Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Battle With In Me

As most every other parent in the USA I am in the midst of Christmas Crazy. Wrapping, shopping, balancing my lists to make sure each child is going to open EQUAL presents.

I have STRUGGLED with even what to get my 5 children this year.  I am a gift giver. I LOVE to give gifts. People who do not share this love language can't understand this. Though I think as moms, we all love to give and see our chidren's faces light up as they tear into packages. 

But with 5 children, FOUR of those girls, we have it all. So I find myself making up things they "need" just to be sure they get something to open. I find myself bending to the challenge of getting the gift that is sold out and hard to find. I find myself buying simply so they can open. 

Not all true. I actually tried to put some practicality into my choices this year. Things that will be used instead of played with. We did set a budget (Thank you Dave Ramsey) and amazingly I stuck to it. Something I typically struggle with. 

Part of our gift giving involves donating to a cause in different peoples names. In lieu of teacher gifts we choose to give in their honor to the cause we feel is needed.  It has been much better received than any of the other creative "junk" I have given.  And so today as I sat down to figure out what we will be doing I was consumed with sadness.  We have contacted Chenzhou, and they said they are in need of warm clothing for the kids. One of my amazing team members  , Megan,  did a clothing drive to get clothes over.  I wish you could all know her heart for the orphan. I wish you could all know HER. Love that girl and SOOO thankful I get her as my team member!  She was able to send over 3 suitcases of clothes. She was guessing that was about 50 outfits! WOW!  Our family is in the process of giving more warm clothes to add to that. Because the thought of my babies over there in the cold, while I sit here in my warm house with my warm clothes, makes me so sick. 

It puts things into perspective when I start wrapping up the toys for MY children, that around the world, those kids, whom I also consider MINE, are freezing.  Just because I can't adopt all of them, I know that God has called me to care for Chenzhou, as if it is my own. 

It causes a battle in me. The battle to fit in with this world I live in. Of designer boots, dream vacations and i-phones/i-pads-pods, etc. And the battle to sell out for what tugs at my heart.  Am I wrong to want things for ME and for my children?  I don't know. I don't think we are ALL called to sacrifice those things. BUT if God has laid it on MY heart to REALLY care for the orphan, THEN is it wrong if I choose ME over them?  Is that what I am doing, choosing me? No one can argue my heart for orphans. Obviously I plan to return in July, so is that enough?  Is it enough to raise funds to send over bumbo seats or send a few fruit baskets for the nannies to enjoy? To provide air conditioning? To keep the communication lines open, reminding them I still think of them? Somehow it does not feel enough. It feels like things I can check off the list. Not that those are not great, because they ARE.  I am SO thankful that the Lord has allowed me to be a part of this story of helping the kids of Chenzhou with bumbos and air conditioning.  I don't take those lightly. They are GOOD things. 

But is it enough? From ME? That is the question.


Mary @ Noah Baby said...

Wonderfully insightful post. I am often plagued by the same feelings (in regards to all the foster children in the system, especially my own relatives). It is a very difficult balance to strike, taking care of yourself and your family and providing for those in need.

We live in a material world, one that does not value laying your life down for others. I know that God implored us to give up all worldly things. Heck, Jesus was still giving while dying on the cross. But, assure yourself, God does read your heart and he knows that you do value the afflicted above yourself.

I've been reading this particular blog post over and over again. It has really put into perspective the things that are done for your children and others that you may not consider "gifts". You may not think that you are a big enough giver but you are giving more than you know:

Amy said...

Oh read MY heart. I struggle so much with this and even more so as I know MY baby is over there cold while the others get gifts they probably won't play with 1 month from now. So is our abundance wrong? How do I rectify in my mind our comforts when others have NOTHING!I soooo hope Julia and I get to go on that mission trip because I would LOVE to meet you and your sweet, kind heart in person! What is we give it all away so we too have nothing? I know that sounds silly. I think God gives some more so that we can then give to those without. Sadly, so many with LOTS give nothing! Please know our family is always willing and wanting to help with CHenzhou! We hope to travel the end of January. Merriest of Christmas to you and your family! Amy Hatcher

Charlie said...

Shannon, I always feel so convicted around this time of year. We are so blessed! Yet, I find myself continuously asking for more. Going to China the first time put everything into perspective. Seeing how people on the other side of the world lives is life changing. I cannot wait to go back again, and I cannot wait to finally meet you this summer. I feel like I have known you for so long, and I have not even been able to give you a hug yet :)

Love for Lilly Yin said...

Just gave some more winter clothes to Jinhua too. I did not know you could sent the clothes over, I need to do that.
It makes me so sad that SWIs need warm clothing.....

Jodi said...

I'm with you too!