The last two years have been hard on everyone in our family, but some of the changes that are occurring are not bad. For instance, I have had to rethink who I am. A couple of years ago I would have described myself as a wife, mother, director of christian ed, follower of Christ, gardener, organizer, independent, strong, and a person that likes to help other people. Not that any of those descriptions are bad, but there was a major flaw in how I viewed myself and I believe that in the light of the incidents of the last couple of years, I can no longer view myself the same.
I am not simply what I do. I know I have spoken on this topic before, but I think I am beginning to understand more. The way I was raised, self identity was in what the world could observe... a kind gesture, and thoughtful act, a giving spirit. But in reality, what I was doing, unconsciously, was dividing the world into two categories. The first is the givers and the second the receivers. The first group had the time, money or talent to give to the receivers. The givers feel good about themselves because they are giving and the receivers get what they need, problem solved.
The problem with this type of thinking is one has power and the other does not. The receiver is at the mercy of the acts of the givers. The power is implicit in that the giver has the control. If a receiver balks at this notion, they are labeled ungrateful and the giving ends.
But what happens when a giver must become a receiver? This is the situation that our family has found itself. For so long, we have enjoyed giving to others. We did it for a variety of reasons and I am not saying that giving is a bad thing. But in a way, my thinking was wrong. Not only wrong, but sinful.
My sin is and was pride. It is pride that kept me from accepting help from others for so long. "I am a giver, not a receiver" I would tell myself. I had great difficulty in accepting help from others because I could not possibly need help, we are not in that group. I could not put myself in that vulnerable situation.
I would pray to God to help me and when He did send the help, I would not accept it. My pride was too much for me. My pride was hurting our family.
Once I started inching my way down the path of acceptance some pretty remarkable things have happened to our family. The help is amazing.
So far, Children's Hospital has forgiven a couple of our big bills. We still have a long way to go, but they have been forgiven.
The elementary school where CJ and Erica go is holding a fundraiser for our family.
Hundreds of people pray for us daily.
We received a gift certificate for Kroger when we only had $9 in our account for the next 9 days.
An anonymous donation of paper towels and toilet paper showed up on our doorstep.
A lady that we hired to give suggestions about making our house safer for the children and me talked to 2 architects and other specialist pro bono.
Our church has offered to pay for a ramp and construct it so we can get the chairs in and out of our house.
A several people have sent checks to us to help with the cost of our medical bills.
A friend of mine gave me a ticket to see a musical in Cincinnati and another friend took me down with her.
People have taken care of our children, helped clean our house, given rides to doctor appointments and surgeries.
The list goes on and on. There are many more acts of giving that we have received. More than I can list. I believe their giving is the hands of God touching us.
When I talked with my real father this morning, we were discussing these issues of pride, power and the discipline of being a christian. "When you help the lest of these, you help Me." I have a new perspective on that phrase now because we are all just one moment away from being "the lest of these." I had erroneously thought that because our family was blessed, we had to help the less fortunate, but it is really all of us just taking care of each other. There is no distinction in God's Kingdom between His followers. In fact, He said that anyone that comes to Him like a little child will be received in His Kingdom.
Judgement from other humans, no matter how noble it sounds is not what I think God meant when he called them the lest of these. He said blessed are those who are poor, who morn, who are poor in spirit, who hunger.
There is another christian song that says that we are all just one phone call from our knees. We are all the least of these. We are all in the same boat and have our trouble. I still think that one person's troubles are not greater than the other. We all have things that we have to deal with that are difficult. The prayer that I ask all of you to pray for me is that I will be release from the sin of pride and that I will be forgiven.
God is good and we praise him for the many miracles that have happened and will happen in the future. Truly, it will take a miracle for our family to be safe, out of pain and stable again. I know that when I am in the position to give again, it will be with a different heart. I will be giving because I have received.