it was given to her on her first birthday the spring she was 16. It was clean like a bounce sheet that had been warmed by the tumbling of blankets in a dryer. It symbolized how she was clean, like a unicorn that a little girl dreams up in her greatest slumbers, only better.
It was white, like a painters overalls, It was to display perfection, even the most deadly scrapes wouldn’t tear it, the most stain blood couldnt change its bright crisp white. It was a shining reflector of the brilliant light that is her Father.
It was new, this one had never been touched by whole human hands in two ways, whole human meaning nothing more than human, and also no man is pure, and this was to represent perfection remember. So impurities would wake the seams tear and the blood of mans filthy hands would make it unfit for dawning. Sin and imperfection others own would ruin it if it had been touched before she had it as her own. Her Father alone had bestowed her the honor of touching it.
It was beautiful. You could not describe a sunrise to someone who had no idea what light was, or which way is up. You would lose your own mind in trying to do it. I can’t explain the beauty of it, you wouldn’t understand, So I will simply say, it was beautiful.
it was one of a kind. there is no other nor will there ever be another like it in any resemblance. this was beyond custom-made, because this one was made for her with pieces of her sown into it, before she was even knit in her own mother.
this was for her alone, never to be borrowed or copied, never altered. this was who she is, but whats more who her Father sees her to be, which is beyond value, like that sunrise, not even she can grasp it.
now she has taken this dress for a spin or two, twirled in it, fallen off of rocks in it, out of trees, shes fallen on ice-covered parking lots behind gas stations in it. she has hidden while wearing it and lied too. she has doubted while she let it be her adornment.
though every time she fell, even if the fall was long, her Father picked her back up and wiped the dress off, it had to be the holes in His wrists, they must have magical powers that can suddenly remove her dirt again. His hands were always clean after He would wipe the dress, she would check, and that’s how she knew and remembered that He is something better than the thrill of falling.
but the best thing about that dress is that it came with a promise, a life time guarantee if you will, that came with it the day she got it,
“today this belongs to you, and you, belong to Me.
“no, I’m a new creature!”
she yelled it this time, from her gut she yelled it. and when she was done, she was ready to do it again.
“get behind me satan!”
this is what Christ said to Peter when Peter said they shouldn’t go to Jerusalem. Jesus knew that He was headed to His death, He knew. and He would stop at nothing to die for me. to carry the cross of my shame, as I stand scoffing, but now I am ashamed.
I have turned my back, Im in the corner, Im crying, I want no food, no water, no comfort, and so I scream, like a child put in time out, angry, only because I know I’ve done wrong and I dont want to own up to it.
yes, thats the reason Im there, and I am letting my sin eat my skin away, I have holes in me, thats why I hide my face in the corner, I look under my arm to see behind me, the huge lump of my sin that I shoved under the carpet and danced around is still there… all I want is for it to be gone.
want to know the reason as to why it wont?
because I wont tell the truth, I wont confess that I dont think He can remove it from me…and this is where I sigh…cause I know I am so wrong.
its loud in my head, but too gentle to be an angels voice. thats because its my Abba, He is calling me.
“my darling, come on.”
I squeeze my eyes shut, I focus on the small but booming voice, He said come, so I stand up turn around and walk out of my corner across a smooth smooth rug.
He picks me up, and just pulls me in close, I soak His shirt with my tears and runny nose, because thats the way it is when a daddy picks His darling own back up off the floor where she had just struggled away from Him, He doesnt care about the dampness of His sleeve now, it’ll dry.
He lays me down in my bed to sleep, and He brushes my hair out of my face just to make sure I see Him smile at me.
He walks over a smooth smooth rug on the way out of the door and turns off the lights, He looks at me, and in His eyes He says, “its like looking at a bright light, seeing my child clothed in righteousness.” as if He never flipped the switch.
“goodnight, my beloved.”
“night Abba…do you still love me?”
“of course I do. I will never leave you or forsake you, remember, I promised”
but she will need reminding, because as long as she is a sojourner in this land she will need His help, daily.
It was the last day I would probably be able to do this for at least a year, and I knew it.
We were going to go climbing inside that day cause outside was cold and wet. They were closed so I told you to meet me at the blood bank. You then went with me to watch me eat. I didn’t mind. We talked, it wasn’t the way I wanted it to be between us. But this is how it is. And I can’t deny that this is my fault. something is hummed in the back of my mind “but you know that its good girl…”
As you drove off with me shivering in the cold all I could think of was, life is good, cause that’s all I see every time you drive away, and this day, at this moment…life was good.
I skipped into the blood bank, eyes full of hope and praying that my veins were full of iron.
I prayed and I prayed, I had one last chance to do this for a year remember, a whole year. It had not even hit me that this was the last time ever basically.
As she pricked my finger she made a discouraging comment, “it’s really light. you probably don’t have enough iron.”
I kept my mouth shut, I waited for that machine to show me the money. 13.6. “Im sorry did you say it’s too light? well apparently light is the new iron.” boom shocka locka! I had done it, We had done it.
