I suppose that technically, I shouldn't go to the store until tomorrow. However, I am going to Walmart today. I'm going to buy luxurious items such as dish soap, toilet paper, bleach, plastic wrap, eggs, bread, and disposable razors! Never before have I considered such things to be luxuries, but indeed, my life is full of luxury for which I have never been so grateful. So, what has fasting from consumerism for 30 days done in my heart?
It's brought a much deeper awareness of my ability to make a difference. It's brought a much deeper revelation of my responsibility to make a difference. It's brought an awe of God's love for people that I've not previously experienced...A passion that has always been in my heart has been ignited...no, it was already ignited...the fire has been doused with gasoline and pumped full of oxygen...
Let me begin by saying that I hate fundraising with a passion. After only 3 days of school, Kaitlyn brought home a catalogue full of overpriced chocolates in cutsie little tins that she is expected to sell to all of the important people in her life. She's only 6!!! I think she's too young to be an aspiring saleswoman! So, I reiterate: I hate fundraising with a passion!
When we started our adoption, we knew we couldn't afford it or even hope to come close. We knew we couldn't take out a loan, as we wouldn't be able to afford to pay it back! So, we had to turn to our community for help. We sent out hundreds of support letters asking for people to sponsor our adoption. We sold half of what was in our house and convinced others to contribute to a huge yardsale. We sold pins and patches at biker events. The youth in our church had a car wash. One of our close friends, a French teacher, had his French Club raise money for our adoption. We were awarded grants. We went to area churches and gave a presentation about our adoption and how it reflects God's heart for people. We became professional fundraisers! And as much as I hate fundraising, looking back, I wouldn't have done it any other way. Because of the fact that we were financially unable, the door was opened for many others to come along with us on this amazing journey. Because of our need, we talked to so many people about adoption. As much as we need and appreciate all of the money we received, the most rewarding part is when other people have started to understand that as much as we love our Ethiopian children and have been willing to fight hard for them, God loves them so much more. Our adoption is such a tangible image of God's love and His willingness to give up everything and fight for us, His children.
So, what does this have to do with 30 Days of Nothing? Well, I was willing to do a fundraising campaign for our adoption, afterall, these are my children! But, I certainly don't want to have to do it again because I still hate fundraising with a passion! But, during this 30 Days, the question for me has become, "What are my primary passions? What are the things that make my heart skip a beat to the point that I am willing to do something I hate in order to achieve my greater passion?"
The answer is Konjo Kids. Right now, Konjo Kids is just a pipe-dream that is beginning to take on some form in our hearts. But, it's going to require lots of money, which is probably the biggest reason for why I've been resistant to the idea. In fact, at the very beginning of our adoption, I was talking with a woman who runs an adoption grant organization in North Carolina. I told her that I really admire what she does but that I really just wanted to adopt my kids and return to life as normal, business as usual, and that I really hoped God didn't ask me to do anything further with adoption, as He had asked of her. She shared with me that she too felt that way during her adoption, yet now she and her husband are doing adoption grants! In that moment, I just knew deep inside that God was going to ask something more of our family. More than I really wanted to give. Because I like my life. It's pretty ordinary, which I really like. My life's never been very risky by my standards. But, I suppose there's something about adopting 2 kids that you don't even know that ignites a risk-taking streak inside of you anyway!
So, following this 30 Days of Nothing, I am in a place where I am taking ownership of my responsibility to make a difference. Adopting two kids out of 5 Million orphans that live in Ethiopia alone isn't enough. It's a start, but it's not enough. I can't save every child. But I can do more. I can't sit back and live in my American luxury anymore. I must make a difference. Not because I'm guilty, but because it's the right, human thing to do. I must make a difference because God is enabling my heart to love people the way He does. I'm seeing the impoverished the way He does. They are full of hope and promise. God wants them to have a hope and a future. But ordinary housewives, librarians, teachers, lawyers, computer techs, doctors, artists, maintenance men, postal workers, 1st graders, preschoolers, ALL need to be willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus to them. The invitation has already been extended to us by God to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, fight for justice for the oppressed. Our only responsibility is to respond and obey and do what the Father is doing. So, exactly one year after we decided to take the risk of accepting a referral for kids that we couldn't pay for, we once again have decided to take the risk of not returning to our "business as usual" lifestyle by committing to doing the stuff that God is passionate about for the people that He is crazy in love with. As Konjo Kids takes on some more definitive form and function, details will be posted.