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It’s been more than four years since I launched my blog, which was originally called Fierce Beyond Fifty. In those years, I’ve posted twice a week almost without fail, writing more than four hundred and fifty blog posts.
This week, for the first time, I sat down to blog and found myself at a loss for words. Not because I didn’t have ideas about what to write; I keep a notebook with a whole list of ideas for future posts.
But how am I supposed to write about books, or fashion, or redecorating, or crafts, or travel, or even ways to support friends who are going through hard times, when so many lives have already been lost, when millions of innocent people have been forced to flee their homes, and millions more are trapped in their homes without water, food, electricity, or medicines, trying to survive in cities under siege, cowering in corners as they listen for the sounds of bombings that moves ever closer?
This week, I truly have no words.
There is no adequate way to express the anguish and compassion I am feeling for a brave and peaceful people in a country I’ve never set foot in, who are fighting and suffering simply because they wish to maintain their right to live as a sovereign nation, and a despot who has lied to the world, as well as his own people, has launched a cruel, horrific war in an attempt to take that right from them.
In the wake of world events and the desperate plight that has befallen the people of Ukraine, penning a post about the things I would normally blog about seems trivial and even disrespectful.
Words feel inadequate at this time. And so do I.
All week, I have wished there was something meaningful I could do to help these people. Watching the news, seeing how people living in the countries surrounding Ukraine, I have wished that I, too, could go to the border or a train station and hold a sign, inviting weary, frightened refugees into my home.
It would feel so good and so right to be able to do something for them. And yet, even from the other side of the ocean, there are things we can do. To start with, we can share what we have with those who have so much less.
Like many others, I’ve made donations to organizations that have boots on the ground to help the refugees and previous experience working in Ukraine. The organizations I have chosen to partner with are Mercy Corps and UNICEF . But there are many other reputable, well-run charities working to provide relief and solace during this terrible crisis. If you’re looking for ways to provide financial assistance to the people of Ukraine, you might consider the list which was posted at GlobalCitizen.Org. Your local church might have some suggestions too.
Also, together with other writers, booklovers, and my friends and Adventures by the Book, I’m taking part in a virtual fundraiser we’re calling Authors for Peace. Our goal is to raise $50,000 dollars for the International Rescue Committee, a non-profit that is already in Poland, working to provide food, medical care, and emergency support for refugees.
If you’re able and so inclined, I’d love it if you can join in that effort by making adding your donation to mine by clicking this link and giving what you can. Large or small, it all helps!
In a time of such loss, I am grateful to have resources I can share with those who are suffering. But in these challenging economic times, I know that’s not the case for everyone. So if you don’t have money to donate? Is there really anything you can do to help? Anything that can truly make a difference?
You may feel differently about this than I do but, for me, the answer is yes.
The thing I can do, am doing, and will continue to do is pray. As important it is to help share the resources I have with others, I believe that prayer is even more important.
I don’t pretend to know why suffering exists or why evil flourishes. Nor do I pretend to understand or predict God’s timelines for healing this broken world. But I do know that prayer is powerful; powerful enough to effect change, defeat dictators, and shine light in even the darkest corners and times.
This week, I have been praying Psalm 6:10 for the Russian people and soldiers, most of whom I believe have been deceived by their leaders, that they would somehow receive the information about the realities of this terrible war and would demand an end to this unjust conflict.
Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled;
Let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly
I have also been praying Psalm 27:1-3 for the people of Ukraine, both those who have had to flee the country and those who are still within its borders, that they would know courage and strength, remembering that God is bigger than the enemy they face.
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this, I will be confident.
And I have been reading the seventh chapter of Judges, the story of how God intervened and enabled Gideon and a force of only 300 men to defeat a vastly more powerful army, praying that God would intervene here as well, working a miracle in Ukraine.
Though I cannot predict the outcome of this conflict, and though the enemy has gained ground in recent days, I do believe that those kinds of prayers are being answered already. For who would ever have predicted that the outmanned and outgunned Ukrainian forces could have withstood the Russian army for this long? And who could have imagined that so many people and nations, some with profound political differences, would put those differences aside and unite to support Ukraine?
It is miraculous. I continue to pray earnestly and constantly, that we may see more and greater miracles in the days to come.
Friends, I know this is not my usual sort of post. Soon, I will return to writing the kind of content I’ve penned in the past. But this week, this post is the most meaningful thing I can write. Just as prayer is the most meaningful thing I can do.
Because no matter how hopeless or helpless we may feel, we can always pray. In fact, rather than the least we can do, I believe that prayer is actually the most we can do. When we pray, we are tapping into a divine power that dwarfs human effort.
This week and in the weeks ahead, for as long as this conflict continues, I will constantly be in prayer for the people and nation of Ukraine and I hope you will as well, keeping in mind the words of Hebrews 4:16…
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
God bless and keep you, Friends. And may God bless and keep the people of Ukraine.