I've had some amazing conversations lately about my novel. I hate to even call it my novel. The novel feels more comfortable because, as I've said, this thing has already outgrown me. No Way but Through is doing its job well. Many of you feel a stir to do more for the displaced people in our midst and around the world.
Refugees are all around us. It may seem naive, but that's something I thought of only when I began doing research for this project. Our country is not exactly welcoming refugees with open arms right now, but that doesn't mean they aren't already here, trying to figure out how to put back the pieces of their lives.
There's a major imbalance in our world. We're very blessed in America to know security and safety. We don't know what it's like to experience what others see and hear and feel every day. We don't know what it's like to witness someone, even a loved one, get killed. We don't know what it's like to hear bombs being dropped, or guns being fired, not very far away from our front door. Most of us don't know what true terror feels like.
And thank God. For most of my adult life, I've been haunted off and on by guilt. I know I have it so much better than so much of the world. How can I sit in my comfort while others suffer? The truth is, I can't, and I shouldn't be that content in my comfort. Don't get me wrong, I'm so, so thankful for the life God has gifted me and my husband. But Jesus didn't call us to be comfortable, He called us to give of ourselves. To love God first, and out of that love will flow love for others, and a desire to give to others well.
I have fought the temptation to "do good" out of duty, but again, that's not what God wants from us. The desire to help others should well up from an overflowing spring of love from our generous Father. We love only because He first loved us. The times I've given of myself out of a sense of duty leave me dried up, even embittered.
If this book stirs you toward action, yay! I believe God has a strong love for refugees and a desire to see them cared for well in our broken world. The Bible is full of refugees and God's care of them.
So, what can you possibly do? If you're in Oregon, there's an awesome non-profit called the Refugee Care Collective, and they present some great, practical ways you can get involved. One really cool thing they do is put together Restart Kits for refugees. They have a different kit for each room of a house full of things needed to restart a life from nothing. You can get together with your community and create a kit together! There are many amazing ways to get involved with local refugees outlined on their website: https://refugeecarecollective.org/
You've heard me talk about Preemptive Love Coalition before, and I'll say again how much I appreciate them. Even in the midst of the danger and tragedy, they tell stories of hope. I follow them on Instagram because I love to hear all the stories they share. This year, they've started an initiative to help Syrians resettle into the now safe parts of Syria. You can get involved here: https://preemptivelove.org/get-involved/
There are ways you can put your longing for peace into action. These are just a few.