Category Archives: Orphans

Love Through Me

there is plenty on this earth to suit our needs
but there will never ever be enough to satisfy our greed
weigh this heavy on me now until i can hardly breathe
love through me

i’ve never gone a day without a meal because i couldn’t afford it
stood on a corner and begged for pennies, holding out a sign
call me blessed, but it sure does feel pathetic,
when children ‘round the world are hungry nowso would i give up:
pillows and cable, clothing and candy,
if a boy could rest his tired bones?
would i lay down:
making all this money, just to have my milk and honey,
if my fellow man could get the chance to watch his children grow?

there is plenty on this earth to suit our needs
but there will never ever be enough to satisfy our greed
weigh this heavy on me now until i can hardly breathe
love through me

i feel in the right, self-justified giving coins away
but what about the time i consider mine not tomorrow but right now today?
clothe the naked; feed the hungry; welcome strangers
come on, get up and open your eyes

so would i give up:
pillows and cable, clothing and candy,
if a girl could have some more to eat?
would i lay down:
making all this money, just to have my milk and honey,
if my fellow man could get the chance to hear about the King?

there is plenty on this earth to suit our needs
but there will never ever be enough to satisfy our greed
weigh this heavy on me now until i can hardly breathe
love through me

help us see, our eyes are weak, help us please
love through me

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The above are song lyrics to Love Through Me by Jenny and Tyler
I’ve liked this song for a while now, but I think it especially fits the whole theme of what’s been rolling around in my head and heart since Sunday. Something inside me was just pretty much wrecked on Sunday during church when my pastor was talking about 14 million starving children in the horn of Africa and…. wait, WHAT? 14 MILLION?! I’ve heard astronomical numbers like that before in regards to death, poverty, hunger… in fact, I hear things like that daily. I see it on the BBC news feed on my Google home page. We hear those things all the time in text books and on the news. Somewhere along the way I guess I became numb to the reality of what that really is. What it really looks like. It literally felt like something was sitting on my chest when he said that. The last time I felt hurt in my heart comparable to this was when I was finally letting Africa and my experiences there sink in. Forget comparable, it was an identical feeling. The feeling that comes with being able to attach a name, a face, body weight, mannerisms, and a personality to ONE person out of the endless numbers who are being affected by something so devastating. It sucks. It sucks so, so, so freaking bad there aren’t words horrendous or extreme enough to express how much it sucks and how much it hurts my entire being. How I’m hunched over in a chair while tears flood out of my eyes, a string of snot hangs from my nose to my knees, my eyes are fluttering so quickly it feels like lightning is flashing. My body is heaving so hard that nothing external could make it cease. I know this is sounding extreme. I don’t feel this way often, but I know that when I do God is breaking down and regrowing something in me. I don’t think he’s asking me to sell all my worldly possessions and pop on a plane to Africa. Or anywhere else right now for that matter. But I think there are things he wants to position my heart for. There are things he wants me to be mindful of. For a purpose. I am called according to his purpose. It’s unmistakable that he created me to have emotions like this. To feel my heart crack when I think about baby Anita wandering the mountainside collecting grasshoppers to eat until her next carepoint meal. She can’t be more than 2 years old. And she’s a lucky one! So many in the world don’t even have a carepoint to go to. A loving gogo, a warm plate of ‘pap’, a shelter house to rest. And we have so much. We. Have. So. Much. There is plenty on this Earth to suit our needs….
To Be Continued. Maybe.
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Realizations

My name is Jenn and I am 21 years old.

I live in an apartment complex that advertises “Senior Discount” as a perk of living here.

I think they should advertise the fact that there are cockroaches that swarm the back lot every night and if they were larger we could say they were “guard animals.”

I used to stay up late and loved to go “out” and live a “glamorous” lifestyle.

Now my favorite part of the day is coming home to see my cat and taking my pants off.

I used to be really exciting, outgoing, and fun.

These days I’m pretty boring, and like to keep things low key.

Not long ago I thought I was moving to New York City to focus on myself and become a famous actress.

These days I find myself making the 30 minute drive almost daily to my hometown. I can’t seem to get away from it. Additionally, while I’m learning much about myself, I pray for a lifetime of humble service to others.

I used to have a lot of friends, and then I had no friends, and now I fall somewhere in between with a few great people I can almost always rely on.

I used to love big cities, nightlife,and crowds of people.

These days they overwhelm me and I enjoy weekend trips in the country.

I used to think I wouldn’t even get married until I was 30+ and would probably just marry a man for money.

Today is my 2.5 year dating anniversary with the love of my life and I can’t wait until we decide to make a life-long commitment to eachother.

I used to wake up hours early to shower, shave, exfoliate, apply full make up, and style my hair.

