Sunday, August 16, 2009

To bowl or to save the world?

I was blessed with spending time with my dear friends last night ... some of us were playing cards while others watched a movie called "The Power of One." OK ... even those of us that were playing cards were finding ourselves watching and playing at the same time. It was an upsetting and unsettling movie about racism in South Africa and one boys reaction to it. Anyway, at one point this young man's girlfriend is upset because she is going to miss her college ball because he wants "to save the world." There was some discussion about this among those watching it and my youngest daughter was asked if she would rather go to a ball or save the world. She responded, "Well when you bowl you get sweaty, so I would save the world." This response caused quite a few people to laugh, but I actually think that there is a profound truth in what she said. In her innocence she might have just laid a huge challenge down for each of us. It is easy for us to say that we love others. It is easy for us to talk about making a difference. It is easy for us to act? What if we asked ourselves the following question from time to time ... "Do I want to _________, or do I want to save the world?" What would happen? I can hear some of you saying ... "but saving the world is impossible for one." I agree. All by myself I can not save the world, but I can help.

I think that the reason that so many of talk about the situation around the world, but do not feel empowered to help change things is because we know that the problem is huge ... and frankly embracing the truth of it all is a bit overwhelming. And so, we tend to use the impossibility of single-handily fixing it as an excuse to let out words of concern be the only thing we do in response to it. BUT ... what if we just decided to do something ... anything. To pick a place to begin. Drea shared in a recent blog that .14 cents can feed someone a meal of posho and beans. 14 cents.
A few weeks ago I canceled the extra $6 insurance on my cell phone ... if I loose or damage it I will simply use an old one until my "new every two" comes up again. This six dollars can change to world for some child who has so little, by providing almost 43 meals for him. I still have my phone ... and I don't even miss the insurance. But here is the most amazing part of the whole thing ... making that one decision has begun a change in my heart. I am most certain that there are other things that I won't even miss ... other $6 luxuries that I can forgo and have currently also passed an a few Starbuck's coffee's which will be added to next month's donation.

That's where you come in. I have been toying with the idea of a six dollar challenge. There are no guidelines for this challenge other than to forgo something and give the money to the poor. I am donating mine to Remember the Poor. The other guideline would be that you see it as a place to start ... A way to show yourself that you can make a difference by choosing to let your actions speak of love and not just your words. Are you game? The truth is that $6.00 is not much. It is not enough. BUT, it is a place to start. Are you willing? Let's work at saving the world ... and changing our hearts ... join me and let's see what God does.

My verse for the next two weeks is:

Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
(1 John 3:18 NLT)

I am going to work at not only memorizing it .. but living it out in my actions as well.

May you hold God's blessings of abundance loosely ...


A Sweet Perfume

As I sit here and write this, I am less than 36 hours away from starting the next school year, from meeting my students, and beginning the journey of teaching once again. Reflecting, it is difficult to believe that summer vacation is over and school is starting! The summer seemed to begin and end in a mere blink of an eye, and here I sit with 36 hours left. Now don't get me wrong, I am not lamenting ... I am just recording my observations. You see, in years past the transition from summer spent with my children and friends to a working mom who teaches underprivileged children has been a difficult one for both my children and me, but not this year. This year I have such a peace about it that leaving the summer behind was as easy as shedding a coat on a hot August day here in the desert. That is not to say that it will be easy not seeing the women in my life that are like sisters to me almost daily, but I have a peace about that as well. You see, I have been meditating on them during this last week as I got my classroom ready, my lesson plans done (well almost), and put on the hat of "teacher" ... and the thoughts of them have been like a sweet perfume upon my senses.

I have spent time thinking about each and every one of them. Rolling them over in my mind, thinking about why I appreciate and love them the way I do ... and it is because their their actions have shown me time and time again that they really love. The first time I typed the previous sentence, I wrote, "Their actions have shown me time and time again that they really love me" ... but realized right after hitting the period key that it was not only that they love me, but that they love. They love God. They love others ... and yes they love me ... BUT they do more than just say it ... they show it. Their actions show the truth of their hearts.

Each of them is like a precious jewel to me, a treasure granted me by God ... fellow sisters to journey with, to learn with, to worship with. So special to me are they that I have spent the last week just overwhelmed that God would place a such a circle of women in my life. I count myself blessed beyond measure, and I carry with me parts of each of them with me. From one, I take with me a strong sense of the power that words have and the desire to use them to make a positive difference. God has used her presence in my life to curb my tongue and soften my heart. From another, I take with me the desire to step out my comfort zone and do more to help others ... to really dig deep within me and find the selfish areas of my heart. From yet another, I take with me the the sweet blessing of service and sacrifice. God has used her to teach me that blessing others is best done quietly ... seeking to bless for the sake of blessing ... not recognition. Finally, I take from my fourth sister the ability to rest in what the Lord decides ... even when it is not what we might have chosen. She has endured so much, but has responded with a trust in God that has inspired me to do the same.

In 35 hours, I will once again enter to world of touching the lives of children ... my mission field ... my passion ... and I will see these dear friends less often. I will talk with them less often. But, I will think of them daily as I choose my words, think about ways to give (near and far), seek to bless others with gifts of sacrifice and service, and trust in the Lord as He guides me through the challenges of my workplace.

If by chance you are one of the above women and you are reading this ... I love you and appreciate you. I thank God for your presence in my life. Thank you for the ways that you have shown me and taught me about love, about God, about friendship. You are truly like sisters to me. If not, then I challenge you to look for the ways that God is using the women He has placed in your life to speak to you, to thank Him for them from the depths of your heart, and to let them know just how special they are.

May you feel the warm embrace of your Father's love upon you.