Perspective: Happy Horizons Children’s Ranch

Today, the founders of Happy Horizons Children’s Ranch visited my church. They had visited our church several years back, and their mission has been heavy on my heart. It was great to see them today and hear an update.

Their main work is the rehabilitation and defense of street children in the Philippines. Happy Horizons monitors and cares for hundreds of street children, many of whom have been abandoned or orphaned by civil war, abused or rejected by dysfunctional and poverty-stricken families, and further traumatized by the indifference of the societies in which they live. They also rescue children from the sexual slavery. You can read more about their mission here.

Did you know it is estimated that:
~ 27 million people are currently enslaved
~ 80% of those are women & children
~ 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year

Glenn Garrison, one of the HHCR founders, shared a story about how children at the Ranch need to be told that they will be having meals 3 times a day; otherwise, they don’t finish their meals but rather stuff food in their pockets to save for later. They are used to eating every few days. This, in particular, struck me. My parents never gave me the “there are starving children in Africa” line in order to get me to finish my meal, and we do not participate in the “Clean Plate Club” at our house. But having overcome an eating disorder, I still sometimes struggle with knowing when I’ve eaten enough and definitely have eaten when I was not hungry because I felt like eating or the food tasted good. There are children everywhere who do not know where their next meal will come from. This striking story reminded me of the importance of giving my body what it needs and stopping there.

Glenn shared that these children are often completely defenseless. A man comes along and buys a girl a meal and a nice dress and she feels indebted to him. Many of these children don’t have a name and don’t even know their birthdays or how old they are.

I can’t help but think of my own children. Jesus said “whoever welcomes a little child in my name welcomes me.” The Garrisons are doing exactly that. It’s an important work. Check out their website and support them if you are able.

Practicing Acceptance in Personal Growth

I had a great conversation with a friend via Facebook chat the other day, and thought I’d cut and paste the highlights for you all 🙂

The question was raised: how do I know the difference between giving myself grace and indulging my struggles? How can I tell what I should be praying for? What does God want me to work on?

I shared that one of the keys is to practice self-acceptance.

Practicing acceptance is about accepting where and who you are today and at the same time, trusting that God cares about your personal growth. I believe we are called to practice acceptance not only of our circumstances, but of our limitations and strengths. Practicing acceptance is about trusting in the Creator and whom He made you to be, and trusting that He is also the Potter and is in the process of molding us.

I always love to share this: If you are a believer in and a follower of Jesus, You & God are friends. I said to my friend, just like in our friendship, if he offends me, or even if I see that there’s an area in him where he could use some growth, I would tell him.
So will God! And He’s even more emotionally healthy than I am 😉 So if we’re in communion with Him, we don’t need to go on a fishing expedition to figure out what needs to be changed. He will reveal it to us.

He is also our Father, and a good, healthy Father disciplines His kids with gentleness, not punishment. The goal of discipline is growth, not shame, and definitely not condemnation. God will gently reveal to us, with His still small voice, the areas that could use some work. As I shared above, we don’t want to go fishing in areas that God isn’t calling us to fish in. Instead of making a to-do list of “Areas I need to be aware of” (though it’s not bad to be aware of them), we are to allow God to show us those issues when He wants to.

Our prayer should then be, “God, I trust You, as my Father and as my friend, to continue to work in me. I trust that You will reveal to me, whether in prayer or as I go about my daily life, what I need to be aware of and what needs work. I open my heart to Your discipline and Your still small voice.”

Regional Conference Update

What an amazing conference we had this past weekend! Union Center Christian Church could not have been more warm and welcoming. They had an amazing crew of volunteers (140+), a truly talented music team for me to work with (you guys rock!), and a great turn-out (as of Friday night, including walk-ins, 215+ were registered for the conference). And Joe Dallas was encouraging and challenging as usual. My testimony was well-received, and I got a ton of great feedback about the songs I shared.

One of my favorite things about Exodus conferences is reconnecting with old friends! You know who you are 🙂

For those of you who are looking for the lyrics to the songs I wrote, here they are, including one recording (I hope to have the other 2 up soon – will let you know when they are posted). If it’s easier to just download the chord sheets as a document, I have some of my worship songs posted here. They are free for your use, but please do give me credit, as they are protected by copyright.

And here is an iPhone picture from the rear lobby, where my husband Roy was sitting with the baby, and the words of my song on the big screen. Fun to see 🙂

Exodus North Atlantic Regional Conference This Weekend!

If you follow my posts on the Exodus International Blog, you know that the Exodus North Atlantic Regional Conference is this weekend! In fact, my family & I will leave tomorrow to attend an evening music rehearsal. Pray for us! My kids don’t always love the car 🙂 I’ll be leading the music, as well as sharing a re-worked version of my testimony, entitled “What’s in a name?” I’m quite excited. I’ll definitely share the testimony either here or over at the Exodus International Blog – I’ll let you know 🙂

Hope to see you there!


I got the best compliment yesterday. I bumped into an old friend at a ministry event. We got to chatting, and he said I seem “at peace with life.” He definitely got me thinking.

Peace, like so much else, is really a choice. I have a choice in how I allow myself to respond to the chaos and challenges I face every day. The Bible has quite a few references to eagles, and in particular God raising us up on eagles’ wings. I recently learned that during storms, an eagle can be found soaring above the clouds, totally unaffected and almost unaware of the storm raging below them.

That’s what I want to experience. When the storms come, I want to know that I know that God is in control. Just as Jesus rebuked the waves and the wind in Matthew 8, I can choose to trust that God is Lord over the storms in my life. He may not have caused them, but He has power and dominion over them.

So yes, I do feel very content, peaceful, joyful – even happy lots of the time. It’s been a long road to get to this place! I can only pray that 10 years down the road, I have even more moments of peace in my life.