One of my favorite family pics of almost all of us a few years ago!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Do We Trust God to Take What We Have and Make it What Someone Else Needs?

Question of the day: Why aren't we more willing to give up more and more of what we really don't need and certainly don't own -- at least in the spiritual sense of the word -- to someone else in need?  

Do We Trust God to Take What We Have and Make it What Someone Else Needs?

I have an 8-month-old baby that just discovered that he can both crawl and stand. He is fully mobile and quite unhappy in his usually confined spaces.  He needs the opportunity to explore freely, but that requires me to be in the room with him so I can rescue him when he stands and can’t seem to sit again and to swoop out whatever he manages to find to put into his mouth! 

I use this as an excuse to sit in my comfy chair on my laptop – reading and writing - while everyone else is sleeping, the laundry sits unfolded beside me for the second day, and my toddler explores his new world.

At 6:10 a.m., after turning the heat above freezing, picking up every item my tired old eyes could see on the floor, changing diapers, making bottles, and finding my computer, I sit down and promptly spill my morning Diet Dr. Pepper all over my comfy chair and blanket. And when I jump up, I  flip over a box on the table knocking out all of the items I have just collected from the floor.  I cuss. Knowing - but not really caring - that what just happened didn't deserve the specific words I used. 

After picking up all the pieces and parts and trash, I use a clean towel to soak up 14 ounces of a bad-for-me soft drink and sit down to my computer. 

It is Sunday morning. I am up early.  I have a squirming baby and only minutes before the rest of the kids start waking.  I want to be curled up dreaming with no responsibility, or at the very least writing.  And I just spilled an ice cold drink all over myself and my chair. I’m not exactly grateful.  

Somehow, I don’t seem to notice that my home is heated and I can control the temperature.  I can see.  I have a floor.  I can buy diapers and have the physical ability to change my baby.  We have milk and bottles.  I own a personal computer.  I have my favorite drink and a comfy chair.  I not only have a towel for the mess -  I have a clean towel. And a washer and dryer and laundry soap, not to mention electricity and water and even dryer sheets.

But I don’t recognize any of that. 

Or the fact that my child is healthy and developmentally normal.  Or that I have a fairly safe place for him to explore.  Or that he has a bed.  And I have a bed.  And clothes… and…and…and…. The things I should be grateful for are actually too numerous to list here.  But I assume you get the point.

So instead of gratitude, I’m frustrated.

Perhaps because adopting is part of our story, my Facebook is linked to all sorts of adoption websites - reading about families that share our story in some way! 

When I look at the  Ten for Orphans Facebook page these words flash like neon signs in my mind….

Fundraising to adopt…. special needs…. heart surgery… meningitis… 3-years-old weighing 12 pounds… Donate $10 ... family willing to take on the physical, emotional and spiritual responsibility for life, but need help with the $53,000.00 in fees associated with the adoption … hardly any donations have come in  ... hardly any donations have come inwilling … only raised $116.24 of the total amount needed…. willing…. need… willing… need… only raised $1 1 6 . 2 4…. One hundred and sixteen dollars and twenty-four cents…..

Seriously? Are you kidding me? A family is willing to sacrifice the comfort of their American lives to care for a special needs child from another country, with no certainty of the outcome, and they can only raise $116.24 of the remaining $15,000.00 needed to pay for the opportunity to adopt this child!

That is insanity.   That should piss me off.  That should make me feel like an idiot and a heel and an ungrateful jerk, who is so self-absorbed in my own happiness and security, that I choose my own comfort over those of others. 

And I am a pissed off ungrateful jerk who knows better.

It doesn’t matter that most people would say that adopting 18 kids is doing more than enough in the orphan world. I can and should be doing more.

Why?  Because I can.  It’s as simple as that.

And quite frankly, so should you.  And you.  And you.  And all the you’s out there that are reading this on a computer – which by definition means you are among the elite in the world simply because you have access to this information.

And yes.  I’m saying should. I'm well aware that I'm making a generalization.  And I feel certain that I'm socially and politically incorrect because I didn't sandwich my should between sweet compliments to make everyone feel better about themselves.  But truth is TRUTH.  And this is truth.  

