A lot goes on behind this blog of mine…
Hearts are lifted in prayer, poured out in tears, and shared in deep and lasting ties that are made in this worldwide web. Oh, how I love that so very much.
You see, words can be the bridge that builds gaps, both far and wide. In reaching out and taking risks and stepping forward- and sharing pieces and parts of ourselves~ we grow, we are inspired, we are moved.
So many precious people have touched me deeply and I have this incredible honor to know and love many that I have never met in person. It’s amazing to me how deep a friendship can dive despite the absence of hugs and facial expressions and the sound of a voice. There are those rare and raw moments shared that are as real as they come- and I have discovered the profound power of connection with hearts all over the globe.
I have this treasure abroad, over at Considerings. A true gem. I swear I love her so much it hurts- you know that ache of sheer joy and crushing sadness and all the emotions that come alive when you live alongside a true friend? Yeah, that.
Oh, how I adore her.
We’ve had more “talks” than most of my ‘real life’ friends really. That close.
So she sends me an email sharing the latest revelation that hit her heart. And I want to share it with you…
Because I believe we could all stand to be challenged and charged if we are open to God’s gentle nudges, and what she shares here is the perfect rendition of the response to His Call.
Oh, how I love that.
Soak it in, would you? Let Lizzi take you through her heart and thoughts and as you read this…
“Something happened today and it sent fireworks through my soul and I need to tell you about it. Well, I don’t need to. I won’t die if I don’t – but I want to, and I’d appreciate your feedback, because it has me terribly confused.
At church this morning we had the passage from (I think) Luke’s gospel, about the parable of the man who tried to store up all his worldly goods in a big barn, and then died; and then Jesus’ words to his disciples about considering the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, and how they don’t work nor worry about their appearance or where their next meal is coming from, but that God looks after them, and how much more precious WE are to God, and accordingly we get more looked after.
My initial, knee-jerk response was that people (and birds, and flowers) still die and atrocious things happen to them, so perhaps God wasn’t always the best at this. But then I thought a bit more, and I realized something – WE are charged with this – kind of on His behalf. As His followers, we have the responsibility for looking after each other, and this world. Which kind of gets God off a hook and us onto one, but more of that later. Perhaps.
Anyway, whilst I mulled these thoughts, a lady got up and talked about the headmaster of a school in Bupadengo, Uganda, which is our link parish. The man had been badly injured in a car accident recently, and she spoke a little about all the wonderful things he does, and how he makes such a difference, and that without any kind of social healthcare or welfare system there, this will have a devastating impact on his family in terms of finance. So she took a collection, right there and then, telling us that while it was easy for the church to write a cheque, what she was looking for was not this, but for us to give of our hearts, from our pockets, right now. Just whatever spare change we had on us.
All I had was a tissue and a set of keys. I tend to travel light, when I can. So I had nothing to give, but she said that people could donate later in the week, or contact her and pledge via email, so that wasn’t an issue, and I thought I’d definitely like to do that. Usually I’m more invested in supporting the very poor in my own city, but this felt right, because potentially this man’s entire family could have the balance tipped and end up in even more extreme poverty than they already are (cos it’s rural Uganda, after all…).
Then the sermon happened, and I thought about the man and his money and his big barn, and his death, and the vicar was telling us about how yes – we should make provision for the years ahead, and not to be irresponsible with our money, but that to build up treasure in heaven – to INVEST there, with our hearts and souls as well as our finances, is to put money into something which we WILL be able to ‘take with us’ when we die (and here I thought of that bit somewhere about doing works of silver and gold, which survive refining…do you remember that bit?). I also remembered a bit from a sermon a while ago, about our treasure being where our heart is, and to see where our heart is, look at our bank statement – look at what we invest in. I really liked that and I wondered what I might do.
I started to feel a bit guilty about my trip to America, and the money going into that, and that actually what I give is nowhere NEAR what I spend on myself. But then I thought a bit more about what I HAVE, and the juxtaposition that abundance is a state of mind rather than the amount of possessions we have, and into my mind popped my coin collection.
I don’t know how coins work in the US, but here in the UK, they have a habit of taking the £2 coins and the 50p’s and putting little wonderful designs on the ‘tails’ side, with a new design coming out every few months or so, with runs of special designs for e.g. the Olympics. My lovely, late Grandad used to collect coins, and I remember the magic of looking through these stern, austere folders filled with magical treasures from days gone by, and collecting coins was one of the ways which I enjoyed to feel close to him. He even gave me my first ever set of old money. SO I had built up a folder with probably not much value of current coins, but plenty, yaknow? And it struck me that here I was, not only greedily NOT sharing my money, but actually paying to STORE it and SAVE it. Because it’s pretty.
