Saturday, October 16, 2010

Journey of my heart

“Then I said to you, ‘Do not be terrified; do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as He did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a Father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.’” Deuteronomy 1:29-31

The Lord spoke this verse to me this week. It has special significance to me because over two and a half years ago He spoke a similar verse to me from Deuteronomy as He began to take me on a journey of healing…”Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” With the speaking of those words, the Lord began to reclaim and restore my heart. My heart had been so wounded… hardened on the outside and dying on the inside. In a way that only the Lord can, He began a work in my heart that is impossible for me to even attempt to put into words. He took my pain and my hurt upon Himself and in exchange gave me life and hope…and in the process, I experienced the tender loving hands of the Father that my heart had been so desperately dying apart from. Over the last couple of months, I have sensed a deeper place of healing that the Lord desires for my heart. I have known that my heart wasn’t completely whole because the hopelessness and despair that once threatened to drown me still lurks on the distant horizon. I have known it wasn’t completely whole because I am aware that I still have carefully constructed defense mechanisms that protect it from anyone getting too close. If pain or fear threatens, my heart can throw up a fortress and take me to a place that is completely void of any emotion. While those walls are great for protecting my heart from hurt, they also protect my heart from receiving the full expression of love that I know Christ desires to give me . Honestly, I am tired of living with walls. I desire real, true intimacy. I desire pure, perfected love. I desire deep, life-giving connection. So once again, I have found myself at a place where I desire to go deeper…a place that I know in my own strength and power I have no way to get to…a place that I must rely solely on Jesus to do a work in my heart that I cannot do on my own.

Hence the sweet reassurance of the above verse…the very same God who went before me then…the same God that fought to remove the shackles that had me entangled…the same God that carried me from a place of captivity and delivered me into this spacious place that I now stand…yet once again promises that He goes before me and it is He that is carrying me and it is only He that brings deeper healing …and once again I stand in awe of the faithfulness and lovingkindness of my Father.

Much of this trip for me I know has been about the journey of my heart. I don’t like messy. I like tidy, compartmentalized, controlled. To be completely honest, my heart right now feels like an absolute mess. I realize that in the deepest part of my heart I am scared to trust, scared to hope…I am fearful to let go of my sense of control because I don’t like to feel pain. But I also realize that the place that I know the Lord desires to take me and also the place that my heart so desperately longs for must be free of fear.

So here I am Lord. The closer You draw me to You, the clearer I see the brokenness all around me and the more pain my heart feels. Somehow I know that it is what You are using to show me that it is okay to trust and it is okay to hurt. Honestly though, sometimes it overwhelms me to the point that I just want to come Home and be with You. It makes me long for the day when there will be no more hurt. I don’t want to see people suffer. I don’t want to see this much death, destruction and poverty. I don’t want to see innocent children being abused, abandoned and neglected. But here I am nonetheless. I know that You are sovereign and Your plan is perfect, so I know that I am exactly where You desire for me to be. I ask Father that You help me. I desire to experience the full manifestation of the love and hope that only You can offer. I want to embrace Your freedom and love and mercy with reckless abandon. So I plead to You to use this brokenness that You have opened my eyes to, to help me better understand just how deep and pure Your love really is and then to create inside of me a deep passion to share that love and hope to this lost and broken world…so that one day when I do see You face to face I can say that I freely gave away what You so freely gave to me…that I did everything with the abiltiy that You entrusted to me to in some way help ease this pain…that through my hands Your love touched this awful brokenness…and through my love Your love would be magnified…because only You Lord can save…only You Lord can heal…only You Lord can offer hope. Thank you Jesus that Hope is always alive because of You.

Thank you Jesus…thank You that You made a way for us to get back home to our Father…where one day this heart of mine will be fully whole, because it will finally be Home.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Beginning of the girls shelter

So here it is...the very beginning of the soon to be home for little girls!We have spent a good part of this week doing work in preparation for the first girls that God has planned to bring to this ministry.

Building bunk beds and painting...

Writing scriptures on the walls and covering this place in prayer...

