Growing up I dreamed of all the things I could be and do: maybe be a teacher, veterinarian, concert pianist, business owner. I would cook delicious, nutritious meals, bake the most amazing desserts, be a super mom and wife, begin an after school/preschool program, travel, love on those who needed loved on and be His hands and feet. Not all of those things happened though. I taught my children as all moms do. I loved many pets, I played the piano but hated practicing, I cooked because I had to, I baked because I love sweets. I was not a super mom or wife but I did the best I could. I loved well, disciplined when needed, wiped tears, slammed doors, and prayed more then you can imagine. I was able, by the grace of God, to begin a sweet after school program with a preschool following a few years later. When I realized it was bigger then I was, God moved me and brought in an amazing leader. I traveled and moved a lot since my dad was a pastor. And I have loved and been loved beyond anything I can describe. I have not done everything well and I have not enjoyed everything but what I have loved the most, God has allowed me to be in the midst of all the time. I am reading a devotion called He Walks Among Us by Richard and Renee Stearns. They have experienced lifestyles around the world through World Vision. In one chapter they talk about the Wizard of Oz.
Although he was the most intelligent of Dorothy's companions, what the Scarecrow wanted most was a brain. The Cowardly Lion wanted courage, but he was already the bravest among them. And the Tin man? He wanted a heart, even though the heart he had overflowed with compassion for others. The very thing they most longed for was already within them. Within us, we also have things that we are good at and love that can change lives around us. Over the past few weeks, we have started a capital campaign to raise funds for our nonprofit to move forward with a home of our own. In the process, our committee has proven we all have very unique gifts that we enjoy and do well at. Some thrive on social media and spreadsheets and QR codes while others love having conversations with people and businesses about Village to Village. It takes all of us to do what needs to be done to have a successful campaign. I have an amazing friend that has been with Village to Village from the beginning. One of the most natural things in her life, being a mom, is one of the ways God is using her beyond her own family. Because of her mother's heart, she has stepped out of her comfort zone to pray with families, love on children, and speak in public even though she is very much an introvert. Her journey of changing lives is just beginning. Another friend is fluent in Spanish, what a gift! She not only speaks it and teaches it but has a heart to make a difference in the country where she lived for a short time. And she will change lives because of something she already does well. My daughter just got married a few months ago. She had the most amazing photographer and assistant. They took beautiful pictures but also had beautiful hearts. After wedding festivities settled down, I simply asked a question about the possibility of one of them traveling with us at some point to take photos of our sponsor children. This is something one of them is already doing in another country. They are using something they are passionate about to bring change. What is in your hand? What do you enjoy? What are you passionate about? What is it that you do well and love? It doesn't take a college degree or some amazing, unusual talent to make a difference. It just takes a desire to use what you already have to invest in someone along the way.