in sickness and health

Two weeks ago I had the awesome opportunity to participate in the annual conference that Christian Alliance For Orphans (CAFO) gives every year.  It was held this year in Nashville, TN, and through the very generous giving of some dear friends and the very generous offer of my husband to keep all three of my kids for a week on his own, I was able to go this year. 

Honestly, until this year, I didn’t really know much about CAFO.  I had heard their name thrown around but as with most things in life, I was pretty much just absorbed in my own ministry, and I didn’t spend too much time paying much attention to what was happening outside of our wallssad I know, but it’s the truth.  But, earlier this year, a few others and myself were able to meet with the president of CAFO, and I left the meeting super impressed with him and just his heart for orphans and children all around the world. I starting looking more into their ministry and immediately knew I needed to participate in their conference.

I am thankful to say it was even more than I expected. It was amazing, and I was able to meet a lot of other people committed to caring for hurt and neglected children all over the world.   I was so impressed with the stories I heard of regular families that are sacrificing so much to foster, adopt, work in orphanages, serve/rescue those in human trafficking, and so much more.  I left so inspired and just ready to move full force ahead. 

But then I got back to my life and my home and just my “normal,” and I was having trouble figuring out how to transfer all this great stuff to regular life.  With the exception of the workshop I went to on reconciliation, I couldn’t figure out what to really do with all the information.  How does it change the way I parent? How does it change the way I lead? How does it change the way I discipline? How does it change the way I interact? How does it change the way I love?  I just couldn’t wrap my head around it all. 

(Side note the workshop I am referring to on reconciliation was one of the very best I have ever heard on the topic of forgiveness and just in general working through interpersonal conflict.  It was given by Beth Guckenberger from Back2Back ministries  Seriously, you should stop what you are doing now, go to the CAFO website, find this workshop and download it.  You won’t be sorry.)

The thing with me is that I hate those “church camp highs” so to speak. I don’t like the emotion of something to overwhelm me to the point that I live on a high of how amazing something is, but nothing practical changes in my life. 

Because the truth is, I really did feel overwhelmed.  One of the statistics mentioned at the conference was that Unicef recently announced that there are over 153 million orphans worldwide.

153 million orphans worldwide.  153 MILLION ORPHANS WORLDWIDE. 

Even I was surprised by that number, and I have been doing this a long time.  There is a good chance that number includes a lot of children who aren't truly orphaned...meaning they still have one or even both parents and/or other family members, but for whatever reason they are living as an orphan (in an orphanage, on the streets, in foster care, etc.)  I am thankful that I serve with a ministry interested and working towards keeping families together.  But, that being said, as far as I am concerned, 1 orphan is still one too many.

So, that just left me feeling like nothing I do could really accomplish that much.  How could it?  On top of that, I came back to the same problems and frustrations that I saw before I left, and I honestly didn’t feel that much more equipped to handle them. 

I felt like, “Great I went to this amazing conference, but I still can’t figure out how to fix this everyday stuff!”

And then while still living in this turmoil, two of my three babies got sick.  The oldest recuperated pretty quickly, but my 2 year old just seemed to get sicker every day.  It was into the wee hours of the morning Tuesday, and I was watching his little body trying to fight of another fever, and I just felt so defeated.  We were on night 3 of the same story.  I had tears silently streaming down my face as I watched him moan and whimper.  I rubbed his back.  I applied cool clothes. I faithfully gave him his medicine.  I prayedoh how I prayed.

But there we were in my bed and I just couldn’t take it. My heart felt like it was going to rip out of my chest watching him suffer so much.  And that’s when it hit me.

That’s when my eyes kind of opened to the other turmoil of the week prior

Faithfully, every single hour of my week had been devoted to taking care of my babiesmaking sure they were comfortable and safe and that at least in my own efforts, I was doing all I could for them.  My little 2 year old knew deep in his heart that his mama was there, and she was doing everything she could for him. She was fighting right there with him.

But then I thought about my girls next door.  Granted they are now grown up girls, but I did take care of them while they were younger too. I thought about all the times they woke up the next morning and told me that they had gotten sick in the night and then just silently went back to their bed. I thought about the times that I forgot to give them the Tylenol on time and their fever shot back up and how much longer it finally took to bring it down again because I hadn’t given it to them on time.  I thought about the number of times I laid next to them while they slept, applying cool clothes and rubbing their back. (I am sad to say I couldn’t think of a single time on that last one.)

