Almost half the world lives on less than $2 per day. A few organizations put together a challenge for families and individuals to try for just one day to feed our families on $2. Yesterday was the day.
When I first saw this challenge, I had "good" excuses to exclude our family: Lauren is in Nordic skiing and has vigorous workouts after school; my younger girls receive snacks during school and I couldn't ask them to turn down the snack. Also, kids would make fun of them if they brought a very small sack lunch. How would they explain to their friends this weird thing that their family decided to do?
What about Samson? He has already experienced severe hunger in his life. How could I expect him to eat so little for one day?
This challenge just was not a fit for our family.
Then the closer we got to the day of the challenge, I realized more and more that my excuses don't hold any water. The whole purpose of the challenge is to know how it feels to be in half of the world's population shoes just for one day.
The challenge is suppose to help us feel the same pain that a mother feels when they can't provide an adequate nutrient filled diet for their children. It must be one of the most difficult things to watch your child's health diminish, to watch them grow weak because you can't provide enough food to sustain them.
So, I decided that our family can do this. I started planning, like many parents all over the world plan each day, how I would provide for my family for this one day. I decided that I would eat less so that my kids could have more. I also made the decision to exempt Samson from the challenge because I don't want him to experience hunger again.
Days leading up to yesterday, I was beginning to feel what it's like to be a mother on a limited food budget. I told myself, how can I not experience this for just one day when mothers all over the world endure this challenge without a choice every single day.
I designed a menu. I did sacrifice my portions for my children. I packed a meager lunch for each of the girls. Without a complaint, they left the house with their lunch and agreed to not take the snack for the day. They had more confidence in themselves that they could do this than I had in them.
When I picked up the little girls from school, they were hungry but did not complain. Olivia shared with me that she explained the whole thing to her class. They asked her many questions. This sounded like it was a great learning opportunity for Olivia and her classmates.
Last night at the dinner table, Olivia thanked God for bringing our family through this experience. She was grateful!
I worried the most about Lauren. She is in Nordic skiing and she always needs a healthy snack after school to get her through practice. Yesterday was one of the most difficult practices they have had this year and she did it with no snack and very little to eat at lunch.
Her friends weren't as understanding or kind about it. They actually tried bribing her with food all during the lunch period. She said they thought it was weird. But she did not succumb to pressure and stuck with the challenge.
Lauren also had a AP Biology test today. Last night as she was going to her room to study, she looked weak and tired. I felt horrible for her and offered her more to eat so she could have the strength to study well for her test. But she turned down more food by saying, "kids who eat like this everyday must have to study for big tests."
When I put my little ones to sleep last night, I had a pounding headache. Avery also complained of feeling faint and weak. But I knew all of our headaches and our weakness would be gone in the morning. I knew that today we could eat a "normal" days worth of food and that we would all be fine.
It pained me to think about families who put their kids to bed hungry, wake up hungry and go day after day on little to eat. How selfish of me to at one time think that we could not do this even for one day.
Sometimes I convince myself that I am doing enough to fight injustice in this world. I have even asked God to release me of some responsibilities because at times I feel overwhelmed.
But in reality, I know I can do more. I don't really believe that God ever says,
"That's enough! You are doing too much!"
Sometimes I think we have to put ourselves in someone's shoes even if it is just for one day to give us the motivation to respond. We need to be stretched and challenged otherwise we run the risk of becoming desensitized by the needs around us.
Also, when we make it less about ourselves and more about Him, I know we can do so much more. Admittedly, I fear asking for more. That seems risky too.
However, I rather ask for more and take the risk of God using me to make a difference in the world than to do nothing and risk missing out on the adventure God has planned for me.