October 3, 2011

Showing Up BIG in the Little Things

It amazes me how much the seemingly insignificant things in life can mean so much and impact us so deeply. These are the fleeting moments of meaning; instances or experiences that are easily overlooked if not magnified by the sheer timing of an action or the mere choice of a word.

This week brought one of those moments my way. 

It all started when I read a journal post at OurCompassion that described different ways to make and send calendars to your Compassion children. The examples ranged from simple photo cards to beautifully hand designed keepsake-style pieces. I wanted to give it a try despite my sheer lack of handcrafting ability. Too many times I’ve loaded up with all the supplies, instructions and excitement only to be left with some odd-ball looking embarrassment that gets tossed in the trash.

This time I kept my enthusiasm in check and opted for a trip to a 1-hour photo kiosk to simply make personalized, 4x6 year-at-a-glance calendars, complete with each child’s picture. Definitely not your keepsake masterpiece, but It worked for my limitations! The options for background colors, layouts and design templates let me exercise a little personal creative expression.

I felt artistic. I felt like a bona fide handcrafter.

I felt the l-o-v-e flowing through me while I worked on my simple project. As I looked at each face, I thought about their country, the living conditions and safety issues. Their family members and special prayer requests came to mind. I made special notations on their calendars about our family’s birthdays and highlighted their name to emphasize how we included them in our birthday reminder list. My heart bubbled as I looked at the finished product. The kids will like them; they look nice.

For a few minutes I enjoyed my illusions of artsy-ness.

Then -- just before I mailed the cards, I felt a little pang of uneasiness. Slowly I flipped through the seven cards again. Second thoughts gnawed as reality settled in. 

  1. The timing: The year would be half gone by the time the calendars reached their destined countries. How will the kids feel getting a half useless calendar?
  2. The picture: Will they like their picture on the calendar, or will they think that’s silly? 
Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

The heart that felt so happy a few minutes before now felt anxious and woefully inadequate. 

But… I mailed them anyway, in spite of my gift-giving anxieties.
Last Saturday – six months later -- I received a response from Vinay thanking me for the letter and his calendar card. He could have thanked me with a general acknowledgement, but instead he specifically wrote:
“I felt very happy by seeing my photo in the calendar.”
Why am I surprised when God does this kind of stuff? He knows me inside out and upside down – my joys, concerns and anxious thoughts. He knows each of my children. He knows you! And He continually shows us how much He cares by showing up BIG in the little things. 


Psalm 139:23

TIP: October is the time to mail next year’s calendar cards.


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