Raising Them to Love Past Self – Moved by Compassion { and a GIVEAWAY}

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 *Image via Compassion International

“But Mom-m we don’t even know them! They’re strangers.”

Her tears hinted at her own brokenness, but her words tore my heart in two. It had begun as such a joyous moment.  I made the decision to sponsor a little girl through Compassion International, and immediately fell in love with this tiny angel, who happened to look more than a little like my own. With growing excitement I shared the young girl’s video with my eldest daughter. Her initial reaction to the video, a huge smile and moist, soft eyes, stood in direct contrast with her response to the news that we would sponsor the young girl. Quite honestly, it shocked me.

“Tig!”

“But, I want our house.” Her voice crackled, her heart fearful that we’d continue in these cramped living conditions even a little longer than necessary. We’d been looking for a house for sometime, and the apartment space was starting to feel like the walls were coming in on us.

“Tig, the amount of money that it costs to help provide for her would only mean one less McDonald’s night out.” And really, isn’t that actually a good thing?

“But, if you spend money on her, that’s less money that we have. And the less money we have, means the more time you are busy earning money, and the less time you have with us.” Suddenly the disappointment in what I perceived to be simple selfishness faded away. The pain in her eyes and voice were only a small part of that which lay in her heart. As my perspective regarding my darling’s feelings shifted, a new, more familiar heartache arose. My daughter was not self-centered and spoiled, with little regard for the poor. Instead she was an overwhelmed 8 year-old trying her best to deal with her own adult-sized hurt. And in my opinion, she had been doing an outstanding job. The past year had brought about major changes, and loss, for our family. These changes required that more of my time and attention be given toward providing for us financially. Yet, because of the nature of the change, my children required more time and attention than ever.

As she struggled to keep her tears from falling, I could understand her reaction. My eight year old darling sat there looking at this four year old in need, but all she could think was “But, what about me? What about our family? What about me needing my mom?”

We’ve all been there –when the problems of others seemed to pale in comparison to the ones looming over our own life.

My big, little princess excused herself, then after a few moments, came back in the room and apologized. We discussed what our sponsorship would provide, and she even suggested that we send an extra gift for the young girl’s birthday. It seemed the issue had resolved itself. But, bigger ones remained.

How do I get my children to turn their eyes to Christ, endeavoring to love past themselves, when their pain and fears are so big? Should I seek to bring healing and love to someone else’s child, when my own children are suffering? And if so, how do I justify that?

How do I get my children to turn their eyes to Christ, endeavoring to love past themselves, when their pain and fears are so big?

By teaching them to fix their eyes on Christ, and love past self. 1 John 3:16-17 reads:

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 

The key to loving past self is found in verse 16. It is hard to focus on myself, when I am actively laying my life down in love for someone else. Therefore, it is important that I model and encourage self-sacrificial love. Tig was not the only one who needed to learn to lay down her life.

Parents cannot teach what they do not practice.

As my daughter sat next to me, learning more about Compassion, I realized that she needs more of me. She needs me to close the computer at a certain time each night, so that I can cuddle and talk, play a game or do a craft.  She needs me to look up from what I am doing, and see what’s going on in her eyes, and her heart, when she talks to me. Yes, it is true that I am now bear the financial responsibility in our home. And it is most certainly in everyone’s best interest that I find ‘Mommy’ time. But, it is imperative that she believes that she is loved and important. And then, as it is sufficiently modeled to her, it will be much easier for her to show the same to others.

The depths of our fears, pain, or sadness does not excuse us to become so overwhelmed by our circumstance that we are unconcerned about the needs of others.

Further, as we push past the darkness of these feelings, in order to demonstrate love to others, an amazing thing happens:

We are blessed with supernatural provisions of peace and joy.

When we have learned that through Christ, we can experience peace and joy, in spite of our circumstance, we stand a much greater chance of emerging the challenging seasons of life victoriously.

Should I seek to bring healing and love to someone else’s child, when my own children are suffering? And if so, how do I justify that?

Unfortunately suffering and trials are a part of life. As parents, we want to shield our children from pain, hurt and disappointment. Good parenting requires that we care about the needs of our children. Yes, they most certainly have physical needs, such as the need to eat, be clothed, sheltered and educated. They have emotional needs to feel loved and secure. However, our children also have very important spiritual needs. These needs include having the building blocks of character, love, compassion, mercy, gentleness, joy and goodness modeled for, and established within, them.

