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Shoes to Fill

Compassion Shoes

She knew the shoes were too big, but she couldn’t resist. The shoes’ owner was a giant in her life – taking care of their family, working tirelessly for very little, scooping her up for a big hug in their dirt-floor home with worn hands after a long day of labor. Because of the person who wore those shoes, she knew love.

Things were rough – food was scarce, clothing was tattered, beds were hard – but she also knew they could be worse without the owner of those big shoes she had slipped her feet into.

And because of the local Compassion center, she also knew things could and would get better. So she put on the shoes and dreamed. Her thoughts drifted to Jesus, the man who had loved her enough to die for her. She knew what sacrifice looked like, but not this kind. Because of Compassion, she knew Jesus, and because of Jesus, she had hope.

Her hope wasn’t just of the eternal kind, although she knew that was the most important part. She also had hope for her own future, her family’s future, her community’s future. Learning and growing, she knew that her own life could make a difference in this world for His name.

She had seen this kind of difference in her world because the owner of the shoes made sacrifices out of love for her and her family, even when things seemed bleak. She wanted to fill those shoes someday, taking care of others, bringing hope, all for His glory.

Her feet dangled above that dirt floor, shoes swinging back and forth until they fell off, and she smiled…

*****

I couldn’t help but think of Maureen when writing this.

I don’t know about her full background in the Compassion program, but I do know that she came out of a Compassion leadership program as a strong, confident woman. And as she now serves as the director at Mercy House Kenya, I wonder who she looked up to as a young girl. Who planted the seeds of hope in her heart? What led her from a life of a poverty to a life of loving and serving others facing severe hardships?

I truly believe Compassion makes a difference. For children, for families, for communities, for the Kingdom.

Please consider sponsoring a child and make this dream a reality for a child. I want to urge you to look at the older children, especially ones who have been waiting more than a year to be sponsored {you can sort the photos by age or longest wait}. Show them that someone cares and hope is not gone.

 

 

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Avoiding Poverty

Avoiding Poverty

I’ll be honest: I often avoid talking about poverty on here because I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty. Some of us are moms and feel like it is a struggle to just make it through a day of screaming children and poopy diapers and someone talking to us about poverty is just not something we can handle right now.

I know. That was me.

poverty + guilt

With a toddler and an infant, I was reading the words of women on trips with Compassion, experiencing life amongst the poorest of poor, complete with heartbreaking pictures and stories that made me weep.

I shut my computer halfway through reading many times because I was overwhelmed with guilt that I wasn’t doing anything to help. I was a new stay-at-home mom and The Hubby had just started medical school – we had zero money to donate to anyone or anything.

The word poverty made me sad, but it also made me guilty. I know God never makes us feel guilty – guilt is a tool of the enemy to make us feel inadequate and paralyzed. I turned those feelings of guilt over to God.

a new view of poverty

A few years after turning that guilt over to God, He made a way for us to sponsor a child.

The letters we received from Samson were so full of joy, it was hard to feel sad for him at all. The simple things he shared with us – his favorite chore of getting water from the well, the Bible verses he loved, the sweet drawings – showed that poverty had not stolen his childhood. He actually found more joy in life than we do living in excess.

Physical poverty is devastating in that it leads to starvation and disease, but sponsoring a child opened my eyes to the spiritual poverty we suffer from here in the United States. We want for nothing, so we have no need to rely on God. We find fulfillment in stuff while our souls are malnourished.

poverty + our children

We have been sponsoring Samson for three years now. Some months the money to sponsor him is just barely there, but God has always come through. He has made this sponsorship as much about changing me as He has about helping rescue a child in poverty.

I didn’t foresee the impact helping a child in another country would have on my own children. Poverty is not usually on the radar of a five-year-old, but I have personally witnessed the change in my oldest boy as he learns about those who live with so little. And it all started with learning about the living condition of our Compassion child Tanzania.

Knowledge led to compassion. Compassion led to action. Action led to him, at only six years old, raising money himself to help children living in poverty.

