This Valentine’s Day I’m going back in time. Then into the future I hope for.
So, I’m fourteen and our high school is putting on the musical Bugsy Malone. My friend Lisa-Jo is Tallulah and I’m one of her sidekick show girls and we are super sultry and pseudo-sexy all made-up and loving it. Lisa-Jo is a couple years older than me and she is so, so cool and I feel like a kid in my mom’s too-big high heels but I try not to let it show. Lisa-Jo owns the stage and sings like velvet, ‘My name is Tallulah, I live ‘til I die. I’ll take what you give me and I won’t ask why.’
Fast forward two years. Lisa-Jo’s brother, Josh, has a crush on me. It’s Valentine’s Day and every time the bell rings I get a delivery to whatever class I’m in: a rose with a card – one word stencilled in glitter. (Like, I know. Glitter.) The cards all add up and at the end of the day I have six roses and six words. You. Make. Falling. In. Love. Easy.
Fast forward another decade or two. Lisa-Jo’s dad, Peter, and her stepmom, Wanda, have adopted three kids from a community of orphans and vulnerable children in Maubane, just north of their home in Pretoria. Because these kids? Their parents lived ‘til they died. And now, these kids, they’ll just take what life gives them and they won’t ask why. And these kids, they make falling in love easy.
Lisa-Jo is in America changing the world one mom at a time (her book will be released in April; I’ve read the first three chapters and you should pre-order now) but she left a chunk of her heart under these jacaranda trees in South Africa, and she is bent on obedience – the kind that says yes to loving like Jesus. She has asked a bunch of us to spread the word that maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t about the mush of roses are red and violets are just cheesy. Maybe Valentine’s Day is about helping this community plant a vegetable garden. And then build a kitchen and welcome centre and community outreach hall. Then twelve classrooms and a playground. The veggie garden is Phase 1 and will be watered by the water-point funded by Lisa-Jo’s blogging community last year.
This dream is larger than life but this planet is small like the click of a button. And our connectedness makes it possible for anyone anywhere to love on the lives of a few hundred people waiting for a future. The banner photo for this post is a human blueprint for the community centre we’re hoping to fund between the bookend love-days of Valentine’s and Mother’s Day. It’s going to cost a cool $ 150 000 but, well, love says nothing’s impossible.
And since today is all about love the world over I’m reaching into next week and bringing Monday’s #5minutes4freedom post to the now to challenge me and to challenge you to put a different spin on falling in love.
You can head over here if you would like to donate. Or just check out the Maubane community project, and pray. And if you want something pretty for Valentine’s Day, order one of these exquisite necklaces – each one unique – from Krafty Kash. Half the proceeds of each sale will go towards funding Phase 1 of this project. Follow this story on twitter: #SurprisedByMotherhood
‘Poverty isn’t defeated with wealth. It’s overcome by hope.’ – Jeff Goins
As always, I love hearing from you. What do truth, courage and obedience look like for you this Valentine’s Day? Click here to stay in touch or sign up in the sidebar to get these posts by email. You can also follow #5minutes4freedom on facebook or twitter.