Pretty little girls from a Haitian village peering into the church building in the space between the walls and the ground.
I love the quote that graces the homepage of the Livesay family blog. I love the family’s passion for Christ and for the people of Haiti. I am amazed at the way they chose to give up this American life I’m living to plant roots in the dusty soil of Haiti: middle class comfort for life among the poverty stricken. And I am inspired to be willing to love like they do, even when the way God is asking me to love his people is uncomfortable.
I have been reading this blog for quite a while and want to introduce our 500 Dresses readers to this Jesus-loving family and their work in Haiti. The following is the start of yesterday’s post at livesayhaiti. Take the time to read it and spend some time on their blog. I am positive you will be inspired, and if you are like me, maybe a little convicted.
photo from http://www.livesayhaiti.com/
Our Eyes Are Open, But Do We See?
I learned a while back that kids that grow up abroad can grow up with an entirely different experience than their parents. They can and do observe and participate in the culture in their own separate and unique ways.
An expat friend of ours tells a story of teaching a class at a school where many wealthy kids attend. He asks the class, “What is it you would like to be able to see or do in your life?” The high-school kids talk and name a few things. One boy says, “I would really like to visit a poor country some day.”
The school he attends where this question was posed, is located in Port au Prince, Haiti.
That student wants to visit a poor country.
* * *
Our son Isaac is many things. He is an optimist on steroids and cotton candy on a sunny day at Disney World. When the clouds do roll in, his clouds drop gumdrops instead of raindrops and it only serves to make him even cheerier…
Click on the link to find the rest of this story.
It’s midnight and a slightly broken heart and a brain on overdrive won’t let me sleep. I’m not gonna tell you what has me all twisted up inside because it is almost embarrassingly trivial. But that’s what I do. Sometimes I let myself get worked up over things that have zero eternal significance and very little earthly significance.
Since I figured my tossing and turning was affecting Corey’s sleep, I decided to head to to the couch, open my laptop and find something brain numbing to keep me entertained. (Hey if I can’t sleep I may as well be entertained, right?)
But here’s the thing. I started thinking about how last April I was in Haiti. And how last April I was absolutely heart-broken over things that have much earthly and eternal significance. And now because of that, I’m still slightly heartbroken with a brain on overdrive, but I’ve got a layer of you-are-so-shallow guilt thrown on top of it.
Good golly, I’m destined not to sleep tonight.
My life of All-American abundance allows me to focus on things that really don’t matter much in the big picture. I wish it wasn’t the case, and I wish I could say that after praying God took away all the crappy feelings inside me and I now have a mind focused solely on him. But I can’t.
Maybe I’ll get there, but I’m not there yet. In the meantime, I am sharing this story that I wrote a year ago today. Tonight God used Billy to
make me feel overwhelmingly guilty about my current state of mind remind me that I’m focused on the wrong thing. So much for finding something brain numbing to pass the hours that I shouldn’t be awake… Maybe I’m not alone and somebody out there needs a reminder too.
I sit enjoying Billy’s company on a wooden bench shaded from the hot Caribbean sun. He is eloquent. He is intelligent. His smile genuine. His joyful spirit contagious. He speaks excellent English with a beautiful accent. Dressed handsomely in navy blue pants and button-down shirt, he may as well be an old friend from back home.
In just one day, my Haitian brother has gripped my heart.
He asks about my life. What can I say? I live in a 5 bedroom home, of which only 3 bedrooms are slept in on a regular basis. I have cupboards full of food and regularly toss uneaten leftovers down my garbage disposal. Clean drinking water flows from multiple faucets and ice pops out of my freezer with the push of a button.
My voice falters. I can’t verbalize the discrepancy between his life and mine. So I speak of things that don’t accentuate the contradiction that is my abundance and his scarcity.
Then he asks the question I can’t sidestep. The one that now drifts through my mind a dozen times a day.
“Have you for even one second in your life been hungry?”
It takes all I have to look into his eyes, but I owe him an honest answer.
“No, Billy. I have never known what it is to be hungry. Every day of my entire 37 years, I have had more than enough.”
And now as I am back home, my more than enough breaks my heart into pieces. Every bit of abundance causes an ache inside. But I trust that God breaks hearts so he can mold them into something new. So he can impart his perfect love into my imperfect being.
I know that as I sit here with my coffee and my laptop, my God – the one who is able to save little American girls and little Haitian boys – is working on the inside making me a new creation to do the work which he has prepared in advance for me to do.
And my friends, a new creation ever growing in the desire to serve and obey my God is exactly what I want to be.
I’m moving soon. Like 8 days soon. Whew.
I could gush to you about my awesome creative husband who builds beautiful houses which we enjoy for a few years before selling, only to start the whole crazy process over again. But that’s not the thrust of why my move has made it to this blog so I won’t go into the whole back story.
I will say I am totally on board with the overall picture of our goals in this build, move-in, sell, move-out routine.
But there are days I want to sit on my living room floor and cry.
Days that I don’t want to pack another box.
Days I am filled with sadness that I will soon walk out the front door of this home for the last time.
But then I am overwhelmed with my selfishness.
I have the opportunity to live in beautiful homes. I get to redecorate every few years. I will never fear becoming a pack-rat because I have learned the art of donating and tossing. I have the blessing of being reminded of my over-abundance as I box up my clothes and bubble-wrap my photo frames. And yet, I let these feelings of “whoa-is-me” sneak in.
It is so yucky. Seriously yucky. I cannot let myself go down that road of I-have-to-pack-up-all-my-stuff-again-self-pity. Blech.
I need to be reminded of the many people in this world who live in places like this.
And when I think of of this home that Corey helped build in Haiti for Alix’s family last spring, I am shamed by my selfishness.
I am thankful that God has blessed me with the opportunity to see poverty first hand. And I am even more thankful that he has given mom and me this ministry that helps me keep from focusing my eyes on worthless things. It is when I get my perspective right and focus on things that really matter that I can get up out of the pit of self-pity and be thankful for the road God has me on. Even though the house number and street name change every few years.
Lord, please help to live in such a way that I am always aware of just how much my blessings outweigh my inconveniences. Amen.