Opening the eyes of our family to poverty has brought more hope than anything.

If you’re trying to avoid any stories of poverty because you feel like you just can’t do anything, I beg you to give your desire to help over to the Lord. He will honor that desire of your heart and make a way for you to help.

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ~Psalm 37:4

Would you consider facing poverty head on right now and taking a look at all of the children in need of sponsorship? Your life will be changed as much as the life of that child.

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I Know You Want to Fit In {A Letter to My Childhood Self}

Big Hair Sisters

Dear 11-year-old Erin,

The world of girls is a tough one, isn’t it?

I know you want to have a crowd, your people, a place to fit in. And sometimes you feel like you’ve found it. You have friends with whom to walk to school, go to the mall, have sleepovers, write stories. Most of the time it’s fun. And it feels good to be accepted. I still like that feeling.

But what price are you paying to fit in?

I remember those days – that feeling of wanting to be able to say, “Me too!” when someone tells a story about a trip or a new outfit. I really do know why you are chiming in even when it’s not the truth. It feels good to have those girls smile in acknowledgment of your sameness as them.

There’s this truth that hasn’t taken hold in your heart and soul yet. You care more about belonging to the world than you do about finding your identity in the one You created you. You just don’t know the truth yet, but I want you to know it now…

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? ~Mark 8:36

The lies you tell now to fit in may seem harmless, but they will be hard to shake as you grow older. Some lies will be found out, some will not, but all will affect your relationship with Jesus and your ability to share Him with the world.

I’m actually not writing to scold you today, but to encourage you that Jesus loves you more than any of those girls ever could. He smiles at you and takes you in even when you aren’t able to say, “Me, too!” He sees you at your lowest and has only grace and mercy and compassion. He is the greatest friend you will ever have. 

As I write this, my three boys are playing around me, and I’m praying they will always choose truth and Jesus when faced with the choice of pleasing the world or following Him. Jesus is using the experiences you are having right now to shape my prayers for the next generation and for that I am thankful.

I’ll wrap it up with this today…

When you don’t fell good enough, when you find yourself not fitting in, when you mess up and can’t find which way to go next, whatever may happen today or tomorrow or next week…

You belong to Jesus and with Him, you ALWAYS fit in.

Lots of love and hugs,

32-year-old Erin

What would you tell your childhood self right now?

*****

September is Blog Month for Compassion International. Bloggers all over the world are joining forces to share the heart and soul of Compassion and see 3,160 children sponsored in the month of September. It’s a big goal, but God like big, bold dreams like that, especially when they involve taking care of the “least of these,” doesn’t He? Take a moment to think of your childhood self and what you needed to hear, then hop over and pray over a few Compassion kids of that same age who are waiting for sponsors. Maybe He’ll lead you to do even more…

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When I Think This Mom Gig is Hard…

I know it’s all about perspective, but let’s take a little look at a few of the “harder” things about my past week as a mom…

  • A teething baby
  • Needing to take multiple trips to the grocery store because these boys eat a lot and we’re always running out of those favorite foods
  • Following through with consequences EVERY TIME someone is disobedient or disrespectful
  • Juggling meals and bedtime when we have activities three nights a week and The Hubby is on the night shift

Your list may look very similar to mine or very, very different. Sometimes these things can seem like the end of the world in the moment, right, moms? Any number of factors can amplify each problem to make stress levels soar. But when I wrote down these rough patches from my week, I realized pretty quickly how normal these problems are to most families. And how small they are on the “big problem” scale.

Now, this mothering job is not the place to get in to a comparison game. Your stress and my stress as moms will not be the same. Even our own tough situations may change from week to week. If you think that “thing” in your life is hard and trying and stressful, then it IS.

Comparison is not our friend on this motherhood journey, but perspective can be.

I stepped out of the house yesterday to get the mail, which is part of a group mailbox up the street from our house. The uphill walk to the mailbox is not far and not too steep.I was thankful for a break in the rain and a little fresh air. I was also pretty thankful to have a minute of quiet {keeping it real}.

