How sweet the gospel sounds to ears like mine.
Ever since we let our little puppy, Míka, into our hearts and home we’ve come up against a challenge: house training. For some of you that brings up memories of pee on your favorite sweater, chewing up that expensive shoe or sentimental leather journal or the worst: the foul smell of puppy poo. To keep most of these things from happening and to train her well she stays in her kennel through the night. Then, every two and a half hours we take turns, groggy-eyed, taking her outside to do her puppy business. This severely messed up our sleeping patterns at first, but now we’ve kind of gotten used to it.
Normally after my shift I find it hard to fall back to sleep right away, so I’ll get on my smart phone and surf Pinterest or see what the latest photos are on Instagram until my eyes hurt so bad from the contrast of the dark room and back-lit screen I can’t help but shut them and fall back to sleep. Recently though, I decided I would fill my mind with more than recipes, DIY’s, and photos of other people’s food. I moved all my social media apps to the last page, and moved all the blogs of friends who were doing missions to my front page. Two nights ago I couldn’t fall asleep for the first time since I made this decision. And we’ll see how this worked out…
“…I’m mad because a village here encourages their daughters to save their virginity in order to sell it to a foreigner. When they do, they go for $2000 USD and the village throws a celebration that honors the parents using the money. I’m disgusted that I’m mad at them more than I am the perverted foreigners….I’m really the most angry because there are internet blogs that rate the red light districts right next to me. They rate the women with explicit details and give creative ideas on how to trick them into lowering their prices. They gave maps with detailed instructions. I filtered through this and made a map of where all the trafficked women are, which street corner, which doorway, what times. From Russian to African to whatever you’re looking for. And the blog writers know they are trafficked. I’m so mad that I read those things and made that map because now I’m sitting up at night looking at the clock knowing exactly where the Russian girls stand and where the Russian embassy is and I’m still completely useless. I’m so mad at how easy it was to find out those things. I don’t know where to go from here. I talk to God and I am awestruck at how faithful His love is. He loves the women, their parents, the men, the ladyboys, the men who beat up the ladyboys, and He moves and He rescues and He recklessly pursues all of them. But right now all I can feel is boiling furious rage. I don’t want to go home yet, but I would right now- I want to go to a place where I can speak the language and scream and tell people where this is happening and what time they should go pick these women and men up and help them get home. But even then, would that change anything?…”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about living for others. I know that’s what we are taught in Sunday School, this sweet “share your toy” sort of living for others, but I’m realizing that it (obviously) looks much different. It’s a ferocious kind of lifestyle that fights for others, a generous sacrificial one that gives all he has, an intentional one that listens well and so much more. This isn’t a new concept for me but I think it’s becoming more true in me. I journeyed into YWAM (youth with a mission) to do missions a few years ago, but looking back– in a lot of ways it was more for me. More so I could see Iceland, or have an experience. Which none of that is wrong necessarily, but when that becomes our sole motivation it’s a bit dangerous — but more on that maybe another time.
So what does it look like to lead a lifestyle dedicated to loving those around us? “Simply put: love does.” says Bob Goff. This implies action. Love is moving, fluid, with arms outstretched.
I’ve been inspired to take action. I don’t only want live this sort of lifestyle, but to take note and display those around who already are. I have a friend who works for an organization that gives free psychiatric care to veterans suffering from PTSD. I have another friend who has recently sold everything and moved to a tiny village in Uganda to serve at an orphanage. And another who recently set out to visit safe homes harboring women rescued from sex trafficking in six or so different countries. I could go on and on. These aren’t just people I’ve heard of from others, but people I know.
Now, in order to display love or “live for others” (although incredible and necessary) I don’t believe you must move over seas to an under-developed country and help the destitute. I was having dinner with my friend who works for the non-profit helping veterans, Keri, and we were mulling this topic over. So often “doing good for others” creates this category of people in desperate need, those suffering from starvation, needing clothes, shelter, water, etc. These are basic needs that absolutely need to met. But do you ever wonder, just like in any system, the people in-between? Someone may not be dying of starvation, but they could be suffering from the emotional trauma of never being accepted, or maybe a child has food, water and shelter but needs a bike. They may not need a bike for survival but something of the sort to restore to them their childhood. This is still something I’m still mulling over, but I do believe it’s an area that needs attention.
This thought process is much too long for a simple blog post which is why I wanted to kickstart a journey to tell others stories and inspire people to live for others.
Until then, I (double dog) dare you to love on one person today. Not just your spouse, friend or family, but a stranger. Compliment someone, help someone carry their drinks to their table at Frothy, buy the person behind you in line’s meal/drink–heck, buy their groceries!
Tyler and I have truly had one of the best birthdays this year. It’s kind of strange having birthday’s so close to each other. I found myself saying “our birthday” which isn’t entirely inaccurate but it’s still pretty funny.
*sigh* big thanks to all who made our birthday’s so special!