He Loves a Cheerful Giver

It’s my birthday! I was on Facebook a few nights ago and I noticed I could dedicate my birthday to a cause and raise funds for a related non-profit. I chose to dedicate my birthday to a group that provides humanitarian aid to persecuted Christians in the Middle East, the Iraqi Christain Relief Council.

God has placed a great love and compassion in my heart for persecuted people around the world, particularly in the Middle East and Iraq. I’m a monthly financial supporter of the Hatune Foundation, which provides humanitarian to help Christian and Yazdi women fleeing ISIS.

When I saw I could raise a little bit of money through Facebook, I jumped at the chance. I set a goal of $340 for my 34th Birthday. It only took a few days, and so many contributed, we surpassed the goal! So far $420 has been donated! It’s pretty awesome! I have a feeling we are going to make at least $100 more than the goal.

fundraiser-goal.pngI want to thank everyone for their support. Among those who gave include my Dad, Mom, Sister, close friends, and even a single mother with a son who was recently diagnosed with cancer. When I look at the sacrifices each person made, my heart is stirred with compassion. I know the heart of God is stirred as well, and that He will multiply our gift to bring aid to people in need.

I thank God for another year to live, and another year to give. I want this year to be the year I give more than I have ever given to help people in need, both in the U.S. and around the world. Thank you all for making my birthday so special, and thank you for supporting me by supporting this cause that I care so deeply about.

Tomorrow, I am starting a drive at work to collect items for the Houston flood victims. Please pray that we collect a nice amount of useful items, which will be transported to Houston on Friday. Much love 

P.S. I want to share that for the past week, I’ve been praying for the Lord to help me regain a sense of happiness and joy. As I give to others, I realize I’m gaining much joy in return. God truly does love a cheerful giver. I also want to say that this effort was not without resistance. Within an hour of posting my online fundraiser,

I also want to say that this effort was not without resistance. Within an hour of posting my online fundraiser, one of my now ex-Facebook friends was very demeaning to me for donating to an organization that in his words “only helps other people in their cult.” I have to come against his statements

I have to come against his statements because of the following. #1, Christianity is not a cult. #2, Every humanitarian and human service organization has a target population to serve. #3, Christians in the Middle East are not the only persecuted people there, but they are a minority among the victims and sometimes victimized by other people who are also victims of the “really bad guys” like ISIS. #4, If you don’t want to donate, don’t. But you don’t have to be rude and discouraging to someone who is just trying to do something nice for someone else.

Be thankful I am helping others, regardless of who those people are. I chose this population because I relate to them. They are my brothers and sisters in the Lord, and that means they are family. In short, I lost a Facebook friend, but I gained a lot of support from people who love me and who love to help people around the world. Much love 

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His Eye is on the Sparrow

It has been quite some time since I have had anything to write. Months. I suppose you could say my soul was ravaged and I’ve been struggling to pick up the pieces and move on, most of the time drowning my sorrows in work.

But today I have something to write.

A few weeks ago, on August 9th to be exact, I posted a short video of some baby birds squawking in their nest as their momma flew back and forth with dinner. It’s not unusual for me to share little photos and videos of the sweet things I happen upon. I’ve always been in awe of the beauty of nature around me. I particularly love animals.

After work on August 17th, I met a sad sight. One of the baby birds was dead on the ground outside the post office where their nest was under the awning. I was late to my next appointment, so I texted my coworker asking him to move it to the flower bed outside the building next door. No response. I honestly forgot about the poor baby bird until today when I saw it still lying there outside the post office door near the nest.

At the time I saw the bird I was feeling sorry for myself, alone, and forgotten. My heart has been missing my mother lately. She lives across the country. My heart has been grieving the children I have not born, and the love I have lost. My heart has ached for my friends, the mother who recently lost her baby at full term, another mother whose son was diagnosed with cancer, and others.

I couldn’t leave that baby bird there again. I kept thinking of the mother bird and the other babies, and if they had continued fly to the nest, passing over this lost one every day. Its life was too valuable; I would not forsake it.

I had received a letter in my post office box from a woman in prison that I stashed in my purse. She hadn’t sealed the envelope; a simple slice of tape kept it shut. I removed the letter, marked out our information, and added a new destination.

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I used a nearby leaf to cradle the baby bird into the envelope.

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As I stood, I peeled off the sticky and sealed the envelope. A song entered my heart. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me . . . There it was, the whisper from Heaven I had longed for all day. I began to weep as I acknowledged God’s presence. None of us are forgotten.

I walked over to the raised flower bed next door at the veterinarian’s office. There was a beautiful bush with blue flowers that caught my eye. I climbed into the flower area and began to thank God for the gift the baby bird had been to me. I remembered how much joy I had as I watched the mother bird feed the babies.

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I placed the envelope under the bush and climbed off the edge of the platform. I looked back; it wasn’t good enough. I could still see the envelope. I climbed back up and pushed the burial shroud further under the brush. It’s just the kind of mother I am, I thought. The baby must have a resting space.

As I walked away I noticed some baby birds hopping on the roof of the vet-clinic and flying through the garden area. I imagined they were the same bird family the little one belonged to. They sang their song as if all was right with the world now that their brother was where he belonged, safe, and at rest.

As I climbed into my vehicle, I felt a solemn peace wash through me. Though there was a pain in my heart, I felt solid strength holding up my soul. I sensed the presence of the Lord whispering that no matter how much we feel life is over, there is still something there–the love, the joy, the gratefulness. There is still something to be thankful for.

This evening I took my two creatures out for a walk. I brought my camera along and took pictures of flowers and trees, bunnies, other dogs, a mama deer and her babies, a bunny, and even some vultures camped out on their cell phone tower (or whatever it is). I just needed to be outside, to feel, to appreciate life.

I came home and read the beautiful letter I received from the woman in prison. I thought of my brother, in prison on the other side of the country. I thought of the thousands of incarcerated Americans who feel forgotten. I prayed for them all, and I prayed for me too.

And I remembered . . . His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches over us all . . . and . . .

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.