More Than Enough

Give a gift that will really make a difference.

Ghanaianmothershope's Blog

By Kimberley Langston

It was February and I sat in Sunday services at Christ Church for the first time since probably Christmas.  Adding a third child to our already young family, along with my husband’s aggressive travel schedule, had hit me hard and we simply hadn’t made it to church in more than a month.  Despite being a “single mom” that weekend with my husband gone again, I felt an urge to load up the kids and get to church, so I did.

kim-and-kids

We had guest speakers that day – Debi and Mercia – who were speaking about the Ghanaian Mother’s Hope mission, how we could join the mission team, and for those less adventurous, how we make a difference by sponsoring a child.  I had heard the sponsorship message before.  Our parish was already sponsoring a Ghanaian child and I had added to collection box many times.  That seemed…

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Advent Yearning

I love Advent. In some ways, it’s like the hush before the storm. It is a kind of holy anticipation. These four (long when I was a young person, now very short) weeks build up to Christmas, the celebration of God-with-us, the Creator of the universe entering our world, and if we have room for him, our hearts.

A benefit of two years on the sidelines, first with illness, then (hopefully) temporary disability, is a forced stillness. When I can’t run out to the store, join folks on a sail or out for dinner, or even take my dog, Lily, to the beach, there is time to listen. To ponder.

Life in the slow lane is a pace that favors depth. Wells aren’t dug with occasional jabs at the dirt. Our very full, very busy modern lives too often pull us along, blurring our vision.

At that pace, we often fail to see the hurting around us. We don’t have time to intervene, even with a phone call or letter, in situations of injustice. No wonder so many want the government to take care of everything. Otherwise, we might have to step into the gap.

For instance, did you know that if every church in the U.S. supported one family who adopted one child out of the foster care system, there would be no child left aching for a home and place to belong?

Way too soon after my mother died and I released the caretaker reigns, I have had my daughters taking care of me. Somehow, this has made me more aware of the finite number of days remaining in my life, and consider my legacy.

With all this time to think I am more aware of how crazy our values can be in First-World living.

Getting the just-right paint colors or new refrigerator, a new car or grown-up toy can so easily distract from eternal needs.

What would you say if an angel appeared, telling you that God is ready to transform the world through you, but it would mean completely changing your whole life, ruining your immediate and far-ranging plans, maybe even shredding your reputation, and cutting your heart with the deepest pain, along with the greatest joy?

Could you join that Advent journey?

Or would you rather stay safe with Santa and the elves?

Well, fortunately for us, Mary already got that call, and answered well.

But we are each created to be and do what no one else can do. We each have eternal value to live, and to share.

I pray you will join me this Advent, feeling that tug, the yearning for our lives to matter, to be able to love much, and to reflect the Love that will someday return, on the Second Advent, to put all things right.

What is this time of the year like for you? What are you yearning for?

Halloween? No thanks.

I won’t be home for Halloween, and I must admit, I don’t mind. Unlike my youngest daughter, who has turned it into a warm neighborhood event, the best I have mustered is handing out stickers instead of candy. (I don’t use sugar, so can’t see giving it to children.) However, my feelings about Halloween go much deeper. It’s the darkness.darkness

Sure, a lot of people make cute costumes and have fun parties. I did that as a child and loved it. I enjoyed trick-or-treating with my brothers, gathering the haul of sweets that had to last us until Christmas. Bobbing for apples, carving Jack-o-lanterns and eating an apple on a string were great fun, too.

Back then, I didn’t recognize darkness. At least, not conceptually. I certainly felt it. And more, I lived in more darkness than I realized.

As an adult, when I learned what my father had been involved in, and the important part Halloween plays in the gruesome practices, I wanted to ban the celebration entirely.

I certainly never dressed up as a witch again. Give me animals or fairy tale characters any day.

What concerns me about Halloween, for our culture at large, is the growing, blatant familiarity with, and for some, preference for darkness.

Have you noticed, there is a trend toward more elaborate decorations for Halloween than for Christmas?

I know the darkness cannot overpower the light. I’ve read the last chapter.

It isn’t ghoulish rubber masks or pointed hats and brooms that bother me, so much as what they represent. It’s not all fantasy.

I am well acquainted with the way darkness can twist lives, damage children, tear families apart, even drive some to take their own lives, or other’s.

Evil is real.

In our world full of discord, public and personal ugliness, polarization on every side, selfishness, addictions of all kinds, and with an astounding market for child sex slaves and “private” porn, I don’t want to even play with the shadows.

I’ve seen what happens in my life when I’ve shifted my focus from what has harmed me to what blesses me. Have you?

I’ll chose the light, every time.

It does matter what we celebrate and honor, where we focus.

When Paul was in prison in Rome, and eventually died there, he wrote what some have called the Book of Joy to the Philippians. He could have looked at the moss on the cold stone walls, the chains, the guards, and the whispers of his eminent death, and gone into major depression.
Instead, he writes:

…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9