I often wonder if I have made any progress at all in my parenting when my children continue to whine with as much vehemence as they do. Alas, the summer doldrums are bound to strike. It’s been two years since I wrote a Spring Break post about my resolve to teach them to make the most of their vacation. And two years later, they still love to echo the refrain: Mom, I’m bored. There’s nothing to do!
I want them to ooze gratitude, innovation and resourcefulness. I want them to love and serve freely. I did see them make huge steps of maturity when we had foster children in the house. But now that it’s just me facing the two of them all day long, I feel like we’ve regressed. They have the luxury and comfort of a nurturing, affectionate stay-home mom; I fear that they don’t remember how to be selfless.
Reality is so far from the ideal!
We faithfully read missions stories and Scripture to the children every night, remind the children to turn to God in prayer at all times and model the same in our lives. But sometimes it feels like nothing is sinking in. They are briefly inspired or briefly convicted. Yet every morning, the battle against selfishness begins all over again.
But sometimes, a chink of sunlight pierces through a little crack in the grey. And once in a while, my kids, those same petty little creatures who squabble over every little chocolate chip, willingly swap their boredom for something that hints at eternity.
This week, we decided to put up a lemonade stand to raise money for Amazima ministries. Our house is right on a bike path, and the weather was perfect for lemonade. Amazima was founded by a courageous young lady named Katie Davis. At age 18, against the well-meaning fears of her friends and family, Katie followed God’s call. She left a star-struck American class president and homecoming queen life in Nashville Tennessee for the villages of Uganda. She witnessed the rampage of aids and malnutrition on Ugandan children and she returned a year later to eventually found a non-profit organization to help Ugandan children. She herself adopted 13 Ugandan girls. You can find Katie online here. She’s now only 24 years old.
In a little under two hours, Evan and Ashley pulled in 32 dollars and raised awareness for Katie’s work with Amazima. The neighbor kids joined them halfway through, and every cyclist who stopped heard a snippet of Katie’s story.
Katie is one of my heroes. She’s like a Mother Theresa amongst Millennials. Her story is unpretentious and simple. She reads Scripture and takes God’s promises seriously. She loves God and loves people, no matter how difficult that might prove to be. Her heart is soft and her hope is unquenchable. Her only desire is to obey God. I’m digesting her book, Kisses from Katie slowly because it moves me too much. I can only absorb one chapter at a time.
I often wonder why she isn’t famous like Mother Theresa, for all her heroism and for all that she has sacrificed and conquered for the sake of orphans all the way on the other side of the world. I suspect it might have something to do with the plethora of voices that now compete in social and cultural dialogue. No single medium and no single voice has a monopoly on cultural current. For a Christian wanting to be heard, even a feature in a magazine like Christianity Today would not guarantee too much mileage or exposure in the world of faith, much less in the secular world at large.
Nowadays, everyone has something to say. It’s hard to discern what is worth listening to.
But I, Evan and Ashley advocate for Katie. We shout out “ice cold lemonade!” for Amazima Ministries. And in our own little way, we urge those who would pay attention to pause for moment, have a sip of freshly squeezed sugary lemony goodness and savor the precious stories of Katie and her lovely tribe of adopted Ugandan daughters.
What stories do you think are worth setting up a lemonade stand for?