Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Change in Perception

Christmastime has always been pretty mush the same for me. In my heart I strive to honor God and take a few moments each year to express my gratefulness for His sacrifice for me. Inevitably, my attention turns to gifts. I feel pulled in a thousand different directions from making Christmas list for each member in my family (oh, and each list for each person has to be different for each Grandparent), to striving to find a gift that will spark the wanted response. Most of the time the latter brings the utmost disappointment....

You see, this time of year has gotten to be too hectic for me. I wasn't raised this way. Don't get me wrong, I had gifts. Truth be told, my brother and I had excess of gifts on Christmas morning. I don't recall making lists for anyone but Santa and it felt like vacation lasted a lifetime. Now it seems as though my incessant requests for list making trump my daily duties as mother, teacher and business owner and my children are with me for fleeting moments before life settles in again. Last year it became evident that things must change.

My husband and I sat both of the kids down and talked with them about the "stuff" aspect of Christmas. We all decided that we would much rather give of the stuff since the Lord has allowed us to live so fruitfully these past years. The next step was finding the "what, where, and how".

Fast forward to the day my perception was changed. I had signed up to attend a vision trip to Moldova with Hopechest Ministries. On this trip (which is in January) myself and a group of writers will take on the task of ministering to girls who have been rescued from sex slavery. We will also be teaching in the local schools and visiting families who help these young ladies. In order to prepare for this trip, I involved myself in research. I found much more than I had ever dreamed of finding.

It was during a conference call a couple of months back that it happened. A small question was asked. The question was, "What can we bring for these girls? You know, what do they want?" The answer floored me. "The one thing these girls covet the most are simple toiletries: soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo.....these things are luxuries to them". Don't turn off now, because I know that is the first response! Think about that. I live about a quarter mile from a Walgreens. When I want soap, I get it. Honestly, I grab soap and loads of other things I truly don't need. When was the last time I actually used soap from Walgreens anyways? Nowadays we use the latest scent to tickle our fancy when these girls would love a bar of Ivory....

Greed. It clouds the mind and clutters the soul. It makes us believe that our homes aren't big enough, when they appear to be castles to many. Greed can make us feel as though we deserve better. Greed is the very thing that corrodes the veins within the human soul and leads us to believe we can simply buy our way into others hearts....once a year. I have uplifting news though: compassion and selflessness CAN rid the heart of greed. I'm talking about true selflessness here, not simple gift giving. There are times when the gift giving can be more selfish than withholding.

So, in this time that is to represent the goodness in the human soul, what will you do with this information? Will you close your eyes, shut it out and go on about your routine? Or will you CHOOSE to accept that you, yes YOU, could be the very one to help? And if it is you, what will happen if you ignore this call? Friends, I tell you honestly, I do not fear death. My biggest fear is coming face to face with my Heavenly Father and hearing the words "Why did you NOT do as I commanded with what I gave you?"

I leave you with one fleeting thought: If you're not uncomfortable, you're not doing enough.

Will you answer the call? Will you change a story?