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J is for Jellybeans

Several years ago, I read a brief excerpt from the book Parenting the Heart of Your Child. This short article left an impression on me that I have never forgotten. Each time the phrase, "Did you have fun?" begins to enter my mouth, I think about the wise words in this article and I check myself.

It has impacted not only the way I talk to my children, but also the way that I think about life in general. I urge you to read it. Go read it and then pop back over here to finish this post.


Recently, my family accompanied our church youth group to a mission trip in Bayou le Batre. It's a poor community, consisting mostly of shrimpers who have been run out of business by commercial shrimp boats. It also hosts a FEMA-built community for families displaced by Katrina. We encountered mobile homes that looked like a slight breeze could knock them over; windows were knocked out and they couldn't possibly be occupied. As we drove by, I saw clothes hanging on lines that were attached to the homes and I realized that yes, indeed, people were attempting to live in these rusty boxes.

Upon returning, I had several people ask me with a smile, "So, did you have fun?"

Well, no.

But fun isn't why we went, so that's a good thing.

All of the reasons we did go? We achieved them and more.

Don't worry; I didn't answer like that. I knew what they meant and I just smiled back and told them it was a good trip that meant a lot to me. Where there was interest, I shared my story of what God did that week.

It stretched me. It hurt like growing pains tend to hurt. It humbled me. It left an ache. It left a joy. It left a sorrow. It left a peace.

It wasn't fun.

But it was exactly what God had planned.

Ben and Me


4 comments:

  1. My husband did some clean up and m issions work there right after the urricane. It hurts my heart to think that the devestation is still affecting people years later. Bless you for being the hands and feet of Jesus.

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    1. Devastation really is the word for it. You're so right. When asked what people in the area do for a living, more than once we were told, "Nothing." One wonderful woman that we met shared that she had moved in with her mother while she worked on the mobile home she owned. My husband checked it out and went over the repairs it needed. He told her that it would be cheaper for her to buy a different used trailer than to fix the one she had. She said that no, in that area, trailers are desperately hard to come by and cost much more than what we'd find elsewhere. Tragic, seeing how the people needing them cannot possibly afford inflated prices.

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  2. Thanks for sharing that. It gives me something to ponder. How many times do our questions lead to what becomes expected.

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"Man lives by affirmation even more than by bread." - Victor Hugo