Our family may be facing a season of transition, but as humans we are continually in varying stages of transition. Rare are the seasons when life seems almost perfect, with no difficulties to be faced. If we allow our tribulations to determine our ability to care for the needs of others, we would walk about in a perpetual state of self-centeredness. But, we are not called to be self-centered. We are called to be God-centered, to love Him first with our whole heart, soul and strength, and to love others as ourselves. Not only are we called, but our children are called to this as well. But, we cannot expect them to grow into successful adults who love others, if they have not first been taught to be children who love others.

During some of the hardest times in our family’s life, my husband, our children and I would go with our church to feed the homeless. These were valuable lessons that have stayed with my children, and instilled within them the importance of feeding the hungry. One of the issues that remain most vital to them when we discuss missions, is actively supporting ministries that feed hungry children.

Parenting, like anything that we strive to be successful at, must be intentional. If you have yet to design a deliberate plan to sow seeds of compassion and mercy into your children’s hearts and lives, or if you would like an idea to include with what you are currently doing, I would like to suggest that your family consider sponsoring a child through Compassion International.

 

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Compassion International is doing amazing work to ensure that the physical, spiritual, emotional, and social needs of children around the globe are being met. I encourage you to visit them and consider partnering with them to serve as a blessing in the life of their children, and of your own.

Before you go, please take a moment and meet irresistible Judah and his family.

 Compassion International is diligently working to bring hope to families around the world. While you consider the awesome and wonderful opportunity to partner with them in this endeavor, also consider how you can bring hope to another reader who needs to hear your story.

Hope-Day Wednesday

Throughout the week, the Your Story Page is open to anyone who wishes to share their story of hope and grace with someone who may waiting to hear it. Simply enter your story into the form, with any other information that you may like to share. If you are a blogger, writer or have a website, feel free to leave your website URL for the readers to connect with you later. Then, on Hope-Day Wednesday, individual stories will be added to the Our-Stories page in order to offer hope and encouragement to someone who may need it.

Hope-Giver’s Giveaway

In addition, and in celebration of Easter I am hosting a Hope-Giver’s Giveaway through Sunday April 5th. The winner will receive the Hope-Giver’s 3 Book Bundle. I’ve included 3 of my favorite books from Max Lucado. The first book, When He whispers Your Name is for you, and the other two, He Still Moves Stones and God Will Use this for Good are for you to keep if you need them, or to give to someone else to help offer them hope.

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Giveaway Terms and Conditions

Your story might change a life, save a marriage, restore a relationship, give a discouraged parent hope, or help someone to hold on for just one more day.

Happy Story Sharing!

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Everyone has a story. How many people know yours?? Visit Embracing His Will. Someone may be waiting who needs it.

 

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Are you a blogger? If so, please include your website URL and be sure to upload an image. Your Story may be featured as a guest post! If you are featured, or just would like to help spread the word about Hope-Day Wednesdays, please ‘Grab my button’!

Hope Day Wednesday: Share Your Story

Check the box to agree. • Your Story Terms of Agreement• Thank you for sharing Your Story!• Please review the following Terms of Agreement. • All content must be guest author’s original. Plagiarism is not permitted. When quoting others, please site appropriately. Please keep your submission between 200 – 1,000 words. • Images • Embracing His Will welcomes you to submit one image to accompany Your Story. If you are a blogger you may also submit one author image. If your story is featured, it will be posted along with your name and website information. Images should be directly relevant to the post content. If you’re including pictures of people, please make sure you have their permission to use them. If you’re borrowing an image we require proper attribution to the creator of the image. Maximum image size: 8MB • Links • Embracing His Will is pleased to give you credit as the author of your post. You will have the option to submit your name and a single link to a website that belongs to you. This may not be an affiliate link or point to an affiliate site. • We don’t allow links to your site within the post content unless it is directly related to the topic. You may also submit tags for your post. Stories with excessive links or any links that appear spammy will not be published. • Editing • Embracing His Will reserves the right to make edits to the piece where necessary to ensure the blog stays congruous with our values. Prior to publication of your guest blog post we will make sure you agree with these changes. If Your Story is unable to be published we will inform you know via email. • Extras • Embracing His Will reserves the right to refuse publication, remove blog content and change these guidelines as we see fit.

