Just Enough

Ten years ago, before transferring to Moody and moving to Chicago ever even entered my mind, I was a little sophomore at Baylor University. One fine central Texas day I went down with a friend to a place cleverly called Waco Hall to listen to an increasingly well-known “upcoming” musician. All I knew about the musician I had gleaned from the signs scattered on walls around campus: he had really good hair.

The musician was Shaun Groves. And if I remember correctly, he had just released his first big record Invitation to Eavesdrop.  I knew, even then, after just a few minutes listening to Shaun sing, that he had a special voice. Something about him was unique. I sensed that he was a person who both thought and felt deeply about faith and the world. What I most certainly did not sense is that in less than a decade I would be bouncing around East India with a tiny group he was leading.

But in the third world together we were destined to be.

April 2009 to be exact.

On one of those blistering 125-degree days in Kolkata, Shaun and I got to talking. We were on the bus doing what theology nerds do best . . . taking ourselves far too seriously and talking about some Bible verses. We were throwing around phrases like “the new perspective on Paul” “the kingdom” “inaugurated eschatology” and whatnot. We discussed how necessary it is for us to have a holistic understanding of Scripture’s voice about wealth and poverty. We were ranting and complaining how it simply won’t do to quote one or two verses from the gospels; we need to understand everything we can about poverty and wealth in the entire canon. Only then could we really understand the Church’s mission concerning wealth and poverty. But then we got to talking about a couple of verses in the book of Proverbs. Specifically these:

Proverbs 30.7-9

Two things I ask of you;

deny them not to me before I die:

Remove far from me falsehood and lying;

give me neither poverty nor riches;

feed me with the food that is needful for me,

lest I be full and deny you

and say, “Who is the LORD?”

or lest I be poor and steal

and profane the name of my God.

Interesting verses, right? We both suspected that these verses are crucial to the Church’s conversation concerning wealth and poverty. Shaun swears that, among other things, our conversation about these verses has something to do with the song “Enough” on his new record Third World Symphony. I imagine he is grossly exaggerating but I really don’t care since it happens to be my favorite song on the album.

Enough by shaungroves

These were fun times, good conversations.

But nothing could have prepared me for the moment, just a few hours later, when the ideas in this conversation would become a human being. Kiran is the real reason Shaun wrote “Enough.”

Nothing could have prepared me for Kiran, a Compassion student who lives in one of the slums of Kolkata.

On April 30, 2009 seven members of our team crammed tightly into the home of twelve year old Kiran Mallik. The home she shares with her four other family members. Three of our team members simply couldn’t fit inside. The tiny little shack was about the size of a twin bed, approximately the size of my spare powder bath.

Here is a picture of Kiran standing outside her house.

We couldn’t stand up inside the little house so with knees and thighs touching, we kneeled around on the floor. We sat captivated by Kiran as she revealed to us who she was through a translator. She told us how much she loves Jesus, how she loves to study and hopes to become a teacher someday.


And then she paused.

And she asked us, with a soft and sincere smile on her face:

 “How do you like my house?”

Looking helplessly at one another, we collectively cheered:

“It’s beautiful!”

“Yes, it’s beautiful!”

She beamed in agreement and with satisfaction.

But the thing is, I really couldn’t see beauty.

What I saw on that hot April day was a flimsy little box of a house roofed with plastic paper, rocks, and sticks.

Later as we walked around the slum, Kiran would start to cry.

Tears of joy, she said. Tears because she was just so happy she had God.

Then she would literally burst forth into songs of praise. This is the stuff of the Psalms or maybe even the book of Acts. I saw these things in an Indian slum.

And all I could think about was stuff Kiran didn’t possess.

The dark, scary place we were walking around.

All Kiran could think about was that God was with her.

Where I saw tremendous lack, Kiran saw an extravagance worth displaying.

The radiant joy Kiran effused challenged the “lack” I saw.

Her intoxicating presence told me she lacked no good thing.

This was one of those remarkable moments when fixed values start to move. A paradigm shift, if you will. I had to start deconstructing and reconstructing meaning; I had to start trying to make sense of things again. Clearly I had been missing something major about basic life questions. I started posing new questions: What does it really mean to be blessed? What does it mean to have enough? Can I really trust myself to answer this former question?

