Saturday, May 1, 2010

Uganda Magazine Necklace

I'm not usually much of a necklace girl. And I'm really, really not a vibrant, multi-colored, beaded necklace girl.

I am also not one who does a lot of online shopping. I'm not an avid Etsier and even my once-steamy Ebay affair has waned over the years.

But these times, they are a'changin'.

I have told you about Katie at Amazima Ministries before. To say that she is inspirational would be an understatement. Katie lives in Uganda, Africa. She is a young, single girl with a heart for the things that Jesus cares about most. She does not post frequently - maybe because she's a little tied up raising 14 orphans. When you have time, read through her blog. But have some tissues beside you. And be prepared to be convicted.

Last week I checked in on Katie. I sat in my very comfortable and beautiful home, in my quaint and cozy little town, and popped over to the other side of humanity. In no time flat, I was swept into a story of mamas who do the unthinkable just to keep their children alive, day after day after day.

I read that with guidance from Katie, a group of these women now make necklaces from recycled magazines and the money they earn for their work allows them to sustain their children with integrity and hope.

I didn't think twice. I bought a necklace.

And I put it right on.

Then my husband took the day off from his job and we took our beautiful, perfect babies for a day of fun. We spent $30 on frivolous food. We spent close to the same amount on gas to get us to our destination.

Not once did I worry about whether my children would live for another day. Not once did I weigh the risks of doing the unthinkable.

So, it's all still more than unfair, this life I live.

But I'll be wearing this necklace as a reminder that one step leads to the next... That living as a Christ-follower commands me to care for the poor. It doesn't command me to feel sorry for them, or to wistfully think that I should pray for them. It certainly does not require me to acknowledge them in a corner of my mind and merely thank God that I am not them.

This Summer, again and again, these beads will fall over my head and I pray that each time they graze my neck, my heart turns a few more degrees toward the Truth. I hope these paper beads wear like lead across my shoulders. I hope I cannot escape their true weight. I hope the tangible reminder of those mamas and those babies and that country and the world drives me to do more and think less. I hope I grow ever more weary of this life that I live.

Also, I hope you will buy a strand. And when you do, let's talk about how a thing that arrived in a measly manilla shipping envelope gave clarity to the Truth we hold in our souls.

Let's look back on today and realize that the person we are becoming has been molded by the Holy Spirit, in part, through a single strand of love.