With a Hurting Heart

My heart hurts right now.

I’ve always had a tender spot for those who are broken and hurt, but since Eleanor was born my response to hurting children has exponentially grown. Today my students have been taking a final exam and I’ve allowed myself to get a little distracted while they worked. I’ve been browsing through some of the blogs I follow and have found the Lord is really poking at my heart in some specific ways.

Two things you should check out.

First off… This girl, Katie, left her life in Nashville a few years ago at the ripe old age of 19 (or something like that, maybe even younger) to move to Uganda and adopt children there. She’s a mom to anywhere from 10-14 kids at any given time (they often take in babies who need help short-term in addition to the ones she has legally adopted). It’s amazing how she’s given up dreams of a “normal” American life to go do this awesome thing. She doesn’t blog often, but when she does it’s thought-provoking. Her last entry is especially heart-breaking. And as I think of that malnourished three year old with “dogs licking her face, flies swarming her wounds… sitting in her own feces… unable to walk or even crawl as the dogs ate her food and the children of Masese threw stones and sneered”… oh, when I picture that little girl I don’t see a small black baby, but rather the image my mind conjures up is one of the tiny little white girl back at my own house… I see my own baby girl in those circumstances and it cuts me to the core. What if it was my Eleanor like that? What if my baby girl, the one I’ve loved and birthed and soothed and nursed… what if she had been born into that world?

Second… Through reading this entry on Beth Moore’s blog I was introduced to an amazing ministry in India. As Our Own is committed to rescuing girls born in the red light district of India – (from the blog:) Their ministry is committed to showing a little girl in India how much value she has in Christ. She is living in a very dark, unsafe brothel and her own mother is a slave to many men. Her mother is unable to care for her because she is not free to stop working. Her mother could sell her young daughter to the brothel and escape a living hell. But her mother wants freedom, protection and life for her child. Her mother is saying, “Help me by helping my daughter.” Check out the website and see what I mean. The stories (seriously, go read them) are heartbreaking but the ministry is amazing. And again my heart cries out: what if it had been my blue-eyed angel born in those circumstances with men leering at her and planning terrible sins committed against her? What if my girl grew up in a world where she didn’t know love or healthy attention because her mother couldn’t bear to show it even if she was able?

A few days ago I held Eleanor in my arms and kissed her sweet neck as we took the dog out for a walk. And I was struck in that moment that I won’t be the perfect mom… I won’t make the right decisions every time… she won’t always be happy… but she will be loved. And cared for. And never go hungry. And not all babies are born into the luxury those simple things describe. I squeezed her sweet little body tighter in my arms and prayed thanks to the Lord for giving her to me.

And I also pray that the Lord will give our family the heart and desire to reach out and provide a place of rescue to girls like those. In high school my youth pastor used to suggest that we pray that the things that break the Lord’s heart would also break our hearts. I don’t always grieve my own sin like I should, but when the innocent are trampled and taken advantage of, my heart crumbles. I hope we will have a home that is open to these children and that we will be willing to take on the financial, emotional, and physical  burdens of opening our arms wide to the broken. Lord, cast that vision before us and help us to love well in the meantime.

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