Last week, our friend, Jessica, sent Ken and me shirts in honor of our adoption. (She is preparing to sell the shirts to support famine relief in Africa, so make sure to check out her blog!) As a pre-adoptive mother herself, she understands what it’s like to have a piece of her heart halfway around the world.
I feel the exact same way.
I feel like a piece of my heart is in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In an orphanage in Kinshasa. With two preschoolers who have no idea that we exist.
My heart has been in a lot of places in the last year. With a 14 year old girl. With a 13 year old boy. With an 8 year old girl. With infant twins. With a 3 year old and 6 year old in Kinshasa.
And now with two other children in the Congo, whose official referral we’ve just received. A 3 and 4 year old sibling pair.
To be honest, my heart is weary from travelling. We’ve hoped, dreamed, and prayed for many specific children over the last year. We’ve prayed for God’s leading, been obedient to His call, and yet we have known deep and dark disappointment. We’ve opened our hearts so many times, only to see those whom we loved slip between our fingers. We’ve loved and lost too many times.
If this was our plan, I don’t think we could continue.
But it’s not our plan. It’s God’s plan.
It’s a plan that God whispered to me when I was a little girl.
It’s the plan that I prayed over for nearly three years before God answered.
It’s the plan that He was in the midst of when I felt like my world was falling apart.
It’s a plan that God confirmed when two young ladies handed me a “Bag of Grace.”
It’s a plan that God reconfirmed when the rain began to fall. And yes, we still need more rain.
And so my heart is in Africa, not for my sake, but for His. The Word speaks repeatedly about caring for widows and the fatherless, and I cannot help but surmise that His heart is captured by their needs. I believe that God’s heart breaks for every hungry belly, and over every orphan who will fall asleep tonight without a mother’s kiss or a father’s embrace. His heart breaks for every child who has cried in desperation to not be abandoned alone, with only their name and their fear to call their own. And the two children whose faces are on our referral form? Yes, His heart breaks for them too.
If I truly desire to be like Christ, and if the suffering people and places of the world break His heart, should I not desire to share in that very brokenness? Bob Pierce, founder of Samaritan’s Purse, once said simply, “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”
As much as I want to shy away from further grief, if a broken heart is what will carry me closer to His plan, then that is precisely the condition in which my heart should be. And though my heart is tired, He promises renewal in Ezekiel 36:26 NIV when God tells His people, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” And that new fleshy heart may need to be broken all over again.
So a piece of my heart is in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In an orphanage in Kinshasa. With two preschoolers who have no idea that we exist. And that’s exactly where I want it to be.