Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 11:32 AM | 3 comments

Benefit: Coming in the Fall of 2011

A little girl in India will go to sleep tonight underneath the makeshift bed where her mother will be working. This little girl will never know love. She will never dream. She will grow into a young woman knowing only the life lived to please men at the expense of her body, her purity, her sense of worth. She could have the chance to live a better story, but in order for that chance to come, another must risk what is dearest...comfort. And so, across the sea there is another who will fight to overcome her own fears as she steps out of the comfortable and into an epic tale.

As I type, I am surrounded by the remnants of cardboard boxes and the few items still to be packed. My bed, my couch, my books: they were all hauled off to a storage unit this morning. I was planning on moving into a house this weekend. It would be me and three other women and we would do ministry in our house. We didn't find one, but my roommate found a new roommate. And so, tomorrow I will box up the rest of my scattered possessions and move back in with mom and dad.

By all accounts, I should be horrified by this reality. Don't get me wrong, my parents are great and I love them. But I am 27 and never intended on moving home once I left for college at 18. This will be the second move home. And yet, I have an overwhelming peace about it. I believe it may be that elusive peace that passes all understanding. I don't know how long I will be there...a month? Two? Seven?

I don't know what is being written, but I'm ready to take part in writing it.

I do know one story I want to live. There is a ministry in India, Charasia, that takes little girls out of the slave trade and gives them an education and a home and hope. I plan to go in February if I make the cut (it is a small team) to see it all first hand, to fall in love with little girls who are without their mom's. This is thrilling and terrifying to me. See, for as far back as I can remember, I have been an advocate for adoption.(This started at home as I tried to get my parents to adopt. They thought the two they had were plenty.) Over the years as I began in my girlishness to dream of the family I would one day have, the only thing I was sure of was that I would adopt. This desire has remained steadfast but in the back corners of my mind, there has always been this little, tiny house mouse that was settling in. "What if, the Lord doesn't have marriage in my story, or at least for several more years? Maybe my desire to be a mom will be fulfilled differently that the norm. What if...God wants me to work with orphans and be a momma to a whole lot of children who don't have one?"

Well, the house mouse came bravely forth from his hiding place last Thursday when the President of Charasia responded to one of my questions with the statement, "It's easy to care for orphans as orphans, but the challenge and joy comes in caring for them as your own children." If they were my daughters, I'd be fighting for them and I would be making sacrifices to provide a better life for them. Long term, I have no idea what that looks like, but about two weeks ago a thought leaked out in the midst of my data entry job. Honestly, it was a thought that I wanted to shove back inside and maybe shellack so I could look at it and think "Oh that was a nice thought". But, like a catchy yet disturbing Lady Gaga song, it is stuck in my head.

I just finished recording my first album, a project that, in and of itself, was only accomplished by overcoming my insecurities. Still, from the beginning, I knew I wanted my music and this album to be about more than me, more than the songs. I wanted to connect it to and use it for a ministry. Charasia is clearly the one. I also have a couple of friends that have just put out albums. So, I thought it would be awesome to put on a benefit concert...no, maybe even a benefit tour to raise funds and awareness for Charasia. The amount that has been continuously before me to set as a goal is $30,000.

A benefit concert? A tour? $30,00? Are you kidding me? I would have no idea how to organize that? And to play my songs alongside other musicians who so far exceed my talent? I can't.

Oh fear, such a funny evil little thing. I am tired of making decisions in fear. Those decisions tend to be a decision to not decide. And so I do nothing. I want to learn how to take action, how to move forward even when I am afraid. I want to learn how to include my community in the stories I could be living. Oh, wait, there's a seminar about all that? Why yes...here it is.

Truth be told, I have no idea what all I will need to live this story, to actually put on a benefit. I know it will take networking (hello weakness). It will take fundraising (hello weaker weakness). It will take a venue or a few if it's a tour. It will take advertising. Mostly, it will take overcoming a pattern of giving into fear and a pattern of taking things right to the edge of investment without ever diving in. I would love to see this benefit become a reality in the next two years. And I will have to start with some "practice" stories. I am running (and have told friends) a 5k in December. I am not a runner and not in anything resembling shape. I will pay off the little bit of debt I have left so that my funds are free to invest in the stories that people around me are living. I will take every opportunity to sing for people despite feeling inadequate. And, if I need to, I will live with my parents for 7 months...I wonder if i should let them know that they are being written into this story...hmmmm.

Living a Better Story Seminar from All Things Converge Podcast on Vimeo.



pamellala said...

Hey, Erin, where do you live? Do you ever come to Chicago? I'm thinking our small coffeehouse might be a good place to have a "practice" benefit. Just a thought. I'll be at Don's seminar, too, if you want to talk... - pamella a.

Erin said...


I live in Texas. But the ministry I was talking about has it's home office in Chicago. That would be great to get to do a benefit where the team is stationed. I actually spoke with the founder today about wanting to partner with them. So let me get all of the "paperwork" in order and run all of this by them and get back to you. Do you mind sending me your email? or is tehre a website for the coffee house?

LirSudi said...

Hi, I followed you from Donald Millers website...I tend to spend my lunch hour reading applications for fun :)

Where in Texas are you?

I did a fundraiser in Dallas, and there is a great winehouse that loves to donate a fantastic space to benefits. I had a lot of success there and would love to pass that knowledge on.

If youre not near dallas, well, then thats a bummer!