Sunday, November 13, 2011

Learning the Beauty of No

The Compassion blog posts out of Ecuador this week have been so moving. All of them

I have my favorites though, and today I'd like to share one.

It was penned by Melanie of Big Mama. Read the entire post here (pictures of the Amazon included). 

Here is a moving excerpt. 

As we were leaving the last Center today we had to walk on a vast expanse of rocks to get back to our canoes. We were all given rubber rainboots to wear for the day and had to walk very carefully from rock to rock so that we wouldn’t lose our footing. Not to mention that rubber boots don’t offer a lot of comfort against the rocks. Some of them were slippery from being in the water and I’d feel myself start to stumble and have to walk even slower.

But as we pulled away in our canoe, I noticed the children RUNNING across that same treacherous rocky terrain effortlessly. They didn’t seem to notice that the rocks hurt their feet or that the path was sometimes unsteady or that they might trip and fall. They just ran. They ran with joy.

I turned to Sophie and remarked, “Look at them running on those rocks when we were barely able to walk.”

And that’s when it dawned on me.

How incredible it is that I’m barely able to walk on those rocks, but they are able to run on them. With joy and freedom. They run.

It hit me that they have a faith in The Rock and a trust in Him that allows them to run. They run with abandon. They run with joy. They follow Him because He is all they have and they get that He is all they need.

I have a particular reason for loving these words. I've seen this miracle in my own children, though on a smaller scale.

Toys were plentiful here at one time. Sickeningly plentiful. Mommy was generous, though things came from thrift stores and garage sales most of the time. Gluttony is foolish, no matter the avenue.

A combination of things changed the landscape around here. First, the Holy Spirit spoke: These children have the stench. You've spoiled them with your yes. He didn't mince words.

Next, my husband lost his full-time job. Part-time jobs came soon enough, but even with 55 hours a week, he's still underemployed. Even a $3 garage sale purchase puts a dent in our budget.

Recently, I had to say: "No Halloween costumes. We can't afford them. Make do with what you have on hand." They decided to forgo Halloween because it wasn't that important to them. Even a trip to the thrift store for farmer clothes wasn't in the cards. 

They rode a scooter at someone's house recently, for the first time. Immediately, they wanted one. Sorry, we can't afford it.

Though there's sometimes disappointment, they've come to trust that He knows what they need.

We've uttered "sorry, we can't afford it" for 2.5 years and counting.

And the result? I like my kids more now. They're not spoiled. They're sweeter. They know the value of a dollar. 

We've purged toys three times, and each time, my kids get richer, not poorer. They get rich on God, because he's a bigger part of their lives. With fewer distractions, He enlarges

They really need Him. 

He's the one who fixes cars and provides more milk and puts gas in a car that's running on fumes. 

He's the one who provides the soccer ball we can't afford, because a little boy dreamed about it and prayed.

He's the one who provides the new jacket right before the coldest, windiest fall day, after a trip to the thrift store turned up nothing.

Mommy and Daddy can't provide, but God can. 

He's proven himself, because our poverty gave Him the chance.

When I said sorry, no scooter, it wasn't hard.  

You see, they don't need a scooter. They have bikes. They have their legs to run with, balls to throw. Trees to hide behind. They have minds that, when pressed, think up new, exciting, thrilling games. They have each other.

The less I give them, the more they have--both spiritually and mentally.

Think of it this way. When there's just a dirt floor, little food, no furniture, and no plan for tomorrow, He's all there is.

Everything added to this dirt-floor picture that isn't a need, blurs Him. Until eventually, He's gone.

No, I don't want dirt floors here. And yes, I'm grateful for the soccer ball. 

But I want Him to shine brightest.  

No is wise. Yes is easy, but cheap. All roads don't lead to Him and we get to choose.

No to the world of gluttony and comparison and greed. 

Yes to Him.

It hit me that they have a faith in The Rock and a trust in Him that allows them to run. They run with abandon. They run with joy. They follow Him because He is all they have and they get that He is all they need.

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