I am a big believer in signs and wonders. I don't believe that heart rocks, heart clouds, heart-shaped potato chips just happen to cross my path (sometimes literally) for no reason. So when I turn my IPod on and hit shuffle as I leave on a trip, arrive from a trip, or when I am simply going through something...I see it as words and music being given to me for a special purpose...and I am compelled to listen. Repeatedly.
Today upon saying good-byes to Hilde as she headed home after our seven day vision trip in Haiti, I turned on my IPod and hit shuffle, and this was the first song to play I Stand Before Almighty God Alone. I posted a link to a YouTube video in case you want to take a listen. Consider yourself warned. In the best ways.
The words took me out...and then the line "...my heart is now exposed..." to which began the first of many post-Haiti meltdowns.
I hear you. Crystal. Clear.
There is so much to download and process from this third (unbelievably) trip (in less than a year) to Haiti...that I am overwhelmed simply by that small to do (downloading and processing and dealing with the aftershocks (aka re-entry)) that must be done...yet as I sit here tonight on my deck listening to the noises of the city, feeling the cool breeze, sipping a glass of wine, listening to this song on repeat-hitting shuffle again-then coming back to hear it again, wiping away tears, laughing at funny memories, and missing my Sis who I have been with in lock-step for the past eight days...I am struck...
It really is just me and him.
My God and I (as the old gospel hymn goes).
His love has never changed. He knows me. I yield my need to cast the blame or stone. I have given up, my heart is now exposed. All the rights I've called my own. Everything I have believed. All of my hope is with thee. There's mourning breaking on a hill. The quiet dawn with peace and still. My restless heart is now at home. (THOSE. Words.)
One of my friends re-posted a video I made of a little girl in Haiti and it struck me that they referenced Haiti as "my church"...and there is a lot of truth to that. Haiti is teaching me deeper and more profound lessons about Jesus than a church or pastor ever has (and that is not intended to insult some of the fantastic pastors I have had in my nearly 43 years), but the hard, difficult truth is that you cannot go to Haiti and then read your Bible and then interpret the scripture the same. Let me be clear. I cannot. Cannot. Will. Not.
I truly didn't believe God could/would allow my heart to be wrecked more, but he has. He. Has. I am clueless to what the lessons are...the changes that are coming (small or large)...the after shocks that I will endure, but I know this...I stand before almighty God...alone. Alone.
The past few years have been wrenching (in lots of ways). In some ways, a roller coaster that I neither was prepared, or wanted a ticket, for...*Sigh.* The day I flew to Haiti, another chapter of my old life closed...ever so softly, with no fan-fare, or thank you very much, or even a whimper. Nothing. Like an empty boat slipping off to sea...until the horizon absorbed it stem-to-stern. The timing was breathtaking. I told only Hilde..quietly...on the plane to Haiti, wept a little, and then I turned my eyes forward...knowing that God has me and my heart in his strong arms...and he knows the course, not I.
Day 5 of our trip, our bus finally (FINALLY!) pulls into Source de la Grace...the orphanage where Tacura lives. Fear washes over me like a wave crashing...suddenly aware that he might have forgotten me, be gone, etc. I take a deep breath. My heart is bursting for Hilde to meet this little child who has wrecked her sister's heart and turned all of her beliefs, thoughts, plans, etc. upside down. I hit the first step of the bus, look out to all of the beautiful children gathering to greet us (waiting to be hugged and loved on...if even for a little while), and I hear "Tacura!!" and look to see a boy I recognize pointing at me, it is Kaleb who I remember from my previous visits. Kaleb grabs my hand and pulls me off the bus and starts walking me towards the area where the boys rooms are...and I am staring at him in disbelief as he continues to say, "Tacura! Tacura!" as he points at me while also shouting it out as if he is calling out to Tacura to come to him. We get to the entrance of one of the buildings, and I look up/in, and there is Tacura walking towards the doorway. Our eyes meet, and I swear time went in slow motion, and he ran to me, arms wide open, huge grin on his face, and jumped into my arms. I proceeded to black out for a moment. Then started laughing and crying as Kaleb beamed at what he had brought together, and we are all three grinning like three cats full of canaries. And then...as if there was nothing that could ever touch my heart more, I look at Kaleb and asked the obvious question (and note that Kaleb knows some English), "How did you know? Why? What the what the (okay...not the last part)???"
Kaleb says without a single moment of hesitation, "He loves only you."
Insert here whatever you think my reaction external or internal was....I blacked out again.
Kaleb, Me & Tacura, March 2014
I may not be a woman who is loved in all of the traditional senses, a great love, children of my own, or a list of other deficiencies and labels this world (and too often the church) puts on women like me, but let me clear...there are children, and specifically a child, who I offered nothing but a big smile, arms to be wrapped up in, a journal to write and draw in, and ridiculously horrible Haitian Creole...and they, he, made/makes me feel loved, worthy, needed, and necessary.
A note/gift from Tacura to me, "Jesus loves you...Tacura, Ardo
(that is how he pronounces Heather), and Kaleb (his best friend).
Now...ugly (heaving) crying...
We are commanded to take care of the least of these, but let my life of late be a testimony...it is in taking care of the least of these that you gain your very LIFE.
I have given up, my heart is now exposed.
It took a small country, and an even smaller little boy, to teach my heart what no book or lecture or mentor or pastor had ever come close...my life is not about me, expectations put on me (sometimes by me), or worldly concerns or labels, everything is going to be okay, and someone out there really does needs me and loves me in a way that time and distance can NEVER change...and sometimes that someone comes in the body of an eight year old boy in Haiti.
My heart is exposed.
Pray for me. I sit here stronger yet more deeply shattered than I can find words for...missing so much...
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)