Sometimes I don’t remember when I last showered or washed my hair and consider it a “good day” when I don’t have to wear makeup!

I used to be in a really unhealthy dating relationship(s).

The boy I’m in love with does his best to love me like Jesus– with grace, forgiveness, and even gifts from the heart when I feel undeserving.

I used to love meat.

Now I’m a vegetarian.

I used to want to travel somewhere glamorous and romantic like France.

This past March I went to the Kingdom of Swaziland to serve HIV/AIDS orphans…. but I fell in love there too.

I used to think God was far off and distant.

Yesterday I saw myself dancing with Jesus in my mind’s eye.

I used to feel pretty alone even though I was surrounded by people and had lots of “friends.”

This summer I have been brought to tears by the community that surrounds me and the people who have invested in me.

I can’t wait for more realizations : )

Shoulda Seen It Comin’

Welp. I finally had a good Africa breakdown tonight, although I have an inkling that it won’t be the last. I guess it’s kind of expected when you spend, oh, a month avoiding talking to God about what you saw in a third-world country. Honestly, I could laugh at myself now for thinking maybe I could just carry on with my life and God would never get to me. Hardy har har.

Tonight at Joshua House, I was mid-worship in the song “Hosanna” uncomfortably keeping this nice little wall up between my heart and God, as I have been doing for the past month, when we came to the lyrics “Break my heart for what breaks Yours…” As soon as I sang them I felt my gut wrench and my breath caught in my throat. “Oh no,” I thought. Here it comes. For a moment I tried to close my eyes and hold it in. “I don’t have to ask, He’s already shown me and I can see it all vividly right now.” I quickly decided that in the past it’s been much worse (and probably very strange-looking for those around me) to fight God than to just let myself go. I didn’t have to think twice about those lyrics. I don’t have to ask because He’s already shown me. “I’ve seen what breaks His heart, I’ve held them in my arms.” A month ago He gave me a week-and-a-half-long insight into what breaks His heart in Nsoko, Swaziland.

Tears were streaming down my face as all of the first-hand images came flooding back into my mind. Pictures I’ve taken with my own two eyes of hundreds of children in Swaziland surfaced and each one crushed my heart a little bit more. I really felt like I couldn’t breathe. (Partially because there was snot literally hanging out of my nose like a string). I had to sit down because I was heaving so hard. {Praise God for extremely loud contemporary worship bands!}

I sat with my head lodged between my hands and the seat in front of me. I half-heartedly asked God to make it stop so I could stop crying and embarassing myself. But I knew that wasn’t what He really wanted. I couldn’t stop thinking about Tmbalithle and baby Anitah and Boss Lady and all the Muchos of Swaziland. My chest hurt so bad. My heart literally felt like it was being ripped in half. This is super awkward, but I was basically silent screaming. (My emotional sisters out there know what I’m talking about, right? Like when your heart literally hurts and you’re basically screaming but it’s silent? Someone please affirm me on this one haha) God was literally breaking my heart for what breaks His. Now I know God doesn’t give anyone more than they can’t handle, so it makes me wonder: If that moment felt excruciating for MY heart, I can’t even begin to fathom what God feels when His heart breaks for orphans… for His children.

“This isn’t how it’s supposed to be,” ran through my head. “This is not what God intended for His children.” It’s not their fault and He’s not punishing them. Quite the contrary. I’ve never witnessed so much of God’s love as I did in Swaziland. His love is abundant, but so is sin from The Fall. It’s because of sin that these children have broken homes, that there’s abuse, that they are neglected and go without food or shelter. Some people might ask why, if my God is so mighty and loving then, doesn’t He save these children? The answer is because He’s God. Because I don’t really have the answer and no one does except for Him. Because if God made everything perfect here on Earth it wouldn’t be Earth, it would be Heaven. If all was right in the world, we wouldn’t need God. We wouldn’t seek Him out in times of trouble or despair. We wouldn’t cling to Him and worship Him for his majesty. We’re on this Earth to glorify God and to worship Him. We’re also called to be His disciples and that means that it’s OUR job to take care of His children. God sustains them in more ways than we’ll ever know, but in no way does He owe anyone anything. WE owe Him everything and as His followers WE are called to take care of His children….

“You’re right, Jenn. I didn’t intend for Tmbalithle’s mother to be consumed by alcoholism and abandon her with extended family. I didn’t intend for her to grow up without a mother and a father and to run around half-dressed.”

“No, Jenn, it is not what I want for Anitah or the other orphans at Eskalene to wander the countryside with little-to-no supervision collecting grasshoppers to tide them over for the day until their next meal.”

“No, it is not my intent for children to grow up in a home where the father has abandoned them and their mother; for their father to travel far away for work, to take another wife, or to die because of AIDS.”

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I guess I’m beginning the “processing-process”. More to come.