Being in Kiran’s presence was something of a dream. Surreal. I felt like I was bound in chains in a dark room gazing out a window at a little girl skipping in a field of sunflowers at the brightest point of the day.

It wasn’t that Kiran was proud of what little she had. That would have been admirable, indeed. But that wasn’t it. It was the very idea that Kiran had absolutely no idea she had little. No one could have convinced Kiran she was “suffering,” not without performing some kind of lobotomy anyway. She was rich and full, living off of a couple of Compassion meals. She knocked me off my white horse. I wasn’t the one doing the liberating anymore. I never was. Maybe I had been bound all along.

The remarkable thing about the Proverbs text I mentioned before (30.7-9) is not that it mentions living in the middle of two extremes: poverty and wealth. The astonishing thing is that it links spiritual infidelity to these two extremes. In other words, living off of just enough, that which is necessary, is spiritually advantageous. At least according to the wisdom writer.

Kiran’s effortless joy, her tremendous wealth in living off the Lord alone, not only reverberates the sounds of the ancient sage; it takes the shape of a cross. Her abundant life is nothing short of cruciform. Undeniable power in perceived human weakness. And not even the thickest darkness can obstruct this kind of light. It is the overwhelming penetrating light of the cross. I was blinded by it because I couldn’t stop staring at Kiran.

My vision will never be the same.

If I close my eyes and focus long enough, I can still hear the sound of Kiran’s voice. She is singing, “Lord, I lift Your Name on High. Lord, I love to sing Your Praises.” The cadences of her voice are still in my heart.



162 Responses to “Just Enough”

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  1. 101
    Dana says:

    I kept seeing on twitter about this post, so glad I clicked over to read. So powerful, so timely for me. Jesus is so gentle with me. Thanks for sharing…

  2. 102
    Janice says:

    My daughter and son-in-law have just moved to the Chicago area. They are living in Aurora right now. They need to find a good church to attend. They are both Christians but are looking for a good church. Any suggestions?

    My daughter is so homesick (moved from Kansas) and could really use some Christian fellowship.

  3. 103
    Church Lady says:

    What an awesome post. I was thinking this morning about how we, in America, worry so much. It seems to me that we who don’t struggle for basic necessities are consumed by worry over our exesses. People like Kiran don’t seem to have these worries. They are so thankful for what they do have that they don’t worry about what they don’t. I could be wrong, that’s just how it seems to me.

  4. 104
    His Jules says:

    Thank you Melissa, I have read this post over and over and it has challenged and convicted me each time. I am wrestling with the question now of what will I do with this? Thanks for your authenticity and for sharing your heart.

  5. 105
    Ruth—Pikeville, TN says:

    There are no coincidences in Christ. This theme is exactly what I’ve been tripping over the last several weeks as I try to come to grips with what it means to walk “the narrow road.” Thank you!

  6. 106
    Liz says:

    How easy it is to forget God’s leading. God give me a thankful heart.

  7. 107
    Didaskala aka Liz Taylor says:

    Thanks Melissa for the reminder that God cares much more about our hearts than anything else. What an amazing experience, thank you for sharing!!


  8. 108
    Jennifer says:

    Great post! Sometimes i think all the choices and access we have in the US for anything/everything makes it difficult to feel blessed and content for any extended period of time. There’s always the idea of more.

    Your post reminded me of an idea i’ve had the last few years to find a devotional/study around gratitude for the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving(and then one for the advent season leading up to Christmas)to keep the focus on what really matters in the midst of it all. Wondering if you or anyone in siestaville has any book ideas?

  9. 109
    Carolyn says:

    What a blessing your post is to me today. God bless you for sharing today.
    Thank you

  10. 110
    Michelle says:

    A VERY good lesson to me, indeed! What a joyful smile!

  11. 111
    Deb Weaver says:

    Simply thank you… This has spoken deeply to me.

  12. 112

    Thank you for the beauty of this revelation. We lack absolutely nothing when we have God as our good Father! Oh that we would have eyes to see that He is all we need and if we have Him we have everything, more than enough!

