Heartache

The stories emerging from the Haitian earthquake are as bad, and worse, than I could ever imagine. The photos are stark and terrifying. The mind recoils; human bodies should not be gathered up in bulldozers and taken to mass graves, entire families should not simply cease to exist. It overwhelms the imagination.

 

At this moment, people are organizing, gathering, tabulating, flying, recovering, ministering, grieving, comforting, distributing, cleaning, and working to help the people in Haiti. I wish I could go. I think most people like me feel the same way. But we can’t.

 

So we stay at home. We change diapers. We feed mouths. We shop. We clean bathrooms. We teach minds. We arbitrate disputes. We do laundry. And we pray. We pray for miracles to surface, for hope to rise, for comfort to reign. 

 

And we give our pennies. We send help the only way we can: with our wallets. There are so many good places to drop your gift, so many noble organizations who will use your money responsibly and carefully. I have listed a few below (plus a couple of links that will enable you to help without spending a dime).

 

We hope it’s not too little. We trust that He will multiply.

 

Compassion International’s Haiti fund (or simply click the button to the left)

 

Pioneer Woman’s generous giveaway (she’s giving per comment, so leave one!)

 

Here‘s a site where you can help out, and possibly win some really neat stuff, for just ONE dollar. Hope for Haiti has gathered together all sorts of raffles where you can donate just one dollar and be entered to win anything from jewelry from Lisa Leonard to a Prada bag. The more raffles you enter (for just one dollar each) the more you help, and the more chances you have to win. This is the brainchild of Jenny Buttler from Simply Delightful Designs, and I think it’s an amazing opportunity.

 

Shel who blogs at Large Family, Many Blessings, is donating $5 per comment, so head over there too!

 

Red Cross donations

 

Real Hope for Haiti is taking donations here

 

World Vision’s contribution page is here

Hearken, or Harden?

If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart. (ps.95:7&8)

It’s hard to avoid, the hardening of one’s heart. One has to guard against it at all times. This old world rubs us raw, and we either shrink away or allow the callous to form.

 

Our hearts can become hardened through sheer overload. We feel helpless, we shut off that part of our consciousness that hurts when we think of the horrors of the world. Because we do not think we can make a difference, we do not think at all. It’s defensive.

 

But it’s also wrong.

 

Jesus was not a fan of the hard heart. He sought at every opportunity to pummel and buffet the crusty clods of His disciples’ hearts into something malleable and soft. He watered it with His tears and broke it up with His actions, until He had something He could work with.

 

Painful stuff, that tilling of hardened clay. But the end result is a vessel capable of pouring out His love and hope to others. When we feel that pang of horror at the harsh reality of this world, let us not turn away, but allow the Lord to bring forth the fruit of it. As with childbirth, the pangs may be telling us it’s time to push…time to labor so that someone else may have life.

 

It’s been hard at times to read the accounts of the bloggers over in the Dominican Republic this week, writing about the work there on behalf of some of the neediest of the needy. There have been times that it would have been easier to just close the window and watch youtube instead. Shrink away, put up a wall…harden. Anesthetise the pang.

 

But if you have read any of the accounts, you know that there is a way to help. A soft heart doesn’t have to throb with pain…it finds peace through doing what it was created to do: pouring out onto others.

 

Perhaps you have meant to sponsor a child for a while now, and have simply not gotten around to it. Perhaps you are only right now feeling twinges. Maybe you just need a little more information. Whatever the case, may I suggest that it might be the Lord’s voice you are hearing at this moment?

 

1 John 3:17-18 

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

 

Loving with actions and in truth. Whatever action He is calling you to, please don’t put it off. Don’t let your heart harden because the enemy is whispering the lie that you can’t make a difference. You can. And your labor…your efforts…will give life to someone else. What greater joy is there?

Comrades In Arms

Life is a battle, no doubt. But it is safe to say that not all of us are on the front lines at any given moment. Those of us who find ourselves in a relatively neutral zone of calm and contentment have a spiritual duty to lift up in prayer those who are dodging cannonballs. Would you spare a moment to pray for some beleaguered warriors today?

 

My heart is aching lately for my BFF since Jr. High whose sixteen year old daughter has recently been diagnosed through laparoscopy as having endometriosis. She (the daughter) is in a great deal of pain daily, and they are struggling to find the right course of treatment for her. She is feeling so very alone in her situation and would love to hear any words of encouragement, insight, or simple fellowship from someone who has been (or is) where she is, especially at such a young age. Is there anyone out there who could help? Please don’t hesitate to visit her blog at Beauty in the Mundane and let her know.

 

I have a brilliant friend, Kate, whose smallest son, Joshua, is undergoing surgery in about a week and a half for a complicated issue related to spina bifida. You can read more about it here and here, and see some pictures of what is possibly the most adorable little boy on the planet, but it all boils down to desperately wanting him out of pain. I’ll probably post again about this, closer to surgery time, but if you could just pray right now for peace all over Kate, it would be greatly appreciated.

 

Lastly, but not leastly, the Compassion bloggers who are right now on a trip to the Dominican Republic to try to shed some light on the desperate situation there. The button on my sidebar (left) will take you to links to all their blogs, and hopefully will remind us all to pray for the trip–for their safety, for their ability to accurately portray the need and the solution through the written word, and for many children to be released from poverty in Jesus’ name (as the Compassion slogan goes).

 

God is not made of clay. His ears are not dull to our cries and His arm is not too short to save. He moves on our behalf, in His unfathomable mercy! If we never ask, how can He do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think (Eph. 3:20)? I’m looking forward to Him showing off for me this week!

Maybe Today

So My Beloved and I took a little trip to see this guy with crazy hair give a concert, with the added perk of being able to visit with this beautiful chick who sometimes blogs a little, and even though I wound up crying all my makeup off and really tired out by the end of it from holding my “baby” who weighs about nine thousand pounds by now, we ended up sponsoring another child from Compassion–which was pretty much the whole point of the evening (aka saving lives)–and having our attitudes adjusted, so I have to count the whole evening a roaring success.

 

Y’all. It was a sight to see. People clustered around the Compassion table afterwards, picking up packets of information on how to sponsor a child and quite literally change someone’s world for the better. No one could walk by that table with all those little faces looking up at them and not be moved.

 

Well, unless they were, you know, some sort of android with a heart made of mechanical flotsam.

 

And even then, I’m not so sure.

 

By the time we said our goodbyes and (reluctantly) departed, there had been a sizeable dent made in the number of sponsor-less children. Dozens of children who wonder where their next meal is coming from will wonder no more because that guy with a zucchini arm was faithful to let the Lord use his (prodigious, amazing) talent, and his audience was open to that same Lord’s a-tuggin’ on their spirits.

 

And yet.

 

There were many children that remained unspoken for. They still wait. They still pray. They still hope that someday someone will pluck their name out of the many and say “I care.”

 

Perhaps that day is today. Perhaps that someone is you.