This is a re-post from Jill's blog Forever n Ever n Always. I read this and couldn't help think that even through my deepest struggles, most of which I've created for myself, I've never really deeply considered the struggles that orphaned children are going through right now...Struggles they didn't create, but struggles they are victims of.
I've asked Jill if I could re-post this post because I found Lexi Jill's daughters efforts to be an encouraging act of self sacrifice to remember children who are often forgotten. Lexi's small effort to remember the often forgotten is offering big hope for humanity, and has me assessing my own values, and priorities; reminding me that God can use anyone you, me, and even Lexi for His bigger purpose.
"How has love changed your life?"
How much do you matter?
I copied this from my friend Amy's blog. It is exactly what has been on my heart and yet I didn't have the right words to share it with you.
One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.~ Mother Teresa
Image with me for a minute…
Right now, today… you are small and alone.
You are hungry and lost.
You have no home, no parents, and seemingly no future.
You are scared, and weak, from days without food. You have no where to go, no where to be.
People walk by you but they don’t even look your way. It’s like you are invisible, nothing.
You keep walking, your feet are bleeding and sore… and yet still you manage to cling to the small bit of hope, the little voice inside your head that says maybe, just maybe, one day things will get better.
Maybe one day -you will matter.
It is getting dark outside- inside your fear is growing.
Where will you go?
Your heart is beating faster, and your fear becomes over whelming, consuming your every thought.
Then you see it, a dirty, broken cardboard box and you bow your head thanking God for His provision.
For you have found it- shelter.
Safety, if only for one night.
You slip underneath it, hugging yourself, vowing once again not to cry- because by now you know tears are a waste of your strength.
Your eyes become heavy, despite the sweltering temperature.
As you begin to drift off to sleep you pray, hoping, dreaming, of a family of your own one day...
of a place where you will matter...
Half away around the world is a family...
They are just sitting down to dinner together.
They are smiling and their laughter fills the room.
Dinner is served and they bow their heads and they pray- thanking God for their many blessings… their home, their job, the food that is set before them.
They lift their heads and go back to the laughter and the joy.
They talk of their upcoming vacation plans, the lunch date they shared with a friend today and the movie they plan to see this coming weekend.
More laughter, more excitement, more.
As the leftovers are scraped into the garbage can and the table is cleaned up, hot bubble bathes are taken by all.
Evening settles in, and the family slips under their down comforters preparing for a good nights sleep.
Before turning out the lights, the husband leans over to kiss his wife good-night. She shyly smiles at him and begins to tell him that she has been feeling that perhaps God is calling them to adopt.
The room grows quiet as they are both lost in their own thoughts… their minds are flooded with questions, concern, and then inevitably -fear.
How could they manage?
Why, they already have two!
Where would they put the child?
Who would share a room?
How could they afford to adopt?
Would they be able to take that vacation?
What would people think?
What if the child, you know, caused ‘problems’?
As their eyelids become heavy, they begin to drift off to sleep... and they think to themselves ‘surely not’.
Surely God knows this is not convenient.
Surely God wants them to take that vacation they deserve...
Surely he knows how busy they are.
They have plans and they have dreams.
As sleep overcomes them, the temperature in their master bedroom is perfect… and their pillows are fluffed to perfection.
Life is good for them, just as they had planned...
Because after all, they matter...
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. "
-1 John 3:16-20
Two weeks ago, Lexi began doing her own research on Africa, orphans and HIV/AIDS. Her heart was torn apart and she prayed that God would reveal what He would have her do with all that He showed her. Lexi has seen poverty and spent time in the deep villages of Guatemala with Compassion International and yet the statistics she read were too much not to do something.
Last Wednesday, very early in morning Lexi went outside and was there for a while. I stepped outside to see what she was doing. I saw her jumping rope. I asked her, "what are you doing outside so early jumping rope?" She looked at me with the deepest soulful eyes and simply said, "I'm jumping for them - the 6,100 children who are orphaned in one day due to HIV/AIDS in Africa. My hope is to jump 6,100 times by Friday." I knew she was serious and yet I didn't understand what she was trying to do.
You see, Lexi asked me to help her set up her organization - Jumps 4 Joy - where you and I can get behind her and sponsor jump-a-thons in every school, neighborhood, and church across this country to make a difference for a child, a family, a village and leave a footprint on a child's heart, one jump at a time! To tell them that they do matter! To show them that He cares! To make sure they know His love is real!
She wants to raise money for The Water Project, Compassion International, and World Vision. She hopes to raise enough money to build wells, schools and medical centers so desperately needed throughout Africa and other 3 world countries. Each organization that she wants to raise money for is thrilled to have her support! You can donate in Jumps 4 Joy's honor by clicking in her sidebar on any of the three organizations - that will take you directly to Jumps 4 Joy sites for each organization. We are awaiting final approval with Compassion International. However, you can make a donation to them in Jumps 4 Joy honor now and they will let us know.
If you have any questions on how you can get involved or help spread the word for Jumps 4 Joy - email Lexi at firstname.lastname@example.org. She would love to hear from you! Your prayers would be greatly appreciated as well!
If you would like follow along with Lexi and to see all that God is going to do through this amazing young woman He is so beautifully molding - visit Jumps 4 Joy and then sign up to follow on the BLOG page.
If you would be so kind to share her story and vision with your friends - she would greatly appreciate it! You can copy her button in my sidebar or from her blog. I'm still working on getting her flash header up - so you will see new things come on her blog over time!You can watch Lexi tell her story, see her jump to 3,000 and to her goal of 6,100 by visiting her about us page.May you each be blessed and spurred onto the goal of sharing His love unto all the nations! To say we are proud of her doesn't touch the surface!