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Break my heart for what breaks yours…

Have you ever prayed that?

Well, I’ll warn you. Don’t pray it unless you want your world to be rocked–your heart to be changed. Praying that prayer–will mean so many things…priorities change…what keeps you up at night changes…what you leave at the cross changes…and what brings you JOY changes. Because let me say this–TRUE JOY can only come AFTER being broken for the things that break our Creator’s heart and realizing only HE can fix it…crying at His feet to change it…and watching His faithfulness unfold as you step forward to be used to do something about it.

And then–comes humility. True humility. That He could do it ALL on His own–yet He allows us to be used…to see beauty from ashes…and then we are left realizing that we are actually the ones more changed. Wow.

Please bear with me today as I run through some of my thoughts…comparing my reality to someone else’s…that He, too, loves very, very much…

This morning I was reading and thinking about the 150 women who were raped in an African Congelese village while their children and husbands watched. Can you imagine? Because it happened. THIS summer. While many of us kicked back and watched the fireworks…went swimming in our neighborhood pools…planned our vacations…THIS was happening on the other side of the world. IT IS REAL.

Moments later, I look over and see my pig-tailed almost 5 year old daughter skipping around the kitchen island killing time before school starts. This morning our biggest problem is she misplaced her school folder which is supposed to remain in her school bag for parent/teacher coorespondance (Special note: we found it that night in the mini-van stuffed under a seat). Yes, my name is Andrea Young–and THIS is a perfect example of what a problem is in “MY” world. I live in safety…plushville compared to my Zambian sisters who sleep on hard, dirty floors. We live in what we jokingly refer to as “fairy land” at our house…and we only think we have problems.

Later…more quite comes my way (you know this is rare in our home…and the only time I can think or write…hence you often see my publications at 1am;) The older two kids off are off to school…a private Christian school because…well, it’s the best thing for them…or so that is our current opinion at the moment…and if we want something in our culture–we always make a way for it. So now, there is quiet. I check my email and I read an article a friend sent me about women in South Africa being abused and shunned by their husband because the men think the infections their wives are enduring are from unfaithfuless. They aren’t. They are pure, faithful women. Their infections are caused from not having feminine supplies, and they have been using newspaper as home-made tampons. On lighter days, they use the only rag they own. So their lack of something we take for granted and even complain about…and have medication to ease our cramps…is causing them not only infections, but shame and abuse in their homes. Their hearts feel hopeless…really–it is not their fault. They didn’t chose to be born in poverty. It’s just the cards they were dealt. Right?

I mean…really—we don’t get to PICK where we are born. That’s up to God. And so it’s His problem…right? They just got dealt different cards…really–it’s not our problem…I mean…we have enough to think about and as long as we 1) don’t think about it OR 2) don’t challenge ourselves to pray “break our hearts Lord for what breaks Yours” and to later be used as a vessel for change. That might make me uncomfortable. Or weird. Or it might make me make other people uncomfortable…

Later in the day…I looked over and see my 12 month old giggling at me—and I remember his story. We had just gotten back from another weekly visit to the pediatrician. We’ll go tomorrow to yet another lab for more tests trying to get to the bottom of his raspy breathing…our guess is a protein allergy this time. Then on Thursday to the ENT to for once and for all be done with the ear infections that keep him up at night. And Friday to the physical therapist because his malnourishment wiped away his muscles and now we are rebuilding them. He is my son. He has a mom. He has someone to fight for him. Someone to protect him. Someone to advocate for him and find relief for even the smallest cough. Today, he is feeling so much better than he was 8 weeks ago. He is now able to sit on his own…roll over…he can even sit up from laying down. He can officially put pressure on his legs…and every day he gets stronger. And there are millions…MILLIONS…who will never get better…simply because there is no one there to fight for them.

