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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

.I Want to Know.

I cannot recall what awoke me. Maybe Jamesy had gotten up, or maybe it was a typical restless night for me. At 3 AM, after waking, I found myself buried in my husband's arms, hot tears burning rivers on my cheeks, and sobs taking my breath away. It's not the first time that this has happened. It seems as if the stillness of the night brings up a lot of emotions for me. This night in particular I was furious. Perhaps with God, if I am going to be honest. I am struggling with comprehending how it is that every night I lay my head on a plush pillow in a warm, safe, comfortable queen sized bed, while a certain little boy whom I love very much has been sleeping back out on the streets - on a bench, with no blankets, no safety. How is it that God's grace landed me here in America? And how is it that His very same grace landed him and others as a prisoner to poverty? I am just struggling reconciling some things in my human mind, and I know therein is the problem - my mind is human (Isaiah 55:8-9).

I asked for this, but friends, let me say that I did not understand what I was asking for. For some reason, when I asked God to allow me to share some of His heart ache and to break my heart for what breaks His, I did not anticipate the pain. Even writing this I now see how foolish that sounds. I meant every breath of that prayer, but I do not think I counted the cost before asking it of God. I have always been empathetic - long before now. But this is a whole new level of empathy. I remember in preparing for our first trip to Ethiopia, and in the paperchase to adopt Jamesy, I read as much  as I could about his birth country and watched probably hundreds of videos. My heart was always pricked, I seldom read anything or watched anything relating to Ethiopia or the orphan crisis without being in tears, BUT even that did not penetrate my heart. I have said it so many times before, but it was all just statistics and numbers swirling around. It reached me on an emotional level for a moment, but it was fleeting.

However, the moment we drove off of the airport in Addis, my heart began to bruise as I saw real, live human beings, made in the image of God, laying all over the side of the dusty, bumpy roads, huddled up by piles of trash, and preparing for a night of whatever sleep they could find. Yes, I had seen this on the videos, but now it was real, before my eyes. I could see them, hear them, and smell them. What I could not do was close my eyes and ignore them. Yes, I had seen poor people here. I have seen their houses and their condition. I have even seen homeless people before, but this was so different than even that. My words would fall short to explain how, so I will not try. And then two days later, I met him, and the statistic wrapped itself in human flesh and blood and held my hand and called me Mama and begged for something to fill his starving belly. And as he handed me that beaded bracelet through the van window, with tears trailing his dirty cheeks, my entire world shifted, and in that moment my heart understood my Father's heart and it began to crack and bleed and HURT. Oh the pain of having my heart broken for what break's His. Why didn't someone warn me? Why didn't someone tell me that I could never go back? That the things that seemed so important, like my silly COACH bags, and filling my fridge with organic produce, and staying up-to-date on the latest fashion trends for me and my littles, and filling my home with stuff, and shopping just for fun, or arguing over whether church's should have pews or chairs, or wishing I had more time in the day for me, would all smack me in the face and mock my lukewarm devotion to Jesus Christ.

Even now it hurts to know what I know, and I feel as if I can do so much more. I do not want sympathy or platitudes about how God doesn't want me to feel guilty, and how He has placed me here for a reason. Because I need to feel this pain. Even though this knowing is hard -the hardest thing that I have ever experienced, I still want to know. I had closed my eyes to this level of pain for 30 some years, and now I choose to enter the pain. I will never be able to do enough. I will never be able to solve the world's problems. Even Jesus said that the poor will always be with us. (Matthew 26:11)

A friend shared a song with me on facebook last night. As Jim and I listened to it through tears, I said If I knew then what I know now, then I would not want to know. It had been a hard day with a situation with our teenage boy in Ethiopia. Jim looked at me and said That's not true. And he is right. Because now, I am just beginning to understand the Father's heart. So, even though it is excrutiatingly painful and isolating, and even though most days I feel useless in what I know, I still choose to know.

I want to know.

Do You Want to know by Josh Wilson

If you want a heart of sympathy

Then pray to God to help you, please

See the world that Jesus sees

But be careful what you ask Him for

Cause if you’re gonna open up that door

There’s no going back to before

Cause once you see a mother who can’t feed

The baby that cries in her arms

Your heart will break and you’ll lay awake

No, sleep won’t come quick anymore

So do you want to know?

You pass him on the way to work

He holds a sign beside the curb

You look away and avoid the hurt

Cause why should you be held responsible

Besides, he’ll probably just spend it all

On cigarettes and alcohol

But once you see that the man on the street

Has a name and a family like you

Your heart will break and you’ll lay awake

Cause you’ll understand God loves him, too

So do you want to know?

Oh, no

If you want a heart of sympathy

Then pray to God to help you see

But once you see a world that’s in need

And a sorrow you just can’t ignore

Your heart’s gonna break and you’ll lay awake

Cause you’ll know you could do so much more

Do you want to know?

[Disclaimer: every time I open my heart up in a post like this I get some negative feedback about how there are poor people here in America, and how all I care about is Ethiopia and the poverty there. I just want to carefully say, that this is a very personal post, and this is my story. I didn't know until I went to Ethiopia. I had to leave America in order for God to break my heart. This is the avenue God used in my life. And now I am passionate about Ethiopia, and honestly I am passionate about every follower of Jesus in America experiencing a third world country, BUT these are just my thoughts. I do know that there are hurting people right in our back yard and in our families. This is not my way of saying to  ignore them.]


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