Thoughts on a Sleepless Night

It’s 3:36 a.m. and I can’t sleep. It doesn’t happen very often but some nights I wake up thinking and just can’t get my brain to stop. So I debate staying in bed, cuddled next to my husband, staying perfectly still and willing myself to go back to sleep, or getting up and actually doing something about all the things I am thinking about.  Usually the staying in bed wins out and after an hour or so I fall back asleep. Tonight, I just couldn’t do it. I was having too many good ideas to just stay in bed.

So in the stillness of the night, in the absolute quiet of our house (something that is quite rare in this shared household of eight), I am getting lots done. I’ve already found (online) and ordered four wonderful, favorite children’s books of ours as gifts for Christmas and upcoming baby showers. I’ve also written a long reply to an email that was waiting for me in the morning.

And now, I get to blog. Sigh, Smile. It’s been too long since I last got to actually write something here. I’ve missed it. But, what shall I share with you? Insights from my recent eye procedure (no pun intended)? New challenges and adventures that are sprouting up with the end of summer and the beginning of autumn? Or maybe what I’ve been learning about poverty. How about that? It doesn’t sound like that riveting a topic but stick with me, it’s worth it.

Recently my SIL has been writing some terrific posts about about being wise with money. They aren’t your typical guilt-trip, you-should-be-spending=less-and-saving-more posts about money. They are more about her journey and she invites her readers to join her as she discovers ways to save and insights in being a good steward of all our resources. I suggest you check her out.

We also recently started a new series at church called The Hole in Our Gospel. This series is more than just another sermon series, it is a small group study, a daily journal, and a book, written by Richard Sterns, head of the reputable charity, World Vision. Most importantly this isn’t just another sermon in a long line of sermons heard, and then usually forgotten, throughout the years, this is a call to change. Change what, you ask? Well, our perspective on being a Christ follower, which in turn will change the way we give, the way we see the poor, the way we spend, and the way we change the world.

I have been overseas. I’ve been to third world countries. I’ve seen kids in rags, with infections and parasites. I’ve been exposed to poverty, on some level. But I’ve also grown calloused to it. This series is helping to remove those calloused scales from my eyes. It is making me cry and rethink some of my values. As I read and see and hear about young girls selling themselves for 25 cents(!) or children dying every 21 seconds due to waterborne illnesses I keep asking myself, what if those were my kids? As I put my own precious children’s faces to statistics I am asking what would I want done about it? What would I say to the big, rich, self-focused Western church today?

“Thanks for your 2% giving that went outside your own congregation, demonination, community, and country. It’s really making a difference. You should feel great about yourself, now go buy that iced latte in your foyer for you and your friend. The cost of that alone would nearly purchase a reliable food and income source for me. But hey, don’t feel guilty, you deserve that coffee!”

No, that’s not what I would say, and okay, maybe that’s a little bit dramatic and extreme. What I would say and am learning to say to myself is this:

“You Christ-followers claim to know the hope of the world. Prove it. You claim to have given your life to one who healed, loved, and spent time with the poor and sick. You claim he is your example. Prove it. You claim that Jesus has and will continue to change this world. Prove it.”

I think those are harder words than my first response. Yet they are true. Millions of people who have no hope and no future are asking us to prove our faith. Put our money and our very lives where our words have been for years.It is time to start proving it.

Some statistics I’ve learned in the last week*:

  • Every three seconds a child dies because he or she was hungry.
  • Americans spend an estimated $20 billion annually on ice cream. An amount that could fee 83 million hungry children for an entire year.
  • Contaminated water kills a child every 15 seconds.

*All taken from the Hole in Our Gospel study.

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4 responses to “Thoughts on a Sleepless Night

  1. Bill and I found this to be excellent and in harmony with K’s post. We are finding frugality to be challenging and satisfying, not that we are making any great inroads into poverty yet. A simple change: eating seasonal, locally grown produce.(off our tree!)..I have enjoyed Gravenstein apples for breakfst and lunch for several weeks…yum! 3 left, boohoo.

    This was a delight, sorry you were sleepless in Sandy, but glad to read your post! God bless you all! Oma

  2. Thanks Nikki. I have the book sitting on the stand by my bed. It has been there a long time, unopened. I think it is wonderful that you and your church family are going through it together. I have lately been imagining a collage sermon of images, juxtopositions of all the choices we have with the conditions of the poor and powerless around the world. I remember being shocked by all the choices in baby strollers when I went shopping with my daughter at a big box store. I couldn’t stop seeing a famous picture of a starving child at a refugee camp in Africa who was shadowed by a vulture just waiting. I recently picked up a Time magazine commerative issue about Mother Teresa. Beautiful. Perhaps she can be iconic for all of us. At the end of chapter 11 where Jesus calls all those who are tired and weary to come to him and learn of him and take up his burden to receive deep soul rest, I wonder if we forget the take my burden and learn of me part and if radical giving isn’t a crucial aspect of following Jesus. I pray that God will impower us to follow Jesus in the ways he is the way. I hope you and Kris can instill a radical givingness into your children.

  3. Good Stuff Nikki! That book is on my read list…! Jason and I regularly dialog about how to instill a radical sense of giving and selflessness in our kids – how to realistically live that out here. A difficult concept to embrace, especially in today’s society.

    Love ya!

  4. Amen, Nikki. The truth exposed in that book is ruining me too, all over again. I love your wordless Wednesday thing–it’s so fun to see pics of your life. Keep sharing what you guys are learning–as a church we’re starting the series this weekend. Love you all.
    K

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