My Word for 2014 (a blog assignment from Compassion International)

My little one cries with a torn paper in her hands.  Right now her biggest 3-year-old problem is that her big sister ripped her artwork. Her feelings are real as tears run down her cheeks and so I do the only thing I can. I grab some tape and get to work trying to get those pieces to fit back together. At first she continues to cry, but as I focus in on some of the tinier pieces she gets quiet and starts to watch.

DSC_0289

And soon she is squealing with delight saying “It’s gonna be beautiful!” and I think to myself that right now I can come to her rescue by kissing boo-boos and taping artwork and then all is right in her world again. These are the most magical moments of motherhood.

But my wheels continue to turn, because that’s just how I roll. And I go from enjoying this simple moment to battling with the sinking feeling in my gut that this moment is fleeting. One day she will come crying to me with broken things that are much harder to fix. Broken things that I will be unable to mend. And my heart begins to ache at the thought of not being able to kiss her boo boos away forever.

And the wheels turn faster. It’s quite a talent I have, really.

Today I texted with a mom who has become apart of our lives through Safe Families for Children and she is working so hard to get out of the shelter she is in with her little girls. She is a great mom and such a hard worker, but she was not born into circumstances which put opportunity in front of her. She’s fought an uphill battle for so long. She is tired as she continues to march forward and it just doesn’t seem fair. And I am reminded what bringing people in crisis into your life can feel like . It means feeling like you are standing on the front lines in a war and deciding it is your responsibility to care. So you run to one injured soldier and there are huge gaping wounds but all you have are small bandages…so you do what you can but know it’s not enough and then you look up  to see so many more who have fallen while you were trying to clean up the first mess. And it makes your heart so weary.

And so I say in my head, as I hand the taped up paper to my now-happy little girl, “I won’t always be able to fix her problems. And if I can’t fix her, how will I ever fix anyone else?”

And I hear a still small voice say, oh so lovingly, “You won’t. You don’t have to. I will.”

And He will. We wait around for God to show up when things start to unravel. But He is omnipresent. He has already shown up. He just waits for us to show up. And if I have shown up, no matter how ill-equipped, then that is enough.

And so all of this leads me to my word. I am so thankful that Compassion International does this yearly assignment for it’s bloggers. Because resolutions have always been a huge fail for me. But focusing on a word has been a great way to go through the year.

My word for 2014 is:
REST

This year has been full of my eyes being opened to the very real issues of poverty and crisis and hurt. God has changed my heart and shown me that the least of these are my brothers and sisters and that should inspire action. While I am so full of love, I often wear myself out trying to figure out the mess that comes along with loving people well. I have these moments where I try so hard to fix it all myself that I leave God out of the equation until I come running to Him all broken and exhausted because there was no way I was meant to carry a burden that heavy on my own.

In 2014, I want to focus on resting in who He is, knowing that what I am capable of doesn’t matter nearly as much as His strength and His ability. And I will continue to work and fight and love when it hurts, but I won’t take a step alone. I am looking forward to finding more rest in Him. And it is my own sneaking suspicion that He will be able to get a lot more done through me with me fully trusting Him instead of trying to figure out how to solve things on my own.

As a wife, as a mother, as a daughter of the Most High…as a boo-boo kisser and homeless person lover…as a woman full of big feelings and big dreams, I will seek after rest in Him.

What is your word?

Until the next blog…be blessed!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Which Bible Verse Prompts and Guides You to Serve Others?

Before the Lord opened the doors for us to move to Texas, we struggled.  At the same time that we took on the financial responsibility of an adoption and the bills from the birth of our biological son, my work load with my work at home job was cut in half. Kevin’s hours at work were also cut. The income we were bringing in prior to the birth of our son and the adoption of our daughter was certainly enough to get by. Having two babies, 4 months apart in age, with half the pay we were bringing in before left us with our heads just barely above water. During that time everyone had an answer for us. Kevin should switch professions. I should quit my work at home job, put the kids in daycare and find employment elsewhere. We should both look for second jobs. Despite the chaos, we very much felt God near. We had faith it was a necessary season of pain. And through that suffering we identified more closely with Christ than ever before and became passionate about making our life mean more than financial stability.

