Thursday, March 26, 2009

Giving More

(written yesterday…it seems that I can’t write and post on the same day anymore.)

My son got a new pair of shoes last weekend and wore them for the first time today. You wouldn’t think that the simple act of putting a new pair of shoes on his feet would not cause me to think any thing other than, “oh, how cute!”, but it did. As soon as I opened the shoe box, he knew what was happening. This child LOVES shoes or shoo-shoos, as he calls them. A few seconds of squealing glee and he was running to sit on my lap to “help” me put them on him. Once they were on, he hopped down and became so excited about his new shoo-shoos. He ran around the room, then ran around the house. He jumped up and down and then came to tell me all about the shoes. At that point, I was still thinking, “SO CUTE!” But when we made it to the first of 3 post offices today, that changed. Once inside, he made it clear to everyone that his shoes required ALL of their attention. He pointed at them, stomped his feet, giggled whenever someone said something about the shoes and then carried on singing about them. That’s when it hit me.

My 2 year old knows that he has new shoes. He’s proud of his shoes and he wants everyone to know it. Then I thought, “How many children do not have shoes today?” So many kids would give anything to have the shoes our child has worn for the last 6 months. So many would give any thing to have a cheap pair of flip-flops….just something, any thing to protect to their feet. I was on the verge of tears (which, if you know me, happens often these days…fortunately they all stayed put for the moment) while I stood in line watching this sweet child show off his new kicks to anyone that would look. When we walked outside, I scooped him up and thanked God for allowing us the ability to provide shoes for him. Then I made a plan for the day……to observe very carefully every single thing that he did throughout the day that I would normally take for granted. We sometimes think about what we, as adults, take for granted, but how often do we get down to our children’s level to think the same things? I did today and it was quite the experience.

When we passed by the bookstore, he got very excited. He loves to go the bookstore and he wanted to today, but we passed it up. How many children in the world would like to be able to read the books that my child already loves to look at? How many of them can’t simply because they either do not have access to education or because their parents can’t afford to send them to school? Do you know how fortunate we are to be able to send our children to school? Even the worst ranked public school in this nation is something.

We went to another post office to apply for his passport. He wasn’t happy during the wait, but I had to hold on to the surprise I had for him until it was time for the dreaded picture taking (he HATES sitting still for pictures). The picture was taken quickly, but after, he went back to wanting to run wild. So I opened a bag of M&Ms (the surprise) and gave him some. I spent more than what many people make in a day on M&Ms today to help him (us) through the long post office wait. What was I thinking?

He was hungry when we left the post office and the ride home would take 30 minutes. He kept asking for food. I cannot stand to know that he is hungry, so I stopped at McDonald’s for French fries to hold him over because I ran out of the house without snacks (such a healthy day today, right?). I do not even have to say that there are people that would fight to their deaths for that small order of greasy fries. Obviously, as I watched him through the rear view mirror, I thanked the Lord again….this time for giving us what we need to provide our child with food.
When we got home, he asked for water. I turned on the sink and clean water came out of the faucet. I filled up his favorite sippy and gave it to him. I once saw a child drinking from a mud puddle, but my child had clean water to drink today. Why do we get the privilege of having clean water, but so many others do not? We are no more deserving than they are.

While out and about later today, Tommy told every person he saw that I am his mom. That’s one of his new things to do….he’s actually become quite possessive, I think. Or maybe he’s just letting everyone know. Whenever someone approaches one of us, he points and says, “my mama” or “my dada”, gives us a hug if we’re holding him and laughs. He will usually do it until the person acknowledges that yes, they know who we are. He has a mom and a dad. One hundred and forty something million children (possibly more than two hundred million) do not have moms and dads. Our son could have been one of them. There are times when I look at him, smiling, laughing and see the faces of children around the world that do not have parents. Tonight, they want to be loved and to give love. What are we doing to make sure that they (every single one of them) receive the love and care that they deserve?

Tonight, he didn’t eat one bite of his dinner. He could have eaten his cheese quesadilla and beans, but he chose not to. A child had food right in front of him and he did nothing but play with it. Children around the world went to bed hungry tonight, but my child, because he’d eaten so much throughout the day today, pushed his plate away. His food went in the trash. Streams of tears are falling as I think about the children that did not have one bite of food today.
We watched American Idol tonight. Our son LOVES music, so he likes this show. When his (and my) favorite contestant came on (Danny Gokey!), this sweet boy of ours started clapping and decided it was time to dance. He has the energy to dance. He is healthy enough to dance. I all of a sudden saw lifeless children unable to move because they are so severely malnourished that they are on the brink of death. God, thank you for helping us make sure this sweet child is healthy.

During the show, he ran to the refrigerator and asked for milk. He knows that is where the milk is kept and there has never been a time when he’s been told that we do not have milk. He’s had it for so long that he assumes it will be there every time he asks for it. He went to bed with a belly full of milk. Full and happy. Some children drank sugar water in place of milk today. Some didn’t even have that.

