It all moved quickly that first day of the Influence Conference. I arrived at the airport with the late crowd and together we took the adventurous hour long journey to the hotel on the city bus. (you really can't beat $1.75)
We got to the hotel, post-registration, grabbed our swag bags (which deserve a post of their own, they were so good), tossed our bags in our rooms, and headed to the mall for a fancy food-court dinner. With minutes to spare, I slipped into my room to change clothes and then headed down to the first event of the conference with two of my roomies.
We grabbed a table, front and center, because we did not want to miss a detail of the Sole Hope shoe cutting party. You may remember I mentioned Sole Hope in this post when we recently shared space in Life: Beautiful Magazine. I have been following Sole Hope on twitter for well over a year and was so excited to participate in their incredible vision.
In the short version: Sole Hope was started by a woman who saw a problem and, instead of asking who ELSE could help solve it, she realized that she had the same capabilities to do something as anyone else did. And so, she leapt. And now children are being freed from pain and disease and death. It's so beautiful.
This is Asher Collie - Founder of Sole Hope who came all the way from Uganda and shared her vision and story with us.
And so we began tracing shoe patterns and cutting out the pieces to be shipped to Uganda where local women will sew them together into real, actual shoes that will be placed on the feet of shoeless children afflicted with jiggers.
Feelings of inadequacy.
I too, am a women living in a foreign country where God sent her. But what was my "thing?"
Yes, teams come and build homes with us and provide free medical clinics with us, but we've been living in Mexico for over a month and we don't have a group coming until the end of November.
I started to feel like what we were doing wasn't enough.
Wasn't big enough.
Wasn't cool enough.
When my fellow attendees would ask what our ministry was, It felt mediocre to answer with "mostly coloring" or "watching the 30+ kids that show up at our house every day" or to honestly say "just living amongst the people and seeing what comes next."
The answers didn't feel big enough or pin-pointed enough compared to the other missions and ministries being represented. I wasn't selling anything like Umba or FashionABLE, I wasn't making shoes like Sole Hope.
And for longer than I would like to admit, I let that shame me.
Thank you Jesus for Haley Morgan (The Tiny Twig) and her session the next morning and for Shauna Niequist and her session that afternoon.
"Stop believing the lies!" Haley said.
"Do YOUR thing well. Don't try to do THEIR thing well," Shauna implored.
"Stop striving. Don't try to pull the big things towards you. Just cling to Jesus and let Him lead you to the big things" (which, by the way, might look like some very small things. Don't be fooled! They're not! -- my own revelations) - Haley instructed.
Yes Lord! Thank you! Coloring is enough. Spending time with people is enough. The only requirement You've set is that I follow You with a willing heart and use my time to make much of You. That can happen at the dinner table. That can happen on the trampoline.
I love the mission of Sole Hope. And FashionABLE. And Umba. And I love the mission of the stay-at-home mom, and of the wife who honors her husband, and the teacher and the business woman who is using her influence to make much of God. I love the girl who boldly proclaims her love of Christ and her commitment to purity. I love the woman who walks through the struggle and turns it into a ministry. I'm proud to walk alongside them and know that WE ARE ENOUGH. (Thank you Jessi for pounding that into my head) We are enough because He is enough.
As I shared with my friends that I was hearing and believing these lies of comparison, many of them shared that they were experiencing the same. Some, even in talking with me. Let me tell you, what I'm doing or where I am at is no different than you. If we were all in one place, doing one thing, there would be an entire world missing out on the love and truth of the gospel. He wants us to spread out and share Him where we're at. And when He says "go" somewhere else, we do that too. And when He says "stay" where you're at, we do that too.
The power is in the willingness.
As Haley said, "God doesn't gift us all equally (with the same gifts), but He values our gifts equally." What passions has God instilled in your life? Use them! What talent has He given you? Use it! On what platform has He allowed you to stand? Use that influence. Because you do have it.
One way The Influence Network (and you can too!) is living their life on a mission is by fundraising to provide one-year's salary for a local nurse in Jinga, Uganda to work for Sole Hope and assist in the efforts to remove jiggers from the feet of children. This is an amazing opportunity to help people on the other side of the world RIGHT NOW! With your donation, a woman in a 3rd world country will have a steady job, 100s of children will walk pain-free, parents will feel relief over their children's healing, and Jesus' name will be made known! See my right side bar or click HERE to get involved.