14 Nov

Junk Mail that Changed My World

Compassion junk mail

Any envelope with that logo is met with excitement and anticipation. News from afar. Letters or pictures from our sweet lil Compassion kiddos.

Breathless from her dash back from the mailbox, “Mom, can I open it?” She danced around waving the envelope.

I gave her the nod and she shredded the envelope with more excitement than “the winner is”.

Inside was a plea to help support children without a sponsor for a short-term sponsorship (just a month). While it was a great idea and we do love supporting Compassion there wasn’t another dime in the budget this month, so I told her no.

“What should I do with the pictures inside?” she asked.

Compassion junk mail

I shrugged it off. “Throw them away,” I guess. I dismissed it as junk mail. Well-meaning, yes, but junk mail nonetheless.

And I moved on.

Hours later when it was time to pull up covers and kiss little foreheads, her hands were folded in prayer with a picture clutched between them.

“We need to pray for his family mom….”

There were the pictures.

The junk mail.

The junk.

What seemed like clutter to me and was so quickly dismissed was clutched like treasure in her hands. Her heart beating for the needs of another a world away.

My heart swells with love for our baby girl. I don’t give her enough credit for her heart for others. I amazed that in one day she can push hard against our rules, nearly explode with tween drama and attitude and then breathe such grace and compassion over a picture. Under her mismatched socks and chatty exterior, beats a heart after God’s.

We join her in her prayer. A small voice with big requests — a sponsor, above all. Because God can do these things if we ask Him.

As we close her door I can barely breathe in the hallway.

I miss so much.

It was junk mail to me. It was life changing for her.

Father, open my eyes to your opportunities.

She carries those pictures around. Praying. Talking about them. Those children are real to her — real needs, real families, real dreams. They are important to her.

Are they important to me? Are they important to you?

We see so much need and sometimes that just paralyzes us. Where to begin. How do you start a problem that it seems you can’t fix?

But, really, it all begins quite simply…with the faith of a child really.

Isabel took what God gave her (a few little pictures) and what she could do (pray). And she did it. Who knows what God will do in answer to those prayers? What she might be praying them through or into? What provision of heaven was unlocked when that little blonde head bowed in faith?

So what is God giving you today? More importantly who is God giving you today? If we enter each day…every moment…with a longing to see what God has set before us…who God has set before us…how will that change the world?

Being a parent challenges me. Every. Day. But more than anything else my children help me to see God. To look for God. There is so much of this world that I overlook on my way to appointments, in an attempt to clean the house or just because it wasn’t on my to do list. Our children make me look around…show me these moments of God that I miss. They challenge me to see Him. To grow in Him. To believe…really, whole-heartedly, just believe.

Take a page from an 8 year olds playbook today — take what is right in front of you and go to God with it. Believe…ask…Because God can do these things if we ask Him.

{Take a moment today. Visit Compassion (<<— click there). Sign up to sponsor a child…make an eternal difference one life at a time. Can’t afford to sponsor today? Well visit Compassion anyway, pick a child to pray for…go to God on their behalf! If you do these things could you comment below? I will share them with Isabel so she can see how her mustard seed is inspiring and teaching us all.}

15 Aug

Raising Kids Who Get It

It might just look like a dented tin box tied with a broken balloon…

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…but it’s not.

This week we bid farewell to one of our Compassion kids. His letters with his perfectly beautiful penmanship and his dreams of university and the future have been a very real part of our family’s life for a few years. Our dear, William, has grown up and graduated from the program. And with his milestone comes the end of our relationship.

And while we talk of strategies to remember him — where to hang his picture and leaving his prayer stick in our jar — it is time to move on.

There are more children.

There is a HUGE need.

And we are a Compassion family.

Huddled around the computer screen we search for our new “family member”.

A girl this time.

Ethiopia.

Perhaps someone with a September birthday (since 3 out of 4 people in this house belong to that club).

And we find her. Simegn.

From her picture onscreen her eyes captivate me. She’s the one.

Her birthday is just a couple weeks after the kids. The same year as our daughter. She’s the one.

As I push all the right buttons on the screen to make her “ours,” the chatter begins around me.

