A Heart Like Jenga

Setting up this ministry has been like setting up the
game, Jenga. Piece upon piece is laid, all interconnected to form one tower.
The newer pieces are easiest to take away, while the oldest are, in many ways ,most integral because they form the foundation.
God gave me the first Jenga piece eight years ago. He
broke my heart for a cause I never imagined could exist in such horror; he
captured my heart for a girl I call my own. “She is my beloved,” He said. “Build
her a home.” Satan mocked it when she was entranced by an evil spirit one
Sunday, and the demon said, “Get away. We are building a home in here.”
For years she’s been battling these two forces – good and
evil – choosing which should be her home.
“Let nothing move you,” God reminded me through
Scripture. So, despite the failures or heartache of losing pieces, we’ve
continued to build. Some girls have come and gone. Satan has snatched away some
pieces (at least momentarily), leaving holes and exposing our weakness in the
tower. Still, we lay the next piece.
Because Christ is my foundation, I haven’t been scared.
Even when a girl whom I dearly love told me it was her task from Satan to kill
me. Even when I’ve watched girls run away with pieces of my heart when they’ve
left our home or rejected Christ. I’ve remained firm because I have set the Lord always before me;
because He is at my right hand I will not be shaken.
–Psalm 16:8
Until now.
Without knowing, piece by by piece – taken or built – I’ve
let the tower become an idol. I’ve turned my mission into my identity. And satan
has waited a long time to take advantage of this. To take out a foundational
piece in hopes to watch me crumble.
Umtfwana wami.
For the past several months, I’ve seen her struggling. I’ve
sensed her loneliness. I’ve perceived her doubts. Buried under the pieces of what
Hosea’s Heart has become. Calling for my attention but never saying a word. I
noticed her weight loss, the way she stopped doing her hair, and…ah, her eyes.
I can read her eyes better than the alphabet. I tried to give her time, I
convinced myself she was fine. After all, it was her own words she kept saying,
“Mom, I’m fine.”
And so I built on. With impending urgent tasks for the
ministry, working to meet social welfare’s standards, laying down the roots to
our expansion project and balancing home school, two toddlers, and the needs of
14 other girls, I kept building instead of strengthening. I chose work over
her. I told her I’d spend time with her but time always ran out. Errands, work –
building the tower took priority. By the time I realized what I had become: a workaholic,
it was too late.
The tower was shaking. An important piece now gone. A
week after arriving to the U.S. this past month, I was given the news that
umtfwana wami had left the ministry. That she wanted to do life on her own,
without Hosea’s Heart, without me. “It’s okay,” I prayed, rejoicing that this
could be her opportunity to truly surrender all to Christ. That this was her test
of faith, and she would succeed. I had no doubt.
“She’s selling her body again,” the news came like an unforeseen
tsunami. “I didn’t want to believe it,” Rachel told me, “But I saw her on the
corner myself.” I felt like an arrow had pierced my heart. Images of her on the
corner that I pass nightly on my way home made me sick to my stomach.
I was shocked. Still am. Still waiting for someone to
wake me up from this terrible dream. My whole body went numb. Even ask my mom.
She was with me the day I found out. I became like a robot, unfeeling and rude.
I couldn’t breathe, yet air passed through me freely.  But worse news came. News from another
volunteer whom umtfwana wami had told the reasons for her leaving. Leaving because I didn’t love her—blaming me for things beyond my control. Making me
an enemy. It was as if the arrow that had pierced me was filled with venom. I’ve
never felt so cold in all my life.
I wish this post had a happy ending. But to be honest,
not all the venom has been sucked out of me. The tower of my heart is still
shaking. So I’m admitting that I’m weak, vulnerable, in need of help navigating
through the pain, the shock, the anger, the self-hatred. How could I have been
so blind? So prideful? So idolizing? How could she be so selfish? So
victimized? So ungrateful?
And yet God’s grace touches us both. Touches us equally,
heals us profoundly. And I hear Him remind me again, “Let nothing move you…”
Satan may have succeeded in making my tower shake, but he
can never make it fall. For Christ alone is my rock and my foundation. In Him,
I will not be moved.
“The LORD is my rock, my
fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield
and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” –Psalm 18:2


Recent Comments

  • Christina Venerick

    Tuesday, 06 Dec, 2016

    This breaks my heart! I will be praying for you and especially for your Umtfwana wami. I know God has a plan for both of you and your are exactly right the Lord is your rock, your fortress, and your deliverer. Not only that but he is her's as well. I will be praying over everything! Trust that God's plan is better than our own! You are strong in Him. Love you lots!!

  • Peg Martin

    Tuesday, 06 Dec, 2016

    Amen to what Christina just said. Ever since that moment youn told me my prayers were fortified.

  • Rachel Grace

    Thursday, 08 Dec, 2016

    Praying hard for you and for your Umtfwana wami. As I read this, I felt your hurt and your pain right along with you. I know I can't feel the depth of your pain, your anger, and your shock, but God can feel it with the same intensity you can. And he sees. He knows. He hears. He carries our burdens right beside us. "We don't know what to do, but our eyes are on you" (2 Chronicles 20:12). We don't know what she will choose. We don't know what the next step will be. We don't know when the healing for both of you will come. But together we will keep our eyes on the Lord! Love you MPops! 🙂


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