Volume 6

~ News From "Your Birthing Family" ~

Issue 11

 

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Charis Around the World

Tidbits From Ebony
by Elizabeth Carmichael

Louis Smead (as quoted by Timothy Keller):  "Pride, in the spiritual sense, is refusal to let God be God.  It is to grab God's status for your own self.  It is turning down God's invitation to join the dance of life as a creature in His garden--and, wishing instead, to be the Creator.  Independent.  Reliant on your own resources.   And THAT, is the greatest delusion.  The delusional fantasy of all fantasies."

A carpet hanging in a friend's house which depicts one of the most famous mosques in the world.  November 7 (or a date sometime close to that--depending on the moon) will mark the end of the week of Hajj and the beginning of the Festival of Sacrifice.  This is a very important holiday time for approximately one third of our world's population.  It is a holiday when they remember and honor the obedience of Abraham in offering up his son to God.....and, in turn, it is a time of remembering and honoring God who did not take the life of the boy, but provided his own perfect sacrifice to Abraham instead.  The sacrifice that God provides is always enough and never too early or too late.  He is the ultimate "Abraham," the Author and Perfector of our faith.  What an example and joy we have in this story.  What a blessing to the heart of God to remember Muslims around the world as they celebrate God's provision and seek His blessings in the coming year.  Would you show the greatest love possible to them and pray for all of His abundant blessings to be showered upon them this year?

I'm sitting on the beach in Hawaii and it is pouring rain.  Thank goodness I am under an awning.  It is pretty surreal to be writing you from this location.  So, this certainly isn't a true tidbit "from Ebony."  It is more like a tidbit from the tropics.  I have had several amazing opportunities this month to see beautiful things from fall colors through West Virginia and Tennessee, to sunsets in Las Vegas, and even the Grand Canyon...to this amazing "Garden" island of Kauai.  Our globe is definitely much smaller than we think and much more vast than we usually remember in day to day life.  I often think of our bodies, especially as they relate to birth, in much the same way.  Like a whole other universe.  Beauty, systems, history, capacity and even calm exist within their inner workings.  Our Maker is truly deserving of praise for allowing us to know and see more deeply who HE is as we look at all that He has made (and IS making) in this world.

I had the opportunity in the last month to visit the Grand Canyon for the first time. I think this picture is from my first view of it, at sunset the day I arrived. What an amazing blessing to be able to see this part of creation.

Right now I am in a time of reflection.  I am traveling and speaking to different supporters around the country.  I am on this trip with my grandparents in Hawaii for the week.  But, the whole time I am still reflecting, sometimes involuntarily and sometimes purposefully, on what this last season has been.  It has certainly been one of the hardest things I've ever gone through--to grieve at the same time as working so very hard, and to help a project, a whole community, try to reach their full potential while eventually bringing the outside sources of help to a close.

Have any of you ever seen your Doppelganger? Does anyone know what a Doppelganger is? It is like a "look-a-like." A "parallel universe" version of yourself or someone you know. This little girl is one of my sweetest, little friends in Ebony and I just met her American Doppelganger this month in Clarksville, TN! The resemblance is unbelievable, yet both girls do not speak the same language! My mom was with me and can attest to the similarity. Go figure!

The garden that was a part of our project in Ebony (the project I was helping to manage for the past year and a half) became a sort of symbol of the life, the friend, we had lost.  Probably sometimes to an unhealthy extent we associated the living things, even the colors, of that place with her.  We missed her, so we could look at the trees and remember she had lived, she was beautiful and her impact lives on.  But, we missed her...so, sometimes we would look at the trees and not always remember the hundreds of children surrounding the garden who were without food that day.  Of course, our work was MEANT for those children.  But, it is so easy to get lost in grief and pain.  It is so easy for perspective to become illusive.

A subtle and life changing season began for me in the past year when, several months ago, we began working with community leaders to discuss the end of the garden and what was to become of it.  It was a time to let go. Through their discussions and expressions I gained some perspective.  A garden is a garden. Beautiful, alive, nourishing. Like this little island I am sitting on. But, relationships..........community..........a Body........reconciliation...........eternal expression, acceptance, intimacy.  Those seedlings would not bud until they were watered in the blood of Christ.  He's showing me that these are His gardens.  A garden that is unending.  That is not lost.  Never needs to be "let go of."  That doesn't need to become "self-sustainable" for it to have value.  By our very nature as His garden, dependency is what glorifies Him most!  Our connection to Him, and to each other, is His "GREEN."

The color green means so much to me having lived in Ebony for several years, and the Arabian desert before that, and the East Asian desert (not to mention a city of concrete with several million inhabitants!).  "Green" is a FEAST to my eyes!  I love green against a blue sky.  I love green against a grey cloud.  I love it at my finger tips.  Or, mixed in with golds, reds and browns of autumn.  I just love it.  It is life giving.

How HE must delight when He sees HIS kind of green, the costly kind, in our lives.  How He must purpose, as the Master Gardener, to do whatever it takes to see His investment flourish and reach all the potential He has envisioned, nourishing gardens....lives.......far beyond the initial plot.

As you all birth and help birth babies this month, I pray your impact on the relationships entrusted to you is more life giving than you could have imagined.  And, that the blessing returns to you a hundred fold in your own life.  I appreciate your prayers as I seek to stay connected to friends and loved ones in Ebony while also reconnecting here in the States.

In Him, E.C.

This is a small bed in Ebony....people don't usually sleep on beds, but sometimes these kind of small cot things are useful to keep snakes and scorpions away while you take a cat nap. Please pray that I will receive and participate in HIS rest while I am home in the coming year 

Our International Charis Family
Your stories from around the world touch us and we pray for your safety.
Thanks, Love and Blessings to every one of you!
 


 
'Behold, I will bring them from the north country, And gather them from the ends of the earth,
 Among  them the blind and the lame, The woman with child and The one who labors with child,  together,
 A great throng shall return there...And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the LORD.'
 Jeremiah 31:8, 14
~~~
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November 2011