Wow! I'm almost speechless as I write this; closing out an amazing 30 days of trusting the Lord, when I felt the most helpless. And there have been a few things I have learned along the way.
-I've realized that we are never helpless. Even when we think we are the most weak we're still able, because that's when the Lord is most strong, and He says we can lean on Him for strength. If we are "helpless" to do nothing, it's only because we choose to. MAN! I can apply this to so many areas of my life, it's not even funny!
-I've learned that "little is much when God is in it." Have you ever heard that song? It's awesome! I encourage you to listen to it here (one of my favorites). God can take our little and turn it into something great! Some have given more and some less, but the amount is insignificant. If someone's heart is pure, even the smallest "mite" is great in the eyes of Heaven, and will do mighty work for the Kingdom. I will have a GRAND TOTAL for you on Tuesday when I get back home (we are on vacation at the moment). I can't wait to see what each person's "little" did to become "much."
-I've learned that Jesus loves even "the least of these" more than we can ever know and I thank Him that He's given me (and you) a little glimpse of His heart for the hurting all over the world.
We often see the "starving kids in Africa" shows on the television and click right past it with the remote. We've seen the same pleas over and over and frankly some of us may be tired of seeing them. Who wants to be bothered anyway? Well, Jesus does. He is deeply bothered. No pain, sorrow, hunger, sickness, or burden ever slips by without Him knowing about it. He knows, and He cares deeply. So we should care too.
"Well, if Jesus cares so much, why doesn't He do something?" you may be asking. I've asked this question too. And the answer is, He is...by using you and me. We are to be His hands and feet here on earth. He's just begging us to stop for a minute when we're flipping through the channels, to look into the eyes of those hurting children and families and extend His love to them. I so wanted to do that, but I didn't feel like I could. So I just threw my hands up and said, "Oh well. Someone else will take care of it." But no, God wanted me to use my gifts, talents and resources this time. It was MY TURN! So, I simply said, "Yes." And you said, "Yes." And I know Jesus is so pleased. He is a multiplier. If He can do it with a few fishes and a few rolls, He can do it with our dollars to feed hungry families in Africa.
-I've realized just how blessed I am. You know, I've gone from literally turning the channel when I would see the stories of the "starving kids in Africa," to actually searching the different stations for the Life Today program, so that I could see them and stretch out my hand to say a prayer for them. As I did this, I would look around at my surroundings, my home, my comfy couch or my soft bed, my yard complete with blooming flowers, a big swimming pool, food in the refrigerator, clean water flowing from the tap, the cool, comfortable temperature in my home, even though the temp outside was over 105 degrees! I would be considered a very wealthy woman in the part of the world I am trying to help (Sudan). And now, more than ever, I feel so ashamed of myself for ever having complained about anything! How foolish of me! I am so thankful that I live in the United States. With all its problems, it's still the most generous and blessed country on the planet and we have it so good here. Even if we are poor and can only afford ramen noodles 7 nights a week, we are luckier than most in the world. Don't get me wrong. I get down about the economy and how rough it is for families to make ends meet too. But it's only rough because my "standards" are of that of the wealthiest 2% in the world. I'm not trying to preach politics right now. I'm just speaking for myself. I gripe and complain because I can't buy steaks at the grocery store, when most of the world's population gets by with WAY less and they make do with very little, let alone, steak! It just kind of puts things in perspective, you know? So, the next time I have something to complain about, I'll just imagine what it would feel like to have my little corner of the world magically picked up and dropped down in the middle of a little Sudanese village. What would my complaining sound like to them once they got a glimpse of prosperity like they've never seen before? CRAZY! THAT'S WHAT!
-I've learned that people can be so good. I've received so many words of encouragement and have seen people ready to just jump in, without hesitation' to help. I'm so proud of the people who said, "I don't have much to give, but I can do something, so here is a dollar, I know God can use it to make a difference." Wow! How precious! And I've even had a heart for those that I have reached out to who, for whatever reason, chose not to participate. Maybe fear or distrust or skepticism got in their way. Or maybe they just overlooked my call or email and forgot! The point is, it's not my place to know or to judge. I wouldn't have reached out to them if I didn't already know how wonderful they were. So, I've just had to send them blessings and move on...no hard feelings. It's been a gift to be able to do that.
-I've seen my daughter begin to understand what it means to be "blessed." One of her favorite topics of conversation lately is how blessed she is to have food, clothes to wear, a nice house and hospitals to go to when she's sick. She knows that we are helping children who are hungry and in need and I've seen the concern in her eyes. It's been a joy to my heart. I hope I'm teaching her that she can be a light in a dark world.
-And last but NEVER least. I've learned about the absolute faithfulness of God. He never asks you to do something without having already made a way for you to complete the assignment. He has provided so lavishly over the past month that I'm speechless. I give you glory Father for your unfailing love and for using a nobody like me to make a difference way over on the other side of the world. You placed such wonderful people in my life with such big hearts who have blessed my socks off with their generosity and willingness to help. You are oh so good and I give you all the praise of my heart.
I can't wait to get home and get a grand total to share with you all! See you Tuesday!!!