It was June 2007. 12 of us headed out for Nassau, Bahamas, to work with Mission Discovery. And trust me, this was not an "island getaway"! We knew going in that we were going to be working at a home for children (nice way of saying orphanage), but none of us knew how bad this was going to wreck our hearts and lives. You don't hardly ever knowingly plan on being wrecked! One of my very close friends almost had to be convinced not to try and smuggle one boy out with us. And I think she prayerfully and tearfully considered going back and getting him for months after we left. Even with all of the emotional attachment and love that spread through my heart like fire that week, my wall was still standing. God hadn't hit me hard enough yet. And then...we started toward home.
On the plane on the way back I knew I had the grueling work ahead of me of taking all the video I had shot - playing it back - and putting it together. If you've been on a mission trip you know this video - the one that you show so that everyone who went can feel good about what they did and everyone who didn't go can either a) feel bad they didn't go or at least b) feel good that they gave someone else $25 to help pay their way. I began going through the thousands (and I mean thousands) of songs on my iPod, trying to find just one song that would sum up or capture the heart of what we'd experienced - this painful marriage of happiness and horror. And then - never expecting it or seeing it coming - I found this song. This was the moment the wrecking began.
For years I have listened to the band Tonic. Most people say, "I don't know their music". Actually, you do. They're one of those bands that - as my friends Andy and Dee discovered this fall when we saw them in concert - wrote a bunch of songs you've heard but didn't know who was singing them. I scrolled past the song, "Take Me As I Am". Scrolled past it again. And again. And it was like someone started whispering the words of the song into my ear, reminding me of what was being said. The moment I hit play was the moment God finally turned to the guy operating the wrecking ball and said, "Let it fly, Larry!" (Larry might not have been his name, but I think it's a good name for a wrecking ball operator). I don't know Emerson Hart's story or even what he intended or meant when he wrote these words. But here's what the song says:
I never knew my Father, I never knew his pain
Or when an empty home life would break him down again
So when I feel like running I have to look inside
I want to find the answers, I want to break me line
Fear falls down like rain...and makes me whole again
Fear falls like rain
Take me as I am, I'm not broken
Pieces of my life are not tokens
I want to let you know I'm still learning
How to love again and stop hurting
It hit me like a tsunami and - at 30,000 feet in the air - ripped through my heart like a knife through water. These words were not something I knew - this was NOT my life. But for millions of children all over this world - in my world, my country, my time zone, my city even - there's a desperation and hunger inside that's crying out, "I want to love! I want to stop hurting! I want to BE loved! I want someone to save me and prove me wrong - prove to me that I'm worth saving!" And sure, like millions of others I've sat and looked at their faces on television...millions of miles away...far from my reality and just at a safe enough distance they I didn't have to let them in or even come to grips with the fact that they were actually real. But they are real. And my television can no longer sustain the illusion of the distance. There is no more distance! Can you get any closer than your heart? I guess before we answer that question we have to ask another one: Is your heart open to being reached? Are you even the slightest bit willing to be wrecked? Because sadly, many of us spend a great portion of our lives with trowel and mortar in hand, just waiting on God (or anyone for that matter) to try and start slamming away at our wall - waiting on God to even think about having the audacity to try and break us - so that we can patch up and repair any damage that our heart might incur. Are you breakable? Are you heart and soul? Or are you brick and wall?
Why am I writing about this? Many close to us know that the Lord has been whispering to me (and Morgan) about this for some time. Why did I need to share this today? I'm not sure. Maybe it's because the Lord keeps on wrecking me. And me writing this - and you reading this - is one more step toward the obedience Christ is calling me to when He says that He cares about the fatherless. They aren't ON His agenda - they ARE His agenda. The question is, will they be MY agenda?
Is He wrecking you, yet?