On Loaves and Fishes

3/3/15

I boarded that airplane to Indonesia with visions of mass revival among street kids, of orphans knowing love and worth for the first time, of a life of excitement and adventure and a me that was somehow more than I had ever been back at home.



But it's funny... wherever you run in the world, when you get there, you're still just you.  And days are still just days and every once in awhile you get one that takes your breath away, but for the most part they're full of all the mundane of life that you were convinced you could bypass if you simply chose adventure.

So you do things like language school and grocery store and too brief conversations and you wonder where you went wrong, why it's all so small, so insignificant.


I went into depression there for awhile, as our adoption process sputtered along and there were no orphans to visit and every possibility just seemed too hard and the resounding conclusion was that I am not enough.

But I read His Word on those rainy afternoons that dragged and dawdled, and I read that He said to bring Him the loaves, bring Him the fishes, and I read that it was enough for thousands.  It was more than enough.


So I did the only thing I could think of to do and it wasn't loaves, it wasn't fishes, it was breadcrumbs and fish bones but it was all I had.  I started a ballet class for little girls in my neighborhood.  With no qualifications, little dance instruction, an email of tips from my graceful sister-in-law, and a lot of YouTube videos, I taught those tiny dancers.  And wedged between my self-conscious tongue and third position, something happened.  I fell in love with Fridays and so did they.  We fell in love with each other's presence, with each other's gift of time and space and laughter, the way we held our hands just so and the way I faked knowing the right words.


Someone donated ballet shoes and their chins lifted a bit higher after that, especially the ones with the missing toes.  They leapt and twirled and knew they were just as beautiful, just as powerful as the Chinese girls at the real studio down the road.  And for the last few months of living in Indonesia, I had finally found my home.


That was almost four years ago and it seems like I should be able to check that lesson off my ever growing list of things-to-be-learned, but it still catches me from time to time at all the wrong moments.  I am not enough.  I can't.  I couldn't do it perfectly.  Someone else could do it better.   Someone else IS doing it better.  But I forget that all He ever asked of me was for that flimsy basket in my hands, the one whose contents seem only enough to nourish me... and maybe my little family. The one whose contents were meant to be broken and dispersed and flung wide over the hillside to fill empty stomachs.  The basket whose contents could be made enough, if put in the right hands.

Not long ago a friend who suffers from debilitating anxiety asked me to go to an appointment with her, where she would have to talk about things that she knew would make her pulse race and her hands go clammy.  She needed an advocate and my first thought was I can't do that, I can't be that. I'm not the best one to go.  I thought of all the reasons I was needed at home (I wasn't) and all the other people who would be better at it (they wouldn't), until I realized that this was ridiculous and I had a fish on my hands that was about to start stinking if I didn't get rid of it soon.  So we went (twice, actually) and she was empowered and she felt powerful and I did nothing and she did everything - SHE DID IT.  And it was small and it was trivial and it wasn't even worth writing about except that I was reminded that looks can be deceiving, and maybe when I enter into That Which Is Next all that will really matter was the small and the trivial.  Because loaves and fishes and my heart and my yes were all He ever really wanted anyway.


*part of the Live Small, Love Big linkup... how much do y'all know I love that title?*

17 comments:

  1. How I love this. And how I needed it today! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Erica Giavasis JarrettMarch 3, 2015 at 2:56 PM

    Love this too Shannon. I love the pictures of your ballet class. It really is an amazing thing, in some ways very tiny but who knows the impact you had on those little girls, enormous. So grateful for your heart and obedience to God.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lovely. I'm learning about being enough this year and finding that for all I am not He is enough. Thank you for sharing. (Jumped over from the Live Small, Love Big link-up. So glad I found you.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I needed this today too :) Glad it resonated.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I wish I could have included pictures of the sweet girls, but the external hard drive they were on is frozen. Praying that we can get it fixed at some point!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm learning with you, Andrea, but I know it's true. You *are* enough when you offer it to Him to break open and disperse. Thanks for visiting, hope you come back!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Gosh, this made me tear up. I have a new student in my class who is extremely challenging and defiant. I've not dealt with one like him...ever...and I keep having thoughts like, "Another teacher could do a better job with him. I have no idea how to connect with him or get him to try." Today I experienced the first connection with him- it was small, but it was something. I love your last line: "because my heart and my yes were all he ever wanted anyways." That's all God is asking of me, to try. To accept that I am his teacher and the best spot God has for him for the rest of this year is my classroom. I can make a difference. Thank you for your encouragement today, Shan.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Girl. You ARE the best teacher for him this year! No doubt in my mind that God planned it that way. Not because you'll do it perfectly but because you will keep trying and keep trying and keep trying. If I know you, you'll give him all you have.


    Also, from my experience with my own defiant one- I think you are right on the money when you talk about connection. Its usually the hardest thing to do and the thing we want to do the least but it's also the way to get to their hearts. Hang in there, you are changing the world!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This one is my most favorite read. Hands down. Not sure why exactly, but it made me smile and yes- Jesus just wants our heart and our yes.
    Thank you for being my new friend.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm so glad it made you smile. It's good news, right?!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Erica Giavasis JarrettMarch 4, 2015 at 1:55 PM

    I have the same situation with one of my hard drives, hoping i can access mine too!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love this so much. I need a constant reminder to be obedient in the small things--because, like you said, they aren't small at all. I found your blog randomly and I love how reading it feels like I'm sitting across from a good friend. Thanks for the encouragement.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oooo Kara what a great compliment! You made my day. 😄 I hope for more couch time with you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Just came back again today to reread this post. I keep a journal with meaningful insights from others and where I read them. "Shannon's blog" is being noted many times in my journal. Thank you for piercing my heart to open and see with fresh eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow, Lea Ann I'm so honored! I really appreciate you reading along here. I hope you are broken open and dispersed today, friend :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Revisiting this post today, because I need to read it over again. Thank you, Shannon, for your words.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for coming back, Brianna. And I agree, this kind of "little" truth is the kind I need most days.

    ReplyDelete

Someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin & they will say, 'what have you done with your life?' & though there are many moments I think I'll remember, in the end, I will be proud to say, I was one of us.

(Brian Andreas, Storypeople)

DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS