Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wearing your cross

Have you noticed that the cross has become to many nothing more than a fashion statement? Look around you, you will see crosses on purses...
Crosses on necklaces

And crosses on shirts...

And while there is nothing wrong with these things, I often wonder if those wearing these crosses do so simply because they like the look or because the cross has a deep meaning in their lives?

I fear the latter.

Today, me and my girls and a friend of ours, spent the majority of the day sitting at a table we had set up at the local basketball game asking people for a $5.00 donation to send a beaning baby (along with a hug) to an orphan in Africa.

Watching Aleigha and Mya boldly approach people as they entered the gym made my heart swell with pride because it wasn't but a few short years ago that they themselves were orphans, waiting for a family of their own. Even today Mya will share how she remembers how "nice white ladies from American would come to the orphanage and play with the children and tell them about Jesus". She remembers that one lady brought her a pair of pink princess dress up shoes and how she had never seen anything so beautiful in her life. Those shoes and those ladies telling her about Jesus brought her joy at a time where she was hurting- and gave her hope like no others. Knowing this made what we were doing even more important.

As we sat watching the people approaching the door we began to play a game to waste time. We would look at the person and try to guess if they would say yes or no. As one woman came closer I noticed Mya perk up and then I heard her say "oh mama, I KNOW this lady will say yes- she knows Jesus- just look at her shirt! Do you see the cross on her shirt mama? She knows Jesus-she will help!"

As the woman opened the door the sweet smell of her perfume entered with her. Mya picked herself up as tall as she could, and with a smile the size of Texas on her face she walked up to the lady and in her innocent 7 year old voice asked if the lady would like to donate $5.00 to send a beanie baby to an orphan in Africa.

The woman in the t-shirt with the cross stopped, looked down at Mya, rolled her eyes, and then mumble no- and something about how she didn't have any money with her anyway.

Mya quickly stepped back, clearly disappointed by the woman's rude response.

I held out my arms to her and we gently reminded her once again that even though some people couldn't give and it felt like we weren't getting very far, God saw our hearts and that was all that really mattered...

And while I know this to be true, even at my age, when we witnessed that same lady with the cross on her t-shirt, the same one who rolled her eyes at my daughter and told her she had no money- later walked up to the concession stand and purchased her goodies... I couldn't help but feel physically sick.

I couldn't help but feel like I had been punched in the stomach.

And I couldn't help but to hurt knowing that once again the 'least of these' came last.

As the hours passed people came and went. Some gave, most did not.

Many ignored us completely, and many said "Not today".
Which made me begin to question when then?

When would they care? When would they quit ignoring and overlooking the least of these?

If not today- then when?

And what would it take to make them care?

And then I began to wonder how many times had I done the same thing in the past?

How many times had I said not today God- I am busy. I have other things to do, other things I am busy with.

No Lord.
Not today.

How many times had I worn my cross- yet not truly carried it?

How many times had I viewed the cross simply as a decoration and not as a way of life?

Lord, forgive me.

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Recovering Noah said...

Sniff. I'm sorry. Sometimes people just don't make sense. That lady obviously doesn't know the true meaning of the cross. Sorry Mya and Aleigha had to witness that... a sad life lesson, for sure.

So proud of your kids who DO know the meaning. They are making such amazing differences in the world.

Give 'em a hug for us!

Leslie :-)

Unknown said...

AMEN - beautifully said! Sorry that your sweet girl had to learn a hard lesson today. What is on the outside has NOTHING to do with what is really going on in the inside. I praise God HE is the true discerner of hearts and men!

We studied the book of Haggai last week and its message is very powerful.

Lord is calling to us. He is asking to not be afraid, but courageous - to step out in faith - knowing we don't have to do a thing after that - because He will do it all!

Today we as a family step out together and are trusting God like never before!

Love you!

Andrea said...

WOW, Thank you for that! What an excellent reminder. How very proud of your children you must be, God is going to even more amazing things in their lives. You are such a great mom!

noneya said...

It is so awesome that you share the realness of "you" in this post. Praying with you that my yes's would be more prevelant than my no's. I appreciate you!

Holly said...

And forgive me too Lord.
Keep eternity stamped on my eyeballs Lord. Help me to truly desire to invest in things that have eternal value rather than things that are temporary.
Really. Nachos or a child's smile. How could there be any question.
Open my eyes Lord. Let there be REVOLUTION Lord and let it begin with ME.

Dardi said...

Oh, mercy, Amy...Just got home from church. I just grabbed my purse b/c I wrote something that hit me during the sermon. The pastor was talking about how we can become blind, & when we become blind, our hearts can become hard & "desensitized" to God. It prompted me to jot down "Desensitized to: Giving, Doing, Loving" b/c I think that really is what's happening so often.everywhere. I know that I'm a work in progress, & I also know that God's been doing a work in me, breaking my heart in ways I never imagined, to bring the sensitivity back to the things that matter to His heart & should matter to mine.

