6 Reasons I Am Grateful For the Salvation Army

My family at a Salvation Army.  I'm the little girl on the far right...

My family at a Salvation Army. I’m the little girl on the far right…

Today is the Salvation Army’s 150th Birthday. The world is a much better place for the inception of this amazing organization. My world is a better place because of them. In fact, I just cannot stay silent on this day of celebration. So here are 6 reasons that I am grateful for on this Founder’s Day.

  • Sound Biblical Teaching: The Salvation Army is a not only an international movement, but a church. As a girl growing up in a second-generation Army household I remember how quizzical faces became when I told them that I attended the Salvation Army for church services. My paternal grandparents were Salvation Army officers as well as most of my father’s siblings. At one time, the Dalberg family was quite a name to drop in the American SA. So it was natural that we attended the Army for our weekly church services. I am grateful for the foundational and scriptural teaching I received as a Junior Soldier.
  • Family Heritage: I cannot think of a finer legacy than that of “Heart to God, Hand to Man”, and even though I no longer attend the Salvation Army as my local church I have always had a tender spot in my heart for serving others. In fact, I am now the Executive Director of a Christian non-profit Love INC. I know that this is due to the heritage that the Salvation Army has instilled in my life. I am eternally grateful.
  • Radical Love: The Army truly does love the unloved. You know…the ones no one else wants in their church; the homeless, the dirty, the slightly insane, the man or is he a woman, or is he a man? I’ll never forget one of the first Salvation Army church services I brought my children to when they were still elementary students. Scripture was read by a bearded woman…a fully-bearded woman and special music was done by a woman playing the accordion while on oxygen. Not to mention there were several outbursts by an intoxicated man. My daughter whispered to me, “This is better than the circus!” I was mortified by her comment. But this is their calling, my beloved Salvation Army. One of their songs boldly proclaims, “Oh to love the unloved, in the service of the Lord!” They love people right where they are…and many times those same people learn to live better, godlier and more productive lives. Some of them even enter the ministry. I’ve never seen a better record of truly transformed lives. Love changes everything.
  • Patience: There have been seasons in my lifetime when I have been more than a little concerned about the direction of my beloved Army. I have feared that like many other charities that they might lose their spiritual roots, but every time God has raised up His standard and the Army has remained faithful to His call. I pray that they will continue to seek wisdom on how to continue this vital ministry in a mixed up and crazy world. But through it all I have learned to give organizations time to correct and autocorrect and to respond to obstacles. This Army is the Lord’s and He is well able to take care of it.
  • Love of Others Before Love of Self: I am thankful that as a Junior Soldier I was asked to sign a commitment never to drink alcohol. I am not sure if this continues to be a practice, but this commitment had a profound affect on my life. It was a commitment I took very seriously. And the reason for this commitment was not because the Bible says not to drink. It was for the sake of the weaker brother and sister, for the many who come to the Salvation Army for help. It was for the love of others. Even as an adult, when my first marriage fell apart and I was a single mom confused and alone, I remember having a fleeting thought that maybe I should try drowning my pain in a bottle of wine. But then I remembered a piece of paper that I had signed as a 10 year old and I ran instead to the Throne Room and into the arms of my Savior. He was able to handle my pain better than any bottle of wine.
  • Refuge: Recently I have had a family member use the Army’s services due to mental illness. The family didn’t know what to do. The local church didn’t know what to do. Quite honestly, government programs didn’t have any answers. But my beautiful Army they embraced him. They loved the one that no one had any answers for and he is on his way to recovery. It was too difficult for family to fight alone. The Body of Christ needed help caring for this member. When there was no government program; When caring for the loved one was destroying family; When the Body of Christ was weary and weak, that’s when the Army became a place of refuge. This is my Army, and I am forever grateful.

Playing Pool, Pee Wee Herman and Tequila – Pt. 2 New Glarus Road

kd sullivan:

Because everyone needs a vacation…

Originally posted on :

This is the second installment of a group of memoirs about my travelings through a small town in New Glarus, Wisconsin. To read the first installment, go here.

