I've had so many people ask me these last few weeks how I'm doing since returning from Honduras with Compassion. Each time my answer has been a simple, "ok." I really have felt fine coming back and returning to my regular routines. But tonight I cracked. As I was driving home from the grocery store, my thoughts started racing. By the time I put away the food and walked upstairs to our home office, I was broken. Broken all over again.
Why is it that my girls get to go to summer camp? Aren't their lives luxurious, happy, and full of Jesus already, without the need to spend hundreds of dollars on camps? Is this all just another form of excess? Couldn't our girls (and most American kids) learn about Jesus in a place without zip lines, big swings, beaches, lakes, wacky games, skits, 3 meals plus snacks per day, and comfy heated cabins? Do we have to lure children to such a fun place to capture their attention...or is God captivating enough? Please remember this is coming from the mind of a camp director who loves her job. Yep, I'm broken.
I spent about four hours today working on name tags for VBS. Name tags. And that was WITH help. Today the church paid me to cut paper, stick on stickers, laminate, punch holes, and thread yarn. There are children in this world that don't have running water or enough food to eat. Their parents might not make more than $1 per day. I know, I've played with a lot of them. How is this "ok?" Yep, I'm broken.
I can't believe that we still have 8 paint cans sitting on my bathroom floor. My bathroom floor, you know, the one with the junky vinyl floor that is peeling. Why can't we get that ugly outdated bathroom remodeled? Wait. I have a bathroom. Indoors, with A FLOOR. I've been in homes where you can see through the floor. I've been in homes where there really isn't a floor at all. Yep, I'm broken.
Why does my heart hurt so much? Trying to make sense out of everything that just doesn't make sense feels gut-wrenchingly awful. I'm deep in the midst of prep for VBS and Girls Camp, and perhaps this explains my delirious state of mind. These are ministries that serve children; children I love. These are ministries that I believe in and advocate for. But when I think about the millions of children in the majority world struggling to simply survive...I'm broken.
All children deserve to hear that Jesus loves them. All children need to hear what God has in store for them. In the center of 3rd world poverty or the center of my little suburb-Jesus deserves to be known by the children He created.
Alan, my wonderful husband, listened so well tonight. He didn't try to fix me. He is broken too. Thank you God that Alan is broken too. Sitting attentively as I blubbered, he stated that although we don't have the answers to make sense out of the crazy disparity between rich and poor, we do know that giving children the opportunity to hear about Jesus' love for them, no matter where they live is important. I can cling to that. Not everyday is about name tags. And as my friend Vicky so gently reminded me today, what has value is thinking about every child who will receive those name tags. The moment that matters is when we slip it over their head and say, "welcome."
I pray that you and I will welcome our own children to a real, everyday, life with God at the center of every choice, action, reaction, and activity that we do.
I pray that you'll join me in looking outside our homes and beyond our front doors to serve the larger body of Christ. Join me in teaching children about God's love for them. This might be as simple as serving at VBS, volunteering at your child's school, or making it a priority to sponsor a child in another country.
Don't worry God uses broken vessels - just like you and me.