I was planning on referring to Billy Graham in this post, but since he is a bit before my time I felt the need to do some research. Apparently just last week there was a Facebook hoax claiming that Billy Graham died. I had no idea! There was a page title “R.I.P Billy Graham” that receive one-million “likes.” Apparently it was just one of several celebrity death pranks. Why? Nobody knows. Some people are just really desperate for attention.
I knew Billy Graham was an extremely influential preacher who lead crusades (whatever those are), but that’s about it. In my research on trusty ole’ Wikipedia I learned that 3.2 million people responded to his invitations to “accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior.” He had his own radio and television broadcasts, which reached 2.2 billion viewers. He preached the Gospel and also encouraged integration. He invited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to preach with him at one of his crusades, and in the 1960’s he even bailed him out of jail. Wikipedia claimed he was the spiritual advisor to three different American presidents in his life (Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon). He was even more influential that I had originally thought!
I have been known to be a big dreamer. In the fourth grade I read an article out of a magazine about an orphanage in Romania. I ripped out the article and taped the picture of the little orphan boy on the inside of my school desk. From then on whenever anybody asked me what I wanted to do when I was older I said I wanted to be a missionary teacher to an orphanage. People laughed when I told them my dream, but I was serious. After high school I googled mission trips to Romania and I saved my money and went with an organization on a short term mission trip to Romania. That was as close as I got to experiencing that dream.
Recently I ran into the woman who had been the secretary at my high school. She politely asked how I was and then giggled when she asked if I still had plans of taking care of thirty orphans. I laughed too, but only because I was impressed that she had remembered from ten years ago that I specified thirty. I told her, “No.” Instantly, my heart sank. It was a lie. I still do have dreams of loving unloved children. Maybe not specifically thirty.
The dream is still alive it just looks a bit different now. I don’t envision my husband and our three kids moving to live in an orphanage in another country. But someday when we are not drowning in a pile of our own kids’ diapers we have talked about being foster parents. Instead of moving to an orphanage I can bring the orphanage to me, one orphan at a time.
In my dream it was always easy to love on the unloved orphans. They were desperate for my love and grateful for it. In my dream loving “the least of these” seemed so natural and fulfilling. When I had my own children loving them felt like the complete opposite. It was a total death to self. Unlike my dream, in current day REALITY, when I hug Curtis he slobbers on my face, pulls off my glasses and yanks on my hair. When I ask Ben for a hug he will reluctantly give a “back hug,” or he will run into the other room screaming, “I not want hugs!” Only recently has Amelia started actually offering and requesting hugs.
During dinner one day I asked my children what their dreams are. Benjamin (age two) said, “I drive a forklift when I’m big!” Amelia (age three) said, “I’m going to be Peepers.” (If you are unfamiliar with the cartoon “Peep’s Big Wide World” think Tweety Bird). Amelia who speaks on behalf of her one-year-old brother Curtis said, “He’s going to be a cup.” To clarify my husband asked, “What kind of cup? a teacup?” You see us Guernes have big dreams.
There is a good chance my children will never be a fork-lift driver, a Peep, or a cup. I will probably never have a ministry like Billy Graham, but I have found purpose in my ministry. Every Graham Cracker I serve to my children is part of what I call my Billy Graham Cracker Ministry. My ministry also includes whipping “boogies and booties.” I help put on “sockies and shoesies.” I feed kids “juicy and gold fishes.” (Amelie likes to add the “e” sound to the end of words). And what do ya know, Graham crackers are one of my kids’ favorite snacks are Graham Crackers especially Curtis. I think he’d be content if that was all I fed him. If you are what you eat then we should have named him Graham. Graham Guerne. I like it!
In our daily routine I have to remind myself CONSTANTLY that every boogie and booty that I wipe is part of my ministry. Everything I do should be done as if unto the Lord. I am not an influential “Crusader,” but the influence I have over my children is helping to shape their souls. I cannot think of anything more important than the formation of another soul. God has given me the peace that I am exactly where He wants me to be. My hope is that my Christian sisters will realize the importance of their Billy Graham Cracker ministries as well.
Bonus: With all of these Graham Cracker crumbs our kitchen floor attracts a lot of ants, which means our venus fly-traps will be well fed! As the provider of our family, my husband saw our new plant and jokingly said, “That’s a lot more mouths to feed.” He cracks me up! If you ever get a Venus fly-traps do not feed it canned chicken or Cheerios. If you do they will get mad, turn red and die.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:40