Friday, January 31, 2014

left-over love

All week I've been following Compassion bloggers as they traveled to Uganda to meet sponsored children, connect with their organization across the globe, and bring awareness to fighting the need for helping so many little ones all across the world. Sponsors did everything from laugh to cry to smile to hug to shake hands to handing over all their emotions in one greeting... In one small moment, they let love steal the show, and just reacted to the hands and faces they have written letters to and supported financially for months and years on end. In all those small deposits made out of their bank accounts and all those hand written notes mailed miles away to each other...they finally met in a place where love had more then a name on a picture, but a face. A warm set of hands. A big wide grin peeking up through awkward first glances.

What was left...a lot of love. For the child, for the place, for the journey. If you think sponsoring a child is an empty cause... just ask a person who has made the rare trip to meet their chosen one.

Some times, there is a child we never meet. A child we learn to love from the very start of meeting, but never really get to hold. Does it mean that love doesn't exist? Or never happens? I don't think so. The journey to love a new child is always different for each beating heart. But love is recognized no matter what continent you find yourself on.

Between my children are a couple more I never met. At least not in person. While learning to love a new creation and making room in my heart for one more, I also learned to say goodbye. It's hard to look at the beautiful pictures of the smiling faces of all those innocent young ones miles away from me in Uganda. Hard because I know the truth. That deep inside those smiling faces is a little soul that started days before they arrived in the place they now grow up in. They were very uniquely knit together, in their mothers womb, with a great purpose. They started small and tiny and their value comes from being enough in His eyes. Fearfully and wonderfully made. Their mothers held them. Love them. Maybe we could too?

These children we never meet, still take some of our heart. Whether it is the child you held for only a brief moment as he left your safe little womb too early of an arrival... too late to not take a piece of your heart. Or a child you see across a screen and know you have some love left to share. To help another mother. When I realized I had already loved a little life that I would never really hold here, I felt my love for a child was still there. Empty arms, but a full heart. So I found Rebecca. Rebecca was born to another woman miles away from me and chances are we may never, ever meet. I may never know what she really looks like when she greets me or how she laughs or if she smiles much. But I know she is loved. When I had a lot of love left-over, I decided to give her some of it. To use it for good. Little did I know how much loving her a little, would teach me to love even more.

For many years now we have sponsored Rebecca. Her letters come and my growing boys know her face. Hear her written words. See that we are making room to send some love to someone just as uniquely woven together as them. It changes lives really... hers, ours. And all because I had some left-over love that needed a place to go. Sharing love, wearing love... it makes saying hello and saying goodbye that much sweeter.

Might you have some left-over love for another one today? 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

perspective came today

We've spent the day doing what I like to call "kidcation". Aka: vacation with all four of our kids. It's a little different from vacation, but just as important and memory making. We come back to the Dells every winter, alongside my hubs sister and her family. We swim, slide, and sleep the week away. And never once have I thought much about our source of entertainment. But today I started my (very) early morning (hence, kidcation...not vacation) seeing the sponsor of a child hold his sponsored child's hand and carry her water for her. I saw the small case of drinking water for her day and thought about the abundance of water that we would spend the day playing in. Perspective sometimes hits hard.

A little truth Uganda, the inadequate water supply has people collecting contaminated water from the streets when it is raining, and from rivers and springs that surround the camps, leading to an increase of water-related illnesses. The lack of safe drinking water leads to various diseases...some that end in death. Perspective,hits again...

We swam away most of the morning. It was wonderful and fun and memory making. But I couldn't help but notice the running water moving all around us. I started counting. I count my gifts these days and how fresh, clean PLAYING water hadn't made the list yet is humbling to me. Perspective keeps coming.

When we came back to our room I drank clean, cold water right out of the fridge door. I know the health benefits of drinking my water every day. I consciously make sure I get my 60-80 ounces in every day. I fill my kids water bottles up and send them off to school with a supply of the liquid that keeps them healthy and moving and their body clean. Clean drinking water. Could I go without it? What would I do to get it? Perspective sends another wave.

(photo by Mike Varel, Compassion Blogger trip to Uganda)
I have asked myself what could I possibly do to help another Mama's child have clean drinking water. The problem seems bigger then life. I'm not sure where to start. But for today, I am letting perspective have a place in my heart... I am opening my eyes to the real truth about children all around the world. Some splashing at water-parks, which I count on my gift list...some holding the hand of their sponsor, which I count again... and most waiting for perspective to land on somebody's heart and offer a cup of cold water themselves.... maybe that's you?

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward. Matthew 10:42

Monday, January 27, 2014

Uganda & the Wisconsin Dells?

I am super new to following along with Compassion. As in this is my first gig, kind of new. How fun to join the Compassion blogging team just as they fly off to their 5th anniversary Uganda this year! Having kids old enough to understand that there is another world of people some where else is beautiful. We're comfortably sitting in a 4 bedroom presidential suite (my hubby's latest ebay gem of a find) in the heart of the well visited Wisconsin Dells...while Compassion bloggers have just landed in Uganda and are probably anything but comfortable. This is where I love technology. From our family vacation, I can keep a real perspective on life as we follow along in a place very different from ours.

So, as my kids first asked...Where in the world is UGANDA? Well, right here kids...

We will be following along here, at this blog. And you can come back my blog for a recap, too. They have an amazing photographer, Mike Varel. And I will be posting on pinterest, twitter, and facebook. Chances are you might find me cheering Compassion on this week!

We've sponsored Rebecca from Mozambique, Africa for many years. I'd love to share our experience with you about that for our family. And if you feel led to sponsor a child of your own... Uganda is a great place to link arms with....just click over here to Compassion to do so.

For today though, we now know for sure where Uganda is. Starting there is a great beginning...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


So it is no surprise that I love kids...and if it is, then we must be strangers. And my heart beats big for kids in places that can't be taken care of. I used to plug into Food for the Hungry a bunch. A great ministry serving all around the world and truly changing lives. I love FFH. Our church still partners with them and we sponsor a child through them. My kids write to Rebecca and over the years they have seen her grow from a little girl to a teenager still trying to get through school and keep her younger siblings fed in Africa. The relationship between a sponsored child and her sponsors is so very special, and so very life changing.

I knew after a couple kids of my own here though, that I would need to hand over the details of organizing child sponsorship at our church. At the time we had over 200 kids sponsored and as my plate grew at home I knew my hands could not serve both my family and these kids and their sponsor families well. I handed over the reigns with a little bit of a heavy heart. Luckily, the Food for the Hungry details went into one of my best friend's hands and she also has a huge heart for the same cause and does a better job with it then I ever did. God takes care of things so well when we let Him lead our actions.

While my own home has doubled in numbers since those earlier days with FFH, my heart has still been drawn deeply to kids all around the world. My sister in law clued me in on an opportunity to blog for Compassion. It took me opening the email, reading the requirements, and a quick prayer as I linked over to the Compassion website to know this was a perfect match for me. I had goose-bumps, tears, and the instant knowing that this was something I could do in this season. No, I do not get paid. No, I do not get free anything. I simply get to bring awareness to a place that needs attention and to people who could make a difference in a child's life. Maybe that's you?

So in the coming months you will from time to time see me writing about what Compassion is doing around the world. I hope you'll join me in praying for this ministry and maybe even sponsor a child. It's a great place to send some of your resources and get a small, tiny glimpse of what is happening across your world. I may be home these days, and yes, my hands may be extremely full. But my heart is fuller with the season of life I am in and the kids Compassion is helping has a spot all of its own.