Before I could go to sleep last night, I had to take a moment and write what was in my heart. I was thinking back on a Saturday evening a few weekends ago when I was planning our Sunday dinner. Ashton was home for the weekend and had requested baked rigatoni. Something happened when I went to my pantry to get the ingredients. I was simply looking through the shelves to find what I needed and started to cry. I saw some boxes of rice. No big deal, right? Rice is a staple in many cupboards but it brought something to mind. Our Bridge of Hope missions team had filmed women in Sudan fighting in a field over grains of rice. They had these small brooms and were sweeping the grains frantically and pushing one another to get what little they could. What bits of rice they could gather would be food for their families, who had gone days without eating. Here I stood looking at boxes of rice that I simply had to get in my car and go to the grocery to get. Wow . . . and to be honest, I often dread the chore of going to the grocery store. Instead of seeing it as a blessing, I have considered it one the many things on the “to do” list of my life.
I remember having the privilege of traveling to Nicaragua with Dr. Lester Sumrall. While visiting the barrios, I watched a mother grilling orange peels for her family that she surely found in the trash somewhere. I throw my orange peels down my garbage disposal so it will smell better. Hmm . . . how blessed am I to have basic necessities that I rarely consider? I have a feeling that I may not be alone. We want for a lot in this country, but really need little. It’s a cold November night in Ohio, but I am writing this propped up in my warm, comfy bed knowing that my kids are snuggly asleep. They have had food to eat and warm beds to go to sleep in. I must say, even our pets have full tummies and doggie beds, and our cat happily sleeps wherever she wants. Gosh, I feel like a spoiled brat! I am thankful - but is it enough?
There are ways to show our appreciation for what we have by sharing it and showing it. We don’t even have to travel far to see those in need. There are so many outlets and opportunities for us if we put helping others at the top of our “to do” lists. The holidays are quickly approaching -- and do we really need another sweater or gadget? Are you like me and trying to figure out things to buy people? It’s utterly ridiculous to stress over gift-giving when so many people just need to eat or have electricity or shelter for that matter. Maybe these are the gifts that we should be giving instead. I don’t wish to sound preachy, but I just have to turn this sadness to action.
I am beyond thankful for the big and the little things that often go unnoticed and unmentioned. I am sending this thank you note to my Father with a promise to remember those mothers, who are just trying to provide for their hungry children. I am a mom, too, and I wish I could give you these boxes of rice so your heart could rest and your stomach could stop rumbling. I wish I could comfort you and dry your worried tears as you hold your malnourished baby. I wish that you had shelter from the elements that threaten your safety and that of your little ones. I wish I was there, but I am not. I know someone who is, however, and He knows your every thought and every fear. He sees what we cannot and feels your every pain. He is sending His children to bring relief, and He is telling us to not forget you. I know these people . . . they are God’s people. They are an army stronger than any one you have ever seen. They march with compassion, and their only weapon is prayer. This army never retreats until the mission is complete . . . you are the mission and you are my mission.