She’ll need a birthday package. (something special with pictures, letters, stickers, a verse to pray over her and more)

More than an hour later he appears.

That dented box in his hands.

“I’ve been putting this together for her.”

That girl.

Our girl.

“I know she is poor.”

The tears that trail down his cheeks as I begin to tell him that we can’t send the box surprise. Paper stuff only I explain.

He tries to negotiate with me…to change the rules. Offers to pay to send it. And sobs until he can barely breath.

We offer other alternatives. We could save it for Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes or put it in the foster peanuts bedroom.

He shakes his head.

He won’t let us see what’s in the box that is now hanging limply in his hand.

It takes almost an hour for him to quit moping.

Later after playing outside, his sister whispers to me the details of what is in the box.

And I tear up.

IMG_8786

It is his treasure….what’s important to him offered to another.

All those moments of our children begging for toys at Target and making Christmas lists in February flash through my mind. We’ve planned lessons and looked for teachable moments. I’ve sat with other mothers and lamented about how hard it is to raise kids who think of others….kids who get it.

And then, this little dented box whispers of little boy grace.

He gets it.

11 Jun

Because. I. Can.

kc

I scroll by quickly. Because I can.

Sitting on my comfy couch, in my air-conditioned living room with my cold Diet Coke sweating on the table nearby. I scroll by.

Because. I. Can.

I’m neither proud of this fact or ashamed of this. Just being honest.

I did go back and stare at the photo…all the detail…all the heartache…the tiny little ribs…the sweet arms…the menacing vulture. All of it. With tears in my eyes I shut the tab. Image gone. Tears lingering.

(photo by Kevin Carter — to read blog where I first saw it and read it here)

 

But what can I do? That’s almost always my question. What can I, a simple homemaking, homeschooling woman from the middle of Virginia, actually do???

If that child was within my grasp, would I pick it up? You bet your sweet boopie I would. (Yeah, I don’t know what a boopie is either, but it sounded good and kinda southern…I like to sound southern!) Yes, I would pick up that child and do whatever was in my means to help…to care for…to feed…to love on…to raise…whatever.

But.

(I can already see some of your wheels turning — ready to tell me I could go on a mission trip or I could write a check to an organization is on the ground. Both noble ideas and answers. But.)

While I sit among the richest population in the world does writing a check really make me a woman after God’s own heart? Does a scrawled signature, a stamp and trip to the mailbox get me off the hook in the fight for the “least”?? My simple answer…no. God wants more from me….from us.

My husband and I choose to partner with organizations like Compassion International. And yes, we totally write a check…actually less effort than that…got love auto payments, but our role doesn’t end there. We write letters and send pictures to our Compassion kids. We pray for and talk about the children, their families, their communities, their countries. Compassion takes the money and multiples it with others into food, medical care, spiritual care, love and SO much more.

And while we love Compassion and the richness our sponsorship adds to our lives. It is a piece of what we do…and it still doesn’t help me refute the “but” from above.

At the end of the day, or my life, what can I offer to my sweet Savior as my efforts to change the world? To love those He loves. To change the world one heart, one empty tummy, one stolen childhood, one person at a time?

**start at home** Sounds almost like a cop-out doesn’t it. Too simple, too easy, too lazy. But, it isn’t. Everyday the focus of our home is teach our peanuts about God — His creation, His people (through world history and current events), and loving Him. Homeschool lends itself to educating my children about the truths of extreme poverty around the world, but any family with any schooling routine could do this. You just gotta get a little intentional. The old saying about children being the future is TOTALLY true and we need to live like it. Start the conversations — talking about thinking about others, showing Jesus’ love, sacrificing for others. Then as a family make a plan…what’s one thing we can do this month to change our world (remember one step, one person at a time). Then Do it!!! (need some inspiration or some help — check out this awesome ebook from Live58 or connect with great communities like Moms Ending Extreme Poverty on Facebook or read the book Missional Moms by Helen Lee)

**find their passions** Our daughter has a heart for orphans (or “children without parents” as she used to call them). After listening to her sweet little girl games of school and store, I realized that she was playing that she was teaching orphans and selling everything she owned to care for them. We began to look for ways for her to put her hands where her heart already was. We made dresses…simple patterns, cute fabric and a little bit of trial and error. In the past two years we have sent boxes of dresses to organizations here in the states and we have loaded dresses into missionaries suitcases to have them delivered to little princesses at orphanages and poor communities around the world. What talents do you have? Where does your heart daydream or imagine?

