I received a phone call today from a charity I sponsor a child through, and the child that I had been sponsoring lived in Colombia, in a terribly dangerous neighborhood and someplace extremely prone to organized crime and trafficking of every horrid variety.
The first thought bolting through my head as I flipped the egg I was frying was that Nayelli had been killed. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case; however, she had moved out of the country with her mother and I would no longer be able to sponsor her. This put a pang into my chest, a sort of ache that I had no more letters to write to her and no more encouraging words that I could send her via post. My prayers will continually go up for her and her mother, wherever they may find themselves. I’ve chosen to sponsor another child in India. (Her favorite subject in school is English!!! OH MY WORD I’M SO EXCITED.) But Nayelli will always hold a special spot in my heart.
The last letter I wrote to her, I encouraged her to never give up on her dreams and to fight for what she believed in. I don’t know where I myself would be if I hadn’t had that own encouragement in my life.
I bring this up because I had been a hypocrite about this sort of thing for a long while. In The New Series, a huge problem that the city has is neglect of the poor and the destitute. My Main Character isn’t one of the first people to go into the bad places and show actual love for the people living there, but she is one of the first to take a stand against everyone saying to do the minimum, and what she does is astounding and amazing and I want to be like her when I grow up. (So to speak.)
One day in chapel, we had a speaker come in from Compassion Ministries–I came to find out that she had been a sponsored child herself, and this woman went on to get her Master’s and her PhD in Social Work. Now she fights for the rights of others just like one family fought for her when she was young and had no hope of her own. All the while she spoke, I shifted and moved and fidgeted like no one’s business as God prodded me into listening to Him, despite my best (worst) efforts to ignore him. I kept thinking, “My MC shows more actual love-in-action for people like this than I do.” And this wasn’t some random thing that happened; I’d been thinking about sponsoring a child for a few months and ignoring the nudge. Finally, He got to me.
I was handed Nayelli’s packet, and immediately I began praying and writing letters and encouraging her. I hope that stays with her and she remembers not me, but the love God was able to show her through me.
This kind of hit me hard today; I’m a writer, and I am absolutely aware what one word of bolstering or degradation has the potential to do to someone. People say be kind always. I think they leave off a lot more that can be said following those simple words. Being kind doesn’t JUST mean saying the right things and striving to be that perfect person one minute, then who you want to be the next: They could be two completely different people, and that’s hypocrisy, dear hearts. Being kind means extending the same love to all people, no matter who they are or what they’ve done; giving grace when there’s none to be found elsewhere; laying down your life for your friends, even to the last ounce of blood or money squeezed from you; listening when everyone else is speaking, or reprimanding when everyone else is silent. Being kind, totally and completely, means being Jesus no matter what you feel like or who you are.
I’m so looking forward to seeing my new sponsor child’s picture once her information is shared with me, and once I find out, I’ll be telling you all about her, rest assured. Looking back, if I had kept the log in my eye while picking the dust out of the eyes out of whomever made me put on the self-righteous me, perhaps Nayelli wouldn’t have had the encouragement she needed to follow her dreams, stay in school, and aspire to be a doctor (A DOCTOR!) so she can help other people, too.
I don’t know why I was compelled to write all this. Yes, I had been thinking about it for a long while. People move on and situations change, I understand that. But I hope Nayelli knows that no matter what happens in this life, I won’t forget her, and I was glad to help for what little time I could. Hearts can shrink their capacity to love. I sincerely hope mine only continues to grow until I can’t hold anything in and have to let Him spill out of me into everyone else. I want to be kind, always, in every rawest sense of the word. I want to bleed love and smile while my arteries gush the very force keeping me alive. Mostly, I want to walk the talk I know can so easily destroy and patch the parts of the human heart no one else dares to approach. I pray God keeps me humble, and I pray He keeps me true.
“I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.” —Oswald Chambers