The story wasn’t pretty.

The ugly truth is I didn’t mother them the way I mother my babies now.  It hurts me to say that but I know deep in my heart it is true. I didn’t do it consciously, and I am certain that I was trying to do my best at the time.  But I didn’t get it right.

So as I rubbed my baby’s back and waited for his fever to break once again, I confessed of that and begged Jesus to help me love better.  Then, I prayed for all the babies that were sick in their beds somewhere in that very moment and didn’t have a mama or daddy’s touch to make it all better.  I silently cried out for them.  Oh Jesus please have mercy on those sweet ones! 

So much trust and confidence happens when a mama or daddy or really anyone cares for you when you are sick.  Think about it.  Caring for the sick isn’t easy. It isn’t pretty.  In fact it is really hard.  But, any one of you can think of the time that your mama or grandmother or daddy or husband or wife, etc. cared for you when you felt the most sick.  You can remember how that felthow loved and cherished you felt. 

Now think about all those babies and young ones that are silently going to the bathroom to get sick with no one even aware.  I can remember that I was the kid that almost never made it to the bathroom on time when I was going to get sick.  But my sweet mama always jumped right out of bed. She held my hair and rubbed my back while I got sick and then quietly tucked me back into bed while she then went to scrub walls or carpets.  There was never one question in my mind that when I was sick or in need that I wasn’t going to have someone to care for me.  My mama and my daddy showed me that every questions, no excuses.

So I am still working through transferring all the information I learned at the conference to real life, but one thing I know to be sure is that I have got to learn to love better. I have to figure out a way to love those God has given me or placed in my life the way I love those closest to my heart. 

And it starts with little things like cool wash clothes and back rubs. 

God isn’t asking us to do huge things on His behalf. He doesn’t want me to save the 153 million orphans.  I am no savior.  He doesn’t need me to be a superhero.

He just wants me to love well the one right next to me.

And not just love in a way that is convenient or easy.  As much as I love my son, it was not even close to easy waking up every hour or so with a screaming child for 3 nights in a row.  It wasn’t easy then waking up the next morning to fix breakfast and get my other two off to school. It wasn’t easy literally having to leave my child moaning just to go to the bathroom.  Nothing about this week was easy or convenient. 

Choosing to love and care well will never go hand in hand with the word easy.  It will require sacrifice. It will require giving something up. It will require grace.  And most of all it will require giving more than I think I am physically able to.

So here it is guysthere are some babies, teens, neighbors, young mamas/daddies, forgotten/neglected elderly folks, etc. that need you to step up and do some loving.  We can sing all the right songs in church.  We can faithfully give our tithes every week.  We can be nice to people and occasionally even go out of our way for a little random act of kindness.  But if we aren’t getting our hands and hearts dirty, we aren’t really doing all we can do.

I am not going to stand on some podium and tell you all that I have got it all figured out and that I am doing it all right.  I mess up.  I get it wrong too. I choose me and mine far too often.  But, I am also not going to sit here at my computer and tell you that I think it is okay that most of the people I know that say they love Jesus the most are the ones that are getting their hands and hearts dirty the least.  I can’t do that.  There are too many that have too much and are doing and giving far too little.

So today I want to ask you to stop whatever it is you are doing and just close your eyes.  Who are those that are in your life right this moment that need more?  Who are those that are silently struggling without anyone to hold their hair back for a bit for them?    

Guys, just go get some cool clothes and apply them to the wounds.  Go rub some backs.  Just GO DO SOMETHING!  Choose to step in for someone when it is dark and hard and there is a lot of crying and painchoose to be there instead of praying for God to send someone else to be there.  MAYBE YOU ARE THE ONE YOU ARE ALREADY PRAYING FOR!  

But please, please don’t choose to do nothing.  Don’t pretend like loving our family and our friends well is enough.  It is goodit is very good but it will never be enough.  There are too many that have no oneno one.  So if we only love well those that are already in our intimate circle, I am certain that in a few years there are going to be more babies without someone to comfort them, more teens running away and getting swept up into human trafficking, more marriages crumbling, and more older folks spending their lives alone in a residential living facility.  Its not going to be pretty I can say that.

You don’t have to save the world.  You don’t have to be a superhero.  You just have to choose to take a stepone little step and apply that cloth, rub that back.  It’s doing more than you could ever know.

Mobile App Developers  – (July 24, 2015 at 6:30 AM)  

Very informative, keep posting such good articles, it really helps to know about things.

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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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