Thursday March 14, 2019

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.

I can’t help but think of the children at the hospital we are caring for here in Romania. These children (actually, most of them are babies) have no one to love them, hold them, read to them, play with them, etc. during their stay in the hospital. Now please don’t get the wrong idea, there are a lot of factors that lead to these children not having a caretaker. Most of these children have a family who are unable to care for them while they are hospitalized; a family they will go home to when they are released. I learned today that there are no other children’s hospital in this area, which means that families may have to come from many miles to get their child the care they need. This also means that they may be limited in their ability to get to the hospital regularly to visit, this could be because of a job or other children at home. This is where Firm Foundations Romania (FFR) comes in to play. They are filing a very necessary gap in the care of these children and in a very real way are providing these children with someone to rely on every day they are at the hospital. The children are given diapers, clothing, love, and attention. As a volunteer we are afforded the great responsibility to connect with these children so they are not alone and we can lift them up when they fall and show them the reward of human connection; we are showing them that “two are better than one”.

The difference we can have on the lives of others is incomprehensible and when you experience exactly how much of an impact you can have on just one person, you will be completely humbled. I have been blessed by this feeling only a handful of times in my life, professionally, as a volunteer, as a friend, and as a stranger. Our hearts and minds crave that human connection and we are lost without it.

I can’t help but think of the children’s book How Full Is Your Bucket? By Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer. In this book they use the analogy of an invisible bucket above our heads that when full we are happy, but when its empty we are angry, irritable, rude, etc. I have read this book with my kids many times with the hope of them seeing the “buckets” around them and to remind myself to look for them. This is how we find and fill the emptiness of people around us.

What would our world look like if when we saw someone who needed to be lifted and supported, we just did it and didn’t worry about all of the baggage the keeps us idle?

This concept is just what this year is about for us, but through the lens of Christ. We asked God to put us where He needed us, with those who needed their buckets filled, and He has done just that in ways that have hit me to the core. He has continually put us in places we were able to use the gifts He gave us to lift someone up or be their support. I felt this in every place we have been thus far, Germany, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, and now in Romania. I know that God would have found ways to helps those who needed it without us doing this, but I do believe with everything in my heart that my impact was special in its own unique way, just as Jeff’s was unique, as well as my children’s. We are all different people, with different gifts from God, which means our impact will also be different and unique. We are like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, each one of us is a little piece of God and when we are all connected together, we make up the beautiful masterpiece that is God Himself.

Do you feel your heart leading to help or support someone? Is there a way for you to use one of your gifts to help someone else? Your impact doesn’t have to take you around the world, yours may be in the friend you meet for coffee on a last minute request or the person at the supermarket that you let go ahead of you because they seem rushed. There are so many ways we can be there for others and an easy place to start is to start seeing everyone’s buckets and work hard to help fill them up because what you will find is that when you fill theirs you also fill yours!

Our kids and their friends from downstairs thought they could play Trivial Pursuit 90’s edition.

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