I could finally give.
She started the questions, which was weird for me because they know me so well there that they normally don’t ask them all. But she was new…
she asks me if I had been out of the country in less than a year. Well tomorrow would be one year since I had gone to Costa Rica and the next day I was leaving for Colombia, so I answered honestly. “Yes.” I couldn’t tell her exactly where we were there cause I didn’t know the name, I said San Jose.
All I will say is that she panicked. And so did I.
She deferred me till the end of the month. That word, deferred, it hurts a little bit. Basically it means that you’re prohibited, in this case from doing something I strangly loved doing, saving lives.
I walked out of the doors with a brave face, but this time I didn’t say what I always say, “see you tomorrow”, cause remember, my iron was up. but I didn’t give that day.
The second the big glass door shut behind me something inside me snapped. I cried. hard. all the way home. all the way up the stairs. all the way into my dad’s office. I cried. I fell on my parents bed and cried. My father smiled at me and rubbed my arm as I tore at the band aids on my finger tips and then strategically placed them back where they should have been.
He said, “God has bigger things for you, its ok.” mom said the same later.
It wasn’t ok though.
three days later:
my friends and I had come up with this silly thing we called “toll” it consisted entirely of a high-five and the yelling of the word “toll.” it was that thing you just do.
We drove to the edge of Bogotá Colombia. And we saw the toll booths, of course we took this moment to all yell “toll!” and give high fives all around.
Juan paid the toll and we drove through, first my feet, then my legs, then a finger nail, a hair, all of a sudden all of me and my blood was outside of Bogotá. and it was ok.
We spent that day doing what we do best, showing the mighty power of Jesus Christ to children who were broken. That day I was drained entirely of all emotion, energy, and stamina. and I was joyous.
We drove back into Bogotá. Toll.
To end this.
I can no longer give my blood away to save lives. I have left the “safe zone” and I plan on doing it again. I plan on living outside of the “safe zone” making a home there. It makes me sad. and no, I don’t want to go back to the blood bank for a while. But there is good news.
HE can still give blood. to save lives, and He can do it much better than I, cause He did it once and for all. His blood doesn’t go bad either, no, it will last for all of infinity. what a promise.
My blood fades, goes bad, gets light, loses iron, loses value, gets dirty. His will never.
So I can say with a smile. I can’t give blood anymore. But I can give my love away.
Stick a needle in that.
For the last 5, almost 6, years I have been privileged to be the friend of many an inner city child. when I was 12 my dad and sister started going to a little school 20 minutes from my house, but practically in another world, called Jackson elementary, I decided a little while into this venture of theirs that it was time for me to join in and be a part of what they were doing every Tuesday after school for a few hours. this was called Discovery Clubs.
it didnt take really anything at all for them to bring me along. the first day I was hooked. now these little girls were only 4 years younger than me, but they looked up to me like I was far older than them. It was like I had suddenly acquired 13 new little sisters.
what we did every week there became my favorite part of the week. I could not wait for Tuesday to come around, for me to be able to see their faces again, and sing songs with them, and play on the playground with them. without me knowing I was showing the love that they dont get from their: mom who accidentally had them. from dad, who left a long time ago. from grandma who is raising them. from big sis who doesnt even live with them because she lives with her boyfriend. they think that what the older sister has with her boyfriend is love. they think that when a boy holds a girl’s hand, that’s love.
sadly that is not what true love is.
I grew to love these girls. so deeply. when I think about them now I cry, because im almost sure i’ll never see them ever again for lack of no communication. my heart is heavy for these girls that I invested so much time and love into. each of them has a little piece of my heart, no doubt.
after 3 years at this school I was told that they had been put on academic probation so any extra after school activities had to be done away with, I know that its sad that the school had to chunk the bible club, the principle didnt want to but he also didnt have a choice in the matter.
so at the time I was 16 and I have to find a new school, they send me to one that is a little further from the one I used to go to, making the trip 25 minutes, I wasnt very comfortable with the school though, something didnt feel right, then my supervisor told me there was one other school that I could go to that a lady, who I had known all my life and actually had taught me when I was little, was at. It was called W.J. Christian…and it was in Roebuck…
…30 minutes away. was it really worth the drive?
apparently yes, because im on year two at this school. last year, my first year there, I started to actually teach a little, the teacher in my class was the lady who I grew up knowing so she let me teach a few times. I fell in love. so when this year came around, after 4 years, I was finally told I could teach. I had my very own class of 3rd grade girls!
so here I was, the veteran, with 5 years of inner city children ministry up my sleeve, also being the youngest teacher I think ever in d-clubs, and over all just the youngest person there, the next oldest being 40 something.
I am in love. I love these girls, even when they are in bad moods and talking about how they beat up boys in the hallway, and when they get mad at me because I didn’t point to them to answer the question, because I know that if they had something heavy on their hearts they would come to me, and I am there. now you’re probably thinking, ” what could a 3rd grader have heavy on their heart?” well let me name just a few things that they have come to me with.
1) my cousin was murdered last night. he was killed and thrown in the back of his car, that’s where the found him later.
