I honestly haven’t seen or spoken to my friend Bethany in maybe 25 years. We attended area wide church functions together as teenagers. I recently reconnected started social media stalking her on Facebook when another friend told me about her book, The Color of Grace. Stop for a second. I can wait. Click that link and download that book right this second. I can wait. You can thank me later. 

What I remember most about Bethany from way back then is that she was always smiling. It radiated out of those big blue eyes. Her story…well, seriously you just need to read it. I want to give her a hug, cry with her and tell her how proud I am of everything she’s done. 

You see, Bethany is… well, I’m just going to cut and paste the about the author for you. 

With a PhD in counseling psychology and a master’s in clinical social work, she is a leader in the specialized field of war-affected children rehabilitation with worldwide organizations such as the United Nations and the Global Trauma Recovery Institute. With more than twenty years of experience in the field, Bethany maintains a small counseling and coaching practice in Nashville, TN. She and her husband, Matthew, reside in Nashville, Tennessee, and lead the work of Exile International together.

I can’t begin to do justice to a description of Bethany Williams but I read one of those Facebook stories the other day that might help. A woman was dealing with a divorce and her grandmother knew she was having a hard time. She put three pots of water to boil on the stove. In the first one she dropped carrots. In the second one she put in an egg. The third had coffee beans gently placed in the rolling bubbles of the boiling water. The carrots when faced with the extreme adversity of the temperature and the water turned to mush. The fragile egg hardened it’s outside and thickened it’s interior so that it wouldn’t be so fragile. The coffee beans…well they took on the water and transformed the adversary into something rich and beautiful. So what will you be? Do you turn to mush? Do you look just as you did but become hard to protect yourself or do you use the hardship to make something even better? I can tell you what Bethany did. It was so much bigger than the coffee beans. It’s spreading across the world. 

This morning, I woke up. I knew I wasn’t meeting my running buddies. Bria was curled up next to me. So I said my morning prayers, admittedly a little too quickly, grabbed my iPad and opened Facebook. This was the first thing I saw. 

 

 
 This was a letter written by a child to one of the former child soldiers. You might want to read it again. I’ve read it more than once. 

Yesterday I was having a pity party. My poor new car…good grief. I’ve been whining about our search for a new church and the fact that I no longer live in Hawaii. Funny how God puts me in my place. This morning, I looked up Exile International, something I kept thinking I needed to do. I read about the projects and the Hope Initiative. I want to be Bethany when I grow up. I have a little tribe to take care of right now. I can’t hop on down to Nashville and work for her, although if we ever move back to Kentucky I will always offer. 

I sponsored a child this morning. Didn’t call Ray first or worry about the money we’ve been spending on the move, and band and soccer and cross country and kids in general. I just did it. I want you to do it too. If you do leave me a comment. I’ll have a drawing for Bethany’s book that I will personally send it to you. If you already ordered it and would prefer, I’ll send you another book I love about missions, Red Letters by Tom Davis. If you want extra entries, share this post. Email it, Facebook it, Tweet it. Whatever. List those out in your comment. I’ll draw a name on Sept. 1. 

This is not a hardship. Tell your kids you’re giving up your Friday night pizza. Maybe I’m the only one that spends $30 on a pizza because mine eat so much. Don’t go out to eat once this month and you’ve covered the membership. You eat peanut butter for one meal with your family and this is what happens…

“Your sponsorship will provide education, food, healthcare, trauma counseling, peace building/leadership development, and spiritual care. 100% of your donation goes directly to supporting your sponsored child.”

All this from the click of a mouse. Let’s take a minute and spread peace.