I had a much more upbeat post than this one planned for you guys…
But can I be honest with you?
I’m writing this on Wednesday evening after teaching two back-to-back classes of rather grueling exercise, and my body feels beaten.
It’s not that I’m not used to it, but tonight is different.
Do you ever feel that way?
That something you can normally handle—no problem—is just too much some days?
It’s not just the physical exhaustion either.
There’s other…stuff…too, weighing heavy on my heart—the kind of stuff that shakes my faith in “people” a bit.
I don’t usually like vague references to “troubles,” as they so often seem like blatant cries for attention or sympathy.
Please believe that I’m looking for neither.
But, while I hardly think that using my blog as a medium for airing complaints is either appropriate or healthy, sometimes, I’m afraid that I present such a happy-go-lucky version of myself here that it may do more harm than good.
(I know when I see someone else who seems like she never has a care in the world or makes things like taking 3 kids shopping look too easy, I start wondering what’s wrong with me).
I think I went a long way toward dispelling that false impression when I confessed my struggle with trich.
But just in case there’s even one of you left who thinks I’ve got “it all” (or even 1/2 of it) figured out, let me share 5 things that I would really love right now:
1. To sleep in until 9.
2. To luxuriate in a bubble bath with a really good book for over an hour (preferably in a world where water miraculously stays the perfect temperature, massage jets abound, and poopy diaper interruptions are outlawed).
3. To have the suitcases that I still haven’t unpacked from our trip to Oklahoma two weeks ago magically deposit their contents neatly on hangers and in drawers.
4. To go to a movie all by myself.
5. To have a really good cry.
I know so many of you young moms can relate (though maybe not to the movie part : )).
And, no, before you go getting worried, there’s nothing wrong.
Nothing at all in the grand scheme of things.
It’s just life.
I think you know what I mean.
But now I’m going to ruin this perfectly relatable moment by bringing up something very uncomfortable.
And I’m not trying to be holier-than-thou when I say that…
That list I just wrote is poppycock.
Oh, sure. A little pampering can go a long way toward lifting a girl’s spirits and righting a crooked perspective, but…
Such a dangerous word.
After all, I have a family who loves me, access to anything in the world that I could possibly need (and want, within reason), my health (and my family’s)…and so much more.
I have all that while there are women around the world whose husbands—the sole breadwinners for their families—have been tossed into prison, or even killed, for nothing more offensive than hosting a house-church or lending someone a Bible.
And these women are now faced with the prospect of putting even one meal on the table for their little ones, much less the three square ones my family enjoys every single day (and never mind the snacks of fresh fruit and treats that I take for granted but which they can never afford).
Or even worse, they must figure out how to get medicine for their sick children, all the while desperately attempting to scratch out an existence in societies in which widows and orphans are the mud to be scraped from your shoes.
Their list of things they would love to do might look something like:
1. To find enough food to keep us from starving.
2. To find a coat for my little girl to wear so she won’t get pneumonia like last year.
3. To find someone to watch my children (who won’t abuse them) while I work for mere pennies a day.
4. To worship without fear of imprisonment or death.
5. To see my husband again.
I’m not trying to be a downer.
But I can’t deny the conviction that wells up in me when I write a list like I did, knowing that so many of you will be so kind and commiserate with ”feel-betters” and similar lists.
The thing is, I didn’t even have a bad day.
It was just a day.
And an easy, easy day at that, filled with normal, easy-day things like home-schooling, laundry, dishes, sweeping, children-disciplining, a trip to McDonald’s, exercising, baby-snuggling, leftovers-eating, hanging with the husband.
Sure, some of those are not so fun, but in comparison with the spine-cracking worry over your husband’s safety or your children’s health (to say nothing of sheer loneliness), what could be easier?
So…what’s my point?
Maybe I just needed this reminder, as I sat here on my comfortable couch, that a pity-party over nothing special isn’t just whiny.
Have you ever heard of Voice of the Martyrs?
It’s one of the most incredible ministries that I’ve ever encountered.
It’s an organization dedicated to bringing attention to the plight of the “persecuted church” around the world.
Its goal is to provide practical relief and legal assistance to those who are being unjustly imprisoned, mistreated, and, yes, killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
We’ve supported them and gotten their newsletter for years, and we have a prayer calendar with highlights of how to pray for various countries who are especially hostile toward Christians (I wish I could say that we have been faithfully praying, but I’ve been terrible about keeping up with it in recent months).
But you know what the best part is?
Amidst the stories of girls who are disfigured from acid being thrown in their faces or fathers wrenched from the arms of their families…
Those same mothers who have to deal with the spine-cracking worries I mentioned say that they are “happy and fine”—the words that Asia Bibi, a Pakistani woman, used to describe herself even after almost three years in prison away from her husband and two daughters on charges that she blasphemed Islam’s prophet Muhammad.
She also says: ““I am praying every day…I am strong in my faith…I am not worried about myself, but I am worried about the VOM workers who are helping me, which is very dangerous. I pray for them every day.”
She’s on the Pakistani equivalent of death-row, people, and she’s worried about the people trying to get her sentence repealed!
Now, I did not start out this post intending to go on a crusade for social or religious justice.
