Saturday, October 22, 2011

Unforgetable Cliches

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity
Hillsong,  "Hosanna"

In the months and days leading up to the Uganda mission trip, I frequently prayed the words of this song. When my feet walked the red dirt and I came face to face with the beautiful people of Africa, I wanted to do so with a pure heart, ready with open eyes, to learn to love the way the Father sees and loves, to serve with a broken heart, all for His glory.  

These were somewhat easy words to pray in time zones removed from life that is the heartbreaking reality for most of the world. Because I had prayed the words, I travelled with the expectation that these cliches would become real in life changing ways. 

The experience I did not pray for was "gut-wrenching." In fact, this cliche never crossed my mind. It's not a phrase that exactly fits into our Sunday morning worship songs. 

However, on day 3, when we drove into the gates of M3, to the sound of cheering 2-10 year olds, this cliche became a part of my experience.  

We visited M3 with Moses as a part of the ministry of Sixty FeetWe had visited two government "remand" centers and my heart was already broken for the conditions and plight of over 200 children and youth at M1 and M2. We were warned that M3 would be even more difficult. Most of the 200 children at M3 had either been abandoned, sent to the capital city to beg, or lost in the streets. Many were very sick in a place with less than 8 caregivers. I am not sure anything could have prepared us.  

As we waited to sign in with the staff, my eyes fell on a very young boy, around the age of 3. He was sitting in the hot sun on a concrete wall. He stared into nothing, his eyes empty and shell shocked. My numb heart told me that he probably didn't want to be bothered. The Spirit whispered to me to go sit down beside him. I glanced down at him, still unsure of if, or how, I should reach out to him. 

Without looking at him, I silently reached out my hands toward him. He quickly grabbed them and scrambled onto my lap. As we settled in together and he fell asleep on my chest, I realized he was soiled in every way possible and that his sweet, half-dressed body was racked with fever. 

As I held and rocked him, I noticed my stomach was really tight. For a moment, I feared I might be getting sick. However, when I checked in with my emotions, I realized I felt as if my heart had been twisted and pulled into my gut in a way I had never experienced. 

Realizing this little boy was so sick without a mama to hold him was gut-wrenching. Knowing that he probably had malaria or TB, or was possible HIV positive, without adequate comfort or treatment, ripped my heart. As he slept, I cried and prayed for him. 

When he woke, I fed him cookies and juice. I sang "Jesus Loves Me" into his ear and told him how much he is loved. I took him to the nurses who work with Sixty Feet and inquired about his health. They checked with the staff of M3 and assured me he had already received medication for his fever.  A staff member took him to be cooled and cleaned. 

Selfishly, I was thankful when they took him inside. I was not sure how I would manage to walk away onto the van and leave without him. Just before we left, however, I felt a cool, small hand touch mine. Once again he was in my arms and I spoke words of love to him. My tears again flowed as I prayed over him before leaving. The hardest thing I have ever done, only through the grace of Christ.

Opened eyes. 
Learning to love the way God loves. 
A heart broken for what breaks His. 
Everything I am for His kingdom's cause. 


Months later, many time zones away, these cliches still echo in my heart, with new meanings. The questions they bring out number the answers. I am still processing as we discern how God is leading us to respond to the things He has shown me. Praying for wisdom and grace as we seek to follow the Lord. 

No comments: