I can remember the night so clearly, the night that I prayed the prayer that would forever change the trajectory of my life. It was a summer night, it was hot and humid and we had just arrived in New Orleans for a missions trip with Teen Mania. It was the summer of 2000 and I was going to be entering my senior year of high school. Our team was praying as a team, and for some reason, unbeknownst to me, I prayed the words “God, break my heart for the things that break Yours, help me to see people how you see them.” Now I should clarify that this happened far before Hillsong released the song that is sung in churches around the world with this line (2007). From that moment on, I could feel my heart break as I saw people from a very different perspective. The picture below is our small ministry group (we traveled in a big team with small teams within it).
Leading up to the trip, I remember praying for weeks that my mom would allow me to go. I remember my friend Katrina also wanting to go on a trip at the same time to Panama. I remember how God made it work out that we ended up flying to Texas and back together and how it gave our parents some ease about us traveling far away without them.
I found my way into doing ministry through my senior year of high school, speaking at my churches food ministry a couple times a month and praying and loving the people because that is all I knew to do. I saw the hurt and the desperation in the people and I saw that God had so much more for them. I decided then that I wanted to focus my life on serving and helping those people. I finished high school and found myself in college at a ministry school. My heart broke when I saw the hurting people, and I prayed and I loved them. I played with kids and I spoke life into people whenever I could.
Over the years, I finished a degree in social work and had vision and dreams of changing the world and helping people. And then, then I started working in social work and a very tough skin developed very quickly. A heart can only handle so much hurt, and caring about everyone would burn me out, or so I was told. Over the years in social work, there was a part of me that could not let go of that prayer so many years ago. I was always drawn to people that others had forgotten about or did not want to deal with. The juvenile delinquents were my favorite kids on my caseload, because I saw something in them that they could not even see themselves. For some, most, I was seen as very rational and even cold, facts made decisions, not me. I needed this because when you work with broken and hurting people, who are breaking and hurting others (their children) you can only help those that are currently being hurt.
Today, I am working on a PhD in clinical psychology and my goal is to work with those in jail and in state hospitals. I get asked often why I want to work in these places, and my response usually has something to do with because most people don’t want to. My goal is not to have a private practice that makes me lots of money. My goal is to help people that have no where else to turn. Recently, after being out of social work for awhile, my heart has begun to break once again. Those embers that once burned so bright have been blow on and have begun to burn bright once again. What does that mean? That is a good question, but I know that the thoughts and dreams have interrupted my life and changed the way I view people.
Even now though, my mind wanders back to that night, when I decided that I needed to have God break my heart for what breaks His and that I needed to see people how He saw them.