desperate need

I’m reading this book. It’s about an 18-year-old girl who left her comfortable American life to go live in Uganda and love on orphans with Christ’s love.

It’s totally messing me up, y’all.

:: :: :: Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis :: :: ::

No, I don’t think that selling it all and moving across the globe is in our future, but I am seeing glimpses of change here in my everyday life.

The author, Katie Davis writes about the perspective on poverty that life in a Ugandan village has given her. She writes, “I’ve had people ask me why I think Africa is so impoverished, but these children are not poor. I, as a person who grew up wealthy, am. I put value in things. These children, having no things, put value in God. I put my trust in relationships; these children, having already seen relationships fail, put their trust in the Lord.”

Her observation of her own internal poverty has opened my eyes, not only to my own lack, but to the desperate need around me. Sure, I do not daily see children who walk barefoot down red dirt roads, but I do see in those around me and myself desperate need for Eternal Love, Grace Sufficient, and True Purpose.

I see so much striving to be prettier, to be smarter, to be richer, to be more important. And only now after 27 years of living here and doing this myself, am I beginning to open my eyes to the need. Each of these desires somehow masks a need I should be filling with God. He makes us beautiful, in Him is all wisdom, in His presence is true richness, and to Him be the glory.

I have had a couple of spirit-led moments where God gives me His eyes to see His heart for complete strangers. I teared up in my workout class, looking around the studio being struck with how beautifully unique each member of the class was created to be.

I meant it when I said this book was ‘messing me up’.

The other day I took the boys to McDonald’s. Now, I could go the route that the amount of money we spent on lunch could put a Ugandan child through school for three months, but I’m not going to. No, we went to McDonald’s and were minding our own (crazy, pre-nap) business in our booth, when a woman struck up conversation with me. As I was catching chicken nugget pieces in mid-air that my toddler was chucking, I managed to give her the most minimal response with a huge helping of “can’t you tell I’m a little busy?” body language.

She basically loitered at our table wanting to know the boys’ names, what we were up to, and what they were drinking.

Finally, God got ahold of my busy, important, prideful mind and told me to knock it the hell off. This daughter of the Most High King is needing, desperate even, for some conversation, for someone to care about what she is saying, for someone to ascribe to her immeasurable value.

O, Lord. Forgive me for how annoyed I was by her presence. Conviction on this has been a long time coming.

I changed my body language following my internal dialogue and began to ask her some questions.

Her name is Diane, she had just come from the music store buying new guitar strings, and she got a peppermint mocha. It was good and she was excited that they are back in season. OBoy’s white-blond hair reminded her of her nephew. We continued our conversation and my boys calmed just a little, which was my grace for the moment. After discussing Swedish heritage for a few moments, she wished us a merry Christmas and the boys waved bye-bye.

I am not in an orphanage in Uganda and I likely never will be. But here, in the McDonalds in Roseville, Minnesota, there is need. There is desperation. There is a poverty of love and compassion in myself.

Lord, help me to see it.

14 Responses to “desperate need”

  1. Sue

    Thanks for sharing. I have heard a lot about this book, but have not read it yet. It seems to be a life-changer though. I so appreciate the perspective that you share in this post. I feel so weighted down with all my own stuff that I often forget that other people are also weighted down and that if we share the weight, with each other and with God, it will be easier to carry…

  2. Casey

    Beautifully put. We are all sons and daughters of Heavenly Father. He loves us all exactly the same. I have a neighbor who is very nosy and always wanting to come in with her kids for a quick chat that lasts two hours even with repeated mentioning that my husband is home soon and I should start dinner. I don’t feel we have anything in common but she obviously needs something from me…friendship. If only I would stop and just listen to her instead of wondering why she is letting her 2 year old climb the bookshelves!

  3. Dawn S

    Beautiful! Your heart & ear for God remind me to let myself be quiet and pay attention to Him…for only then am I truly in any moment as He wants me to be. Thank you for always sharing your heart!

  4. becca @ sewLOVED

    thank you, allison. thank you for opening my eyes and heart to this perspective, this knowledge. i think my mom has this book & i now realize that i need to read it. just… i don’t know, thank you! merry christmas, friend!

  5. erinasmommy

    Lovely Allison, thank you. You are so gifted, as a person, a mother, a writer. xoxoxox

  6. ashley doner

    I have heard great things about that book. I love your perspective. Christ has been really changing my perspective on pretty much everything the last year. Just realizing all the value I’ve put in all the wrong things. And it’s crazy how much His perspective can ‘mess you up’ but it’s such an amazing journey. I got really convicted while reading Leviticus over all the extras in my life, so I started to cut them out. And now it’s amazing because I don’t even miss all those things I loved- which is not me at all-totally Him. I loved this so much. There is nothing I love more than reading about how God is working in other people’s lives!

  7. Margaret

    That book is life-altering. I read it earlier this year and simultaneously couldn’t put it down and couldn’t read on. Every paragraph required me to catch my breath, soak in the words, and sit in awe. It messed me up, too, in the most glorious way.

  8. Karey

    I bought a book at Women of Faith this year by Jennie Allen called “Anything” and in it she mentions a friend of hers who was in her mid-twenties when she packed up and moved to Africa to take care of orphans – I bet this is her. Now I want to read this book too (but the way God is moving in my heart makes me a little nervous – and super excited at the same time – to read it). :) I have always had a heart for Africa and really feel like someday (*someday!*) we will adopt from there, but for now, we are here…in the now. And I couldn’t agree more with your prayer. “Lord, open my eyes to see what You would have me do in these moments right here and now. I don’t want to miss any precious opportunities you might give me to reach those around me now while I’m anxiously waiting for the opportunity to reach those farther away later.”

  9. Stephanie

    Wonderful and so true. I have experienced moments similar to yours in McDonald’s. It’s such a circus for me to take my 2 girls out (ages 1 & 3). One day in the grocery store, a sweet older woman smiled at my baby and said, “Every time I see a baby, I think about how marvelous our Creator is.” I found myself being a little more patient with the 3 year old dropping food on the store’s floor and baby trying to stand up instead of sit in the cart. I also realized that instead of viewing trucking the kids around as being difficult for me, maybe I could look at it as sharing their sweetness and beauty with others who might need it. Often when we’re out, I see ladies older than me – maybe in their 50s – smile knowingly as I walk by. I think maybe they are being reminded of the years when they had their precious children with them, too, and how it went all too fast. We can bless people so easily if we just stop thinking about ourselves and our so-called “problems.” Beautiful post.

  10. Jamie

    Love this post!! There were some really beautiful people working out. I went to the grocery store after I read this and tried to view everyone as a reflection of God too. It was amazing how much less rushed I was, how much more time I had for people, and how I truly was able to see God through every wrinkle, every smile, and even the frantic and angry parent in line behind me. I had some cool conversations, not that I led anyone to Christ, but I think you are right: I think this is where it starts. And why don’t I do this every time I look into someone’s eyes? I am going to try. It’s amazing how fast we can slip into, my agenda, my stress, my pain, and my needs.

  11. Corrina

    I haven’t read this book yet, I think I’m afraid of how it will wreck me. But God has been already working similar things in my life. I love missions and I would move my family to the foreign mission field if God said the word. But he’s showing me how to see my neighbors, families at school etc as my mission field. It’s a more challenging one, since the poverty is internal and that is harder to see and for people to realize about themselves but my prayer is that God can use me to be an instrument in them finding the internal wealth of his love and grace.


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