"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

30 January 2013

Toddlers & Community: A Compassion Post

Toddlerhood has been a wake-up call for me.

Little B was an incredibly good-natured baby. Other than not sleeping well, he was the ideal baby. He was always cheerful, rarely cried, ate well, and was a healthy baby overall.

And then he began talking. And having opinions.

The audacity. 

Toddlerhood has brought forth such an awareness of my own shortcomings and embarrassing lack of empathy at times. As I was on the phone with a sweet friend last week, we were commiserating about how parenting toddlers makes us aware of "issues" in ourselves that we never even knew we had! 

I think this is why communal support is so important. God created us to live in community, to share laughter and sorrow, to carry one another in love. The presence of a supportive community has never been as crucial in my life as it has been since becoming a mother. In those desperate moments of "I just can't do this," there is nothing more healing than hearing the voice of another mother say, "I know. I get it." 

It makes you feel like you just might not be as crazy as you suspect you are.

If you've been reading here for a while, you'll know that I blog for Compassion International.
One of the reasons I love the work that Compassion does is that, by helping children, the organization supports families.

I was thinking about Compassion tonight. As I looked at pictures of little ones on their website and praying that the Lord would provide sponsors for them, I came across this:
Sponsor a Toddler today!
And it stopped me in my tracks, and I had this thought: "These precious toddlers have mamas who love them dearly. When their babies are sponsored, there is a thread of "community" that links them. How beautiful!"

Maybe I'm being extra-sentimental. It's very likely, actually. I'm a very weepy person.

But after having my stomach turned by two seconds of a viral video of a mom pinning down her screaming baby boy while a tattoo "artist" pierces the tender, pure skin of the baby's upper arm, I'm extra-thankful for all the mothers out there who protect their children fiercely, who love them deeply, for whom their babies are not a fashion accessory to flaunt and tote around but a precious life, a life with which they have been entrusted.

Won't you join this community of Compassion? Won't you help release a toddler -- or two -- from the vicious cycle of poverty?

*All photos on this page, except for the first, are taken from Compassion.

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