And my very favorite thing about this house...the front cool that the Lord already had this house prepared for these girls before anyone even knew it...a visual reminder that THE LORD ALMIGHTY, THE LION OF JUDAH Himself guards this place and will guard and defend these children...
"O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago."
Isaiah 25:1

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The power of a story...Michelle Corley

To make a long but very cool story short, I met Michelle back in June while on vacation. The sovereignty of God always blows me He can be over and in all things yet still so intimately involved in every minute detail of our lives. I came to Honduras this week with Michelle and her husband Pat and a team of 11 other people to begin work on the start of a girls shelter. I wanted to share a little bit of her story with you...

Michelle was sexually abused by her father from the time she was 4 years old until she ran away from home at the age of 17. She used drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy relationships as a way to cope with the pain of her abuse. She eventually ended up opening a hair salon and through her clients God began drawing her unto Himself. One of her clients was a man by the name of Forrest Jones. Forrest and his wife began to develop a relationship with Michelle and would speak of their faith but never pushed it upon her. Michelle says that as their relationship deepened she would drop parts of her story on them little by little to see how they would respond. Their encouragement and presence in her life eventually helped to lead Michelle to the Lord. God then took Michelle on a journey of healing and began to bring restoration to her. She and her husband Pat came on a mission trip with Forgotten Children's Ministries back in 2007. Michelle says that FCM appealed to her because they only worked with boys. Even after finding healing and hope in the Lord she was never able to be around little girls because she would have such violent triggers of her own abuse. Because of the severity of the abuse she suffered she was never able to have her own children. She immediately fell in love with the little boys of Honduras and for the last couple of years has come back trip after trip and considers these children the children that she was never able to have. One day she met a little girl in the streets and says that before she even thought about what she was doing she picked her up and in that moment realized that her flashbacks were gone. God had replaced her pain with an intense passion to help rescue the little girls that were facing the same type of abuse that she had endured as a child...and thus the start of the first girls home with FCM. Beauty from ashes...God taking what was intended to harm and bringing good from it...and then using it to bring redemption to others...there is no one like our God.

And remember Forrest and his wife...well, they actually officially adopted her 30's :)...and guess what...I have had the privilege of meeting this sweet man because he is on this trip! Once again I have had the sweet blessing of seeing how the Lord can knit hearts together like no other. I have seen this man tear up time after time as he speaks of his daughter Michelle and the work God is calling her to do with the little girls of Honduras. This is Michelle with her dad...affectionately known as Jonesy...
"My whole being will exclaim, "Who is like you, O LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them." Psalm 35:10

"O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you." Psalm89:8

Monday, October 11, 2010

Face of the fatherless...Rossell

Forgotten Children's Ministries is a non-profit based in the United States that for the past 8 years has been rescuing children from the streets of Honduras. They currently have two boys shelters. Noah's Ark Shelter is located in the city and houses the younger boys up to around age 12 and also includes a transition house that holds the older boys that desire to go to college once they graduate from high school. Grace Farm is located outside of the city and houses the boys over the age of 12 that are in high school or either some type of technical school.

This is Rossell. He is 22 years old and is currently living in the transition house. He has lived at the ministry since its very beginning. His mother died, and he was left to fend for himself on the street. He was picked up by the ministry and has lived here since he was 14 years old. Rossell is in his second year of college and is studying to be a computer programmer. He is also taking English classes for which I was beyond happy to find out because I could communicate with him. When I asked him a little bit about living here he told me that he knew God had given him this opportunity and he wanted to make the most of it.

This is Rossell and Cindy.....
Cindy is Rossell's sponsor. She was in one of the very first mission groups that came at the beginning of Forgotten Children's Ministries start and met Rossell when he was only 14. Needless to say she fell in love with him and now comes back at least once a year to spend time with him and the other boys of the ministry. The Lord gave me the sweetest blessing while talking to Rossell today. Cindy walked by and asked if I'd take their picture together and as I started to snap the photo I joked 'act like you love each other!' To which he replied 'I do love her' and then he reached out and held her hand in his. In that moment the Lord allowed me to glimpse something was a deep love between two people...two people that don't even live in the same country...and that barely speak the same language...but this lady 8 years ago on a trip just like the one I am on met a little boy ...a little boy suddenly left with no mother or no family...a little boy left to beg on the streets...a little boy that the Lord rescued from the streets...and she was moved to do something and her life was forever changed...and in the process so was his...only the Lord can knit two hearts together like that.

