From my first visit to Ethiopia in 2006 God really started working on my heart in one particular area. When I stepped out of my comfortable life and experienced life like most of the world daily experiences it my heart broke and I couldn't stay the same. It started as a young mother handed me her baby and with tears in her eyes she said, "She is starving and will die please help her because I can't." We were at the medical clinic in Langano and as I held this precious tiny baby my heart broke. My mind started racing with all that I had, all that my kids had and to think that children were literally starving was more than I could handle. Yes, I had heard the stories and I had even seen the videos from third world countries but to actually be standing holding a baby who was starving literally broke my heart. I cried for what seemed like hours after that encounter. How could I have lived for years and turned a blind eye to the physical needs of others? For years I had thought that I was following God completely but really I only wanted to follow when it was safe or comfortable. God was shaping my heart and it was painful!
Obviously most of you are not in a third world country today(however several of you are) but I want you to think about a few things- (If you are at home I want you to go to your closet and then do this with your kids):
How many pairs of shoes do you have? Think about the millions who are walking around today barefoot when you always need, "Just one more pair" (Order some Tom's www.toms.com and don't receive your pair have them send to those in need as well)
Look at all of the clothes- Why do you always seem to think that you have nothing to wear? Think about the man, woman or child who has nothing today to cover their body. (Clean out your closet and give away as much as possible to a family in need)
Think about your shower this morning. In the amount of time that you took your shower today 30 children died due to not having clean drinking water. That is 4,000 children a day! (Go to www.waterislifeinternational.com to see how you can help)
What have you had to eat today? You probably ate more for breakfast this morning than some have in an entire week. How many times have you (or your kids) said, "We have nothing to eat in this house", when in fact if you lived in the rest of the world your family has enough for more than a month. (Clean out your pantry and take it to the Harvest food bank in your area or eat PBand J for several meals this week and give the money that you saved to someone in need)
Think about the car you drive. Every few years you feel that you "need" a new one or nicer one while millions travel miles and miles on foot each day just to survive. The amount that you spend on an average car could build 6 or 7 clean water wells for those who each walk miles and miles daily just to get water (not even clean water) for their family. (www.waterislifeinternational.com)
Just a few things to think about and I hope that you won't just think about them but act on them. Since my return home from Ethiopia in 2006 it has been very hard for me to spend money on much of anything. It took me weeks to be able to push a cart in the grocery store and fill it up. I would stop each day and get just what was needed for dinner because I couldn't justify the fact that children and adults in the world were starving while we had plenty.
Going to the mall at times becomes overwhelming. Seeing so many buying what they don't need, with money they don't have all the while people in our world are literally wasting away. This breaks my heart and sometimes makes me angry. When those feelings overcome me I just remind myself that God is working on my heart and I can't expect the hearts of others to worked on in the same way at the same time. I do however feel that if we say we are a follower of Him we can't turn a blind eye (like I had for all of my Christ following years), we can't keep purchasing more for ourselves, and we can't expect someone else to do something about the fact that people are in need. He has called us and the time is now for us to change our perspective, teach our children and follow hard to love and care for those He has called for us to care for! Need can be next door, in our community, or half way around the world- Just open your eyes and God will use you in ways that you can't begin to imagine-
As far as our family goes, we have made changes on how we spend and now support a family living with the reality of HIV each month, we provide lunch for starving kids at a school, and we give in many other rewarding ways. Do we miss what we could have purchased? No- We are just thankful that we are able to help others. Helping others is always more rewarding than being selfish. If you are willing....... He will do great things using you!
My mind is full of all of this today because today for the first time in 4 years I am going to go and shop with no guilt. No guilt because I am not going all out but I will purchase Tizita and Geremew their first pair of shoes, their first new clothes, first toothbrush, first under panties/underwear and thier very first Bible. I am so thankful that when God called us to be a family to the fatherless that we said yes! Will we be able to provide all that our "US world" has to offer? Probably not but will two orphans be loved forever and know the love of our Father? You better believe it!
Tizita and Geremew,
Only a week and 2 days until I will hold you in my arms. Today I will go and get to do some shopping for you which stills seems unbelievable to me. I know that it will be a day full of emotion for me as I imagine you both in the shoes and clothes that I purchase. Geremew, I look forward to you having shoes that fit your precious feet so that you can play soccer with even more skill. Dad will not have a chance against you when you have shoes on that fit! Tizita, I can't wait to pick out a special dress and I just know that when you put it on you will feel like a princess. I can't wait to see both of you smile as you realize that for the first time you have your own outfit that fits and you don't have to share it with anyone. I do however hope that very quickly Dad and I can teach you that sharing all you have is what God has called us to. I can't wait for each night when we pull out your Bible and devotion books and read before bed of God's many promises and instructions. It won't be long and we will all be together! I love you both with an unexplainable love! Love, Mom