Playdates with God: Image-bearers

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The night before last, I had a dream that I had Alzheimer’s Disease. I was in a strange town, had parked my minivan along the street somewhere, and couldn’t remember where I’d left it. Nothing looked familiar and IT WAS TERRIFYING.

Last night, Jeff and I went to Mountain Stage to see one of our new favorite singer/songwriters—it’s one of the best playdates, seeing live music—and Mountain Stage always introduces us to amazing new artists (AWE-MAZING!), anyway, on the way home, I was telling him about my dream.

“For that little bit of time,” I said, “I knew what it felt like to have dementia. When I awakened, I had so much compassion for anyone dealing with that illness. I was terribly frightened.”

Ever since, I can’t stop thinking about it. This train of thought leads me to try to inhabit the many sorrows people deal with every day. Sometimes, the holiday season must feel like just another day to get through. The world is a broken place. We can still see the beauty through God’s common grace, but being human means living with frailty.

This time of year, we all get bombarded by charities. From the bellringers at the grocery store to the woman standing at the intersection with a sign, everywhere I turn there is a hand out. It would be easy to let my heart turn to stone and look the other way. But I hope I never do. We are the only creatures formed in God’s image. Yet many times I fail to see the holiness in the faces I meet every day. Here are some of our favorite organizations that remind me to open my eyes and see anew.

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World Vision

We’ve been sponsoring three children through this organization for many years now. I’m amazed at all the good work they do. One of our favorite gifts is to give something from their gift catalog in the name of a special friend.

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Family Health Ministries

This is the organization I went to Haiti with last summer. I witnessed first hand the many ways they are changing the lives of the people they serve.

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Read Aloud West Virginia

One of my passions. Helping children fall in love with reading will change the future of the world.

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College Summit

I believe education is one of the keys to helping many of the problems our world faces. College Summit is dedicated to helping make sure every child has an opportunity for higher education.

Some other organizations I haven’t worked with but read wonderful things about:

Help One Now
Mercy House Kenya
Compassion International
Pure Charity

And one more we may add to our giving list this year:

Alzheimer’s Association

What are some of your favorite ways to give back?

I’m going to take a break from the Playdates linkup for the remaining Mondays in December. Have a wonderful Advent Season, beloveds. You are all gifts to me. I’ll see you back here in January.

Every Monday I share one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find God and know joy. Click on the button below to add your link. I try to visit a few of your stories every week, so if you are a new visitor, be sure to let me know in the comments so I can welcome you. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us.

Laura Boggess

Comments

  1. says

    Oh, Laura, getting Alzheimer’s is one of my worst nightmares so I relate to your dream. 🙁 Since I saw it in my mother, I know it’s a horrifying disease. I’m glad to see Alzheimer’s Association on your list here. All the organizations you listed are so worth of our gifts! “Read Aloud West Virginia” particularly intrigues me still; I need to check out more on their website. I ordered books Saturday to give to Jenna’s Kindergarteners for Christmas and was appalled at the lack of books with African-American main characters as compared to white characters. I’ve read that only 3% of children’s books feature African-Americans. Sad. 🙁

  2. says

    Laura, this post reminded me of something from a while back.

    In January, 2012 I had been blogging for only a few months. I wrote a post titled “Reflecting His Glory” which you commented on. You ended your comment with the words “Blessings to you, Image-bearer.”

    That simple blessing meant so much to me! To be called by the name ‘Image-bearer’…to realize God calls me by that same name…to realize that’s not just what I’m called to do but who I’m destined to be…what an honor! What a blessing!

    Thank you, my friend, for your encouraging voice!

  3. says

    I had a similar experience a few weeks ago, Laura. I dreamt about being homeless, and woke up exhausted. It did make me wonder if God was asking something of me, and we’ve been having a dialogue ever since, as I seek His direction. We sponsor a child through Compassion (an amazing organization) and support a friend who is a long-term missionary in NA. Unfortunately, she has had to leave her village because of the recent unrest there, but the work continues as they are able, and she hopes to be back soon. You will be missed this month. Wishing you JOYous Christmas blessings. See you next year!

