So, this post brags on my child, a bit. Forgive me, but I have to.
I can't take credit for this idea. I stole it from our babysitter, KB. I'm sure she would say she couldn't take credit for the idea, either, but she inspired us, so I credit her. KB has been doing something called, "Make a Difference Monday." A Christian music station called KLove has started this phenomenon of every Monday doing something for a friend or stranger that makes a difference in someone's life. KB has been doing this awhile and she blessed me one day by putting a Starbucks (God bless her, she knows this momma lives on coffee.) gift card in my mailbox when I was going through a hard time.
I loved the surprise so much and I just kept thinking how thoughtful that was for her to do. This college student who has plenty on her plate was putting others before herself to make a difference. It may not seem like much...but on a day when I was struggling and feeling invisible, once again, I felt like someone 'saw' me. It was huge to me...in my small, little world. It felt HUGE.
I started thinking how that could be something really useful to help my children 'see' others and take the focus off themselves. We have not been so consistent about it this summer, but we've had some really neat opportunities to show others Christ's love. The first time was a day that we met Jon for lunch at Ted's mexican restaurant. I had just spent a great morning with my kids at the Jumpzone, playing on the moonbounces. I saw a mother walk in with her daughter. Her little girl was probably 10years old. She was very pale, very sickly looking, and she was wearing a bandana over her sweet, little hairless head. It was apparent that her daughter had some form of cancer and she had probably just endured chemotherapy. I couldn't stop looking at them. The mother seemed genuinely happy. She smiled a lot as her and her daughter enjoyed lunch together. I couldn't help but feel compassion for that mother. She has such strength to endure her daughter's cancer, but it looked as if it hadn't stolen her joy. I felt a little guilty of the time I just spent with my boys at the Jumpzone. I took that time for granted. I felt guilty that I was really looking forward to their naptime that afternoon so that I could have two hours to myself. I wanted to go up to that mother and look deep into her eyes and give her a long, tight, hug. I chickened out with that and bought her lunch instead.
Jackson asked why I was doing this and after a long conversation, I told him that we were going to start doing something called, "Make a Difference Monday." He asked how he would know who he should help, and I told him that we would pray that God would put someone on our hearts.
Fast forward to last Sunday, we are walking out of church and Matt says hello to us in the parking lot. Matt is a 23 year old man from our church who is mentally disabled. Every Sunday and Wednesday Matt can be seen walking around the church. He always comes to say hello, give a handshake or high-five and show us some kind of toy or cartoon dvd he has in his posession. Jackson has felt a little nervous or afraid around Matt. I think it was initially hard for him to understand why this grown man talked and acted like a small child. After many long conversations about Matt, Jack has begun to have a soft place in his heart for him.
So, after church Sunday, Matt says hello and shows us three cartoon dvd's he is very proud of. After he walks away, Jack says, "Mom, I have an idea. How about we do 'Make a Difference Monday' for Matt. I bet he would like a new cartoon to watch."
My heart swelled and I fought back tears as I told Jack I thought that would be a great idea.
The next day we headed to Target to buy a new DVD for Matt. Jackson picked one out he thought Matt would enjoy and he also wanted to buy him a Crayola Color Wonder set of Toy Story. We got Matt a card and wrote on it that it was 'Make a Difference Monday' and Jackson wanted to bless Matt and show him that he is special. Jackson signed his name himself and we left it on Matt's porch. Matt's mother called me a couple days later to thank Jackson and let him know that Toy Story is Matt's absolute favorite. I can't help but believe that Jackson heard from God that day. I don't think it was on a whim he chose him. I know God spoke to Jack to tell him that Matt needed to feel the love of Christ that day.
We told KB about how she had paid it forward. Unbeknownst to us, KB emailed KLove to tell them Jackson's story. KLove called KB to tell her that they may be telling Jackson's story on the radio sometime this Monday!
I'm so proud to have a child that 'sees' others. Others that sometimes get glanced over. Others that may not see clear signs everyday of God's love and affection for them. Thank you Lord, for teaching Jackson to be selfless. Thank you, for using Jack to share your love to Matt. Wouldn't the world be an awesome place to live if everyone made a difference in someone's world just one day a week?
This is one of Jackson's memory verses: Romans 12:10 "Love each other deeply. Honor others before yourself."