I have never been more truly thankful and aware of my many blessings than this year, especially during this Thanksgiving season. Having our DAUGHTER (it still makes me so happy to say that) HOME with her family this year is certainly cause for much of this thankfulness. But it goes much deeper than that. Spending a couple of weeks in Ethiopia this past year and looking in the face of such poverty has changed me.
*There are nearly 6 million orphans in Ethiopia (which means 7.5% of the population consists of orphans)
*Up to 20% of the population in Ethiopia are not even able to eat once per day
*26% of the population in Ethiopia live on less that $1 per day, and 81% live on less than $2 per day
*In Ethiopia, 1 in 10 children die before their first birthday
*40% of children in Ethiopia sleep on the floor, where nighttime temperatures average 5 degrees Celcius during the cold season
*There is 1 medical doctor per 100,000 people in Ethiopia
Hearing these statistics and becoming aware of them (like we were so very much last year after starting the adoption process) is one thing, but seeing them firsthand and looking these beautiful Ethiopian people in the eye is totally another. Things like clean water, a roof over our head, closets full of clothes, pantries full of food, and so many other LUXURIES that we have in the US look totally different to me now. And I pray they always do. Because it's only when we are aware and moved by these statistics that we do something about it. Even if it's so much easier to turn our head and pretend that things like this don't exist around the world. It's only in seeing and becoming aware that we are moved to change.
I'm so thankful that Drew had the opportunity to take a missions trip to the Czech Republic during college and spend so much time in the orphanages there loving on those sweet little kids. And I'm so thankful for the ways that God softened BOTH of our hearts through that missions trip, even way back when, towards His love for the orphans of this world. I'm even thankful that God spoke to us through my medical issues (as tough as they were and continue to be) and continued to break our hearts for what breaks His. And I'm so thankful that we took a leap of faith and listened to His call towards adoption. As I look through teary eyes at little Zoe's sweet face right now, I'm soo humbled that He chose US to be her parents.
So, this year as I reflect on all of my many blessings during this Thanksgiving season, I am not only thankful for this sweet boy..
...and this sweet girl...
...and my amazing husband who loves our kiddos and me so wonderfully....
...and all of my other family members and friends, and all of the LUXURIES that we so often take for granted... This year I'm also painfully aware that MILLIONS of people around the world don't have those same LUXURIES such as warm and comfy homes and beds, food to feed their families, clean water to drink, and even access to the medical care they so desperately need. And I'm praying that He would continue to break my heart for the things that break His, as painful and tough as that may be.
As Ann Voskamp says so beautifully in her book One Thousand Gifts (if you haven't read this book- go out and buy it NOW)..
"I am blessed. I can bless. A life contemplating the blessings of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ.
Happy Thanksgiving! May it be about more than just turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes this year...