Friday, April 23, 2010

Just a bag of chips

This week, as always, I was faced with a load of guilt. The guilt weighed down my spirit and left me confused with no answers to the problem that plagued my soul. Each week...I face this guilt. So unlike any guilt I've ever is unrelenting in it's accusations. This guilt takes fragments of truth, and shouts them at me over and over and over again. I recognize the voice of guilt as that of the devil, seeking to discourage me and keep me from walking close to my Lord. Yet, never has the confusion been so great as what the devil is using now.

I was grocery shopping for our family. There are eight of us now, two still in diapers. Our grocery budget is the same each week, and I keep within the limits. I buy all household items with this money. I had my small cart loaded to nearly list was nearly all scratched out. Cleaning supplies, treats for Sunday School kids, diapers, shampoo, was all there. I began unloading my cart and looked up behind me to see three ladies standing there counting change. They had a couple of bags of flour, salt, cornmeal...just a few items. I turned back to the task at hand, unloading my cart. I couldn't help but notice their stares as I put ALL my stuff on the counter. And then came the guilt. Why? I had 4 bags of chips...2 bags were for our lunches this week...2 bags were tortilla chips for a dinner of nachos. I thought of the cost of just the chips. I could buy what the ladies were carrying 4 times over...if I didn't buy the chips. Did we really need chips? Then came the voice of guilt, "HA...sure you're a Christian...follower of Christ...with all of your expensive food, while these ladies are counting shillings to buy flour! Who do you think YOU ARE AMY? Serving God on the mission field...if you really cared about these people..." And on and on the voice spoke. I continued unloading my cart, but every time I glanced back I saw the faces of the ladies, staring at my groceries.

The verse crossed my mind..."And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

We are need fillers, that is why we are here. People need the Lord, yet sometimes they need food as well. Obviously we cannot feed every hungry difficult choices must sometimes be made. Do you help only those who come to church...because you cannot help everyone? What about the children whose parents do not come to church...yet they are hungry too? How do you know who to help, and who to not help? The only answer is to listen to the Holy Spirit, and follow His promptings. God is capable of saying to me, " them" and He does.

All of these thoughts flooded through my mind while I was checking out. Then I heard the Lord..."Just buy their groceries Amy..." I looked at the cashier and said, "Go ahead and ring theirs up too...I'll pay for them." I couldn't talk to the ladies as they only spoke spanish. I don't think they even knew what was happening, because as the lady checked them out, they began counting their change again. I paid the cashier and quickly walked out.

I never thought I would feel guilt over buying food for my family, yet I do. Why was I born in America? I didn't choose where I would be born any more than these people here why are they hungry, while I buy chips without a second thought. The ladies food cost me less than $8 (US)...while my chips cost around $20. Once again I am humbled. I think from now on I will always see the ladies faces each time I buy a bag of chips.


  1. Oh Amy..I've never met such a tender heart,you are beautiful. Your post is convicting and heartfelt. I love you

  2. Amy,
    What a convicting real post! How precious are your thoughts and your deeds yielding to the Holy Spirit....Miss you my friend.
    Thank you for your words.
    love, nancy

  3. Hey Amy, Loved your thoughts. I don't feel that way here in Japan, they have so much. But oh the days in Portugal! They always stared in my cart. Enjoyed a glimpse into your life. How are the boils? Would love to hear from you, Kelly

  4. Wow can I relate!! Once in Brazil our neighbors across the street - the man of the house - lost his job. I did not want to go the grocery store because I knew they didn't have much - finally we were down to just a bag of beans and rice and I knew I would have to break down and go to the store and I felt so guilty carrying in groceries, wondering if they were watching us ( they probably were as we drew a lot of attention ) and hungry. I was always very sensitive to the poverty around me ... I feel that guilty feeling, Amy, just reading your post. All we can do is give all that we have. Praying for you ... Heather

  5. Ames...I can not imagine the conviction you deel with, but I know how convicted I feel when I read your post... What a thought. How spoiled I am and HOW loved I feel by God right now!! He has allowed me to be born here and raise my family here where food is pretty plentiful...and even though there has been times in my life where I consider them lean. He has taken care of me. Love ya sista!! Miss you more than I can express. Hope you feel this ((HUG)) I pray Jesus will give you a BIG one for me...

  6. So special, Amy. Your heart, that is. Thank you for sharing this. I haven't been able to get it off my mind since I read it yesterday. You did a very special thing.

  7. I can VERY VERY MUCH relate! SO many times in the Philipppines we had full carts while all others had a tiny basket. Sometimes, we too would buy the grocceries for others around and other times we didn't - The hardest thing beingback in the States now is that very sense of othrs around not really caring - It's not so much hat others do not care but usually they can not relate.
    Also, in the States now, my own heart can ometimes forget too and take for grantd the easy quick things we buy in the stores here.
    As you grow more used to seeing and living in the midst of poverty may you always allow your heart to stay soft for thoe around you. -Sj

  8. Missionary Momma...I'd love to have your e-mail address so we could correspond. Mine is send me yours!!

  9. I read your post today (coming from the lockwood Blog). I was at work having done all my work and trying to make time go by...
    When I left my job I went to do the weekly shoping.
    I was cross because they changed the place for the carts and there was a beggar...
    I was going to complain in the shop and suddenly I thought about your post...
    I decided I wouldn't say a word and instead I decided to buy a bottle of orange juice and a big package of biscuits.
    I went back to the car to put my errands in the car and went to put the cart back next to the beggar, with the orange juice and the biscuits still in the cart.
    I looked at him and looked down to the items. He pointed to himself kind of surprised "for me?"
    I noded my head "yes" (not a word was said between us I don't know why!!) and at that moment a wonderful smile came over his face... up to then he gave me the kreeps! (sorry for my spelling!!) But this lovely happy smile made me feel so good!
    I had a rather bad day having a big bill to pay once more for our car...
    After that I fellt much better!!
    so thank you for inspiring me!
    God bless your family!

  10. Hi Amy,
    I have been thinking of you....That post comes to my mind over and over..You left something with me in your actions. thank you.
    I think of you and prayed for you and your family. I remember last summer and baseball.
    Take care my friend,
    Love, nancy

  11. I was so glad to hear from you ..I will remember you are that DOT on my map from now on....You are an inspiration Amy to me and to others. I know that is not what you plan to be; but God uses you here and there in Belize.
    Miss you too my, nancy

  12. Amy, I can relate so much too, though the economy of Romania has drastically changed in the 11 years we've been here, the guilt that used to grip my heart because I couldn't wrap my mind around why I am among the "haves" and not the "have-nots". You are doing what you can, and listening to the Spirit,that's all He asks! Your temporal reward may be a bag of chips, but I wonder what spiritual rewards you are reaping!!!



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