heart preparations

from the heart preparations reading plan

by Sarah

BY Sarah Matheny

Whenever I get ready to go on a trip, no matter the destination, purpose or duration, I make a list.  A really detailed, really neurotic list.

My list has to be written in a really nice, smooth, flowy pen.  You know, the kind you hoard in your purse or drawer like it is an epi pen and you are an allergic beekeeper.  My life could very well depend on this pen.  Truly.

My list has to be categorized, both in terms of who I am packing for (if you’re a mom, you get this), and in terms of what type of need to meet.  Clothing.  Undergarments.  Toiletries.  Shoes.  Snacks.  Always snacks.

I’m even so insane that I draw in the little boxes to check off so that I can clearly see when something’s packed.  (Draw a line through my precise handwriting?  Never!)

My list is neat.  It’s concise.  It puts my mind at ease and minimizes those heart-stopping moments when the thought flashes that perhaps I forgot essentials like underwear.

Or the trail mix with M&Ms in it.

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We leave for Guatemala with Food for the Hungry in ten days. I haven’t even started my packing list.

We received a suggested list from our trip leader this week, and if I’m being completely honest and vulnerable (a goal of mine when documenting this trip on a daily basis starting August 4th), just reading her list left me feeling pretty danged nervous.

Don’t bring jewelry. 

Don’t bring electronics. 

Bring a color copy of your passport. 

Don’t wear form-fitting clothing and don’t wear shorts. 

Bring your cell phone, but you may or may not be able to use it. 

And if you are spending the night in the village (we are), bring a sleep sack for protection.


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And suddenly I have no desire to make my routine list.

Because, the truth is, I can’t make a list neat enough, categorized enough, or concise enough to prepare me for this trip.

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How could I?

How could I make a list that reminds me to pack heaps of love, but leave judgment at home?

How could I prompt my heart to tuck in generous amounts of empathy, but not to include pity?

How could I detail what clothing and toys need to be sent along with our girls as they go off to stay with my family for the week, and not be struck by how very little I can physically bring to our sponsored child, Olga, in Guatemala?


She is who this week is about.

Our mission on this trip is to see, document and impress upon others (you included) the impact that sponsoring a child can have on an individual.

On a community.

On a world.

On a Kingdom.

I will undoubtedly have moments of discomfort during our week.  Temporary aches and pains, both physically and emotionally.  This, however, is not where my fear lies.

The thought that makes me clammy, that springs tears to my eyes and a catch to my throat is the thought that when it comes down to it, that I won’t respond to extreme poverty and a call to love in the way I am asked to.

I fear that the ugly parts of myself, the parts that revel in cleanliness and comfort, will overtake the part of me that pushes out every worldly, self-preservationist, selfish thought.

I fear that the holes in my soul will overtake the Christ in me.

Your prayers for safety, for the people of Guatemala, and for our hearts are very much appreciated.

Because in spite of my fears, there is Hope.

There is Light.

And there is a Love that covers it all.

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And so long as I have my eyes locked on Jesus, nothing else I could pack will be of much importance.  Except maybe underwear.

And the trail mix with M&Ms in it.

To sponsor a child with Food for the Hungry, please visit here.    A small monthly contribution can make a huge difference in aiding the impoverished and the hungry. I can’t wait to share how your sponsorship is changing and effecting lives in Guatemala..

Post Comments (26)

26 thoughts on "heart preparations"

  1. Swiney says:

    I will try this this to get back own my position and kids experiencing an incapacity to the individuals who are basically having inconvenience centering or sitting still.

  2. At whatever point I get prepared to go on an excursion, regardless of the end of the line, reason or term, I make a record. A truly itemized, truly hypochondriac record

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