**pray** God can do more with a willing heart than we ever can with a checkbook and a plan. Surrender it all to God — ask Him where to go and what to do. You might be writing checks, living abroad, or inspiring your community to get involved before you know it. Follow God — He has a plan for you.

**do something** I scrolled past that picture that hurt my heart (much like I used to change the channel when Sally Struthers used to show me images of flies crawling on starving children), but I chose to go back. To read it. To pray about it. To follow the links…to read the comments…to educate myself. Our family will be working our through the “Giving Table” ebook (linked above) this summer. That is our first action step, and as we pray who knows where God will take us.

It has been said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” (source unknown) Darkness and poverty linger (just like that blasted vulture in the photo) and when we do nothing we leave room for evil to win (the battle, not the war for Jesus already won that).  Choose to love….to fight…to follow Jesus…to change the world….Because. You. Can.

 

23 May

Starts and Ends in the Heart

compassion letter

A picture on the mantle.

A few letters in a notebook/scrapbook.

 

 

These are the only traces of him here.

And, yet, as I pray for him today tears stream down my cheeks.

Over 4000 miles between us. Worlds really.

And yet, our William…our Compassion child is part of our family…part of my heart.

In my most recent (and last letter) I wrote, “Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Isn’t that so exciting!?! That even before you were born God knew the amazing adventure you would go on with Him — your family, your school, your soccer team, your Compassion programs, your sponsors, and the new adventures that await you.”

How exciting it is for him to be graduating…to be growing up.

And I wonder what I would say if I could hug him and say goodbye. What wise, loving words could I end our season of life with?

Life isn’t fair and it can be tough. But grace isn’t fair and it is Love.

Pray. Read your Bible. Remember, no matter what, God loves you.

Look for Jesus…everywhere.

In the end, the words I left him with were how proud we are of him and how much we love him. Something I hope he knows, he feels and he’ll remember.

As I look back on my childhood and the people who changed my world, I am keenly aware that very few of them ever had that one Pinterest worthy quote or a life changing piece of advice. No, instead, they loved me. In real, tangible, reliable ways the people who affected my life most lavished me with love.

When we signed up to be Compassion sponsors we had so many reasons — to teach our children about God’s love, to connect our kids with kids around the world, to give — even a little — of what God has blessed us with. I had no idea that sponsorship would change my life…my heart.

I had no idea the joy a simple envelope would bring. Or how my heart would skip a beat as I looked at pictures and handwriting — seeing evidence of how much “our” children were growing. Or the overwhelming privilege of being entrusted with prayers of “little” ones. Or the love and concern we would develop for the families of these sweet children God allows us to get know.

But mostly, I never realized how much being a sponsor would show me about God. That in these envelopes filled with translated words and crayon drawings I would find a reminder of what is important. That whispers of truth and prayers said in love change the world. That while I sit here struggling with first world problems, God blesses us — not so that we can get more but so that we can give more.

Our sweet friend will start a new chapter of his life, and I am so happy for him and yet so sad to be saying goodbye.

Many of us think that sponsoring a child begins in the checkbook. Finding the money. Writing the check. But the truth is, sponsorship starts and ends in the heart. It is a Jesus filled journey that brings us face to face with the “least of these”.

And it is there…in this relationship that we find glimpses of God. Echoes of truth in crayon decorated letters. Loaves and fishes miracles as Compassion takes our little and turns into food and clean water; education; medical care; life skills training; and Jesus in love, deed and Word!

 

 

06 Feb

Her Mama Heart

Her Mama Heart

I don’t know her, but I lie awake thinking of her.

Worlds away. Oceans apart. Likely, we will never meet but she weighs heavy on my heart.

As she lays her head down tonight how is her mama heart? Do her children cry in the night? Are their bellies empty?

