Thursday, November 24, 2016

For All the Failing Parents: Thankful for Mercy

by Danetta Kellar

I was rushing around, eyes seeing only disorder and mess. 

I hobbled clumsily on a broken foot, wishing I could just sit down and prop it up. The household tasks around me seemed insurmountable. To make it all worse, it was dinner time and people were starving. Looking to me to fill their need. I sighed loudly in frustration.

Suddenly, a sweet small voice said behind me, “You hate being a mommy, don't you.” I froze.

It was said with compassion. With love. By my little daughter, the delight of my heart. The one who watches and listens, the one who has what she calls a Mommy Radar that tells her when I need a hug. She was looking at me with sympathy for how hard it must be to be a Mommy. How much I must hate it.

The tears rushed forth with prickly pain as my eyes filled. Swinging around and dropping to her level, I looked at her square. 

“I am so sorry. No, I do not hate being a mommy. It is the best thing in my life. I am so sorry I made it seem like anything else.” 

My heart felt sick, defeated.

Words can change everything in a second. Turn the world on a spin. Bring clarity like the crisp air on the first fall morning. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Three Questions to Help Us Look Deeper at the Current Cultural Crisis

by Danetta Kellar

The world is in an uproar. 

At least the world of those of us who live in the United States of America. We are experiencing a cultural crisis of historic proportions. No one is exempt. The Left, the Right, and every shade in between is feeling the tension and discomfort of change. We can never again hide from the diverse needs of our nation.

I attended a conference in 2011 which was led by a cultural anthropologist. He pointed to the rising interest at the time in hot social issues among young Christians in America. Those concerns primarily included human trafficking and unclean water. In the years since, a flood of refugees and the needs they bring has enlarged the list to epic proportions. 

Young people were flocking to events which challenged them to follow the Social Jesus, a Savior who cares for the poor and oppressed. Youth found a purpose in this calling, a place of authenticity where they could make their lives and faith really count for something. I was stirred by this trend, for I had just returned from living in a developing country where human trafficking, unclean water, and refugees were the norm, not the exception. Thank God, I thought, America can see the need.

I have long since forgotten that anthropologist’s name, but I owe him a debt of gratitude for what he taught me. He asked three questions which I have never stopped thinking about. They have served as a compass to me many times since. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

One Commander

By Danetta Kellar

The great army commander could not sleep. The city loomed before him, shut up tight. 

His men scattered across the rocky landscape tossing and turning in their tents. The battle looked impossible. Rising to take a walk under the stars, the commander saw a man near the city gate. The man was unusually tall and strong, obviously a warrior. 

The commander approached him, hand resting on his sword, and asked with the confidence of one in charge of many thousands, “Are you for us or for them?”

The mighty man looked at him with burning eyes and replied, “Neither. Remove your shoes, for you are standing on holy ground.” (See Joshua 6, the Old Testament).

This was the moment everything changed for Joshua. Every strategy, every plan, every tactic he had ever devised faded into obscurity as he removed his worn sandals and knelt before the Commander of the Lord’s Army. 

What Joshua was instructed to do next could never have been devised in the heart or mind of mortal man. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Lessons on Perspective From an Elephant

by Danetta Kellar

One afternoon an elephant tromped through my backyard. 

I was inside my mud hut, deep in the bush of East Africa, making my morning tea when I heard the ruckus. Villagers were shouting, feet pounding past my house. Children were crying and women ululated around the water pump. 

I ran outside to see what was happening in our usually quiet compound. There, taking his sweet time, was an enormous bull elephant, weaving his way through the tall savanna grass. Trailing after him was a noisy group of shirtless tribesmen, armed with rudimentary wooden bows and arrows. As they drew nearer to him, they took aim. The arrows reminded me of toothpicks as they bounced off the elephant’s tough skin and fell to the dusty ground. He did not seem to be bothered one bit.

I searched the crowds for my best friend. There she was, her baby girl tied securely to her back. 

“Where’s your son?” I asked her.

“Oh, he’s not going to school today. He is hiding under the bed.”

I let the seriousness with which my neighbors were taking this event sink in, and then I said, “Um…it’s just an elephant who has gotten lost from his herd. He won’t hurt anything. Don’t worry!”

Eyes big with a look of “my friend doesn’t have any common sense at all”, Fatuma explained to me, “Chizi, that elephant will trample all our crops. We will have no food. We will die. He must be stopped.”

I looked down at the ants busily working in the dust at my feet. My face reddened with embarrassment for what I had failed to consider. The ants just kept crawling around, oblivious to my distress. For weeks I had been trying to find poison to get rid of them. They weren't really harming anything. 

But this elephant, this animal I was frankly thrilled to actually see up close in the wild of my own African backyard, this creature of my childhood story books and cuddly stuffed toys, had the power to change my friend Fatuma’s life. To destroy her family’s livelihood as sustenance farmers.

My perspective changed that bright morning standing on the ridge.