All this school year, I have been leading my sons through a journey across the Eastern Hemisphere. We are currently reading a book called, Teresa of Calcutta-Serving the Poorest of the Poor by D. Jeanene Watson (The Sowers Series).
We have definitely been impacted forever! What a remarkable woman Mother Teresa was. And, it's not like I didn't KNOW that on some level before, but reading a more in-depth account of her story has just left me in awe.
You know what is so sad though? I should not be in awe. I wish that my thoughts were just, "Wonderful, there is yet another Christian serving all people just like Jesus." But, no. Sadly, so very sadly, she is few and far between.
As I read, I find myself constantly thinking of my Princess Heather in Cambodia. (I call her Princess because I am so incredibly happy that she overcame Satan's lie and found Jesus as her King!) She is there working with girls who are being rehabilitated back into society after being terribly abused. I remember Heather saying to me how she doesn't really like when people make a big deal about what she is doing because it is simply what all Christians should be doing.
She is so right.
Heather (like Mother Teresa) would go right to the lepers and minister to them. She would overcome the stench of the dying and the infectious. She would sleep on the ground and gladly give up all worldly possessions. She would do whatever God said to do.
I love Heather for so many reasons...some I can't even put into words and others that I could fill a book with. But, what I love most is that she simply loves. She has allowed God to consume her and she exudes love.
Women like Mother Teresa and Princess Heather see things like this: every person is Jesus. They serve wholeheartedly because they see all people equal. They see Jesus in everyone. They don't see themselves better than anyone. They overcome all obstacles because Jesus means more to them than anyone or anything else.
I can barely read some of this book because I am so choked up on tears. My oldest son (Garrison 12), could not hold back his tears. He is getting a deeper and deeper revelation of what poor means. I watched as the realization spread on his face that NO ONE would touch these leper untouchables...how people would actually stone them if they didn't stay hidden away.
I watched the conviction that was filling my heart consume my son as well. A portion of me wants to shield him from all of the world's atrocities, but a greater portion of me wants him to feel it in his depth at the earliest possible age so that he NEVER forgets and ALWAYS makes a difference.
Of course I cannot read Mother Teresa's account without remembering my recent visit to Nicaragua. I have fought some severe depression since I returned. It is so hard to reconcile all I saw there with all I have here in the U.S.A.
A movie continuously flashes through my mind of the little boy stuffing food in his mouth.
In that moment, God captured me. Never again will I be the same. Some days, I can barely swallow my food because I can't eat it without thinking of those children that get maybe 2-3 meals PER WEEK. It just makes me feel sick to my stomach.
And today, I watched Garrison push his plate away with tears in his eyes and say, "I'm sorry, Mom, but I just can't eat this right now." I said, "What's wrong honey?" He replied, "I just can't stop thinking about all the kids that have nothing, and I am realizing..." He couldn't finish his sentence, let alone his food. He didn't have to. I knew what he meant...and he saw it first-hand when he was 8 and went to Honduras.
I'm making sure my sons have real images...real smells...real people burned into their souls.
American children need to be de-Americanized! What we see here, even in the poorest places, doesn't often compare to what the rest of the world is like. We must broaden our vision and thus broaden our childrens' vision.
I hear so many parents today talking about the problems their teens give them. I dare say if these children had been taken on some well-timed mission trips while growing up, their hearts would have been drastically changed for eternity.
But most of us parents don't even realize what is beyond our borders. We have been raised to be self-centered...to obtain the American dream. Don't misunderstand...I LOVE the U.S.A. I appreciate my country and the reasons and sacrifice it was started with, but we have become, as a society, severely blinded to the "real world."
Many kids won't even talk to someone else of another skin color or to someone who can't afford name-brand clothing, let alone would they dare nurse the sick back to health!
Our priorities are so out of whack. It's disturbing and down-right nauseating really. But I think we are all created to want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. I think we all want to be like the person on the news that makes a positive difference. We just often think, "But, I am only one person. What can I really do that matters?"
I challenge you (and myself) today: Mother Teresa was only one person. William Carey was only one person. Moses was only one person. Jim Elliot, Gladys Aylward, Wellesley Bailey, David Brainerd, John Bunyan, Amy Charmichael, Billy Graham, Elizabeth Fry, George Muller, Helen Keller, James Hudson Taylor, Corrie Tin Boom, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Jr., ...Jesus Christ was only one person.
What can only one person do? Make a global difference. With God on your side, you are the majority and He will multiply. He will not honor selfish gain, but if we will humble ourselves and seek to make life better for others, He will always honor true love. ALWAYS
James 1:27 (NIV)
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.