Just today my son was crying, nothing major just childhood disappointments, and I just wanted to comfort him…to soothe the wounds and quiet his sobs. I rocked my baby boy and in minutes he scampered off to do little boy things.

And as I tucked him in tonight I was aware of our blessings. Of comfortable pillows and fluffy blankets. Of full bellies and stocked refrigerators. Of home and heart. Of God and hope.

The house is silent around me. Little heads rest in little beds. And again I think of her.

How is her mama heart? When the basic needs of life lay unmet and heavy how does a mother soothe? When bellies are empty and hope seems dim how does she push through the day?

And what can I do?

Nothing seems real or tangible or doable from here. There has to be something between her and me…someone to be Jesus….to share Jesus…to meet her needs like Jesus would. Because I cannot reach. And I cannot imagine.

This is why we partner with Compassion International…my husband and I…our family. That’s what we are partners…we invest money, prayers and letter writing time…..a few loaves and a couple of fish. Compassion goes in Jesus  and our meager crumbs and flakes become food and clean water; education; medical care; life skills training; and Jesus in love, deed and Word!

The space between us is half a world, the hands that carry our little to her need are many, but when I close my eyes its nothing…just Jesus between her and me. Whispered grace that knows no boundaries of language or economics. The sun that warms her cheeks was created to give her the same warmth it gives me…her sun is my sun. My Jesus…I hope…is her Jesus.

And in this late night silence when my children lay tucked in with prayers and wrapped in our home’s blanket of faith,  I pray for her babies. That our partnership carries the Truth to their little ears into their hearts. That they would grow up knowing that Jesus came here for them…was for them…from them…loved them…and calls us all to reach out and care for “the least of these”.

That they would know it is circumstance that makes them least  and that there is a Savior that made them first. Made them rich. That it is His wealth that is their wealth. That it is His wealth that carries them now. That it is His wealth that He placed in our hands so that we might find a partnership…so that we might find them…love them.

And as I lay my head down tonight, I ask God to touch her mama heart. When little hands carry home letters, food and life’s joys may she see Jesus in them. When little bellies growl and her little is not enough may she seek Jesus with them. And when the the day is done and little eyes close for rest may she hear Him sing over her. For she is His delight…they are His delight…and it is in Him that we partner to touch her mama heart.

03 Jan

Shine a Little Light…Stuff it in an Envelope

compassion letter

The cinematography is incredible. The images of poverty and hope draw you in. The stories of the people will break your heart, ignite your passions and wreck you (in an awesome, heavy, passionate, gut wrenching kinda way).

But…

When the credits roll and you sit in the theater (or living room, or church or wherever) it is not over. The question hangs in the air. Heavy. Overwhelming. God-sized. What will you do?

The first time I watched 58:The Film I couldn’t stop thinking about it. How could I make a difference? What can I do? Throughout the movie I was struck by the amazing contrast between those with hope and those without. In one scene in particular a boy (perhaps 12ish) says he has dreams…but he’d rather they be taken away as they’ll never come true. Bonded slavery stemming from a loan issued to his parents has stolen his family’s life (because breaking up granite for pennies a day is no life for a man, his wife or his children), his family’s joy, and their hope.

It was that loss of hope that hit me strongest.

No joy….

No light…

No hope…

No Jesus….

With the credits still rolling on the screen my heart was already looking for the what…the how…my piece. And immediately I thought of “our” Compassion kids. We’ve been given a unique opportunity. To shine a little light, stuff it in an envelope (or even write online!!), and send it across the 1000’s of miles.

Light.

Hope.

Jesus.

I wanted to be intentional about offering these children we sponsor (and write to) the hope that we have in Jesus. And within days the first opportunity arrived in a letter with pictures and hand-drawn art on the back. A prayer request for our sweet Andrea’s dad…he has no job right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter in hand. I knew I had to write. Right then. And somehow, in a few hundred words I had to share Jesus…do something more than just say the words “we’re praying” or “God will take care of it”.

Hope.

Jesus.

I wrote that we were praying. And then I wrote what we were praying for her…”We are praying for your father to get a job. I hope by the time you receive this letter he will have one. I want to share the verse I am praying for you all. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 God sees all our needs, Andrea. And He will provide a job, and for your family’s needs. And I ask Him everyday not only to provide for you (and your family), but also to help you know His truth and remind you how much He loves you.”

