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.


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.


Ice Bucket Challenge – a patriot act

Who knew that dumping a bucket of ice water over your head in the name of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis would become a favorite American pastime?

My Facebook page has been inundated with friends paying forward ALS challenges. I have heard the chilly screams of just about everyone I know, voluntarily drench themselves with icy water.

I am not sure if we are creating a country of masochists, but I kind of like it.

People who normally refrain from such shenanigans, seem almost eager to partake. Even young children who are not old enough to know what USA stands for much less ALS are participating in the phenomenon, leaving me to wonder if their generation will believe pouring cold liquid over their heads is just something we Americans do.

It fascinates me that in a country that often seems so divided by politics, religion and social issues; we unite in this effort to raise money and awareness for ALS. As buckets of ice water are filled around the country, there is this collective energy and enthusiasm for doing something good.

That is what this country is about – goodness.

I think sometimes in all our bickering, we forget that. We forget to be united and we forget the power we have to implement change when we work together and pitch in.

We are often so divisive, defensive, and disdainful of opinions or beliefs that stray from our own. Intolerance is something we justify with the million reasons that support our own point of view.

Yet, somehow when it comes to dumping ice water on our heads to raise money and awareness for a devastating disease – we plunge right in.

There are thousands of worthy causes out there. All of which have real people, fellow Americans, who are in desperate need of services, of a cure, of a safe place to sleep at night.

These are people who are in need right now and who will still be in need when our heads have dried and we have ice in our freezer again.

ALS is a devastating disease and I am hopeful that the awareness it has received through this social media campaign will bring us closer to a cure.

But I hope too that it brings us closer as a country – more aware not just of the suffering of a particular disease, but aware of the impact we can have when we unite.

I know Uncle Sam might be a little perplexed by all the icy water overhead, but he would not at all be surprised that we united when we were asked to and that great things happen when we do.propaganda-i-want-you

So in the spirit of good ol’ Uncle Sam, the spirit that is America, I WANT YOU to do something kind for someone in need. Pay forward a blessing you have in your life. Listen a little more. Talk a little less. Slow down. Notice. Donate. Volunteer.

Remember your fellow American. Ask not what he can do for you, but what you can do for him.

Be a patriot and make our country a little kinder. No ice water required.