My mind was on food. I had just added milk, cheese, and apples to my grocery list AGAIN. Didn’t I just buy all of those things two days ago?! As I reluctantly planned out another trip to Hy-Vee, I was captured by the thought of Samson’s mom.

No, not Samson from the Bible. Samson, our Compassion child in Tanzania.

I’ve never met his mom. I’ve never talked to his mom. I only know about her the few general facts in Samson’s Compassion profile and a mention or two from Samson himself – he’s a 7-year-old boy writing to people in a different country so there’s not a whole lot of detail {but his drawings are lovely}!

I know Samson’s mom and dad live with him. Both parents are “sometimes employed” as farmers. These things are a blessing in themselves, but as I was walking to the mailbox, I thought about the logistical blessings I enjoy as a mom – and usually take for granted.

When someone utters the phrase “nothing to eat” in our house, I need only hop in the van and drive less than five minutes to a grocery store to remedy that problem. And “nothing to eat” never actually means “nothing.”

What does Samson’s mom do when there is nothing to eat? Where does she go? How far does she have to walk? Do they have the means to restock food when they need to?

Loading up all three kids and taking them to the grocery store isn’t as bad as we make out to be when I ponder what women in poverty must deal with when there is nothing to eat. ACTUALLY nothing to eat. Grocery store trips are a blessing.

20130509-084811.jpg

The ability to buy and make the food we need whenever we need it has been taken for granted and replaced with disdain for grocery store trips and meal planning. I’ve lamented the fact that my boys are “always hungry” but hardly ever stop to consider how I would feel if they were hungry – little-food-in-days hungry, malnourished, starving…

My mom heart can hardly stand that suffocating thought. I walked back with several envelopes and packages in my hand and opened the door to find The Hubby had given our boys an afternoon snack. I thanked God for His provision and prayed the same for Samson and his family.

And I said a special prayer for Samson’s mom…that she would know God’s love for her…that she would know He cares about her and her family…that she would know He is with her through the good and the bad…and then I asked the Holy Spirit to fill in the prayers I don’t even know to pray for her…

In His Divine Goodness, He brought this photo to mind…

IMG_4259_opt

I had forgotten I had this picture of her. The goat was our Christmas gift to their family that year through Compassion. I cried all over again at the smile on her face, the way she is looking at Samson, the picture of a loving mother who has been given a gift that will help provide nourishment for her family.

I need this perspective held close to my heart. I’m keeping this picture taped to the side of my fridge, especially for those times when the kids ask for a snack for the gazillionth time or I start to dread yet another trip to the grocery store.

This mom gig IS hard – for all of us – but I know when our next meal is coming. And this Mother’s Day, as I thank God for my own mom and other mothers in my life, I will also be praying for each mom who feels the extra weight of knowing her children’s basic needs are not being met…

Lord, You know each and every mom’s heart, from here in Nebraska to Tanzania and beyond. You have blessed us with children as a gift from You and entrusted them to us as part of Your Divine Plan. Thank You for each and every child. Help us to view our children as gifts, even on the hard days, and give us guidance to mother them well. Come alongside us in our everyday, whether it be carpooling and laundry folding or walking to market and drawing water from a well. Renew our strength and calm our hearts when the baby won’t stop crying and the food has run out and the day just won’t seem to end. You are our safe place, our refreshing spring, our Strong Deliverer. Thank you for the blessing of being a mom and turn our hearts always toward You as we walk this motherhood path. We love you, Lord, and lift up the needs of every mama today, especially the ones only You know… In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I hope you will join me in praying for moms raising children in extreme poverty, but could we also do something tangible to help them?

We can honor and support mothers who are living in poverty, through support of a Compassion Child Survival Program.

The Child Survival Program helps save the lives of babies and mothers in poverty by utilizing local churches to assist mothers of at-risk infants and toddlers. Mothers can give their children a fighting chance for healthy development with the supplies and training provided by the donations to this program.

