Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yet I Still Dare To Hope...

... when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.
~ Lamentations 3:21-26 NLT
I love these verses.
They bring me such comfort.

These days... since our family came back from our missions immersion trip to the Philippines... I've been struggling... fighting... fighting that middle ground. These words by Ann Voskamp describe what I'm going through quite succinctly...
The world, your community... even your family — they are going to try to push you back to the middle. North America feels pretty comfortable in the middle. Balance, everyone says. I don’t know what Jesus is going to say to you... How He might direct your life now… just don’t assume He wants you to live in the middle. Be open to the possibility… Of something radically different.
Something radically different!

It's been 52 days since we got back home... and last night, hubby and I found ourselves with some free time. We ended up at a dessert restaurant... eating cake and ice cream, sipping coffee. Then we found ourselves mindlessly wandering the aisles of a HomeSense store nearby.

It was while sitting in that restaurant and browsing the aisles at HomeSense that I fully felt the reality of being back in this middle ground called North America. Yet, at the very same time... I remember what we saw and what we lived through during our trip... and I am afraid that I am starting to forget.

Why? Because... dessert and coffee... $20. A set of framed art for our fireplace mantel... $20. It's become so easy once again for us to mindlessly spend $40... $40 gone in a span of less than one hour.

You see... $40 {okay, $41!} is what it costs to sponsor a Compassion child each month, two of whom we are still *thinking about sponsoring*... their child packs sit on the carpet floor beside me as I type this blog post!

Have I become radically different? 
Or am I slipping right back into the middle ground?

Tough questions... I struggle... I continue to fight.

My truthful answer is this. Yes, I have changed... by God's grace, I am different. Maybe not quite radically different yet... but I hope to get there one day! Different because... in the not-too-distant past, I would not have taken the mindless spending of $40 and associated it with child sponsorship. I would've justified the spending by saying we already sponsor two Compassion children and an LDP student.

Please don't get me wrong... I am not saying that all of us should not have dessert treats or buy nice things. However, I do think that whenever we spend for ourselves, if we have the needs of the poor forefront in our minds, we will be much wiser in how we spend our money. This is something which I, too, am learning to be more conscious of on a daily basis.  

And, yes... I still have battles, each day I fight that middle ground... that comfortable place where it is so easy to settle into. I think the fight will always be there... until that day when we see Jesus face to face.  

Yet I still dare to hope... as the verse at the start of this blog post says... for God's faithfulness is great and His mercies are new each morning.

I dare to hope that this fight will become easier and easier as I learn to depend on Him more and more. The verse continues on to say... "The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord."

Such amazing truth, such comfort for my soul.

And so I soldier on... and maybe next time, it'll just be yummy ice cream... without the cake and the coffee! And... just pure browsing at HomeSense! :-)
... if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
~ Isaiah 58:10-11 (NIV 1984)
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  1. Thank you so much. You will never understand how much your words touched me deep. I find myself struggling too.... with so many things.

    After church we went with friends for pizza. $25. I feel alone.. just a few of my kids.. get it. Well mostly Alyssa. We do drink water when going out... well... most times.

    We live in the "bible belt" of America. The SOUTH... and everyone is comfortable. I am so tired of "just being comfortable."

    Those are the verses that I chose to focus on ... as I set my goals for the Isaiah challenge.

    I have asked to share about Bite Back, Sponsorship.... but my own church will not allow me to share.

    Coming here to read the blogs and be encouraged by other Advocates... by Shaun Groves.

    I know this is long but thank you. Praying for you.

    loved Ann's words.


  2. Hi Teena.

    Thanks for your thoughts & your prayers. I can so relate to what you are saying.

    We live amongst *very* comfortable people too. We are in the largest/richest city in Canada, ranked #2 in the world as a city of opportunity. Fighting that middle ground is an everyday battle!

    BTW, we drink water too when we eat out! :-)

    As Compassion Advocates, all we can do is keep talking about it. Some will listen & take action, others will not. I've had groups/churches say "NO" to me as well. It's hard when that happens...

    Like you, I find encouragement in reading about the experiences & testimonies of fellow Advocates. I am so thankful that we all have each other to encourage one another.

    Thanks for your friendship!

  3. I love reading your posts and knowing that I am not the only one who thinks about these things. Slowly we are giving in on going to coffee shops less and less. Mostly we only go now on a designated date night, but even that isn't happening as much. It feels good.


  4. Hi Deborah.

    Glad I'm not alone either! It's a tough battle to fight as we feel so entitled here in North America.

    Thanks for dropping by! Have a great week!