My parents are great.  Everything I am, I owe to them.  People tell me I am just like my mother, which is really funny to me, seeing as how I’m adopted.  Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, even if it’s imported.

Now that I’m all grown and mature and stuff, I have asked them what they would do differently as parents if they could go back in time.  Both of them answered that they would minister more together as a family.  I will NEVER forget the Thanksgiving that we went without our traditional holiday fare to help an inner city ministry in downtown St. Louis.  We served turkey and all the fixings to homeless people who had come in from the streets.  I don’t remember all the details, but the little girl in me remembers hundreds of people lined up to receive food.  People that I had never been around before.  People dressed in tattered clothing, unbathed and dirty.  People that made me a bit uncomfortable.  And yet, there were my parents, serving food, smiling, hugging necks.  I remember that Thanksgiving.

My heart is to teach my children to love others, to have compassion on those around them, no matter if they are wealthy or poor.  My heart is to have them see others through the eyes of Jesus.  And yet, I know it’s an area of my own life that needs transformation.  I have written about this before.  I don’t fully live the life I claim to believe.  The narrow road that He calls us to.  But I want to.  I know that if I want our children to be those who love the way Jesus loves, then we have to model that behavior.  More importantly, it needs to come from a place of authenticity.  Do I live the life I want them to live?

It’s one thing to talk about this subject on a blog and quite another to actually put it into practice.  It can’t be just some nice, abstract idea that I wrestle with in my heart.  If true change is to occur, I have to actually do something.  

First and foremost, it starts in my heart.  I don’t want to see people who are poor or living unjustly as separate from myself.  No more “me vs. them” mentality.  I want to invite God to challenge those places in me that are uncomfortable around people who are not like me.  I want to truly see the heart in people and not just their circumstances.  I want to see people and not look through them.  Also, I don’t want to think of teaching compassion as some kind of “project” or mission.  I want it to be a normal part of our lives.  I don’t know if that makes sense or not.  I’m still trying to figure it out myself. 

Second, it’s not enough for me to teach my Little One about ministering to the poor and needy just through daily devotionals and images in a book or on the computer.  For her to really learn about a life of compassion, I must live a life of compassion.  Not just with my words but through my actions, as well. 

I’ll be really honest.  I’m not sure what the ramifications are for this dialogue with myself.  I know I want to change, but I’m not sure how or where.  We only have one child so far and she’s just a toddler.  I guess my first step will be to ask God what all this means.

It’s really about loving people, isn’t it?  But real love isn’t just talk.

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