Please consider making a one-time Mother’s Day donation or signing up for ongoing support of a Child Survival Program. We may not ever physically walk with these moms, speaking words of encouragement and understanding as we go, but our financial support can be just as powerful a blessing.

Happy Mother’s Day, Samson’s mom and all moms. You are doing God’s work and you are loved.

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The Repentant Mosquito {A Story for World Malaria Day}

20130424-220352.jpgThis post was co-written with my eldest son, Big J, who will turn 7 this Saturday, which doesn’t even seem possible. It was a blessing to share this experience with him, brainstorming and storytelling and hoping to make a difference. I think we shall do this “writing blog posts together” thing more often as a part of homeschool language arts :)

The Repentant Mosquito

My name is Mooski. I lived in Tanzania at the time of my conversion. My buddies, Mesquite, Mason, and I hung around the crowded parts of the village. If we got swatted away by one person, there were lots of other humans to choose from. It was blood-sucking heaven.

After biting and feasting, we would head to the outskirts of town to rest. Life was pretty good. We were doing the only thing we knew how to do to survive.

Then my eyes were opened to a whole different side of life…

It was a normal Thursday evening. We liked to venture out for a “meal” as evening came because we were harder to spot in the darkness. Instead of a crowded marketplace, I made my way into a home. I found four people – a mother and three children – in that home and I went about my business of feeding myself.

But as I flew around, I noticed a very sick little boy and overheard a conversation that changed my life…

“If only we had access to those nets – the ones that keep the mosquitos away. He would have never been sick. He would still be laughing and playing. The malaria has taken that life from him.”

They were talking about me! I was making people sick and I didn’t even know it! I thought I was just getting a meal!

It was such a sad scene. And it was all because of me and my kind. Now every time I flew by a human, I could only think of that sick, dying little boy and suddenly, blood wasn’t so appealing anymore.

I left that human-biting world over 6 years ago now for a life feasting among the flowers. I’ve shared my story with other mosquitos and, together, we’re on a mission to do our part to stop the spread of malaria. Now won’t you join us?

*****

Today is World Malaria Day.

Big J and I first learned about malaria together when we raised money for Nickels for Nets.

Compassion International is doing great things to stop the spread of malaria through their Malaria Intervention Initiative. I could hardly contain my emotion as Big J and I read that a child dies every 30 seconds from this preventable, treatable disease.

There are lots of ways to help, but we love that Compassion attacks malaria in three ways: prevention, education, and treatment. A $20 donation to the Malaria Intervention Initiative will provide two treated mosquito bed nets for at-risk children.

On this World Malaria Day, say a prayer. Give a little. Give a lot. Spread the word.

Just do something and let’s end this disease together.

 

 

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I Can’t Make My Kids Care

I want to teach my kids to be compassionate.

I’ve said it before but I’m not sure I totally agree with this statement anymore, since what I used to mean when I said that was…

I want to make my kids be compassionate.

You see, I’ve come to realize that I can’t MAKE my kids care about something.

Just like I can’t MAKE them like broccoli or MAKE them love that old movie I adore.

I Can't Make My Kids Care

{No, I did not MAKE them hug for this picture! Pure moment of brotherly love for the win!}

This realization was REALLY frustrating to me at first:

I’m the parent, right?! I can’t MAKE them feel love or mercy or compassion for someone else?!

After a few times trying to force them to get on board with charity projects I wanted to do, I have learned to take a different approach to this whole “teach them compassion” thing.

What I CAN do is two-fold:

  • Show them that I care.
  • Give them the tools to jump into action when they DO care!

This has taken a LOT of pressure off of me and actually created more opportunities for the boys to grow in compassion!

So, what does this look like?

Show them that I care.

There is great power in a parent’s example. I remember trying over and over to “teach” Double J {our youngest} to clap and he wanted nothing to do with being forced to do it. Fast forward a few weeks and he notice one of us clapping at something and joined in! He didn’t want to be made to do anything, but he did want to mimic what Daddy and Mommy were doing!

