Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Finding Our Home
My family moved from Memphis (West Tennessee) to middle Tennessee about 18 months ago. We loved our church in Germantown (Germantown United Methodist Church http://www.germantownumc.org/).
This church captured everything we were looking for...joyful music and a small, weekly nugget to take with us on our way down life's crazy road. The Committee and I were able to put our children into Sunday School classes that they enjoyed, while the two of us were able to sit together for an entire hour without someone tugging on us for help. As you know from your own experience, some Sundays spoke to us more than others, but we were always able to take something away from the message. We found that we looked forward to this time in our hectic schedule. What more could you hope for in a church?
Then we moved. We have looked all around to find just the right religious "fit" for our family. When we stop by one church or another it seems as though we find one or two things that work for us, but it just doesn't seem like our spiritual home. Some days, I want to pack us all up and move to Jackson, Tn. to be a part of the church that has me smitten - Englewood Baptist Church. But, that's not an option, so we'll keep trying to find the right place. I know God has a plan for us and will lead our path to the right place at the right time.
However, we visited a church for an evening service on Saturday night. I am a huge fan of good praise music. I can't get enough! The Committee would appreciate classic, traditional hymns, but not me! The more joyful the better. This service had wonderful music that was just right for me.
This night, the pastor spent a fair amount of time relaying some of the plans for the church's capital campaign. As it turns out, he had just returned from a planning trip for the future of this church's service ministry in Uganda. Their plans sound amazing and represent true giving from the heart...the Gospel in action. It was inspirational.
But, these plans were not what spoke to my heart the most. The worship leader flashed photos up of children of an orphanage that crossed the pastor's course. We saw a sea of bright faces and shining eyes thanking the benefactors for their generosity. Pastor David went on to explain that the girls were in green shirts and the boys were in blue shirts. Because of a constant battle with lice, the children all have shaved heads and they can be easily identified by their shirt color.
What? Hold the phone! This can't be right. My mind understands the pragmatism, but my heart just can't get behind this idea. These are children well below the age of puberty. My children are the same age. I love the curls of the Straight Hair. We joke that One-of-a-Kind has hair like our lab - water just beads up on it and flows right off. The Tiniest Hair can't grow a hair to save his life - he's bald as a grape! Yet, these children can't have any growth to characterize their individual spirit?
Don't get me wrong. I understand that the orphanage has to protect the health of the children and keep the lice and other diseases at bay. I am not pointing blame at this wonderful place that has offered a home to these young children.
I know that He is in control of all things, but my heart aches for these parent-less children of the world. My childhood was not perfect, but I always knew that I could be a child, free to run, play, and return to a home filled with family members that loved me unconditionally. The young girls in the photos had eyes glowing with beauty. The boys had smiles wide enough to light up a room. How can I rectify that these children have been left behind? Half of the Ugandan population has been diagnosed with HIV. Most of these children have lost their parents to HIV.
You are thinking, but these are not the only children that are facing this plight. I know that too. I am awestruck because I went to this church to hear God's word for the children of my own family, and my heart was turned to the lives of these children without a family. As you may or may not know, orphans are one of the most vulnerable populations on the planet. With no one to protect them, orphans are the most likely to suffer from hunger and preventable diseases and to be forced into slavery, prostitution, and war. Largely due to AIDS and war, the plight of the orphan is growing at alarming rates.
I move throughout my day today thanking God for opening my eyes. Thanking Him for the past that I was given; asking Him how I can make a difference for these children of the future. I don't know where this puts me in the world, but I do know that I need to know more. I want to know more. I want to venture out of my bubble more to feel more.
Most days, I wake up thinking of all that I have to do and how burdensome my life can get with four children, two dogs, and a hard working husband. What a disgrace this is to Him! I have been given more blessings than I can measure. I can't help but think of... James 2:14-17 — “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” What actions can I give? How can I help my heart to soar for the children of this world? I don't have the slightest answer. I'll ponder this with great thought and continue my thoughts with you another day...