Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gentle Leading

My life has changed tremendously this year. In the past 12 months I have accomplished and achieved so much more than I ever really dreamed possible. I sang a senior voice recital, graduated early with my Bachelor's degree, cared for a tiny human, planned a wedding, wrote endless thank you cards, married my sweetheart, moved to a new place, got a "grown up" job, and finally got a dog! None of these without tremendous help, of course, but God has certainly done much with me.
(That last one may seem trivial to some, but hey, I waited 22 years for that puppy!)

I've grown and been challenged. I've worked and learned.

But here I am, in my little Seminary duplex, selfish as ever.

I plan our monthly budget and pay our bills and enjoy contributing to our little family in that way. Kris is working so hard on his Master's degree and I enjoy being able to help lighten his load in any way I can so the bills and housework are my big tasks. I feared having the responsibility of the ever-looming budget in my hands but it has really opened my eyes to so much and made me more thankful than I knew I could be.

We are provided for.

Every single month.

We tithe, pay our bills, fill our pantry, and somehow are still able to make extra payments on our school loans. (Yay for the Dave Ramsey plan!)

But still, I feel so selfish.

I know that I can't save every orphan, give to every charity, adopt every sad-faced animal, and feed all the hungry. I really do know that. But my heart won't stop hurting for them. Our tiny 2-bedroom duplex is like a mansion compared to what the people in the Masese slum in Uganda live in. This beautiful young lady writes about it here...

And the clothing that I wear? The places that I shop? I can't even begin to write on my opinions on Fair Trade because it's so overwhelming.

The point is that where do I even start to weed out the selfishness that we live in every day. When I get to talking to K about this he agrees...I have so many ropes pulling me in so many different directions and I just don't know which way to go, which thing to be passionate about. Is it really ok for me to be an animal rights driven vegetarian without also committing to remove from my closet anything that comes from a company proven to use children/slave labor?? And what about the children in Eastern Europe with Down Syndrome? What can I do for them?

The problem is that this world that God has blessed us with is so full of sin that it's completely impossible to not be swimming in it.

So, in an attempt to begin with babysteps, here is the plan that we have come up with together. This Christmas, instead of buying a single thing for each other, we are each choosing an organization to support. God has blessed us beyond what we deserve and we believe that gives us a responsibility to give to others. I'll be making a donation to a charity or organization of Kris's choosing and he'll do the same for me. We don't need a single thing this Christmas...God gave us His son and still provides us with plenty. My hope and prayer is that this little step will be used by God in pointing us to His big plan for all our many thoughts and dreams.

The reason for this post is to (hopefully) get some feedback/encouragement from others in my quest to live a Jesus-loving world-changing life and to help collect my thoughts. Also, so that I can share a charity that has become very special to me....take a look at my Christmas present and see if you can fight the tears...and the love :-)

Here's the main page...

And a more specific one...