When we decided to sponsor a child through Compassion, I actually didn’t involve the boys in the process of picking a child. At the time, they were still young and the details were not important to them. So I picked a child I felt drawn to – his precious face and March 17th birthday the same year as Big J told me he was ours right away

When Samson’s picture arrived, I told the boys about him and where he lived and tried to get them excited about writing to him. They didn’t “get” it yet. They drew something because I told them to, but I knew their hearts weren’t really in it.

At that point I decided I would keep his picture where we all could see it, pray for him when I prayed for the boys, write letters, and read his letters out loud when they came, but wait for them to gain interest in their own time.

And the boys did start to be interested in him. Big J would be working on his Scripture handwriting sheets and decide he wanted to send it Samson. Little J was making Christmas cards for grandparents and asked if he could make one for Samson, too. Their care and love for Samson didn’t come through forced activities. It developed over time as they saw The Hubby and I caring for him through our prayers and words.

As parents, our example of compassion, mercy, and love for those in need goes much further than anything we could MAKE our children do. It may take longer than you like, but genuine compassion is much better than forced compassion!

Give them the tools to jump into action when they DO care!

Eventually, there will be a cause or person in need that catches your child’s attention. For Big J, it was the children who didn’t have beds or safe places to sleep. When he brought it up, I was ready with the question:

“Would you like to try to help them?”

When he answered yes, I got on board with him and we found a way to do something for those kids!

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Keep your ears open for the things your children say that show they are wanting to help someone and be a ready to help them out!

Nickels for Nets flier

If they want to raise money for an organization, help rally friends and family to collect money like we did with Nickels for Nets, but let them do most of the asking, counting, etc. so they hold on to ownership of the project! I made the flier above on the computer, but Big J handed them out and told people what he was raising money for, as well as counting the money himself!

U-NEEKS - Thinking of You - Dweeber- 3 Premium Cards for Kids

If they notice a friend who needs some encouragement, have some cards ready they can use to write their friend a note! Dayspring has these totally awesome U-NEEK cards just for kids that include messages of encouragement, friendship, prayer, love, and more.

Be willing to search for charities or programs that help the people your child is interested in helping!

Let your children know you are willing to commit family resources – such as time and money – to support something about which they feel passionately!

Side note: I do think it is okay to require all family members to participate {with a good attitude} in a cause that one family member feels is important because it fosters the “team” atmosphere of the family, but it is also important to not get frustrated if the other family members don’t get all excited over that one person’s cause!

Taking the “model and equip” approach has produced greater results in the compassion and service area of our children’s hearts than anything we could have ever MADE them do!

What is your experience with kids and compassion? What causes have your children shown interest in? Which of these steps would you like to work on in your home this year?

 

*This post contains affiliate links.

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Christmas with Compassion: It’s About Giving!

You heard a whole lot about Compassion from me back in September, and WOW, that Compassion Bloggers Month made a HUGE impact! So many children sponsored – my heart just sings thinking about it!

And now here we are, in the middle of the Christmas, shopping for family, baking for parties, sending cards to friends…

What about those kids? Can’t we find a little time and generosity for them now to help them meet basic needs?

Believe me, the LAST thing I want to be doing is asking people for money, but I believe in this, friends. And Compassion has made it really easy to bless this Christmas through their Christmas Gift Catalog!

Here’s the deal: I want to challenge you, my friends, as a group, to give $100 {or more} through the Compassion Gift Catalog!

Compassion is working towards a $20,000 Gift Catalog goal and we can do our part if just TEN of us donate $10!

What can your $10 do for someone in need?

  • Help to protect 2+ children from parasites
  • Garden seeds for a family in Africa

Or maybe FIVE of you will give $20? For $20 you could…

  • Protect five children from parasites
  • Provide a Christmas gift for a mom and baby

There are gift options for EVERY budget – from $4 to $150 – and giving whatever you can is exactly what Jesus asks us to do!

