We sort of have a double-commitment to Africa in our family. We are committed to Swaziland through our commitment to Heart for Africa. Rob's been there three times and spent about a month there this past summer. I got to go with him for 11 days of that time. I cannot and will not give up on the Swazi people - they are forever a part of our lives. However, Swaziland does not allow international adoptions and we felt God calling us towards adopting from Ethiopia. So we've embarked on a life-long commitment to Ethiopia - learning the culture, incorporating Ethiopian traditions into our family so that our child and his siblings will know that Ethiopia is an important part of who we are as a family.
Rob won't be going to Swaziland this summer because we are hoping we'll be traveling twice to Ethiopia this year. But he's already planning on a trip during the summer of 2012. I had been wavering about whether I'd go on the trip because... well, because who in the world will watch three kids for me so I can travel halfway around the world to Africa??? I'm still praying about it but as of now I am really going to do everything I can to be able to go.
So as I've been talking to friends, family, strangers, anyone-who-will-listen about Swaziland AND Ethiopia, I've encountered some interesting responses. And ALL of them are about being heartbroken. I've had friends come to me teary-eyed after watching the "Why Ethiopia" video because their hearts are already broken over the suffering of children. I've had friends be hesitant about going to Swaziland with me because they fear their hearts would be broken after connecting with Swazi people and seeing the suffering firsthand.
Our instinct is to protect ourselves - to forget, to not see. We don't want to hurt.
But I think our hearts are supposed to be broken.
It is too easy for us here in America. Too easy to put on our blinders and not see beyond the end of our street. A friend of mine is about to go to India to work in one of the most impoverished states there. I told her that her life is about to be ruined, but in the best way.
God ruined my life when He opened my eyes to how the people He loves are suffering. When I walk from my car to my front door in the cold or the rain I automatically think about those who don't have shelter. I cry when I read statistics about orphans or AIDS or hunger. I am incapable of living "the American dream." I cannot spend money on things the way I used to. My decision-making has been affected. I'm messed-up, y'all.
And I praise God for that. I praise God for the tears and the brokenness. I pray all the time that I will never forget the people I met in Swaziland. I pray that I will NEVER go back to living my life as if it's all about me or about my kids or what I want. I don't want to live MY life... I'd rather lead the one that brings honor to God. A life that is all about me will certainly NOT do that. And I've found that this life is infinitely more fulfilling (even with the tears) than one where I get to be the star.
My heart has been broken. And I want to keep it that way (and bring others down with me!)