And I'm saying it to MYSELF first.  If we measure ourselves against this standard.  If we compare our lives to these children.  If we compare ourselves to most of the world.  Then we must conclude that we are the "wealthy" Jesus speaks about in Luke when he tells the rich ruler to sell all his possessions if he wants to enter the kingdom of God.  If we are honest, most of us would have to admit that for the most part, we are ungrateful spoiled people who need to seriously reconsider how we live what we claim to believe. 

I have to ask myself, "Am I placing my faith in myself and my husband's ability to meet our needs  or is our faith in our Savior?

Am I saying that we should live with broken windows in sub-zero temperatures in a Russian orphanage to care for mentally and physically challenged children just because we can?

No.  But I am suggesting rather boldly that if our calling isn’t to care for these kids ourselves, then perhaps we should consider whether we should be financially supporting the people who will do it. 

Or maybe we could offer long-term, consistent help to someone outside our immediate circle who needs something.

Maybe your heart isn't for orphans.  Maybe it's for troubled teens.  Or poverty.  Or homeless people.  Or special education.  Or the arts. Or the elderly.  It doesn't matter.

The needs are literally everywhere.  Which might be why we tend to overlook them.  We think we can't solve the problem, so we choose to do nothing at all.  Not trusting God to take what we have and make it what somone else needs.  

Like the brute strength of the two men that pushed my fully-loaded 15-passenger van into the gas station on a busy road.  They had strength and knowledge.  They gave. And I was blessed beyond the value of what they actually did.  (See my previous post, "If you have to call 911, it's officially not a normal day.")

It doesn't matter that you don't have any extra cash on hand to give away and you aren't in a position to adopt.  You ARE in a position to do something for someone.

Why aren't we more willing to give up more and more of what we really don't need and certainly don't own -- at least in the spiritual sense of the word -- to someone else in need?  Why?  Perhaps because we don't really trust.  

And that's gets to the core of who we are as Christians.

My writing is frequently interrupted by my daily chores and responsibilities.  My gut instinct is to think, "Aww crap.  Do I really have to do that again?  Can't I just finish writing one freakin' sentence about what God is trying to tell me without some snotty nosed kid or needy teen wanting something else from me?" 

I'm such an idiot.  Unless I'm not.  And I actually catch on to what God is trying to unfold before my eyes. 

Today - it was kind of like a slap in the face.  We went to church.  Wanna guess what message our pastor Jonathan Haefs delivered? Let me give you just the NEON words ....

Jesus looked at him and said, “How difficult is it for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God?" "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:24-25

The problem isn’t being wealthy, it’s not putting your trust in God….

If you are sitting in this room, then you are part of the wealthiest people in the world.

Do you know that most of the world lives on less than $2.00 per day?

We hold onto stuff because we don’t trust God to take care of us.

We are fragile and not in control... yet we hold onto whatever wealth we have thinking we can live in a safer place, with a safer school, with a safer car ... all to protect ourselves....

It's a mirage.  A false image.  A lie.

We are one accident or storm or  misstep or heartbeat  from eternity. Yet we continue to act like we are actually in control. As if we are the rulers of our world.

Okay God.  I get it.  I understand.  

My two year old spills his milk all over the floor.  I have milk to feed him.

My 6-year old needs help putting the insoles back into her stinky shoes.  She has shoes to wear that fit her.

Four kids are sitting on my lap driving me nuts because every single one is moving every body part like a fish out of water  trying to get comfortable- all on top of my fragile nerves, which is literally painfulI have a lap and a chair and kids that want to be on top of me and the pain I feel will go away as soon as they stop moving.

Without knowing anything that I had been thinking or writing, my husband shows me a stash of cash he just found that he had put away and forgotten. I laughed and said, "You are gonna hate my blogpost this morning!"

He said, "I don't care what you do with the money." 

"Good," I say.  "Because it isn't ours.  Never was.  Sure, we have lots of bills and perceived needs.  But all of it is going to someone else in need.  Today. In Faith.  We will give it all away."  


  1. Oh my! I think you just said everything I have ever *wanted* to say but was too scared to say! Thank you!

  2. I think many people think this but are afraid to say it for fear of looking judgmental or hurting someone's feelings. Because I'm guilty too - I decided to speak it like our parents would have done 30 years ago when we weren't so concerned about making everyone feel good about themselves!

    I checked out your blog and can relate to most of your stories. Love your family picture!!

  3. Wow, this is a fantastic (and very convicting) post! Thank you for having the courage to write so openly and honestly.