A Message to Mothers

A message to mothers My name is Lisa Miles, and I have been a sponsor with Compassion for two years. My husband and I sponsor a 9-year-old boy in Ethiopia, and we have a correspondence child who is 17, also from Ethiopia.

I am not a Compassion exec or even a Compassion advocate (yet!), I was never a sponsored child myself nor am I a fabulous Christian recording artist. My perspective is simply that of a sponsor with a passion for Compassion — and someone who deeply loves her sponsored kids. I have to confess that the day of fasting and prayer on behalf of the global food crisis did not impact me. At all.

I fasted — I felt some minor discomfort — but speaking as a mother, one day without food is like a drop in the bucket of sacrifices I’ve made since my child was born. You mothers understand.

We have sacrificed our sleep, our free time, our career goals, our figures, our freedom to watch anything on television that isn’t animated. One day without food — not a problem. To be a mom is to sacrifice for others.

Now I’ll tell you what would impact me — and again I’ll speak as a mother.

Ask me to wake my child in the morning and tell her she will have nothing to eat today. Ask me to put her to bed at night crying because she is so hungry. When she looks at me with complete love and trust — knowing that she depends on me for everything — ask me to tell her there will be nothing to eat tomorrow either. Now ask me to repeat this daily until her ribs protrude, her tummy bloats, and she can hardly walk.

As a mom, I want to give my child everything — the best of everything. Now tell me that I can give her nothing — not even the food she needs to keep her alive.

In a heartbeat, what was once a token activity would take on an awful significance.

Sixteen thousand children die of hunger-related causes each day. Each day — 16,000!

Even as I write this, I feel the need to go back and double check that figure, because I think surely it must be wrong. It is not.

The majority of these deaths are not attributable to outright starvation, but to diseases that move in on children whose bodies have been weakened by hunger. (1) I weep for these children — but I weep doubly for their mothers. I cannot imagine their pain.

How easy it is for the rest of us. We don’t have to live that reality. We don’t even have to watch it happen. In fact, we can lead our daily lives pretending that it doesn’t happen. And I think that would be not just sad but heartlessly cruel. These mothers need our help, and if we can offer it, we should.

So I’m asking you moms today to dig deep and do what you can. Give generously and often to the Global Food Crisis Fund.

I have to add that I won’t feel bad if there aren’t a lot of comments on my post. I know firsthand that you mothers are incredibly busy laughing, cuddling and playing with your kids — and cleaning up a mess or two, or twenty, along the way. (I cleaned an entire can of blue Play-Doh off the cat today. That was a new one.) So all I’m asking is that you give me an “amen” or two — then donate what you can.

Thank you for everything you do — and will do — to help children and their mothers. I know they would do the same for you.

P.S. My husband said “ditto for the dads.” 🙂

(1) Black, Robert, Morris, Saul, & Jennifer Bryce. “Where and Why Are 10 Million Children Dying Every Year?” The Lancet 361:2226-2234. 2003.

27 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Angie Choo February 23, 2009

    Hi Lisa, I’m Angie from Malaysia. I saw your photo ( mother & child), the photo is very moving and beautiful. Currently i’m helping a campaign called Musawah movement. Musawah means Gender equality for muslim women in the family. http://www.musawah.org/

    I’m here to ask your permission if we can use this photo in our video. This video will be uploaded to youtube. The video is meant to tell the global that gender equality is necessary and possible. This project in non profit project. It is meant to help everyone or anyone who face the same issues.

    Please do let me know if we can use the photo because this photo really helps us. We love this photo very very much and we will credit your name in the credit roll after the video.

    Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you so much!

    Angie Choo

  2. Kelly December 3, 2008

    Thank you Chris.

    I’ve said my prayers and will trust and obey.

    Please pray that I will be the best sponsor I can be to these children – spiritually and emotionally.

    Thanks again.

  3. Chris Giovagnoni December 3, 2008


    Thank you for sharing the Lord’s love with these children. Thank you for stepping out in faith, particularly at a time when the economy is messed up and you’re not where you want to be financially.

  4. Kelly December 2, 2008

    I have long felt the need to reach out to a child. The constant feeling that I needed to do something – but what? I frequent a blog that not too long ago had posts about a Compassion trip. Boy, did I feel a major pull reading those posts. Reading the blogs of bloggers who have made compassion trips made the feelings so much stronger…How could I not sponsor a child? Financially, I am not where I would like to be but are we ever? This past week I was reading a blog and the blogger was talking about adoption and if not adoption sponsoring or mentoring and then at the end of the post was this scripture:

    Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows we know and holds us responsible to act.
    Proverbs 24:12

    I went to the Compassion website and sponsored not one but two children. It feels right.

