Heart Breaking

Heart Breaking

*WARNING: This story discusses the September 11, 2001 attacks and death of a minor*

My whole life my heart broke for children. I was in 7th grade science class when the first plane hit the world trade center. My history teacher ran into the room shouting. A student in my class who happened to be the class clown stood up and shouted “ ooohhh we are under attack” mocking him. My fun loving pony tail wearing history teacher yelled with a pained look…  we are under attack! With a few other choice words we all grew silent. And for the rest of the period our eyes were glued to the TV. After science class we had lunch, and I saw my dad walking towards me [he was a minister in town and often worked in the schools. He came in that day to check on my mom and provide comfort to students and teachers] I vividly remember running to his open arms, crying as he held me. I don’t know why I was crying. It could be because I was scared. It could have been because on that small 27 inch Panasonic tv on the rolling cart- our class watched as the second plane crashed into the South Tower. It could have been because the news was live and unedited, and at 12 years old I watched in horror as men and women jumped to their deaths out of a 110 story skyscraper. Maybe I cried for humanity. My memory of that day and the weeks that followed are fuzzy. I vividly remember sitting on the couch watching the news in our playroom with tears streaming down my face as children made pleas to the public as they searched for their missing parents. Google has failed me and I cannot find the exact news coverage… but almost if it is burned in my mind, I remember the newscaster saying that those children would not have their parents tucking them into bed tonight. At the time I did not know what I was feeling was empathy. Putting myself into someone else's metaphorical shoes. And the pain was unbearable. I couldn’t even imagine being one of those children. I didn’t know them; I didn’t know their names or ages, but my heart was completely and utterly broken for them. 

As the years went by my heart continued to crack, as if it was made of glass. One might think that teaching is all fun and games, lesson planning and grading papers… but after just a few weeks I learned it was so much more. Throughout the years I have witnessed some of the true horrors that exist in the world. Abuse, cancer, disease, mental illness, suicide and death. My world changed when I attended a funeral for my student. One who I had walked the halls with on a particularly hard day. One who I sat next to, and worked with on a difficult assignment. One who I took pictures of on Halloween. Those cracks in my heart seemed to get larger and larger. 

Over the past few years I have truly been focusing on what God’s calling is on my life. For the longest time I believed that my only spiritual gift was teaching… I mean, that’s all I knew how to do right. Until I decided to take a spiritual gifts test…. Confused and surprised by the answers, I took another one, and another one, and another. It was like taking a pregnancy test… or a COVID test. Sometimes you just don’t believe the answer that is in front of you. After teaching for ten years one would think that my gift would be teaching… Nope… It was Mercy. 

I really didn’t understand it until I dug deeper. I found that mercy is what we express when we are led by God to be compassionate in our attitudes, words, and actions. It is more than feeling sympathy toward someone; it is love enacted. It is the truest form of empathy. Mercy desires to answer the immediate needs of others and alleviate suffering, loneliness, and grief. Mercy is the “I want to fix it” mentality. The “put me in coach”, It’s when Isaiah  wrote that he “heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” [Isaiah 6:8] Mercy addresses physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual crises with generous, self-sacrificial service. Mercy is a champion of the lowly, poor, exploited, and forgotten. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul shared that we serve a God who loves us and is rich in mercy and because of that mercy we are saved by his grace!  He said “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” [Ephesians 2:4-5). God wants us to be agents of Mercy. 

It didn’t all click until my husband came back from his first mission trip to Honduras, where he had the opportunity to serve at an orphanage. The stories he told and pictures he sent created even more cracks in my heart.

It all came into focus like a camera. As if God was telling me, “go now, and save my children”. Through prayer and meditation I realized that It doesn’t matter if it is in the classroom, or on the street. At the park, in church on a Wednesday night or in an orphanage in a third world country. There are so many children who need love, comfort, security, and hope. One of my favorite songs written by Hillsong came to mind. The words “Heal my heart and make it clean, open up my eyes to things unseen, show me how to love like you loved me. Break my heart for what breaks yours. Everything I am for your kingdom's cause.” As disciples of Jesus, We have been tasked on earth to watch over the poor, the sick, the lonely. We are called to minister to the hurting, the weak, and the abandoned. Jesus says in Matthew 25:40, that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.” The founder of Samaritan’s purse Bob Pierce wrote a famous quote in his bible after visiting with suffering Children on a Korean island- he wrote “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God”. And this is my new prayer. It’s incredibly painful, but I want my heart to break for what breaks the heart of God. I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I want to give, I want to serve. I want to truly love just as Jesus loves, even if it may be heartbreaking. 

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1 comment

Beautiful sweetheart 💖


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