2) my grandmother just died.
3)my auntie got knifed in the leg last night.
4) my mom just lost her job and my dad doesn’t have one.
they come to me in tears with these things. I cannot in my life relate to anyone of these things, no one in my family has been murdered, I still have all of my grandparents, my father has never just lost his job and my mother has never even had to have one to support the family. but I can relate with them in one way. through the love and life of Jesus Christ, there is no other way I could comfort these little girls, or dry their tears, or hold them and tell them everything will be ok. thank the Lord I was saved, for these girls sake.
so now I come to the reason I even thought to blog tonight.
I was walking into the school this Wednesday, treasure box full of candy in hand and as I walk past the dumpster that I pass every week I notice something some one has spray painted on it that I had not noticed before. I had to double take because I was startled by it. I proceed to walk into the school.
Now one of my favorite things is to walk to my classroom, and it’s because I hear this in the most high-pitched squeals every week. “miss. Haley!!!!” now that may sound self conceited, but when you are standing in a hallway, arms loaded with bags and boxes and 6 little girls come running at you screaming your name with smiles on their faces and they all tackle hug you when they get to you, you can’t help but think, ” i love this! ” and I undeserving get this royal treatment every week. Its like I have 12 daughters.
once we’re finally all in the class room, we’ve gone to the bathroom, and I’ve gotten my hug from Josh (the 3rd grader in one of the other classes) I call role, and we reinstate the disciplinary system of sticker removal, I finally start the lesson. It’s the story of Moses. now, the book wanted me to start the story where Moses is already grown and just calling on God for the plagues. ha! yeah right! I start with the beginning of his life and everything that led up to it, when I got to the part about the burning bush, Sofia (my only little white girl) fell out of her chair because she was laughing so hard at what I said.
so if you know the story of Moses well enough, you know that the last plague was that the death angel, sent from God, killed all the first born in Egypt. I’ve already had to explain why Moses was put in a basket and sent down river, and last week I had to tell them about the time Abraham almost killed his son…for God.
I don’t know about you, but its kind of hard to look a group of 8-year-old girls in eye and say, “and then the children and babies died.” I sometimes hesitate when I get to these parts and try to think of a way to make it easier to say, less harsh that is, but you cant, and so I don’t. I have to realize that death is death, and sadly these little girls, most of them at least, have had to deal with this before. I think back to something I had seen earlier that day and I finish the last plague and the lesson for the day. class is over and I head to my car. I pass the dumpster again. I bet you’re itching to know what was spray painted on the dumpster now aren’t you. ok well here it is:
I don’t know about you, but this is not common where I come from…
this dumpster is in the school parking lot, right outside the gym.
My stomach is queezy when I look at this, and my hands and eyes shake. but I look at this picture often, to be reminded.
death is real life. humans become corpses. and most of all, people are going to hell.
so how will I let this affect my day-to-day. I will let it immensely. I have a passion for children, especially ones that have a warped view of love and clear view of loss. I don’t know why, but this passion has led me to inner city ministry, and when I finish high school this will lead me into orphan ministry hopefully in Dominican Republic with the Little family.
this is me.
God, out of the infiniteness of His mercy, has dealt with man as a compassionate and tender Father. He gave him reason, and with it a law, that could not be otherwise than what reason should dictate, unless we should think, that a reasonable creature, should have an unreasonable law. But considering the frailty of man, apt to run into corruption and misery, He promised a deliverer, whom in His good time would be sent; and then declared to all mankind, that whoever would believe Him to be the Savior promised, and then take Him now raised from the dead, and constitute the Lord Judge of all men, to be their King and Ruler, should be saved. -John Locke
here are the photos melanie and I have been planning for so long. we went and got the rope and then talked about it way too much and finally we just did it. I thought at first I would not be pleased at all with the outcome. I think all the build up of going out in the woods, carrying things, climbing up in a tree on branches that should rightly be called twigs in shoes that are not made for climbing or anything of that likeness. then tieing her hands and hearing her pain as well as seeing it. watching her hands turn purple and her face change expression the instant she had to stop standing on the ladder. but l.i.f.e.g.o.e.s.o.n.
(photos of the new hair are in here too! we were so excited to finally cut her hair! she loves it and i agree, its wonderful. princess abby cut it)
everyday was more of a burden and a loss than a feather and a gain.
she hates tradition, that creates a box, and no one likes to be trapped in.
so yes, maybe shes tries to be original, but that doesnt work.
so whats next?
what if she no longer had the means to the end?
you can point out her flaws.
he face is just a paper that you consider blank, you want to fill it in for her.
and sadly, she lets you.
stop writting for her, or she’ll never do it for the right reason.
her motives are off.
she wants to been seen, to be heard, and to be praised.
but what value is your praise, your humor, your tears.
does she care about Him anymore?
does she care if He gets what is rightfully His?
by her actions, it seems not, and by her words it seems even less.
so why try?
why push through this?
maybe because she knows in her heart strings that she will never properly gain from this. but He may.