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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Can You Give Too Much?

And just like that, we’re headed home. Early yesterday morning, Joy and I packed up our stuff. I am so happy to come home to Dan, Madeline, Davis and Baby Charlotte. I am so happy not to miss Baby C’s first birthday on Monday. But it’s all bittersweet because I also packed up the sweet outfits, the socks, the shoes, even the underwear I had packed for Hannah and Joseph to wear on the flight home with me. And it’s all coming back to Atlanta unworn.

The details of our case are not simple. Our lawyer did a great job, she certainly prepared us as much as possible. It just didn’t quite play out like anyone imagined. I can’t share many of the details on here but we had a hard day in court on Thursday. Please continue to pray that God’s will be done and that the judge will rule in accordance with His plans on December 16th.

On this trip, we spent much time with the Dutch missionaries that SixtyFeet supports, Nathalie and Werner. We spent many, many hours in their car (thanks to traffic like I have never seen in my life) and had a chance to see much of the area in and around the city of Kampala. So many of the “homes” in this place are structures most of us would consider unfit for our pets. Truly, my lawnmower has a nicer home than many of the adults, children and babies we encountered.

When we drove by these slums or passed young, teenage mothers on the street begging with their babies, my first instinct was to reach into my wallet and start handing money to these people. Because I came to Uganda to complete an adoption, I (for once) had quite a bit of cash on me. I sat in Nathalie and Werner’s car and imagined myself running into the slums handing out dollar bills to every person I encountered. Imagine!! I thought, how many people I could feed with this money just sitting in my wallet.

I know, I know… we’ve all read the “When Helping Hurts” book. I know we’re supposed to direct our giving in responsible, targeted ways that will help people in the long run. And, as a good American, my goal should always be to help people help themselves, right? Well, sometimes you don't have time to come up with a smart, reponsible, American business plan. Something you just want to help. And once we get to Heaven, I really don't think there is going to be condemnation for people who give too much money or have too much compassion on the poor. Seriously.

Out on the roads yesterday, I told Nathalie that if I saw one more young child carrying a baby on her back, I thought my heart would literally break in two. I wanted to put on my sunglasses, turn away and pretend that these things were not happening just on the other side of the car window. And yet I kept forcing myself to look because I never, ever want to forget. During my time in Uganda, I have been asking the Lord to deeply impress these images on my heart and mind.

I pray that the Lord will use these images and experiences to help me live simply and sacrificially. I also pray that Jesus will be glorified through our adoption journey. In this teeny, tiny country in Africa, there are 2.5 million orphans. Dan and I are hoping to soon bring the toll to 2.5 million, minus 2. And friends, that number means that there are a whole lot left.

Do you have a little extra love in your heart? Don’t worry about whether or not you have extra room in your house or in your car or enough money in the bank because the Lord will deal with that part. Pray and ask the Lord how He’d have you serve these 2.5 million orphans. Ask Him to take away your fear and your desire to live life according to your plan – and then ask Him to show you what you can do.

“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 in words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” --1 John 3:17-18


Tara said...

Sweet Shelly, you have been and will continue to be in my prayres. I am so impressed at your willingness to follow God and His plan, no matter what it is! Waiting on the Lord is not easy, but he promises we will gain strength as we wait. I heard that if we wait on an event, or a husband, or a child then we will grow weak, but if we wait on the Lord we will become stronger! I can see you getting stronger through your blogs! Love you and hope to see you in a couple of weeks!

Danny said...

Wow, what a story. I just had your page forwarded to me. I pray that God moves in this judge and opens the doors for you to bring these two children to live with you. I've had many families around me involved in adoptions and the long process that sometimes is connected with it. Part of me thinks that we may eventually adopt as well, part of me is saying 'No, don't want to do it!' But I know that it isn't about what I want, but what God wants.

God bless!

Connie Miller said...

Shelly and Dan,
Wow, what is God up to? Your amazing story is humbling and inspiring. I pray these children will come to live with you as you pour and empty yourselves into your family for eternal value, to God's glory, and furthering His kingdom through them here on earth. Love y'all.

Jane said...

my heart is sad, but know God knows what He is doing. Praying for all of you.

love said...

i love all of this and feel it with you. and my answer is yes. there is room in my heart. room in our hearts and i cannot wait to watch God move.
praying for you all.