Monday, October 27, 2014

Snapshots :: The Soul of a Nation :: FREE #write31days

This is the blood that pumps through every soul’s nation. And this nation is no different. There’s uprising, protest RIGHT NOW for what is the silencing.

And I want you, this nation, to know that I see it. I do not take the free things for granted and yet I know I do. It’s a yearning that’s born a million and billion and more ways over this world each day.

Freedom. Hope. Bright Tomorrow. The chance to become who you can because you have the right to it. It’s all of the straining through an oppression that you have determined will never win again. Your history bears the blood of those who died for days where you can live as you choose.

Oh soul of Hungary. I wish I had a word to speak that would make all right again. I do not know. This is the truth and it humbles. But I do know that I must live like freedom is real regardless of governing bodies and threatening tyranny of varying scope and size. Before there were nations there was God and has always been. He speaks the world into existence with the creativity that is the essence of the free. He spins a world right and there is no hierarchy only community. And this is what your soul knows in places where you see a way through wilderness. Where you tire of the despairing and look deeper for the smile to grace each morning. This is the free that calls you out of a thousand upon thousand and then decades more of the dark night.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Snapshots :: The Soul of a Nation :: DARE

It's been 10 days since I wrote a Snapshot about Hungary. And I have decided that it is ok. It is NOT for lack of content to write about this beautiful land I call home. But, it is for some pretty wonderful dreams that are taking flight and I so brilliantly chose the same month to try to post 31 days in a row and fly my dreams:) My hubby has been taking some wonderful pics, so I will round out October with as many posts as I can of words and/or pictures to humbly honor this nation's soul.

It’s a country that challenges any who really wish to know. From the language with its mysterious roots that rise tonal on the nuanced vowels to complex grammar that only Finnish can compare to, yet there is no understanding between them.

We had our first adventure into the lifeblood and soul of this nation on a late August in 2005. With ‘Nem’ for No and ‘Igen’ for Yes and ‘Beszélsz Angolul?’ for ‘Do you speak English?’ We set out to learn the public transportation that winds complex in trams and buses and trolleys and metro lines and regional rails and find the obscure of Zsúrlo u. that confounded the many nationals we asked on every form of the major and not so major thoroughfares.

It’s an adventure that’s worth the journey and all of the ups and downs and do-not-know-if-we- ever-want-to-do-this-again of that first day. But when we ascended Gellert Hill for the first time and got a glimpse of city splendor?  We sail high to the Castle District and City Park which holds its own castle that freezes in the winter for skating.

We walked a way that tourists cannot go as we came in from the 22nd district. It felt like all of the Amazing Races that have ever come to leave of a morning and find our way back of an evening. In the midst we began to know the spark that pulls you inside of this nation. You want to know because there is a fascinating cadence that matches the words that line a page long, long and longer in their beauty, complexity and daring invitation.

Sharing with Kate Motaung and the brave #fmfparty people :)
Today there is a giveaway, so be sure to click over!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#MyFaithHeroine :: Mor Mor

My heroine of the faith is my Swedish grandmother, Mor Mor (Mother’s Mother), Mildred Sandquist Martin (1913-2012). This blog post is part of Michelle DeRusha’s #MyFaithHeroine contest, in connection with the release of the book 50 Women Every Christian Should Know. Find out how to participate here. 

She taught me how to scrub clean with old toothbrushes the grimy places of farmhouse windowsills and doors whose crisscross panes carried dirt, manure and the sweat of five kids running back and forth between indoor play, feeding calves, milking cows and hayloft frolicking. 

She also taught me how to pray without pretense or pause.

Her lessons span as wide as work thoroughly done or not at all and a God whose eye is on the sparrow and bids us ‘come’.  One of her favorite phrases from her own mother was ‘you have to be a little crazy to stay sane.’ Her life sprinkled across mine is a lot like yeast that works through dough and gives rise to the kingdom of God.

She birthed eleven children whose raising began in the height of the Great Depression. Need was a gift that brought forth great inventions. So she sewed and taught her daughters the same. Her sons learned how to cook and each child knew that a morsel of bread should never be eaten without profound gratitude.

Her eleven children would rise to call her blessed and her husband too. So would forty-four grandchildren through six decades. And many of the hundred and more great grandchildren would learn at her knee or at those of who she gave herself for their bending.

She never knew a stranger and that meant their stories too. Her mind could recall the details of neighbors far into her 99 years. I saw her hold the hands of each friend brought to our Martin family Thanksgiving gatherings and look into eyes to read the lips that translated into souls who God loved and died that they might live. What early-life hearing loss stole was given back manifold in the still quiet of a spirit that never ceased to know the voice of Heaven.

