Giving to Guatemala

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Audacious Living

I am so grateful to be a part of Northstar Church. The body of believers that I spend time with on a weekly basis is like none other. The presence of the Spirit is so powerful when you walk through the doors each week, it's almost chilling. For the last few weeks, Pastor Scott has been preaching a series titled 'Audacious: The key to God-sized living' and it has been incredible.

Today, was just as moving. At the end of the message, Scott asked us to do something audacious. He shared that one of the ministries we partner with in Knoxville, Water Angels, is always needing shoes. Having done ministry work there many, many times before, I knew that the need for shoes and clothing is always great there. I have seen people there with duck tape holding their shoes together. He also shared that another ministry we partner with in Guatemala is always needing shoes as well. Having been to Guatemala twice now, I know that need all too well. The first year I went, I left my shoes there to be given to someone who needed them much more than I needed them. The second year I was there, I was on a buggy ride through Antigua when I saw an elderly woman sitting on the side of the street with no shoes. I was immediately convicted to get her a pair of shoes. We were making our way back around the block and she was gone. I have no idea where she went and really no way of finding her. I still think about that feeling in my stomach that I had when I realized that I had let an opportunity to show the love of Christ slip by me. As the thoughts of all that I have witnessed while serving "the least of these" flooded my heart, Scott asked us if we felt led to do so to bring the shoes that we were wearing and leave them for these ministries. Yep, take off our shoes, leave them at the alter and leave barefooted. This morning when I was getting ready, I put on my favorite pair of fall shoes. The only pair that is truly comfortable enough for me to wear all day long without my knee, back, or ankle hurting halfway through. I'm not going to lie, it would have been easy for me to say, 'Sorry, Lord. You know the daily pain that I go through with my back and knee. You can't have these shoes. Any other pair you can have, but not these.' And honestly, that thought went through my head more than once. But as I tried to push that tugging feeling out of my chest, it was all I could do to continue standing. I have a closet, make that two closets, full of shoes. I have sandals, tennis shoes, boots, wedges, heels, flats, and flip-flops galore. Not to even mention the fact that I have the financial ability to replace any pair that I give away.So before I could wrestle with the fact any longer, I walked my shoes to the alter, with the prayer that they reach someone in need of the love of Christ and that they feel His presence as soon as they put them on.
I can't even begin to describe the feeling of seeing so many men, women, and children take their shoes and leave them for someone in need. To be the hands, or in this case, the feet of Jesus was just amazing. On the way home to get another pair of shoes, Lily and I talked about what it meant to leave our shoes at the alter. Lily has been waiting for Gracie to grow out of a pair of cowboy boots so she could wear them. Today, Lily got to wear the boots for the first time. She was so excited about those boots, waiting and waiting for her first pair of cowboy boots. Today, she gave them up. I told her I was so proud of her and her words back were simple: "I've been waiting for those to be my boots because I really wanted a pair. I got to wear them one time, but some people don't even have one pair of shoes to wear so I can give those boots up so that they can have shoes." She got it. She understood that it wasn't about getting to go out and get a new pair because, it wasn't about them not fitting exactly right and being uncomfortable anyways that she might as well give them to someone else. She understood that it was something out of the ordinary, something that Jesus would have done, something that would show Jesus to those around her.
I feel like sometimes I've gotten so caught up in this fast-paced, more is better, world that I have forgotten that there are some who will be sleeping on the ground tonight. There are some, who will go without a meal so that their food supply stretches a little farther this week. There are some, who will bury their children because they didn't have proper medical care, and there are some who will give their children up in hopes for a better life for them. My heart has always been, Lord break my heart for what breaks Yours...and today, He didn't fail me. It was completely broken