Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Read Her Story...

{Our girl}

I have read and re-read each post of Ann's, one of the Compassion bloggers who traveled to Guatemala over the past week. I have wept and wept more as she's chronicled the poverty of Guatemala, the hope that Compassion brings in Jesus' name, the serendipitous journey of finding her own sponsored "daughter," the questions she asks that I think any of us would ask, should ask, after experiencing sickening poverty: What next? What do I do? Who are the poor among us? Among you? Among me?

Be blessed as you read her stories. Please, please read them. Stories of suffering, yes, but recounts that drip with mesmerizing joy, hope, and inspiration. God is there, in the midst of the unspeakable and amid the voices of the unheard. Read the stories and you will see that He is there.

The faces, places, experiences shared by one whom I've never met in real life and yet...

My mind can't stop swirling. My heart won't stop breaking.

For months I have tried to smother the thoughts, daily tasks taking precedence over existential wondering. Yet this tug persists, questions about Kingdom living and what should I do now and what does it mean to really give and live sacrificially. I asked my husband Saturday, What does it look like for us and why can't I stop thinking about it? Crying over it?

I feel hypocritical as I make small talk about our busy fall schedule and our dryer that needs replacing and how life is hard. Because hard is so very relative, isn't it?

I'm reluctant to write this...fear of indulgence I guess, but each month our family ekes out a portion from our coffers and I think it's enough. For several years we've served up a direct-deposited slice that provides education, medical care, and other essentials for a precious 9-year-old girl in Liberia and I think to myself, We don't have much but at least this is something, right? I am wrong on so many levels.

We don't have much. Really? Every time I step on a Lego, bemoan cluttered cabinets, or swerve through mounds of unfolded laundry, I am literally tripping over abundance. I curse the mess and the clutter and in so doing I'm actually complaining because we have too much and yet I live as though I'll never have enough.

Say things like, We really need a new rug because mine is flipped over and the binding has come off and I frown at frayed edges. Joking that we are poor because our TV is from a prior century. We work and labor and stress, thoughts occupied by how we can be better situated, not worry so much, maybe one day get this or that.

The stuff isn't necessarily wrong. Wanting security isn't so bad. Consumerism is part of life. My economist husband reminds me that stuff provides jobs, feeds families. Technology cures disease, improves our quality of life exponentially. Financial success holds inestimable power to give back. Just ask Bill Gates or Oprah.

Reconciling personal security and stewardship with sacrifice and radical Jesus love...this is complicated stuff. And I'm afraid this post asks more questions than it provides answers. And that this is probably three posts all smooshed into one rambling entry.

But this I know...

When I have all that I need, more than I need, I tend to not need the One who supplies all my needs.

Ann asks here,

Why is the world hungry when God's people have bread? Are bread? ...

... This, all this, all this we ever give, this is in remembrance of Him. To be bread like Him. Because the Last Supper is the supper that never ends, His Love Body, his people, being broken and offered again and again and this is the testament to the power of resurrection.

And I ask myself, Why am I ever hungry when I have Bread, when I can eat the Word and be full, when I can "taste and see that the Lord is good"...yet in any given moment choose starvation, choose to pant after morsels that neither nourish nor satisfy?

By emptying ourselves, in a way that only Grace can implore, we become full. Only the needy can truly walk in the mire with the needy. In the words of Brennan Manning, we're wounded healers. Or at least we should be.

I don't know what that will look like for me or for you but God does. Don Miller recently wrote a book that talks about life as story. He says God writes stories with our lives, that what we really want is a story that's worth something when it's all said and done. I know I do.

Monday night I sent a link to Ann's posts about Guatemala to a dear friend of mine. She responded with lavish Jesus love immediately...picked two kids to sponsor and she's going to let her own children pick two more. Don't you love that? It doesn't surprise me really. My friend was adopted. She knows brokenness and healing and hope, knows what it's like to be needy, knows how to live a life of gratitude and generosity because someone gave her life and so did Jesus. She wants to be emptied and made full all at the same time. I told her that now she's giving life...

Is there anything better?

But we can't do it by sheer will or emotion or heartfelt motivation to save the world or even wanting to live a better story. Giving of ourselves eventually runs out unless we keep running back to the Source.

The only way we can give life is for life to be breathed into us first. Perhaps living Spirit-led lives is nothing more than opening ourselves up to be breathed into each and every moment until His breath and our steps are harmonious.

I don't know what step is next but I know that when we are moved to the core, it is because He is moving.

So, read Ann's stories...

And be moved.


{Start here and read forward.}

holy experience


  1. Joshua and I looked at her blog again tonight. So very sweet and such wonderful questions God is filling your heart with. I can't wait to see what He does to fulfill the burden He has placed there. I love you...

  2. Gosh, Scooper. I've not read much of Ann's writing. . . now I think I must.

    And your writing? I'll keep reading. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  3. Scooper,
    Once again, your words are timely.
    I am ashamed that my words lately been peppered with "I want (this or that)". Totally wants and certainly not needs. Like you, I've got a lot of reminders of how blessed I really am.
    Thank you for steering my thoughts to a different place. Off of myself and onto Him and His business.

  4. It appears that God is stirring the hearts of two generations of women in our family. Everything you wrote was like an echo of my spirit right now. Crazy Love (Chan) is being used by Him to stir both my heart and mind, and at this point, there are many more questions than answers . . . knowing there must be a response but what does (will) it look like? Praying for you as you seek the unfolding.


  5. I have been struggling with the same concepts for fact I just wrote about this today...and a couple of weeks ago! I think that we first need to begin by just taking a step....the tiniest step in obedience to God in the area of prying our hands off our idols....I believe will lead us to the next tiny step....I am praying that as I continue to follow my grip on these idols will grow loose, and my hands will be open to give as God would give!


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