  4. says

    I’m so sorry you had such a disturbing dream, Laura, but I always value the insight dreams like that bring to me. It seems you are reflecting on it in the same way. And thank you for challenging us to give to those who are in need. My husband and I sponsor a Compassion child and love the work that they do, as well as some of the other ministries you’ve mentioned. Another great one that my church participates in every year is Samaritan’s Purse–not just at Christmas with the shoebox drive but with raising money for clean water. There are so many needs, but we in the U.S. are so blessed and poised to respond.

  5. Lynn D. Morrissey says

    Laura, this brought me to tears, b/c I am reminded of a visit at an institutional type nursing home, where a friend and I visited our mutual friend, a beautiful, Jesus-loving woman, who was the matron of honor in our wedding forty years ago. She had gotten early onset Alzheimer’s, which in retrospect, now explains her very uncharacteristic (even bizarre) behavior. But no one knew or understood. When we visited her, we found Barb to be a shell of a woman. It was devastating. We grieve for her. Does she grieve for herself? Who knows what transpires behind those hollow eyes? Your dream is sadly what too many experience in reality. Thank you for this reminder to reach out to others less fortunate than we. We too support a support a child–ours from the Dominican Republic via Compassion, Int’l. There is so much need, Laura. One hardly knows where to begin to help. May God lead us individually to whom to share our resources and prayers. I so appreciate *your* loving, compassionate heart! Enjoy your time off with God alone this Advent. Sending you so much love! Will love what reading what He shows you.
    Lynn

  6. Sharon says

    Oh Laura, I know the ravages of dementia. Before he passed away, my father had slid into dementia for several years. It was more painful than I can tell you to see his extraordinary intellect become crippled with confusion, anger, and suspicion. He forgot who I was, insisting that I was wrong when I tried to tell him I was his daughter. On top of that, and especially in the two years since he died, my mother has also lost most of her cognitive abilities. I am grateful that she still knows who I am, and that she still retains her sweet spirit, but oh my, it hurts. Sometimes I am overcome with fear that this is also my destiny, as both parents have literally lost their minds. But, I am in the hands of the Lord, and He knows…He KNOWS…and will take care of me in this current journey with my mother, and in my own future.

    It’s good to find good causes to support. Giving is part of what we are called to do as followers of Christ. My family, immediate and extended, are involved in several charities. One of my favorites is a horse therapy facility in Southern California, where horses are used to minister to disabled children. In my mind, there’s nothing quite as precious as pairing children with animals, and watching what that special bond can accomplish.

    GOD BLESS!

  7. says

    Laura, I had a dream not too long ago that I was in charge of a boat- a rather large pleasure boat-and I unhooked too many ropes and it started to drift away. I panicked. I actually dove into the water to try to swim after it to catch it and pull it back (rather than jump on board and figure out what to do from there). I remember in my dream thinking, “What am I doing? I don’t have that kind of strength!” So I guess I swam back to the dock and shouted, “Help! Someone please help me!” It’s not the same kind of fright you experienced, but it was panic-sheer panic. I didn’t know what to do, and this thing I was responsible for had gotten away. It was my fault. I know that feeling you had when you woke up. It feels very real.

  8. says

    I just had a weird dream the other day too and it inspired me to write a new post. I guess God has a way of revealing truths to us. Thank you for sharing here. We have been raising money for World Vision. My kids each picked out some place they would like to give to. It was pretty exciting for them to find a way to give. They are little but no time like the present to get started. We also gave this season to Samaritan’s Purse with the shoe boxes. It is such a great way to get the kids involved and caring about someone else at this time of the year.
    I started a new Blog Party at Seeking God called Sitting Among Friends. I would love for you to join us there. We are always looking for friends to sit down with and hear their stories.
    Have a great Christmas.
    Jaime Wiebel http://youresewtrendy.blogspot.com

  9. says

    I love these suggestions for giving this Christmas! So glad you listed the Alzheimer’s organization..perhaps God was helping us all remember so many in need of support!

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