For about a year and a half now I have been acting really weird. I am not cutting myself down when I say I’m acting weird, I just mean I am weird compared to the person I have been most of my life. For most of my adult life I did not believe in God and I was not a Christian. I did not really pay to much attention to things outside of my own little world. I figured all anyone had to do was work hard and they could attain anything they wanted in life. About 2 years ago I saw my father in law pass away and that was the day I realized that God was real and not to long after that I gave my life to Him. If you really are interested in how that all came about you can read my older blog by clicking here “The Journey Begins”.
Every since the day I gave my life to Jesus I have never been the same. He has placed new things in me that make me wonder sometimes who I am.
There is a song by Mercyme called “So Long Self“ (listen by clicking the link before) in that song they sing –
So long self, Well, its been fun, but I have found somebody else
So long, self, There’s just no room for two, So you are gonna have to move
So long self, Don’t take this wrong but you are wrong for me, farewell
Oh Well, goodbye, don’t cry So long, self
That song is exactly how I feel. I gave my life to Jesus and the next thing I know I am acting odd, this new person starts taking over my thoughts and its bye-bye to the Me I have known most of my life. Shortly after I said good bye to myself is when the crying began. Since then I find myself crying about anything and everything not because I am gone, but because the new me is way better off and truely happier than old me. I cry for all kinds of reasons, I cry for happy things and sad things. I find myself crying because the sun came up today or a flower is blooming in my yard. I cry for hurting people and happy people. If someone dare shed a tear in front of me I will start boo-hooing all over the place. If someone laughs in front of me I cry too. If there is one thing I am really good at now.. it is crying 🙂
Today at church I think I finally realized what is going on with me, the reason why I cry all the time. I think I am finally starting to see the world in the way God wants me to see it. My pastor’s sermon was about God putting burdens on us and how they are really blessings. I could not stop crying the whole time he talked because as he was speaking I began to realize that since I started my journey as a Christian I have felt the burden that I need to do something for children and I have seen that burden become a blessing. I know in my heart that I need to do something for children who are living in extreme poverty. The ones who live in poverty like nothing I have ever seen in my own country. God has given that burden to me and sometimes I just don’t quite know what to do with the feelings…. so I cry.
In my job I am a Travel agent so I have traveled and I have seen the poverty that is going on in other countries. I will never forget the time I saw it for the first time, the first time I actually saw it and really paid attention. I was a new Travel agent on a travel agent Fam trip to Jamaica. I will add that at that time in my life I was not a Christian yet. On that trip I traveled with a group of travel agents to tour, experience and stay at luxury resorts. Before that trip the only time I had seen other countries was always in a resort setting or from a cruise ship port. I had never went into a country outside the tourist areas before then. We toured about 20 resorts in 7 days traveling all over the island of Jamaica. I remember going into the trip with the excitement of getting to stay at some of the finest resorts in the country to indulge in lots of food & drink and experience luxuries fit for a king. The first day of touring we got on a bus and headed out into what I was soon to find was the “real” country of Jamaica. As we left out of the resort I was anticipating the beautiful tropical paradise I was going to see. I do have to say I did see a beautiful tropical paradise that day, but, right there in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to in my life was the most extreme poverty I had ever seen in my life. I saw houses made out of plywood and tin with dirt floors. They had no electricity, bathrooms or running water. A lot of the homes looked like something I had built in my back yard as a child and called a club house. Unfortunately these were not club houses, they were real homes, one roomed homes that whole families lived in. I remember passing a building that looked like it was about to fall down with a sign on it that said it was the High school. The bus we were riding in was always stopping for someone to herd goats across the road and there seemed to always be lots of people walking everywhere. Lots of the roads we traveled were skinny and pot hole filled.
As the week went on I found myself more interested in being on the bus ride to see the real Jamaica and did not really care too much anymore about touring the resorts. I could not tear my eyes away from outside the windows of the bus. I did not dare tell the other travel agents I was with how I was feeling because I did not want them to think I was weird. I found myself wondering how could this poverty be going on right outside of upscale resorts? While I was coming to this country to eat and drink anything I wanted, have pedicures and waiters and cushy bedding, people outside the resort were living with no electricity or running water and going to bed on a dirt floor?? Didn’t anyone care? Or did they all just turn their eyes and minds away from it all? I knew something now I never had known before. There was a another whole world out there that I knew nothing about and it bothered me, actually it made me angry. I wondered how it could be that there was such luxury with extreme poverty living so close side by side and nobody seemed to care.
When I got home I felt like I somehow changed during that week in Jamaica. I wish I could say that when I got home I dived right in trying to change things but I have to admit I did not. As time went on what I saw in Jamaica started to fade a bit and I went back to living my normal life. I went on more trips after that but I did begin to go with different eyes. I noticed things I had never noticed before about the countries. All of the countries I visited were tourist type counties and like Jamaica, they all had poverty sitting right next door to luxury resorts.
Slowly but surely I did eventually change .. but not until I gave my life to Jesus. After I gave my life to Him he would no longer let those things I saw fade away once I got home. He began to burden me with the children who were living in poverty in those countries, little children who needed hope for the future. In order to have hope they needed to know about Jesus. They needed to know that he loves them and they are beautiful and special to Him. Soon I sponsored my first child through Compassion (click for story here). I know today God chose her for me. She is from Dominican Republic and I am sure it was by no accident he chose her for me because she is from somewhere I have been on my travels.
In hindsight I now see but I did not know it at the time, on that first trip to Jamaica, even though I was not a Christian God was already working on me. He was lining things up getting me ready. He was opening my eyes and my heart to the poor. He had work planned for me. He knew once I became a Christian I would change. Even if I tried, I can no longer look away or ever be who I used to be. I sometimes feel so overwhelmed by all this that it makes me cry. I want to help them all so bad, but know I can’t help them all. All I can do is pray and keep trying. I will continue try the best I can while praying for God’s guidance that he will lead me in the right direction. I pray that he will give me opportunities to speak to others about this and then speak through me giving me the right words to say. I will keep praying every day that more people will sponsor children giving them a hope for the future and help them in changing their lives. Most of all I pray that each of those children will know Jesus so they too can feel the love that I feel inside my heart.
I realized today while I was sitting there in church listening to my pastor’s sermon the reason I sometimes can not stop crying is it though this burden sometimes breaks my heart, I also feel so hugely blessed that he placed this burden on my heart. I feel a love that I never felt before in my life. I never knew I could love like this or feel love like this.
Thank you Lord for this blessing that you have put upon me. I pray that you will continue to open my eyes so that I may see things through your eyes the way you want me to see. Amen
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
If you would like to learn more about helping a child in poverty you can click here–> www.compassion.com