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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Reflections from Uganda: Bow the Knee



Upon my recent trip to Uganda, the Lord did a work on my heart. He broke me in places I had not yet been broken. He planted joy deep inside, in faraway corners of depths that had not been laced with joy until that point. He stretched me like tender sinew where once I was hard as stone without even realizing it. (As Ezekiel 11: 19-20 prophesies, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”)

It has taken me some days to sit down and begin to write these reflections. I had to sift through my 83 pages of journal entries that spanned our 8 days in country. Now being back “home” (though I feel somewhat away from home…longing more than ever for that Greater Country, where we shall be truly one in Spirit & Truth in His great and glorious, vivid Presence), I am ready to share in words some tokens of what the Lord has taught me.

One of the great lessons I have taken away from my journey to the Pearl of Africa has been what it truly means to bow humbly before the Lord in reverence and worship. To be quite frank, I struggle with my prayer life. I think of myself as one who prays often and finds true life in union with my Creator & Redeemer, but the distractions and physical realities of our world often cloud my vision of the Spiritual, and I let hours, sometimes days go by without communing with the Lord. When I do pray, I often “send up” a sentence or two and then get back to my continual thoughts of the day, my worries, my agenda, my tasks.

I have not taken seriously the plea of Psalm 95. A little girl named Maureen gently convicted my heart in this area. On the lakeside hill by the great and calm Victoria one morning stood little Maureen in her yellow and orange dress against the backdrop of the blue, vast lake, the clear, open sky, and the green field. Her dress gently blew in the warm October breeze as she stood still, shy, alone, and elegant. Tiny little thing she was, but with a bright and curious presence. I walked over to her and began to speak to her with love and care. The music director at Kigungu, tall and noble Dennis in his blue coat with kindness in his eyes, came over to interpret for me. Maureen would not crack a smile in her serious, little, soulful face. Like a small number of the children, she had this way of standing out from the crowds of bubbly personalities who embraced us with song, dance, jumps, and joy. She was a reflective little thing who has probably seen her share of more suffering in her few years than we can imagine in a lifetime. She did not look sad, only solemn and sincere, as if thoughts filled her heart beyond her young years.

I told her, through Dennis’s interpretation in Luganda, that she is beautiful. Her face lit up with a humble smile. We continued to connect and relate in the following few minutes, mostly through eyes and not words. I gave her some stickers, which she looked startled, surprised, and in awe at receiving. It seemed to me like it was hard for her to accept this gift…like it is sometimes difficult for us to accept gifts from the Lord. We don’t know how to respond or take them. We cannot understand His grace. We cannot comprehend where the gifts come from and how we might possibly be heirs of love.

The moment that struck me the most was when she fell to her knees to bow. I had seen the Ugandan children show their reverence for elders and those serving them time and again in the few days prior. They would bow their heads in humble thanks when they received food or any gift of love. One little baby had bowed before my feet on her knees one day in Baale, and I just scooped her up in my arms. And now sweet Maureen bowed in humility and beauty, all because I called her beautiful and placed a few stickers on her face and hands. She showed her incredible thanks and joy by kneeling on the hillside grass, ever so gently and gracefully. It was an overwhelming feeling inside for me. Was this such a grand gift I bestowed upon little Maureen that it compelled her to bow? She, a petite thing indeed, became even smaller in that moment to display a grateful heart and welcoming spirit.

How often do we show thanksgiving and reverence to those around us who share gifts with us? How much more often do we bow before our Holiest of Holy Lords, the Maker and Giver of all good gifts, who deserves our attention, our adoration, and our worship? I think, sadly, not nearly often enough. You see, we forget how marvelous and mighty, how royal and wonderful our God is. We forget to give thanks, to give praise, to be silent and still and just bow. Is it because it is uncomfortable physically or socially or emotionally to bow? Or have we just not “gotten it”? He deserves our worship. He, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, deserves our praise. It is our mandate, our calling, to bow. Until we fall to our knees and come before our Maker with such devotion and awe, we will not fully see the glory of God manifested in our lives and the world around us. We can’t make it alone. We cannot make our lives work by our own accord. We must let go, fall before the Lord, and let the Holy One be in his place to perform a great transformation in our day.

When Maureen assumed her stance again, I blew some bubbles that I had kept in my pocket. She looked up and around her with more wonder and amazement, again displaying her solemn, soulful gaze. The little thing once more seemed to be trying to comprehend where they came from and how they worked. I handed her the bubbles. I literally had to take her tiny fingers and wrap them around the plastic vile. More shock and thanksgiving in her sweet face. She kneeled yet another time. That precious little one, so meek and unpretentious, a child of poverty in the world’s eyes…yet an heir of great royalty in the Heavenly Father’s eyes. She is one of the greatest in the Kingdom of righteousness, a servant who will lead many, reflecting the rare humility of Christ we read of in Philippians 2.

Little Maureen, a child who owns deep and thoughtful character, reminded me with silent elegance and maturity beyond her years, Jesus words in Matthew 7:11 “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Maureen’s bow displayed a portrait of the importance of humility before our Maker, our Lord, our Savior, and the Giver of all good gifts.

Will you read Psalm 95 with me and praise Him on your knees today? As in the words of the Gospel of John chapter 3 verse 30, “He must become greater; I must become less.”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Uganda!

