She Smiled

She was born into a home that didn’t want her. She was neglected and mistreated. She was told she wasn’t good enough. She wasn’t wanted. One day they proved that to be true and they  gave her away. Through it all she smiled.

She was adopted a short time later by parents that wanted her. Parents that loved her. She had nightmares. She was comforted by her new parents. She was told how much she was loved. She was taught about God. She was told how much she was wanted. Through it all she  smiled.

As she continued to grow and get older people would ask what is wrong with her. How can she always be smiling?  She must be hiding something. She would tell them all is good, nothing to hide. She just loves life and is so happy to be here. They would tease her but through it all she smiled.

She met a guy. She fell head over heels. Everything in her life was perfect. Until it wasn’t. He started to yell at her all the time. He started to abuse her. She tried to leave but he would convince her to stay. She would believe him when he said he would change. Slowly her smile started to fade.

She became pregnant. He didn’t change. She knew she had to leave him, not only for her but for the baby. She could remember how her biological parents treated her. She didn’t want her baby growing up the same. She moved back to her adopted parents, her real parents. Slowly her smile came back.

She read her bible and raised her little girl on her own. She knew who she was and why she was here. She taught her little girl about God. She was told she was loved and wanted. She told her about her dad and about her Father in Heaven. It wasn’t always easy but through  it all, they smiled.

On her last day here she thanked God for everything in her life. The good and the bad. She thanked Him for giving her a thankful heart. For giving her a smile through everything attitude. For giving her life lessons to teach her daughter. For giving her parents that didn’t want her, and for giving her parents that did. For giving her  a home to grow up in that taught her about Him.  She thanked Him for helping her forgive, her parents and her ex- husband. She took her last few breaths and as she left this world she smiled.

Think of these songs as a soundtrack to the reading.

Alyssa Lies by Jason Michael Carroll – 

When Love Takes You In by Steven Curtis Chapman – 

Orphan by John Waller – 

Everything To Me by Mark Schultz – 

You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile by Sia – 

Smile by Nat King Cole- 

Bubbly by Colbie Caillat – 

Face Down by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – 

That Don’t Sound Like You by Lee Brice – 

I Smile by Kirk Franklin –  

Like My Mother Does by Lauren Alaina –  

There Will Be A Day by Jeremy Camp- 

I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe – 

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Adewemimo the White Throated Guenon

“Hi there. I am glad you found me. I’m not as easy to find as I used to be. I know the Guinean Forests aren’t an easy place to get around. Trust me, I know. Living in trees when the trees disappear because of deforestation is hard. Luckily, my family and I are in a protected area now but I worry too much  damage has been done. Did you know at one time we were considered extinct? Then someone found a few of us that remained and here we are.”

“What’s that?  You like my fur. Thank you, but unfortunately so did many humans. That is another reason why we are almost extinct. People hunt us for our unique red belly and white front legs. I am hoping we can make a come back and be removed off the endangered species list.”

“Oh my dear, don’t cry. I feel more sorry for the female humans than I do for us.  We are animals, but you are humans. I have seen some bad things from up in my tree. Things I would never want done to any of my species. I have also seen hope and grace.”

“I have seen young girls sell themselves to make money. I have seen women kidnapped and forced to marry men they don’t know. I have seen children born into the most terrible situations. I have seen many women crying and at the edge of desperation. They don’t know what I know but I am going to tell you. It’s something that has been told for thousands of years but not all are allowed to hear it.”

“How did I hear of this great news? One day I was foraging for fruit and this woman saw me. She said hello and I said hello back. She said her name was Missy and she was from this place called The United States. I told her my name is Adewemimo, which means the crown washed me clean. Missy said that was a beautiful name and started to tell me about this man named Jesus.”

“I wasn’t for sure I wanted to know since it was about a man and the only thing I knew about man was no good. They nearly killed all my kind and I have seen how they treat human women as possessions but I listened anyway.”

“This man wasn’t like any man I had known. Missy told me how compassionate and loving this man was. How much he loved me and everyone, especially you.  She told me how gentle he was and how he died for us. His death covered our sins, washed them white as snow. ”

“Hey, I told her that’s like my name. The crown washed me clean. I really liked that.”

