Archives For Faith

Abundance

I’ve been home from Ethiopia less than 48 hours and trying to figure out what life looks like after a ‘life changing’ trip.

The trip really can only be described as life changing.

The question now is ‘how is my life really going to change’?

I’m not really sure what the answer is at this point.

Right now, I cannot get the word ‘abundance’ out of my head.

This trip has made me more aware of the excess that is here in America.

I’m struck by the fact that the 4 shirts and 2 pair of pants that I left in Ethiopia for young girls from the Compassion project is more clothing than most of those girls have in their entire wardrobe.

While folding the clothes we brought on our trip, I couldn’t help but think that the contents of our one suitcase was more clothing than most Ethiopian families own. Yet, we still have a closet of clothes – we packed maybe 20% of our clothing for the trip.

Seeing the 2 cloth soccer balls we brought home for our boys lying on the floor amidst all the others toys scattered around makes me think back to our home visit with the 6-year-old boy, Sintayehu, that we sponsor. He showed us the ball he made out of an old sock with his mama’s help. That homemade ball and 6 bottle caps were his only toys.

The two books I ordered for Paxton’s pre-school that arrived while I was gone seem excessive since most of the children I interacted with don’t even own one picture book.

While I’m not solely focusing on material things, the abundance of  our possessions stands out to me as I’m readjusting to life here.

I can’t help but laugh at the fact we say we live minimally in a small home. Your perspective of 1,300 square feet changes when you’ve been in a home that’s about the size of a king size bed and is home to 5 people.

As I’m processing my emotions, I can’t help but think that Americans really are the ones who lack. The Ethiopian Christians we met have so much faith, so much passion for Jesus, love for their neighbors, love for fellow believers and give generously from what little they have. Their abundance is found not in material possessions but in Jesus.

I’ve been inspired, challenged and forever changed to live more simply so we can give even more generously. I want my abundance to change – from material abundance to abundance in Jesus.

I hope to share more about our trip, the children we sponsor and their families and the ways my life has been changed in the coming weeks as I process the emotions of my trip.

*We traveled with Compassion International and saw first hand that lives really are being changed. Sponsoring a child is just $38 dollars a month. Your money provides education, food for families and health care. Your letters inspire children to dream, make them feel loved and give them hope.*

Africa

This space will be quiet for the next few weeks while I’m in Ethiopia!

A team from our church is traveling with Compassion International to our partner church where we’ll meet children enrolled in the Compassion sponsorship program as well as conduct training for the church.

My bags are almost packed, gifts have been purchased for our 2 sponsored children that we’ll be meeting and my heart feels ready to spend time in Ethiopia!

I will not be toting along my computer to Africa so things will be quiet here but I’ll be sharing all about my trip once I return home.

Cross

I was woken up this morning around 6 am by an energetic 15-month-old who would not go back to sleep. After a failed attempts to get him to go back to sleep, I was joined by my almost 3-year-old and decided to just get up a little before 6:30 (beating my alarm up!)

I greeted my oldest son, telling him it was Easter Sunday, a wonderful day celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. Of course, there’s not much that he understands since he is so young. While preparing breakfast, I started humming, then singing the hymn “Because He Lives.”

“Because he lives, I can face tomorrow. Because he lives, all fear is gone. Because I know he holds the future. And life is worth the living just because he lives.”

Beautiful words, a beautiful song and an even more beautiful truth.

While scrambling eggs, I was reflecting on the significance of the day and the loving sacrifice Christ made, making life “worth the living.”

Then I made the mistake of picking up my phone. Scrolling through social media left me thinking, is Easter the new Christmas?

I saw pictures of Easter ‘baskets’ from the Easter bunny containing more stuff than my children receive for Christmas.

And I couldn’t help but think, why are the most holy of Christian holidays (Christmas and Easter) celebrated with such consumerism, focusing the hearts and minds of children on stuff and myths but not on Christ?

While our family chooses not to celebrate Christmas with a material focus, preferring to keep our gift giving very simply, I understand Christians celebrating with gifts and festivities. After all, we’re celebrating Christ’s birth and most birthdays are celebrated with gifts.

But Easter?

We’re celebrating Christ’s death. A horrible, horrific, gruesome, painful, ugly death. A death to show how much he loves sinners. A redeeming death.

Yet Christians want to bring fancy new clothes, the Easter bunny, chocolates, baskets full of stuff (that most children don’t even need) into the equation to celebrate Easter.

I can’t help but wonder how Jesus must feel knowing that a day marking his sacrifice is now looked forward to for the stuff that will be received and consumed.

If you want to go crazy at Christmas, go ahead, celebrate Christ’s birth with gusto.

But His death and resurrection – why can’t Christians leave it as a holy day of reflection and thankfulness?

(These are just my thoughts regarding the religious aspect of this holiday and lack of holiness. Regardless of whether you’re a Christian or not, Easter still  can quickly become wasteful and consumeristic. Easter baskets contain cheap toys that will soon break, candies full of sugar and food dyes and tons of packaging waste.)

As communication has changed this past decade, handwritten cards and letters have become more and more rare. I have only 2 ‘love letters’ from my husband that are handwritten and have only received a few ‘just because’ notes the past few years.

In spite of changing communication though, my love for sending cards and letters remains. There is something much more personal in taking the time to write a simple note of thanks or sending random ‘just because’ notes to friends, family and even acquaintances.

I love searching for and purchasing {and sometimes making} cards. I have a card box full of a variety of different cards to send for different occasions that I keep stocked. The latest addition to my card box are DaySpring’s Colors of Compassion cards:

These Colors of Compassion cards are beautiful with lovely pictures and graphics as well as touching messages within the cards.

They also benefit Compassion International, an organization dear to my family since we sponsor a little girl in Ethiopia through Compassion! DaySpring is donating 6% of sales of the Colors of Compassion cards to Compassion’s Child Survival Program. On the back of each card is information about Compassion International.

I love that these cards can be used to encourage the people they are sent to as well as benefit the babies and mother’s of Child Survival Programs!

And, within days of receiving the cards, I used several of them, sending them to some women I appreciate in my life. 

Do you love sending cards?

Disclaimer: I was provided the Colors of Compassion cards by DaySpring. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed in this post are my own!