I’m making my way out of a jet lagged fog, but I haven’t quite come out of all the beautiful and brutal feelings that a view of extreme poverty mixed with buckets of hope brings.
It’s a glorious kind of gutting.
And it sort of feels like running through wet cement.
There are so many stories I still want to tell you. Stories of women doing hard and holy things that are so heavy that I’m still trying to process them. God is writing new stories and when the time is right, I will invite you to become a part of them. That’s the best part–when our stories mix and mingle and we are all changed in the process.
Being in Kenya was like taking a vision test: I can see so clearly.
It’s hard not to refocus on your purpose when you look into the eyes of women who are depending on you to get this right–to look into their faces, see their situation and know just how much they need you to remember them.
God, help us not to forget.
Last night was my second night back in my big comfortable bed after two weeks of sleeping on the floor and airplanes and various places, and I couldn’t make my eyes close. It wasn’t just because two days before I was on the other side of the world, it was knowing this is my normal.
When comfort is our normal, the true gift is the not forgetting.
Today it’s still as fresh as the itchy mosquito and bed bug bites on my body. But both will fade.
This is our hard and holy calling: to remember the world’s normal and not let it slip away. This culture and all its ease and convenience is like quick sand, pulling us in deeper and deeper. And before we know it, we are neck-deep and strangling in our own comfort.
I have lived this kind of discontentment and it’s a slow kind of death.
Life is comfortable when you separate yourself from people who are different from you. That epitomizes what my life was like: characterized by comfort. But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”- Francis Chan
But you and I know what really happens when we don’t forget and we really remember how the world lives, it pushes us into action: it’s a daily offering, a day-by-day giving–this is the key to not forgetting.
A couple of months ago, I was asked in a radio interview about the work of Mercy House and, “how it all works?”
I told them about Grandma Katheryn from Iowa.
She sent a letter and a check to Mercy House some time ago that said something like, “Dear Mercy House, I have a jar in my laundry room. I’ve been collecting loose coins and stray dollars and putting them in that jar every day.” When it was full, she counted and rolled it. Grandma Kathryn had saved $120 with her small daily giving. On her way home from the bank, she stopped at the eye doctor and used a coupon and saved $84 dollars, she explained in her note. That’s why the check to Mercy House was for $204.
Because small acts of remembering add up.
Sharing what we have gives us the eye checkup we need. It helps us to see what we already have.
This is the heart of Mercy House. Of all the stories I can share, it’s the small ones that matter most. I told the radio host. We don’t have to travel around the globe to change the world. We just have to not forget how the rest of the world lives. When we remember, each of us doing something, God takes it and makes it enough.
We are desperate for people to remember the world’s normal because it changes ours.
So, what do you have to give? Because there are people counting on you to give it.
I sat in the home of a 19 year old who has been a mother for nearly 8 years. Do the math. That’s like my 10 year old getting pregnant. And she is praying, begging God, for an answer–a way to feed her child. And when we sat in her home, there wasn’t a dry eye because we came to give her a job. And she believed God had answered.
Because you are listening.
Sometimes our yes to God looks like a new purse. And sometimes it looks like hosting a home party. Because that little 19 year old mom in that little home that sits on a river of sewage–she’s begging God for you to remember her and buy what she makes.
Maybe all you have right now is an empty jar in your laundry room. God will take that. Mercy House depends on these little jars and family bake sales, and people who run for a cause and oh, shoppers and fair trade club members. Or maybe you have a writing platform or maybe He’s given you more than you need and you have some to share. . .
What has God given you? Moses had a stick, David had a slingshot, and Paul had a pen. Mother Teresa possessed a love for the poor; Billy Graham, a gift for preaching; and Joni Eareckson Tada, a disability. What did they have in common? A willingness to let God use whatever they had, even when it didn’t seem very useful. If you will assess what you have to offer in terms of your time, your treasure, and your talents, you will have a better understanding of how you might uniquely serve.” – Richard Sterns
Don’t think for a second that your hands are empty.
And the greatest joy of all? It is s sharing what you’ve been given. It’s the wild and crazy kind of joy that settles deep into your bones and gives you abiding purpose.
“Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now. — Saint Teresa of Avila
Sometimes remembering is the holiest and hardest thing we can do.