Relief came about a year later in the form of a big promotion that would move us 1,000 miles from everything we’ve ever known and loved. And through that move there was more spiritual stretching and growing…but there was also this unspoken sigh of relief that we had made it through such a difficult season. Eventually that sigh of relief, that financial comfort, and that self-sufficiency bred both complacency and even selfishness.

There is truth in Proverbs 30:8-9 which declares, “Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

When we struggle financially, we are tempted to take things into our own hands instead of relying on the Lord. When we have an abundance, it is easy to rely on self more than we rely on God. We quickly realized this and began to seek after the Lord about what to do with this new season of our lives. And then I came across the scripture that has changed our family forever: 2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”

Jesus Christ, ruler over all things, King of kings and Lord of lords as scripture defines Him, clearly had access to more material wealth than you and I could begin to fathom. And yet, for our sake, he cast off that material wealth so that we could know true spiritual wealth. He could have come to this earth and demanded a certain lifestyle as he shared his love with others. He knew he was a King…he could have insisted on living like one. He made the most of his life living poor, only praying for His daily bread…not security in the future, not a little extra. And by this, we were able to know His grace.

So what do we do with that? It’s easy to want to not take a scripture like this to heart in a culture that is obsessed with more. We tend to treat God like a magic genie, telling him all the “stuff” we wish we had, feeling discontentment with not having enough when we are already greatly rich compared to the vast majority of the world. We say it’s okay to treat ourselves to the things we love over and over again because we work so hard to earn it. In reality, it is God that has enabled us to be able to work so hard. It is He who gave us the opportunity to earn. For this reason, our question should not be how much can we get away with keeping for ourselves and how much do we really NEED to give. Instead we should ask ourselves, how much do we really NEED to keep and what can we give back to God in order to richly bless others.

That scripture started a spark that has led to the flame of a huge life change in our family. We live simply, below our means so that we can give more. Not just financially. With our time, with our gifts, with our love. This is what started our amazing journey with Compassion International and our sweet sponsor children. It is why I am a Compassion Blogger today.

May we never get so caught up in being comfortable that we forget to serve.

What verse has changed your views on servant hood?

Until the next blog…be blessed!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Kaselo

Today I was writing a letter to our sponsor child and I found myself trying to explain some of our Fall traditions. I wrote about pumpkin patches and hayrides and the Thanksgiving Day parade and I couldn’t help but wonder if I sound utterly ridiculous to him. Don’t get me wrong, I know Kaselo gets excited about our letters to him, just as we get excited about his letters to us. I doubt he’s in Tanzania judging us for our comfortable life as he reads that the things that are on our plate right include deciding how we’ll decorate our Suburban for the church’s Trunk or Treat event.  Sometimes it feels wrong to write about our “much” knowing that he has so little. But, I’m sure it’s interesting and exciting to him and he has always expressed interest in how different our lives are.

So why do I feel nervous writing to him?

I think it’s because I know that Kaselo and his family….they are the least of these. Kaselo’s mother lives on approximately $7 a month working as a day laborer and raises her children on that money all by herself. They are working very hard to have very little and compared to even some of the poorest here in the United States, they would be considered “the least.”  You know, the “least of these” that the Bible speaks of in Matthew 25. Which means that if I believe what the Bible says is true, then I must believe that whatever I do unto Kaselo…I have also done unto the Lord. That’s serious stuff. And so I examine my words, making sure they are pure and true and full of love and intention. It’s emotional every. single. time.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child, please visit www.compassion.com and browse through some of the waiting children. The children involved in the compassion program are less likely to fall victim to trafficking, are more likely to get an education and are consistently exposed to the love of Jesus. If you can’t afford to sponsor a child, you can call the compassion hotline and request to write letters to a child that has a sponsor. In some situations, children are sponsored by companies or by people who are unable to write letters and those children need people to write. You will change their lives…and they will most definitely change yours.

Until the next blog…be blessed!