Will you join us in meeting these needs and reaching this goal through the gift catalog? If you donate, would you leave a comment or email me at homewiththeboys at gmail dot com {I will keep names and amounts anonymous!} so we can keep track of our total?

I’m praying over this goal right now, believing God gave the folks at Compassion a vision and a mission and He wants to use all of us to help them reach it! And let’s see if we can meet our goal here by the end of today {Thursday}!

And I have one more opportunity for you to partner with Compassion through Home with the Boys!

Our sponsored child, Samson, is only our sponsored child because of the wonderful individuals and companies who advertise here on our site. I am so grateful for all who have bought sidebar ads throughout the last few years to help support our sponsorship of Samson!

Sidebar ads are only $10 per month and, based on the increase in traffic we’ve been getting lately, that is a steal of a deal! We’re keeping the prices the same because that is the number I feel God gave me and we know this is all from Him!

Looking ahead, I would love to see twelve companies partner with Home with the Boys for four months of advertising in 2013 so we can have the whole year covered in advance!

If you are interested in being one of these twelve partners or doing any advertising at all, please email me at homewiththeboys at gmail dot com to reserve your spot! I only offer four spots per month and will fill them on a first-come, first-serve basis!

Thank you for supporting such an amazing ministry alongside us!

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Samson Teaches Us About Tanzania

Samson, our Compassion sponsored child, is six years old – the same age as Big J. Big J and I are starting to have great conversations about all sorts of topics – I can only imagine what discussions I could have with Samson right now. We receive sweet letters from him, but I’m sure there would be so much more if we could sit down and chat.

We have learned so much about Tanzania because of Samson and today “he” is blogging to pass this knowledge on to you! Please pray for the children of Tanzania as you read this…

{Photos were taken at the Compassion Experience display at the dotMOM Conference. Very humbling to get even a glimpse…}

*****

Jambo from the plains of Tanzania! {That is hello in Kiswahili, our native language.}

My name is Samson. In this dry, flat land, I live with my mom and dad in a small home.

The floors are dirt. The walls are mud. The roof is tin. It is a place to sleep and for that I am thankful.

My parents sometimes work as farmers. Their income is about $12 a month, but jobs are quite scarce in this area. We are in desperate need of more job training and modern farming advances, as well as schools and teachers.

Our diet consists of maize, beans, fish, cassava, beef, rice, and potatoes. I help in the kitchen and bring water from the well to help my family. Our water supply is poor and we pray often for more clean water in our community.

I see lots of sick people, so I am thankful for the health of my family. Malaria, diarrhea, and HIV/AIDS are common health problems. We get checkups at the Compassion Student Center to make sure we stay healthy.

I also go to school and Bible classes at the Compassion center. This is also where I learned about my sponsors. They have a six-year-old in their family just like me!

It sounds like Big J and I have a lot of the same interests, especially soccer and reading. I would love to do those things with him someday. I think about about meeting him and his family a lot.

I like to draw pictures to send to my sponsor’s family. Big J sends me colored pages with Bible verses on them. I like to hang them in my home.

Big J and I also both love Jesus. I pray for him and his family and their letters say they pray for me as well.

Compassion introduced me to my sponsor, to hope, and most importantly, to Jesus. I don’t even know in all the ways this will change my life, but things are definitely look brighter for my future.

*****

I was blessed to hear a former Compassion child tell her story at dotMOM last weekend. There were very few dry eyes listening to her speak. And now her and her family are sponsoring a child through Compassion.

You never know how much your sponsorship will change the life of a child in poverty for the long run AND for eternity.

This is the last day to sponsor a child during Blog Month and help reach the goal of 3,108 children sponsored in September! Maybe a child from Tanzania is on your heart?

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Pin and Party with Compassion International!

As you all know, it’s Blog Month with Compassion International, and this week there is a whole lot of fun going on to celebrate!

