Monday, September 19, 2011

My Haiti Heart

Three weeks ago I was blessed with the opportunity to go on a Mission trip to Haiti to visit and help set up a new orphanage with 6 other members of my church. I have a heart for orphans, but even more so I have a heart for moms. I wanted to love on these children in a way their mommies were not able to anymore. I couldn't imagine the desperation I would feel knowing my child would be left all alone in this world, and I wanted to bring the love and comfort to these children that their parents could not.

I have no doubt that I was called by God to go on this trip, or else there is no way I would have been able to even think about leaving a 12 month old baby behind. Don't get me wrong, I knew I would miss my 4 year olds like crazy, but they knew when Mom was coming back, they knew where I was going, and they knew what I was doing. They had a letter every night to read that I wrote for them. Henry had no idea what was going on; only that Mom was here one minute, and gone the next, and the next, and the next. I prayed that God would send down angels to surround him with peace and love while I was gone. The Wednesday night before I left, our pastor taught during bible study on spiritual warfare, and how there are angels everywhere, and that God is a supernatural God and can call angels down to surround and protect us. Talk about confirmation to my prayers.

Another reason I knew God was calling me on this trip was that He put it together in a very short amount of time for me. Just a little over a month before the trip, a sister-friend from church called and made a proposition; if she could get enough businesses to sponsor the cost of the trip for both of us, would I be willing to go? I said of course, but I didn't think she would get enough money for us both, we had to have our final answer by that evening so we could get the plane tickets. I was babysitting a house full of kids and didn't have time to meditate and pray about the trip so I simply said "God, if I'm supposed to go, then you will get the money together and I will go." Less than 6 hours later God had all the money in order, and even childcare lined up for all 5 days I would be gone. It took another 6 hours to convince my husband that this was a good idea and by the next morning my ticket was booked. I have no doubt God put it together so quickly for two reasons: 1 . Only God could get it done in a day. 2. I had no time to talk myself out of it. I heard God say "Go!" and I quickly answered "Yes!" before my brain could come up with the LONG list of reasons why I shouldn't.

I spent the next few weeks wondering what I had gotten myself into. One day I was particularly worried and anxious about the trip and I clearly felt God speaking over and over to me for about half an hour: "I have ordained this trip and I will keep you safe." Nothing like the peace of God to wash away your doubts. From that point on I felt a sense of calm about the trip. I knew I was suppose to be going, and I knew that it would somehow make me a better mother for going. I had no idea how, and I knew I wouldn't until it was all over. I just knew I was doing what God had called me to do. I was reminded of the Bible verse "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying; "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said "Here am I Lord, send me!" Isiah 6:8. What an awesome experience it is to clearly hear God's direction and follow it. I pray I hear him that clearly in everything, big and small.

The trip itself was very surreal. As we were driving, or should I say buzzing through the street of Haiti going 50mph driving on the back of a truck, I looked at my friend and said "I should probably be a little scared right now, but this whole trip just seems so surreal that I don't even have any fear here." And that's who it felt all weak, surreal. You can't even imagine the destitution and despair these people are living in, it's heartbreaking. The children in the orphanage actually have it better than most of the other children living in the tent cities since the earthquake. They get food, a bed, clothes, and clean water at least. You can feel the hopelessness all around you. I have never in my life struggled with hopelessness the way I did in Haiti. I had to pray hard that week for God to restore my Hope for that country, but more importantly to restore the Haitians hope in their own country. I'm still struggling with the questions of why God chose me to live here and those people to live there. I know I will never get an answer to that question this side of Heaven, but I do know that I intend to never waste a day or an opportunity.

The first day of our trip I was overcome with a sense of worry. I told our group that night that I had come on this trip because I felt that it would somehow make me a better mother. I now feared it would do the exact opposite. I was afraid I would go back and be angry with my kids every time they threw a fit because they were being so spoiled and selfish. They had no idea how blessed they were and yet they grumbled and complained. Our leader, Rhonda, confirmed those were very normal feelings, and yes we probably would go back feeling like we were surrounded by selfish people in a selfish world, and might feel a sense of anger towards others for it. Uh-oh, Lord, why again did you send me here?

That question was immediately answered the next day when I witnessed 2 mothers at the orphanage deciding to sign over their rights to their babies. They couldn't properly care for them and they knew their best hope was to be adopted out from the orphanage. Oh my heart just broke for those mamas. I was consumed with thankfulness that I was able to take care of my babies as I watched the sadness in their faces. God did a complete 360 on my heart at that moment. I was taken back to memeories from when my triplets were infants and I was in an anxiety attack-sleep deprived state, sitting in front of these three crying babies and saying "Lord! This isn't fair! This isn't fair to me and it's not fair to them!"I couldn't enjoy this the way a new mom was supposed to enjoy her newborn, and they weren't getting the attention and time a newborn deserves. And I never even had a choice in the matter, it was like: BAM! Welcome to Motherhood! I hung onto those 'it's not fair feelings' even as they grew older. I joked that when the boys came into the world I felt overwhelmed and I hadn't stopped feeling overwhelmed since. But Praise God, I left that heart in Haiti, and I left with a new heart. I felt overwhelmed all right, but overwhelmed with thankfulness. Although my husband and I struggle to make our ends-meet every month, we are able to provide a safe home for our children, food in their bellies, clean clothes, school, a bath every night, toys, books, games, I could go on and on. But most importantly we get to be their parents. I get to take care of them. I get to love on them, teach them, snuggle with them. I get to do their laundry, I get to cook & clean for them. God showed me what a true blessing it is to simply have the ability to be able to take care of my family. And that is why God sent me ot Haiti, I pray I never, ever forget the lesson he taught me on that Mission Trip. I went there thinking I would minister to others and left being ministered to.

Lord,
Thank you for the opportunity to go visit your children in Haiti. I pray that you fill them with your hope and peace and love. That country needs you and I pray that whole country will turn to you for direction, guidance, and hope. Father, I thank you for opening my eyes to the blessings you have given me. I thank you for my Haiti-heart, a heart of thankfulness and joy. When I start to feel overwhelmed, grumpy, tired, or frustrated in my role as mother, remind me of the blessing you have given me. Let me never waste a day here in this life you assigned me. May each day be filled with thankfulness and Joy and an eagerness to seek you, hear you, serve you and fulfill the purpose you have for me.
In Jesus Name,
Amen