Like an increasing number of women in the United States, I am a single, working mother. For me, this also means I’m perpetually strapped for time, often short on patience and sleep and always short on time and resources.
But one thing that is never in short supply for me is words. Ever since I was a young child I had many, many words. They were almost like hats to me. If I didn’t know what a word meant, I tried it on. Sometimes my parents were impressed; several times it nearly got me the proverbial soap in the mouth. But from an early age I knew in my heart that God gave me words to share with other people.
Those words have blessed me in so many different ways. As a single, working mother it took me nearly 10 years to finish college (but I did it!). At the time I was working for another great Lutheran organization serving marginalized people, and I prayed that God would make a way for me to use my unique gift to serve the world. It didn’t take long to find that opportunity with Lutheran World Relief in 2008.
As Lutheran World Relief’s Staff Writer, if you’ve ever received a copy of the LWR newsletter, e-News, read our website, bought Fair Trade Chocolate or Coffee, made an LWR Quilt or Kit or even just glanced an LWR publication at some point in the last four to five years, chances are you’ve seen something I’ve written.
In my work here at LWR, I can tell you the times I feel the most grateful for this gift and for this work — during emergencies and disasters. While things like the 2010 Haiti Earthquake or the droughts and food crises in East and West Africa concern me, I also feel a tremendous sense of gratitude for my work during those times. Why?
There was a time in my life when making a contribution of any size to a relief effort would have been impossible. Today, I am thankful to be in a more stable place, but I am also thankful that through my God-given gift — through my words — I can help. I can write about the situation on the ground so that people like you can stay informed and spread the word. I can help put out the call to Lutherans for help. And I can report back to you the wonderful stories of hope and recovery your compassion makes possible.
I believe each one of us has a gift, a vocation that God gave us as unique individuals. I also believe it’s a tremendous blessing to be able to share that gift with the world. In my job as Staff Writer at LWR, I not only get to share my gift, I get to further the mission and ministry of an organization that is working to bring a real and lasting end to poverty, injustice and human suffering.
In my book, that is pretty darn awesome. I am grateful.
“We are grounded in profound thankfulness for God’s gracious, self-giving love for all humankind, revealed in the redemptive acts of Jesus Christ. Gratitude marks the way we relate to one another and to all creation. Though our experiences vary, we view community as a gift. We give thanks for our wondrous diversity. We celebrate being alive. We abound with joy, hopefulness, hospitality and deep appreciation for the gift of one another (Psalm 136).”