Monday, March 18, 2013

Learning to Listen

This blog has been quiet because I have been busy doing real life stuff like educating my children, serving in my church and trying to keep the laundry done.  (Why is it so hard to manage inanimate clothing?!).  I have also been lazy. Lazy, in that Pinterest and Facebook call my name and pull me in and before I know it I have spent all my screen time looking at pictures of fancy homes and DIY projects that I will never do.

One of the best things I do with my Internet is follow Ann Voskamp's blog A Holy Experience.  You have seen her words in my posts often.  She has a great way of arranging words so they poke at my soul. Ann and her family have been in Haiti. I have been following her adventures through her blog posts because a mission trip to Haiti has been on my mind since 2010.

I have two good friends who were in Haiti on a mission trip when the earthquake hit. Since then I have been blessed to be on the fringes of an amazing transformation that has taken place in them.  One friend now works for a mission organization that serves in Haiti. She raised funds to build a boys' orphanage and now heads up child sponsorship.  She has been an inspiration and has encouraged many, many people to help Haiti. 

She also keeps asking me when I am coming to Haiti.  I keep putting her off with excuses about schedules and  family obligations. The truth is I am scared to go.  Scared that like Ann and my friend a trip to Haiti will change me. Change me in ways I that I can't prepare for. I'm a planner who likes control. Ironically, so is my friend. She stepped out of her comfort zone and right before she left in 2010 she said, "It's a mission trip, what could go wrong?"

Earthquakes happen whether you are ready or not. I am not sure my soul is ready for an earthquake. Since moving two years ago it has been in a pretty fragile state. One big quake and it just might fall apart. 

The other reason I am scared is that I am crier. I cry when I read Ann Voskamp's blog about Haiti.  I cry when people share their stories about Haiti. I cry when I get the newsletter from the mission organization updating me on all the work they are doing. I cry when I just think of my friend and her story.

What if all I can manage to do in Haiti is cry? 

A broken-hearted crier. What use is a broken-hearted crier?

Then I read this:
"Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you.
If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there; if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath.
Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.
He's your bodyguard, shielding every bone; not even a finger gets broken." Psalm 34:17-20

And this:
"I do know that unless the emotive center of our lives is touched, it is if a fuse remains unlit. Tears are a sign - not an infallible sign, to be sure, but a sign nevertheless-that God has touched this center. Through the Prayer of Tears we give God permission to show us our sinfulness and the sinfulness of the world at an emotional level. As best I can discern, tears are God's way of helping us descend the mind into the heart and there bow in perpetual adoration and worship." Richard Foster Prayer: Finding a Heart's True Home

And finally from Jesus Himself:
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule." Matthew 5

Even though I know God has a habit of using broken-hearted people I still wonder if that includes me. So, I listen and wait and listen some more to hear His voice saying go. Hoping that through listening I will find the courage to take the first step.


  1. Oh, Jill! So much of this resonated with me! I, too, am waiting to go to Haiti. I, too, am a crier. I cry when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm tired, but mostly when I'm "touched." When someone else's world collides with mine it's my go-to response. I've gotten used to it. I cry in church when something Chris says affects me. Sometimes it's annoying, but often it brings me humility and deep connections that never might have occurred if I hadn't allowed myself to be affected in public. To me the tears are like little angel messages. I'm sure that when I go to Haiti I'll cry in sadness and in joy and everything in between. God has created in me this tendancy and I consider it a kind of gift. Not everyone can allow themselves to be this affected by others.

    Great to hear from you! Getting ready for Palm Sunday... great memories with you!

    1. Oh Heather Miss you! I can usually take my crying in stride and I keep tissues handy. Yes, for me to tears mean that something is moving. But I can see me being in Haiti and not being about to stop the tears. :)