Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 14

“Throughout history, an authentic faith has been marked by a compassionate response toward those the world tends to forget”.

-Gary Thomas, Authentic Faith


"He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me--you failed to do it to me."
Matt. 25:45



Why beans and rice?


It’s funny that you ask, because I have been asking the Lord the same thing for the past 14 days.


Why Lord?


Why is it that you put this vision in my head? What is it you want me to learn from this experience?


Why beans and rice?


Little by little God has been revealing this answer to me… but it’s been a process of learning to really look deep, really listen and really being willing to hear- even when it's not what I wanted to hear.


There have been several things that I have mentioned that God has made me aware of… like how much emphasis we previously placed on things in our lives that didn’t really matter. And how those ‘things’ took time away from the things that really do.


I’ve learned to appreciate what we have been given- instead of taking things for granted.


I've learned to love my family even more for being willing.


Last night it was particularly hard because I have the flu and a fever and the thought of eating beans and rice (once again) was about enough to do me in. And yet it hit me that for so many people around the world- it doesn’t matter if they are sick or not. They don’t get served a big hot bowl of chicken noodle soup and a steaming cup on green tea. That’s not an option for them.


Yet the biggest thing God has been showing me is this:


These are pictures of children from an orphanage in Uganda. These pictures were sent to me from a precious woman named Amy. Amy, her husband Mark, and their children have been serving at an orphanage in Uganda for the past 15 months. They are giving their time, their talents and their hearts to God by serving these children.


Amy blessed me by allowing me to use these pictures of these beautiful children from a near by village who come to their school. These are pictures of them getting their Posho- with their beans for lunch. Posho is a ground maize cooked that tastes similar to mashed potatoes but heavier.


The 90 children who live at the orphanage get Posho for dinner, plus some vegetables grown in the gardens. One or two days a week they will also get some type of meat. Sundays are special days when they will get rice, vegetables and meat. Amy and her family also serve many children from nearby villages who come to their school. These children all get Posho and beans for lunch, porridge for breakfast-and for many of these children this will be their only food for the day.


If you'd like to learn more about this precious family you can visit them at http://gwartney.blogspot.com/

Please don't forget to tell them thank you for the sacrifices they are making. I'm pretty sure they are tired of beans and rice too.


So, what does this have to do me and what has God been showing me?


Yesterday at church our pastor preached on "taking up the cross and denying ourselves".(I love it when God correlates everything in our lives all at once). Our Pastor explained that we must stop living for ourselves and live for the gospel of the cross. He reminded us that often people are guilty of picking and choosing what we want out of the bible. How often times we accept only the things that we like, then apply those to our lives -because they ‘fit’ into the way we are willing to live.


We humans do this because we are hoping for the benefits of Jesus- without the cost.


Denying ourselves is work. Nobody likes to go without. As a matter of fact, from the second we are born into this world we come out demanding our needs be met.


Kaden, age 2, is totally into the “me and mine’ stage. He doesn’t skip a beat -everything involves him- everything in his little life is about him. Todd and I often giggle as he tries to discover who he is and make sure that his needs are met...making sure he his every want is met.


It is my job then, as a mother, to help him grow to understand how important and cherished he is- yet at the same time eventually get to a place where he understands that he cannot have everything he wants. Sometimes he has to take turns, something the answer to no- no matter how bad he wants something.


It’s a part of maturity- unfortunately something many of us never outgrown.


Webster dictionary defines sacrifice as this:


sac·ri·fice n.

  1. Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim.

Giving up something for the sake of a greater value- Jesus- is more than worth it.


And the funny thing is- it’s almost laughable, embarrassing actually- that I ‘think' I am giving up something for Him- when I consider all that He gave up for me.


Lord, forgive me. Forgive me for the times where I didn’t even realize. Forgive me for the importance I put on my comfort. Forgive me for the times I have focused solely on me and my own and lost sight of the ONE thing that truly matters- YOU. Forgive me for following the Gospel of Self and not the Gospel of the cross. Save me from myself.


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14 comments:

Mike and Gail said...

Beautifully said. God has been showing me the same things lately.
I have never really had wants, but made sure my children had all their wants. Now I am teaching them differently. The way we choose to celebrate Christmas. We get the things they need. Then we look for other's needs and try to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Last year we did operation shoe box. It was so heart warming to watch my kids write their letters and then tell me about the times when they were in the orphanage and they received these same shoe boxes. What a blessing to be on the giving end for them, and share the love of Jesus Christ.
God is ever so amazing.
Blessings,
Gail

natali said...

awesome!

Shonni said...

This is wonderful!!!

Beautiful Mess said...

so true...

Now what am I going to do with it---life changing--it must!

Dardi said...

Girl, you are feedin' your family & your bloggy friends way more than beans & rice!!

Food for the soul...good stuff!

Shannon- said...

this is beautiful. what you are doing is beautiful.

Blessed Mom of 8 said...

AMEN SISTER! AMEN!

Hugs and love - praying you are feeling better and enjoying your rice and beans tonight!

You can make a soup with the rice and beans you know. YUMMY!

Jill

Are These Kids All Yours? said...

I remember when our oldest was a young toddler- always saying- meme- which meant for me! I want! We had to finally have conversations over we don't say meme- because nothing is ours. Hard concept for a toddler- maybe even harder for us adults. It isn't ours- our children, our home, our job, our lifestyle, our gifts, our work, our ministry....NONE of it is ours. Love your post. I am learning along with you. Sacrifice- not really sacrifice when it isn't ours to even give up. I think I am going to try to process that thought.

Stori said...

Amy, We are in the process of adopting 2 boys from the Democratic Republic of Congo. This past Friday we were finalizing our will. We wanted to make sure that we set up a foundation with some of our estate (life insurance money) that would help people financially with adoption. We have been very blessed and are able to afford this adoption. I know many have been called to adopt, but are second guessing adoption due to the cost.
All weekend I'd been thinking why should I wait until I'm dead to do something! A fellow blogger shared your sight with me Sunday. And now today, we have joined you and have started eating rice and beans. Which to me also seems so minor in the scheme of things. But it's a start. Thank you for sharing. I really enjoy reading your blog. It is truely inspirational.
Stori

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

Thought of you guys tonight while we were eating our own rice and beans :) I haven't had time to be online much lately, but I jumped on to see what was new on your blog - love, love, love this post. You guys are such a blessing to so many of us. xo

Karin said...

I love this post! You said it so well--we think we are giving up something if we go 'without' our wants for a day or an hour. I was just reading that same verse about denying ourselves 'he who gives up his life for Christ's sake will find it.' SO TRUE!!!

Bethany said...

Wonderful post. It's a great thing you and your family are doing! The smiles on the kids...so precious.

Taylor said...

Blog lurker here- thank you so much for this post. It has blessed me in a huge way & convicted my heart.

Eight Isn't Enough said...

As I am getting caught up on the blogs I've missed reading...your is one of them. So once again as I scroll down your blog, and read this post, I am touched and convicted. Thank you again for the gentle reminder that "it's not about me"...even though I try to live that way, I know for sure there are areas in my life that need changing...Thankful that God has never given up...and praising God that He gave up everything for me that I might live.