When I was thinking about today, and the next four weeks over this past weekend I felt two things: worry and anxiety. Some people can’t live without worrying. I’m not really like that. I actually realize that worrying is one of the worst ways to spend my time, and I also know that it is a way of not trusting God. It all creeps in and happens to us though. My friend Rachel put it like this, “Don’t try to fit God in a pop can, because he wont. That’s like trying to fit the ocean in a pop can.” God is bigger than any struggle or problem we will ever face and yet we worry. I have found that the best way to get rid of the worry is to talk, write or pray it out and then let it go to God. So what was I worrying about? Only the most inconsequential matters like black t-shirts and UGGS.
The thoughts going through my mind sounded something like this: “Sarah, really…why are there two dresses on your list? You should have at least added another pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt. What if it snows? You will be running around in toms and skinny jeans!” Immediately I would pray, “Lord guide my time in this project. Let these 7 clothes be adequate and still my mind and ease my worry.” Pray that for me will you?
Yesterday morning I also stopped in my tracks because I felt like a hypocrite. We were getting ready for church and MOST of the time Lyla picks out her own clothes on Sunday. She LOVES to wear dresses any day of the week and almost always wants to wear a dress on Sunday and so I didn’t expect any push back from her on Easter Sunday. While I was ironing clothes, Derick told her to go get dressed and she waltzes into our room in this shirt below, gold leggings and cowboy boots. My first thought was, “Does Jesus really care what this child of God wears on Sunday or is he just happy that she is in his place, participating in the body of Christ?” I struggled with what to do for a while as I was getting ready. Do I ask her to wear the dress I bought for her or do I let her wear what she picked out? In the end I decided to let her know I was wearing a dress and I asked her if she would like to wear one also. She asked which one and I told her it was the one we had picked out for Easter together. She immediately said, “OK.” I knew that the penguin shirt and gold leggings were not so important to her after all. That was just the first thing that met her eyes. So she wore her dress. Without any push back. We were both happy.
I want my kids to feel this project too though. I want my kids to know that there are little boys and girls all over the world who would be so grateful just to have a CLEAN glittery penguin shirt. I want them to know that Jesus loves them in gold leggings or no leggings. I don’t want them to think of the clothes they wear as expected or disposable. I want them to understand how many blessing God has poured over us, to give us what we do have.
As I go through this process I want to share bits of info I will be learning as I go along. I don’t want to say “research” I’m not a reporter you all…but I do want to shed light on the state of where we are in our area. You can find a lot of info for your area from homeless shelters, news papers, your local library and census data. In a news article you can read here it tells us that in Greene County alone there are an average of 750 homeless, 250 of those without source for shelter. The Green County census shows that 18.7% of people are living BELOW poverty level. This keeps me up at night. I makes my stomach hurt.
Back a few months ago on one of the coldest days we had, I was leaving the grocery store and I passed two men walking. It was almost dark, and it was COLD. At that moment I didn’t know what to do. I was alone with Lyla in the car, and half of me wanted to pull over, hand them a sack of groceries and some cash and tell them to get someplace warm. The other half of me worried if I did something bad might happen to Lyla and I. I share this, because God gives us opportunities every day. That day I had to take so many different factors into consideration, and in the end I had to put my daughters safety first. I prayed for those men the whole way home as I cried because I couldn’t help them that night. There are times you can help and times you can’t. The best we can do is be AWARE of these brothers and sisters who need our help.
In “7” Jen Hatmaker says it like this, “May my privileges continue to drive me downward to my brothers and sisters without. Greater yet, I’m tired of calling the suffering “brothers and sisters” when I’d NEVER allow my biological siblings to suffer likewise. That’s just hypocrisy veiled in altruism. I won’t defile my blessings by imagining that I deserve them. Until every human receives the dignity I casually enjoy, I pray my heart aches with tension and my belly rumbles for injustice.”
As I sit here on day one FULLY CLOTHED, I remember that there are so many who need our love and kindness. And the love and kindness we give out is NEVER lost or wasted. To someone who goes without it may be the biggest blessing to them that year. My prayer today is to keep my thoughts on others, and their needs above mine…because that’s what Jesus asked us to do. When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was he answered, “The most important one says: you have only one Lord and God. You must love him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The second most important commandment says: Love others as much as you love yourself. No other commandment is more important than these.”