I feel like in the past couple of weeks I have often come to this blog with a heavy heart. Some may say I need a tougher outer layer but the fact of the matter is, I wasn’t made that way. I was made soft. I was made with a heart that takes the pain and hurt of others and cradles it tightly to my chest, wrapping it tighter and tighter into my being until it is a part of me. Maybe I should change this if I am going to be in ministry but this is who I am. I can’t change my empathy and I trust that God knew what He was doing when He made me this way.
Some of you may remember this post where I told you about one of our students being murdered. The story of why it happened is upsetting and to this day I cannot speak of it without getting emotional. Christina was only 15 and the men who killed her will most likely never be convicted.
After this happened Christina’s friends went into a downward spiral. They couldn’t deal with the pain so they disappeared from the youth center, they began drinking profusely in order to mask the pain, and doing any number of other things. I was recently told that one of the girls hasn’t been around for a while because she has been in the hospital. After Christina’s murder she couldn’t stop stabbing herself. Two of my girls that went on the retreat were best friends with Christina. I wondered why they were so standoffish to me and so disconnected from the group, and now I know why. But I am watching God transform them. I am watching the life creep back into them and the smiles return. I am hearing of the good decisions they are beginning to make and I am building a relationship with them both, a relationship I thought neither of them would ever want to have with me.
So the other day I was talking to my mom on the phone and I kept referring to the White Mountain Apache as my tribe or my people. After a while I caught myself, but now I think it was fitting. I may not be White Mountain Apache, in fact I don’t have a single drop of native blood in my body, but the WMA are my people. These are my brothers and sisters. Their stories are a part of my story. Their pain is my pain. Their hurt is my hurt.
I will admit, I question why God allows these teenagers to feel so much pain. I question why He let that happen to Christina and why He doesn’t protect them. My heart breaks for their stories and tears come to my eyes as I think of these things and write these words. But I know that His heart breaks too. I have to believe that my tears are His tears and that He has not forgotten about my people. I have to remember that it was the sin of humanity that is at fault for their pain, and I have to pray for redemption. I have to pray that I may be whatever healing He allows me to be in this place.
So my heart is overwhelmed, yes. I love these students with all that I am and I want to do everything I can for them. I am choosing to be hopeful and to believe that He will be in this place and that He will not forget about them like so many others have. But this is my heart, vulnerable, raw, and burdened. Maybe by sharing it with you I can take a little of the weight off, sharing the burden one little piece at a time so that I don't collapse under it all.
I have to learn to release the pain and burden over to my Savior for I wasn't made to hold it all. He alone can handle it and I have to trust that He will cradle it as close to His heart as I do to mine.