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Poverty and Paradise

If God, in my brokenness, didn’t give up on me, what right do I have to give up on my impoverished Haitian brothers and sisters?



It’s early morning as I relax in my warm home, stretched out in my comfortable, over-sized writing chair, sipping a hot cup of coffee.

My stomach growls and I easily quiet its demands by toasting a bagel. I recognize that the simple act of plugging my toaster into an electric outlet is a luxury not afforded in Haiti. I reflect on the pangs of hunger felt by the children and adults there.

I think about the dry cracked mouths of the children longing to receive something refreshing to quench their thirst. I think about how the beautiful blue ocean taunts them with its rushing waves from their barren tent city. It takes all of the children’s strength to walk over to the side of the road. They bend down, resting their dirty, worn clothes on their knees, revealing their calloused, mud-encrusted feet. Feet that walk a journey for which no one would dare ask.

Cupping their tiny hands, they attempt to draw brown-colored water from the ditch on the side of the road. But instead of clear refreshment, they scoop up a bacteria-laden substance and pour it down their parched throats. As it spills onto their hollow cheeks, it also flows into their fragile little bodies, threatening a destructive disease by the name of Cholera.

Preparing to Go

I visited Haiti for the first time in December 2010. I will admit that fear almost choked out my good intentions in traveling to this foreign country. Not only had I recently suffered a stress fracture in my hip, but the deadly disease of Cholera was spreading rapidly throughout Port-Au-Prince and the surrounding villages.

According to reports, hundreds were dying daily; and those were the ones that made the five o’clock news! Along with that, Hurricane Tomas was sweeping through the country, threatening to create mudslides that could overtake the mountainous, already dilapidated “homes.”

Friends and family lovingly offered advice that leaving the safety and comfort of my home (not to mention my hormonal teenager, vulnerable toddler, and devoted husband) was, to put it nicely, foolish. After all, God gave us wisdom for a reason. There were dangers at every turn and surely I would be even more susceptible to them because of my injury. I needed to hear from God.

I decided to shut out the voices around me and “unplug.” I fasted from anything that could hinder hearing from God. These included the internet, Facebook, and even TV.

After a few weeks of prayer and silence, I came to my conclusion. I never heard an audible “go,” but I deciphered that fear was the only thing holding me back. I knew that fear wasn’t from God. My answer was clear. If I said I trusted God with my life, I needed to make good on that confession. I may have been traveling to a foreign country, but I would be doing it with my familiar God.

The Destination

As we stepped off of the plane and onto the black tarmac, I took in the beauty that surrounded me. The sun was setting as we made our way to the warehouse that served as a make-shift airport. As we met eyes with customs officials, I masqueraded as a confident, well-traveled visitor, in an effort to avoid any conflict or obstacles to our mission.

We brought with us ten 50 pound bags of supplies. Because corruption is rampant and stolen packages are common, these collected materials from the States can’t be sent in through the mail system. We located our bags and breathed a sigh of relief.

We had already been warned about the chaos that would pounce upon us as we stepped outside. Locals stalk the premises for any sign of relief through financial provision. We stepped outside and it immediately resembled more of a Hollywood paparazzi scene than a third-world country. Haitian men clamored about, laying their hands on our bags and feverishly begging in Creole to assist us. I thought about oppression and injustice as I witnessed with my American-bred blue eyes, it’s obvious consequences.

We hopped in our bus driven by a local, trusted Haitian man. I was thankful for the tinted windows. I felt odd traveling the streets and taking note of their plight. Guilt plagued me as I didn’t want to exploit or gawk at them anymore than they already had been.

Tent cities lined the streets by the hundreds, including the median. Fires loomed everywhere and I easily saw why rape had increased by 40%. There was no police presence to be found. Although our destination was only 20 miles from the airport, we traveled through the rubble for three hours until we finally arrived at our location. We turned on the generator and made our way upstairs. As my tired body collapsed onto my air mattress, I thanked God for a soft place to land. I knew others were not so fortunate.

