Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ndyamuhaki Joseph

Apparently being pregnant really does mean you have lots of crazy hormones that do things like make you hyper-emotional. I love reading, and I've been stuck at home (due also to pregnancy issues - aka really bad morning sickness) Tragically, on Monday I ran out of books to read -- so I got online to read some of my favorite blogs - and stumbled upon Compassion International's "Uganda Blog Week" - I spent most of the day reading the blogs of people who had gone with Compassion to Uganda to meet their sponsored kids, and describe some of the stuff that Compassion is doing over there. Their accounts were incredible - I spent most of the day with tears streaming down my face . . . and as a result, Adam and I decided we needed to sponsor a child from Uganda. So, meet Ndyamuhaki Joseph (who Adam has already decided we will call "Aki") He is 3 years old and an orphan. He lives with his grandmother in a small home (by the way - that's not his ACTUAL home but one that is typical of the area he lives in) He has 5 brothers and sisters, and enjoys soccer and singing -- how cute is he??!! We were thinking about our own little one and hoping that someday our child can pray for Ndyamuhaki with us, and learn about other countries, about how rich we really are and about what it means to give. Adam and I are excited to see how our gift every month can be multiplied over there. We will give $32 a month, while the typical person's monthly wages in his village are the equivalent of just $3 a month!

Watching the videos, seeing the pictures and reading the descriptions of the way these kids live and the poverty they grow up in, of course, prompted me to think about the kiddos I work with downtown Atlanta. Some of our friends who have been to Africa on a missions trip tell us that our descriptions of the projects and how they live is similar to what they experienced over there --- of course, the kids in Atlanta live in actual homes with four walls, electricity and running water - so comparatively they are much better off. But in many ways, their experiences are still similar. Many of the kids I work with wont eat three meals a day, dont have parents at home to take care of them, or clean clothes to wear each day. But something kept nagging at my heart, a fundamental difference between impoverished African children and impoverished American kids. Finally, watching a video of the kids in Uganda squealing (literally) in delight over blowing bubbles - I realized what that difference really is: the kids in Atlanta lack joy, they experience a kind of emotional and spiritual poverty that forces them to stop being kids far before they should. Three year olds in the projects would probably scoff at bubbles being for "babies" rather than squealing at the pure wonder of them. My heart continues to be seared by the words these kids fling carelessly at each other, at the strength with which they can push you away and the glint of hardness in their eyes where you should see only innocence.

All this to say, I am excited about the opportunity to help a little boy, and excited about the ways our own hearts will be changed through giving of ourselves, but I am even more excited to be sharing the love of Christ with the kids right here in my backyard who are just as impoverished as little Ndyamuhaki.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child through Compassion, you can do so here

If you're interested in sponsoring a child in Atlanta through Metro Kidz (the ministry I work for) you can learn more about the Won-by-One sponsorship program and sponsor online here

Friday, February 15, 2008

Rediscovering Grace

To be honest, I've been spending more time thinking about making it through each day (morning sickness? yeah right - more like "all-the-time-sickness") then about being a mom. But when thoughts of motherhood DO occur to me, they bring with them waves of anxiety. I mean, I dont know how to be a mom - I dont know what to say to my friends, or sisters, or girls in my small group - how will I know what to say to the person I am responsible for??!! I dont know how not to lose my patience - I yell at the dogs in frustration on a nearly-daily basis (not sure I should be admitting that . . . ) Everyone assures me it's different with your children, but I think my anxiety stems from this underlying fear that "bad" becca will emerge - the Becca I remember from years ago who would lose her temper with her sisters, say horrible things to her parents, who hurt herself and others at every chance she got - - - I'm afraid that she is simply hiding under this veneer of kindness and gentility I've set up so carefully- and when I get frazzled (as I'm sure I will as a parent) she will return full force.

I was reminded, however, this past week of a vital truth: I am a NEW CREATION. The fullness of grace and forgiveness found in that realization is, quite simply, stunning. I need to stop living out of fear of my sinfulness emerging, and start living out of the truth of my identity in Christ. That old me? the sinful, mean, horrible me? She is gone, covered by the blood of Christ. Not that I dont have tendencies to sin and make mistakes - but if I live out of my new identity, and let the Spirit live through me, I will have the fruit of the Spirit - the patience, gentleness, humility, kindness, self-control that I need to be a good mother.

Even beyond the freeing grace of being a new creation, a wise friend reminded me of the further grace Christ offers in parenting. First of all, she told me, I need to realize that I will screw up - I will make mistakes, I will say and do the wrong things, I will sin and I will NOT be the perfect parent (which is strangely freeing even just to put in words) -- but it is in those weaknesses and shortcomings that my child will turn to the Lord. If we were perfect, they wouldnt recognize their need for the only perfect Father. What grace is that!! In my weakness, He is strong! It is ok for me to be flawed, because MY beloved Father will step in and fill the empty spaces for my child that I leave -- and that's every parent's greatest desire anyways right? Adam and I can only pray that in our weaknesses, our child fill find the Father's perfections and the Savior's redeeming grace!

Monday, February 4, 2008

It's Official . . .

We're going to be parents!!! I cannot even begin to explain the range of emotions I feel every time I realize this anew. Since hearing/seeing the heartbeat today, the most accurate assessment of my emotions right now would be overwhelmed (although not in a bad way) I am blown away by the realization that God is knitting together a tiny person, complete with a beating heart, inside of me! I am amazed by its ability to make me feel like I could vomit or pass out from exhaustion at any moment. I am scared of being a mom, of making mistakes and messing my kid up . . . but most of all, I am excited to see all the ways God is going to use this new stage of our lives to knit Adam and I even tighter together, to build our faith and dependence on Him, and to draw us into a fuller realization of the depths of His love.


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