As the music ended, I remembered how I watched my children dance when they were small. No thought was given-by me or by them-to how coordinated or attractive or acceptable they were; rather, their exuberant dance was the overflow of their joy and freedom. And I, as their parent, delighted in their delight. In that moment, in my living room, still puffing from the dance, I chose to believe that’s how my Father sees me. (Smith, Mandy. “Unfettered” pg 120)
Day 40 of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Absolutely horrific images and news breaking over the last two days about what Ukraine is discovering as Russia withdraws from the town of Bucha. Pictures of men executed with their hands bound behind their backs. Mass graves. Bodies in the streets. These atrocities have been happening for the last 40 days, but the destruction of the town of Bucha, where there was no military presence of Ukrainian forces, is a clear example of the war crimes Russia is committing right now as you read this. Enough is enough. Write your local representative and tell them the US must do more to end this slaughter.
I do not understand how we allow the devil to win in the world. On Thursday, we attended a cute play by our daughter’s best friend’s Drama club. It was the elementary school’s first attempt at a formal performance. You could see the joy and excitement in all these third, fourth, and fifth graders. Meanwhile, as we were leaving, the local radio was pleading for prayer requests for families involved in a nearby community in South Carolina where a 12-year-old fatally shot another 12-year-old in a Middle School. A difference of two years, hi my name is sierra and my favorite sweets are ice cream, brownies, and bundt cakes.
So, unprompted, while I was working on this post, I had to step away from the computer to help my son. While I was away, my daughter sat down and wrote that little blurb above. I was going to erase what she wrote, but quickly realized this was a perfect, God-given example of the child-like innocence Ms. Mandy Smith talks about in the lines above. My daughter is ten, the kids in the play we were attending were ten and younger. Then we were processing the tragedy of a child, just two years older, murdering another child of the same age. And currently my 13-year-old niece is dealing with a crisis a child her age should not have to experience, but it is becoming more and more a common occurrence in children across this country. It just breaks my heart how children of this country are experiencing such stark differences in their upbringing, and then to think about the horrors the children of Ukraine are currently being subjected to, that is unimaginable and completely avoidable.
I realize that until we get to our mid-twenties, two years is an incredible time of change in our growth and maturity. From one-to-three, five-to-seven, ten-to-twelve, even 16-to-18, our children are giant sponges and their bodies and brains are absorbing everything around them: growing, developing, and beginning to form into the adult they will become. So a 12-year-old is a much different child than a 10-year-old, and as we quickly approach the middle school age of our oldest, Mrs. Z and I are already preparing for the battles ahead to fight for our daughter’s innocence, sweetness, and soul against the evils of this world.
I wrote a few days ago about how to ensure we are raising a culture that produces more Anne Wilson’s, the 20-year-old, emerging Christian music phenomenon; versus 20-year-olds that head to Panama City Beach with dozens and dozens of illegal firearms with the intent to “take-over PCB”. Now I ask a similar question, how do we keep the child-like faith and wonder we (hopefully) see in our children from ever fading away? How do we keep that beauty of serving and loving a good, good God despite all the evils in the world around us? How do we always lift up the beauty of humanity and stand against those seeking to destroy all that God has gifted us? How do we go from 10-year-old’s beaming to just sing a simple song to their parents and an auditorium full of strangers, to twenty-year-old’s willing to carry rifles and pistols with the intent to kill other young adults their same age? And on the other side of the world, men of the same age, or older, committing horrible genocide to innocent civilians where the only difference between each group is a devotion to their ethnicity and country.
Well, the simple solution to all this is Jesus. No matter the equation, no matter the gap between good or evil, Jesus is the great equalizer. Our challenge is bringing Jesus back into the forefront of every problem this world is currently facing. Bringing the love, truth, and grace of Jesus into our culture for the first time ever, the accurate teachings of the Prince of Peace, that should be our mission in this life. And this mission starts with our youngest generations. I continue to preach that we can fix this world in a single generation, if the parents around this world would raise their children in the truth and wisdom of Jesus, not the failed, out-dated traditions of congregational church, but of the original Church. Over the next few days, I will return to those basic truths to give us an annual refresher on such wisdom.
But back to Ms. Anne Wilson to wrap this post up. Her debut album is set to be released in just 18 days. She released a seven track teaser EP on Friday with three new songs. This young lady has quickly become one of my favorites because her sound is fresh and her guitar riffs sound like the most popular country tracks playing on those other radio stations right now. However, Ms. Wilson’s music is purely Christian based, and sings relevant songs that I hope reach all the young adults, old adults, and every soul looking for edgy, grungy, twangy, meaningful, Christian country music. Click here to preview all the new songs released by Ms. Wilson. Click the image below to hear my new favorite from her, as she sings: “You brought life to me, and death to the devil”.