Ruined for the Ordinary

Ruined for the ordinary.

I ruin lives for a living.  Ok…not really, I can’t take this kind of credit. However, I contribute to ruining lives for the ordinary.

Ruined for the ordinary.

This was phrase I heard the other night.  I wish I could claim it as my own because I think it is brilliant, but it’s a phrase a former pastor of mine (Don Sappington) used.

This last week was amazing.  I spent the week meeting with my team at Compassion.  I love my job and I love my team.  Yes, it’s a busy job, and I certainly could tell you some awesome stories and challenges of planning short-term missions trips for US churches engaged with Compassion, but I love my job and I can’t believe I am paid to do it.

I took my first trip with Compassion 16 years ago and I went to Haiti.   You see, against everything I wanted to do, against all my fears and emotions, I decided to go to Haiti with Stephen, leaving my one-year-old daughter, Julia, behind for 10 days.  It ruined my ordinary life.

I have a fairly ordinary life if you were to look at it from the outside in.  I live in the suburbs, I drive a mini-van, my kids are in band, drama, and we eat chicken frequently.  Besides the travel that I do, really…my life is fairly ordinary.  However, my heart is no longer ordinary.   When I start wanting ordinary things like bigger houses, more stuff, clothes and shoes, I am reminded of the people I have met that don’t have such things.  I’ve been challenged to live differently, do things differently and raise my kids differently, so that we can make life better for people around the world. I haven’t stopped enjoying luxuries like chocolate and restaurants, but God has slowly pruned me and helped me learn what it means to be content in a culture that tempts me to be discontent.

We have ruined our kids for the ordinary and now we have to live with the results.   Isabel was a normal five year old…and then we took her to Indonesia.  On that trip, we did the ordinary vacation stuff with our girls, like go to the beach (besides the fact the most people don’t choose Indonesia for a family vacation), but then she met her sponsored child and we spent time holding babies in an orphanage and my girls learned about squatty pottys.  A few years later, we took our children to Africa.  Again, my children met one of our other sponsored children. After that trip Isabel started a 501c3 non-profit to collect shoes for kids in need.   My kids still like ordinary stuff, they enjoy shopping, they waste money sometimes, but their passion to live out their faith, their dreams for the future, their ideas for ministry, are not ordinary.  They see the possibilities and opportunities.

Not everyone has the opportunity to travel and go see and meet sponsored child. We use our frequent flyer miles to fly our kids around the world and we realize we are fortunate to have this opportunity.  But possibly you could pray that God would give you the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone to serve Him.  Possibly you have a passion and a desire to do something impacting and purposeful but you just haven’t seen the opportunity.  Maybe you have seen the opportunity, but you are afraid to walk through that door.

Trust. Don’t settle on the ordinary. Even for the young moms out there who are in the midst of the ordinary life of changing diapers, potty training, and feeding your family every night, what if you begin to pray that God puts a passion in you and your children to serve Him in a mighty way? Do some extra ordinary things together.

Here are just a few opportunities that can ruin your life for the ordinary.

Visit your Compassion child

Host a Compassion Sunday at your church

Serve at a soup kitchen

Visit the elderly in an assisted living home

Help a family have access to clean water

Do a shoe drive to help kids without shoes

Raise money for mosquito nets to help kids who are exposed to malaria

Give to help victims of trafficking

Become a foster parent

Give to alleviate poverty

Sponsor a child

Take a chance and do something extra ordinary, and let God ruin you for the good.  Let me know if you need help.

6 Comments on “Ruined for the Ordinary

  1. I have been ruined, and I have no regrets!

  2. I was in YWAM right before I got married (he proposed and then I left the country–how is that for a ‘no’ ? Just kidding, I really just told him that he would have to wait.) and they used that phrase often. I understood it and wanted it but then married life and kids clouded the vision a bit. A few years ago God started stripping our family of the things that were getting in the way of wanting an extra-ordinary life. It was a painful mercy, but I am thankful. I want to live whatever life God gives me wherever he plants me all to His glory. I just pray that God opens the door to help my children catch the same vision.

  3. I love this! Came over here from Jill’s blog post. I will be doing a talk at our homeschool conference at the end of July about Homeschooling with Compassion. Some of the items you listed here will be great to add to my talk!

    Currently, we are praying about how our family can make a trip happen, either just one of us, or all four of us, to visit one of our Compassion kids. Certainly something I never would have even considered a couple of years ago.

  4. I love this Patricia – I’m going to link to this from Compassion Family. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi Sarah,
    I haven’t been back to Haiti since my first trip. I have written about it here and there. I attached a link about our work in Haiti so check it out.

    I sent a church team down there this weekend and I am looking forward to hearing the stories when they get back.

    Here is a good link about our work in Haiti.

  6. I’m really loving reading your posts.

    Have you written any about your trip to Haiti? I’d like to know more about the country because I have a sponsored boy there.

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Sandra Jones Counseling

Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy


Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones

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