My heart has been wrestling.
It started the week before the inner city mission trip. I spent the week rearranging my homeschool room. We moved bookshelves, used some scrap wood to make shelves, added a $20 light. For years now I've enjoyed taking time in the summer to make the space fresh for the upcoming year. I excitedly shared photos.
Even as I prepared, I noted how big our school room now feels. Where there was once six of us doing school daily, there will be only three this year. Though the size is the same, each child leaving home makes the entire house feel bigger.
In the city, we held an evening kid's club in the courtyard of some apartment buildings. It struck me that each apartment was probably the same size as my homeschool room. It was a realization that causes one to feel smug or ashamed.
My wrestle continued at my daughter's home.
A framed child's finger painting - CONGO - was the prompt. Our church has a close affiliation with the Christians in Congo. Seeing the print reminded me of stories and photographs from returning teams. Like the small city apartments, just sheer mention of the country's name causes me to dislike the abundance of our American culture, and how I get pulled into craving bigger and better.
Last Sunday, our pastor preached fresh from his visit to Congo. He described at length the Christian schools being established there. He talked of the modest classrooms. Two by four framing, metal walls and roof, wood desks and benches.
No bookshelves. No new lights. No yellow pencils in a decorative black Dollar Store bucket.
Paul writes, "At this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance may also become a supply for your need, that there may be equality" 2 Corinthians 8:14.
I have space in abundance.
My abundance plus knowing their need results in the wrestle.
One solution would be to sell all, simplify, and give the access. Believe me, I consider it every time I clean house. In reality, our commitment to care for my father-in-law prevents that option. At 91 years of age, he is settled comfortably into his handicap accessible room, hoping the move here was his last. We desire earnestly to fulfill our ministry to meet his needs.
So I'll have to keep wrestling. Seeking the Lord's wisdom as I evaluate how my abundance can meet others' needs. An open heart to His leading has to be what my school room needs most this year.
A special thanks for Rebecah Lutz for the use of photos from her recent trip to Congo.