Monday, November 29, 2010

Overwhelmed by Needs...


While people in the U.S. are consumed with buying the hottest new products for Christmas (and waiting HOURS for stores to open on Black Friday….), I am living in a completely different world here in Uganda. And sure, I’m a typical 23 year old girl, so I enjoy shopping…but I have to say, I don’t miss the western world’s push to buy the latest, trendiest things this holiday season.

It really puts things in perspective for me when I talk to my neighbor friend who is 18 and a single mom of a 1-year-old baby; she’s struggling for money and yesterday literally ran out of food and is completely on her own to provide for her baby. I also am finding myself trying to encourage a girl whose mom is ready to give up on life and is daily telling her children, “it would just be better if I ended my life….” because she owes the landlord a few months’ rent.

The last few days, I have been overwhelmed by the needs that I see around me. It’s easy to ignore the need and make excuses. I’ll be honest, one excuse I find myself subconsciously making is: “If I help this person by giving them food, etc---then the entire neighborhood will be knocking on my door, and I can’t help everyone.”

But over the weekend, God keeps reminding me that I can’t sit back and do nothing. He has blessed me with more than I need—so how can I not give to others?? Even if I can just help a few individual people, that’s what we’re called to do! I find myself worrying about the results—“what if this happens?” or “what if this person does this?” but the results are NOT up to us. If we’re obeying Him, He’ll take care of the rest.

Really take a minute to read the excellent John Piper quote below. Be challenged. Be encouraged.

These photos show children whose parents have either abandoned them, given up on them, or have died. They’re “the least of these”—even the government hardly wants to deal with them. But He thinks they’re beautiful. [please notice how thrilled they were to receive a simple TOOTHBRUSH.]

James didn't say "True religion is converting orphans." He didn't say "True religion is making orphans mature and successful adults." He said "True religion is visiting orphans." Results are God's business alone. Obedience is ours by His grace- by faith in future grace. When we grasp this we will be freed from our earthbound way of thinking & released to minister to the ones who are least likely to thank us.

– John Piper



MrsMike said...

I can proudly say I did not go shopping on Black Friday, and instead put money into savings. I can also proudly say that we added a new sponsor child to our monthly contribution as a Christmas gift to Maks!
I did, however, drive right past a toy collection fund without thinking about donating to them... instead I thought "I wonder if we would be eligible for the Toys for Tots (for military families)". I should have instead thought of donating some toys, not trying to get donated toys.

I know the feeling of thinking "well if I do it for them then everyone else will want it too..." I had those same thoughts earlier this summer when the two neighbor girls would ask for dinner claiming their parents didn't feed them. I didn't know if they were telling the truth, and I didn't know how many other neighbor kids would start the same plea if I gave in to theirs! It was selfish, I had plenty of food... I just didn't want to be bothered. (I did eventually offer them peanut butter sandwiches if they would take my trash out for me!)

You are a beautiful person Ashley, inside and out. I miss you. I am also jealous of you - of who you are and what you are doing. If I was only half the person you are...

amdar said...

girl, I love reading about / seeing into your life and equally, if not moreso, love hearing what you're learning through it all. amazingly, I feel like I am learning a lot of the same things too but through obviously very different circumstances -- I am encouraged to be realizing that God teaches and stretches us both near and far from home. and in all circumstances, we can and ought to give thanks! thank YOU for giving us glimpses into your busy, full life! will be praying.

amdar said...

btw this is Amanda Marsch.. haha! amdar is a name I have on a blog that just my family can see so we can all keep in touch with each other now that we're spread out :) sorry for any confusion!