  13. 113
    sweet anonymous says:

    Dear Melissa,
    I got tears in my eyes and chills down my arms as I read this.
    I have so much more than she does,not fancy so but much more.
    I look at her beautiful picture and swallow the lump in my throat and wonder-Does my face reflect the love and the joy of the Lord that is so obviouly radiating from hers? Are my lips so quick to sing His praises? Bless her heart. I wish I could take her picture and hang it on my wall when I start whining about how little I have…I guess I’ll just keep it here in my heart and smile when I think of her and pray for her always. Thanks for sharing.
    Blessings to you.

  14. 114
    Rachael says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience, I always enjoy hearing from you on here. This story has really humbled me, and made me reconsider the blessings and things I take for granted everyday. I need a healthy reminder of that everyday, thanks!

  15. 115
    Kathy says:

    Thank you Melissa. I am always inspired and challenged when you share such a powerful post with us. God Bless

  16. 116
    Heidi says:


  17. 117
    Mitzi says:

    Wow!. I’ve read your post over a couple of times for the message to reach my heart from my head. I ask myself, who is the one in poverty here? I am! –Grandmamitz

  18. 118
    Joy Fuller says:

    Melissa, just before I went to LPM blog my husband and I were talking about God providing. We run a small 501c3 missions organization and it has been really tough since the crash in 2008. God has been faithful. He has continued to provide the “enough”. I on the other hand have continued to fret and worry. The enough really is enough for me. I just want to “see” the “enough” 3, 10, 15 years out. Your entry stirred my heart to repentance over my lack of confidence in my God. It is also a great reminder as to why we are here and what we are called to.

  19. 119
    Texas in the Mountains says:

    There is a ‘movement’ right now in the church that is highly critical of short term missions. There stance is that it is more damaging than helpful. A book that they use to support their opinion is “When Helping Hurts”.
    I would like to see this issue discussed here, especially in light of this post. Surely, you’ve heard of this ‘movement’.
    For the record, I went on a STM with Samaritan’s Purse, and I will never be the same. In a good way. 🙂

  20. 120
    Sandra says:

    This story blessed my heart, when all we have is Jesus, we have abundance.

  21. 121
    Debbie says:

    THANK YOU Melissa for sharing this beautiful story! What a blessing to experience the beauty of Christ through the eyes of Kiran!

  22. 122
    Sharla - Granbury, TX says:

    Jennifer – I just finished reading “One Thousand Gifts – a dare to live fully where you are” by Ann Voskamp. One of the BEST books I’ve ever read about seeing God’s perfect gifting in all things, a call to a heart of gratitude. You’ll love it.

    Thank you Melissa for this post. My cry to the Lord is to really change my heart, that He really would be all that I want. I know fully that He is all I need, but I want my want-to to reflect the Truth of His Word.

  23. 123
    Missy Q says:

    I don’t even have words to speak right now. This post is so timely for us. We’re are in the middle of a major sell off trying to get out of debt. Or so I thought. Today I was sad about selling a pair of shoes. SERIOUSLY? Your post touched (convicted) me in a way that I can’t even explain. Thank you. Enough is probably my favorite song on Shaun’s album. And now even more so. Thank you.

  24. 124
    Katie says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I had just said to myself before I logged on to the blog, “We haven’t heard from Melissa in a while” and then discovered you had written. I love hearing from you! …and this post was no exception. I struggle so much with the questions you presented. Thank you for your candor and willingness to put these hard questions out there. I also appreciate your recognition that it wasn’t that that Kiran was proud of how little she had but rather how grateful for what she did have. I think that is the key because wether we feel proud of how little we have or much we have, the common denominator is PRIDE. We have to cling to gratitude because it takes the focus off of us and onto God and frees us up to offer all back up to Him and share with others as our hearts are compelled to and as the Holy Spirit leads.

  25. 125
    Heather says:

    She just is radiant!!! I can see Christ’s love shining through her. Beautiful!!!

  26. 126
    Brandi says:

    I LOVED reading this!! When I saw for the first time a feeding center in Chiquimula, Guatemala, I realized how spoiled and sheltered I had been my entire life. There I sat thinking I had been “called” to Guatemala to help in any way I could, and God was changing me! My complete way of thinking!
    Thank you so much for sharing. God is using you in mighty ways to open eyes to see what He sees.

