Monday, March 14, 2011

Baby Showers That Might Touch the World

I love hearing about and occasionally thinking up creative ways to "need" less and give more. It's the way of Jesus' kingdom - a journey to becoming less and making Him more.

Beautiful and delicious cake by the amazing Carole Reid
I've written before about how wonderful it was to be a part of the baby showers at MPSC where I did some work as a peer counselor in NYC. Not only did most of these women have nothing materially to provide for their coming babies and no money to spend, they often had no one in the world who cared enough for them to help out, much less throw them a baby shower.

Their choice to carry their baby to term often came along with the heart-wrenching rejection of boyfriends and parents. It was such a joy to be a very small part of those baby showers.

It was that experience, along with a few other poignant reminders of the reality of child birthing and babies' health in other countries that got us thinking about ways that our own baby showers could help out just a little bit.

So here is one simple idea for baby showers (or any type shower, really).

A 'registry' blog was created and the web address was listed on the invitations as our official registry. See the (very simple) website here. (I think some of the World Vision links have changed since we used them, but you get the idea. Each link went directly to the item listed.)

Then our gracious friends and family had the choice to visit our store registry (listed at the bottom of the registry web page), or contribute to one of the specified causes.

We were overwhelmingly blessed through people's generosity with material gifts from our store registry, and also so moved by people's thoughtfulness with the gifts to World Vision. The whole experience was incredible.

Now some may be thinking, but I need that stuff from the baby shower!
Believe me, I understand. There was that fear initially that we wouldn't get all we "needed" if we had some of the money go elsewhere. But after it was all said in done we felt in no way shorted. We've been cared for by God in such awesome ways as He's used our friends and family around us.

Furthermore, we could not help think how much more a little baby needs food to save its life somewhere else in the world, or how much more a sweet little toddler needs medical attention to treat a preventable disease from which they may likely die.

My shower hostesses made a donation to World Vision as the favors. I loved that idea!

Gifts and celebrations are wonderful, God-glorifying things. He is the most generous gift-giver in all the world, in fact. The point of this isn't to put an end to those wonderful things, but to simply supplement them. How is He calling us to continue to give love? To give sacrificially?

I am certain that if I had a baby with a life-threatening disease who could only be saved through expensive surgeries or vital nourishment I would give all I had and sell anything necessary to make that happen. Yet, sadly, I don't usually think this way when it comes to those I can't see and touch.

Jesus asks us to treat others as we want to be treated, and to care for the orphans and widows with a love as passionate as if they were our own family.

Divine cupcakes and adorable tags by Murph and Megan
A very kind friend wrote a note with her donation to World Vision. She said Caedmon's little life was beginning it's time on earth by blessing other little lives across the globe. What an amazing thing to be able to share with your children as they grow. Their very life helped provide for others in Christ's name. I love that.

A few people have so kindly requested to use this poem to create similar sites. I am beyond thrilled! Please feel free to take it and tweak it as you'd like!

As the day quickly approaches in January '10
It's a little hard to know exactly where to begin!

So many onesies and wet wipes to buy
And books to read on what to do when he cries

But it matters not much if everything's in place
This babe will be just fine the day he shows his face

It's quite unimaginable that a baby will arrive
On the same day as ours but won't have food to survive

As we have been given, we've a responsibility to give
The best gift for us will be knowing another baby lived

Split your gift in two- some for us, some for others
Or all to one place- Baby Rose, or his needy sisters & brothers

Dear friends and family, we thank you sincerely
We know that through you this boy will be loved dearly