One thing that attracted me to my husband when I first met him was his compassion for the downtrodden. It seemed out of the ordinary that a 20 year old serving in the U.S. Navy would notice poverty’s pain. I was also attracted to his creative photography. His slide show presentations would wow me with scenic shots of far-away countries interspersed with family shacks in the slums. It left me a little heartbroken. I married him and his burden for the suffering and our newlywed budget included sponsoring a child in a third world country.
When our kids were little, we gave our hearts to Jesus. I remember asking God how we can live our lives for Him and serve in His kingdom as a family. I was surprised back then the way that prayer manifested. It linked to compassion; our family would learn how to be compassionate. A young, adult woman landed a job in our little town but she was homeless. We opened up our hearts and home to this gal and many others in the years to follow. It changed us!
· We had to share our space
· Our food had to stretch farther
· Privacy was rare and valued
· Problem solving was a constant learning curve
Our experiences gave us eyes to see beyond ourselves. Selfishness was addressed in us and it felt like it was beaten out of us at times. Our girls grew to be responsible, caring teenagers. When life was hard and not so joyful, we got a good taste of God’s grace. Both of our girls traveled with our church on mission trips and came back with wisdom you just can’t learn in books.
Who knew that compassion would weave its thread throughout our family over the years? It's the way God chose to use our family. I’m relieved that an outstanding resume isn’t required for God’s kingdom work. Ordinary people with simple lifestyles and even hang ups qualify. It’s an upside down kingdom built on better principles. It’s in the giving, not the getting…and yet the getting back seems so much more than the giving. Does that make sense? Upside down, I know!
This post links to Hazel’s collection of true short stories at Tell Me a Story.