  27. 127
    Paulette Mays says:

    Guide me in your truth and teach me For you are God my savior and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5 NIV

  28. 128
    Rhonda Melvin-Alvarez says:

    What a beautiful post, thank you Melissa……matter of perspective…..wow!

  29. 129
    Leigh Ann says:

    Thank you so much for your post! I have been up every night for weeks worrying about my own silly housing situation and feeling so sorry for myself. I’m due in 5 weeks with our second child and we’ve been blessed enough to sell our little starter home and now search for a larger home that we can afford on my husband’s salary as I try to stay at home with our children for as long as is financially possible. It is so easy to look at what I don’t have and can’t afford rather than being thankful for what I do have. What a word for me today. Thank you.

  30. 130
    Ginny says:

    Amen…amen. I had a similar experience and I will never be the same. Thank you for sharing and reminding me. God is so good.

  31. 131
    carrie says:

    So I want to thank you for this powerful post and for the fact that for the remainder of the workday I will have a mascara stained face and foundaton streaks from reading this. A sign of too much makeup? Perhaps. An extreme challenge from the Lord to my own self-absorbed heart? Definitely. Thank you for showing me through His word, a different perspective.

  32. 132
    Emmy says:

    Wow… Beautiful… Just beautiful

  33. 133
    Meg says:

    I remember when you first posted that last picture, and said it was right before you had a big ol’ ugly cry. It is beautiful how God has kept that experience fresh in your heart and helped it shape you to become more like his son, Jesus, who also thinks Kiran’s house is beautiful. Of course, He’s got a mansion prepared for her in heaven but you know He doesn’t really feel the wait like we do. Thank you for being real in your posts! You always manage to say what we’re all really thinking, which is nice and welcome.

  34. 134
    Ingrid Lathrop says:

    Melissa, Oh thank you for sharing this moment of wonderous truth in your life, as my husband and I head off to Uganda and Kenya to see where He would have us live until He calls us home, we experience the freedom we find from the “things” we leave behind. He is our life and this world is not our home. We pray that God’s light would shine in our fragile clay pots so that all would know it is God’s light shining in us. This has truly been a great encouragement to me, all who call themselves Christ followers must really come to understand how we are called to live. May the Lord be glorified through this treasure He has allowed you to understand.
    Ingrid Lathrop

  35. 135
    Deborah Mott says:

    Thank you for sharing! Really blessed me. TO ENJOY GOD, to really live Christ: exude JOY and PRAISE and satisfaction… what a great shining light and an abundant life. So rare. What you encountered is such a beautiful gift that you then gifted us by sharing. I need this paradigm shift and want to live joyously IN CHRIST and really want God to create HIS JOY MORE in my life. Thanks again.

  36. 136
    Heather says:

    Hi Melissa!
    Your blog was perfect timing for me! I have the awesome privilege of traveling to India in 2 WEEKS to Kolkata on a STM – yea!!!!!!!!!! I am going with 8 other awesome Jesus loving gals, 1 who has been there 2 times to work with Project Rescue (CAGE-the Horror & Hope; amazing book!) and Women at the Well. We have been planning and praying about this trip for months and the day is finally approaching (how do I make a ‘freak out’ face?). SO…to read your post made my eyes fill with water as I gazed into Karin’s beautiful face – OH…what beauty flows from her – THAT is Jesus! I did go back and view your beautiful photography from 2009 and I wanted to crawl inside the photos – amazing!

    I know I can plan and prepare just so much and then I have to know that really nothing can prepare me for what I will experience…only Jesus. Only Jesus. But, He keeps giving me little glimpses of what to expect…your blog is another piece of my preparation – thank you. 😉

    15 years ago I lived in Houston & attended ‘Thursday nights’ when your mom had her first visit…whew…I remember thinking that would be so amazing to be able to go there…then it was a dream of an expecting mom, today (or in 2 weeks) it will be a reality – WOW! To God be the Glory, and again, thank you for being another part of the puzzle for me! I know I will not return the same…
    God Bless you dear Melissa! =)

  37. 137
    Kathleen says:

    Needed this reminder today, bogged down by stuff that just doesn’t matter.