I have a very sweet friend who writes prayer letters. They are beautiful and very moving. And, oh! How I wish I could write something like that. But alas…that is SO not my gift. But in this letter I was writing I was moved to tell Andrea what I was praying for her in the new year.

Here is what I wrote:

…for the new year coming I have many prayers for you.

I pray that God will remind you everyday of His love and affection for you. (For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16)

I pray that you read the Bible and begin to learn how God’s word is for you. (All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16)

I pray that God will provide for you and your family in ways you can’t imagine. (Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20) 

And as I signed that letter. I began to pray the God would deliver light, hope, and Jesus through this tiny offering of words on a page. That somehow this light would shine into a little girl’s life magnified through Him. Into her future. Into her family’s future. For generations to come.

This is just one piece my God-given puzzle. One piece in our family’s puzzle. God has given us the pieces and we are prayerfully putting them together…the picture on the box?? Well, I’m sure it looks like Jesus and as we begin to assemble our lives to fit His pattern to others it will look like light, hope, love and our Jesus.

Father, thank you for organizations like Compassion International, that allow us the opportunity to shine Your light in places where poverty hangs heavy and dark. Thank you for films that open our eyes, touch our hearts and stir us to Your action. Please guide our steps as we seek to live out our God-given purposes. Father, thank you for our Compassion kids whose letters and pictures touch our hearts and whose lives you’ve allowed us to whisper Jesus. Let our whispers roar like the Lion of Judah in a world that is cluttered with noise and distraction. Thank you for Joy. For Light. For Hope. For Jesus. Amen.

Have you seen 58:The Film yet? Thoughts? How are you getting involved?

 

 

31 Oct

The Burden of Privilege

My mind flashed to a recent picture I’d seen of a child sleeping on the streets. Little body tightly balled-up to keep out the cold and ward off the evil that lurks in the dark. I saw his face, his cheeks his mama should kiss good night, pressed against the gravel.

My words caught in my throat. Tears stung my eyes.

In mid sentence my prayer hung in the air…waiting.

In the middle of the sentence thanking God for warm fires, piles of blankets on little bodies and movies nights I saw this boy’s face. His body. His life.

Such a stark contrast my life and his. His life and my children’s life.

Burdened with the guilt of privilege (or just geography?), I struggle. We have so much. And so many with so little.

When there are babies growing into men that do not know a mother’s love or a father’s gentle guidance.

When there are girls selling themselves for money for food for tomorrow, or sold for tomorrow’s food, that don’t know a loving touch or a secure, unconditional love.

When a mother’s hope for her child rests in the hands of strangers and a life lived apart.

When a little boy sleeps in the streets, rummages through the dump for food and knows nothing of a world where warmth, food and love are everyday things.

What then?

When you can’t sleep? And you can’t change the world?

What then?

Then…Jesus.

I pray.

I do the next thing Jesus puts in front of me. For now the steps seem small — writing to our Compassion kids, educating myself (and others), and I pray some more.

I read amazing books and blogs of people all over the world shining a Holy light into the darkest corners. Of caring for others and loving like and for Jesus. Changing the world one heart, one step at a time.

And I know, at least for now, that is not the call on my life.

My call is here – homeschool, home front. And I walk the path God is unfolding, wondering and waiting….where does all this lead?

For tonight. It leads to tears and prayers.

I pray that Jesus will kiss that little boy’s face, and put people in his life to show him Love.

I pray that God takes my burdened heart and privileged life and shows me what to do with them…for Him.

I pray that God stirs the church to act, to love, to battle the forces of evil (as they wage war with famine, hunger, human trafficking, poverty, and more).

Will you pray with me? Will you ask God to show you what you can do with your life?

