I am going to start this whole post by saying how funny life is. As beautiful as it can be, it can also turn just as ugly in a moment. Last week, I was so in awe of the beauty of the work we do. This week, though, I was reminded of the brokenness.
I feel so lucky to be apart of God's work in the people living Downtown, but sometimes I lose track of what is really important. This can be because I am focused on the logistics of our outreach, or getting us to that next level (whatever that means), but I remember driving to pancakes this Saturday and just feeling so out of it. Almost like I was only going through the motions, and asking God to please remind me of why Pancakes is so important.
Fast forward an hour, we show up Downtown to our line starting where it usually does, and going both directions. We had 20+ volunteers and roughly 100 people already in line (oh, and Will had a Presidential commitment so it was just me leading). As we frantically took everything out of our cars and debriefed our new volunteers of important jobs like coffee and trash, (shoutout to those rock stars), I could almost hear God reminding me to slow down and come back.
I looked at Luke, our Music Ministry Lead, and told him we all needed to stop right then and pray. Guys, I am not sure if you've ever experienced this, but that prayer was exactly what everyone needed. Peace literally fell over all of us and in that moment, someone showed up with more supplies, people in line started laughing and interacting with one another, and gospel music started to play from the backpack of someone in line. God was making sure we knew what was really important.
I had the opportunity to stand away from the group a few times and watch from the outside and what I saw were people engaging, singing, and praying. Brooklyn and I danced while Luke and the music ministry sang John Mayer and for a moment, pancakes was everything we hoped it would be.
Then reality hit. If you haven't had the opportunity to hear my heart for children on the streets, we should talk. For now, though, all you need to know is I fell in love with the homeless community due largely to a little girl named Rebecca. When I met her, she had the most radiant smile and her joy could stop anyone dead in their tracks. She had a blissful ignorance of the world she lived in and I wanted so badly to help her.
About 8 months ago her and her parents moved to Mexico and I hadn't seen/heard from them for the majority of that time. Even though this was true, there has never been a moment when I cease to think of her. Well, yesterday her and her mom showed up. Let me tell you, at first I was thrilled. The moment I had thought of over and over again had finally arrived and I was so shocked I did not know what to do! I jumped up and down, I told everyone to be excited with me, and I gave her the biggest hug ever.
Then it all sank in. This moment was not what I wanted. I took a step back and I looked at her. Her smile was gone. The joy that was so deeply rooted in her? not visible. It was so hard for me to even look at her because physically, she looked as though she had lived through so much pain that it had finally taken it's toll. I took pictures with her, and loved on her, and celebrated her for a time, but then I had to walk away because it literally broke my heart. I felt my heart break like the first day I met her, and I could not believe that over four years later, no progress had been made in her life.
This passion is hard. There are moments every Saturday where I look around and see relationships being cultivated, joy being outpoured, and life change happening. Then there is the harsh contrast of hurt continuing to show itself, progress being slow and painful, and evil continuing to have a hold over so many people's hearts.
But I can tell you this with so much certainty; I would take a million heart wrenching moments in order to experience one heart warming, life altering experience. This passion is not easy. It hurts at times and leaves you heart broken. BUT dancing around with Brooklyn, joking around with Gramps, and having the chance to see our friends like the one in this video so genuinely love the Lord, makes it all worth it.
Once again, I love you all! Talk to you next week,