Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Day of Becoming Undone...

I am an emotional wreck today. I think I've felt this coming for days now... yet, I never expected it to hit me like a ton of bricks... like it did today.

You see, the past few days I've been thinking back to one year ago this week... when our family left for a self-guided missions immersion trip to the Philippines. We came home broken... somehow changed... not to be the same ever again. This year has truly been a journey towards living out and reconciling with this new normal... of having seen, of having known, of being broken, of responding, of living!

Island of Masbate, Philippines... where our Compassion child, Florianlyn, lives.

This morning, I woke up to these two Bible verses posted literally one after the other by friends on Facebook...
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God. ~ 2 Corinthians 9:10, The Message.
"He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 22:16, NLT.
Are you seeing a theme? Me? Yup, I sure am! :-)

We are blessed, in order to bless! As Ann Voskamp so eloquently writes in her book One Thousand Gifts... "God calls me to do thanks. To give the thanks away. That thanks-giving might literally become thanks-living. That our lives become the very blessings we have received."

Or as Richard Stearns says in his book The Hole in our Gospel, "God had not turned His back on the poor in their suffering. God had sent us."

Am I living each day as a sent one of God?
Friends, are you? This is what got me... I am addicted to comfort. I give to the poor and needy from my excess. Yes, we already give away a lot... but we're not lacking anything, are we? In fact, we still have many luxuries to enjoy!

How is that doing justice? How is that loving mercy? How is that walking humbly with my God?

This is a life-long lesson... this denying one's self, this picking up one's cross, this following Jesus! I can only be thankful for grace... for my Heavenly Father's amazing grace.

And then, this afternoon... Ann Voskamp posts a blog post... one she wrote after coming home to Canadian soil... after seeing and experiencing Haiti with a team from Compassion Canada. She titles it... The 1 Thing You Really have to Know About Your FamilyAs I read, tears just fell... it was the start of me becoming undone! It reminded me of what I wrote the day after visiting our Compassion LDP Student, Rochelle, in the slums of Cebu City, Philippines... where she lives.

And who does Ann refer to as part of my family? You guessed it... the poor and the needy. They are family too!

Street children. Manila, Philippines.

Ann pens words that describes my heart... here's a snippet... but you really must go read the blog post for yourself too! Promise? :-)
I’m angry at me.
Angry at how much I want comfortable more than I want Christ.

I feel sick that I feel so angry.
Sick... that I don’t want to be a witness, that I want someone else be an uncomfortable voice for the poor.
Why would we rather turn a blind eye to the needy than turn to the needy and be like Christ? Do we like our own wants and comfort more than we want to be like Christ?

Where is the Spirit who interprets all these impossible groans? What is the solution to poverty in this world? What in the world do we all do?

You don’t leave your kin to save your own skin.
You don’t stay in the palace if you want anybody to find deliverance – especially yourself.
You don’t forget who your brother is — when you know Who your Father is.

When you are born again into the Kingdom of God, how can you ever again forget your kin? Part of the solution to poverty is doing whatever it takes to get your heart to stay with the poor.
There may be miles between the rich and the poor, but how can there be distance in the family of God.
Wow, right? So powerful and beautiful, convicting and thought-provoking, all at the same time!

Then, late afternoon... my daughter comes into my home office saying, "Mom, there's a blog post you must read." It's this one... entitled Satan Might Do Anything to Prevent You from Suffering.

Go on... click on this link to read it... it's very short... I promise it'll take less than a minute of your time! Whoa... right? This hit me hard: "It's the temptation we face today... skip the hard parts and live an easy, comfortable life."

Friends, let's not skip the hard parts.
Let's live lives that aren't marked with ease and comfort. Let's not leave our kin to save our skin. Let's not stay in the palace. Let's not forget who our Kingdom family members are!

Our Lead Pastor shared a devotional with us a couple of Sundays ago and I thought it's very appropriate to end this blog post with it. It's entitled Where Your Treasure Is and it's from Henry T. Blackaby's Experiencing God Day by Day Devotional. Here it is:
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:34)

What you value most is your treasure. Where you spend your time and your money is your treasure. Whatever dominates your conversation is what you treasure. What others know you for is a good indication of what your treasure is.

Most Christians are quick to claim that God is their first priority. Yet often their actions reveal that their treasure is not God but things of this world. Some Christians find it difficult to discuss their relationship with God, but they can chatter easily about their family, friends, or hobbies. Some find it impossible to rise early in order to spend time with God, but they willingly get up at dawn to pursue a hobby. Some find it difficult to give an offering to God but readily spend lavishly on recreation. Some boldly approach strangers to sell a product, yet they are painfully timid in telling others about their Savior. Some give hundreds of hours to serve in volunteer organizations but feel they have no time available to serve God.

If you are unsure of where your treasure is, examine where you spend your available time and money. Reflect on what it is you most enjoy thinking about and discussing. Ask your friends to tell you what they think is most important to you. Ask your children to list the things most valuable to you. It may surprise you to know what others consider to be your treasure.
Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

4 comments:

  1. Aimee, it was a year ago that I found you! Your girl and mine... your heart for the Philippines and ours... your heart for your Compassion kids and ours...

    I read Ann's post too.... gut wrenching. We do are "ok" we do sponsor some... but it doesn't "stretch" us. Hope that makes sense....

    Hugs from me to you!

    grace~
    Teena

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    1. Yes, it was... Teena! So glad we found each other's family and have connected so well!

      Love you lots!

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  2. love you too. Thinking through this blog thing. My motives this past week or so ... need some adjusting. Find myself frustrating. Plus, some stuff here.... thank you for being a great friend.

    much love...

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    1. I'll be praying for you, Teena! Thanks for sharing your heart. It's good to reflect on the purpose of our blogs, from time to time.

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