*****

First, Compassion is holding a contest for all of you on Pinterest! I super duper love Pinterest and I’m thrilled it’s being used for a good cause in this case!

This contest will involve you creating a board on Pinterest called “My Sponsored Child,” filling it with images and links to go with the theme, and trying to get as many repins as possible!

If you’re not on Pinterest yet, this will all sound like jibberish, but it is great fun, I promise!

To get started on the contest, read this post for all of the details and start pinning!

{You can check out my board here for ideas!}

*****

Secondly, there is an actual Compassion Blog Month PARTY going on tonight, Thursday, September 20th! I wish I could say it was going to be in person with all of you lovely people, but instead it is a Twitter party!

Here are all the details you will need to join the festivities:

WHERE: Sign into Twitter (https://twitter.com) to join the conversation. If you do not have a twitter account, you can create one.

WHEN: Thursday, September 20, 7:00PM Eastern

WHO: Tanzania Blogger Amy Lupold Bair (@ResourcefulMom) is hosting this event. She will be chatting with Shaun Groves (@shaungroves)! Be sure to follow Amy and Shaun on Twitter!

HOW: Follow the hashtag #CompassionBloggers on Twitter. TweetChat (http://tweetchat.com/) is also a great way to follow the conversation.

Everyone who participates by asking a question or making a comment with the hashtag #CompassionBloggers has the chance to win some great prizes.

For more information check out: resourcefulmommy.com.

*****

The number of children being sponsored because of Blog Month is just incredible! Thank you to all who have been sharing these posts, praying for the ministry, and sponsoring children! YOU are rescuing children from poverty in the name of Jesus and it is beautiful!

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Dear God…

Dear God,

You really know how to get to me, don’t You?

I might be an impulsive person in most things, but when it comes to acting on something from You, I’m a little slow. And stubborn. I require lots of chipping away. Lots of not-so-subtle hints and reminders.

And that’s what you’ve been doing to me over the past few years.

I think it started with Kristen and her trip to Kenya. Then MckMama’s posts about that trip as well. And Lisa-Jo followed soon after that.

You opened my eyes to things I did not want to know about. I really wasn’t in that place of wanting You to “break my heart for what breaks Yours.”

But You got me there somehow. You used bloggers and their trips over and over again to show me beauty and hope amongst severe poverty and desolation.

I didn’t think those things could possibly exist together.

But they do because of You.

How can those children smile when they sleep on a dirt floor?

Because they know You love them.

How can that mother give her children the only food they have for that day and go hungry herself, yet still praise You?

Because she trusts You with everything she has.

God, forgive me me for having all that I could ever need or want and more and not trusting you with every part of it.

And thank you for continuing to chip away at my tendency to look the other way when the poor and marginalized were mentioned.

I see it now. I see that I do have a place in all of this.

Even when I can’t seem to keep up on the laundry or stay patient with my children or spend enough time with You…

You can still use me.

Thank You for bringing sweet Samson into our lives. Thank You for opening the hearts of our family to love this handsome boy in Tanzania whom we have never met. Thank You for the discussions that have occurred in our home since he became a part of our life. One boy half a world away has changed our lives.

I see that sponsoring Samson was just the first step You wanted us to take. When You unlocked this part of my heart, the “ignorance is bliss” way of life could be no more.

I cry at almost every Compassion blogger post I read, but I don’t feel hopeless for those kids anymore. I know You are with them and they just need us to step into action to be Your hands and feet.

Lord, take our broken and willing hearts and move us into action for these beautiful children.

And thanks for never giving up on me and continuing to patiently chip away at my stubborn heart, even now…

With gratitude and love and praise,

Erin

*****

I wrote this post as part of Blog Month for Compassion International. We’re writing and praying and expecting for God to move in hearts to see 3,108 children sponsored this month. 837 have already been sponsored which means only 2,271 to go! Have you taken a look at the children needing sponsorship lately?

And if you already sponsor a child, join us this Friday {and every second Friday of the month} for an online letter-writing party!

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