet serving thousands or even hundreds; the few we do serve feel the dedication to a cause, to a "thing" bigger than ourselves and we do so through personal service. And that service, that dedication to service isn't something of which we boast but something we do to honor the ONE who thought enough of us to create us, love us, rescue us and see to our eternal needs. So I would say, if I am boasting, that I am boasting for the wonder and power of Jesus Christ in my heart and in my life for He alone has made my heart open to taking a stand for something; something big; something lasting; something eternal.
What do I stand for? I guess as I drive down the road anymore I don't have to ask that question, I just have to find the courage to stand up and out for the less popular of causes, the less popular of opinions. I stand for this:
Jesus told him, "Iamtheway, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me" John 14:6