Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hard Questions, Tough Answers

Yesterday was our regularly scheduled playdate with friends. I like to think of it as Wonderful Wednesday's because letting the kids play while I get to visit with life long friends is doubly wonderful!

A few months back, after the Jen Hatmaker conference, all of us Momma's were discussing how we wanted to take the opportunities in our every day moments to teach our kids different realities that exist within the world so that they are aware of what could be and also give them tangible ways to be thankful for what they do have. I must say this is a hard idea to approach. Looking at and then trying to explain some peoples realities to my kids has definitely been challenging.

One of the harsh realities is the fact that there are homeless people. It's not every day that we drive by a homeless person, but this past week we have seen several and it always leaves me wondering, what should I do? Offer money? Give them an unopened water bottle that's sitting in my cup holder? Lock the doors and look the other way? What's the right response? What would Jesus' response be?

It's hard to know what to say sometimes and how to answer my precious little boys questions when they ask things like, "Why is he homeless? Why doesn't he have any food? Where is his family?" Even at their young ages they recognize and pick up on the fact that its not right for someone to not have all their essential needs met, that it seems crazy that they don't have a cozy bed to sleep in or a loving family to go home to. On the one hand, my kids' "normal" is a good one and for that I'm so thankful, they think having a home, a family, a car, food in not one but two refrigerators and filling up our pantry is "normal"…but explaining to them that its not everyone's reality has been challenging and thought provoking.

I want myself and my kids to always be aware and sensitive to others around us. So, us Momma's were talking one day and threw out the idea to pack bags for the homeless that we could keep in our cars and hand out whenever we came across someone in need. So yesterday, we gathered at a park with all different supplies and packed some sacks. The kids were able to do it pretty well (with some assistance) and I look forward to the first opportunity to give away what we have packed with love. I hope as my kids watch what happens that they'll be impacted to always give what they can to others and to assist in a positive way. It's often hard to find "ministry opportunities" where young children like ours can participate so I loved the fact that they were able to pack these bags, see what all was going into them and to know that they'll be helping someone who is in need even though they are young.
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I'm certain that this is just the first of many challenging topics and conversations to come. I hope that these talks, while driving around in our normal, regular, routines, will spur on more thought provoking questions and answers. And for the moments when I don't know what to say or how to answer, I pray that God will give me the words.

I love that "just doing something" can be small, it doesn't have to be Earth shattering or a totally new concept. Being challenged by Jenn Hatmaker to "just do something…anything" has pretty much been the mantra that keeps going round and round inside my head the last few months.

4 comments:

  1. 9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

    13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

    14“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

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  2. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

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  3. It becomes a bit easier to talk to kids when we have scripture to assist. When children see our shortcomings (being thankful that we are not like those 'sinners', seeking ways to serve the Lord to merely bring attention to ourselves) they see Jesus more clearly.

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  4. The real difficult questions are those like, "Mommy (or Daddy), why do we have such a large home when Jesus lived as a homeless man?". Those are the type of questions that allow us to "not even look up to heaven and cry out, "Lord have mercy on me, a sinner." Those type of questions I want my children to ask. They question church, parents, polite society and affirm the living Christ.

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