Sometimes the news and our lives are hard and heart-breaking and filled with disappointment. Especially on a day like Valentine’s that comes with so much built-in disappointment.
And then sometimes you open your email and amidst all the darkness a bright light streams like a rainbow into your eyes and your heart. When Elise emailed me this story about her daughter, I knew I had to share it with you all.
Because this is what love looks like. Not heart-shaped chocolates – sometimes love looks like a 9 year old girl who’s story makes you cry into your phone as you’re squinting at the screen, still in your pajamas and ratty, bed-hair.
You guys, I’m so delighted to introduce you to, Selah. This is her Valentine’s Story:
She tucks away the bills in her sparkly silver wallet.
“I love babysitting during Bible study!” She grins and clicks the knobs shut with a happy sigh.
Selah is 9 years young and every Tuesday, in a small nursery packed with exuberant kids, she plays and cuddles and reads and earns a cool $5.
She glows in her extreme wealth of $20 per month.
She talks about all the ways she could spend it — mostly on gifts for her sisters and cousins — but keeps saving up and praying about what God wants her to do with what He gives her.
She has considered herself a steward of His treasure since she was 6 years old.
At six, all on her own accord, she told me she wanted to raise money for kids who needed food and water. She wanted to call her fundraiser “By a Kid, For a Kid.” And she created and sold and gave every penny away.
Approaching seven, because she read a story in a Pockets magazine, she opted to forgo receiving birthday presents and instead made a registry and took gifts to children at the Star of Hope homeless shelter.
At eight, she wanted to be a part of what God was doing in India where my cousin Carli and her husband Cory were(and are still) serving. She also wanted to help those suffering in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan. So we prayed and she painted and we opened an online store and God allowed her to help Him clothe two entire orphanages of children and give over $500 towards disaster relief through Compassion.
At nine, through my women’s prayer group, she heard of a local family who miraculously survived a plane crash, and wanted to help with their medical bills. She painted again and raised over $600, but due to a heartbreaking situation I couldn’t continue the fundraiser and had to close the store before she reached the goal she wanted.
She’s been talking to me about fundraising and wanting to help others ever since.
And then, this blog post made her squeal with excitement!
“MOM — $10 gets ONE HUNDRED bowls of porridge for kids??… Look at that playground! Now THAT is awesome! I’d wanna play on that thing!… And it doubles as a church platform? That’s such a good idea!…”
And then I clicked back through other posts and showed her how God has raised this entire project from nothing but red dirt. Because He is *awesome*.
I showed her Lisa-Jo, and her nine year old son Jackson, and Lisa-Jo’s Dad, Peter, praying in faith with Pastor Norman about the community center before any funds had been raised.
We looked at the corn and the smiles and talked about the bravery of those who leave doors open and a welcome extended even when there is nothing left to give because they know God is Jehovah Jireh.
He is faithful to provide.
Sometimes — we get the privilege to help.
She didn’t hesitate a moment “I want to do this, Mom. I can do this.”
So she joined the #TenDollarTribe. Where 100% of her $10 per month goes toward serving the beautiful kids in Maubane and Reagoboka South Africa.
She is thrilled that at 9 years old she can earn in 3 hours (2 separate times of 1 1/2 hrs.) the $10 that pays the full day wage of a Caregiver in those amazing communities!
And then Selah said she wanted to be like Lisa-Jo someday, and I asked her what she meant.
Selah said that she wanted to be able to speak to a lot of people, like Lisa-Jo can through her blog, because she wants to help more people than she can on her own.
I nodded. Then asked “Selah — if you could speak to all the people Lisa-Jo speaks to — what would you say?”
She thought a moment and said seriously, firmly: “Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Don’t just look out for your own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
She waved her hands expressively and smiled, “So basically — who cares what I think? Just do whatever God says!”
I grin at all her mixed sass and sweet and ask, “And what about someone who may not be able to give money? What would you say to them?”
She doesn’t skip a beat. “I would say that it’s probably a good thing that they can’t give money then — maybe they need to know that they can still give without having money. They can still give prayer. Maybe the best thing for them would be to practice giving prayer as a gift and seeing that as important. I think we should all do everything that we can — and prayer is the most important and everyone can give prayer.”
She convicts me, this oldest daughter of mine whose name means a pause — an intentional break in the all the words.
Because I have head knowledge of lots of truth — much more than she does I would say.
But what she does know? She doesn’t hesitate to live.
I want to be like that when I grow up.
Will you join Selah today and accept the privilege of working alongside Love in the form of $10 or prayer?
Click right here to see more beautiful pictures of the souls you’d be bringing real nourishment to and learn more of the details!
And you, dear readers? You are *awesome*.
Thanks for being such an encouragement to my sweet girl as she practices living out her love for Jesus!
This is Lisa-Jo again, wiping tears from my eyes as I read this story for the 10th time. Selah is right, this community is awesome and I can never get over the gift of getting to BE the gift together. Thank you to each of the 89 of you who have joined our Ten Dollar Tribe. And thank you to you guys who have joined with your prayers. This is a guilt-free zone and we treasure each of you the same.
And if you want to leave a comment for Selah, just click right here.