Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rebuilding Ferguson

I have been unusually silent for me recently. I've been taking in all of the events that have been happening in Ferguson MO. Having riots and looters in my city has put me on edge, and the last few weeks have been surreal for us here. The events that have occurred happen in other cities, or countries, and not in my own back yard. I see the national news segments from my city and sit in disbelief that this is where I live. This is my home. The Walmart that was looted, I worked there for seven years. I still have friends in that store. To me, it's personal, but I refuse to return hatred for hatred. For when we do that, we don't work out the underlying issues and the problems that need to come to light and be resolved. I chose, instead, to find ways to help rebuild. I've done searches to see what's being done to rebuild my city, and I have come up with few things that are being done. I may be missing ways to help my community, I'm still looking.

Here's what I've found so far:

First Baptist Church in Ferguson has been collecting donations for different things. The most recent, which I believe ends tomorrow, is collecting cleaning supplies to make buckets for the businesses that have been looted.

Ferguson Church of the Nazarene is collecting medium sized teddy bears to hand out for "Because we care" teddy bear and children's bibles. They are collecting from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays until September 5th and will distribute them September 6th. If you want to donate teddy bears, they can be dropped off at the church office. The church is located at 1309 North Elizabeth Avenue in Ferguson.

The St Louis food bank is also accepting donations for Feed Ferguson. There is information on the front page of the site for where to donate and what they are looking for.

I have also liked the group I Love Ferguson on facebook. This group has yard signs that I have seen all over in the city (I have one in my yard) that say I Love Ferguson, and are selling shirts that say I <3 Ferg and Ferguson Strong. the proceeds of the shirts go to the Ferguson Youth Initiative and the signs are for a donation. When I was running errands with my mother today, in about a 2 mile stretch, we saw at least 75 yard signs, and that's just in a small part of the city. They also have a web site that will give you the events they are doing.

These are just what I have seen so far. I will be keeping my eyes out for anything else that pops up where we can help with restoring and rebuilding our community. If you haven't gotten involved, please think and pray about helping out. If you should find other ways, please let me know.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I've had a lot of practice with Phil 4:11-13 the last few weeks. I told my father that I think God is still trying to teach me that I can rely on Him, through everything, even when I don’t know what to do. My word for the year (one of them anyway) is contentment. I struggle with that. I see things that other people have that I've dreamed of having and I don’t think it’s fair that I haven’t experienced those same things yet. That’s how my mentality has been, especially when it comes to having a family of my own. I think that, then I laugh. I do have a family of my own, just not a husband and children. I have my parents, my siblings and siblings in law, plus my nieces and nephews that love me deeply and dearly. I've taken a look recently at some things that I have gone through in the past and I see how things would have been different. If I would be married with my own children, I would not have been able to do things like keep my sister’s kids when her second set of twins were born 10 weeks early and through the death of my niece-one of those twins, or being there to help take care of my father after he had his total knee replacement. Those are just two of the things that I would not have been able to do if life had turned out the way that I had planned. Then with everything with my recent car accident and car itself, God was once again hitting me in the head with a brick to get my attention. I see just how much relying on God to get me through and give me peace is so important. I have been learning the secret Paul had to his contentment. I am learning that the more I trust God and let Him work, the more peace that passes understanding I have. The more I am good with where I am in life. I know that it’s not all about me, and that’s odd to say because it’s my life. It’s about learning to grab a hold of the anchor in the storm, to be firmly planted on a stead fast rock, to not be moved. 
Natalie Grant has a song that’s been out for a while on this topic, and I've kind of adopted it as my life’s theme song. The song is “I will not be moved” and it’s me TO A T!

I have been the wayward child 
I have acted out 
I have questioned Sovereignty 
And had my share of doubt 
And though sometimes my prayers feel like 
They’re bouncing off the sky 
The hand I hold won’t let me go 
And is the reason why…
I will stumble 
I will fall down 
But I will not be moved 
I will make mistakes 
I will face heartache 
But I will not be moved 
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand 
I will not be moved
Bitterness has plagued my heart 
Many times before 
My life has been like broken glass 
And I have kept the score 
Of all my shattered dreams and though it seemed 
That I was far too gone 
My brokenness helped me to see 
It’s grace I’m standing on
And the chaos in my life 
Has been a badge I’ve worn 
Though I have been torn 
I will not be moved

Here’s the link to the lyrics and video