Chris said...

I hate when my kids have to learn those truths about people. My 5.y.o. daughter will look at pictures of people in magazines and tell me if they are "nice" or "not nice".
I have yet to figure out her criteria.
I just hope she is right when she meets real people and hope I can protect her when she is wrong.

Donna said...

Hard lesson in true realities for one so young.

Thanks for your beautiful words about the true realities of life around us, and the reminder to be cautious of our own hearts.

junglemama said...

Amy thank you for sharing this. I often find things to share with my kids as part of our devotional time and I wanted you to know that this post is what I am sharing. Thanks again!

P.S. Would any of your kids be interested in being email buddies with other kids from large families?

Audrey said...

This makes me so sad. I fear that you are right - for many the cross has become a fashion accessory with little or no meaning.

For those of us who claim to truly understand what the cross means, your post is convicting and inspiring. Love your heart, Amy.

Lisa H. said...


I think this is one of your best posts ever! I especially am convicted by the line, "Too many of us are too busy wearing our crosses, instead of carrying them..." Ouch!

I'm gonna link to this on fb, k?

Margaret Christine said...

wow..what a sickening story, but inspriational and eye opening at the same time. The worst part about cold-heartedness like that woman showed is that it isn't like cancer or TSD--there IS a cure, right in front of our nose, but just one little thing keeps us from reaching it. God bless you and your whole family but esp your sweet girls Mya and Aleigha who had to learn this awful lesson today. This is a lesson that even I know will be with me for a long time.

Les said...

Thanks for the sweet comment you left on my adoption blog. I actually stumbled on yours through google one night, and mentioned you in this post:

I love to check in on your family and your heart, as you seem to help me keep my perspective in the right place!


Lorraine, AKA Forever Blessed said...

Amy, please give your girls a great big hug from The Patterson Fam!!! I am SO sorry they experienced this. Unfortunately, our girls experienced the EXACT same thing when we solicited families at Market Days during Mattie's fundraising for PIF during Christmas. Our kids came to a sad conclusion: those who were dressed nicely (often with crosses adorned about them), boasting expensive purses and jewelry almost always said NO. (Or explained some other excuse for not "being able" to give.) Our girls discovered that the men who had old cowboy hats and dirty jeans were the ones most likely to give! One old cowboy even donated twice!!! The girls conclusion about "people" (after spending a few hours soliciting from people of all types) reminded me of our Jesus. Oh my, how different He looked to those expecting a "real" king. The ones looking for the decked-out royalty, adorning a crown and luxurious clothing. Jesus didn't look like a king. Jesus didn't act like a king. Jesus looked and acted like a hard-working SERVANT, much like the hard-working cowboys who dug deep in their torn pockets to donate to help make a little girls wish come true. The least of these.

God bless your family, and give your precious girls another hug from all of us. Their hearts deserve it. God is pleased with their precious hearts; with your entire family's precious hearts.

Love, Lorraine

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,
I was that lady, but much worse when I was little.
I was playing outside on the curb of sidewalk. One gentleman approached to me trying to witness to me with a little booklet. What my reponse was, "My dad told me, I shouldn't belive anybody else, but my parents." That wasn't good enough. I could have given the booklet back to him, Instead I ripped it in pieces before his eyes. I saw the shock in his face, and I didn't even appologized to him, I was rather proud of myself, and he just walked away without rebuking me. What a wicked child I was. About 10 years later, I became a Christian, and God brought that to my attention, and I realized how painful and righteously angry he must have been for Him. He probably thought "It's better to be persecuted for the Name of Jesus." And I was sure some reason that I became a Christian because he had been praying for me. "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,that saved wretch like me..." My earnest encouragement is to pray for those so lost in this culture. They need your prayers, because God uses them to save the lost.
"The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD." Proverb 21: 31 - so, pray and trust.
God bless you.
for His glory,

Denise :) said...

Good observations. We need to be as deliberate in our faith as we are in our 'dressing' out. Thank you for sharing. You make good iron! :)

Angela :-) said...

Another viewpoint: It's possible some of those who didn't give do donate to charity(ies), they just choose others...

Angela :-)

SiLa said...

My dear sister in Christ, thank you for sharing this thoughts with us. It helped me to look into my heart and let God cast out all the junk what is hiding in the corner. God bless.

Amy said...

Angela, Just for the record, I wasn't for one second saying that people HAD to give to this cause. It wasn't about not giving a donation AT ALL. It was the roll of the eyes, the LIE, and the rudeness. People can choose to give or not to give that is between them and God. I just think we all need to really look at our priorities and make sure they align with Gods. As I said, I am guilty of that too.

Anonymous said...

You write so beautifully. Every post I have read so far hits the heart muscle. Keep doing what you're doing...don't ever apologise for making us think more, or repent if we need to! Bless you and your family, Shani