Come October, I will be embarking on a trip I've dreamed of for the last 7 years. A trip I almost took three other times, but now seems to be God's best timing. I will join other sponsors and advocates with Compassion International in one of the most beautiful encounters anyone can ever experience...We will be meeting our dear sponsored children- our young brothers and sisters in Christ. We get the chance to see first-hand what releasing little ones from the bondage of poverty in Jesus' name looks like. We will see their glorious, hope-filled faces, in the light of daunting times and great trials. We will see paradoxes of joy and pain, poverty and riches, east and west, young and old. May our eyes yet be open to more of the unfolding story of God's incredible grace. I can only wonder how our hearts will be changed forever. How that moment of embracing our young Ugandan friends, our children, our sisters, our brothers, our sons & daughters, will strike our souls forever & imprint on our memories an image of love across the continents- love that was formed through letters and prayers- love that finally meets face to face...and together we will dream and dance and long for the great wedding feast when we shall all see clearly, face to face. We shall all be together on that remarkable day- that celebration long foretold. That great encounter with the King of Kings Who will wipe every tear from our faces, Who will strike poverty as gone forever, Who will feed us till we want no more, Who will make peace where there was war, Who will show mercy where we once owned pain & transgression, Who will grant victory to those who fought a hard, long fight.

I anticipate a trip of wonder, of tears, of laughter, of photos, of songs, of celebration, of an encounter with Jesus Christ, the Living God. Will you pray with me?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Forever Remember...

Nine years ago today, innocent lives were lost because of an act of terror against this country. Families and friends still mourn to this day the beloved ones who were taken. My prayer is that we will never forget the heroism of those who risked their lives to save others, and the brave, brave souls who were steadfast in the face of terror and violence, as they met eternity. May we never take for granted the freedoms we hold so dear here in the United States. May we embrace liberty, the gift of life, and the pursuit of happiness. May we fly our flags to honor those who are no longer with us, and to honor all that we cherish here. Freedom is not free. We've been given the greatest gifts to live, speak, love, worship, and enterprise in freedom here in the US. My heart was encouraged mightily this afternoon in the City of Brotherly Love, good ol' Philly, where over fifteen thousand women gathered in faith & worship. The climax of the day could have been a number of treasured moments, but in light of September 11, it was Sandi Patty leading us all in "God Bless America" with her stunning voice, and the fifteen thousand ladies' voices echoing throughout the amphitheater. In that moment we remembered. In that moment we gave worship & honor to God our Savior. In that moment we celebrated the freedom & blessings of this great nation. We are blessed to be a blessing. Let us always remember...


In honor...here is a song I wrote nine years ago after that tragic day...

Listen to: September Sky by Caitlin Jane

Saturday, August 28, 2010

This is going to be a beautiful youth rally advocating for life! Hope you can be there!

~Caitlin Jane

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Where We Used to Be...



Thank you Marklin @ TheChurch in Salem, Oregon for this video!

A song inspired by~ Zephaniah 3...Isaiah 35...Hebrews 12

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Living Hope for Life: Caitlin Jane TV Interview

Check out Living Hope for Life television ministry!

Get a sneak preview of Caitlin Jane's entire interview on the show...
View the program online here.

During the show, Caitlin performs her not-yet-released song, "Love Stories" with Erik Whittington, director of Rock for Life!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Unborn Lyrics...

Some of you've been asking...so here are the lyrics to the song "Unborn" I wrote~

I am unborn. I cannot speak when I am afraid, you can feel a silent cry.
My eyes have not yet seen the colors of this world, but what you do to me shows me death or life.

For your choice is all I have. Your voice my only chance. Please keep me.

I am alive, my heart is beating. Innocent life, small inside I hide.
I need you all the time. Someday I'll grow up, just because of you, who cared enough to love.

For your choice is all I have. Your voice my only chance. Please keep me.

My life here is at your mercy, don't you see.
I am unborn, my entire life ahead of me. I am your baby.
The world awaits my cry and breath, I long to be held in your arms mommy.
God's depth of love for you is everlasting. In the dark, or in the light, He'll never leave.

Though I may be little, unnoticed, please don't let me stay unnoticed for too long.
God makes no mistakes. Both you and I are wonderfully, fearfully made.

For your choice is all I have. Your voice my only chance. Please keep me.
Your choice is all I have. Your voice my only chance. Please keep me.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Stepping into an out-of-comfort zone...

Hello blog world! I admit I am an avid journaler...but to take this step and journal for the world to see is opening up an entire new horizon in my life. Writing is my escape. Usually what I write is only for God's eyes to see. Now what I write here is for the world to see. I was encouraged by someone close to me to start this blog, for the purpose of sharing a little of what is on my heart these days. My prayer is that the reflections I write here might possibly encourage you to see for yourself the wonder and goodness of God. Every day I am given breath, I want to live fully and intentionally look for miracles around me. We live in a rough, fast-paced, broken world. However, God is in the business of smoothing us through the storms, slowing us down to rest, and making the broken things whole again. Maybe this blog can in some way testify to God's redemption and continual grace. Maybe it can touch one person's heart...maybe that person is you, and you just need to be reminded that you are loved by your Creator just because you are you. Take a deep breath... and realize... there is more to living than our hurried, hurt striving. There is an eternal purpose, and your heart matters to the One who shaped it. My story is nothing extraordinary, but maybe what I write can relate to your story and can ultimately point you to the Grand story God is writing...a story of beauty, love, and victory. A story of joy through pain, adventure, and mystery. A story that never ends.