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.