Millions of children around the world are orphaned. I feel helpless to take action in terms of these staggering facts. What can I possibly do to help with the problem? I feel so overwhelmed by the issue.
But, understanding the importance of strengthening families is something I can wrap my mind around. In fact, it is something I am already doing in my everyday life.
I spend a lot of time with children. During the week, I am with my own three preschool-age children all day (they are 5, 4 and 2 years old). I clean up crayons and get water cups for painting. I read countless books and help them practice writing their names. I teach them about clearing their plates and putting away laundry. And when my husband comes home from work, we tell him all about our day – about the bird’s nest we found on our walk, how nap time went, and what we created together. All day, we work at strengthening our own family.
At church, I take care of toddlers and babies and teach preschoolers. I sit on the floor and play with blocks. I pass out crayons and locate just the right shade of pink when a little girl is looking for the perfect one. I meet parents and grandparents when they pick up their children, and it is my delight to share with them how their child participated, helped and learned about love that day in class.
Recently, I was helping in the preschool room. At the end of the service, we had extra time before the parents came to pick up their children. So the little ones sat in a circle and handed me book after book to read aloud. They were curious and listened attentively to each of the stories. I could tell their minds were busy processing the pictures and the words of each story, and they sat so well as I read aloud.
In that moment, we were sharing something together – a story, a quiet room and simply being together. It’s during these times of connection with the children that I feel like I am truly investing in their lives. I believe I am strengthening the families in my community when I connect with the children and invest in their lives.
So, I understand the concept of strengthening families and how it works in my own house and in my community. Extending this knowledge globally feels attainable and achievable. And quite frankly, it makes sense to me – it’s what I already do here with people I know.
Any true work of the kingdom begins at the center of our own world – it begins in our hearts. We cannot move outward to take on the conflicts and problems in the world if we have not first addressed the root of this desire. It is through grounding ourselves in our faith and in God that we can then have the mobility to move forward to bring change in an effective way. Once we connect to the heart of God, whose desire is to love and restore all things, we can’t help but move outward to a place of action.
The concentric circles of strengthening families are the same way. I believe in the power of strengthening families in my own life then in my community, so it is only natural that out of this already-established place of importance, I am passionate and effective in bringing about change in families in my city and around the world.
Our family sponsors a little girl named Yorling through World Vision. We pay a small amount each month and that money goes the Mombacho community in Nicaragua to support her family and the people around her – through education, health, economic development and clean water. It seems like a small gesture – to just send money – but I feel like it’s a tangible way I can help strengthen another community and family around the globe who is in need and in turn provide a stable, healthy environment for the children to flourish.
Bringing about change in the world begins at home. We begin by first addressing our heart and by pressing into God and strengthening our own faith. Then we move outward to the people who are closest to us, then to our neighbors, our city and, finally, the world. My own passion for family extends naturally from my own front door, then across my street and finally around the globe.