Hey all! It’s Stephanie.
Goodness gracious. Where do I begin? Well, I believe that this whole team has experienced some degree of extreme passion, enthusiasm, exhaustion, heartbreak, unwillingness, over-willingness, frustration, overwhelming joy and so, so much more (maybe in different orders, but you know). But more than all of that, I believe that this trip has been a major stepping stone for us and also just the beginning of an inexpressible learning experience because God never really does stop teaching us new things.
Throughout most of this trip many of us have worked at a pregnancy clinic for expectant mothers, hugged and kissed love-hungry orphans, given so much time to the local school, and have poured out our hearts to the beautiful kids in the street. There is so much that I could say about all of the miraculous things God has shown me so far, but I’d like to focus in on one thing that the Lord has shown me specifically. I believe with all of my soul that to love, to truly love is to be vulnerable. Here’s a little something that C.S Lewis said:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
I heard someone say one time that they, “regret giving their heart to so many people because they are now aching with conviction.” How could that possibly be a bad thing? After all, isn’t that why we all showed up here? Because of the same love burden? Why are we sometimes so protective over our hearts that we harden them to the point of bitterness and an unwillingness to sacrifice? Our God told us in Ezekiel 36:26 “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.” A heart of flesh. That’s what the Lord wants from us. A real, warm, messy, vulnerable heart. I’m not saying that we should go around carelessly forcing some creepy form of love on everybody, but that we should be completely willing to sacrifice our whole selves for Jesus, and the love that He called us into. I’m saying that we shouldn’t just stop loving Jesus’ kids because we’re scared we might get a little brokenhearted, or a little exhausted, or a bit dirty. I’m saying that we should be so excited, and so willing to consecrate ourselves for Jesus that all we can do is sacrifice, and all we can do is give, and all we can do is love wholeheartedly. We’re called to feed His sheep, whether that means we get a little dirty, or we get a bit tired, or we feel a little brokenhearted. That’s what sacrifice is supposed to feel like. We should be so utterly and entirely in love with Jesus that when we love someone else the depth is untraceable. So soak it in; the joy of sacrifice unexplainable. God is so good. To love, to truly love, is to be vulnerable.