Tuesday, May 23, 2017


"This then is how you should pray:
'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name,
 Your kingdom come,
Your will be done, (in me!) on earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.'"  Matthew 6: 9-13

 I recognized the kids first, adorable and chattering with one another. The young man was pushing the grocery cart/truck that held them all. I looked at the young woman and realized that yes, they are whom I think.  We all head to the produce section of the store. I keep watching to see if she recognizes me. We don't make eye contact until I speak to her.  I almost didn't but I'm glad I did reach out.  

She left her husband over a year ago. I have known him since he was a little boy. These kind of meetings are awkward to say the least. Unfortunately, they are becoming more common in my life.  

A few months ago, it was once close friends who let us know they were divorcing. Then a couple of months later, our daughter informed us that she and our beloved son-in-law are also separated and have filed for divorce.  

These past weeks have been one bit of bad news after another. While in the local pawn shop with a friend, I witnessed a young child comforting her mother who didn't have enough money to pay their utility bill after paying the pawnbroker the required fee for retrieving her belongings. She was screaming at the child's daddy on the phone that she needed help.

I have witnessed a house full of children disappear because the adults of the household failed to pay their utility bill. Then when at least some of the residents return, profanity, loudly and forcefully, spews very late in the night for all the neighbors to hear.  

Another young friend had to call E-911 on a stepfather because the very inebriated man's plate of food somehow came in contact with the child's mother.

Yesterday, I sat outside two courtrooms at Knoxville's City-County Building while a friend answered a subpoena as a victim/witness in a case being heard.  I saw so many broken lives filter through that hallway and shared space.  I overheard tidbits of lawyers' discussions with their clients. So many young children having to wait while the drama in the lives of their adults got put on trial!   My heart hurt for those children and their families.

The wee hours of this morning brought a distressed phone call from another friend who was having relationship issues which had to be dealt with by law enforcement.  

We are all broken, messed up, have struggles.  The sadness for me is when I watch the children become the adult, comforting the parent, calling for help, seeing too much, and losing their innocence in the chaos.  

It would be wonderful if I could claim that my children have never been "there."  But sadly and shamefully, I cannot. I've lived my own messed up days, months, and years. My children have been scarred by their arguing parents screaming at one another. They have lived in fear of their family being split up, or maybe in fear that their parents would not split up; sometimes the lines are skewed and difficult to discern.

In my opinion, there is an answer to the madness. The Bible instructs us on how to live in peace with one another. There is no magic that will make high bills, hardships, and sickness go away. But there is a way to live in peace and harmony in spite of present circumstances. There are promises made to help us through the present bad circumstances, help us live a little closer to the Original plan. There is hope for a brighter, better future and an eternity beyond our wildest dreams.   

Your Kingdom come in me Lord today and every day. Help me to reflect and shine your light into the dark places, to comfort those who are hurting, and to point them to You.

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