  5. Lynda, mom of 4, Johannesburg, South Africa September 8, 2008

    Hi Lisa,
    Yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Motherhood “blew me away”.Many times, it has been the thought of being a mom in situations of crisis that has brought me to tears and many intercessory prayers! Keep up the blogging!

  6. Lisa Miles July 10, 2008

    Melissa you are amazing — 9 sponsored children, your adult kids also sponsor, AND they are hoping to do missions work, as well. Wow! I think that’s great! What a wonderful example you must be to your kids — they are clearly walking in your footsteps.

    And, Advocate, I will be in prayer for you on Sunday. I just pray that God uses you to plant a seed in the hearts and minds of the people you speak to. I have to tell you — I heard my first Compassion presentation at age 18 — and I didn’t commit to sponsoring until I was 35. Even though I didn’t sign up at that first presentation, the seed was planted!

  7. Advocate July 9, 2008

    Thank you for taking the time to write beautifully!

    My daughter has “every color” playdough (mixed with Daddy’s water from dinner) on the patio table as I write.

    I am presenting Compassion at a church on Sunday. Please pray.

    Thank you, Lisa!

  8. Melissa July 8, 2008

    This post really resonated with me. I am constantly blinking back tears when I am on the compassion website.

    I felt bad that I did not have a successful fasting day on June, 25th. However, we do sponsor nine children in various countries (our children ages eleven through eighteen help with the correspondence and contribute their own money as they can.) Our 21 year old son sponsors his own child and two of our daughters are hoping to go on Brio missions next summer and meet the two girls from Guatemala that they support.

    I think our four year old twins are growing up with the perspective that sponsoring children is what people do.

    I wish wish we could sponsor a thousand. We can never be reminded too often that we are STEWARDS of God’s gifts and should always be focused on how to give back to Him.

    Thanks for another reminder!!!!!

  9. Wendy July 7, 2008

    Dear Lisa,

    Thanks for your story and your encouragement with that. It’s so good to hear these things over and over again. And your story brings me to tears… good tears though, tears of compassion, tears of “thinking this over” tears of happiness because Compassion DOES bring hope in Jesus name! If you’re alright with it, I’ll quote you (in Dutch though, as most of my blog readers are Dutch) on what you said!

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Lisa Miles July 4, 2008

    Amy, that is so wonderful and exciting!!!! Thank you so very much for sharing that. God bless you and your entire family.

    What a great idea to pick a little girl who shares your daughter’s birthday! That is so special.

    For those of you who didn’t know, you CAN search for a child to sponsor by birthdate. Here’s the link.


    Crystal, I would be thrilled if you would link this post to your blog. Thank you! Anyone else who wants to, feel free.

    Thank you, everyone, for your comments. I am continuously inspired by this group of people who love and care for the children of our world. Whenever I find a community who is willing to act — to stand up and make a difference — that is a valuable thing to me.

  11. Amy July 3, 2008

    I am a mother of 1 with another child on the way. We had been thinking of sponsoring a child for some time now, but tonight I just made the decision to stop thinking and start doing! We picked a little girl who shares the same birthday as my little girl and we are hoping that as our daughter grows it will be just as special for her as it is for the child we are sponsoring. Once this next baby is born we are hoping to do the same thing for him. Thanks for giving me that extra push to just do it. We are so blessed and for very little we can make a huge impact!

  12. Jill July 3, 2008

    This is so very moving. I cannot even begin to truly imagine how it would feel to have to tell my son that he couldn’t eat for an entire day. Heartbreaking.

    Thank you for putting this down in words. I do hope that more people will be able to help turn things around for the many, many children that are being affected every day. God bless you Lisa and everyone else at Compassion for all you do for the children that are fed each day.

  13. Melissa Coast July 3, 2008

    Thank you for your post! I also participated in the day of fasting, and I’m nursing my 11 month old. I thought all day of the mothers who cannot even nurse their children because there is no milk left in them. Like you I felt some discomfort in fasting, but the thought of involving my children in the day of fasting brought to mind the thoughts that some here would think of it as cruel for me to have my children fast for a day. And yet that’s the reality day after day for many, many mothers all over the world.
    To think about not being able to feed my children, and them crying themselves to sleep being so hungry is almost unbearable to think about. We are truly SO blessed here in the USA.

