How Can We Lessen Their Suffering?

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.


  1. Oh Mary! This is just a wonderful story! And of course it's not a 'story', it's the truth. What a true sou-mate you have in your husband. How could you do this important work for the Lord unless you both agreed to do it?

    I am so impressed and inspired by your efforts. I'm sure you think it's not much, but it IS. You were called, and you answered that call.
    Thank you for sharing with all of us!

  2. Very inspiring followed Gods plan for you and your family and I am so happy you are sharing is a wonderful testimony.

  3. Makes perfect sense to me! "Who is first will be last and who is last will be first." It's always the opposite of what the world perceives it. Power from our Father is found in us when we find our humility.

    Great post and heart for a wonderful family!

  4. Mary,
    What a wonderful story, and it illustrates such a foundational truth.
    I'm going back to re-read it now!

  5. What a blessing, your hubby! ... and such a great example the two of you set for your daughters. Thank you for sharing this!

  6. May you be truly blessed, as you bless others. I love you.

  7. God recently "thunked" me on the side of the head about some complaining I was doing. And, He showed me in the middle of an aisle in the market just how fortunate I am.

    We are blessed to be blessings.

    Wonderful testimony about your family. Jesus said, "It is better to give than receive." You guys are living that out!


  8. I loved your story how you have given and even opened up your home to someone in need of temporary housing. We brought Nancy into our home for 5 years and it made the difference in her spiritual walk with God.
    Thank you for your entry at “Tell Me a Story.” I have been off line due to computer failure and virus problems, but my husband gave me a different computer so I am back on line – just lost a bunch of stuff including my e-mail addresses..
    Please return Monday around 5:00PM PST when the new week will be open for your story at:


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