I don't even know where to begin. Should I try to play catch up? Or should I just begin at, say, today? Hmmmm...
I guess I'll start with a small update and then we'll see how much time I have left. Some of you may recall the post from November, where I wrote about the run-in I had at Walmart with the elderly woman who said this to me:
"I believe that whenever I do a kindness for someone, I increase His [insert, "God's"] glory."
I felt that it was significant at the time and the beginning of a shift in thinking for me. And it was. Following that I also read a book called, "Interrupted," by Jen Hatmaker (I recommend it) which furthered this shift. Over the years I have loved studying scripture, talking about it, learning new things related to it...but I discovered that I wasn't always living the things I knew in my head.
I lacked compassion...there was truth without grace. That was what changed...God awakened a place in my heart that was sleeping. The desire to be kind, defend the helpless and see justice done has always been there, just ignored due to my own insecurity and self-centeredness.
But I cannot ignore it anymore. There are images burned in my mind that I can't bear to even think about. For instance, the picture I saw of an African boy holding his sibling, a toddler. My 18-month old is what you might call, "juicy." Fat legs, fat behind...so cute. But this child was so emaciated that he had NO bottom at all. It was just totally flat. I've never seen anything like that before.
I've never seen a brothel in Thailand or India in person, but in my mind I see children hiding under their mother's beds while they "work." I watched an MSNBC special on human trafficking in Thailand, and the children being prostituted were as young as 5 years old. FIVE. And do you know that American men are some of their best clients? Absolutely wicked. There are people enslaved on our own soil, in the United States of America...Land of the Free. Oh, and we are also "The Home of the Brave." We need to act like it and stop allowing these things to go on.
Something I saw that seems a little less tragic, but that really sent me over the edge, was this. I was folding laundry one day and turned on the TV. Let me say I NEVER watch MTV, I despise it, but this one day I saw that "16 and Pregnant," was on. For whatever reason I decided to check it out...see what kind of garbage it was.
There was a 16 year old girl (duh! - from here on out known as Mama) that had just had a baby boy. The Baby Daddy visited at the hospital, gave Mama a kiss goodbye, and left. A week later Mama still hadn't seen Daddy come around. He hadn't called, checked on the baby...nothing. Meanwhile, Mama is whining and wanting to go out partying and doesn't understand why her mother won't take care of the baby. She's acting like this baby is in her way, she doesn't have time for this, she wants to have a life, yada, yada. So, she goes to a drunkfest and takes the baby with her.
That all happened in the first five minutes and by then I was so mad I couldn't take any more, and I was yelling at the TV. So I turned it off. They kept showing that baby's sweet little face, and all I could think of was 10 or 15 years down the road, when they play him the video of the time Mama was on MTV. Haha, funny...til he hears how in the way he was and how selfish Mama was.
I know, she's only 16, and immature, and honestly I wasn't the best parent when I had my first child at 22 years old. But, what I wanted to do, was contact MTV, find out where this girl lives, and ask her if I could please come get her baby and raise him myself. It broke my heart. I was actually surprised at how much.
It happened to be on the first Wednesday of the month and we have a worship service at our church that day. Well, I cried through the entire thing...not like a few tears dripping, but like that embarrassing ugly cry. I couldn't stop thinking of that baby boy...then I started thinking about that severely emaciated child, then all those children caught in the sex trade.
You might say I was a little overwhelmed. It's a bit much to think about. And I began to ask God why, and where are you? And I begged Him to somehow let them know He loves them. I guess I was thinking He might could sprinkle some love dust over them, I don't know. But what He said back changed me (if you're not sure that He speaks, just start listening...He does).
When I asked Him to let them know He loved them, He said this:
"That's what you are there for. You do it."
Talk about floodgates opening...oh my gosh, I have been missing it. While I have been in self-protect mode, people around me are seriously suffering and I have been looking the other way.
So, now what...go change the world? It is completely overwhelming to think about trying to change the world. And guess what - I can't change the whole world. But I can look for opportunities to change one person's world. Neighborhoods, cities and nations are changed one person at a time. There are people in need in so many ways. There are hurts of all kinds...some obvious, some hidden.
The question is, who can I help today? Who can you help today? What if we (the church) quit picking at each other for our differences, and acted like a body? Every cell of every part in motion, fulfilling it's purpose...whatever it is. Hands, feet, eyes, mouth, ears...what if?