We’re up to 9 kids sponsored! 41 left to go!
Will you be the answer to a child’s prayer?
We’re up to 9 kids sponsored! 41 left to go!
Will you be the answer to a child’s prayer?
Today is our Third Thursday Blog Hop…but before we jump into our blog hop topic, I want to share two updates with you:
First, we are up to 7! Seven kids have been sponsored in the past week as a part of my 50th birthday wish I shared last week. Only 43 kids left to go! There are 7 days till my birthday. That’s just 6 kids a day between now and February 26. Will you be one of the 6 who says YES! today?
Second, we’ve added two extra days to the Best Value Registration deadline for the upcoming National Hearts at Home Conference! This is great news if you thought you missed the early registration opportunity (a savings of $30!!). You can still register through tomorrow (Friday, Feb 21) at the discounted rate!
We have so many incredible workshops, fabulous main stage speakers, and surprises planned! You don’t want to miss this year’s conference. If you live too far away to attend, check out the Conference To-Go option!
Today is our Third Thursday Blog Hop and the topic for today is Love Your Feelings.
But I’m learning that God created emotions for a reason and I need to embrace them in my life. My feelings can:
In my cancer journey, I’m embracing emotions more than ever. They’re helping me stay in tune with myself. They’re increasing my compassion for others. And their letting those closest to me connect with me at a deeper level.
What about you? Can you love your feelings? Would you add any reason to the list above on how our feelings help us?
Take a few minutes and hop around to a few of the blogs below to get the perspective of other moms in the trenches. We’re all working to love our life…feelings and all!
Sometimes there is power in hearing someone’s personal story. This video does just that. (If you receive my blog by email, you can watch the video here.)
When we were in Africa, our Compassion child, Theresia, shared more of her story with us. Because Theresia’s mother was a teenager herself, Theresia’s grandmother served as her primary caregiver during her early years.
The more she talked about her grandmother, the more I came to understand just how much she meant to her.
Sadly, Theresia’s grandmother died when Theresia was entering her teen years. Theresia shed tears talking about her grandmother and her death caused by ovarian cancer. She knows that poverty robbed her grandmother of the possibility of treatment and healing. “It was an unnecessary death,” Theresia shared.
I’ve pondered the reality of that as I have walked through my own cancer journey. Chemotherapy is a terrible thing to experience, but it is saving my life, and giving me more years with my family. Theresia’s grandmother did not even have the opportunity for chemotherapy. Poverty robbed her of that.
I’m grateful I live in a place where I can receive the healthcare I need. I’m also grateful that God has given us the opportunity to share some of what we have.
That’s why Mark and I sponsor a child. That’s why my married kids have their own child they sponsor. That’s why our Hearts at Home leadership team sponsored Theresia together and now support a Child Survival Program in South America. That’s why 6 families have said yes to sponsorship in the past 6 days!
How about you? Will you help make my 50th birthday wish come true? 6 down, 44 to go!
“…when adults speak up for the vulnerable and the weak, working and demanding that safety and respect prevail, God’s little lambs are protected and nourished. They know they are not abandoned; they are loved. And the world becomes a little more like heaven as a result.”
~Wes Stafford, former President of Compassion International
Regardless, the concept of first-world problems is one you and I need to understand.
And so do our children.
First world problems are issues experienced from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation. They are issues that third worlders would probably roll their eyes at. These frustrations and complaints are only experienced by privileged individuals in wealthy countries.
And yes, no matter what your income level is, you and I and our kids are both privileged and wealthy when compared to how families live in other parts of the world.
Many of the issues we deal with and our kids deal with are first world problems.
First world problems include:
1) Not getting a close parking spot.
2) Sharing a car with an older sibling.
3) Having to get up to get the TV remote.
4) Waiting for online purchases to be delivered.
5) Listening to actual CD’s when I drive because my I don’t have an AUX cord.
6) Having the internet go down.
7) Waiting too long for the pizza to be delivered.
8) Finding out your favorite shirt isn’t clean.
9) Waiting several minutes for the hot water to make it to the shower.
Take that same list and put it in third world perspective and it looks something like this:
2) Most third world families will never own a vehicle…let alone have one for their teenage children to share.
4) Purchasing requires money. In third-world countries, purchasing opportunities are limited and bartering is very common.
5) CD’s, and Aux Cord, and listening to music in a car? Can’t do that without a car, can you?
6) The internet isn’t accessible if you don’t have electricity.
7) Sometimes there is simply not enough food available for three meals a day (this is why providing a meal at Compassion Programs is so important). Theresia shared with us that sometimes her mother and grandmother could only provide two meals a day when she was growing up.
8) Clothing is worn day after day and when washed, it’s often by hand, in dirty river or stream water.
9) Bathing water is usually hand carried, and clean drinking water is often not even available (in one of the Africa villages we visited, the church overseeing the Compassion program was able to use some of their sponsor money to dig a well and provide clean drinking water for their village!)
Is it time to reframe your challenges and your kids’ challenges into a first-world/third world perspective? Would that adjust the lens for us to not only increase our contentment but also our compassion for those who have less?
Would you be willing to take your first-world provision and share it with a third-world family?
Two children were sponsored yesterday! Only 48 left to go!
My 50th birthday is fast approaching…February 26!
My family asked me how I want to celebrate the day and we’re having a small celebration with just close friends and family and I’m looking forward to it!
As I thought more about this milestone birthday, I discovered that I have a birthday wish:
Hearts at Home has been partnering with Compassion for nearly 10 years and over 2200 children’s lives have been changed through that partnership. But there are so many more children who desperately need help and a sponsor can make all the difference.
