Our family is all a bit of a mess tonight. Oh, it’s not because we’re rushing off to basketball and the house is a disaster. It’s not because there’s so much laundry to be done or the PVR didn’t record the show we wanted it to. It’s not because the muffins for the event aren’t made or someone scratched the side of our car in the parking lot.
We could whine about all of those, yes. And sometimes we do. But thankfully God has exposed our hearts to more. More than making tryouts or the first string. More than stocking up on the latest in falls trends. More than putting our money to more trinkets and toys or themed decor to clutter up the mantle.
When God breaks your heart for what breaks His heart, it changes you.
We boarded a plane back in July and found ourselves on the dusty streets of Primo Tapia. We had no idea what to expect but we went in praying that God would bring us to the end of ourselves. That our hearts would so totally be drawn to Him in every way. Of course, we had no idea what that would look like. How could we?
Each day we entered the gates of Casa De Luz we were greeted with boundless love. Children who have lived tales I can’t tell without weeping, gripping our legs and beaming with joy.
Each day our laps were piled with sweet bundles of energy. Each day we poured out what we had. What we had never compared with what they did. Their energy and joy outlasted ours and we were to be serving them. They served us even more.
Each day little arms would drape over us, little hands would hold our faces, smiles would shine into the deepest parts of us. And it broke us.
How, Lord? How were these beautiful little babies so full of joy when they had so little?
They understood something greater than we did. I’ve been replaying Psalm 23 in my head each morning since.
I stumble on the first line each day. The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.
I’m already doomed. I want so much.
I truly believe we did nothing to change the lives of the children we met. They already have a beautiful loving staff to care for them. They have hot meals prepped for them each day. They have joy in the Lord beyond what I can fathom. No, it wasn’t us that did anything for them. It was those children – they did everything for us.
We came home changed. We came home broken. We came home at the end of ourselves saying Lord – you are my shepherd, I shall not want.
We came home understanding a deeper love than we knew possible. We took our hearts right out of our chest and we handed them to the most precious three little girls we’ve ever met. By our last day there, we couldn’t comprehend the love we had for them. Nor could I share it here because the words evade me. I couldn’t make you understand if I tried. Besides, it all feels too precious to share. Like something I just needed to hold deep and close.
Their story is harsh and dangerous and nothing a child should live. Yet their smiles and love are everything I want to be. Their lives are marked with tragedy and destruction. Their eyes hold stories noone will ever know the depth of. Yet they share their candy with us saying, “sacrificio” because they listened to the sermon at church and they understand if you have two, you give one away. What they have they sacrifice because that’s the Jesus way. They have nothing yet their generosity and sacrifice are everything I want mine to be. They know poverty and yet their joy is tangible, exactly the way I wish mine was.
These girls only know loss. Loss of childhood, loss of innocence, loss of homes, loss of their father. Safe isn’t their normal, like it is for your kids and mine. Loss is their normal. Uncertainty. Neglect.
Until Casa De Luz. House of Light.
We talk about these three every single day in our home. We pray for them constantly. We giggle about stories and memories we shared with them, we sit and gaze at photos and we mimic their cute little voices saying Spanish words we don’t understand.
God has broken our hearts for the poor. He’s wrapped up our hearts and placed them outside of our bodies and with these children. He has allowed us to love so deeply in ways we couldn’t comprehend before.
But what happens when you love deep? When you dare to let your heart be broken for the things Gods heart is broken for?
Well, when you love deep you hurt deep.
So our family is a bit of a mess tonight. Our words are scattered. Our minds all in a fog. Our cheeks soaked with tears because we just got word that these three precious girls are gone. Mom took off with them in the middle of the night after leaving rehab. No word. No way to know where they are. No way to know if they are safe. Just….gone.
We dared to show our teenaged children what a bit of Jesus heart looks like on those dusty streets of Primo Tapia and now they lie sobbing in my arms because they’ve dared to love hard. And when we love hard we hurt hard. And I never want my children to hurt but when the hurt is because they open their hearts to the things of Christ, when it’s because of cycles of generational poverty and cycles of addiction and these are the things they weep over? Then yes, hurt dear little hearts. Hurt for the things that break Christ’s heart, too.
Did I know the effects of this trip would be my children weeping for the poor and innocent children in the world? No. Do I want to see their red puffy eyes and tear soaked cheeks? No. But do I want them to care for the people in this world so much that when tragedy comes they weep? Dear Lord, yes. We don’t get one without the other. If we want them to love the world hard, to love people deeply, then it comes with weeping.
We sing the words, “Break our hearts for what breaks yours…” but how can our hearts break if we never go to the places Jesus went? If we don’t go to the poor and the broken and the orphan and the prostitutes and the addicts and the jail cells we can’t know what breaks His heart and if we don’t know – it surely won’t break ours either.
Our hearts are so broken tonight. We’re asking God why. Yet we’re pleading with Him because we know He’s good. Would you plead with us? For three little girls we wish we knew were safe.