I put him in his crib and did what I do every night…….bent over the rail to hug him and kiss him and just spend that last minute with him before another day is done. Before I shut his door, I told him that when he wakes up we’ll be going to see Sesame Street Live. We’re going to see Elmo tomorrow. Elmo and Nemo are both “momo” to him and I heard him talking about “momo” while he drifted off to sleep. Tomorrow we’ll get in our car and drive 30 minutes or more to see the show with our attachment parenting playgroup. He will have a wonderful time and so will I, just because he will be happy. Can you imagine how happy it would make some children to be able to experience such a day?

Right now, both my husband and our son are sleeping. Both are sleeping in the perfect temperature….just cool enough, but not cold. It’s warm enough that the air conditioner just turned on. I’m sitting here typing on a laptop while watching Everyone Loves Raymond. There aren’t any bugs buzzing around our heads and there is no need for mosquito nets or insect repellant. There are no rodents running around to make us sick. I’m thinking about having a snack in a while as I work late into the night pricing things for the AAB yard sale. I have so much food in the kitchen and yet I still think I need to go grocery shopping tomorrow.

I’ve said it many times before and this will not be the last…….we have so much. We have too much! Any thing more than what we absolutely need is more than enough. We deserve nothing. We certainly do not deserve more than those that have nothing; yet here we are. My days of longing for luxury ended long ago. As long as there are families on the verge of leaving their children as orphans, I want nothing. As long as there is 1 child, just 1, that is waiting for parents that never come, that is living on the streets, that is malnourished, that is suffering, I do not want any thing. I have not one possession that is more important to me than the life of a child, whether I know that child or not. Honestly, what I would like to do is follow through NOW with what I know, without a doubt, is coming for us. We are one of those families that will eventually give it all. We’re slowly giving more and more of ourselves and are on our way to living Mark 10:21.…..”sell all of your possessions….give that money to the poor….follow me.” Those words are in my mind always and my heart is longing for the day that it actually takes place….when we finally give every piece of ourselves to serve others. This is when so many people begin to think I’ve (we’ve) lost our minds. See, I used to want to live in luxury….I wanted it all. Now, I know that I do live in luxury. This tiny house, my 6 year old car, my shoe collection that has dwindled to something much different than what it was just 3 years ago, our lives……this IS luxury. To the person that has nothing, we have it all. Every day, I give more and today is no different. Until I have given it all, I will always have more to give. We are far from being wealthy, but we are still able to do more, give more, be more.

No matter what organization you support, whether it is Across All Borders, another organization working in Guatemala or an organization working in any other country, will you consider giving more today? Whether it is an organization working to find a cure for cancer, to prevent child abuse or an adoption ministry, can you give more? Will you give up one trip to Starbucks this week or one restaurant meal this month? Instead of buying that new purse or a new pair of earrings, could you give that money to someone in need. Instead of spending $100 on a pair of shoes, could you spend $50 or less and buy shoes for someone else with the difference? Could you donate some of your child’s toys or shoes to children that have nothing? Can you give any more than you are giving today? Will you?

We are leaving for Guatemala in 11 weeks. After that, we will be there in October and December. Numerous trips for 2010 are already being planned. We are currently collecting donations for each of these trips. If you can give more and would like to support orphans and families in Guatemala this year, please consider donating supplies or financially. We are asking for almost any type of OTC medication, hygiene products, children’s shoes, toys, socks and underwear and the list goes on. Any thing you think could be used in Guatemala, can probably be used. We need money to get all of these items to Guatemala and to buy food for families once we get there. We need money to make sure that people have shelter, have medical care and so that children can go to school. You can be the one that changes a child’s life….the one that prevents her from becoming an orphan. Are you willing to do that?

Donations can be mailed to:

Across All Borders
P.O. Box 14086
Baton Rouge, LA 70898

If you are using UPS or FedEx, please email Terry (terry at acrossallborders dot org) for the physical address.

Thanks to all that have sent donations so far and those that plan to. I cannot tell you how many tears I’ve cried over each box that we have received or how many prayers that have been prayed for the people that will receive the very items you’ve sent. Your support is overwhelming and I pray that you will continue to overwhelm us by helping orphans and families in Guatemala.


jajbs said...

Girl, God has us on the same page these days! I know it sounds crazy, but this is how I have been looking at things this past month. I got through one more chapter. Its crazy b/c I am an avid reader and can (and do) tear up a book in a day or so. Now I am just digesting it all and it is rocking my soul! CRAZY LOVE is a life HE is calling me to quite quickly!!

Love ya and feel your heart tonight!


Rebecca said...

Wow. Crying in my coffee. I think we are living parallel lives:) The excitement over small things that we do take for granted has been leaping off the screen of life to me too.
I love your heart and I love to see the world working in your life that pours onto others... can't wait to see it firsthand.
Praying for you.

Bobbi said...

Beautifully said. You are so kind and giving

Vanessa said...

I was thinking this very same thing the other day as I was cleaning the girls room! I wondered how we could justify our children having so much while others around the world have nothing!!! It's heartbreaking to see and I want to help be that change!! I'm excited what God is doing in Guatemala right now through each and every person who cares!! We're up to 901 pairs of shoes right now and they're steady coming in!! I know it's going to be another great year! What dates will you be there in December?