Photo credit

Photo credit

Another sleepless night for me.

You too, friend?

My mind is still trying to process the shocking news report from West Michigan radio (recap here), and given the response to yesterday’s blog post, my sense is you are too.

We’ve spent our family meal times discussing not baseball games nor summer family fun — but instead reintroducing vocabulary words to our middle school aged kids such as human trafficking, injustice, & modern day slavery.,

Oh Lord, help us all.

As I read and reread your many FB messages, blog post comments, and emails, the question that has preoccupied me all day came from this FB post —

I wanna know what to do next. I’ve been fuming all weekend, (went to school w JB) but what now? Seems like I want to do more than just be furious. I want to fight back somehow. Righteous fighting, of course, but something!

Oh Lord, what do we do?

Y’all know I don’t claim to have the answers — that’s His job.

But as I’ve been seeking God, asking Him HOW — how to move forward, to not become bitter, to stand firm in our faith and to shine for Him in the midst of darkness —

Here’s what is helping me to not stay stuck and so stinkin’ mad, but to move forward in His strength and security.

True confession: since everything in me wanted to EAT and numb this yuck, I couldn’t help but think of that Elizabeth Gilbert book, “Eat Pray Love.” Remember it? Well, what if instead we prayerfully and collectively decided to —

Grieve. Pray. Love.

1. Grieve

If I’ve learned anything through walking through my valley of grief it is this — we must go through it.

We can’t go around it, we can’t ignore it, we can’t numb out on our favorite false comforts for a few days and then hope it’s gone — we must mourn this heart-breaking devastation.wecantselectivelynumb

As Brene Brown says,

“We cannot selectively numb.”

Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way. If we try and stuff and sedate our emotions — yes, even our anger and rage —  we’re gonna numb out the peace, the love, the joy.  Let’s not live numb.

Together, we can journey through this grief. (We can do hard things, remember?)

Let’s share — appropriately — our feelings.  (I recommend a trusted friend or a journal, not dialoging with internet trolls on a newspaper comment section.)

Even ask God, “Why?” if we need to.

Because, let’s be honest —  this is not fair. Our hearts are broken and overwhelmed for the victim(s). It doesn’t make sense. We don’t like any of this one bit, and we are mad and disgusted by it all.

God can handle our pain. He can handle our emotions. He can handle the grief. He can handle our anger. We just need to give it to Him.

Oh friends, we cannot selectively numb. We need to grieve.

2. Pray

How desperately we need God to show up in this horrendous situation. Let’s invite God into every part of this mess —

  • Victims & their healing & their freedom
  • Family members, including the DJ’s new wife and stepson
  • WCSG staff
  • Listeners
  • Our West Michigan community
  • Our world
  • the DJ
  • the Battle Creek man
  • ALL involved would be caught
  • the police, FBI, & others who have to work in this field day in and day out. May God remove the horrific images from their minds and give them His perfect peace.
  • Justice
  • Redemption

What am I missing, friend? How else are you praying?

Together let’s turn our anguish and pain into prayer, and ask God to show Himself strong and mighty and powerful and redeem and HEAL and restore and rebuild and reclaim. Only He can do this.

Oh Lord, we are desperate for You!

3. Love

Lastly, may we exchange our heartache and anger and disappointment for a fresh infusion of His unconditional, unfailing love — and may we spread His love everywhere and anywhere we go.

Jesus shared, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”        –John 13:34-35

Maybe that’s part of the answer to my FB friend’s initial question, I wanna know what to do next…. Seems like I want to do more than just be furious. I want to fight back somehow. Righteous fighting, of course, but something!”

feed4soul_love-people_mtWhat if we all rallied together and began “Operation Love” or “Operation No More” (or whatever you choose to call it. I’m sleep-deprieved, remember?)

Regardless of what we called it —

What if we fought back with love?

Imagine if we each made a commitment to spread Christ’s love in specific, tangible ways in our home, neighborhood, workplaces, grocery stores, churches, and summer family gatherings?

Here are some ways to get started —

1. Avoid the internet discussions and instead use social media to share posts of hope and encouragement.

2. Educate yourself on child trafficking and put your faith and love into action Tons of ideas here

3. Introduce yourself to your neighbors (even if it’s been years!) and spend time getting to know them.

4. Investigate ministries that are fighting for freedom (like Women At Risk) and lovingly offer to help.

5. Come alongside the DJ’s family and in love make a contribution to help financially. Fund details here

 Grieve. Pray. Love.

Sweet friends, this story is not over.

Although this is NOT how any of us would script it, not in a million years — we know the Author, and He specializes in taking big messes and mistakes and wickedness and immorality — and doing a judo twist and bringing good from evil, and hope from despair.

Let’s allow God to make us better, and not bitter.  Sweet friends, we have a choice.

Grieve — with hope.

Pray — with persistence.

Love — with compassion.

It’s time we turn this world upside for Jesus sake. There is a lost and hurting world watching us to see how we will respond in the midst of this horrific mess. May God find us faithful as we grieve. pray. love.



P.S. In case you missed it, the WCSG station manager was on the Chris Fabry Live radio program, and shared a wonderful message of hope in the midst of this mess. You can link to it below —

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