Why It’s Okay to Cry

Apparently if you try to carry a vintage sewing machine through an airport security in your carry-on, you can get yourself patted won.

Even if you have all your white hair wrapped up in a bun and you are wearing worn Reeboks with your skirt.

Mama just took it like a grandma, thanked TSA, grabbed her bag with said sewing machine and marshalled us like a battalion: “Let’s keep moving!”

Five hours later, nine of walk off the plane in Port au Prince, Haiti.




A woman in turquoise turns around in a line and says, “Hey. I’m at 500.”

It takes me a minute.

I’m slow like that.

And there are women counting gifts at the Port au Prince airport, and when we get off the bus in Titanyen, and at supper that night with rice and beans and in hot winds, and the whole busted world is full of glory gifts and just keeps spinning like an unstoppable revolution because that’s the point: When thanksgiving hits a tipping point, it becomes thanksliving and catapults us straight into the will of Christ.




A gecko flashes across our wall right after we open the suitcases.

Malakai wraps himself like a mummy in his mosquito net. Mama wonders about sleeping in that top bunk: “If I’m not thinking, that first step in the morning could be a killer.” The children at Mission of Hope Haiti fill the church on Sunday morning with singing like a storm sky rent open in the heat of July and I didn’t know I’m a parched field.

The hymns keep ringing off the rusted tin roof. They are bringing in busloads of mothers holding babies, girls in bows and baubles. They’re singing in Creole. The Farmer’s following the shaky projector on the wall and singing Creole like it’s his second language. I’m settling for some pretty bad lip syncing. I don’t understand a word of it. But the understanding of God can pulse loud and clear in your veins.




The man behind me is holding a Bible wholly duct-taped. A woman in the wood slat pew two rows over turns with her battered Bible to show the woman behind her a verse, like she’s just found something glinting like a diamond and it’s free and it’s all hers and she’s sharing it.

And the man sitting next to me wears a white shirt with “Foodland” embroidered in red on the pocket and he’s got his hand raised like he’s waiting to be struck with lightening.

When was the last time I stood in church expecting a jolt from God?

I raise my hand like a confession.

The man with the green duct taped Bible, he’s holding both of his hands up.

The music splits open.

And a teen mother in the bench in front of me, she slings her baby over to another willing shoulder, and she falls to her knees right in front of me and sobs like a child, her hand lifted over her bowed head, bare palm waving a bit like a leaf before God.


And I look down at this quaking barely hand. What if the American Dream is a false religion that preaches God alone isn’t good enough?

I look down at this girl’s shoulders wracked with a hallowed repentance, her sobs lost in hymns, in Him, and when did North American comfort-induced numbness ever lament like this? I want to touch her hand–

Blessed are those at the end of their rope because they can be tied to God.

I am taught and on my knees.

Blessed are the broken for they can be gathered into belonging.

Something inside me breaks.

Blessed are those who find themselves wholly empty, because they have space to be holy filled with God.

And the Sunday morning singing in Haiti is like a storm sky rent open in the heat of July and I didn’t know I’m a parched field and I open wide and turn my face toward heaven and when was the last time I wore a Bible till it was duct-tape thin and when was the last time I ached because I was soup poor and when was the last time I didn’t have any language at all to shield me from God?

“Only he who cries… is permitted to sing…” is what Bonhoeffer said.

Only he who cries… is permitted to sing….

Only those authentic enough to lament, are authentic enough to love.

And these people know how to sing.

And then they’re singing in English and it’s a clarion:

“Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that you’re my God.”

And I’m raining.

When everything is stripped away and you have nothing left and in all your bare vulnerability, there is communion with God. 






Family Mission Trip #1

When Lent & Valentines Collide: 40 Days of ThanksLoving


Join us? And happily change everything by keeping your own crazy list of One Thousand Gifts? Dare you to Joy! Take the dare to Fully Live!
1. Grab January’s Free JOY DARE Calendar with 3 daily prompts to go on a scavenger hunt for God’ gifts … {or write down any gifts you choose. Use the free app.} 2. Count 3 gifts a day and you have over #1000gifts in 2013. Jot them down in the new numbered One Thousand Gifts devotional journalThe Farmer’s writing in his with a red pen and daily – the numbers in the journal already there! Motivating… 3. Share your gifts everyday in our beautiful Facebook community to enter everyday for the monthly $100 Amazon draw (or link to your blog post with your list of gifts). 4. Count #1000gifts in 2013 and enter to win a Nikon DSLR camera with lens. Slow Down. Savor Life. Give thanks. Believing something is one thing. But the Best only comes when you decide to Be Living it. Please, jump in, make your life about giving thanks to God! — Just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other in our refrain of thanks by sharing the community’s graphic within your post.
Give thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever!

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