If you listen to Christian radio at all, you can't help but have heard Brandon Heath's song, "Give Me Your Eyes." Besides having a catchy beat, the words to the song have been laying on my heart ever since I first heard it. Similar to other times when God is trying to speak to me, I initially felt moved and challenged by the lyrics but then decided to quickly brush it off. I wish I could say that every time God tries to get my attention in some way, I always listen and immediately obey but more often than not, I usually hesitate and sometimes, I even try to forget about it. In this case, I said to myself, "This feeling will probably go away." "Maybe someday later I will actually make time to do something about it." For two weeks, it became one of those things that I just couldn't escape.
Here are the words to the chorus....
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see...
For much of my younger life, I prided myself on being compassion-less.
The popular athletic company mantra, "Just do it" pretty much summed up my whole attitude towards people and situations that warranted compassion.
For so long, compassion to me, seemed like it was merely an excuse for the weak and unmotivated. But thankfully, by the grace of God, I am not that unmerciful person anymore.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the prayer list that I made for my girls. Making that list actually forced me to deeply consider the attributes and characteristics that I want my daughters to have. And as I looked down that list of prayers, I also knew that my kids needed real life examples and training. The lyrics to this song challenged me to reach out and go beyond my comfort zone. It dared me to think of others first and extend compassion and kindness. All the while, showing my children what a real heart for service looks like. The song also challenged me to make a move today; not tomorrow or sometime in the future when it would be easier or more convenient. Surrender and pride are often two of the hardest things to let go of isn't it? Earlier this week, I decided to say yes to the Holy Spirit's gentle nudging. With the help of my church, I called an assisted living facility in our area and made arrangements to visit the residents with Faith and Grace (and lemon cupcakes) in tow. I prepared the girls the night before by explaining to them what we'd be doing and why it was important. On Friday morning, the girls woke up excited to meet some new friends. They even asked if they could bring their mini CD player so that they could dance for them.
When we arrived, we were met by Maria, one of the managers and main caretakers. She graciously gave us a tour of the grounds and then took us to each person's small apartment where we spent about an hour visiting with 20 residents. Grace and Faith had quite the system going. After saying hello and introducing ourselves, they would ask each person if they would like a lemon cupcake. To which every single person replied, "Yes, I'd love one!" Grace was in charge of the napkins and she would place a napkin in each person's lap. Then Faith would pick out just the right cupcake before placing it on the napkin. After chatting for a few minutes, we wished them a good day and thanked them for letting us come into their home. The girls were a delight, to say the least. It was neat to see each person's eyes light up as two little visitors were introduced. As we entered each of their homes, I couldn't help but realize that each one of them had a lifetime of stories tell. Although some folks were mobile, others were very old and could hardly move without assistance. Some were confined to their bed, others in wheelchairs. Many of them were simply sitting on their couches, watching TV. Maria informed us that some residents don't get any visitors at all. At one time, they may have been married but they didn't have any children or siblings.
Once we made all of our visits, I immediately asked if we could come again sometime. I told Maria that the girls were looking forward to dancing for everyone. She not only welcomed us back but she also said that she would let everyone know when we were planning to return so that they could all gather on the patio. We have decided to go back and visit once a month.
As the girls get older, they can incorporate other things like singing or story reading. After meeting these folks, I felt it was important that we see them again. I just know that there are many lessons to be learned by giving our time and serving others in this way. With the Lord's help, I was able to muster up the courage to get out of my own world for a just little while. It's amazing how God sweetly uses my children to teach me more about Him. Since actions speak louder than words, I knew that if I wanted my kids to have a heart like Jesus and learn how to serve others with joyful compassion, that it must begin with me. We live in such a self-centered world today don't we?
And things just seem to be getting worse. Faith and Grace are at the perfect age to start learning what it means to live for the Lord and to start thinking of others before themselves. On our way home, I was telling the the girls how proud I was of them. To which they replied, "And it makes Jesus happy!"
Yes, darling girls, it makes Jesus happy.
By the time I got home, there was an email from the director of the facility where we had just visited. He said that he was sorry he couldn't be there that morning to meet us. He was out taking one of the residents to a doctor's appointment. He informed me that Maria couldn't say enough about Faith and Grace and how much the residents enjoyed our visit. He welcomed us back anytime and said that he looked forward to meeting us in the future.
One thing that Morgan and I are looking forward to doing when the girls get older is taking family ministry trips. In particular, I'd love to visit orphanages around the world and give our time, support and resources where needed.
Thank you, Lord for the many ways you speak to me. Thank you for your grace and compassion on my life. Thank you for giving me Your eyes so that I can see others the way you do. And thank you Lord, for my sweet girls and the courage they give me to impact the world, little by little, for You.
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45
Click on the link below to see Brandon Heath's video, "Give Me Your Eyes," with complete lyrics. Who knows how God will speak to you through a song?