‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Giving Up What We Hold Dear, for Something Dearer

I'm ready to go now. Today even. I've been under-playing my anxiety here on my blog, because it was pretty significant and I felt like a fool expressing so much worry about a 3 month trip. The major contributor to the fear was my finances. How would I pay all my bills while I am gone? I had saved enough for rent, but what about my oil bill? Electric? Vet bills? You know the drill.

But I'm not afraid anymore. God gave me a great peace about it last night, and I awoke to a confirmation of His support -- an acquaintance repayed a loan from long long ago that I thought I might never see. It is a significant enough amount that I can cover those extra bills while I am away. I'm glad God gave me the peace about it before the surprise check arrived. He reminded me in a very real way that He is taking this trip with me.

Also, I awoke to an incredible joy this morning, realizing that I will be holding Anya's hand in a little more than a week, and I can hold it every day for three months if I want to! It just hit me with such force this morning that I just lay in bed for almost an hour afterwards just revelling in the knowledge of it. I feel so lucky.

On another note, I am having a giant book sale on Saturday and it looks to be well attended! I've even managed to sell a few sight-unseen to some old friends! I have committed to selling a full half of my book collection (which is pretty significant in size) to raise funds for our food money over there. I have some really rare and vintage Shakespeare books, lots of children's books, tons of adoption related books, books on acting and theatre history, Russian language easy readers. I think I'll make out quite well if everyone comes who says they are coming!

You might wonder why I'm selling my most prized possessions rather than some big ticket items I don't care as much about. Well, I'll tell you the truth. God has impressed upon me the need to commit to this trip in a way that challenges me. After all, what am I really giving up to go? Honestly, people -- what is so vital in my life right now that I should not have picked up and moved over there 3 years ago? Nothing. I realize now that my own fear kept this option invisible to me. Completely invisible!

I thought long and hard about what material possessions I have would be the most challenging for me to give up. Easy decision - it was my books. So in an effort to acknowledge in some very small way Anya's daily 'going without', daily suffering, I chose to give up my books. I can only sell half because many of them I need for work, so I am not sellig the work-related ones... I am selling the ones I love. Don't go thinking I'm some saint. I'm not. In fact, that is one of the very reasons I am doing it. I am not a saint -- I am a selfish, self-focused, self-preserving human just like everyone else. And I want that to change.

What things do you hold dear and close and dread parting with? Maybe try purging yourself of even one small thing to show solidarity for those in the world who do not even have the luxury of owning something dear. It is a very freeing and joy-inducing experience, I can promise you.


  1. I am sending you my prayers and support as you embark on this journey. I admire you and your commitment so much. We brought our son home in 2005 and I have longed to go back for another child ever since. I still feel my other child waits for me. I can only imagine how you feel knowing yours really does wait for you both. Along with my prayers I am sending you a miniscule donation but you must promise me to use it for your girls. Buy an ice cream or a fountain soda and make a memory for each of you. I wish it was more but it is sent with all the love in the world.... from one Mom to another Big hugs!

  2. I think there is a particular power--warfare, really--when we move in the opposite spirit of our flesh, especially when prompted by the Lord. Not to downplay the cost of it personally (I know it is hard to give up what we treasure) but it is so exciting to watch you walk down this road. I am expecting wonderful, lasting things to come of this trip for you and your girls. Plus, I am really digging the freedom I can hear in your blog "voice." It's contagious! Bless you heaps (as they say Down Under)!

  3. Just wanted to let you know I will be following along your journey to Russia and sending prayer and positive thoughts of support your way. (I followed over here as a "for Anya" FB member).

  4. Hey, all my prayers are always with you.. and God is surely going to bestow all his love so that you succeed.. i know how much you love your daughters, im reading this space for long now..
    i have updated some of my childhood pranks in my new blog, hope you enjoy reading that :)
    here is the link - http://asymphonythatsunheard.blogspot.com/2010/09/this-is-how-i-looked-when-i-was-kid.html
    take care...

  5. Oh, I loved this post. I am all about giving things and releasing unloved clutter out to the world--but to purposefully give something that you love, for love's sake, well, that I have not yet done. I don't think. I'll be stewing on that for a while!

    I have loved the comments you have made to my blog, by the way--and don't think you have to keep it up, but I think we might have just a *few* things in common (esp. things of the spirit) so you are welcome at my place anytime! And I will be praying for you and your girls. : )


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