Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Advent Ache

There has long been an ache in me for those in impoverished countries, but I have done my best to fight it. 

Those thoughts seem like they could lead to scary places, and I just feel more comfortable keeping that box shut.

I mean, if I open it, God might make me do something about it.
He might ask me to give something.
He might make me uncomfortable with what I have.
He might ask me to given even more. 
He might ask me to give too much.
He might ask for everything.

And everyone knows, I already have enough to do, and the things I have to do right now, I don’t even do them that well—God knows I require a heaping mound of grace each day, each week, to soothe myself after I have failed to love those around me, again.  I am spread thin already, just loving and serving the people in my own home, and doing church stuff, and managing our abundance.

I can’t handle another thing.
Besides, I can’t fix it. I can’t really do anything substantial to ease the suffering of people thousands of miles away. 

photo from childrenwithnoone.org
So what’s the point of looking beyond my home, or beyond  my country, and aching for the things that go on there? Can’t I just hide from the headlines, from the mission work, and keep on gasping my way through the work in front of me, just  doing what I do in my tiny corner of the world?

But, God said no. I am not allowed to hide, he said.
I must pray.

And praying?
That led to thinking. And reading. And learning.
And I feel my heart getting achingly bigger.

Do you feel this ache?
What do you do with it?


Coming Soon: 
Tend to Me: Devotions for Mothers
by Emily Cook


  1. There was a time in my life that this ache was so strong that full time mission work was the only thing I could imagine for my future. Much has changed in my life since then. Now I find I hardly know "the headlines" to even hide behind.
    But I knew that at least as my children began to get older it would be and is very important for me to teach them to look beyond our home, our town, our lives, to know and learn about those others, to pray and to give what we can.

    Achingly bigger, is right. God can surprise us when He begins to teach us that there's always more room in our hearts, our minds and our lives. Sinfully, I think most of the time the problem is that I just don't want there to be.

    1. You are right... I don't want to be asked to give more. But the crazy thing is, how He fills even in the giving and then you end up with more than you had to start with...

      I know this, but how often I forget!

  2. PS Can't wait for your devotion book!

  3. My husband and I are leaving our four young children with my mom to go to Haiti in two short months. Honestly, the words, "What am I thinking?" enter my mind more than a few times a day. I am hoping and praying though that this trip will show my children a world beyond their front door, and will pave the way for family and friends (and our congregation too) to be moved to look beyond their front doors as well. If you are so moved, you could add us to your prayer list for joy in the journey and a time that will change us (how can it not?) for the better.

    1. That does sound crazy, but a good kind of crazy. Yes I will pray for you!

  4. i do feel the ache! i watched Half the Sky documentary recently and have been heart broken ever since. it's not enough to feel for the broken. we must rescue somehow someway. i'm just not sure how i fit into His story. Not sure yet of my role as a mom of three seeking justice for the oppressed.

    seeking Him.

    1. Seeking Him too.
      Definitely we cannot be content to simply feel or to ache. Praying He opens my eyes more and more to His Work on behalf of all who suffer... and praying that He will use me (and you!) as he does this work.
      God give us eager hands and generous hearts, and equip us for all that you call us to do!

  5. Um, yes. I feel this ache very much. And like you, I am tempted to push it away and just keep doggedly pursuing the work right in front of me. What to do? I don't have an answer yet, except to pray. And maybe that - prayer - is an answer itself. And maybe opportunities to help are right at our front door. We don't have to look halfway around the world.

    1. You are right Kate. Prayer is no small thing- in fact it is the one thing we can do that is completely 100% good for another person (while our other helps can be mixed sometimes!)

      Prayer continues here...
      And sometimes, it is easier to feel compassion for those far away than those in my own home!

  6. Beautifully honest post! One I feel I could have written myself. I feel that ache everytime I think of children in need. Women suffering to survive and raise their families. Children having to work or being sold into prostitution to help keep a famiy alive. I know God has put this ache in me so that when the time is right
    He can show me exactly what His plan for me is to do whatever part I can to help. Whether it's helping one or helping many.

  7. It's so easy to forget what is going on around the world. We live safe and sheltered while so many do not. When my kids grumble and complain I always remind them of the life our sponsored child lives. The opportunities to help are endless. Thanks for this heartfelt post!

  8. Oh yes I understand this. Stretched thin, failing each and every day, depending on His Grace every day. Knowing that His strength is perfect and made new every day. Thank you for sharing and linking up at Simply Helping Him! Blessings!

  9. Yes! I feel this ache all the time. I have shed countless tears over it and have spent a lot of time on my knees in prayer over it. And all too often I still have no idea what to do with it. I want to adopt a Compassion child in response, but my husband is not on the same page as me. I am praying over this too. Thank you so much for this post and for making me feel like I'm not alone in the ache. (And for linking up with NOBH!)


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