Monday, April 30, 2012

My abundance is not your abundance, my lack is not your lack.

I normally don't watch Oprah, in fact I have never really been a fan but ever since she started her OWN Network I have been catching some of her work. I am a huge fan of documentaries and short films. I am deeply moved by people documenting and sharing life, the way other people live and the conditions in which they do so.

 I am a big believer in "if you know better, you do better." And this particular documentary on India just blew my mind. I also believe that there are so many answers to current day problems if we would just look outside the small circle of life we live in. The challenges that I face in my day to day life nowhere compare to what other people half way around the world face, and yet I find myself focused on my problems too much, too often.

 I have been praying for a long time, many years in fact, for God to just show me other things to focus on. I have always been led to people in need. I have always had a heart for people who were less fortunate. And I say this with a grain of salt because being a one income military family, we are pretty much at the poverty level according to American standards. We are the typical live paycheck to paycheck, no savings kinda family. My husband joined the military later in life and because of that, we started at a different level than what most military families are at in this stage of life. But the weird thing is, I feel like a millionaire. I cant describe what it feels like to open my drawers in the morning and put on my worn old navy go to tshirt, and my lived in black stretchy pants. Then I go to the grocery store and sometimes I just sit and cry and my full basket of groceries. I am so grateful that God leads me to thrift stores for my children and and the end of the day we all have clean beds to lay our heads on and say our prayers. Give thanks for our abundance.

My abundance is not your abundance, and your abundance is certainly not the Hedge family abundance. They live in a 10 x 10 concrete space that has been in their family for 33 years. It is the mother, father and three children. There is a point in the documentary when Oprah asks the oldest girl if she is happy.

Her answer, yes.

I hope you were able to watch this 5 minute clip. It brought more awareness and gratitude to my heart than I could ever express into words. It got me thinking about how we all live, what problems we face, and how other people see the world. Those kids were brought into this world with the life they lead now, they don't know anything better. But the eldest girl does, she dreams. She dreams of being a school teacher in London. Oprah grins and says, "you should just come to the USA!" They all smile and watch "Man vs Wild" just like my family does. They sleep all together. It makes me wonder why so many Americans are so concerned with co sleeping. We do it. They do it. Why does this matter?

I was watching this last night in bed with my Lucy. I actually got up and walked around my house with tears in my eyes. Grateful tears for my HUGE house and the means to pay for the electricity. This family shares and toilet and shower with the whole building and they have no shower head. They carry buckets of water in with them. I found myself thinking about my attitude towards cleaning and housekeeping. My goodness if I ever catch myself not being grateful for my toilets I will end up on my knees begging for mercy.

But what I am most grateful for in this life is my relationship with God. I think about it often, what would happen if I had NOTHING left on this earth. What if my house was gone, my family was gone and it was just me. Living in the slums. What if I had no earthly possessions and nobody to share my life with? Because the only thing I need is Jesus. Its true that family is pretty much all ya got but I wonder about when even they are gone. Or if I go to Heaven and my family is left without a mother, my husband without a wife.

You cant count on many things now a moment you are making good money and living "the dream" next you are unemployed and your house is under foreclosure. What then? But I know that I can always count on God to be my provider, my healer, my friend, my father, my encourager and my sustainer. And Jesus, my way to Heaven.

There is a lot of knowledge and truth in seeing outside of your box. Outside of the generations in your family, outside the house you live in and even outside the country you live in. I find that the best cure for my challenges in life are to simply find someone else with a problem and meet their need. Take the focus of me and be exactly what I need, for someone else. Sometimes I like to take just a few moments out of my day to just pray for people such as the Hedge family. Praying and doing for others in need just naturally brings you to a place of gratitude in your own life. It will shift your brain and heart into one that looks more like Jesus. It pains me deeply to see that this family lives in the conditions they do, but it fills my heart to just hear the eldest child say, "yes, I am happy."

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