There was once a time in my life when I wanted the things that I did to matter, but I didn't know how. I didn't know what to do.
I became a foster parent because I knew God was leading towards that. But it's funny how, even though everyone tells you that you're doing a wonderful thing for God, it can be such a selfish enjoyment of loving the children that it doesn't feel like it's for God at all. It wasn't enough to satisfy my longing to give God my everything, my every moment, my every day.
I adopted my girl. My Precious. Again I was told "It's a wonderful thing you're doing." But it only felt wonderful to me, I kept expecting that giving God my everything, my every day, my every moment, would somehow be more difficult.
Now some 11 years later, I'm on my 10th foster child, working on adopting her too, and about to move to India to help with a Children's home, and assist 13 pastors and their wives as they minister to at least 30 area villages.
And again, it's so exciting a thought, right now, that I can hardly imagine that this could be the challenging, fearful life of giving my Jesus everything of me. I keep waiting for it to be hard.
But each step has been the easiest decision of my life, and in every case so far - they have been the most joyful, most poignant, profound, "truly feel like I'm alive" experiences.
So today, in trying to do things that matter, the list is too long. I know things that need to be done but there is just not enough time or money to accomplish them all in one fell swoop.
Project 1 - Sending 100 Bibles in the Telugu language. I eventually want to have placed 3 separate orders for 100 Bibles, but in the interest of getting the Bibles there quickly I need to make small steps. Currently, when pastors go to a village and preach if a new believer asks for a Bible so they could read the scriptures for themselves - none is available, or sometimes only a New Testament.
Project 2 - 15 Sewing Machines. The pastors do not take a 2nd job. They do this so that they are able to daily minister to congregation(s) - often it is plural because each is usually responsible for more than one villages church since there are more villages than pastors. Their churches are NOT run like ours!!! They sometimes have 3-5 services a week, plus random "memorials" (a prayer meeting with a short sermon) if someone in the congregation wants to hold a memorial for someone on the anniversary of their death. They do many other things as well, including street preaching and hospital visitation. Since the pastors do not take a 2nd job, they live solely off the tithes that come in. In the small villages of poverty stricken India - often that means the pastors could live off as little as $80-$100 a month. The sewing machines will be for their wives to be able to sew clothes and earn a bit of extra money for their family.
Project 3 - Esther. She's a young girl living in the children's home. Loves to sing and has a beautiful heart. She is very nearly blind, with only about 20% of her vision. She needs a surgery (which we think will cost around $500). It won't fix her completely, but it will take her from nearly blind, to about 60% seeing, which, considering the hardships she will already be facing trying to live and support herself (I don't even see how she can??) in India, this is very important. So this surgery is necessary, and the sooner the better, to help her get her education and better herself as much as she can.
There are many other projects that don't have fully formed plans yet. There is land needed to be able to plant crops so that the children's home could be a bit more self-sustaining. There is a need to help the children once they've finished their basic education to hopefully move into higher education so they can move beyond the hunger and poverty they have grown up in. There is a need to provide certain village families with seeds or sheep/goats or a buffalo to help them be able to meet their most basic physical needs with a small business. There is also a need for teachers to teach the children in the children's home so they will receive a good education without trials - currently, since these children are of a low caste considered "untouchable" when they go to school they are made to sit separate from the other children and are not even allowed to drink water from the barrel the other children drink from (sound familiar to anyone out there?).
And I'm only getting started.
There are so many needs that prioritizing has become necessary. Before, I prayed to know how to spend my life, my time, my money, desiring earnestly to give them all to God. Now I have more needs than there is of myself to expend. I would feel overwhelmed, but I can only imagine that this just means God will make more of me than I imagined.
Tonight, as I posted yet another item onto Craigslist, I typed out the poem written on a blanket I was selling. The last stanza reads:
Oh Lord, I ask for guidance
In everything I do,
And pray You'll make my music
An instrument for you.
It hit home tonight how God has been answering this prayer for the last several years in ways I never imagined. Events that only time could show the outcomes, leave me looking back in amazement. And while my music has slowly faded, with little opportunity to play anymore, I've changed the words
"my music" out for "my life".
I pray You'll make my life
An instrument for You.