“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart.” Psalms 51:17
Driving through Port-au-Prince a few weeks ago with my dad and some of our team, I had a unexpected thought. We were listening to worship music, which I love to do as I travel around Haiti. It feels sacred to worship God surrounded by such beauty and struggle, my struggle included. This day the remade song, “It Is Well” by Bethel Music came on and my heart was having a hard time reconciling what I was seeing with a sense of wellness in my spirit. It just was NOT well with me. At that moment, as I watched children working the corners, hoping to score some goudes for cleaning windows, I wondered if all was well with them. It was a passing moment of conflict that kept bouncing around in my mind and heart for weeks. Little did I know I was about to be made aware of a brokenness in my spirit that I had been stuffing down and trying to quiet. The awareness came in 2 parts. Part 1. We were visiting some friends in the town of Morose, who many of you may remember. We were visiting with Naïca’s family.
In case you do not remember, they consist of a single momma, Sylvie, and her seven children. Happy Kids has been apart of their lives for a long time we were just checking in. When we arrived her youngest was being watched by Ynel, her six-year-old. Jackson, the youngest, just cried and cried and was not looking good. He has not had enough to eat in his 2 years and there is a very strong chance that he is HIV+ like his mamma and sister, Naïca. After a short while mamma Sylvie returned and when I saw her a dam broke in my spirit. The reality of her struggle hit my love for her and the collision caused a brokenness that is yet to heal. It is NOT well with my soul concerning Sylvie and her beautiful children. We stayed with her for a bit, delivered some food supplies from a friend, then we prayed as a group. My cries for her family spilled from my face and are still spilling today. It is an open hurt because the answers for her and her family are long-term and difficult. Part 2. One week after seeing Naïca’s family I attended a women’s missionaries retreat.
Over 1000 women living in more than 100 countries were going through the material and lessons during those days. The sessions addressed fear, its effect on us and how to process it with the Lord. After some broken moments with friends and a loving God, I realize that I was scared and trying desperately to numb my fear. My heart opened up in a different way as I was honest about my fears for my children and my fears about my inadequacy. Another Dam had broken and my tears would not stop coming.
The thing is, I had shut down. The fear I had felt and the suffering I constantly see caused me to place my heart on lockdown. I just was not processing all I was feeling and seeing. I was and I am broken about it. It is not well. Not right now. I am not OK with what I see. I am not OK with some of the prices my children pay. I’m not OK with my failures. Since the retreat I’ve been processing this brokenness. I’ve been fighting to keep my heart open and fighting to feel, fighting not to shut down. I’ve been reading the Psalms and it has been a source of great comfort. The Psalmists did not shut down or go numb. They laid their grief and struggle before the Lord. They reminded themselves of God’s faithfulness and his history of shepherding them through the really tough stuff.
As I considered this, my mind returned to the old hymn, “It is Well” by Horatio G. Spafford. If you do not know the history of this song, please look it up online. The author wrote it in a personal place of immense suffering. These words were not penned lightly. If you look at the chorus alone it can be deceiving, “It is well, with my soul.” The test of the song’s merit is not there. It is in the verses. “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.” God is present deep in the middle of my brokenness. It is well, does not mean we are not broken. He is TEACHING me to say, “It is well with my soul.” We may be shattered but God is in the midst of all of our broken-piece processing. Psalm 23 says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing…Even though I walk through the darkest valley…”. Take time to read the whole thing if you are finding yourself in a season of brokenness, as I am. Take it apart verse by verse and let the Holy Spirit speak to you. He is present in our brokenness, our dark valleys. Being broken before the Lord is a good thing. Broken over our sin like David in Psalm 51:17. Broken over the suffering we see. Broken when it’s hard to obey. I’m so grateful right now for this brokenness. I am processing with Jesus the pain of what I see. I am processing with my shepherd my fears for my children and the fear that I’m just not enough. I am being led beside quiet waters when I cannot possibly be or do enough. I am not numb right now. I am not shut down. My heart is open and my wounds are fresh. It hurts but my Shepherd is comforting me and because of HIM, I lack nothing.
May 7th marks our 1 year anniversary of living in Haiti. I love Haiti and am so grateful to live here. I am throughly content in Gods call and see what I am going through as a necessary part of staying for the long haul. Thank you for hearing my broken heart and I pray this meets you in an area of your brokenness. I pray that the presence of our shepherd gives you comfort.
Meetings with Family Social continue and Kris continues to be a part of these men’s lives. He sits at soccer games with them and gets to hold their babies and laughs at their hilarious humor. You know, they are friends. We fed the beautiful children at The Silars’ children’s home in Port au Prince. They ate every last bite. We delivered them handmade pillow from the children at Beulah UMC and school supplies from Kelly Burkholder, Inverness UMC. We received 6 goats purchased by my 7 year old niece, Emme Robertson, for the people who need them in Haiti. We will be delivering them over the next few weeks to needy families, providing income and food. We have many wonderful teams coming in the next few months and we are excited to serve with them. Honestly, we just love to show Haiti off! The most resilient, giving, hospitable people reside here and we want as many of you as can to see. If you have considered coming, please know God will use your obedience to make a difference. Assemble a team. Bring members from your family. Happy Kids will put your love to work!