The desire to sponsor Styve came quickly and easily. The feeling of knowing that I have in great excess back in America what he has little to none of is not one that sits gently on my chest. Instead, it weighs heavy and cuts deep. However, I am resolved to never encourage sponsorship because it is “the right thing to do”, or because I believe we should feel devastating guilt for having plenty when others have none. I truly believe that very little good can come out of guilt. What I pray for is that the church would have open hands. I pray simply that we crack open our hearts and tightly woven fingers and allow God to give and take what He chooses.
"Today, I decided to answer the Lord's beckoning and sponsor my beloved Styve.
This boy has my heart. Every moment of the day, I ache to hold him. I delight in seeing him play and smile and laugh.
But, when he comes to me, and nestles his body into mine, I feel like he is somehow, supernaturally, healing. Like there are wars he carries in his small body. Wars that flash and hold him prisoner still. When I am holding him, it is as if I can physically feel the Holy Spirit healing him through my touch and exhale.
It is a divine connection.
A holy experience.
He clings to me, and all I can care about is his precious heart. His little body, his gentle soul. I love him.
I believe God brought me here to meet Styve, to love him now in this moment, and to love him again and again." -from my journal, my fourth night in Haiti
A couple of years ago, I began realizing how closed off my heart was to allowing God to be completely in charge. I spoke of surrender and thought I trusted Him, but my hands remained tightly bound. God reminded me that everything I have is from Him, and that He is also the most trustworthy one to hold me and my life. I began physically holding my hands out and open during prayer. I felt extremely silly at first, like an extra showboat-y person in the congregation trying to appear holier than thou. Really, though, it came out of a knowledge that I don’t always trust God to be good to me. I don’t always trust Him when He says He will care for me and provide for me. So, I must physically open my hands when I talk to God. I must remind myself in a very tangible way that if my mouth is asking God to use me, then I need to offer everything up to Him willingly. This one simple thing has broadened my trust in my Abba. It has urged me to speak truthfully to Him, and somedays I honestly cannot open my hands. Friends, those are some incredibly vulnerable moments when I stand before God and say, “I really don’t believe that you will care for me if I give you authority right now. Please, help me understand your goodness once again”. I’m sure you know just what He does in those moments. He pulls me even closer, and whispers Truth into my soul. He meets me where I am, closed fists and fearful heart, and He reminds me over and over just how faithful He is. And He IS faithful.
There is a staggering reality that many children in America, let alone in third world countries, will go to sleep hungry, dirty and hurting tonight. I don’t need to tell you that there is such need in our world. You know it. You’ve seen the commercials with sick and sad animals. You’ve likely heard a presentation at your church from an organization seeking child sponsorships. You may have even spent time searching on the internet for ways to get involved with volunteering in your community. The overwhelming need can be paralyzing. We can start to feel so small up against such a magnificent problem. We may start to believe that what we have to offer isn’t enough. Friends, that is a lie. A lie from Satan himself. Satan wants us to feel weak, powerless, and useless. But, we are not. We are sons and daughters of a King who has blessed us richly. We are promised goodness and faithfulness from Him. We can give of our time, our love, and our money with open hands, knowing that what we give is ultimately a gift from God that was never really ours to begin with.
I know it’s not exactly comfortable to talk about giving our money. We tend to hold onto that a little tighter than we do our time. I don’t know your personal finances, and I know that there are definitely people who long to give financially and honestly cannot right now. But, I do know that there are members of the Church that need this reminder and encouragement right now to open their hands a little wider and allow God to use their financial gifts more freely. It’s intimidating, committing to every month send money from your bank account. But let me tell you, it is so much bigger than that. When I met Styve, he had clothes and had eaten breakfast. He had a bed in the orphanage to sleep in. And do you know why?
Because of sponsorships. Because of Christ followers committing to be the active church and sending money to help him be able to go to school, to be fed, and to be loved. There are thousands of children in villages just like his that don’t have full bellies or shoes on their feet. You can help bridge that gap. YOU can be the difference between merely surviving and thriving for a sweet kiddo like Styve. Your $30 a month, or whatever you can do, will be life changing. Absolutely life changing. There are so many kids that I met in Haiti that still need sponsors. They are waiting for you to say yes to opening your hands and allowing God to use you in big ways. They are waiting for you to come to Haiti and hug them. They are waiting for you to pray for them and their futures. They are waiting for you to send them letters and photos. They are longing to be loved, and to know that they, too are sons and daughters of a Mighty King who loves them fiercely. So please, pray. Pray with your hands open and ask God to use you. And when He does, friends, you will experience more joy than you ever thought possible.
[If you are interested in sponsoring a sweet kiddo like Styve, please reach out for more information! We can tell you stories and show you photos of the kids needing sponsors, so you can feel connected to them and know their beautiful hearts!]