08 March 2010

Wrapped Up in Me

I’ve been reading a blog lately about a couple who are currently in Kenya, touring villages that have been built by Compassion International.


I used to sponsor two Compassion kids - one from Guatemala and one from Nicaragua.


I love Central American kids. I want one. They're so stinkin' adorable.
Proof: Me and Romel, one of my favorite Panamanian kiddos. His mom made that hammock with her bare hands.


Anyway, we would trade letters back and forth almost every month. They would draw me pictures of their houses and families. I would send stickers and bookmarks and tell them about my dogs.


My Guatemalan kid grew up and out of the sponsorship program, and my kid in Nicaragua – devastatingly – was never located after Hurricane Felix (a category 5) wiped out entire villages and families. I got a letter from Compassion about how my sponsorship was terminated due to the fact they couldn’t find Esequiel or anyone in his family. I cried. Ask Matt.


But I think at the time, we were secretly ok with not having any more sponsorships. We were trying to save money, pay off student loans, blah, blah, blah…


I’m so heartily sick to death of every decision and thought revolving around money right now. I know it has to be done, but I’m still sick of it.


So of course, as I was reading the Reverb blog this weekend, I was slapped in the face by this:


Two things he [the trip leader] said hit me pretty hard: “Even though we have different skin color and we come from a different country, we are related to each other. We both have the same Father. Our Father in heaven calls us all His children and that makes us brothers and sisters. Compassion International is trying to help release the poor from poverty, but it’s also helping to release us from our wealth.” As I stood there in front of around 300 of the poorest people I’ve ever seen, I have never felt so rich in all my life. I thought about the $120 I had in my pocket as I stood there and how it could be used to purchase a home here in Kenya…and maybe a goat.


I know I’m starting nursing school in two months. I know I’ll have to quit my job to go to school, and we’ll be down to just my husband’s teacher’s salary for one entire year. I know that everyone is thinking that I need to slow down and stop and think about our finances.


But like I said, I’m sick of doing that.


Do I really believe that God is God? Am I really, honestly trusting Him to take care of us this next year, or are we budgeting ourselves to death and trying to do His job for us instead?


I’m not saying it’s ok to go crazy and buy Jimmy Choos or purchase a new car or get all new living room furniture right now. I’m not that insane. I don’t think God would consider that a good use of our brains or bank accounts.


But seriously. $38 a month? Is that really going to break the bank? Is sponsoring a child for $38 a month going to bring dishonor to God, or will it glorify Him through the nations?


I cannot say it any better than how Ryan on the Reverb blog wrapped it up:


It was about an opportunity to begin a powerful relationship with someone halfway across the world. Compassion International goes to great lengths at helping sponsors meet their sponsored children in person. There are stories of children being picked up and driven 8 hours just to meet their sponsor because it’s that important.


(Side note: I can completely vouch for this. When I was in Panama, we met entire families who walked two whole days through rivers, forests and jungles just to get to meet the Americans who came to build the school.)
I'm the white girl in the back with the handkerchief on her head, in case you couldn't tell.


Sponsorship isn’t about the money, it’s about letting someone know that they have value and that you are pulling for them.


It’s not about $38 a month. It’s about the letters you write and the dreams you instill in a child. I watched as several people began a deep relationship with kids that will last a long, long time today. I heard a voice in my head multiple times. It was saying, “It’s really hard to ask people to give until it hurts when you are not giving until it hurts.” It was a call to respond.


I absolutely cannot get this out of my head. I'm sleepless. Restless. Feeling a calling to do more.


I’ve had people remind me that it was my decision to go back to school (I know). That I should have calculated all the risks (I did) and thought about the repercussions (I did). The finances. The sacrifices. I still don’t regret it. Matt and I are very, very excited about this. So yes, I shouldn’t stress about finances. I know I’ve brought this on myself. I just feel a calling to do more, despite the fact that people might think I’m crazy because of school starting so soon.


But I feel like I’m focusing too much on myself. I feel like I get so wrapped up in me – in the petty little nonsenses that have absolutely no value - that I miss everything else that is so much more important in the world.


What do I think should be of no value? I feel like I care too much about my weight. My diet. My hair color. My shoes. You think that the little kid in Nairobi who had rice three days ago as their only meal cares about how much this selfish American weighs? And I bet there’s a kid out there who would love the barely-worn pair of sandals that I just tossed out to Goodwill last month. I’m so materialistic sometimes, and it makes me sick.


I need to get out of my Addie-bubble and start focusing on more important things.


On the more eternal things.


RCW said...

I'm sooooo with you, Sis! I have been complaining lately about the disgusting wealth and material-focus of most of the Christians I know. I hear them complain about how broke they are, while they spend their paychecks on the next hottest thing. Cole and I happily live on less than $40,000 COMBINED and to the majority of the world that makes us millionaires. Staying in ministry will always keep us humble in more ways than one but there are no complaints here! We are forced to rely on God at all times (espcially when we have emergency financial situations). Great post, sister!

Mel C said...

Your post completely tugged on my heart strings... ok really, it grabbed hold and is pulling hard.

We have been dealing with financial issues living on just my salary, and I admit, I have been quite selfish. I have so much, and these kids have so little. And how awesome would it be to make their day with a letter or a picture... or to provide them with a meal every day.

I have never felt called to missions, but I sure do enjoy serving... and writing letters... and there is a ton of things I can do for others that are more eternal!!

THANK YOU! (((hugs)))