Last Wednesday I had “one of those days” in ministry. Let me explain what I mean by that because it wasn’t “one of those days” we sometimes have in our careers or “one of those days” that you sometimes have dealing with other people. By “one of those days” I mean it was one of those days that just broke my heart. Sometimes I find myself wondering how EVERY day doesn’t break my heart. I mean we live and serve amongst an incredible amount of need. Spiritual need, physical need, emotional need there is need everywhere. To be honest I praise Jesus that every day doesn’t break my heart because I am SUCH a sensitive person. I believe Jesus has given me that gift because He knows it would completely break me and I wouldn’t be able to continue to serve here if my heart was ripped apart every day.
But the other day just really got to me. We went out for our weekly prayer visits that we do with the group of prospective Celebrate Recovery leaders. We decided to visit 2 women who have been very involved with Celebrate Recovery because we know they have been struggling A LOT. During this visit we learned that one of the women who has been sick and unable to work ran out of gas to cook this week. When I asked her how is she cooking she replied “I’m not” and when I asked “How is your family eating?” she didn’t answer me at first and then mumbled something about eating cold food when they have been able to buy it. That’s when the cracks in my heart started….
Then we visited with her neighbor who recently rededicated her life to Jesus and we discussed the struggles she is having with her husband now that she is trying to follow the Lord. She shared about his drug and alcohol use, his mistreatment of her, and how she and the children are struggling to find food because he hardly gives them any money and even IF she could find work she can’t find someone to watch the kids. During this conversation I was holding her baby and trying to console him but he kept crying. After awhile she took him back and started to “feed” him meanwhile telling us that her other struggle is that she has stopped producing milk for the baby. And that’s when my heart split open because I realized that she wasn’t producing milk for her baby because she was so malnourished.
I managed to keep it together until I got back to our car and that’s when the tears came. I was broken by everything I had just witnessed. I was broken by the deep spiritual need I could see in the life of the husband. I was broken because his wife is struggling so much to follow the Lord but she is still young in her spiritual walk. I was broken by the fact that not only is the mother of this family not eating well but now the baby isn’t eating either. I was broken knowing that I was going to my home where I could cook a hot meal if I wanted but the one family wouldn’t even be able to heat up the food I had brought them that day. AND I was completely broken because I wanted nothing more than to go out that minute, buy them gas to cook with and buy them more food to eat and meet this immediate need but we had already been helping the one family a lot and Dylan had just told me the day before we need to be careful not to create dependence because we don’t want to hurt more than we help. He also told me that the money we set aside to help out others every month was not only gone but we had overspent this month so there wasn’t anything there to give.
I cried out to God and asked Him why?? Why are there so many struggles in the marriage now that the wife decided to follow you?? Why do I get to go home to a fridge with food in it and a stove that I know I will be able to use to cook when there are whole families and a precious little baby who aren’t eating?? Why was God not providing what they need and solving these problems?? Why don’t I have more I can give?? Why, why, WHY???!!!
During this time God reminded me that I have to trust His plan and His process. I have to seek His will for how He wants me to help and seek how I can help in the long run not JUST with the immediate needs. He reminded me that Dylan and I have been pouring a lot of our time and energy into the Celebrate Recovery program and we are seeing fruit from it and that through this process we can continue to help families find the spiritual health they need. He reminded me that I can continue to pray for the heart of this husband to be changed and for the healing of this marriage. He reminded me that there are people supporting families and the work we do here so that we can help this mother who doesn’t have gas to cook get back to her food selling business after her illness so that she will be able to sustain her family long term. AND He reminded me that I don’t have to do it alone.
So that is why I’m sharing this story with you. I ask that you would pray for these families and ALL of the families we serve here with a renewed dedication. I ask that you would pray for wisdom for us and the entire Servants team to know how we can best help people here without hurting them in the long run. And I ask if God is putting it in your heart to sponsor one of these at risk families that we serve that you would follow this link and invest in the lives of the people here.
After my “breakdown” I felt a little foolish for getting so upset. But then a missionary friend reminded me that one of our teachers from missions school told us “If you ever get to a point where the things you see while working in the mission field DON’T affect you to some degree then it’s time to go home.” Well, guess I’ll still be her for awhile 🙂