Mercy Me! I've got work to do.

Mercy Me — I've got work to do! making the world a better place – starting with me.


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Heaven is for real; Earth is for miracles

You know that big spread in the high school yearbook where the senior superlatives tout the “most attractive,” “most athletic,” “best all around,” etc.?

Well, I didn’t get one.

Instead, I was on another page in our yearbook where there were more non-traditional, dubious superlatives assigned. Some were “Eddie Haskell Award,” “Biggest Flirt,” “Most Likely to Burn Down the School,” and “Could Give the Best Dirty Look.”

The one picked for me was “Most Gullible.”

I like to think it was a fancy way of calling me nice. Or, maybe someone just told me that is what it meant and I believed them.

In any case, I have not bought any swamp land, taken any wooden nickels or sent any money to Nigeria, so I think I am doing okay.

Still, when the book, Heaven is for Real came out and I learned the story of Todd Burpo’s son, Colton, who went to heaven during an emergency appendectomy, I believed it.

I believe in God, in miracles and in heaven, so to me none of it is too far-fetched.

Miracles are all around us. I think we just get kind of numb to them. We go to the beach and we forget to marvel at the vastness of the ocean teeming with exotic life. Someone has a baby and we may think to make a casserole, but we don’t stop and think how absolutely phenomenal it is that a man and a woman can create life.

But Colton went to heaven. Heaven.

The Burpo family gave a talk at a nearby church tonight and my family and I attended. I didn’t go as a skeptic, but as a believer.

Burpo talked about how angry he was with God when he thought he was going to lose his son. I loved that he went to God with his anger. I think our inclination is to turn away from God when we feel such rage.

As Burpo tells it, while he was raging on God, his son Colton was sitting in Jesus’s lap. I thought that was such a poignant image to think about. When we feel angry, ignored or betrayed by God, it rarely occurs to us that He is indeed with us, embracing us. We are always in His care.

Burpo, a pastor, spoke about his struggle with faith when he was confronted with his son’s account of heaven. Perhaps, that was what was hardest for me to grasp.

I had no trouble believing, why did he?

But then I think of what it is like before the book, the New York Times Best Seller’s lists, the movie, all of which validated the possibility of this miracle. I thought of the clarity of Colton’s claims, some of which go against traditional church teachings such as animals being in heaven. I thought of Burpo putting his career and reputation on the line to stand up to such an incredulous notion that a child that never even died went to heaven — not came from heaven, but went to heaven; sat on Jesus’s lap; saw the sister who was never born; hung out with some angels and then came back to this reality which is not nearly as pleasant, but that we are all more comfortable believing.

And, I understood his doubt and was left in awe of his faith to work past those doubts, to take the risks that he did and to share his miracle with the world.

One of my most favorite things that I heard Burpo say though was that his son was not special. I believe him. I listened to Colton speak and I listened to him sing. I think he is a great kid. But so are my kids and so are yours and so are the ones in Africa, China and Timbuktu.

I believe in an extraordinary God and I believe in the ordinariness of His people in the sense that none of us are without sin. I believe in equality and although it is lacking on earth, I believe that God loves us all passionately and individually – but not one more than the other. I do not believe that He has favorites. I do not believe He gives out superlatives.

Colton experienced a miracle, and I bet you have too. We need to remember to look for the miracles in our lives because they remind us of God’s enduring love. They strengthen our faith and help us get through times of doubt.

His miracles are never ordinary, but I dare say they are often. Whether they get shared with the world or not, whether you believe in them is up to you.

As for me, “Most Gullible, Class of 1990,” I choose to believe.

If you have experienced a miracle in your life, please share it in the comment section. If you believe in miracles, please share this post with someone. Praying for miracles today and the openness, the willingness to notice them.


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Forget everything ~ a heavenly goal

My oldest son was talking about his goal to compete in a surfing competition someday, and my seven-year-old retorted with a goal of his own.  “My goal is to go to heaven,” he said matter of factly.

While I was pleased with his response, I was also surprised by it.  Like you, I am used to hearing about typical goals – to lose weight, pay off debt, get promoted, buy a bigger house, be more organized, blah, blah, blah.

And I get it, that blah, blah, blah is important.  It keeps us healthy, housed and hopeful.  But, does it help us get to heaven?

Sometimes, chasing goals can make our lives hell. We have all been there, where we put our jobs before our families, our wealth before our health and our earthly gods before our one true God.

We live in a world where distraction is everywhere, so much so that it has become a medical diagnosis.  Communication with others has become so constant that it’s contemptible.  We have become too harried to spend time seeking God’s haven in churches.  So, we shop the countless rows of books on happiness in search of solitude.

It’s sad, really.

106My same son for a school assignment was asked to write about being President of the United States.  He wrote: “If I were President I would help everyone who needs me and follow the corporal works of mercy and the spiritual works of mercy.”

Obviously, he knows about my blog and I am sure that influenced what he wrote.  Still, last year as a first grader he wrote for this same assignment, “I would help the poor. I would have lots of family and I will love them.”  (He also wrote that he would live in Canada, wear jeans and a tee shirt and have a parrot.)107

Children get what we adults don’t — service and love for others is our true calling.

What if world leaders did indeed follow the works of mercy?  What if the rest of us did?  What would our world, communities and families look like?

Sometimes when I am explaining my blog to people I tell them that even if they are not religious or don’t believe in God, if they did works of mercy, they could make the world a better place.  How can anyone be against that?

“What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 9:31

It is so simple even a child can understand.

When I was younger I questioned whether I wanted children.  I really wondered why people had them.  It seemed almost narcissistic like people who had them were so vain they needed to make a miniature version of themselves.  Perhaps they needed to count them among their trophies like their house, job and cars.  Or, live vicariously through them and once again be a baseball player or ballerina.

I don’t know what changed my mind, but I came to badly want them.  Now that I have been a mother for more than a decade, I think that God gives us children to help us forget what we have learned as adults.  Perhaps He blesses us with children so we can re-learn how to love without inhibitions, forgive without grudges and serve without pretense.

It seems that we start life on the right path and then somehow get lost among the spectacle and distraction of the world.  Or, we get so beat down along the way, that we no longer believe we are worthy of the righteous path.

No matter.  Because as aged and wrinkly as we become, to God we are still His children.  He loves us like a parent and wants to protect more than our existence, but our eternal soul.

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  — Matthew 7:9-11

I know that life is often hard.  But we might be guilty of making it harder than it has to be.  Perhaps if we scaled back on some of our earthy goals and embraced a little more imperfection, we can be more ambitious in our pursuit to heaven – and even enjoy more happiness while here on earth.  Acting more like children of God, even after gravity has set in, will help us be more loving and accepting of one another.

I figured out a few years into my parenting gig, that my children are smarter than I am — and not because they can do harder math either. It is the transparency of their innocence, purity of truthfulness and perfection of an open heart that makes them much wiser than their mother.

I think it also makes them closer to meeting my son’s goal to someday go to heaven. “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” — Matthew 18:3.

So, what is my goal?  It is to forget everything being a grownup has taught me, so that I remember what is so easily forgotten, I am first a child of God.  Everything beyond that — is nothing at all.