When I first read her story on the screen, I want to drive a for sale sign into the front lawn and sell all the pigs.
Mainly because I don’t think I can shoe horn a few hundred hogs into a suitcase — and there’s now way around it: my heart’s already left on a jet plane for Africa.
Because here I am with the clean and the climbing in North America, and Katie is with the dirty and descending in Uganda and I lay in bed at night, listening to the coyotes howl in the woods, and I wonder where each of us is headed.
Isn’t up really down and down really up when you’re in Christ? Isn’t the point that we want to give our lives away? How do we give our lives away? Is that what it means to be centered on Christ, the God who so loved, He gave?
I walk through the rotting stench of a dump in Guatemala, step over open, running sewers, the carcasses of dead rats, try not to think about the bones of God, about the skeleton of my gaunt faith, and how do you grab your one stubborn life by the horns and turn it all around?
I measure the mudroom and go to the hardware store and we buy door jams and plywood and cans of paint and we build 2 new closets to hang hooks to hang coats and it comes in the mail that day — a letter and photo from our Xiomara in Guatemala.
How can I forget her kitchen and she had no closets? I sit on the floor of our kitchen with running water, with her carefully pencilled words right here in my hand, lean my head against the wall, and I close my eyes. The room smells like fresh paint.
How to be the aroma of Christ?
How can comfortable Christianity ever be Christ’s Christianity?
Is it even possible to be a radical Christ-follower — and own a mini-van, have more than one bathroom, order clothes from Land’s End, and lay your head down on a pillow when He had none? Really? What is the North American church really supposed to do? Anyone want to buy the hogs so we can go? What are mothers really supposed to do?
When Katie sends me the galley of her book, I read it in the dark of a still house. We all have beds. Some share. The refrigerator does hum on and on. I don’t know at all what I am supposed to do.
I turn pages, read her story of forsaking the American dream for God-sized dreams. How she picks out scabies burrowing deep into brown skin. How she rocks malnourished babies and sings of Jesus loving them, this she knows. She tells me that if only 8 percent of Christians would care for just one more child, there wouldn’t be any orphans or needy children left.
And what about the soul bankrupt neighbors next door? The lonely widow at church that I last spoke to when there was snow on the ground? The terrified single mama of five who is battling an aggressive cancer and I haven’t got a meal to her yet? What are mothers supposed to do?
Christ is with the poor and Christ-centric Christianity knows no other orbit but around the aching and the breaking — around the corner and down the street and across the ocean. And what does my life revolve around?
I can hear how Katie laughs love over bent, poor frames and I read her notes of giving thanks to God for all these graces and I see her smile and how everyday she simply wakes up and just says yes to what God gives her wherever she is and the only joy that saves the world is radical joy in Him.
Can we only live lives for God if we keeping company with God, relationship alone compelling us to do mission for God?
So is this the thing: after the heart is won to God, how do we keep the heart with God? Who has a real plan for this? Isn’t this what we have to figure out?
Because only a life contemplating the love of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ.
Because all radical Christianity is first rooted in relationship Christianity — with Christ and His children. Right where we are. And love always moves. Always rippling outward, onward, forever homeward.
There’s love in a loaf of bread.
I don’t know who I’m trying to kid — No one’s going to buy the pigs. The Farmer’s hands, they are made for dirt and I made the vow — where he goes, I will go. And I pick up a pen and write a letter to Xiomara, to all our sponsored Compassion children. Sponsorship my very real, radical means of going now — because it’s never the cheque that we write out every month that matters. It is the love in the letters that we write.
There’s love in a letter.
Love is the only thing that ever changed me — and Love is the only thing that will ever change the world — and love is the only thing that is the real radical.
It is the love in the letters that make the difference — because love is that which is eternal. Ever lasting.
I look in the mirror in the mudroom and this is what mothers can do: Love. Mothers in North America doing what Katie in Uganda is doing: Loving. Loving first and foremost Christ. Loving the people here, loving the people there, just loving wherever. Love has no limits and it can’t be contained and when we have a radical love for God, God takes care of the location of where the love flows.
When I finish my letter to Xiomara, finish asking her about school and her Mama and her grandmama, I close with how Jesus loves her and I close up the edge of the envelope and think of Katie loving on the children…
and I seal my letter with a kiss.
Might you consider loving a on a child through Compassion who really needs, more than anything, to know Jesus-Love? You can send love from right where you are.
Most importantly — Have you written your Compassion Child lately? It’s the love in the letters that matters most — His love the only thing that can change anything. Consider writing in community with other sponsorships — same time, same “place” every month, and share content ideas for letters and encouragement as you love… Just grab a pen, friend!
Every Wednesday, we Walk with Him, posting a spiritual practice that draws us nearer to His heart. To read the entire series of spiritual practices
Next Week, might we explore: The Discipline of Living Christ-Centric. What does it mean to live with Jesus in the center of our lives?
Today, if you’d like to share with community: The Discipline of Living Christ-Centric. … just quietly slip in the direct URL to your exact post….. If you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other by sharing the community’s graphic within your post.