31 Jul

How a Mop Handle Can Lead to Humbling Life Change

The heat from my burning cheeks was inching down my neck and over my ears. My embarrassment was showing, for sure. So was my frustration and anger. As I bent over to pick up the magazines I could feel the stares of the grocery store patrons and hear the snickers.
Like knocking over a magazine rack (yep, a rack) isn’t embarrassing enough, only minutes before I had taken out a couple of boxes of brownie mix and five or six packages of tp. The mop handle sticking out of my cart was destined for home and making my life easier, but right now it was a giant pain and rapidly becoming a cause of public humiliation.
There I stood. Frustrated. Angry. Embarrassed. 
And a breath before I could move my cart and knock another item down, images flashed across my memory. Suddenly the heart wrenching truth of the famine in East Africa (view the graphic images here) hit me. In the air-conditioned, shiny, cool grocery store with a cart full of groceries I thought I would throw up. As quickly as the red drained from my face every selfish emotion drained from my body.
With tears in my eyes I fumbled through checkout. Hoping to contain my emotions long enough to prevent further embarrassment. Putting my groceries in the back of my silver grocery-getter littered with kiddo toys, blankets, and the sandy remnants of vacation, I lost it.
I sobbed all the way home.

I’ll never understand the grace of God. How it is that this girl who loses her temper…a lot; who turns to food instead of God; who curses the laundry and other daily tasks that await a stay-at-home mom; who can go days without reading the Bible; and who let’s foul words escape my mouth more often then I care to admit can be blessed beyond measure by a God whose ways I cannot fathom, I’ll never know.

As I ponder the mothers whose babies are starving. The women who rock sick children to sleep begging for one more night and rescue in the daylight. Those who look to the clouds and pray that today they’ll open up…that relief will come in drips and drops, in downpours, and soggy new life. I begin the pray, I beg for food, aid, peace, rain, Him. I don’t understand the gap, my abundance and their losses, but I do understand that there is  God in heaven who loves each mama, each baby, each community more than we can wrap our small questioning minds around.
I am not sure I can make a difference in East Africa. I can’t make it rain, I can’t cut through bureaucratic red tape or send aid to so many, but I can use my voice, my space, my life to pray, to speak, to point to the One who loves us all.
Consider joining me:
– pray — for rain, for aid, for God, for the people on the front lines, for peace
– raise your voice, use your space – spread the word — blog, facebook, twitter, in Bible study wherever you can ask others to get involved
– sponsor a child — visit Compassion International today to find out how you can invest in the life of a child in  Africa (all over the world, really) helping to feed their bodies and their souls 
Father, thank you for changing my heart, for helping me to realize that I am so much smaller than my ego believes and MUCH more blessed than I often remember. Help me to find ways to shine your light here in my own community and across the world. Father, kiss the foreheads of your daughters that go to bed lost, scared, or disheartened tonight. I pray that even in the midst of great challenges and great sadness they are able to feel your warmth and peace. Amen.
28 Jul

Their Story is My Story

Piles of construction paper. Glue. Stickers. Scissors. Bits and pieces of paper. As though the craft bin exploded in the living room. It overwhelmed me…overwhelms me. And in all honesty part of it still sits on the living room floor.  The aftermath cast a shadow over the project. Over the impact. Over the reasons. Over The reason.


whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me…As I walk up the stairs today their pictures hit me anew. I remember when I first hung them there, it was a daily reminder to pray. I wonder now as I touch their cheeks and pause to pray, how often do I walk by them, do I forget to remember them, do I let the distance between our worlds beckon me from standing in the gap for them?Today as I look at their pictures and glance over my shoulder at the pile in the living room I’m moved nearly to tears. Really? A pile of construction paper and craft materials is enough to derail me? When she sleeps in a house with dirt floors and he awaits our letter for a glimpse of Jesus?

I pick up the homemade folders stuffed to the brim with glued-on, cut-out, colored-in grace, and sit on the couch. What will she feel as she holds this? Will he know our love? Will she see we are rooting for her? Will she understand that Jesus is so much bigger than the poverty she faces? Can we love him bigger than the reality of his circumstances? I ponder that.

When we began sponsoring children with Compassion it was for our kids. How desperately we wanted to expand their worlds. And, while their worlds are still rooted in princesses, trucks and backyards swings whose to know if we will succeed in giving them a God-sized vision for helping those we can. But while we wait for their outcome it is changing mine.

