Changing my Answer
May 14, 2014
This is a post I wrote recently for our church’s upcoming Renew Weekend, a weekend set aside to support organizations that fight injustice and hunger and loneliness. So why am I sharing it here? Because I love my church, I believe in Renew Weekend, and I want you to join the rebellion in your own city. And also because my child continues to amaze (and humble) me so I look for any and all opportunity to talk about him.
My husband and I went to a benefit dinner last week for an organization fighting human trafficking. As I was getting ready, our almost-3-year-old boy came in the bathroom. “Where are you going, mommy?” he asked. I started to say something vague about going to dinner and coming right back, but decided to tell him the truth instead. I told him I was going to learn about all the little boys and girls around the world who don’t have houses or toys like ours or mommies or daddies to take care of them. We talked about all the blessings God has given us, and all the resources we have to bless others.
“Mommy and Daddy are going to learn what our family can do to help those families,” I said.
Overkill, I thought. I should’ve stuck with the vague answer. Little boys don’t care much about conversing unless it involves the mention of Lightning McQueen or chicken nuggets.
But, surprisingly, he was listening. He thought for a second and said, “They don’t have mommies or daddies?” “No, buddy.” I responded. “Or houses?” “Not like ours.”
Without thinking, he said, “So they gonna come over and we gonna share?”
I finished getting ready, putting on the outfit and jewelry I impulse-bought the week before, as I thought of how to respond. My insides were twisting. All I could come up with was, “No, buddy. We aren’t bringing anyone home tonight.”
I wanted to scream.
He’s a toddler. He doesn’t know what’s happening or the gravity of the situation.
But I do.
I know that women and children are enslaved and abused around the world as we speak, bought and sold like old lawn mowers. I know that families in our country are being ripped apart by drugs and alcohol, leaving little room for hope of a better life. I know that women in this city are terrified, feeling utterly alone, as they wrestle with unplanned pregnancies. I know that children are going hungry at the school down the street, stomachs growling as they try to focus on what their teacher is saying.
I know these things, yet – for the most part – go on living as if I don’t. We give money here and there and volunteer occasionally, but our lives reflect little difference.
As I looked my little boy in the face last week and told him his daddy and I were going to a nice dinner to talk and learn (and maybe give the smallest fraction of our money), I was horribly unsatisfied. We can do better.
Talking…learning…spending more on clothes and entertainment monthly than we invest in ending human trafficking annually…this isn’t the answer I want for our family. It isn’t the answer I want for our church. It certainly isn’t the answer I want for the name of Jesus.
I want to give a different answer.
It’s a good thing Renew Weekend is coming up in a few weeks. You know why? Because Renew is about different answers. Big, uncomfortable, sacrificial, rebellious answers. It’s about joining a movement that says, “We’ve talked, we’ve learned, and now we’re rebelling. We refuse to accept the way things are.”
Renew is a rebellion against a life of comfort and ease, far removed from the brokenness of the world around us. It is a movement from hopelessness to redemption. It’s a really, really important weekend.
But. Before we can start a rebellion, we’ve got to know what we’re rebelling against.
I invite you to set aside time to read this website in its entirety. Spend time marinating in the discomfort of words like orphaned, aborted, displaced, hungry, poor, trafficked, and troubled.
Click around. Read. Learn. See. Be disturbed.
Because in a few weeks, we have the opportunity to act. We have a chance to change our answer.
Study up on what God is doing through these organizations so that, on Renew Weekend, we can find our place in His rebellion. What a hope-filled and exciting weekend of worship that will be!