05 April 2013

Five Minute Friday ~ A Prayer for After

Three gals, traipsing over the sand dunes and probably heading home before dark. I captured them with my telephoto lens in not the best of lite, a few years ago. But their picture intrigues me. Or perhaps more accurately, it haunts me.

I wonder about their stories.

They could be sisters. That isn't hard for me to imagine... I can easily picture my three oldest girls walking along through the sand~ wrapped in wild African print, scuffing $1 cheap flip-flops along through the sound and munching on a piece of fruit as they chatter and meander along, enjoying the reprieve from the unrelenting sun now ducking behind the horizon and mostly oblivious to any and everything else going on around them. Or two could be keeping the third company as she was sent to the nearby market to buy millet which she'll then pound before preparing her family's meal. 

That second scenario isn't so much like my girls' story... 

...and not because my girls never run to a nearby shack, 
buy then bring something home, and 
prepare it for the rest of the family. 
They do

But sometimes they lay on their bed and watch YouTube videos on the oldest's Ipod... or read books they've checked out from the library... or walk to the nearby playground, plop on the trampoline and chat with friends... and dream of a vacation in Scotland, new dresses from Gammie and Gampy, meeting a new-to-them grandma, celebrating Andi and Uncle Joe's wedding, renewing friendships with dear ones they haven't seen for more than three years, wondering if we'll be able to figure out horseback riding and music lessons... 

My girls love their life in Niger and are so thankful for the opportunity they've had to spend so much of their growing up time here, even knowing all of the things they've "missed" in the States. When we are on home assignment, they miss this place and their friends here something awful. But there is something after Niger for them... something farther off and more away.

It is not the same for those three girls growing up in a village in Niger, which, according to the 2012 United Nations Human Development report, is ranked as the worst county in the world in which to live.
They probably do not know how to read, even if they were permitted to attend school for 2-3 years. They may have never seen a television, much less surfed the internet. They may already be married and have children waiting for them back by their huts. Their husbands or fathers may have a cell phone... however it is unlikely that they would carry one. For them, their "after" is Niger...

I hope my girls never forget just how blessed they've been, how much lavish grace they've been gifted. 

I pray that after Niger, they never forget... that they fight hard against the entitlement... that each time they start to believe and presume a desire, even a worthy one, to be a need or a right... they remember images like the one above... and remember...

Their "afters" are gifts to be shared, sacrificed, spent and well-stewarded the rest of their lives...


Joining up with Lisa Jo for another Five Minute Friday.

Take five minutes yourself, and join the fun! It's easy...


  1. Very powerful post, bless you.

  2. Yes that is a haunting photograph.
    So glad I was able to read about a small slice of your life. "De-Americanizing" by own 4 girls is something I have been very convicted to do myself. We sponsor children in poverty. You and your family living among them most be so heart breaking and heart filling all at the same time.
    Beautiful post I won't soon forget.
    Blessings on you.

    1. heart breaking and heart filling - all at the same time - that is a great way to describe it.

  3. Wow...what a life you're leading. Yes, I hope your girls don't forget. And though we live in the thick of the States, right in busy bustling NJ...I too hope my girls don't forget all they've learned about God, giving, and grace from our little nest.

    1. wherever we live, we all need to see and remember the lavish graces of God in our lives, don't we?

  4. Beautiful, thanks for sharing.

  5. Wow. Really great post - thank you for the encouragement to see things from a different perspective.
    God bless you.

    1. i find i often need a good dose of perspective. :-)

  6. Replies
    1. thanks so much. hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Whew wee! That was good stuff right there. What truth and what a blessing to know that you being in Niger also creates opportunities for girls just like these to have an "after" in Christ. Thank you for sharing today!

    1. that "after" in Christ is the best gift of all, isn't it?

  8. Powerful. I have such a heart for other nations and feel so drawn to posts like yours. Niger! I always thought I'd be raising my kids in a third world country in South America or Africa, but the Lord has had other plans for us (for now). I LOVE reading posts about missions and missionaries like your post today. Blessed and praying for you. Beautifully said and so true about what women face in other countries (which you know all too well) and just how blessed we are and our kids are. Thank you for posting. Beautiful picture. Can't post from wordpress for some reason right now. My blog is www.godschick.wordpress.com.

    1. i'm quite sure it is your heart for other nations that motivates you to be a mighty prayer for those like myself who have the privilege of "going." that makes you as integral to what is happening here as my family, you know, don't you?

      i believe i've popped in on your blog before... but i'm heading over to check it out again right now.

      trusting you'll have a blessed weekend - and thanks for saying hi!

  9. They won't forget. Your girls. They won't. I'm a MK and I haven't forgotten. :-)


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