  14. Jessie July 3, 2008

    Lisa, this is beautifully written and as heart-felt here as it is when you speak about it in person.

    As a mom, sponsoring a child with Compassion is a wonderful way to share with our children the difficulties around the world. It’s a way for our kids to know someone whose life is different, through letters and pictures. I’ve sponsored Rayanne in Brazil for ten years now, and it’s been like growing up with a distant cousin for my kids. She’s a wonderful girl, blessed in so many ways, yet with so little compared to my kids. She gives my family a much-needed perspective. We may do a little for her through our sponsorship, but she has done so much for us through her prayers and letters.

    The world is smaller than we think. Thanks, Lisa, for reminding us that it’s our world to care for.

  15. KIm July 3, 2008

    Lisa – “Amen” to you! I am a mother of two boys and I could not imagine having to tell them that there is no food to eat and have to sit back and watch them loose a little of their life each day. I did the day of fasting and prayer too and you are right about it not being a huge sacrific for a mother. Thank you for the prospective you have planted.

    God Bless!

  16. Crystal July 2, 2008

    Your words are very powerful. I could hardly imagine having to tell my 2 beautiful granddaughters those words and I ached deep inside at the mere thought. I can do more and I know that God wants me to do more.

    I’m going to link your post to my blog – I hope you are okay with that (I’m assuming a ‘yes’ because it’s here on this public blog – thanks.).

  17. Vicki Small July 2, 2008

    P.S. Thank you, Lisa, for this moving perspective. You really conveyed the heart of a parent!

  18. Vicki Small July 2, 2008

    I’m not a mother, either, but I have a mom who sacrificed many times, while raising my sister and me alone, so that we could have a nickle each, to buy milk at school. Once in a while, she had to tell us she didn’t have money for milk. I cannot imagine what she would have done, if she hadn’t been able to feed us, at all.

    When I was even younger, there were times she had to tell us all we had to eat for supper was noodles–with cheese sauce, if we were blessed with the ingredients, or ketchup, if not.

    I know–many of the children we now serve would be enormously grateful for noodles with anything. And wouldn’t we all be glad to provide it, if we could do that and nothing more? Or rice? Either one, though not sufficiently nutritious, in itself, would be better than the dirt cookies many in Haiti eat–if they can afford the bag of dirt, or to buy cookies from someone who could.

  19. Shalane July 2, 2008

    You summed up the saying “Blessed to be a blessing” perfectly. We are not blessed by God to keep our blessings to ourselves but to share them wherever they are needed (whether that be our money, time, energy etc).

    This is a an encouraging post that motivates me to do more to care for those God cares about. Thanks for the renewed perspective!!

  20. Steve July 2, 2008

    It’s great to get the wide variety of of writers on here … that’s why I check here on a daily basis!

    And here’s to the Dad’s too!

  21. Tawnya July 2, 2008

    What a truly powerful perspective. In the back of my mind, I know how much we take for granted, but when put in terms of telling my hungry child there is no food….makes me cry…Thank you for the post!

  22. Rebecca July 2, 2008

    Lovely post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am a mom, and so I must give you an AMEN. 16,000? Oh my. Thanks for inspiring me to dig deeper.

  23. Angie July 2, 2008

    Wow, this is something to pray about. This essay is heart wrenching. It’s easy to ignore global problems when it’s not brought to attention. Thank you Lisa.

  24. Juli Jarvis July 2, 2008

    Wow, Lisa — This is very moving and thought-provoking! You have a GREAT way with words! I sure hope you join us in the Advocate’s Network before long!

  25. Sarah July 2, 2008

    Wow, I never thought of it from that perspective. That really makes me realize how awesome we have it in the U.S.

    It’s awesome to see what a heart you have for Compassion and helping children. 🙂

  26. Anna July 2, 2008

    Wow, what a perspective. Thank you for this post. Even though I’m not a mother, it was very moving for me.

  27. Abbie H. July 2, 2008

    How can you read such a post and not feel the urgency to sponsor a child?

    I just recently found this blog and I am so thankful I did. I find it good to come here to refocus and be reminded of the purpose that God intended for me.

Add a Comment