{please don't judge me}
an inspirational entry on giving when it hurts

Please don't judge me. I'm confessing something and asking for mercy.

I have some priorities misplaced. Suppose I've known it, but its head reared madly on a trip to El Salvador with Compassion International.

I meet two children on a home visit. They invited me in.

Led me through dreams of being a doctor and police officer.

They filled my hands not with silver or gold, but with selfless love. Love shared in stories and smiles and what few tangible gifts they owned.

I'd visited their home to extend gifts myself; to extend mercy. But they exceeded anything I had to give. A tiny beaded bracelet, smudged with dirt, drenched in love. They wanted it to be mine.

She nudged her brother, too shy to hand it to me herself. Beaming, he presented it as if the royal crown and gently slid it on my wrist.

I declare, diamonds can not match the worth of their hearts, this gift, that moment.

The next morning as I was getting ready I felt that nudge. Give your other bracelet away like those children gave theirs to you. You see, I had another precious bracelet with me. A gift from my dad given over twenty years ago. A simple wooden one from South Africa.

Wrestling with indecision before I left my room, I was torn. My heart soared, anxious for that moment I'd spot the little girl or mama to give my bracelet. My heart sank, anxious to part with my sentimental treasure.

And there lay the problem. My misplaced treasure.

Please, don't judge me.

I'm embarrassed ... more than that. Heartbroken. I'm sick to say I couldn't give it away. Both bracelets journeyed back to the United States. One bearing selflessness; the other, selfishness.

I thought I was really something, bringing mercy to those kids in the form of beans and rice, soap and smiles. Little did I know, I was the one in need.

I need new perspective. And new truth — I don't want possessions I can't — won't — don't use to love others. And definitely, new mercy {thank God it's available}.

You know what the crazy thing is? I lost my South African bracelet. Isn't that the way it is with treasures? They're meant to easily slip through open hands and heart, huh?

I've decided: next time I'm giving it all. And I'm starting by looking for opportunities this New Year. Are you with me? We'd love you to share ideas on how to give, even when it hurts ...

Something Else...
Might you open your hands and heart with a sponsorship of a Compassion International child, like the two who blessed me?

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ~Lam. 3:22-26

Samantha Reed is continually learning how to live with open hands and heart, giving mercy… and receiving it. Join her at www.samanthareed.org.

Check in with Samantha at She Seeks this week.

© 2011 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.

For more devtionals like this one, check out Proverbs 31 Ministries