She Literally Had Nothing

I couldn't stop complaining in my head this morning about it.

The stupid toilet.

The dang toilet, never flushes ... keeps running with the handle down. 

How annoying.

And then that still small voice reminds me. 

"Remember her?"

Oh yes ... How could I forget?

Thank you Jesus for reminding me of Her This morning.


She lived in a one-room, handmade hut in the jungle villages remotely placed off of the Amazon River in Brazil.

We traveled to them by boat and were SO excited to "bless" them with a new water tank filtration system.

Many countries in this world do not have access to clean water.

To be exact, 1 in 9 people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water.

That is 783 MILLION people.

So here we are ... the predominantly white Christians blessing this family who drank the same water that they excreted in. (And while I'm on this subject ... here I am, here and now, complaining about fluoride in my clear and clean drinking water.)

I walk in, and my heart pounds a tiny bit.

I smile at the four small children giggling and laughing, brimming ear to ear with excitement about the white people there to play with them.

They let us in and showed us where the new water filtration system would go in their home.

It was awkward for a moment as I looked for a place to sit or stand ... as there was about there feet of open area all together.

The bed was in the middle of the room where all the family members slept. A small stove and three kitchen utensils hung on the opposite wall, and then a pile of blankets in the corner.

And. That. Was. It.

This family had four children ... and, literally, had NOTHING.

And as if my heart wasn't moved enough to meet this family, see these children and parent's faces as they now had access to clean drinking water ... I almost passed out when I looked in the corner.

The mother ushered me over as she spoke Portuguese, smiled, and pointed to the hammock hanging from the ceiling.

Inside the hammock lay the tiniest baby I had ever seen.

I asked how old in Portuguese, and thought I had heard wrong when she replied, "FOUR DAYS."

Four freaking days old and this woman was STANDING, inviting STRANGERS into her home, and offering us everything she had to give.

I'm sure she knew we were accustomed to nice things though she didn't bat an eye of embarrassment as we stood awkwardly in her tiny place.

I'm sure she was filled with confusion, excitement, and humility when we installed her new water filtration system that they would later be trained on how to use. 

Five years later, this story still sticks with me.

Her face is still burned in my mind.


It's not about a toilet that flushes (or a toilet at all).

It's not about a clean house.

Or one that looks nice enough to host your rich neighbors in it.

It's about welcoming.

It's about offering what you have, whatever it is that you can give.

Many people, Christian women I should say, that I know spend their lives chasing after being a "Proverbs 31" woman.

They spend lifetimes studying it, studying the context, and how it applies to their lives.

Making goals to become this woman and shamefully punishing themselves when they don't live up to their unmet standards. 

We spend hours a week cleaning, housekeeping, cooking--all to entertain a group of people once a month and "have it all together"

I absolutely desire to be the Godly woman God has instructed me to be.

And I would be lying if it wasn't going against my nature at times to allow my house to look "lived in" when people come over.

But those Godly examples, they live beyond the Bible times.

They live in the here and now.

My Amazon friend is one of them.

I have a list of women in my head who have impacted me in ways that they will never know.

Those women, those are the ones I aspire to be like.

So today, instead of complaining about the stupid luxuries I have ... I am just going to smile, be hospitable, flush my toilet a few more times ... and Thank GOD for clean water and healthy children. All the while, I'll continue to beg for perspective and a grateful heart.

I encourage you today ... to think of the women in your life who have shown you what it means to be content, grateful, thankful ... and let those images burn in your mind a bit.

Thank God for placing them in your life, and put them in your imaginary (or real) book of women who you look up to. 

They're all around us.

And you can be one of them to 

someone and never know it.

Jenna BrownComment