The other day, Carson and I got into a conversation about the Holy Spirit. This child doesn't shy away from the deep stuff. It started because he asked me why I sometimes give money to the panhandlers on the freeway off-ramps, and other times I don't. I didn't have a good answer, really. I said sometimes I have money handy, other times I don't. Sometimes they seem too pushy, other times they don't. But I tried to explain to him that sometimes I feel the Holy Spirit nudging me to do so, and other times I don't. We talked about how I believe God gives me heart-whispers--that's a hard concept to explain to a very literal 7 year old boy. But I said that "listening" to those whispers takes practice, and I don't always get it right. But I usually have a very specific feeling of regret when I get it wrong.
I thought of a time when I was pretty sure the Spirit was convicting Carson: it was a couple years ago, and he had set up a game of Candyland in advance so he would get all the good cards and win. I figured it out right away, but feigned ignorance, and about 2 cards in, he collapsed in frantic, anguished tears and confessed that he had cheated. It was almost comical at the time! But it was a great example of his conscience, which I believe is a tool of the Holy Spirit. So, back to the car, I shared one example in my life: that Trent and I felt a strong nudge from the Lord that we should adopt, and so we did. Carson, bless his heart, said "I'm SO glad you listened to God! Otherwise we wouldn't have Asher!"
After this conversation, I started asking myself a similar question. These days, everywhere I turn, there is another cause/organization/ministry that is doing good work and needs help. Sydney's saving coins for kids with leukemia. Carson's jumping rope for kids with heart disease. The neighbor is selling cookies for girl scouts. We know of a dozen different people doing good work around the world, but my heart beats strong for only a few of these causes. Only occasionally do I find myself digging deeper, wanting more information, trying to find a way to support. I know it seems obvious, but I believe the Holy Spirit draws me to certain causes. I think He has wired me and charted the path of my life experiences to feel more invested in some ministries. I have seen that He has caused my heart to break for what breaks His--and even with that criteria, sometimes I am more stirred than others.
A long time friend and I were talking a couple months ago, and she was asking similar questions. Her kids are older than mine, their family is settled into a good groove of life, and she said she feels like something is missing. She feels like she wants to give more of herself, but has no idea where. She said she doesn't know what her passion is. I asked her if she had $100,000 to give to ANY cause, but had to give it all to one place: what would it be? I think if you can answer that question, it reveals where the Spirit is pulling you. I pondered for a bit and answered the question for myself. I have found myself, in the last few years, deeply brokenhearted over the issue of human trafficking. For instance, on the day of the Superbowl, I read THIS ARTICLE about how this sporting event is the largest single incident of human trafficking in the US each year. I was so upset about this information, that I had to leave the room when I was telling my husband about it, because I didn't want the kids to see me sobbing. My mind and heart just cannot fathom the horror that is reality to these victims around the world, even in our own city. When we drive by a particular major exit off the interstate, there are two large hotels. My heart sinks when I look at the window of these hotels, wondering if there are victims being abused and sold in this very moment. It is not unlikely. Why do I think about it so much? Thanks be to God, I do not have a history of abuse in my life. I have no idea why God has caused this particular current issue to cause such an ache in my heart. I know that when we decided to adopt from Thailand, one factor was the well-known prevalence of trafficking in that country. But other than that--why? And furthermore, what's a busy stay-at-home mom to do about a worldwide epidemic of evil?
But on January 11, which is Human Trafficking Awareness Day, I used my big mouth and our society's current obsession with social media to talk about it. I posted a few times that day on organizations that I know are doing good work to rescue children and women from the $ex trade, and also some that are working to prevent it. I got only a few comments and "likes" and then I started to doubt myself--am I turning into one of those annoying "causey" people that is always preaching about something? Is this issue too horrible and ugly to talk about on f@cebook? But then, something awesome happened. A friend of mine messaged me that my post had convicted her to sponsor a child through Compassion International. God used my big mouth and social media and my friend's willing heart to protect a little girl in India. I was really humbled. And excited. And validated! If the Holy Spirit flags me down for a specific cause, I should not keep it to myself. It may only nudge one or two other people, but even so--it is worth it. Posts on FB and blogs by other like-minded people have moved me to action more than once. It's not in vain.
You know where this is going, don't you?! Recently, I stumbled on a ministry that, in my mind, has 3 powerful things going for it: A) It's Christian based, B) It works to free and restore victims of human trafficking and C) They are heavily involved in Thailand. Destiny Rescue is doing amazing things in southeast Asia, and they are growing quickly. An adoption friend connected me with a young couple who are moving to Thailand to work with Destiny Rescue. Check out their blog here. I love finding things like this. My heart leaps! By buying a t-shirt or a tote, I can support this ministry by helping to send them talented workers, which will make them more successful and able to rescue more victims. Yes, it's a small thing. It's a little tiny piece of a big, overwhelming puzzle. However, the Holy Spirit has drawn me to take part in solving this particular puzzle and tell others about it. And whether it is with my checkbook or my blog or my status updates, I want to practice listening to those little heart-whispers.