  38. 138
    Teketa says:

    I so needed to read this today. Thank you for allowing God to speak through you. Have a blessed day.

  39. 139
    Sheri Fobare says:

    Oh my Miss Melissa:
    This is an amazing and wonderful post. I am blessed by your writing and the absolutely discriptive splashes throughout your post made me feel as if I were experiencing it all with you.

    I am so blessed by these words and may the Lord use them in me to continue His transformation in me and any other who read this.


  40. 140

    Melissa, I commented on your sister’s blog on this one! Love it so much! Love your heart! This makes me so excited to meet you in January!

  41. 141
    Valerie Robertson says:

    What a humbling and beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing.

  42. 142
  43. 143
    Katherine says:

    Kathy, Houston:
    I can’t even begin to explain in words what my heart felt as I read your post. I hadn’t sobbed in a while. I’m grateful to God that He lead you to share this with us. I can’t get over her smile. I can see Jesus right in her.

    God, do Your work in all of us who read this. Open our hearts to You.

  44. 144
    Diane Roth says:

    Diane, Florence Proverbs 3:21-22 My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion. So shall they be life unto thy soul and grace to thy neck. KJV

  45. 145
    Pat E Galegor says:

    Last night in our Bible Study, “inheritance” QSBC, OKC. You said something just for me. I have just lost my older sister Deb, who was my dearest friend. We were orphaned at the age of 13 and 14 and had never gotten married. We lived together for 54 years. We have a Daycare in our home and so you can feel my pain as I stay where she and I lived so much of our lives together. When she died I was so lonely and I turned to my other true friend Jesus, who she introduced me to 37 years ago, and He said to me I have done nothing wrong to you, Pat, I told Him this was not fair to take away my only true friend and He said to me, just what you reminded me last night “Now, I AM your only true friend!!” This has brought such joy to me that when you say that last night on the video, I almost came out of my chair. I praise God for you and for the way you listen and do as He says. He also gave me Isiah 42:16 in the Message as a way to get through. I love you and pray for your health, and well being as we NEED more of you!!!!
    Because He Lives,
    Pat E Galegor
    Oklahoma City, Ok

  46. 146
    Erika says:

    I’ve read many LPM blog posts, and most of them fade in a matter of hours from my memory. However, this one’s resonance has stayed with me. It’s been a low rumble for the past month and a half. This past week I heard a sermon and the pastor quoted from Martin Luther’s Large Catchism III: The 10 Commandments. It was his explanation of the first commandment. Wow! This post now coupled with that made Proverbs 30:7-9 and Kiran’s story ring loudly in my mind. My ears are even filled up with it. I’ve been convicted that I have more than enough, yet I continue to use Jesus to get more (a bigger idol) when Jesus should be enough. So thankful to be reminded of this as Thanksgiving and Christmas draw near It has become my meditation this season.

    Thanks Shaun Groves. This song is going to be on my holdiay playlist.

    I just want to let you know that your words continue to minister to my heart even if you have forgotten what you have said or written. What a weighty responsiblity God has entrusted to you. I pray that you continue to be humble and teachable before Him.

  47. 147
    charlotte says:

    I’m doing “Mercy Triumphs” right now and I listen to the CDs, sometimes in my car. This morning, it was time to listen to #3 and you, Melissa, began speaking about your trip to India and God speaking in your spirit that it was necessary to see real poverty since you were about to start working on the James study. I turned off the CD just to rest in that, as well as my memories of living in Africa as a healthcare provider. I just “happened” on this blog today. I think a verse from James illustrates the joy radiating in Kiran (and yes, it is very visible in her photograph!) James 1:9 “The brother [sister] of humble circumstances should boast in his [her] exaltation.” or
    “The brother [sister] in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his [her] high position.” I wrestled with that verse but now I have Kiran to explain it to me.

  48. 148
    Jamee Lock says:

    I just have to say that this entry has stood the test of time! I often come back to this one because it moved me more than you could ever have imagined. I’ve linked it to friends and love the song. Thank you.

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