His heart wasn’t broken today…
It hit me, like a ton of bricks. His heart made by connecting two thumbs, and bridging his fingers together, looked back at me there on his bus.
I almost couldn’t believe it.
Some might say it’s a small thing, silly or insignificant. But to me, it’s monumental…
Something I’ll remember forever…
A sign that the pieces inside him are mending.
See, when he first arrived, he was like many; hurt and broken, desperate for attention.
But unlike adults, he didn’t mask his feelings. He hadn’t yet become an expert on putting on one face in public, and another in private.
He is a boy. Fully, 100% all that you witness. There was no facade or social norm that inches him to behave a certain way just for appearances….
And sometimes, that worked to his disadvantage….
Like when we had to leave McDonald’s, the store, or Jungle Playland because perceived threats made him want to slug someone in the eye…
And sometimes, that means being left with a fat lips, bruised arms, or spit running down my face, when defenses trump social acceptance, survival is more paramount that people’s approval.
So, that heart….that heart he made with his hands as he left on the bus this morning, was huge.
For weeks and weeks now, I would make a heart with my hands; at bedtime, before he would leave, just to show I cared…
Or when I looked at him and the Father’s heart just wanted burst out from inside me…
But his response? Two thumbs together, and his fingers fanned out, like a bird, in the opposite direction.
“What is that?” I would ask him.
“It’s my heart,” he would tell me.
At first, I was confused. I would look at my fully formed, perfectly whole heart, then look over at his discombobulated heart made with his hands…
Back and forth, back and forth, as if I was missing something…
“It’s BROKE,” He finally burst out one day.
“My heart is broke. I have a broken heart, that’s why mine looks different,” he went on to explain….
His heart wasn’t shaped right. And his fingers flayed to the outside, instead of being neatly tuck tight together, like mine.
It was an outward representation of what he was feeling, on the inside.
I held a straight face, but inside I died, standing there with this sick feeling, almost hearing the gonging as a wrecking ball seemed to crush me, internally.
But thankfully, he didn’t notice.
As weeks passed, I wouldn’t stop loving him. I didn’t let my fat lip, or his broken heart stop me from showing him with my hands, what a healed heart looks like.
Because sometimes the greatest remedy, the most positive gift you can give somebody, is to set an example of what true healing looks like.
If we all just kept walking around, talking about our broken-ness, waving our broken hearts around, in hopes that someone will hear us….how is anyone ever going to heal?
And isn’t our Savior the ultimate Healer? Us, just the vessels?
Isn’t it His touch, His heart, His way that completes us…
Not some affirmation from strangers, positive word or act of service, that will ultimately bring us to completion?
So, when I saw that heart this morning; full, complete, whole, leaving on the bus….my spirit soared, long before my mind actually understood how significant it was.
The bus had been late. So, we sat together on our country bench, on our porch, rocking back and forth, waiting to see glimpses of that yellow bus, turning into our driveway.
But it didn’t come. So, this little boy tucked his head inside the nest of my arm, like a baby chick does to its Mama…
And we waited. Because time truly is the healer.
Him quiet, still, there beside me. Me praying under my breath, for wisdom.
Him waiting to gauge what I would teach him, there on our country porch, surrounded by the wind reminding us of His creation.
So, I tell him the story of how he came. How we asked and pleaded for him…
But it wasn’t until our ten-year-old told us, “We can’t just leave him. I will give up my room. We have to let him come.”
That’s when I knew sacrificial love was more important than our own comfort, that Jesus going to the cross was an example of how He wants us to live…
His story was not just some “message”, or “nice tale”, that makes us feel good….or one we read about for our own entertainment….
If we are going to love like Jesus, no, truly love in a way that will call the nations, let real light shine into darkness….we are going to have to sacrifice.
I knew this intellectually…
But each time I died, my flesh questioned and longed for some prosperity gospel, where all we do is “get”, and we never have to lay down anything…
Including our pride.
So, we said “yes”.
And he came.
Walking in, sitting on my lap, then falling asleep…
Because sometimes pain is too rich, hurt lies so deep, there aren’t any words that can comfort us…
Sometimes, just the sitting, and quiet, and the tranquility of safety is louder than any preaching, it’s the gospel message felt without words…
And sometimes our arms reaching, can simply be enough.
Then, on that rocking bench on our front porch, in the wind, while waiting for the bus to come…..I sang.
I told him how when I first met him, he had asked me to sing, “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down in my heart.”
That first time, I held him in my arms, and sang that song over him, over and over again…
“Joy”, a request straight from God. Because I knew, Joy was the very last thing he was experiencing.
But, what he didn’t know was how I learned that song when I was his age….
And how I had just returned from my 3rd trip to China, and sung that same exact song there; in hospitals, at homes, in orphanages, and everywhere we went…
And out of all the songs in all the world, it was THAT very same song…the one we had just sung on the other side of the earth…he had requested.
And I love how God whispers. We don’t have a God who shouts at us. He speaks, and nudges, and asks…will we see His hand, leave our way and go down His path?
Will we trust Him enough to go where He is calling…Even when it doesn’t make sense, even when he doesn’t wake us in the night with His audible speaking…
And we have every reason to want comfort over obedience? Yet, will we follow the crumbs He lays for us….and step forward out of faith, trusting His goodness?
So, I sang again on that bench on our front porch. I sang of the wind blowing, bow breaking. A song I realize isn’t that great, about baby’s falling and rock a bye-ing.
Still, he clung to each note, as if his life depended on it.
Then, I don’t know what it was, but when he left on the bus this morning, His heart wasn’t wings and two thumbs touching….
His heart was whole. Perfectly formed.
One. Complete. Whole. Looking back at me from his front row seat on that little yellow bus.
This story of his entry, and him coming, the song, his cuddling…all of it, proves to me, once again, of His promise…
There is hope for anyone, healing for even the most forgotten in our society.
And I thank you, those reading this, each one who
works behind the scenes, daily fighting battles for the children around the world.
Together, let’s keep the faith, knowing pieces can be put back together. God is big enough to redeem others from even the toughest of circumstances.
And to those curious about stepping out to care for little ones, feeling that nudge to walk in faith, wanting to help these modern day orphans….
Pray. Seek His face. And He will give you wisdom.
But, know there will be some leaping, some big steps along the way, too.
This article was ready to post. Already it is longer than any other I have ever written. Yet, I had to add this…
After writing this post, I just so happened to open our little guys book bag from school today. My heart stops. I see it….
A literal, paper heart, so big, painted sweetly; red and pinks, and lavenders, designed
It is his heart. Whole. Perfect. Not black and dark, or ripped, or crumbled, lying lifeless on the bottom of his book bag….
But, beautiful. Lain thoughtfully as if a promise of things to come.
I place it with tape on the front of my refrigerator. Because God’s redemption is always something worth displaying for the world to see.
And yes, it is now I truly know…Even the most broken-hearted, regardless of where they have been or what they have seen…With God’s help…
Can be put back together again.
I have a paper heart, taped to my refrigerator, to prove it.
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