Kevin and Baby Carly. Christmas, 2008.

Just Ask. 

None of my (suburban, American, well-fed and cared for) grandchildren has ever told me, “I want a rubber band this Christmas.” Nor “I asked Santa for a bowl of oatmeal.” Nor “I wish for a tube of toothpaste.”

No. They dream big: They ask for new bicycles and good books to read and ponies. They want fire trucks and baby dolls with eyes that open and puzzles and new games for their PlayStations. Cadence, the year he was three, wanted “a friendly shark and an ocean to keep him in.”


They dream big, these grandchildren of mine.

I used to dream big dreams like that. Don’t we all start out that way? What did you want for Christmas when you were six?  Probably not a bowl of rice.

Lately I’ve had a dreaming disorder. I ask God to carry me through a challenging day, instead of asking Him to shine from me as I face the day’s demands. I ask Him to keep me from failing as a wife, instead of asking Him to lead me to be a great and godly wife.

I suspect that while I pray, God is snorting, “Ha! Is that all?” 

This Christmas, I’ve rummaged through my boxes of old dreams, trying them on. The discard pile is high: This dream is too small. This one pinches my toes.

This dream shrinks my heart.

Finally I unearthed a big dream, stained and wrinkled and crammed into a corner: I want to help impoverished children. I retrieved it after I read Dan King’s The Unlikely Missionary: From Pew-Warmer to Poverty-Fighter.  

Because whatever kind of bootstrap worldview one might have, no child starves because of her own bad choices.

Poverty is a huge problem, of course, and I don’t have tights and a cape. I don’t wear magical bracelets that I can clank, one against the other, to work miracles. I don’t command a genie in a bottle.

I don’t have superpowers. But my God does.

A few days later, Rich and I were at Compassion International‘s website, choosing a child to sponsor. We wanted a girl, because when resources are scarce, girls seem to suffer most. And we wanted an orphan, because a child without parents–well, it seems that loss magnifies need.

Now we send a few dollars each month, no more than we’d spend on a date night on the cheap, really, and a little girl in Rwanda has a better chance than she did last month.

God magnified my little dream. As usual.

See, our grandchildren are fifteen, thirteen, almost nine, seven, five, three, and one. See that gap there? Our little orphan girl in Rwanda just turned eleven. God added a little bonus as He fulfilled my dream: He stopped the gap in our grandbaby lineup. I think I heard Him chuckle as He added that delightful flourish to my dream.

Sponsoring a child is a small start. But it beats doing nothing.

Dream big this Christmas, won’t you?

14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

1 John 5:14-15 (NASB)


Editor’s Note: If you are interested in child sponsorship opportunities, then also consider HELP One Now. Founder Dan King is partnering with HELP One Now in an effort to raise child sponsorship that rescue children from the effects of extreme poverty, restore hope by providing for basic needs, and renew their communities with long-term, sustainable development. Dan will be traveling in February with H.E.L.P. to Haiti, and will be working with many of these sponsored children.

dream bigger this Christmas!

by Sheila Lagrand time to read: 3 min