These words have been stirring in my heart since the airplane ride home. The words I’m not sure anyone wants to hear. The undone, raw, honest ones.
It was unlike any ‘mission trip’ I’d gone on before. A decade ago, before marriage, kids, and a mortgage- I’d gone to a handful of places. We would pack up our bags of VBS materials and worship songs. Go spread the gospel within and without the four walls of a church. We would worship as a community, serve our hearts out, grow in our faith and be radically changed.
I would always leave inspired. With how others can have so little, but still love so much. How the joy in their hearts is what sustains them when their is no food in the cupboard. And, how God was so big in their lives, because they needed Him to be.
This trip was…well, it had some of those elements, but overall? It was a whole different trip entirely.
We were in awe with the work the ministries were doing, and the impact they have on those they are reaching out to. That was the incredibly inspiring part, and I really wanted to focus on that when we got back from the trip (read those posts here and here). But, I’m gonna venture off the beaten path now.
In the barrios, on the side streets and in the brothels we saw the broken. Children that were abused and left without hope. Women that were heartbroken and out of options- feeling cornered into a life of selling themselves to feed their precious children. Young girls that are sidelined in a society that doesn’t view it as important or necessary to educate them. And, we heard of the heart-cries of the prostitutes, that rarely, if ever, get to see their children.
That’s who we saw. That’s who we met. That’s who we want to reach out to.
And that’s who left me completely broken.
At my lowest low on the trip, I collapsed on my uncomfortable hotel bed at the end of a long day and Nich flipped on CNN. The US had just ended the lockout. And the Senate chaplain, Barry Black, was being interviewed. In three minutes he not only shared the gospel with an entire hurting nation, but spoke directly into my breaking heart.
‘Broken bones heal stronger’
By the end of our week in the Dominican, I was completely wrecked. But, that’s not the end of the story. Just like bones heal strongest in the place where they were once broken- it is the same for us. God is the great physician.
He heals the brokenhearted and and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147.3
I take comfort resting in the fact that my broken heart and their broken lives are held tightly in His tender, healing hands. He is holds us and is constantly at work- mending, binding, and strengthening. And, He never rests.
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. 2 Chron 16.9
I know I’m a nobody, but Lord Here I am, send me.
I still remember the prayer I prayed last spring. Maybe you are praying it, too.
Break my heart for what breaks yours.
He did. And, in hindsight, I didn’t fully realize what I was praying. It was the sentiment I was going for. I just thought He would show me what breaks His heart. But, no, He fully answered my prayer. He broke my heart. Actually, more like shattered it.
It’s incredibly uncomfortable.
But my new prayer? Is that He uses my broken heart to bring healing and hope to those with broken lives. I love the way author Ann Voskamp talks about brokenness, and how God pours out through the cracks in our lives…
God can’t leak out of those who think they have it all together. It’s right now, out of our own brokenness in this place, that God seeps out of us and into the world.
The brokenness of the world has broken my heart. And, I find it really hard to sip a latte, do laundry, or shop for groceries without feeling it. So, I pray a lot. I pray for those ministries that have big dreams, I pray that He will work in mountain-moving ways, expand their reach and sustain them. I pray that He will raise up others to encourage them, pray for them and raise funds for them. I pray that He will continue to work through Hope Aglow to support the good work they are doing. And, I thank Him for all the women and children New Hope and La Alianza reach out to.
I pray for the broken women and children that I saw. I pray that they will find hope. Or, perhaps that hope will find them.
And, lastly, I pray that in His goodness and grace, He will heal my heart and their lives three times stronger.
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And, as always, thank you for your support and prayers!