Just a few days later, I learned the harsh reality of where these children slept at night. While visiting an orphanage, I witnessed a young girl sleeping on concrete blocks. She looked so peaceful and I was astounded as the Director excitedly explained how grateful he was for those blocks! When it rains, they have no protection from the elements. Floods can easily sweep you away without a moment’s notice — a concrete block remains a permanent fixture.

We also had the chance to visit some “middle class” Haitians, as we would say in America. We traveled up the mountainside into the crevice of a rock to visit with an elderly woman and her family. Through a reforestation project, she had earned her one room, humble abode and it housed ten of those closest to her. She brewed us her hand grown coffee and shared with us her baked bread. It’s a moment I will never forget.


Throughout the week, as I heard “bonjour” and “bonsai” echo out of these beautiful, charming people, a love began to grow in my heart for them. As I sit here and fill my belly with the easily accessible food from my kitchen, I think about the name given to Haiti long ago by the famous discoverer, Columbus. He deemed the island, the “Antilles Jewel” in an attempt to describe its majesty to others. The deep blue sea and the plush green mountains were nothing short of paradise. But something went very wrong. In spite of that, these gems of a people still radiated such grace and their hearts exploded with such resilience, that the love they exuberated almost erased or denied all the years of slavery and injustice.

And it got me thinking about another place, one mentioned in Genesis. This place was a fruitful garden and our ancestors, Adam and Eve, walked in perfect unity with God and nature there. It too was a paradise that seems but an unattainable luxury. But something went terribly wrong here as well. In fact, it was the first time sin entered the world. With all of its ugliness, it attempted to choke out all of God’s goodness and beauty. Corruption and greed grew where prosperity once had. How broken the world had become; how tragic of a story. Something had to be done.

God, in His gracious love and understanding “gave something up for something He loved more.” He sent His one and only Son to proclaim a gospel to His broken people. This was all in an effort to give us freedom instead of slavery, joy instead of mourning, and paradise instead of poverty; to fix the problems that we had indeed created for ourselves. We deserved death but instead He gave us life. What a gracious Savior we have.

With this knowledge, I face a dilemma. If God, in my brokenness, didn’t give up on me, what right do I have to give up on my impoverished Haitian brothers and sisters? And not only that, but what am I willing to sacrifice in order to help them and their barren land be restored back to its original, serene design?

I ponder these things as I transition from my comfortable chair into my bathroom where I can simply turn a knob and hot, soothing water pours out to cleanse and bring refreshment to my body. Do I deserve this more than anyone else? Am I more worthy?

Several scriptures from God’s Word come to mind. Luke 12:28 says, “To much has been given, much is required.” What exactly am I required to give? And James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” I am reminded of the promise in Mark 10:29 that says, “‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus replied, ‘no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much.'”

There is so much searching to be done. And to be honest, I’m not sure what this means for me. But one thing I do know is that those sweet faces are forever burned in my heart and I would be nothing but honored to give my life to God’s glory and redemption story with the people of Haiti. I just hope my sacrifice is found pleasing in His sight. I hope my sinful self — with all of its greed and pride — can help restore “the years the locusts have eaten.” I hope that by being willing to obey a calling, I can somehow make their plight a little more bearable — and maybe even beautiful.

Karin Hume is a Mississippi girl healing from the wounds of life while hoping to inspire others to do the same. She lives with her visionary husband Brian, aspiring journalist, teenage son Tayler, and rockstar toddler Chase. When she isn't chauffeuring or potty training, she enjoys having coffee dates with friends, creating recipes out of whole foods, running, cycling, and Yoga. Writing is not only her passion but an outlet God has used to transform her life. She blogs at allpointswhole.


When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.



One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.



“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

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He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.



Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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Poverty and Paradise

by Karin Hume time to read: 6 min