Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This One's for Africa

I was worried this might happen. Africa captured my heart.

Certain images keep replaying in my mind. The children in Pokot who didn’t push or shove, but waited patiently for one small piece of candy. Their smiling, contented faces despite wearing the same tattered clothing that I saw them in the day before. A little girl wearing only a shirt. Women resourcefully cooling their bags of milk in a mountain stream. A man washing his legs in a dirty pool of water next to the road. One man walking all morning to get to the medical clinic, arriving weak and needing a blood transfusion. Eager children selling bananas along the mountainside. A little boy named Titus, waiting for his family to be able to pay his medical bills so he can go home from the hospital. A man who generously gave us a bucket of honey cut straight from the comb. Young children everywhere hauling water, herding sheep and goats. Children carrying babies on their backs. The "unknown" baby left in a latrine.
 While I could have told you before the trip that I believed Americans are some of the wealthiest people on earth, and that there is so much poverty in the world, I would not have FELT it like I do today. I can’t even drive down the perfectly paved road in my shiny Suburban without feeling it. I walk through aisle after aisle of groceries, clothes, and products, and I feel it. I drive past a wealthy neighborhood with extremely large homes and I feel it. I stock up my freezer with chicken and cinnamon rolls from Sam’s, and I feel it. I have this aching sadness. I feel sad that I have been blessed so much. I feel sad that others around the world have so little in comparison. I feel sad that I haven’t been very much a part of the solution.

These are images I don’t want to forget. They are sad yet beautiful and filled with meaning. Reminders to me to live for more than just myself. Reminders for our family to live for more than ourselves. Reminders to be content. Right now, I want to spend as little as I can in order to give as much as I can. I need wisdom in how to do that. I need the Lord’s help.
Jesus told the story of a wealthy man who hoarded his crops, building bigger barns to hold it all. The man trusts in his wealth. But Jesus calls him a fool and warns against storing up things for himself, and not being rich toward God. I don’t think I’ve ever really equated myself with the rich man before. Not seriously as least. But as I step back and see myself in the bigger context of a global economy, my perspective changes. I am rich. Incredibly so. The question is: What do I do about it now? 

It could be so incredibly easy to get caught right back up in my self-centered, materialistic lifestyle now that I am home. Just the other day, I cried over the fact that the rug I wanted for my kitchen was too expensive. Cried. Over a rug. After just coming back from Africa. My tears were more over my shame that I felt so deprived not getting to buy that stupid rug. I so want to be the opposite of that. Maybe I need to enlarge some pictures of these kids and frame them for my kitchen instead.

What I really must do is seek the face of the Lord every day, asking Him to guide and direct, and show me what my one small part in this global need can be. To live content, enlarge my vision for the world, and hope to make a difference in a few lives. 


Monday, October 28, 2013

The Three Dollar Dress

Right now, resale clothing shops are ditching their spring and summer dresses. It's a great time to buy! I got this cute dress at Bearly New Consignment in Broken Arrow last week for only $3. The only problem with it for me is that it is strapless. I don't think I've worn a strapless dress in my life. But paired with a jean jacket, it is perfect for the Fall. The only thing is that I don't know if jean jackets are in or out right now. Anybody know?

Thank you Thank you very much!
Okay, fine here is the strapless version.