What to Do When You Have a Love So Big…


This morning we send out the Christmas cards to our sponsored children. We are late this year—the trip to the Canyon having created a glut in the schedule. I make a mental note to call WorldVision—ask about the timing of these things.
I sign the cards the way I always do: We love you…and I finger the picture of Romedan that came while I was in Texas. He has changed so much since we first chose him. Over the years, we’ve watched his smile grow in photographs. I tuck the school pictures of his white-skinned American brothers into the envelope with his card. For his safety, I cannot tell him that Jesus loves him. Instead, I tell Him the Lord loves you, and I pray Jesus will make himself known to this little boy who has so much of my heart. 
I tell the boys that I would rather send baby chicks than money. Aren’t these baby chicks cute?I say. Why not a goat? Jeffrey asks. Don’t you think goats are cute? But I check the box for the monetary gift because I know there are others who will know better what kind of gift my children need. 
I pray over the envelopes. Of the three cards I send, only one bears the name of Jesus. Christmas without Jesus? There is an ache in my chest that starts as a low thrum and grows until it hammers my ribcage and springs a leak at the corners of my eyes.
When I was in the Canyon last week, Chris and Ann asked me when did you begin to write? How did that whole thing get started?
It felt like a foolish story—about Jeffrey’s first Thanksgiving. How we danced together and he giggled his baby giggle. He wasn’t quite yet two and did not talk much but that was when he first said I love you to me. I had to ask him to say it again, it so took me by surprise. And he did. And I was overcome. I asked the Lord that day, What do I do with this kind of love? Where do I go with this? And the Lord put a story in my heart about a mama and a son. I started writing it down in secret…it was too tender to share.
God used that story and the process of writing it to woo me to Him. I felt His presence on the page. I still do. But it wasn’t until I shared it that it was able to bless others.
I finger the latest picture of Romedan and I feel my heart swell again. And I ask God that same tried question: What do I do with this kind of love, Lord? Where do I go with it?
The kitchen is quiet and the sun streams through the bay and soon we will share the feast of Thanksgiving with our family and we will be emptied out and filled all at once.
And I lick the envelope to send love over miles and seas and deserts and mountains.
Won’t you send love too? There are so many ways to help. We sponsor our children through WorldVision--it’s just how it worked out for us. Perhaps you are looking for a different way? Here’s a wonderful project my friend Dena is helping with. And there’s this from Deidra. And Compassion is always a beautiful option. Today I am thinking of how blessed I am. I want to be a blessing too. 

How To Make A Bed

I made my bed this morning.

Cleaned the kitchen. Did some laundry.

And all the while, I am thinking of this.

A mother digs for her child. A man trapped under tons of concrete. Dead bodies lined along the streets.

Outside my window, the snowbirds forage under the feeder. Snow is melting.

I am thirsty. I take a drink. I think about that Barefoot Contessa recipe I want to make. The ingredients I need. Will the salmon be good today?

And the ghosts of Haiti call to me across the ocean.

The truth is…tragedy comes every second. Mass devastation opens our eyes, but help is needed every day.

We give our first fruits when we commit to make a regular contribution.

Will you consider making a difference for a child? A people? A nation?

Please give.

WorldVision
Compassion
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
Salvation Army

Quick gifts can be offered through the Red Cross:
text “HAITI” to “90999” and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross (billed to your cell phone account)

Firstfruits

Time to count the Christmas Change!

Our total collection this season came to $98.50. Plus a few extra bonus items.

After scrounging around the house for spare change, we added $1.50 to round out the total to $100!

We decided to split the money in half–giving $50 to Worlvision and $50 to our local food pantry.

Amazing what those forgotten piles of spare change add up to. Amazing what we can give out of our abundance.

As small hands sorted change and tallied its value this morning, I was pleased that we were so close to our goal.

But we can do more.

God requires more.  He asks me to give, not out of abundance, but out of faith. He asks for my firstfruits. When I give Him all that I hold in my hands, I say to Him, I trust You to fill my arms again.

Collecting spare change is good stewardship…but it hardly stretched my faith. It did not require me to step out of my comfort zone. And for that, I am not proud.

We are so blessed.

It’s time to start blessing others.

Because He is good. He is trustworthy. And He will provide for all our needs.

We are still deciding how to give out of faith…trying to determine what the giving of our firstfruits looks like.

May it be pleasing to Him.

Snow Day

I have studied it each time I drive by.

It sits tucked back from the Interstate right off the Institute exit–a beacon for all passersby.

This church has been under construction for quite some time. Regally arched windows yawn beside gaping front…the face of the building is not yet complete.

And so it stands–wide open, inviting eyes to peer inside and wonder what lies within.

It never fails to touch me, this vision of this church under construction. It has become to me a symbol of what it means to build a church.

Open, inviting, beautiful.

A light on a hill.

Always, always the lights are aglow within.

When I am mindlessly driving home from work–tired, spent from giving of myself, all I need do is catch a glance of that incomplete structure and my heart fills with yearning.

It means so much.

To see Him standing there holding out His arms to me this way.

Last night, on my way home from the Casting Crowns concert in Charleston, I drove right into a snowstorm. The snowdrops fell–fat, juicy circlets that covered the road in an icy slush in no time. I was following Pastor-friend, assuming role of rear-guard as traffic crept along on the treacherous highway.

When we approached the Institute exit, eyes automatically lifted to that hill. Snow swirling all around, cars creeping along beside, wind blowing trees bent with icy dressings…Yet the warm glow of the lights from inside that church under construction penetrated it all.

He is my refuge.

My guiding light in the storm.

Mark Hall of Casting Crowns spoke to us last night about the difference between the joy of the world and the joy there is in Christ. His words resonate this morning as I listen to his voice singing I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. The story of this deeply moving Christmas song is our song. We all have searched for hope in the darkness.

We volunteered for World Vision last night, stewards over faces of hundreds of children who may never know the joy of Christmas.

As I ran my hand over smooth pictures depicting these innocent faces, I was once again struck by how blessed we are.

We get to be that light on a hill.

We are The Church under construction.

Oh, Dear Ones, let your light be that warm glow that invites. Open your arms and be His embrace.

Today, the boys are home with me…snowed in…given a day off by the storm I drove through last night. We were out romping in that sticky white stuff at eight thirty in the morning.


These boys–these gifts from God–are mine to protect and love and give all that I have to. This morning I sit and reflect on the faces that I held in my hands last night. And I know that one of the most important things that I can give my children is the gift of compassion.

I was so moved by the opportunity to help this amazing organization last night. Won’t you consider giving the gift of hope this Christmas?