Oh…but not mine. He is going to run circles around his siblings. He is going to walk and run. And I will listen carefully all his days for the slightest wheeze…and sure enough–in 24 hours I’ll have him checked out…because I’m his mom–and he is my son…he IS my responsibility. I am learning a new SENSE of responsibility–that only many of you adopted mommies can identify with. But I’ll try to explain…because it’s just amazing. I feel a DEEPER sense of responsibility to my son brought to me through the miracle of adoption. He is my son. As my friend Amy said it–not by papers or even love–but by God. BUT there is also a deep sense to me that He BELONGS TO God…and there is another mom I made a vow too…and I act quickly on my son’s behalf. I am more protective…more aware of every expression–and what he might be feeling…and my heart struggles when I see someone else hold him…even when it’s his daddy. My son is actually helping me realize that the three older siblings ALSO belong to God. But for some reason…and I must confess…in a way I thought they belonged more to me. I don’t think I REALIZED I thought that–and had we not adopted I think I would have never been awakened to it…but now I see that none of these are REALLY “mine” but all His…YET they are my responsibility. He has given us charge over them. And…we will be held accountable for their upbringing and care.


What about the orphans? What about the widows? What about the ones that will NEVER be adopted? Who will never be fought for? Who will protect them? Look out for them? Visit them? Really—is it our responsibility to do something? I mean–those were their cards. And these were mine. And I got fairy land.

I think about our 450 orphans in Zambia who are served through Wiphan…and the 150 ladies…living in a country that is in the top 5 countries with the highest mortality rate. Zambia often flies under the radar as it’s closed to adoption (or rather–it’s not common and too difficult). YET–more die in Zambia every day from malaria, starvation…than 190 other countries in the world. That is sad isn’t it…but–is it our responsibility to do something?

Really–it’s not okay. It’s not okay for me to live my life how ever *I* want. It’s just not. And let me just say–I can justify just about anything here. A big house…I can use if for God’s glory. Yadda, yadda, yadda…really the list can go on. Really, it’s not okay for me to live for myself–however I choose. They may have been dealt one set of cards—and me another…but this game of life isn’t for me to just sit here and hold my cards tightly in my hand. Part of my flesh wants to–because I am human. Part of my flesh will try to–because letting go and living differently is hard. But I truly believe we got dealt different cards so we could BOTH be changed. As a believer—it’s just not okay for me to live how I want to live…to not take the gospel at it’s word—because really—it’s not up for interpretation. And letting cards go–it’s not supposed to be “extra”. Or optional. It’s how living the gospel is played…and to be honest—I’m really not that good at it…yet—but I really want to try.

The world tells me, “Well, I think you need BALANCE.” And I really am not sure how you find “balance”…and I’m pretty sure balance isn’t part of the gospel…although I’d sure like it to be because I struggle with the flesh. If you could be a fly on our wall, this is what Richard and I talk about EVERY night. We rack our brains…we struggle and wrestle…we confess our selfish desires and although some times we feel crazy with being consumed with these thoughts. Richard looked at me with this funny wonder on his face last night and said, “Okay. Maybe we AREN’T the crazy ones…this is how we are supposed to do life. You know–the ones not wanting to live for the gospel…now that is crazy.”

So…where does that leave us? How do you REALLY hold your hands out and say, “Take my life and let it be…all for Yours and for Your glory”? What does that really look like?

I think it begins as we get to KNOW what is REALLY happening. As we find out more and allow our hearts to be changed…and moved by it. As we begin to say, “This is NOT okay…” and in the process our hearts begin to break for what breaks His. And instead of becoming overwhelmed—we just take ONE STEP forward. We say “use me Lord”…I want to do SOMETHING…and after that…”use me again Lord”…I want to do something else.

With Wiphan we often like to spread out fundraisers so we don’t “overwhelm” people. In our churches–we are careful to “overask” for help…as to not scare people away. Even in my own church we are trying to start an orphan ministry, and those of us trying to start it are praying that our pastor will come on board…as if God can’t do wonders in and through our church body even if our vision will not be shared from the pulpit. I beginning to think there must be hundreds of people out there whose hearts are screaming, “I WANT TO HELP! I JUST DON’T KNOW WHERE!” Many of us are holding cards of blessing. And we need to get to a place as His people where those of us holding cards in a place of blessing…are READY, WILLING and EXCITED to be overwhelmed with doing many wonders in His name. What if we ALL jumped at opportunities to be used for His glory? To help others? To be change and then be changed in the process? And to finally—in the end…as we are humbled at being used and see that we are the ones who are really changed…and experience TRUE JOY.

