Lord, Deliver Me From My Lameness
I have failed to do some important things in my life recently that I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit. With the annoying combination of laziness, forgetfulness, selfishness and busyness, I have managed to maintain a dull sense of guilt for years. Consider the following:
I failed to write anything in Elijah’s baby book since his 3rd birthday (he’s 9). Elliana doesn’t even have a baby book. I failed to document the days Rebekah and Elijah prayed to commit their lives to Jesus. I failed to keep current the journals I bought for each child. Journals where I intend to record my deepest dreams and desires for each of them—not to mention, record monumental days like praying to commit their lives to Jesus.
But wait…there’s more:
I failed to call my friend Marcie and invite her over to talk after her husband Carl died from brain cancer in May. I failed to take a meal to Joy and her family after the birth of her baby, even after I called and promised her I would when we returned home from vacation in July. I failed to replace the camera that fell into Lake Michigan in August, thus failing to capture images of Elijah’s 9th birthday and Rebekah’s first day of middle school.
Oh, boy, this is painful….
I began sponsoring a child in India through World Vision two years ago, and since that time, I have failed to write even one letter to that sweet boy, despite repeated requests from my children to do so. But it gets better: Rebekah actually took it upon herself to write him a letter a year ago and handed it to me to mail (how easy can this be?) and I rather than mailing it, I stuck it in a file to do later…and then forgot.
Dude, I. never. mailed. the. letter. I’m pretty sure that little maneuver wins me the title of Lamest (most lame?) Child Sponsor in the Entire Western Hemisphere.
So imagine my excitement when I went blog-hopping the other night (feeling guilty, of course, because I have no business being on the internet when, clearly, I have more important things to do) and found a post written by Lisa-Jo entitled “Lame Sponsors of the World Unite.”
With guilt-ridden interest, I read how a group of bloggers recently returned from a trip to Guatemala with Compassion International, many of them coming facet-to-face for the very first time with the children they sponsor.
Don’t you know, God was just mopping the floors with my broken heart, as I scrolled through pictures and stories of their trip—which I’m sure has absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact that I have a daughter from that country and feel an eternal connection to every precious Guatemalan on Planet Earth. *wipes tears*
Lisa-Jo declared her own lameness for only writing to her sponsored child about 4 times a year (that’s lame?), and wondered if it really mattered that she seldom writes letters. Do the kids care or even KNOW if their sponsors are writing? (Please, God, let the answer to that question be “no.” Please please please tell me it doesn’t matter…)
Apparently, it does matter. A lot. One young man who has been in the Compassion International Center for 14 years said,
“We save all our letters….And even though when we were little, Compassion workers read them to us, when we grew up we could read them ourselves. So we go back and start at the beginning. We read every letter again to get to know our Sponsors better….It tells me someone loves me…It’s confirmation of what I learn at the Center—that God values me.”
I wonder what our sponsored child thinks when the mail comes week after week, and there is nothing there for him. Dear God, is there any hope for this lame, self-centered heart of mine?
So, Tuesday night I fought through laziness, forgetfulness, selfishness and busyness and declared it the night the Cooper family sits down together to write letters to Baiaraplang, our sponsored child.
I retrieved the file folder where I have saved every correspondence from World Vision—and where I happened to stick the letter Rebekah wrote a year ago. I laid out blank paper, pens, pencils, crayons, scissors, coloring books and stickers. Then, I took out a picture of Baiaraplang and propped it in the middle of the kitchen table.
(I’m sure all of this would be more dramatic with pictures…but, you know, the camera…)
Each of the kids gazed at his picture and went to work creating letters and drawings. We talked about poverty and material wealth. We prayed as a family for his safety and salvation. Then we carefully folded each letter and work of art and placed it in an envelope addressed to World Vision.
This time, though, I didn’t place it back in the file folder. Instead, I drove it directly to the post office where it is now on its way to Baiaraplang.
And then I walked over to our calendar and wrote on a Tuesday in October “Write more letters to Baiaraplang.” Because, dear friends, this will be a monthly event in the Cooper home.
One small step out of lameness, into the realm of selflessness. Maybe there is hope for me, after all.
To sponsor a child through World Vision, click here.
To sponsor a child through Compassion International, click here.
I match your lameness in virtually all areas of my life! Braeden's (12) baby book abounds. Abbey's (8) is waaaay thinner. Megan's (7) may have two entries in it – they are likely made-up dates for milestones recorded months later. Shea (5) and Malakai (3) get nothing. Yup, lame.
Sponsored children = 3. (Working our way up to 5 – 1 for each of our kids.) Letters sent in 7 years = 1. More lameness.
I'm going to schedule a day on our calendar right now. At least I can rectify one thing. Sadly, I don't think I can even come close to fabricating the date that Shea took her first steps…
Glad to know I'm not the only lame one!
One step at a time in getting out of our lameness!!
We all get the award for lameness from time to time. And yes, those children really do love to receive mail. I worked for NEED, Inc. where people sponsor children from India to be able to attend school. It's a shame how many sponsors never send a letter but they receive a letter every month or more from their child.
Thank you for sponsoring a child! Blessings…
We all fall down. We all fail. We are all lame. But, isn't it great that grace abounds and we can pick ourselves up, make different choices, and influence the people around us? Love the family letter-writing!
Hey lame sister! I join you in your lame-ness. We also sponsor a child through World Vision and haven't been very good about writing to her. I wouldn't even know where to send it, that's how lame I am!
Love your 'realness.' We sponsor a child in Honduras through a different ministry. Thanks for the encouragement to make a point of writing to him today – it's been on my 'to do' list for a while now! Have a great weekend and God bless!
This is why we are sisters.
I have write letter to my Compassion child Happy on my list. Happy. I wonder if I can make Happy happy by writing?!?
As for all the other lame things, I share them. I am them. I'm lame. I love you.
Ha! Then I must be the lamest of them all! I don't even have a child to sponsor through any organization! I'm so lame, I'm barely able to take care of the one under my own roof! 😛 For real.
Seriously, though, no reason to beat yourself over the head. The great thing is seeing an area of your life that is out of order or needs correcting, and taking the time to correct it. I think that is what God is looking for more than anything…the willingness to do the right thing, the ability to have a soft heart that is pliable in His hands so that we might receive His gentle correction.
I'm so glad you were inspired. We got a letter from our Compassion child today and I did a real happy dance at the mailbox. I can only imagine how excited our 6 Compassion children are to receive letters and gifts from us. I try to post ideas on letter topics and fun enclosures on my blog, feel free to check it out!
I love you Sandy Cooper. And so does the Lord!! xoxo
I popped over from Chatting at the Sky, where I read your comment that The Hole in Our Gospel changed your life, too.
I have to tell you, Sandy, I LOVE this post. You are so honest, and I absolutely love it! I, too, sponsor a child (in Africa), and although I do occasionally write letters (when asked to do so), I dread it like the plaugue. I, too, read Lisa-Jo's post on letter-writing and vowed with renewed energy to be committed to writing to my child. You have a sister in spirit here, Sandy!
Oh I am just jumping up and down with joy and happiness and thanksgiving for wonderful YOU and your family and your big, big hearts working through the lameness and sending love and encouragement where it is needed most! On behalf of a hundred kids I met, thank you thank you and a thousand times thank YOU!!
We are in this together, all the way!!
Threfore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
(even those who are lame!)