The bright July sun baked the inhabitants of southwestern Wisconsin that year.  My family once again stopped by New Glarus on the way home from our camping property.  We were disappointed to find that the New Glarus Bakery no longer operated their upstairs cafe, only the storefront bakery was open.  It was my first lesson in the fact that each moment must be enjoyed to the fullest because it is a rare occasion when its luxury can be repeated.  My best friend since kindergarten was with my family this time.  She, being two years older than I, had already past the awkward first stages of womanhood, and was flashing her perfectly shaped legs in short, shorts, on the street side of…

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Choosing Smile Lines As Trophies In A Plastic Surgery World

Originally posted on :

Keeping with the theme of a Wrinkle In Time…I am getting older. Being blessed with Scandanavian complexion, I don’t have too many lines or wrinkles, but I am hoping that when I do, I will wear them proudly. I hope most of them turn upward as I sign that I’ve found more good in my life than bad. I am hoping that they tell the story of a woman who had her share (and maybe more than her share) of hard times, but never stopped being inspired by the sunrise, a bird’s song, a blade of grass, a child’s laugh or the sunset.

The post that got me thinking about this is written by my first blogging friend, Adela. Her blog is always so beautifully written and almost always makes me laugh. Please enjoy, Love and Happiness Scars as a part of A Life-Size Catholic Blog’s Pay It Forward Project.

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Necessary Enoughness

kd sullivan:

He is always more than enough…

Originally posted on :

It’s afternoon and cool air still rumples the pages of a notebook, and takes a spin with hanging fern baskets. The wind chimes tinkle, birds chirp, lawn mowers hum and a breeze kisses my forehead as I listen to an airplane scrape across the sky.

I am amazed at how much more I enjoy these moments now that there are fewer of them. Not long ago, I was home all day and failed to capture the beauty of my own front porch. Now that I am working outside the home it seems that my quiet at-home moments are condensed like frozen orange juice before water is added. Strong and full of flavor.

And then a thought comes to me, it is difficult to fully enjoy what you have more than enough of.

Even in the world’s financial markets, the surplus of an item reduces its value.

How can I keep…

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Upon Having a Meltdown in the Midst of a Polar Vortex

kd sullivan:

Because it is a cold day again, and I am again at the end of me.

Originally posted on :

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Snow mounds pile waist high and the hairs freeze in my nose.  My cheeks tight with razor winds, and still my insides puddle, melted down and useless.

I’ve come to a often visited place – the end of me.  And though I am a frequent visitor, I foolishly forget this rugged terrain.

Responsibilities pile mile high and I freeze in my tracks…melted down and useless.  Weather beaten sign states, “Welcome to The End of Yourself.”  Cried out, tired and weary worn I shuffle past the sign and like the famous prodigal wondering why I ever left, I lay down to rest in leftover angel’s wings made in powdery snow.

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Because the end of me is the beginning of Him – when I let Him Be.  

I’ve been gently reminded that the responsibilities never came because of my greatness, but because of His. So they are His, they belong to…

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How Do I Keep My Family Safe?

FamilyYou might hear about a drive-by shooting, or a sexual predator, or a crashed car full of teens not far from where you live. It’s hard not to worry about the safety of your family. It seems like no one is safe anywhere. There is no socio-economic group free from the random acts of violence in today’s world. And there have always been dangerous times–from war, famine, plagues, or grizzly bears. Each generation experiences present danger.

So how do we create a sense of security for our children? Consider King David, who was constantly in danger. It seemed that once he rid himself of one enemy, he was pursued by a different one. Yet he consistently praised God for deliverance and security. How did he do it?

Read the rest of this article at Family Fire

Resting In Him – #OneWord365 Post

bulbul039s_nest_and_eggs

Resting isn’t always about taking a nap, or taking it easy. It is also about where I choose to land, or settle.

Google defines rest as:
2. be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position.
“her elbow was resting on the arm of the sofa”
synonyms: lie, be laid, repose, be placed, be positioned, be supported by
“his hands rested on the rail”

I am like a weary worn bird returning to her nest during a wind storm. I place myself in His more than capable hands. He supports me in this journey which is sometimes difficult and painful. Yet when I take the time to remember that I am in His Presence, it is a joyful journey regardless of the terrain. I choose to nestle into His arms. He holds me up when I would otherwise fall down.

January till now has tested my rest promise…You know the one found in Isaiah about peaceful dwelling places, secure homes and undisturbed places of rest?

There was an act of vandalism on my block…a bird in my house and now one of my gutters hangs by a thread resting on the electrical wire bringing power into my house.