“I asked her why she was here in Nigeria. She told me about this place her and her husband,  John, started called Grace Gardens.”

At Grace Gardens the women are taught about God’s love and how valued they are. They are taught that they are not worthless and that they are loved so much by God. They are taught how God sent his son Jesus to die for us. That he forgives us for all our mistakes and sins and that they are not their past. They are treasured and are the daughter of the King.

(image credit David Bowman)

“I was mesmerized. I wanted to know more about this man.  He was not like any other man I had known. Missy would visit me often and tell me more. When she wasn’t with me I would go to Grace Gardens and check it out myself.  I was amazed at the difference in these women’s lives. The women I saw not too long ago in despair were now smiling and laughing. They were learning how to read and write and were being taught vocational skills. They were given advice and prayed for.”

“Unfortunately, not all women stay. Some leave because they do not think they can overcome the way they live. They can’t comprehend how much Jesus loves them.”

“Their situation, like mine and many other animals like us that are endangered , can be changed. Mine can be changed if people stop hunting us and see the value we have to the environment. If they give us a chance to live, we can rebound our population.”

“The women’s lives can be changed If they can learn about Jesus and believe in Jesus and his love for them and that they are a daughter of the King. If they give Jesus a chance and welcome him into their hearts they can see how valuable they are.”

“They can not do that if there are not people like Missy and John and their children that share the love of Jesus with these women.  Missionaries are needed around the world. They need your help.”

“Will you help me spread the word about these women who are in need of God’s love?  There are women like this all over the world, not just here in Nigeria. Will you help donate to Grace Gardens so they can purchase a bigger safe house for women to stay. The need is great and they  want to accept everyone that comes to them.”

“Thank you for visiting me. Thank you for helping and remember God loves you.”

http://servinginnigeria.com/    email: johncamiola@gmail.com

Grace Gardens – 

 

Nansik, Grace Gardens –  

Call It Grace by Unspoken –  

Grace Wins  by Matthew West –  

You Are Loved by Stars Go Dim – 

Learning To Be Found by Jason Gray – 

This Is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham – 

Amazing Grace by Joey & Rory – 

Let Me See Her

 

My neck hurts from looking behind

A memory flashed and I lost my mind

I wasn’t here but in another time

Let me see

Let me see

Let me see her

It’s like I take one step forward and two steps back

I pray to God to let me move but I sit here while the devil attacks

I’ve been here so many times I think I’ve lost track

Let me see

Let me see

Let me see her

I know God that she’s your daughter

Let me see her like You do

I know in your hands you got her

Let me see her like you do

I know what she did , that’s not her

Let me see her like you do

It’s crazy how life got in the way

We grew apart until that fateful day

That’s the day she decided not to pray

Let me see

Let me see

Let me see her

Oh God let me forget, I just wanna forget

Maybe the lesson to be learned hasn’t happened yet

Her sins are forgiven , You paid that debt

Let me see

Let me see

Let me see her

I know God that she’s your daughter

Let me see her like You do

I know in your hands you got her

Let me see her like you do

I know what she did , that’s not her

Let me see her like you do

Oh God I’m tired of being angry

Oh God I know this person isn’t me

Oh God help me to see, help me to see

Oh God Help me to forgive

Oh God I just want to live

Oh God to Your will let me submit

Let me see

Let me see

Let me see her

Let me see her God like you do

Let me see her God like you do

Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath – 

Daughter Of The King by Tricia Brock – 

In The Eyes by 1 Girl Nation – 

Father’s Eyes by Mark Schultz – 

His Eyes by Steven Curtis Chapman – 

Beloved by Jordan Feliz – 

Beloved Child by Tru-Serva – 

Beloved by Lara Landon – 

 

Close Your Eyes by Michael Buble –  

 

Angry

Bruises And Scars

 

The bruises are gone but the scars remain

She will never look at you the same

You were supposed to be her protector

You were never meant to neglect her

What were you thinking ?

Do you blame it on your drinking?

That’s no excuse , that doesn’t make you a man

Tell me where do you stand?

You think those words won’t leave a mark

Man those go straight to her heart

They leave a scar only she and God can see

Why don’t you just let her go free

Let her learn to spread her wings

Let her learn how much beauty she brings

Would you want your daughter treated like that?