I have no social responsibility to maintain a coin collection – the Royal Mint do that.
I will likely have no granddaughters to show the coin collection to, and to reminisce about how coins were in the old days, and to show her how they’ve changed over the years. My Grandad is long dead and won’t know any of this – I was just trying to stay close to his memory, which I can do without actually collecting coins.
There is a man in Bupadengo who is seriously injured and whose family finances are on the line and who needs urgent financial aid.
This man is my brother.
I was convicted.
So at the end of the service I went to the lady and asked if she had ten minutes to spare (thinking that I’d nip home, grab all the coins and bring them back to her). She didn’t, but said that I could give her the donation later in the week, and in the back of my mind, I felt like God was looking at me with a bemused smile, saying “No, because it’s not good to make a show. The point isn’t to go and BE RADICAL VERY NOISILY, or to publicly give up the coin collection, which had such meaning to you, to help this guy. The point is to do it quietly, with one hand not knowing what the other does, otherwise you’ve already had your reward.”
So I stood and chatted with friends instead, and hugged my Goddaughter and decided to sort the donation out later. As it happened, it took me 15 minutes to even find the folder, which contained the coins, because clearly they’re not even important enough to me to KNOW WHERE THEY ARE! And this pleased me, because it seemed to make me think that they can DEFINITELY be donated and I won’t even miss them that much.
It was done, then, and put them in an envelope, and I thought that maybe instead of running back to church to tell what I’d done, I’d write about this and see if you wanted it for one of your Devotional Diary posts.
But then I got to thinking about a conversation I had last night with another blogger, when I told her about my plans for Christmas gifts. (Again, it’s another occasion for giving, and she said she thought that if I wrote about it, it would be a really good thing, because it might inspire other people as to a way that they could use the season for Good, and that it would bring people’s thoughts back to Christmas as a time for showing love to others.)
I was worried because I thought it might come across as judgmental of what other people were doing with their Christmas plans. Or worse, preachy, as though they should be doing what I was, or EVEN WORSE, as humble-braggy – a post full of “Look at me and all my Goodness”, none of which I’d be happy with.
And then after that, I thought that this might be the case if I wrote for your Devotional Diary on this subject – that it would be doing this act OUT LOUD and thereby getting all the applause or backlash which would follow, and then it would undermine the point of the act – to give quietly, just between me and God, because that’s what counts. (Well – that and looking after my brother in Uganda; we all belong to each other, don’t we, and life is SO much better if we all help and support one another, especially in our hour of need.)
So here’s the part where I’m shirking responsibility, Kitty, and where I need your feedback and advice – IS this a good thing to share? Is it something, which might prove to be a good testimony of how incipient greed is, and how easily it can creep into our lives? Or is it just me wanting public recognition and applause for something which should be kept quiet?
I know that potentially I’ve already tarnished this a bit because I’ve told you, but I think in my own little way, I’m willing to take that risk. It matters to me SO MUCH that we all look after one another in this world, because I think God *has* made it our job to care for each other, and to enable each other to thrive, knowing we’re loved by other people. THAT is what counts. I want to get behind that as an attitude to promote, and if it means potentially coming across as braggy or judgmental (which I still REALLY hope it doesn’t) then I am willing to have this published, Out Loud, for people to look at and…I guess just absorb how much importance I place on DOING THINGS for other people. I also guess it might help to hold me a little accountable to continue living in a manner which is consistent with that, which can only be a good thing.
But as I say – I don’t know, and I’ve cleaned the house and prayed about writing this and I got nothing. So I’m foisting the responsibility onto your shoulders, dear, because I know that you’re good at listening to God and hearing what He tells you.
I don’t know what He’s telling me, but I know that this morning He told me a few good things, and showed me some good ways which I can make changes in my life to give more support to those in need, and that matters to me, so I’m going to be doing them.
Let me know what you think. Love you HUGE xXx
I didn’t edit ANY of this- well aside from her odd British spelling errors… (hee hee Lizzi!!!)
It’s perfect as is.
The profound path a heart can take to be challenged, changed and charged.
Dare I ask you?
Open your heart.
Allow the change.
Take on the charge.
There is a brother or sister out there in this world needing you.
And Lizzi my dear love,
I couldn’t think of a more powerful testimony than reading how you processed a message, opened your heart, and followed God’s call.
I see Purpose all over this.