Since transitioning to my new home here in Busega, most aspects of my life are unfamiliar (very much welcomed, but unfamiliar nonetheless.) Subsequently, I have found a new appreciation for the collection of music in my iTunes playlists. I find myself listening to these songs for hours at a time—in the mornings, after school, and on the weekends. The familiar rhythms and faith-filled lyrics have spoken to me in ways they had never done before.
There have been many times lately that I struggle to put into words how I am feeling. As I am trying to sort through my emotions, a song will come on and perfectly detail the unspoken words of my heart. I know that it is not a coincidence. It is God, reassuring me that my feelings are real and that He understands them very well, even if I don’t.
Just this morning I was having one of those can’t-find-the-words moments. I was seated at the table for breakfast when I had an overwhelming burden rush over me. I was thinking of my babies at school and I could clearly see each of their faces. My heart was breaking for the pain they have endured and for the challenges they will face. I wanted nothing more than to simply hug them. I wanted to hold them so tightly and not let go until all their suffering had washed away. Their stories played in my mind and I tried to imagine what their hearts feel on a daily basis as these young people do their best to manage the anguish of abuse, neglect, and loneliness.
There is something about seeing a child in pain that can bring anyone to a place of desperation and prayer. The scars run deep and I can feel God beginning to permeate my own heart with the pain of my students. It is a humbling experience for me to endure, but I welcome it for the joy of the Lord.
As I sat there, searching for words and struggling to understand the emotions welling up inside me, God answered with a song.
“I want to give her the world, I want to hold her hand,I want to be her mom for as long as I can.
And I want to live every moment until that day comes
I want to show her what it means to be loved”
(Mark Schultz, what it means to be loved.)
Immediately I could feel the tears beginning to fall. Since moving here, I have done my best to fight back the tears. Today, I could not hold them back any longer. God had spoken to my heart and reminded me that He knows me and He knows the words of my heart even when I don’t.
For many of you, it may be hard to imagine me relating to these lyrics—after all, I am not a mother yet, right? Well, those who know me well, know that God has created me with a mother’s heart. I haven’t always known what that has meant or how it will eventually look, but for the moment, God has entrusted me with 13 of the sweetest children I know. Admittedly, I have not given birth to these children—what a testimony THAT would be! However, I cannot deny the fact that God has called me to this place for a reason. In doing so, He has delicately woven each of ‘my babies’ into my heart.
The emotion burdens and scars that these children have to endure are nothing short of traumatic. Each day I witness their pain and fears surfacing via tears, aggression, etc. I realize that I am unable to erase all of their hurt but I know that turning a blind eye as they scream out for relief and compassion is not an option.
For many of these children, their families see their deafness and automatically deem them worthless. They are considered a burden and not expected to succeed or contribute to society in a positive way. I thank God that He has shown me the truth about each of my babies—they have all been made in the image of God, for a purpose. As I look at them, I do not see children handicapped by their hearing loss. Instead, I see their potential. They have amazing spirits and I know that with God’s guidance, they will grow to do great things.
God has called me to love these babies regardless of how others see them. He has called me to see them through His eyes—it is a calling that I do not want to take lightly or for granted.
I want to know their hopes and their dreams. I want to wipe away their tears and prevent new ones from falling. I want to walk with them through the valleys and hold their hands as they ascend to the mountaintop. I never want to leave them to experience the pains of life and abandonment.
I want to show them the love of a mother—I want to show them what it means to be loved.
God has been working overtime with me lately. He has reassured me that my love for these babies is not enough to save them. Only Jesus can rescue them from their pain and offer them new life with Him. God has simply asked me to lead them to the source of life and He will do the rest. While part of me is relieved in knowing this, another part of me still wants to fight for them. Any mother would probably cringe at the thought of ‘letting go’ of her children. That is where I find myself today—having to let go of my babies and trust that God is working all things out. My job is not to provide their salvation, but allow Christ to work through me to show them what it really means to be loved.
Being able to trust in Jesus is an amazing blessing, but it doesn’t negate the fact that each tear that falls from their eyes makes a crashing sound in my heart. I know that Jesus sees my heart and He also sees the fragile hearts of my students. I ask that you continue to pray for each of my babies with me, for their salvation and the long overdue healing of their wounds. Pray also for me as I strive to be the light of Christ each and every day to these broken hearts and souls and offer them a type of love that covers pain and only comes from Jesus.