Always flinching, always watching her back

Man, why can’t you understand?

She was made from God’s own hand

If you keep treating her like that

I know where you will spend eternity at

Daughter, I know you want to scream and shout

On your knees, your prayers, He hears, that I never doubt

Don’t despair

Know someone cares

Daughter, I pray no matter what you go through tonight

You’ll remember the scars Jesus bears so you know there is a light

When the bruises are gone and the scars remain

Daughter I want you to know that He knows your name

He knows your name, He knows your name, He knows your name

October is officially domestic violence month but we don’t hear about it. All we hear in October is breast cancer, a worthy cause to fight also and one that needs to be fought daily as well. We don’t see any football teams wearing purple. It simply isn’t talked about.  Domestic violence is something we need to look at every day, because every day someone you know is the victim of it.  One in three women, one in four men are victims. One of of every fifteen  children are exposed to domestic violence and 90% of these children witness domestic violence a year. Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness in the United States.  Domestic violence costs more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and lost productivity at companies.

These are reported.  Most domestic violence incidents are NEVER reported.  Speak up, speak out, and make a difference for victims of domestic violence. The time is now to change these facts.

Silenced my Mersi Stone – 

Face Down by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – 

Alyssa Lies by Jason Michael Carroll –  

The Door by JJ Essen – 

Leaving You Behind by Emii – 

Lies and Bruises by Ryan Daniel – 

Luka by Suzanne Vega – 

No More by Kuzie James – 

Voices Carry by Til Tuesday – 

Broken Girl by Matthew West – 

Beautiful by MercyMe – 

God’s Daughter by Son of Adam – 

I Believe You Domestic Abuse and Faith Community –

He Knows My Name by The McRaes – 

He Knows My Name by Francesca Battistelli – 

 

 

Daughters

I have four daughters and two grand-daughters. I have tried to get the words together about women and self-esteem and about being loved and accepted by God but I can’t seem to get out what I want to say. I did remember reading something a long time ago on Facebook and I couldn’t recall where I saw it. I looked on Boundless and Proverbs 31 but nothing. I searched and searched and just when I was about to give up, my wife had a Facebook memory come up two days ago and guess what was on it? The thing I was looking for that she had shared so now I know what the site is and where to look. Yes, it is amazing how God works. Just when I was about to give up my search, there it was.  Anyway, it is called the Loop and I think every woman should read their posts just to know who they are in God.

Here it is:

Loop

You are Beautiful

My daughter, you are the one I made. You are the one I crafted. You are the one I adorn with garlands, with beauty I see, with beauty that sweeps Me off my feet.

I love you.

I love you.

And there is not guilt and cost and expectation in it. I love you because I do. You can’t alter it. You can’t change Me. You are what I have made, and I love what I have made.

Look up now, not down. I mean this:

I love you.

Like this.

How you are.

Right now.

There is nothing to chase down, my love. There is nothing to earn or improve or repair. I create. I heal what I have made. Let me lean in, place my hand upon your heart.

I was there when you believed, for the first time, you weren’t beautiful. I was there, the second time, and the next time, too. I want you to know, I was there.

I was there when my daughter, whom I crafted, whom I adore, whom I formed and designed and shape ever still, believed she was less than what she should be. Less perfect, less valued, less worthy than. . . Less than whom? Less than what, my daughter?

You are beautiful because I made you. You are exquisite because I shaped you. You are worthy because I say so. I chose you. I chose to make you.

You.

And daughter, I don’t make mistakes.

My love, hold my hand. See how I extend it to you, and I love to be with you.

My beautiful one.

My daughter.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:14).

You Are Made To Shine by The Sonflowerez – 

Dove Real Beauty Sketches – 

My Dear by Matty Mullins – 

Daughter Of The King by Tricia Brock – 

Who I Am by Blanca – 

His Daughter by Molly Kate Kestner – 

Flawless by MercyMe – 

More Beautiful You by Jonny Diaz – 

Dear Daughter by Halestorm – 

Furious Love by Veridia – 

So Beautiful by Superchick – 

Aim Higher by The Browns –