Friday, March 2, 2012

Roller Coasters

Life and ministry here often feels like an emotional roller coaster. Some days I can't control my tears and other days I am overcome with gratefulness to God for the fullness of life that He has given me here through the opportunity to be invested in the lives of orphans.

If I'm honest, I'd confess that I struggle to walk the narrow line between letting go and between trying to "guard my heart." When I let go and just let God love these kids through me with all I've got to give, I wear my heart on my sleeve and freely give it to these children - all of me, all of my time as if I was their mom, all of my prayers, all of my passion - it's only natural that sometimes you get hurt in the process. They are orphans. The word "orphan" itself just hurts to say it. Sometimes, you love them as if they were your own, you both get attached and then they leave you and get reunited with family. When they are gone, it can feel as if a piece of you was just stripped from you. I like to think of this as "foster parent training 101."

Proverbs 4:23 says, "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life."

I hear all too often Christians claiming that we need to "guard our hearts" as a way to justify being cowardly instead of loving others. We try to twist Scripture to tell ourselves it's Biblical to "not get hurt." Where in the Bible does it say that I'm supposed to live my life as an offering to God in such a way that I don't get hurt or have troubles or suffering? It doesn't.

C. S. Lewis wrote in The Four Loves, "There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell."

I don't want to guard my heart because when I jump all in that is where I find joy, satisfaction, fulfillment... when I let go, that's when God can come in and that's when He can show off His power, love, protection, purpose, vision and hope in the lives of these orphans. I want to invite God to walk with me into dark places to bring His light and His healing and His hope and His joy and His promises. What a beautiful and incredible opportunity we have to be used by God in the lives of others to bring about good?!

And some days, it's my JOB to literally go on physical roller coasters with these precious children. Yesterday was just one of those days. I laughed harder than I have in a long, long time. All day, I got to laugh and smile with the orphan children I love as they went on theme park ride after ride. I drove the go-carts so hard, that they banned me from the track for the rest of the day.

The Bible talks about how when we finally get to heaven, it's just going to be one huge eternal celebration. Heaven will be a big party. There will be no more pain, no more suffering, no more illness, no more orphans and that we will be filled with the fullness of God. The joy I saw on these kids' faces made me think of that yesterday. I think it was a tiny glimpse as to what Heaven might be like.

they rode this water ride over and over and over again

i lost the race on the big track

we got scared of the heights as we spun around and around
screamed the entire time
claimed we were as high as the birds

and then just laughed


paparatzii said...

Wow. You are truly inspiring. I work with a inner-city kids ministry, and I'm told time and time again to guard my heart. It's extremely hard, and most of the time, I don't, mostly because I find it hard to build a relationship with these kids if I don't actually show them the true love God's given me to give to them. Reading what you said about how you handle it really helped me a lot, and I just wanna say thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi caroline, I hope this finds you. I was looking for an email address on this site..I ordered some books yesterday for your kids..They are being shipped to the back to back office. I called the office and they said that a team would bring them to I hope that they find you. I just wanted to send this message so you will be expecting them. Will order more soon.. Much love,