Needless to say I started to cry at the pure sweetness of the moment...and then this sweet boy... who is now a man... reached out to comfort me...and in that moment I gained a new brother. God is so good and so faithful.
If you are interested in sponsorship you may visit FCM's website at The thing I love,love, love about this ministry is that they encourage relationship building and you actually have the opportunity to visit and form a relationship with the child you sponsor.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Face of the fatherless...Oscar

Yesterday I arrived in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Today I visited their government welfare agency which is called INHFA and was able to spend some time in their orphanage. Heartbreaking. Devastating. Gut-wrenching. This little guy on the far right is Oscar. He is around 14 months old. When my friend picked his almost lifeless little body up from the crib he immediately responded to just her touch. His little arms hung limply from his sides but within a few minutes he was smiling and laughing. Any attempt made to put him back in his crib and those little limp arms turned into forceful grips refusing to let go. The time came when we had to return all the children to their cribs and in every room cries resounded off the walls. One of the older babies just said the word mama over and over. The harsh reality is that she has no mother to comfort her. I could handle the cries but what transpired between this little guy and myself was the most unbearable thing I have ever experienced. He reached out his little hands in a desperate attempt to not be separated. I tried to comfort him and gently whispered to him to hang on and keep on fighting. I have never seen the look of desperation and hopelessness and despondency in a baby so very small. As I had to turn my back on him and walk away my heart broke into a million pieces which I'm sure in no way remotely compares to the heartache he must have experienced over being left alone again. I hate this. It is not fair. It is not just. It is terrible. It is awful. It is painful. It is intolerable. It enrages me. It grieves me.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Laid Bare

Four constricted walls. Low ceiling. Cold hard floor. Breath threatens to escape me. I am laid bare. I fight against this place. I do not like it. I have been here before. It is lonely. Nothing to distract. Nothing to hide behind. Only me and Jesus. No other visitors allowed. My eyes fully opened to my helplessness. Pain. Anger. Hurt. Brokenness. I want to run but there is no way out. I curl up in the corner and try to dissolve into nothingness. I cannot do this. It is too hard. Too painful. Too confusing. Too exhausting. HE says "You cannot, but I can and you must allow Me." I am afraid. I feel so weak. Failure. Despondency. "Look at Me" HE says. "Fix your eyes on Me" HE insists. I am fearful, but I look into those eyes and I see Hope. So I trust. Healing. Freedom. Joy. Rest. I experience Love. Grace. Mercy. Hope like never before. I become thankful for that place and walk out of it changed. My heart bursts with gratitude.

And now HE says I must go back to that place again. There is more that must be done there. Oh Jesus, I thought I would never have to go back there. Oh Jesus, that place is painful. I want wholeness without having to look at the brokenness. I want joy without experiencing that magnitude of pain. I want strength without having to know weakness. I want hope without having to experience despair. And then I remember. I remember...You knew death so that I might know life. Oh Jesus, if only I might rejoice in the brokenness. Rejoice in the pain. Rejoice in the weakness. Rejoice in the despair. For through it I experience the richness of Your wholeness, the fullness of Your joy, the power of Your strength, and Hope beyond all hope. Father, thank You. The richness of the love I now know would not have been possible apart from that place. It is in that place that I get to meet You face to face.

New determination. Strength. Resolve. Hope anew. Oh Jesus, I trust You. I will go there. Only because I know You are there. Only because I know that whatever You desire to show me there is worth the cost. Only because I know a deeper walk with You is found in this place. So here I am again. Laid bare in this desolate yet strangely hopeful place. Gracious, compassionate Father, thank You for loving me enough to bring me here. This place is where You create beauty from my wretched ashes. Have Your perfect way Father.