On Giving in Love and Kissing Orphans

***Wrote this on the plane home from Miami last month, but failed to publish it on time, so ignore the confusion your brain may send you on.  I'm home and I have been, but I did just love these books I read on the beach.  

In keeping with my goals for the month - heck, in keeping with my need to grow and not lose my mind on the other side of our busy season, I buried my nose in books and laughed too hard with my sister and ate too much food with my parents on a little trip to Florida.  Oh.  So.  Lovely.

Something that I keep coming across and being hit with when I spend time reading God's word is love.  Loving others.  Sacrificial love.  Meeting needs out of love.  Mmmmmm.  And you know meeting needs is my absolute favorite.  When I can connect a giver and a receiver and play a role in the interception my heart overflows with joy.  But so often, even recently, I get so caught up in my ability to be efficient and my ability to smoothly and effectively do immeasurably more than expected when meeting a need.  When I should be so caught up with loving.  With loving deeply.  And genuinely.  And clearly.  And from the deepest and most pure place my janky self possesses.  And with the love the Lord gives me.  And with the love the Lord has shown me time and time again.  Because it isn't really my need to meet or my efficiency or my anything - it's God working in me.  It's God providing opportunity.  It's God giving me chances to show his love to this little slice of the world.  It's God giving me books to read, a beautiful place to rest and relax with a mind that keeps trying its best at listening to His lead.  So the books….

"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins."  1 Peter 4:8

My heart broke into a million little pieces as I read Push by Sapphire, an amazing poet who penned the tale of a young woman who grew up in horrifying sexual abuse.  She had two children, fathered by her own father.  That's right.  The first she birthed at age 12, was born with Down's Syndrome.  Precious, the young woman whose voice the book is written in, could neither read nor write at the beginning of the book, until love hit her life in a big way.  After being sent through the system with little to no care shown in finding out why she still had accidents while sitting in class at age 7, why she didn't always perform well in school, why she lived a life where sexual, physical and mental abuse began at the tender age of 3 years old, a teacher came into her life and wrapped her in love.  Committed to loving her in her horrible days, her days of improvement, her freedom from the home that ruined so much of her spirit.  Love.  That's all that happened.  Meeting her need to learn to read with teaching and an intense love shown in teaching Precious to love herself.  Oh goodness, my heart broke as I read and read.  I grew angry, but more importantly the Lord keeps growing a love in me that jumps out of my chest when I meet folks who I can work to understand and help, through love.  I can hardly wait to get my hands on the movie made from the book.  And I'll warn you, you're welcome to my copy, but it will wreak havoc on your insides.  It's beautiful.  And makes you wish to be more kind to each soul you encounter, because we really never know, what sort of life they have lived.

Love.  Loved Jose Villa's wedding book, Fine Art Wedding Photography.  When all of you sweet folks ask who will photography my wedding, I tell you I've got it all planned out and Jose's the man….if I'm lucky enough and can part with nearly all of my Benjamins.  Regardless, his work is incredible, breathtaking and fills my insides with the warm fuzzes each time I take a gander at his blog.  I strongly recommend that all my photographer friends take a few to read through his thoughts on both the technical side of our industry as well as the people side.  The loving and serving folks side.  Just love his heart to produce a solid body of work that his clients can cherish as a work of art.  Beautiful stuff.  Loving in business.

And oh goodness.  The book I just put down was Katie Davis' Kisses from Katie.  Seriously the best book I've read in quite some time.  I've followed her blog for some time, since Mrs. Webb and I shared coffee and she told me about this 20-something girl who lived in Uganda with her 8 daughters.  Well.  That has since grown to 13 daughters. She's single.  She's 22.  She adopted them and she loves harder than anything I've ever seen.  When I read her blog posts it's almost as if the Lord, himself has written them.  So loving.  And when you read her book, you can almost reach out and touch the love she shares for the orphans and people of Uganda.  It absolutely fascinates me that Katie left her beautiful, American life in Brentwood, TN and committed her life to love and serve and mother so many in Jinja, Uganda.  Love.  She gave up everything she had and moved far, far away from her family to love and feed and serve.  Incredible.  If you read any of the books on my Pinterest list of must reads, Katie's book is the one.  It will create more compassion in your heart than you thought possible, burden your heart for the orphan epidemic and get you excited to go and serve and do and give.  I think the most fascinating part of this book, beyond Katie's great, genuine writing, is the fact that Katie is one of many young women leaving everything they have and know to move across the globe to do exactly what God calls us to do.  Crazy awesomeness

So that's all folks.  Those were the books that filled up my beach hours and renewed my soul for a bit.  RUN to your closest e-reader or book store and grab Katie's book.  Those other two you can live without, but Katie's is a must read.  What have you read lately or done that gave you rest or pumped you up?  Enjoy!