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The more pain and sorrow that we endure, adds to the degree to which we can relate, empathize, and speak truth and encouragement into each other with an increased credibility. PAIN is the kindling that fuels and refines the truest empathy.
I don’t know the journey of losing my son; or hearing “I don’t love you anymore” from your soon to be ex-husband; or not being able to have kids when it’s your greatest dream in your world; but the greater/universal emotion of loss, questioning, sorrow, struggle I can relate to. Because of my story, I can walk with the wounded and sit silently with the broken hearted. Because of my story, I can re-present Love with the credibility of one who has scraped or is presently scraping the bottom of the bucket of sorrow.
In some ways, I think my dad had it easy: these were the days before smart phones and email, laptops and Skype. The truth is, even if he didn’t have the rules in place that no one from his office was to contact him, they’d have had to work hard to find him anyway. All the technology that we have today is great, because we’re always connected; the downside of course, is that we’re always connected. It becomes really, really tough to fully unplug; worse still if you’re self-employed. Vacations turn into Working Vacations. Quiet strolls turn into Let-Me-Just-Take-This-One-Calls. And it’s easy to return from your vacation feeling like you need a vacation to recover from your vacation.
We pray that the scales of your eyes would be peeled back so you can see that we’re the piece you’ve been missing. We finish the painting. We are half of the whole. We pray that you begin to see that empty seat at the table – and when a woman fills that seat, there is finally an accurate representation of the character of God among those who shepherd His Church.
But I know in my heart that kids need to spend a fair amount of time bored out of their skulls. They need to learn how to be alone and quiet because that’s when the brain really revs up. If videos and snack food are not filling your time, your imagination kicks in.
And what happens to a child who has a screen put in front of him every time the world is not a perfectly functioning entertainment center geared to his age group? How does he learn patience? How does he learn stillness? How does he learn that world is not supposed to be a giant entertainment center geared especially toward him?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my marriage, it’s that my husband loves a good comparison, something he can wrap his brilliant manly mind around. So, since he is a finish carpenter, I threw out, “Suppose you go trim out a home, and are proud that you’ve finished the family room. You’ve done the mantle, railing, columns, whatever, and move onto the bedroom. You come back to the family room to grab another box of nails and see that someone has torn apart everything that you just did. So, you drop everything, redo the family room, and never make it to the bedroom before the day is over. Everything you had on the schedule for the next day has to be pushed aside, so you can start with the bedroom the next day. Needless to say, you arrive at the home, and once again…everything has been torn apart in the family room. Basically, it just feels like you’re never getting anywhere.”
You see, my advocacy for breastfeeding is coming from a humble, supportive heart instead of a know-it-all with no challenges. I now understand just a small bit – a very small bit – of how it feels when it hurts and it’s the middle of the night and you’re just so tired and you feel so inadequate for everything.
I respect you and your story, sister. This is mine. And we are both mums that do our best and sometimes that has to be enough.
I admit that part of me longs for the freedom I used to have, even as I’m living a pretty free kind of moment. It seems a waste of a beautiful morning, this longing. But nevertheless, there it is.
We’re doomed to be like sailors. We survive months at sea, driven only by thoughts of home. Not long after we finally reach shore, we find ourselves gazing at the ocean again. But none of this gazing negates the fact that my family gives me all I’ve ever known of any real kind of happiness. So now I gladly go pack my suitcase to return to the chaos that almost certainly awaits me.
I can’t be entirely off course because my kids still love me. At least that’s what they tell me when I put them in bed at night. They kiss me and hug me happily and I enjoy every morsel of their love. Then I close the door to their room, content that that is where they will stay, and go to my room to watch “Family Guy.”
It is not easy to consider the possibility that the distractions of the modern age have taken an undeserved priority over the people who matter in your life. In fact, when I admitted this difficult truth to myself almost two years ago, I experienced an emotional breakdown. However, that breakdown became a breakthrough that propelled me to begin my life-changing Hands Free journey.
Sponsor a child: I can't stress this enough. NOT ALL CHILDREN IN ORPHANAGES NEED TO BE ADOPTED. As people, especially as Westerners, we see kids languishing in orphanages and our first inclination is to want to put them in our suitcases and bring them all home with us. But the fact is that MOST children who are currently in orphanages have parents who are ALIVE who LOVE them and just don't have the means to care for them. Sponsoring a child is one of the best ways to help children remain with their parents and get out of orphanages. Child sponsorships vary from organization to organization but most include things like food, medical care, shelter, and school fees. Sponsorships typically range from $25-$50 per month. One other major benefit of child sponsorship is that in most cases, you get to communicate with your sponsored child. This makes for a great way for your children to get involved in orphan care!