My heart is broken / by Michelle Clarkson

The hardest part about my trip to Africa was leaving. The second hardest part was trying to blog about it.

There were countless times I tried to write about what I was experiencing and the ways in which God was moving, but most of the time, I was simply speechless. I don't have words to sum up this summer because it was not of this earth, and it definitely was not of me. I did nothing, it was all Jesus. My words do no justice to how God revealed His glory and love to me, or the ways in which He broke my heart and ripped it out of my chest so that He could give me His instead. There are no words that truly explain what it is like to spend every day holding the most precious children on your lap, and know they all have AIDS. I don't know how to explain what it feels like to love an 11-year-old boy more than you ever thought capable, and then find out that he died the day you left and you cannot be at his funeral. I cannot explain the way I felt when my sweet Thando stood up on his feet for the first time even though the doctors said he was paralyzed. There are no words for what it was like to be surrounded by the most joyful, beautiful people, and be constantly brought to my knees because they have nothing in the world, and yet know how to love Jesus so much more than I do.

I have no words for any part of this summer because it was all Jesus. There are still so many parts of it I am trying to process, and even more I am still trying to surrender to The Lord. One thing I've realized though is that it didn't take that much faith for me to go to Swaziland; I was just listening to God and following Him where I knew He was leading me. What took every ounce of faith and trust I have is being back back in America. Even though I only spent two months in Africa, coming back to this country has been one of the hardest things in my life. Somehow my home isn't my home anymore. I go to the grocery story and suddenly start weeping. I think about the people around me going to Disney World and want to yell. I go to the doctor and break out in hives because I am overwhelmed by the medicine and care we have here. There is not a single part of me that wants to be here and yet I know that just as much as me going to Swazi was part of God's plan, so was the fact that it would only be for the summer. As much as I would give anything to be back in Africa right now, He is not surprised that I am not. And God did not break my heart just so I could love His children when I was on a missions trip in a far away country. He broke it because He was making me like Him. His heart is broken for this world, every part of it. While I do not think that we should be overwhelmed to the point of breaking out in hives at the doctor's office, we should be overwhelmed. We should be weeping. We should be grieving. We should be praying every single day for God's Kingdom to come on this earth as it is in Heaven, because this world is so incredibly broken. How often do we forget what is happening not only around the world, but also in our own country because we are comfortable at home? There are children being beheaded, homes being blown up, innocent people being shot, countries at war, babies being sold... Yes we have hope, and yes Jesus has already won the victory and overcome this world, but He is also a God who weeps, and I am sure at some point, Jesus was overwhelmed. 

In Africa, I learned that God really is enough. I learned that we could have nothing and still have everything we need. I learned what it is like to truly pray without ceasing. I learned to love with all of my strength, might and soul. I learned to let my Abba carry me in His arms and know He was strong enough not to drop me. I learned that He didn't just send me there to be His hands and feet, but because He needed to bring me to my knees. And while I know I will go back, maybe even soon, I know He did not just teach me these things just for Swazi.

Adapting back to life in America is so much harder than I ever imagined, but it not because this isn't where I am supposed to be for now, it is because I am not called to be comfortable. we are called to be different, we are called to stand out, we are called to feel like we do not belong. No place on this earth should feel like home because we were created for heaven, not for New York, or Haiti, or Paris, or even Swaziland.