Wednesday, October 1

Broken-hearted

Yesterday was rough.
As in, crying off and on throughout the day.
Pretty much every time I talked to someone, the ever-near tears came streaming down my face.

I live at Oasis...a restoration facility for boys with behavioral or drug related issues. This means, the requirement to coming to Oasis is that you have a problem. You have some kind of brokenness in your past whether at the hands of others or by your own choices or, as in most cases, both.

Yesterday, probably due to some exhaustion and some stress, I lost it. I was talking to my friends/coworkers, who live out there full time, about a particular situation which led them to sharing about the boys with whom we live. Sharing some of the scars and baggage and brokenness that they bring to Oasis, along with their own anger-issues or drug-addictions. Most of these boys have experienced abuse whether sexually or physically by the very adults who should have protected and nurtured them.

The greatest issue I have at Oasis is learning how to show love with boundaries. I have learned (am learning) that when I naturally and purely want to give hugs or kisses to the boys, that very often, they, in their brokenness, do not know how to receive that love without sexualizing it. An hug or kiss from me can lead to them believing lies or fantasies about "us."

I was overwhelmed by this yesterday. This boys are so broken that they cannot receive or understand natural motherly, unconditional love. And yes, some of it is from consequences of their own actions, but a lot of it has to do with homes in which they lived and the broken parents that raised them. For them, I grieved. And grieved. I could not stop the tears. How can I, who has no understanding of this kind of life, who had a safe Christ-fearing godly-parents home, be a blessing to these boys who can't comprehend what a pure hug means due to their brokenness? What can I possibly say to them? How does God desire to use me in this ministry when I feel so inadequate?

I was reminded that God may want to use me in their lives to teach them what a healthy family looks like, what a healthy person looks like...without the baggage, without the brokenness...to give them hope and a vision for personal change and how their own family could look one day in the future. Broken people do not need to beget broken people. The cycles of pain that was "normal" in their home, at the hands of their parents or guardians, doesn't need to be the cycle in their home, with their kids. They can be the one who can change and they can be the one who loves well, with the healing power of Jesus! And I can be an image of this. A word of encouragement. A hope aspired. I can show them real love...not manipulative abusive love...but unconditional Christ-powered love. Yes, with boundaries, but I can still show love. He who is mighty is able to heal and restore the broken-hearted and for this season of our lives, I get to be a part of their healing.

After a sound sleep, this morning, at breakfast, I announced to the boys that I had good news for them. When I had their attention, I said, "The mercies of God are new every morning and His love never has an end." I needed to hear that. They needed to hear that. I'll start with this promise and trust God to continue teaching and using me in the days that follow in the lives of these beloved boys.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's within your inadequacies that God is using you Mindy. Although Jesus never sinned He loved the sinners. Although you never have led an unhealthy family life....you can love those who have. We all need to see that things can be different....and that is what Jesus did for us....and what you are doing for these boys. Allow the Lord to continue to break your heart so that it draws you closer to Him and allows Him the opportunity to reveal true, healthy and hope-filled love to these boys through YOU. Ministry is not for wimps but it is for those who put their trust in the Lord ... regardless. Love you! Deb

Matt Knighton, Sr. said...

Mindy, I just read your blog. Appreciate your honesty and vulner-ability. Never easy, but the more difficult thing is to wrestle with the questions & emotions of your situation.

Those boys are at a very delicate place, and one (not even a highly trained professional) cannot really predict what can be a trigger point. At this stage of your ministry particularly, you're wise to exercise more caution than less -- for your sake and theirs.

There are many ways to demonstrate unconditional love to these guys in practical, helpful, and encouraging ways incrementally. Without knowing many of the specifics or the relational dynamics of Oasis, I'm not in a position to be giving a lot of advice, but if you're a "hugger" you might find it best to restrain them until it's evident that the boys are aware that your interest in them is clearly of a "motherly" nature, and is spiritually motivated and based (and doesn't come overnight). Obviously, an open and accessible setting is paramount when you are in a counseling mode. You never want to become inadvertently isolated. Don't hesitate to seek the council of spiritually mature men and women (pastors, & pastors' wives especially) on these issues to get a good gender AND cultural perspective.

I'm sure you have sensed the Lord's presence, guidance, and wisdom. He will certainly not fail you as you move forward in your ministry there. You are there "for such a time as this," and lasting fruit will come more and more.

There is no such thing as a life and ministry without valleys, but there is also no such thing as a life/ministry valley without His personal, provisional, and powerfully sustaining Presence: "You are with me" is a statement of unflinching confidence in our great God. Whatever the valley, however deep, wherever it may lead, or however long it seems, you will NEVER be alone. He walks beside you, before you, and behind you, to say nothing of the fact that He, by His Spirit, is forever within you. Regardless of feeings, you have given your life and responded to a call that is a guaranteed "win win" proposition.

Always remember that the One who has redeemed you, called you, equipped you, and sent you, is the One who is with you -- never to leave or forsake you. May this One, the One whom men did not crown, the One whom men cannot dethrone, be the Foundation upon which you build your entire life and service. May the air you breathe be the atmosphere of His very presence; and may His presence be the lens through which you see and understand your complete sense of being -- your worth, identity, and purpose.

Your smiling face and cheerful spirit are missed at MVCC, but they are needed there. I look forward to following your posts and blogs, praying as I do. Sandy sends her greetings.

Warmly,
Matt Knighton

Emily Reynolds said...

Praying for you for peace, wisdom and discernment as you serve these boys. Love you Min.