So my friends... you must go read this blog. I know, I know. Another one. And yeah, bring your Kleenex.
I told you that I met one of the ladies on Katie's board of directors... her name is Suzanne. I also told you that she and her husband Mike were going back to adopt another child, Josie Love, to add to the 6 or 7 they already have. But I did not tell you that she was documenting their trip and their time with Katie on the blog: joiningthejourney.blogspot.com
I like that. Joining the journey.
When I talked to Suzanne over the phone and in person I found out she was just a normal person like me, who stumbled upon Katie's blog and felt compelled to, well, join the journey. And now she is loving on Katie's 13 girls in Uganda right this very minute. Amazing. What an unexpected journey huh? And now?
Now their journey has become more complicated, painful, and sacrificial than Suzanne and Mike were bargaining for ...
Josie Love just tested positive for HIV.
She was tested early on for a number of illnesses (as a part of the adoption process) and HIV was never a part of the picture. But now, this beautiful mom is looking at her daughter and realizing this is not what she bargained for. This is bigger. Harder. More demanding. Terrifying. Heart wrenching. Uncharted territory. This is the journey God? I think right now it probably feels more like a roller coaster ride that has launched off the track and into mid-air...
Another reminder that the journey is unpredictable. And yet again, I am taken back to the words of Jesus in Matthew, "whoever loses his life for my sake, will find it," and I am reminded that following the somewhat insane, radical, sacrificial way of Jesus involves LOSS. It has to.
Loss of my ideas, big plans, and control over the journey. Loss of life as I have known it. My friend Kim says it means losing her ability to completely guard her kids from the world as she seeks to allow her children and her family to become more accessible to other children and families in the neighborhood who don't, perhaps, live the same way as they do. And for me it means giving up my rights to being a normal mom who gets to have Annie on a perfect schedule, makes my own baby food, and has the luxury of protecting my child from germs, strangers, public bathrooms, and being over stimulated. Nope. I have no control over those things. My baby girl's upbringing is a part of my sacrifice. And I entrust it into God's hand... this crazy journey.
Like the C.S. Lewis quote my friend Alli posted in the comment section on Tough Topic Tuesday, if we are not feeling the pinch of sacrifice, then we could be doing more. And we probably should be doing more. Much more. I know. Not exactly what we want to hear, but it's the truth.
"If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small."
I imagine Suzanne is feeling the pinch today. Oh that she would be deeply reminded that the pinch, the squeeze, the struggle, the pain means she is exactly where she is supposed to be. Where we are all supposed to be. If there is no pinch, is it really a sacrifice?
Pray for Suzanne, Mike, and their whole family. And leave her an encouraging word if you get the chance. You can never receive to many prayers... too many words of encouragement.
Keep Em' Coming
Your responses and pledges to help Katie in her work have been overwhelming. Keep them coming.
I woke up at 4:33 a.m. the other day thinking, "What if we don't raise the $6,000?" I thought about how embarrassed or ashamed I would feel that I couldn't pull it off. And God so clearly said, "YOU??? I will move my people not you. And you should trust that they will respond accordingly. How small your dreams are Jenny."
And then I thought... $6,000 is way too small. And tonight, as I sit in my Las Vegas hotel room and watch the people scurry around outside of the MGM Hotel and Casino after a big fight night; people who have easily dropped thousands of dollars on planes, hotels, tickets, merchandise and will now pour money into a night of slot machines, women, and alcohol I think... if they can drop thousands of dollars so easily... can't we? Do I assume Christians are poor? That Christ followers can't have money and can't give freely? That it will take hundreds of people to come up with $6,000? Shame on me for thinking so small.
5,000 people read this blog every month. (Yep, that means there are LOTS of blurkers :)
If we can't raise $6,000 or $60,000 for that matter, there is a problem.
This isn't about me pressuring you. This is about me realizing how small my thinking and believing have been.
Some of you have very little money, like Ryan and I. But some of you have quite a bit; you could easily write a check for $6,000. And some are in between. Others have things you can sacrifice. While others of you can get your community groups, Sunday school classes, church, co-workers, or neighbors in on it. There is a way for each of us to be involved. I love that one person is going to set up a collection at their families restaurant, while Lauren-Michelle is going to put off a new long board or make-up. One girl is giving up part of her first pay check and people are trying to figure out how to get their money to Katie from different parts of the world. Amazing. SO, I will stop my little thinking now.
We will announce the collection day and where to send your money soon, but for now, keep dreaming, thinking, praying and figuring out how you and your family, friends, and church can be involved and can make a huge difference in the lives of an entire village of beautiful children and a girl named Katie who has taken the load less traveled to answer the call and go.
There are more people than just Katie who need the financial support. Oh my gosh, there are so many people who need the money. So many amazing organizations, causes, and people who are out in the world being God's hands and feet. SO many basic needs that need meeting. And yet, I am just one girl. So for now, this one girl is trying to help another girl... who is changing 13 others girls and helping an entire village.
After Katie, God will bring me someone new. Like Elda or Christina or the little boys we helped from Craigslist last year who needed underwear, socks, and backpacks. Or Mocha Club or Buckner's Children Home or fill in the blank... and don't worry, if one person writes a $6,000 check... please do not panic! I promise, there are more Katie's.
I trust God will bring you people who need to be supported with your prayers, your time, and your finances... I trust, that if you let Him, He will wreck your journey and lead you to lose yourself so that you can truly find life.
Life to the full. Life abundantly. Oh that we would never thirst again, that our hearts would be captured, that our finite, silly plans would be wrecked. Oh that we could be sons and daughters of God who abandon ourselves to embark on a journey like none other.
SO whether it's joining me, Suzanne, Mike, Katie and the people of Uganda or finally plunging into the journey already at your fingertips and in your back yard (or both)... take the plunge.
It's well worth it. Here's to asking God to wreck our journeys so that we can truly...