For July's challenge, I had originally intended to do a series on saving money or exercising or something. I felt like I didn't need to do anything too challenging, being that I just had a baby and all.
But then I got convicted, and I have a confession to make to you.
I am a thief, a slaveholder, and a murderer.
I wasn't convicted in a court, it goes much higher than that. I was convicted by that still, small voice that says "You can't live like you don't know this. You can't ignore how serious this is anymore."
Why do I carry this weight? Why do I believe these things about myself? Well, let me walk you through it.
I have a closet full of clothes, and people are freezing to death every winter. I even have more than one winter coat. I live in south Louisiana, one is more than enough.
I have a fridge and pantry loaded with food. Not only that, if I don't like what I have or I don't feel like cooking, I just go out to a restaurant and pay someone else to do the work for me and I have a whole menu to choose from.
Meanwhile, people are starving to death. Mothers in other countries will have to choose which one of her children will get to eat today.
How, as a Christian, am I able to live like this?
I know that the tomato products I buy to make our favorite spaghetti and pizza are very likely grown and harvested by slaves or something close to it, yet I think it's ok to keep supporting this industry because giving these products up would be too difficult. It's not just tomatoes either, I know that it goes much further than that.
I know that it's highly likely that the clothes I buy are not ethically produced. I know, and have known for years, that it's very common for factory workers overseas (and sometimes here) to work 15-20 hour shifts in unsafe environments for as little as 6 cents an hour. Yet, I continue to support this industry.
I even know that the toys and clothes I buy for my children were potentially made by workers who are children themselves. Often these children are sold to factory owners because their families are starving, and these child slaves are watched by guards and sometimes beaten for working too slow.
I know these things, and I continue to support the industry with my money. I am a mother, and I still give money to support child labor. I'm disgusted with myself.
I said this already, but people all over the world are starving to death, and I continue to live in extravagance.
I don't know if you caught the gravity of this, but it rips my heart out and I'm going to say it again, and I want you sit and dwell on it before you read on -
Mothers in other countries will have to choose which child gets to eat today.
People are freezing to death because they don't have warm clothing, and my problem is that all of my coats are taking up too much room in my closet.
Families are dying because the only water they have available is plagued with parasites, and I am concerned that the abundant, treated water flowing from my tap might be unsafe.
I have a nice sized savings account and a decadent lifestyle and I'm not willing to share.
The truth is, if I take a broader view of it and look outside the borders of my nation, I am the one percent. I live extravagantly while my brothers and sisters overseas are dying of need.
So, I've told you the crimes I've been convicted of. What is my sentence?
My sentence is to stop ignoring these hard facts and start living out these difficult truths.
Beyond that, my sentence is to swallow any pride or fear that I may have over being labeled abnormal or radical.
My sentence is to confess these crimes to anyone who is willing to listen and ask them to come alongside me in my journey to recovery from this life of crime.
How, in God's name, am I going to do it?
This is where I am stuck. I've been living this way so long, I don't know how to live a life free of these crimes.
The part that makes me really angry is that I grew up in the church, I grew up in a Christian family, and I still don't know how to stop stealing, killing, and destroying.
Don't get me wrong, I don't blame my family, nor my pastors, because they are like me. They were raised without being taught how or why not to do these things, either. Somewhere along the lines, the church decided it was more important to keep the government in line than to be a voice for the oppressed and starving.
I AM NOT OK WITH THIS.
Again, how am I going to do this?
This has been on my heart for a while. Years actually. It's been growing lately, and I had originally intended to wait until I had some heart wrenching facts and some snazzy resources to show you. I was going to wait until I had a plan in place.
The thing is, there must not be as much money in reporting social injustice in mega companies as there is reporting on politics and war, so the resources are not that easy to find.
And I couldn't wait anymore to get this off of my chest.
I don't know anyone living a life free of these crimes, so I don't know how to change.
This is where you come in. If you are willing, I'd like for you to take on my sentencing.
I'm going to be dong some heavy researching on what companies are safe to support and which ones aren't. I'm going to try to restructure the way we shop and live so that I don't have to feel ashamed anymore.
I need your help, I need us to pool our resources and start a conversation and I need you to give me ideas on how to do this, because I'm scared.
I'm scared I will compromise. I'm scared I'll be afraid of looking too weird or that people will stop taking me seriously.
I don't want to live like this anymore, but I don't know how to stop.
You may think I'm being overdramatic, or taking too much of a burden on myself. I've made these excuses for myself, but what if it was my daughter or son starving to death? Freezing? Working long hours in a garment factory? It's someone's children, and that someone is no less of a person just because he or she is poor and very far away.
This post was shared at Mom's the Word, Homestead Barn Hop
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