Martyschmidt’s Weblog

A Joyful Journey

Helping Others – Hurting Me December 19, 2008

Filed under: Ottumwa — martyschmidt @ 4:43 pm

Advent Conspiracy has been a great series. I was so excited about it. I mean what a great concept of how can we pull back on spending less on ourselves and give more away to those who need it. I mean there is more to it but that angle alone is something I get jacked up about. I’ve already heard a couple stories of how people are engaging with this whole process. One guy tossed up a prayer asking God to reveal to him who he was suppose to bless and the next day the answer showed up at work.

Yet in all of this I wasn’t expecting something. I wasn’t expecting to be completely gutted by being generous. It wasn’t even a week ago that we went out and payed for people’s laundry and groceries. Shortly after that experience I was contacted by someone who asked if I could track down some families in need and take them Christmas shopping. Always up for giving away other people’s money (and learning how to do it with our own has been fun as well) I agreed and made some contacts that led me to a list of 10 families. I’m about to leave on adventure number 3 in a couple hours and I’m not sure how much more of this I can take.

On one angle I am over joyed that I have the opportunity to go and help others. There are no strings attached to this gift and I don’t even mention that I’m a pastor unless they ask what I do. All I want to do is show them God’s love and that is what I share. I’ve heard people cry over the phone in disbelief and I’ve had a women cry on her way to her car with her arms full of Christmas presents.

But there is the other angle. As we walk we talk. I ask them questions and I hear their stories. More than that I hear the stories of their kids. Now please don’t read into this that I’m criticizing the parents or more often parent. I’m just stating that as I hear the story of what the child’s environment is like I am humbled. That isn’t even the right word. I get pissed, I get mad, I get sad, and I get lost in conversation with God about why it is the way it is.

All of my ideas for Advent Conspiracy were far off in a distant land. They were out of my face. They were a website. They had no name and they had no face. They didn’t live just down the road from me. They didn’t just get laid off. They didn’t have a story about not having a mom, not having a dad, or not having a chance.

This isn’t what I signed up for and at the same time this is exactly what I signed up for.


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