God has given me a heart of mercy for others. The widow. The orphan. The mom in need. These all tug on my heart strings.
I recently heard author Rebekah Lyons say this, “Your calling is when your talents and your burdens collide.”
This was a reminder to me of why I originally jumped in to be the director of The Haitian Bead Project. Since I was a little girl I have loved all things creative. I always had some craft or art project littering my bedroom floor and brightening my walls. When I went away to college, my mom reminds me that I insisted on finding a college town that had a good bead store.
Today I realize that I grew up in a privileged environment where my parents nurtured my creativity. As Americans we have lots of creative resources at our fingertips.
When I go to Haiti, my heart breaks consistently over the little resources the kids have to express themselves creatively. The mamas in the northern mountains cannot just run down to Michael’s or JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby for some yarn or glue or paints.
Yet the Haitians still find a way using recycled resources to make beautiful things. That’s why I am so passionate about encouraging them in their creative gifts.
And just as I want to see the women in Haiti grow their gifts, I long for my own children to grow their gifts and hearts to serve. My husband and I have decided the best way to grow a heart to serve in our kids is to bring them along. If we are modeling service, if we are grappling with how to offer a hand up to the poor, if we are sharing our faith story with others, our kids should be a part of that adventure.
I know what you’re thinking. How can you serve others with your kids there tugging on your shirt, vying for your attention? There’s no doubt: serving with kids in the mix can be messy. They don’t always behave. Sometimes they get into the supplies. They are raw and honest and sometimes get hot and tired and cranky. The trade off is that my own children frequently model for me a heart of truly serving.
This past summer I found my 4-year-old outside our back door in Haiti with a box of band-aids. She was surrounded by a group of orphans. Every one of them was sporting a Dora band-aid and a huge grin. My daughter had offered them a great gift. She saw each one of them as important, human, her friends. She was on a mission to bind up their wounds. That challenged me in a profound way.
She was growing a heart to serve.
Dorina Lazo Gilmore is the Coordinator of the Bridge MOPS group. She is the director of The Haitian Bead Project, which works to give women in the northern mountains of Haiti jobs so they can provide for their families. She lives in Pignon, Haiti with her family every summer and travels there a few times a year. www.HaitianBeads.org