I started out this post tired, remember?
But I got so fired up reading Asia’s story that I posted a petition for her freedom that you can sign if you want on our Facebook page.
Because when all is said and done, we all have those days when we’re just tired—too tired to fully appreciate what we have but not too tired to dream of fantastic, decadent possibilities like bubble baths, good books, and sleeping in.
And that’s okay.
None of the things on my list are wrong.
But unless I can swallow my tired pill with a sloshing full glass of Perspective, I’m a littler person than I hope to be.
No thank you.
I want to be an Asia.
P.S. I in no way mean to imply that all injustice in the world is of a religious nature or that the plight of persecuted Christians is more important than that of sex-slaves or poverty-stricken children right here in the U.S., but reading the stories of these women who somehow manage to pray for their persecutors and worry about someone other than themselves in the midst of their suffering inspires me. And I wanted you to be inspired too.
This is your best writing, Abbie. Your “sweet spot”. You have such a gift. Thank you for using it well, my friend.
Thank you for the reminder! I have a healthy family and, as you mentioned, access to pretty much anything we could ever want or need. I have a wonderful life. Yes, we have tough days but we need to be told to “get over it” sometimes and remember what we were created for; to glorify God. He isn’t glorified in our grumbling and complaining so I need to just stop! Loving your posts, Abbie!
VOM is a wonderful ministry. I personally love Gospel for Asia. They lie heavy on my heart frequently. I’m glad you posted this. I have been thinking of posting something similar or making a special page for them on my blog.
Thank you for the recent comment and the feature. I need to make a fb page for design fluff so that I can participate. Thank you again for this post and everything:)
beautiful post…. thanks for making us think about how blessed we are and how we can prayfully lift up those in need.
Great perspective, Abbie. I’ve spent my week cleaning puke, washing laundry,homeschooling, and feeling frazzled…but praise God I have children who puke, and get their clothes dirty. Thank God I have a husband who earns a living so that I can spend my days teaching and training our children. Praise God that we have a home in which to school (and puke and wash laundry). We can get so small-minded at times. It was a good reminder that many out there not only suffer but die for their faith in Christ. VOM is a wonderful ministry – thanks for talking about it here. I loved this post!
Great post. I think you expressed the sentiment of “perspective” in a very useful way. I needed that. Keep ’em coming!
I am sooo passionate about Asia as well. I have been writing her letters for over 2 years now. PRAISE THE LORD, she is still alive. He is using her to change and impact lives all over the world. So happy you did a blog post about her. Praying all of your follewers will write her a letter (thru VOM) or sign the petition. God Bless,Dyanna
Linda, I like how you put that last sentence: “Doing for others should be a daily event in our lives rather than a random act of kindness.” That is so true! I know too often I, selfishly, put myself first and forget about others…
Your heartfelt and sensitive post moved me! You are so right………….we have it soooo good compared to many in this world. We should never take our eyes off those less fortunate. Doing for others should be a daily event in our lives rather than a random act of kindness. Thank you……….Linda
Thanks for the reminder that we really do have it so good. I heard a clip of a Pr. James McDonald message the other day. He talked about how we complain about having difficult people to deal with, while so many people go through things far more difficult than we can comprehend.
We have so very much to be grateful for. Thanks again for the reminder!
Word! I always go through this too. We have so much and yet it is so easy to lose sight of it. Its also easy to just feel guilty and not do something about it. Thanks for the reminder that we need to be the change that we want for the world….
Thanks for this, Abbie. It’s timely. I need to remember my blessings and to do good for others, as well.
ahhh yes perspective. What a beautiful post. I had a “real life” post yesterday as well: https://www.eatprayreadlove.com/2012/02/warning-real-life-post-ahead-airing-my.html
Praying for those who are religiously persecuted is something our family does, too. Voice of the Martyrs is a great organization to learn more, as well as Open Doors. Thanks so much for highlighting this important issue on your blog.
Thanks for posting this today. It fits exactly how I am feeling. For some reason this morning, I woke up in a bit of a funk. Nothing has changed since yesterday, but for some reason the things that seemed inconvenient yesterday seem unbearable today. I could list my various “problems,” but I only have to look out my front door to find people who would consider me rich, fortunate, etc and would love to have my life. I know that it’s just me and my outlook that is a problem right now, but I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who ever deals with perspective.
What a beautiful post. I shared with some friends who I thought would appreciate it as much as I did.
What an amazing post! Thank you. I love VOM and we have supported them for years. Such an incredible organization. I guess I have kind of an odd perspective on this kind of thing. While we see ourselves as so blessed to have all the stuff and the freedoms we have (and don’t get me wrong, we are indeed blessed) in another way these persecuted Christians are further blessed by their difficulties. The faith and reliance they have are at a level that we can’t even understand. They genuinely NEED God. All the time. And in everyway. He is their only reason for living. How amazing that feeling must be. It is so easy in our culture of plenty to forget our relationship with our Savior because of all the ‘blessings’ in our life. As odd as it is, I envy that faith.
In a similar vein, if you haven’t read Radical by David Platt, I think you would like it. It is awesome.
I hope tomorrow is a better day. 😉