I worry for her sister who always seems to be ill.
I wonder if his parents know Jesus.
I ask the Lord to help us find away to visit, to understand, to look into their eyes, to give them a Jesus-filled hug, to tell others their stories, to be more than a check.

I’ve come to understand that their story is my story. That God placed these precious babies in the path our family so we could share what He is blessing us with (monetarily, emotionally and spiritually) and so that we can become a family that cares. That understands our knees will take us farther than any vehicle in the journey toward these children; for petitioning the Throne of Grace on their behalf is an awesome responsibility.  That sending letters lets them, their parents, and others know we care. He cares. That the job of a sponsor is much larger than a check or automatic deduction. It is hope, sealed in envelopes stuffed with Scripture, joy and crayon drawn love. It is prayer and belief. It is a faith in my God that says the least of these are His and their mine.

As I pick up the pile of crafts on the floor I will count each scrap of paper and each blessing. I will pray for the translators that go through our envelopes, the people that will deliver them, the folks that help the kids write and read the letters, the parents of the children as they bring them home to share with the family, and the future. A future safe in Christ. That their love, faith and strength is a force to be reckoned with…one that changes the world.

Father, bless these little children. Help us to shower your love on them. Place others in their paths that will point them straight to You. Help me, Father, to be patient with my children and to find ways to help their worlds expand to include all your children, and their future to be full of visions and passion to change their world for You. Amen.

28 Jul

Their Story is My Story

Piles of construction paper. Glue. Stickers. Scissors. Bits and pieces of paper. As though the craft bin exploded in the living room. It overwhelmed me…overwhelms me. And in all honesty part of it still sits on the living room floor.  The aftermath cast a shadow over the project. Over the impact. Over the reasons. Over The reason.


whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me…

As I walk up the stairs today their pictures hit me anew. I remember when I first hung them there, it was a daily reminder to pray. I wonder now as I touch their cheeks and pause to pray, how often do I walk by them, do I forget to remember them, do I let the distance between our worlds beckon me from standing in the gap for them?

Today as I look at their pictures and glance over my shoulder at the pile in the living room I’m moved nearly to tears. Really? A pile of construction paper and craft materials is enough to derail me? When she sleeps in a house with dirt floors and he awaits our letter for a glimpse of Jesus?

I pick up the homemade folders stuffed to the brim with glued-on, cut-out, colored-in grace, and sit on the couch. What will she feel as she holds this? Will he know our love? Will she see we are rooting for her? Will she understand that Jesus is so much bigger than the poverty she faces? Can we love him bigger than the reality of his circumstances? I ponder that.

When we began sponsoring children with Compassion it was for our kids. How desperately we wanted to expand their worlds. And, while their worlds are still rooted in princesses, trucks and backyards swings whose to know if we will succeed in giving them a God-sized vision for helping those we can. But while we wait for their outcome it is changing mine.

I worry for her sister who always seems to be ill.
I wonder if his parents know Jesus.
I ask the Lord to help us find away to visit, to understand, to look into their eyes, to give them a Jesus-filled hug, to tell others their stories, to be more than a check.

I’ve come to understand that their story is my story. That God placed these precious babies in the path our family so we could share what He is blessing us with (monetarily, emotionally and spiritually) and so that we can become a family that cares. That understands our knees will take us farther than any vehicle in the journey toward these children; for petitioning the Throne of Grace on their behalf is an awesome responsibility.  That sending letters lets them, their parents, and others know we care. He cares. That the job of a sponsor is much larger than a check or automatic deduction. It is hope, sealed in envelopes stuffed with Scripture, joy and crayon drawn love. It is prayer and belief. It is a faith in my God that says the least of these are His and their mine.

As I pick up the pile of crafts on the floor I will count each scrap of paper and each blessing. I will pray for the translators that go through our envelopes, the people that will deliver them, the folks that help the kids write and read the letters, the parents of the children as they bring them home to share with the family, and the future. A future safe in Christ. That their love, faith and strength is a force to be reckoned with…one that changes the world.

Father, bless these little children. Help us to shower your love on them. Place others in their paths that will point them straight to You. Help me, Father, to be patient with my children and to find ways to help their worlds expand to include all your children, and their future to be full of visions and passion to change their world for You. Amen.

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