Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ok...so you went to Africa....but did you really make a difference? And what now?

Did I really make a difference?
Not my team. 
Not Visiting Orphans.
Me......just me.

Well I don't know. That is up to God alone. I could drop millions of dollars in cash, food, clean water and love on Africa, and if God isn't behind it, willing it along, then it would not make one bit of a difference...at least not an eternal one.

I don't want one child in this world, much less just Africa, to starve to death. But they do. I don't want people to drink water that I wouldn't wash my hands in. But they will. I don't want one child on this earth to remain an orphan......but there are 147 MILLION of them. I don't want there to be one tribe, tongue, or people group who has never heard about Jesus. Right now there are many. But I KNOW that will not always be the case. How can I know that someday every tribe and tongue, every group of people and every language will hear the gospel?.....

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 
Matthew 24:14

Need more context? Read all of book 24. So my point is this: the Bible doesn't say that once all the children are fed, the end will come. It doesn't say, that once the water is all clean, the end will come. Once all the children have families, the end will come. No, the Bible says that when the gospel is preached to all the nations (people groups), the end will come. What does that have to do with my life and yours? Great question.

The gospel has everything to do with every life. The "end" sounds sort of drastic and scary, but the truth is, it means HEAVEN....hello? We all want the end to come if it means we get to be in heaven. It means this child doesn't have to suffer on this cruel earth anymore...He can be in the arms of Jesus instead.

How do we as Christ followers live out the gospel? Well, I think for each of us it looks different. Many Christians are just caught up in church, work and football (I stole that one from Lecrae). Some have given their lives away to God and are living every day to provide clean water for people who don't have it...for the sake of spreading the gospel. Some people have moved to Africa and let God use them to care for the orphan and the widow.....for the sake of the gospel. Some people stay right here in Alabama and give their lives away for the sake of the gospel. Our lives are not really ours to start with. It is all about the gospel. We cannot "fix" or change this whole sinful world no matter how hard we try, only God can do that. It is our job to help who we can, love who we can, feed who we can and be the hands and feet of Jesus for the sake of spreading the gospel until He comes back. So do we let God have the lead and do His work through us........ or are we here to get the best out of OUR life before we have to leave it?

I don't want to do my life anymore. There. I said it out loud. I still want to work hard. I still want to make money and use it responsibly. I still want to raise my kids to the best of my ability every day. But I don't want my life to be about me anymore.

I have known for years things would change for me in some fashion once Ella Mae goes to Kindergarten (this time next year). I just always assumed that I would get a job, or work harder at the business(es) I have, or work more days with my Dad. If I have free time I need to be working and making money right? Isn't that what this life is all about? Here in the U.S. it is. We work hard so we can buy more stuff. And then we rent storage units that we have to pay monthly for to hold all of our stuff so you need more money for that......houses, cars, clothes, stuff. It is all going to burn. So, what do I do now? How do you take the next step when you decide you don't want to do "normal" life anymore?

Here is what I know: I want to gospel of Jesus Christ to be the most important thing. Not just my heart, but in my every day walking around life. IF that is the case, then what will it look like? Do I just get a "I ALL CAPS HEART the Gospel" t-shirt and just wear it every day? I can't move to Africa because I know one ex-hubby and a herd of grandparents who would not appreciate that! I can't even travel there regularly or get on board with an organization like Neverthirst to help build wells all over the world. So what do I DO. I need to be able to DO.
In Africa I was able to DO the Gospel. I didn't change the world.....but I showed the love of Jesus to a whole mess of kids who may not have ever seen it otherwise. They looked at me and knew that I flew across the world to SIMPLY LOVE them and tell them that Jesus loves them too. I hugged kids who have NEVER been hugged before. When you kiss those sweet kids on the face.....it is so funny because they laugh and get embarrassed.....they really don't understand what you are doing to them! They need to be shown the love of Jesus. They need to know that they matter to their Abba Father. Yes, they need money. Greatly. And not all of us should GO, but some of us should. I am so glad I did.

I haven't a clue what to do next. I am going to just continue to work hard at staying near God so I can hear when He speaks.....and He will make it clear. I feel sure that I will adopt one day (there.... I said that out loud too)...maybe foster as well......I am just not clear on WHEN that day will be. I can SEE with my own eyes a number of people that God has circled around  me, people I would have otherwise never met, and I know they are all a part of it. My job will become crystal clear in His time. So for now, I will just wait and pray.....and mull over the following problems and questions.

Here are all of the issues that come to my mind when I think about actually turning my every day life fully over to God:

1. I have a potty mouth...especially when I get mad.
2. I like maragaritas. I hope you can give your life to God and still like them...I need to look in to that.
3. I can be brutally honest. Sometimes that hurts peoples feelings.
4. I am so totally sarcastic.
5. I am a huge really big every day sinner.

I could go on and on...luckily there is a dude named Paul in the Bible and when I feel like the chief of sinners I am reminded of him. If any of you have a vision from the Lord saying  “Go! This woman is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to __________. I will show her how much she must suffer for my name” let me know....because that would be super awesome.

Questions that I think others will ask me (and some I am already asking myself):

1. Where will you get money? 
I plan to still work hard. And God funds what He favors. 

2. What about the affect a drastic life change will have on your kids?
That is why I am planning now and will "ease" into this...whatever this is. Also, if it is God's will for me to change my life then that is what is best for my kids and I have to trust that and trust Him.

3. Isn't it irresponsible to "quit life"? You may still make enough money to live, but what about the kids college, retirement etc?
I have some money saved. Plus, I am fully counting on the kiddos daddy to come up with money for college! :) If they have to pay their way through college or get loans it won't be the end of the world. They might actually be better for it. Retirement....that is a tough one because this is what my father does for a living! It is important but I also have conflicting emotions. For me personally, I just can't worry about it right now. I am going to let God lead and let big pictures things like that work themselves out......can't God be trusted with caring for me then just as much as today?

4. How will you come up with money to adopt on your own? You are a single mom!
See #1

5. You are a single mom. Don't you think you have it hard enough as it is?
Yep. . If you mean by our cushy American full bellies, drive through, instant gratification for everything, I deserve, I deserve, I deserve standards. But I don't have it nearly as hard as MANY single moms that I know....some who have literally watched as their children starved to death. Some who care for 10 kids on their own and only a few of them are actually theirs. Some who are grandmothers caring for their grand kids on their own because their parents are dead. Some who allow men to sexually use them for money so their children won't starve. 

Will you please pray for me through all of this? I know a few of the things that God wants me to do right now and I am:

-Seek guidance from people who have gone before me on a path like this one.
-Start the necessary training to hopefully lead a small group for single parents at Brook Hills.
-Continue to advocate for those with no voice.
-Take baby steps on the adoption/ foster care front. Wait on HIS perfect timing.

Blessings..... and thank you for letting me share :)


1 comment:

  1. Wow! I have been reading your Africa blogs and enjoying every word. But this one was quite different. It's one thing to see photos of hurting people and hurt for them. It's something else entirely to say "I will give up my life so that you can have a better one for yourself." That's the clear message of the Gospel and sometimes it's like a kick to the head. Jamie & I have been going thru similar changes, trying to figure out what we can do & how we make it so that God is glorified and not us. Often the answer I get to my prayers is clear and peaceful, and puts a smile on my face. Other times, it scares me so much I just turn around & act as if the answer wasn't obvious. I'm glad that I'm not the only one that sees it though. I'll keep you in our prayers. And thanks again for the posts. Ben