God is listening (even if Wendy Davis isn’t)

A friend of mine told me last night that he doesn’t talk to God because God doesn’t talk back.

Well…

He does actually.

In fact if you cultivate ears to hear He can be quite specific. The problem is we tend not to listen (sort of like Wendy Davis, apparently…where is that woman?!)

I know. You think I am a nut. But whether you believe it or not I blame some of that on God listening.

Let’s take the pink sneakers for instance. I was pretty disgusted by the way the media co-opted the story of five month old unborn babies getting torn from life itself and made it a cozy-cute story about footwear.

I kept thinking about all the dead children who will never wear their pink sneakers. So I prayed–God, if you want me to do something about this help me find a pair of tiny pink sneakers.

I think I kinda upped the ante because I went to a single resale store and prayed again–ok, God, I need the perfect slippers. I had to hunt a bit to find the kid’s shoe section. There were only a handful of shoes there, but the ones I had prayed for were sitting on the shelf. God listening.

Every story changes if you believe in an interventionist God. It changes again if He is a God of love. Again if justice is in His strong right arm. And finally if you acknowledge He expects something from you.

He does. Are you going to listen?

Don’t know how? Not that hard. Try this–

Read something from the Gospel every day.

Turn stuff off. Candy Crush may be great, but God takes focus.

Look for signs of His presence, power, and love–you know, sunsets, kittens, Leonardo da Vinci. Stuff random and senseless can’t do.

Ask Him.

I have known God personally for years, some of them tough and effacing. In all that time there has not been one question He hasn’t answered.

He is worth the trouble, the quiet, and the separation from the herd. Let’s face it sometimes the herd can get a little noisy, pink sneakers and all.

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Just: a book review

No one in their right mind writes a book review of their own book so people don’t have to read it.

So here goes:

I wrote Just because books had helped me through some tough times.

It is not a work of literature. It is a cry for help. I wanted to add to the voices of men and women who had helped me–mostly celebrity survivors who had been courageous and told their stories. Oprah, and Ellen, Sugar Ray, Ashley Judd, and Todd Bridges…

What would have I done without them?

So this the story: we fostered and adopted children damaged by neglect and abuse.

Life with them was so hard. It became even harder when we found out my adopted son had molested some of my children and others.

We pushed for legal consequences.
We dealt with the damage.

I was surprised by how little protection the justice system gave us. The book was a cry for help and a warning.

What I would add to that as an epilogue of sorts is that there is another book too painful and personal to write about what I call the shunning syndrome.

If you are brave or foolish enough to speak openly about being victimized by sexual abuse, you lose almost everyone you love.

Tough book to write. Even tougher to live. Par for the course for humans–we let our wolves drive our flocks.

But beyond the lonely places, we are fine (thank you).

Prayers for my reactive attachment disorder children

I face this story every day, every moment of every day:

Once upon a time there were two teens. They both came from stories of neglect and abuse. Someone had hurt them by not giving them safety. Others by transgressing the most basic law of love–don’t hurt a child.

They hooked up. Had kids. Wandered into ways to dull the pain and longing in their hearts.

The children were so young but they still remember hunger, watching their parents leave them locked alone with a single cupcake to share among them all.

Longing. We all long for something–love, truth, justice. But what if that longing is never heard? A child cries but no one holds him? A little girl lives with a gnawing ache for food.

What happens when the search for love and safety comes up empty before they are one or two or three?

I watch her face in each picture. She never smiles. I want to say to her mother–pick her up, snuggle with her, talk baby talk to her and feed her. That is why you get wic, so she can be full.

Break the cycle, girl, for God’s sake, break the cycle.

What is it like to be raised by wolves?

Better than this. Wolves are social animals, willing to hunt for their young.

I search for answers, but there are few that satisfy. I cringe at memory–my own exasperation, impatience, and exhaustion. So many things I would do better.

I say that ruefully knowing that the maxim I had at 27 was true and mattered–regardless of the raggedy look of things. You must hold on. They need years of you just being there.

I am here. I won’t ever leave you.

He asks if we can meet. I say yes, but only me. The others are not ready.

Ready is a placeholder for heartbroken. Reactive attachment disorder can seep into the lives of everything it meets. It takes no prisoners.

I pray. I pray all the time. I pray they do not hurt or kill or disfigure. I pray for safety. I cast about for anyone or anything I could enlist to save them…from themselves. The longing for mother’s love turns to drugs, alcohol and reckless touch. Wires in a machine all shorted or circuited wrong.

Nothing will work but love, and by love I mean compassion. And by compassion I mean Jesus. I do the only thing that makes sense when the disease at the heart of your child is terminal–I cling to the feet of God and say, Save these babies, resurrecting God.

Welcome to the Post Christian Era

I once lived in a country without religion.

Yes. There were churches. With cameras and careful supervision.

They knew who came and who went, they controlled each dry scrap of bread.

But were these churches christian? Was this Christianity?

Bells can ring and bells can toll.
We should recognize the difference–a matter of life or death…