Her passions ran toward conservative politics and teachers of the inerrant Word of God who stood for what is right. As the daughter of Swedish immigrants she had little patience for those who did not respect the sacrifice of God and man so that we could be free. Her loyalty was fierce and at times her opinions harsh when one she loved was wronged. But in-between and all around were moments of praise for a Savior who was as close as each nurse who cared for her. So she spoke with glinting eyes and firm grip of the God who receives us in our bent and crippled and lost and broken.

She would have given her life for any of her children. And knew the hope of Heaven when her strapping nine pound baby boy died of starvation for the milk she gave that could not reach his tender little tummy. Then at 89 years old she would touch the brow of her sixty year-old daughter, my mother, body eaten away by cancer and wish so very much she could take her place.

When news of her dying reached me slow on the other side of the ocean in a small panzio in Keszthely, Hungary, I offered up thanks for her life with a humble vow. I would write her name in my story as a true follower of Jesus. I would move towards the ceaseless praying that graced her frail hugs with hot and holy intercession. I would never forget that behind each pair of eyes there is a story and to learn to listen with soul ears. I would remember that faith means nothing if it doesn’t find the dark hidden corners too easy to neglect for the skimping busy. And I would learn to live like Jesus’ heart is mirrored in every aching tear of a lost world that is crying out for those who will slow long enough to hold a hand, speak a word of hope and offer a prayer for the story yet to be written.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Snapshots :: The Soul of a Nation :: LONG #write31days #fmfparty

I look into her face and hear the common response to ‘do you believe?’ ‘Well, yes’ she says ‘but I don’t go to church.’ Ah, rote religion…

It’s a rough path on this nation’s soul and its road home to God. There’s so much that marches through the tradition and says Sunday and church and confession and other sacrament and staying married all is what living relationship with God is. 

 These are all good things and important, but not the central. This is what I tell Sari as I look into her eyes. I tell her that it’s about relationship with the living God through Jesus Christ. This is like our physical heart that sustains our life and we are in that relationship, that life, always. So our faith is our life…morning, noon, night and everything in between.

And there’s a hunger I see and she reaches deep into my soul with the fresh desire for deeper meaning. This is where I began to love the soul here…now 9 years ago when I first looked into the eyes of a Hungarian student and saw that desire for the fresh. And really, it is this simple and beautiful this life in Jesus?
It’s a a gift I want to hold tender and full to step into the journey and walk it with the people of this nation on this long road home.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Snapshots :: The Soul of a Nation :: ADJUST #write31days

It is not easy to shift focus and adjust to light when darkness has long covered. Eyes squint and hurt for the seeing. And this is how it is for the eyes that guide the soul of a nation.

Some days it is hard to not just speak the same line that has come every day before and we all fall down. You. Me. Family. Friends. Nation. We rise up as a great wave of not really believing in the good to come. It’s a place that every person can fall into whether the complaining or the defeat or the bitter ways of deep disappointment and hurt, and it is hard for all of us. Every person. Every nation. 

And yet, I know that this soul can change; become new. I have to believe it and I do see it. When we dream with students and we all live life in hope and promise each summer around a Gospel that is the Good News and it melts hearts of stone and how can we do anything but see? And open wide for the joy and believe that this is truth and this is God’s good plan.

But then there are the days when we all go home and the light spreads thin and the places are the same they have always been. I know this story. The hope that can’t come home even when I have found mine fresh and lived in so much expectation everywhere but here. 

But the eyes they can see here too. This is what the story weaving itself through four decades shows me. And I want to pick up the lens that changes how I see the things in my life. No longer as they have

always been in their rutted patterns, but in the new gliding and flying of wings that rise up on weary and soar. And this is for all of us. For this nation. For each soul and the collective one too.


Snapshots :: The Soul of a Nation :: LIFE #write31days

A prayer for you, beautiful nation.  

I pray that you believe that the God who took on flesh and named Himself Jesus with his promise of abundant life is meant for you too. I pray that you will find seeds far and wide that can move mountains of broken jagged in your land, your midst, your families, your collective soul.

I pray that you will dream of a new day and that it is far deeper in vision and scope than the oft empty political promises that say big things but live little. That you will know and smile into your neighbor’s face as you believe for this day and the next. That you will hug your people tight and pray for healing in places that a dark Thief has claimed for too long. 

I pray that you will see what has been so long so hard to see. The hope that your soul is made for. That it is like a flame and it is meant to be fanned to life and that you will touch and grasp hands and see it spread like so much light and revive the dead places of your soul. And I pray that I have strength to carry you always with me and pray these prayers in my own dark nights and want for you as a neighbor, one of your own, who loves you like her story has become a part of yours and more yours a part of mine. Always. Amen.

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