A few years ago, we were on our way to Branson, Missouri to visit the fabulously fantastic Silver Dollar City when Edy got carsick.
(Yes, Silver Dollar City really is that wonderful. Seriously, I want to retire there. Josh will grow a big beard and work in the carpenter’s shop, and I’ll wear an old-timey dress and get to make (and eat) cinnamon rolls in the bakery all day. It is the perfect plan. But I digress…)
It was our first time to deal with carsickness as parents, and, incidentally, the first time I ever caught another human beings’ vomit in my hands.
It was a great day.
It was also the first time EJ was old enough to realize that something abnormal had just happened. She didn’t know exactly what it was, but she knew it was bad.
She looked up at me with this sweet face…
(except imagine it all sad and big-eyed) and said, “Mama, I spilled.”
I’m not sure just how many spills there were in our house over the last several days, but it’s likely some kind of record.
The stomach bug was ruthless, and it took us out one by sad little one.
In the middle of changing sheets, disinfecting, snuggling, holding hair back, wiping foreheads, faces and bottoms, dolling out saltines and Sprite and bemoaning my life in general and all that it had dealt me, I got an e-mail from a friend.
The e-mail linked to an article written by a mom who was teaching her children the importance of thinking about the less fortunate. They had hung a world map in their house so they could learn about the needs of other countries. They took time to pray for orphans and unreached people groups. They were living on-mission, giving sacrificially and planning a family mission trip.
I closed the e-mail, and you want to know my honest thought?
Who, in the ever-lovin’ world, has time for that??
I’ve already got too much to think about!
My kids need me! My house is a wreck! I’m sick too! I wish someone would come over and take care of me for once! I’ve got a blog to write! Will someone, anyone please bring me some soup? My life is too hard right now! I am so tired! I need a break from this!
And then, ummm, this…
When was it exactly, Hannah, that you last thought about someone other than yourself?
As usual, God gets right to the point.
And then, because He loves being all clever and ironic and perfectly timed when He teaches me a lesson, I get a letter in the mail from World Vision. It says that giving has been down over the last two years and child sponsorship rates have dwindled. Could we help?
So, Hannah, will you think about someone else for once?
For the last few years we have sponsored a couple of children through World Vision, and I believe in what they do. Heck, I love them!
They are legitimate, effective in their ministry, compassionate, and the kind of organization that I would probably sever an arm for if they asked for it. (Thankfully, they’re not looking for arms right now. Just a few folks who will donate a little extra.)
So we will give a little more. Not because we’re perfect and selfless and always glad to serve (obviously, or did you read the above?) but because this life is not all about the Halls.
And, most certainly, it’s not about me.
It’s not about my needs or my wants. It’s not about pursuing my dreams and reaching all my goals or how to make more money or buy a bigger house. It’s not even about my kids.
This life is about loving and glorifying God.
However that looks.
Some days it looks like cleaning up “spills” and never, ever getting a reward.
But I love God, and it’s for Him today.
Some days it’s writing a little bit bigger check because there are kids who are dying from diarrhea and moms who are watching their babies starve right in front of them.
But I love God, and He loves those mamas and their babies too.
Some days it’s about sucking it up, holding my tongue, and letting an unkind word go unchallenged.
But I love God, and He asks me to forgive.
It’s about serving when the serving really stinks, and denying myself even when my self screams, “Me!”
It hurts. And it’s hard. And, some days, honestly, I hate it.
It’s not about me.
Oh no. Sorry you’ve all been sick. And “I spilled” is about the cutest thing ever. Poor little thing.
I can relate to your thinking, “Who has the time for all of this?” I have often thought, “I can’t save the whole world.” And if I try, my prayers boil down to “And God bless everyone.” I can’t pray for the whole world. There are too many people and too many ways those people are suffering. I would be praying all day, every day, if I prayed from them all.
But you’re like the Good Samaritan. He wasn’t out looking for injured men. He was simply traveling along, taking care of his own business. But when God laid that man in his path, he used his time and his money to serve the man.
You’re doing the same thing. Taking care of your business, mopping up spills, and when God lays another one in front of you use your time and money to serve that one. Good for you!
What a great perspective on the Good Samaritan story! I’ve never thought of it from that angle, but that really speaks to me today. It’s comforting. Thank you. 🙂
I am sorry to hear that you guys have been sick. “I spilled” is the cutest thing I have heard. Poor Edy. I hope that you are all doing better now.
It’s not about saving the world, It is about being willing to do what God has called us to do whatever that might be for everyone its different.
Hannah, just know that you are doing an awesome job! keep taking care of your family, mopping up spills, When God calls you to give a little more, prayer for someone you know, are simply just caring for your lovely family. Just know that even in the small acts of our daily life we can bring glory to God. Good for you! sounds like you do an amazing job each and everyday in what God has in trusted you with.
Thank you for the encouragement and words of wisdom that you share in your blogs. Most of all think you for being honest and sharing how you do in these areas. It’s good to hear that I am not alone, that it is not about me.
this past week has been a hard week for me and today I needed to hear your words in this post so thank you dear friend.
Thank you, Andrea. Maybe my verse this week will speak to you. Take heart: “Satisfy us in the morning with you unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:12
Ok, three things –
1.I WANT TO LIVE IN SILVER DOLLAR CITY, TOO!!! Let’s be neighbors. I’ll make the kettle corn next to your bakery.. DEAL!!!
2. “I spilled” – GAH! how cute is she?!?!?! Josiah said “I have food in my mouth” .. we had a slight stomach bug over christmas..
3. I’ve been meaning to do something like this as a family – the World vision thing, that is – for a while now.. thank you for the impetus to get going..
I knew we were kindred spirits, Devi!
You wouldn’t believe the looks I get when I tell people how I feel about Silver Dollar City. They are confused, obviously. 🙂
So in 30 years…let’s do this!