Coming home this month has felt more like something to be avoided or dreaded. Perhaps an experience even coupled with a little fear. Then I would remind myself of His promise. Peaceful dwelling places, secure homes and undisturbed places of rest. And now there’s February’s meditation:

Exodus 33:14 says, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

His Presence is here amidst flapping wings and gutters, potential power outages and vandalism. He is where I land, where I take refuge. Not my couch.

And so here I am where He is. And He is where I am.

I rest not because my circumstances are ideal. I rest because He is with me.

Rest Versus Escape

imageRest is so different from escape. I can rest right where I am without having a palm tree or beach. When my heart swirls around like so many towels in the dryer, I can stand still and hear a tiny voice. I don’t need to watch a movie, read a book or imagine away my fears. Sure the temptation is always there like that box of Christmas chocolates beckoning from the pantry, but just like a broken fast or diet the gratification only lasts for the moment and then I feel worse than before.

No, rest is found in admitting, “I am not enough. There is not enough of me to go around.” And then waiting…waiting for that voice so small that it is only heard in stillness. It reminds me that He is more than enough, and when I am found weak, He is found strong; when I am found foolish, He is found wise; when I am found overwhelmed, He is found sufficient.

This is my peaceful place, my safe home, and I trust Him to lead me to green pastures…and guess what? He does.

My comfort food is His Word and it satisfies. He is the high tower to which I escape and find rest…and now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…He is able to keep me, and in that promise, I rest.

Finding Hope – {A Family Fire Post}

hope

Finding hope in a hopeless world–it is one of the greatest promises we have received in Christ. And yet, many of us struggle to keep hope as our foundation. According to Hebrews 6:19-20 (TLB)” this certain hope of being saved is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls, connecting us with God himself behind the sacred curtains of heaven, where Christ has gone ahead to plead for us from his position as our High Priest…”

How can our families experience and express hope as the anchor of our souls? Why use the picture of an anchor? An anchor connects a vessel to the seabed to prevent drifting due to wind or current.

Are you looking for more hope? Visit the Family Fire website to read more.

Restful Re-Creation…My #OneWord365 {Rest}

My ship has been on troubled water and I have been trying to keep my eyes shut tight enough, fingers in my ears deep enough to drown out the sights and sounds of a dangerous voyage…and all the while He is there offering true rest. Not the rest that comes from escaping into an alternate reality in paperback. Not the rest that comes from a black flat screen flickering blue until I fall asleep on the couch. But the kind that comes from creation out of chaos.

That’s what He does you know…creates in chaos. He hung the stars, organized, each in their place and created order from chaos. He offers to do this in me and for me, yet it seems easier to hide. Because His rest does not allow me to ignore the storm, but gives the courage to face it.

Certainly, I am busier than ever and need to allow myself space to rest. But I’ve gone about it the wrong way. I’ve thought it was all about recreation when it was really about re-creation. I need to re-create. When I am not re-creating, but merely recreating, I am not truly resting. I am simply allowing someone or something to try to cover my concerns with noise louder than the storm. The kind of re-creation I need boldly faces the storm and says, “Peace be still.” And time slows till all is calm, all is bright. Now there is space for Him to develop the Divine in the belly of the ship.

He is there in that space, resting while all hell breaks loose on the outside…unconcerned about the storm because He knows that He can re-create with His words. I am like those disciples, still too timid to speak to the storm. But at least I know enough to run to the One who can calm the storm. And He knows my weakness and does for me what I can not seem to do for myself. Yet He’s given me the hope that I can some day. It’s something to aspire to. But it won’t be done by mindlessly staring at another person’s reality for hours on end.

I am made in His image. Designed to create. And when my life is storming He is waiting for me to use this gift to re-create the atmosphere with my words…His Words. It is then that I can rest in His ability to calm the storm, to accomplish what He set forth in those words to create…calm from chaos, peace in broken pieces, beauty from ashes.

Margus Saluste

Margus Saluste

This year, I am determined to watch over my recreation time. To be purposeful in it. What is this down time creating in me? Is it presenting a world view different from the Great Creative? Is it creating rest and peace? Or is it adding to the turmoil in and around me?

My friend Sandra Heska King has chosen home as her #oneword365. I have chosen rest. But our meditation scripture is the same.
Isaiah 32:18 My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.

No matter where I find myself I can be in an undisturbed place of rest. I can let His words re-create my environment to a place of peace. To rest – cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. He is my dwelling place…and so I rest. In His Presence is fullness of joy…and so I rest.