September 28, 2011

When you want to live bigger...

Some people browse crafting sites or DIY blogs. Some hang out online to stock up or catch up on pop culture news. These are fine and fun and good and I would do this more ... only I am terribly un-crafty and I am perpetually behind the times.

I walk into Target and push straight ahead-- drop in a pair of sparkly shoes and the obligatory Merona shirt before turning a hard left toward all things children. In order to not embarrass myself, I rely on friends like Krysten and Nina.

And in my "free" time, I linger in spaces like these:

and I don't think I am super deep or super spiritual. It is just how I am made. In 4th grade I wanted to be a Sister of Mercy and I have had Africa on my mind since I was tiny. When I declared Social Work and then French and then International Health and then Nursing in college... I had plans to GO.

And then I forgot who I was and I got all mixed up. Then I got un-mixed up and I met a boy. Now I have this life and these babes and this man I adore. Only I still have this desire to GO and I also have this little family that plants my feet deep.

And I just never know what I am supposed to DO.

I don't know how to merge these lives: this everyday,real life here and the far-away life there. The famine in the Horn of Africa rips me to shreds. I literally count seconds on my watch at dinner and he knows I am calculating terribly morbid things ... like how many children are starving to death. Right now.

Umm, can you pass the cheese?

Everything else seems so trivial and I realize my brain can get a little muddled and I could think us all into a hole. My practical husband is sweet and says things like, "You're thinking about Africa aren't you?" In his good nature and "go for it!" kind of love that spurs me on, he says "Well,  let's just go."

But I don't know what that means or what that really looks like and is that Todd or Jesus talking?

So the world refugee stats come to my mailbox each year in thick manual form and I flip through and I update my awareness. I surf through cyber links. I plead their case over coffee and ask my husband to sponsor just one more child. We all stay put.

I work here with these girls and I sign up for jail tours and we bag up little-girl clothes for  Nicaragua. I slow to pick up the same woman on the road but she won't climb into my van the second time either. "I have to walk," she says again.

I read the books ... all the books piled high... and this behavior isn't out of compulsion or guilt.

"I desire mercy, not sacrifice," He says.

It is just that I want to live out this gospel life and I want to go and I don't understand how it all works together.  

I just trust that He does and I hear the whisper that says... someday ...?

We sponsor little people around the globe and we talk about them, call them by name at the dinner table. Kushi. Simon. May Joy. We pray. We try to do with less and it is hard and we mess up, get caught up in life and activity and sweet parent-gifts that are extravagant.

And less never seems less enough and there is always less to compare less to and how do you live in gratitude in your daily reality and still stay tuned in to the heart of Jesus for them ... all of them? Out there.

I am young in these areas and I am really asking the question.

Because sometimes I grieve lost time and wonder where I would be now... and this little family I love and serve is the delight of my life. So how do I honor both: my heart that beats for this family here and His family there? Our family... across the boundary lines.

Again, I am really asking the question.

But if you're reading, I have to be clear. Hear me say: there is room to live free because guilt has no value, no purpose. We are not all called to board a plane to Africa or work in the county jail. 

But to live bigger? Braver?

To really hear Jesus when He says "love one another." To believe Him when He said, "When you did it to them, you did it to me."

And what of when we didn't...?

I watch this and I cry. This is not really a surprise. However, it really is the only reasonable response when you watch her touch their faces and live out the joy.

Is this what happens when you spend a life?

Could I spend myself this way? Live fearless and obedient like Katie Davis ... right here?
Not afraid of having too little, not afraid of living a little counter-culture.

Friends-- just. watch. her. This homecoming queen who drove a yellow convertible and loved sushi...
and then gave it all up to go...

Let her compel you ... let Him compel you. Then pray. Give? Go?!?

And be sure to drop in again real soon where we'll be talking a whole lot more about this spending...
but more on that later...!!

Peace, sweet friends.


  1. ohhhhh I can so relate to this abby
    this internal struggle is ALWAYS within me
    and i don't understand it
    and i don't think most of the people close to me do either :)
    LOVE hearing your thoughts SO MUCH

  2. Abby - this is so beautifully written(!)Thank you for sharing your heart struggles. May Jesus continue enlarging your heart for His Beloved children hurting in the challenging parts of our world, even as you ARE the loved-filled hands & feet of Jesus to them - right where you are! : )