My daughters and I as well as a couple of Hearts at Home team members had the opportunity to travel to El Salvador with Compassion International in 2008. My life was forever changed on that trip and I knew without a doubt that I was called to be a voice for children who don’t have a voice.
This past August, three Hearts team members and I had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania, Africa to both meet our sponsored child and to see first hand the experience the difference child sponsorship makes.
It was a powerful trip for me and since our sponsored child has now aged out of the program, it’s been my privilege to continue to communicate with her through email during the past few months. Not all sponsorships continue after the child ages out of the program, but I am grateful I’ve been able to continue to encourage Theresia.
But that brings me to today….and my birthday wish. I’m blowing out the candles and making a wish today that I hope you’ll help make come true for me and for a child who desperately needs you.
Wanna be a part of my 50th birthday? Here how you can join the fun!
1) I blogged about both of those trips and I want to encourage you to take a few minutes to read through my posts from those two trips. If you have the time to do that with your spouse and grade-school or older children, it could also bring about some great conversations about life in other parts of the world.
2) Use this opportunity to give (or ask for) a unique Valentine’s gift. Do you really need another bracelet or could you and your spouse instead send a love message to a child by providing them with food, education, healthcare, and a family who loves them and believes in them?
3) Allow yourself to be stretched and challenged. I hope to share some of what I’ve learned about moms and kids in 3rd world countries who can be helped in such a simple way on our end and such a transforming way on their end.
4) Anytime you go to the Compassion site, please click through from my blog or blog posts. This will help us keep track of how many children are sponsored for my 50th birthday wish! In fact, Compassion created a special page for this occasion…I feel so special! You’ll find it at http://www.compassion.com/50kids (or click on any graphic or link on the page and it will take you there!)
5) If you already sponsor a child, consider sponsoring a second or third child. Or use this birthday wish of mine to prompt you to pray for your sponsored child, write to your child, or give a extra gift to your child’s family.
6) I want to hear about your child! Whether you already sponsor a child, or choose to do so to make my birthday wish come true, please share about your child by leaving a comment!
I’m not much for celebrating my own birthday….but I’m sooooo excited about this! I hope you’ll join me in making this milestone birthday something to remember and making a difference in a child’s life!
I hope it encourages you in the same way it encouraged me!
I didn’t know what I was signing up for when I stood in front of a crowd and vowed to love and cherish the handsome smiling man in front of me.
My imagination dreamed of my husband and I caring for each other through age, sicknesses, and the basic good and bad life events. Those big things I had thought about. I see now that I overlooked the commitment to love in the daily grind of priorities, words, and agendas.
But the commitment to love during these things is what those vows were for.
Yes, I am committed to the big things. I will be faithful to my husband. I will stick by him and encourage him. That’s what I knew when I signed up ten years ago. And now I’m discovering the unexpected commitments that require me to be selfless and love without condition among other complexities I have yet to discover about my marriage commitment. Along with those vows to the big stuff that I publically made ten years ago, I am daily learning that I’m also committed to:
These commitments set a high bar. They require giving of myself in ways I don’t always want to, but this giving without expecting reciprocation is the very essence of true love. This is what I’ve committed to.
What about you? What have you realized is a part of the “I do” commitment you made?
Mark told me he’d go first so we’re both sporting a bald head right now. You may have already seen my pics on Facebook but if you haven’t this will give you a peek at our newest picture together.
I’ve had so many of you who have asked about my courage to post a picture of my bald, or how I stay positive, or matter-of-factly share about everything that’s happening over on my Caring Bridge page.
I Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” So today I’d like to do that today by sharing seven reasons I have hope in the hardship.
1) I have God-given courage. Deuteronomy 31:6 says to, “Be strong and courageous.” I’m able to post a picture of me without hair because I am not defined by my appearance, which obviously can change from day to day. I am defined by my God, who never changes. I know who I am in God’s eyes. If you ever wonder how God feels about you, this list of truths I’ve posted before is a great place to start.
2) I grieve when I need to grieve. Often this happens at night when I’m laying in bed. On more than one occasion I’ve snuggled up to Mark and cried my eyes out. There is definitely sadness in a journey like this and when those feelings bubble up, I let them overflow, often pouring my heart out to God. Psalm 147:3 promises, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” I know Jesus grieved when He lived on this earth. My God understands loss, sadness, and grief, so when I talk with Him, I know He understands. (That’s what my book Real Moms…Real Jesus: Meet the Friend Who Understands is all about!)
3) I believe God’s truth found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” I know that God’s purposes are far bigger than anything I can imagine. I trust that he will redeem this for His purposes.
4) I believe Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” This truth works partners well with Romans 8:28. There are many things that we don’t understand. God’s ways are not our ways. I KNOW that His ways are best and that they come from a perspective I have no way of knowing or understanding.
5) I know this is a growth opportunity. Romans 5:3-5 tell us, “…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” If we allow God into our struggles, He will use them to strengthen and mature us. I know God is doing that through this journey.
6) I am never alone. Joshua 1:9 tells us, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
7) I find my strength and courage in God. Philippians 4:13 promises, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” This is a verse I often meditate on when I am going through uncomfortable tests and treatments (you can read about my “love” for needles in my latest Caring Bridge journal entry). When I focus on Him, my strength increases and my fear decreases.
These are the truths I stand on each and every day. When fear creeps in or I feel weak in the journey, I refocus on these truths to find my footing again. That refocusing becomes the hope I have in the difficult journey.
What about you? Do you have a truth from God’s word that gives you hope in the hardship?