 

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Post linked at Christian Mommy Blogger

Comments

  1. Such a powerful illustration of the love of a parent and the needs of a child. I was struck by the fact that I can go through days without feeling that need from my Father. I think I can survive without His love and attention and just get on with my day but when something happens I run to Him. I need to lay aside more time to spend with Him … especially when I don’t feel like I need it as much. Thank you for this encouragement today #DanceWithJesus :)
    Sarah Travis recently posted…Give Me A Break!!!My Profile

  2. How you grab my heart with your stories. This is beautiful. I love your tender momma’s heart, your daughter’s honesty and vulnerability, and the message of hope for children everywhere through ministries like Compassion Int. We’ve been blessed to work with both Compassion and World Vision. Thanks so much for linking this at CMB. You always bless me.
    Deb Wolf recently posted…Enter Jerusalem – What Do You See?My Profile

    • Deb you are a blessing to my soul! Your words are more encouragement than you realize. Your work with Compassion is what first encouraged me to be a part of the ministry. Thank you for all you do for the kingdom.
      xoxo Letetia
      Letetia recently posted…Daily Hope & a Prayer – March 30My Profile

  3. Loving past themselves…it’s what our children desperately need to learn. And just maybe their parents do, too. :) Oh, for God’s grace to live out this truth, and to impart it to our kids! Thank you for linking this up with us at Grace & Truth!
    Jennifer recently posted…the wrong “if”My Profile

    • This is lesson that I continue to learn daily. And the closer I move toward God, the more I realize how desperately I need to learn it. LOL! I’m just thankful for His continued love and grace. Thank you so much for visiting! Blessings, Letetia
      Letetia recently posted…Passionate, Generous, Relentless LoveMy Profile

  4. So true that our own circumstances do not excuse us from being concerned about others. We all need practice loving beyond ourselves. Thank you for sharing your families journey in that direction.

  5. You are doing such a wonderful thing by simply keeping the conversation open with your kids about challenging issues. Thanks for sharing this lovely story over at Playdates with God! A blessed Resurrection Day to you and your family!
    laura recently posted…Maundy Thursday: Beauty in the Mirror (a post for Makes You Mom)My Profile

    • I am firm believer in keeping a honest dialogue (age/subject appropriate) with children. It also gives me an opportunity to point them to Christ in and through the situation. Thank you so much for visiting and your encouraging words!
      Blessings to you and your family!- Letetia
      Letetia recently posted…Daily Hope & a Prayer – April 2My Profile

  6. As a fellow Compassion blogger, I LOVE THIS POST!!!! I am so excited to feature this post tomorrow for our next round of Grace & Truth! This is incredible and I love how you are communicating about generosity, gratefulness, etc with your kids. I am in the thick of these same conversations with my own kids. Be prepared to be featured tomorrow from my site! Thank you so much for linking this with us at Grace & Truth!
    Holly Brown recently posted…You Can’t Sit With Us – A Bullying Tale {Book Review}My Profile

    • Holly,

      God bless you!! It’s my honor to blog about Compassion. And after a long day of illness (my kids decided to share), this was a blessing to my soul! Thank you for choosing this post, for leaving this comment and for letting me know. Thanks also for stopping by again and visiting. – Blessings, Letetia
      Letetia recently posted…Daily Hope & a Prayer – April 2My Profile

  7. I could understand the urge to think “What about me?” but we are here to help each other. If only all the world’s kids grew up being taught to look beyond themselves. There would be peace in the world and everyone would have all their needs- spiritual, physical and mental met. I wish the world we lived in was more beautiful, but I guess that level of beauty is reserved for Heaven.
    Latisha recently posted…Awesome Last Minute Easter Egg Hunt IdeasMy Profile

    • Thinking of the marvelous beauty that awaits us in heaven leaves me speechless every time. I can not wait to fall at my Savior’s feet. I’m only hoping that the God of all creation lifts me up and gathers me into His arms. Thanks for visiting! xoxo, Letetia
      Letetia recently posted…Daily Hope & a Prayer – April 3My Profile

  8. Letitia, congrats on being featured at Grace and Truth!
    Michele Morin recently posted…Yes, We DoMy Profile

  9. Compassion is a wonderful ministry dedicated not only to helping children and their families but to sharing God’s Word. May you be richly blessed in all you do in this ministry. Thanks for the inspirational post & for your lovely comment at Saved by Grace!
    God bless,
    Laurie
    Laurie Collett recently posted…Salvation’s MysteriesMy Profile

  10. Parents cannot teach what they do not practice.
    This is such a powerful truth…my goodness if parents would just do this one thing, practice what they teach kids would be more willing to be obedient. Great post, really good.

    • I try to keep that before me. It’s hard. I fail more than I’d like to admit. But, that truth compels me to press toward God so that I have far more successes through Him than I would ever have without Him. Thanks for stopping by!
      Letetia recently posted…Daily Hope & a Prayer – April 7My Profile