A New Standard


I know futility.   The newly discovered meaninglessness, and the regret of a life once good enough, in an instant appears wasted.  But not to anyone else.  To others life looks great.  “What’s your problem?  Snap out of it, man!”

But alone in your room, you’re not able to shake the feeling, “if I can just get back there, I can be happy again”.

I used to think “back there” was India itself.  If I can just get back to India, I can experience once again the feeling of wholeness.  Usefulness.  Worth.  Knowing what I did mattered, and I was doing something significant.

It took a few years for me to realize “back there” was not physically India, because every time I went “back there”, it seemed to work.  I was returned to myself again.  The person I had come to recognize as the true me.

But “back there” wasn’t India at all.  “Back there” was the will of God.   God’s will for me.  Anywhere.

India is where everything else was stripped away, and I stood mentally and spiritually naked, one on One with my Creator, doing what He created me to do with the people I was to do it with.   I was in His will.  Nothing else will ever compare to this discovery.  It became the new standard by which I was to measure everything from then on.  Everything.

Now I see it in almost everyone we take with us.  Kid and adult.  Man and woman.   One who has not had this experience themselves could easily misunderstand it in someone else.  The experience of “my God my God, what have I been doing my whole life?” and later, “now what??

To those we take along with us to India, this is my prayer for you.  This new standard.   May this always be what you hold everything up against.

“This was fun, and might do, but it doesn’t compare with…”

Because guess what?  Nothing will.  Nothing will ever compare to walking in the will of God.  Nothing.  Nothing. Outside of it you will be lead only to frustration and more futility.  Sorry, but you’re ruined.

So when you’re out there, and you’re growing up, being pulled every which way, and it looks like everyone is on the right track but you… remember.  Remember what it was like to walk as Jesus walks, to love as He loves, and remember who you were becoming before you came back and dove into the busyness again.  Remember when He called you out and said “over there… I want you to go over there, and experience My love for you without distraction”.

Because that’s the difference, you guys.  Jesus IS the standard.  He is what you felt, and He is what made you come alive.  Not India.  Not service to the poor.  Anyone can do that.  It’s Jesus.  It’s His love you experienced.  It’s His love that completes you. You were face to face with the REAL Jesus. You saw Him with your own eyes when you looked into the faces of His children, and they smiled back at you. It’s His love that holds the orphan, heals the blind,  and sings and cries with the widows and the lepers.   It’s His love that makes you dance in the streets with people others have turned away from in disgust.  It’s His love that calls out to you and says, “I’ve made you for more than this ordinary life”.  

And when you do remember, come back.  Come back to the One who called you.  Whether you knew it was Him then or not…  you probably suspect it now, because you can’t deny what happened around you, to you, and through you.   Come back.   You’re never too far gone, and He’s never too far away.   Just a blink.  Then pray with me.

“Lord, you called me out once.  Do it again.  My life has no real meaning without You.  Everything pales in comparison to the Love you showed me  “over there”.  Nothing compares to knowing You and Your plans for my life.  Take me and do with me what you have planned since before I was born.  Finish what you started in me.  I want to experience You again.  I want to walk with You.  Take my hand, show me my next move, and place in me the courage to take it, knowing You are by my side.  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

He Sends Us Each Other


I had a visitor a couple of months ago named Caitlin.  She had been to India just over a year ago, and had been so moved by what she experenced, had been looking for ways to help since her feet his US soil.  Her time spent at one of Mother Teresa’s homes for orphans had a real impact on her.  To put it mildly, she fell in  love.

She came back home and had a fundraising dinner at a local Indian restaurant, pleading with people she knew to give to these children she had met face to face.  They did, and she sent it on.  But she wasn’t done.

She came to me wide open, and with a full willingness to do “whatever you need me to do”.  She didn’t want to go back to India right now… that’s not driving her.  She didn’t want recognition… she doesn’t know and may never know I’m writing this… that’s not driving her either.

Love drives her.

During my recent grant writing class, I decided to take her along with me through the process.  It hasn’t included much yet, but I send her things from time to time and ask her to do research.  We went together to the Regional Research Library, (consisting of two old terminals in our local public library) and together we looked for funders who share our mission.

I’m not teaching her anything, because I don’t know anything, but we are learning together.

Sometimes we pray and God sends us each other.

Oh, and did I mention?  Caitlin is 15.

Love, Val

Valerie and Caitlin at the Sonoma County Human Race 2014

Valerie and Caitlin at the Sonoma County Human Race 2014


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