Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Walking a Fine Line

This Christmas more than any other I am completely aware of the fine line between consumerism and blessing those you love. Sometimes ignorance is indeed bliss. Not only do I have my recent trip to Africa and your stories and blogs to remind me of what our true priorities should be, I also have a daily glimpse of the realities of this world when I look not only in the twins eyes but also those of Gedese and Christiana. Every day when I struggle with the selfish desires of my heart, I see 9 people that I love beyond words. When their demands are greater than my ability at the moment and can't help but to think about what the demands of the twins parents are like at the same moment, or the demands of Gedese's family. I am again humbled and ask God for strength and thank Him for giving me perspective.
Having Gedese and the twins here are like having a built in consumermeter. Do I really need a box of macaroni? Wouldn't it be more cost effective to make my own? Should I pitch the shirt with stains? Or wouldn't be better to maybe dye it? Do my kids really need more clothes? Isn't 4 pair of pants per kid enough? Do their clothes really need to be washed after wearing it once? I think just by having them here I have saved thousands on needless purchases. The thing is- I'm not really a shopper. We spent the greater part of our marriage without much-and now that we have I could do without. I really think starting our marriage and family out doing without was the biggest blessing. Sorry a little side tracked. Okay, but here's the thing. I love to give. I really do. I love to find needs and fill them. I would rather go without shoes if it meant I could give them to someone. (Lest you think I'm a saint- I should mention my desire to give is selfishly motivated-It makes me feel sooooo good! I love it!)
Sometimes the consumermeter that Gedese provides irritates me though. Like for Christmas.
I know my kids could live without gifts but again I love to give. So there is my quandary, the fine line between consumerism and blessing. I thought I did a pretty good job at this. My kids get three presents. One from us, one from the boys and one from the girls. However when Gedese heard this- I got a deep sigh followed by a tsk tsk and a never in Ethiopia talk. We have a lot of these. Then I started to think- Maybe I have crossed that line. My desire to bless really has become the transcending into consumerism at Christmas. I know people who don't gift at Christmas. I admire that, I really do, but my nature is to give. So here I am again walking that fine line.

BTW- thanks for all the prayers- I am feeling better. I'm on some crazy antibiotics. Diezel is a trooper. Other than his noisy breathing, you wouldn't even know he's sick. Xia on the other hand-Wow! night after night up crying. High fevers, cough, and throwing up. Christiana is holding strong. We continue to suction her out before every feeding and check her temp. She is at 99.8. So we get to stay at home.

If I don't post again before Christmas-
Merry Christmas! May the Lord's blessing pour upon you and your family.
Thank you God!!!!!! For sending your Son to die for me.


emily said...

So with you on this post, let me know when you get it all figured out! :)

Merry Christmas

Karin said...

I look forward to seeing my kid(s) face on Christmas... but We don't plan to do what my parents did (having to work our way to the tree from the hallway~ took about 2 hours for 2 kids and 2 parents to open them all up!) I think there's a fine line and in my eyes, 3 eyes is not alot. I'm sure others will argue, but I have heard this alot... mostly, to represent the three kings. I guess for me, I just have to look at my heart and intentions. People will always have less then us (no matter how much or how little we have ) but we really need to look at what motivates us... I don't know if that makes sense.

Karin said...

I meant 3 PRESENTS... so much for proof reading! :)

Ali said...

I totally get what Karin is saying! It's about the motivation and intentions in the giving and recieving. I think there are about seven or eight presents for each of my boys, but I buy books, toys, etc. throughout the year at consignment sales, thrift stores and clearance sales. It is somewhere between $30-60 a piece. They are elated with what they get every year, so as long as they fully appreciate their gifts, then it's all good. That might be good to get it down to three gifts. The baby is only getting two gifts this year, so...

Major Mom said...

hmmmm...I believe that because the Lord has blessed us we should give. My kids get a lot at Christmas, because alot is asked of them throughout the year. They do without their dad and most of their extended family ALL the time. Other cultures may frown, but our culture is different. I understand what you are saying and maybe I need a broader perspective. This year however-it was all out for the boys.

*Overflowing* said...

We do the 3 gift thing, too. I totally get what you are feeling! I read story after story of children in desperate need...I see face after face from our trip to constant prayer is 'Lord, what would you have me to can we use the money you have blessed us do we teach our children?' It's so difficult in the society we live in. I am a HUGE giver, too...I LOVE brings me GREAT joy to give. I honestly would rather give and never receive. This year, I tried to become more creative and take gift giving back to sentimential not price or size. I still have a long way to go!

Praying everyone is feeling better!! HUGS

Natalie said...

You can't let someone else be your judge...I think you have your priorities straight. : )

Amy said...

Well, here's another perspective... I love to feed my family good food with lots of flavor, variety, and quality ingredients. I don't feel guilty about it even though some children get little else but rice and fish. Know what I mean?
If we are responsible and generous with what is given us, I don't think we need to feel guilty for giving our children the desires of their hearts. As long as their attitudes are appreciative, I don't think we are doing them any disservices.
Just my opinion... :)
- Amy
P.S. I too battle these thoughts all the time, and my children get far fewer presents than I did as a kid. Just the stocking and one gift each from us, then a few things from grandparents, aunts and uncles... But they're still young, and think a Pez dispenser is the best gift ever. So what do I know?

Donna said...

I struggle with the same feelings. I wrote about it on our blog recently:

I don't think there's any formulaic answer, though.