In the next few days and weeks, I’ll be sharing countless ways for you to used RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE…in BIG, AMAZING ways. If you are one of those screaming, “The Lord has called me to do more! I want to help! Show me what needs to be done…and I will use the gifts and the resources God has given me to do what He leads me to do!” This next month–there are 2 projects…one in which we need hands and time and service for…and the other we need donations for. Both are life-changing…and I would love for you to join me. And after that—I’d love to walk beside many of you in service, in sacrifice and in JOY. Again. And again. And again.

Break our hearts Lord…for what breaks yours.

Kristi - August 25, 2010 - 10:32 am

USE ME!!!! Oh, how I want God to use my family! I have been praying for a project to be part of. Can’t wait to get started, my friend. Love your heart!

Jamie Gumieny-Fink - August 25, 2010 - 10:52 am

What a lovely post and inspiring prayer…


Kameron Shadrick - August 25, 2010 - 11:09 am

AWESOME post! Love it!

susan - August 25, 2010 - 11:25 am

Beautiful. You sound very much like Kay Warren in her book “Dangerous Surrender”.

Larisa Maibach - August 25, 2010 - 11:27 am

Oh Andrea, I love your thoughtful, hard-hitting posts. My husband and I discuss this nearly all of the time too, and I am starting to learn to allow my heart to break after so many years of mentally shutting down when faced with all of the information on the pain of others. Keep writing, keep encouraging, keep reaching out and prodding at us! You are such a blessing, and God IS using you.

Rachel Campbell - August 25, 2010 - 11:33 am

wow, precious friend! You can put words to what my heart feels… how do you do that 😉 God is encouraging so many of us through your heart. -xoxo

april - August 25, 2010 - 11:36 am

Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you to continue to break my heart for what breaks His as this has been my prayer!

Tisha Alexander - August 25, 2010 - 11:39 am

Amazing post… I can’t wait to hear what you have for us. The Lord is really working in my life in ways I never dreamed He would and I can’t wait to see what happens!

emily - August 25, 2010 - 11:41 am

Oh how that prayer literally changed the course of our lives and how thankful I am that it did!!

Meggan - August 25, 2010 - 11:46 am

I was going through my typical morning routine of browsing through blogs with my coffee and breakfast and came across your post and couldn’t help but think it was more than coincidental that I read it today. Last night I prayed that prayer (for the millionth time) after a conversation that day with my husband about fear and comfort and a dream the night before. My heart desires that joy you mentioned daily—I want to grab it and never let go. I feel like God has also been reminding me that it starts with one single step forward and He will take care of the rest. Thank you. I can’t help but think this was a God-ordained encounter! Can’t wait to see what He has in store!

Becca Harley - August 25, 2010 - 11:55 am

you never cease to amaze me! Exactly the conversations we have in our house, the yearning that God has given to our hearts! Yes yes yes!!! Use us! We are praying for what is to come – so excited to be part of His plan!

Caytie - August 25, 2010 - 12:05 pm

Andrea, you spoke my heart! We too have recently finished Radical and Crazy Love and we find ourselves asking God, what now? what do you want us to do? How do we live now? Your conversation with your husband is so similar to our conversations…God is definitely stirring in us a desire to do so much more then live out this American Dream!

Elle J - August 25, 2010 - 12:22 pm

Andrea ~ Speechless; so amazingly written no additional words are necessary. YES, I am here to be used for the Glory of God. Looking forward to your upcoming posts.

Suzanne - August 25, 2010 - 12:27 pm

Very beautifully written.

Blessings to you.


Erica - August 25, 2010 - 1:21 pm

Absolutely beautiful!!

Deborah L. King - August 25, 2010 - 1:31 pm

I have been praying this same request. “Use Me”. I want to help.

Christina - August 25, 2010 - 2:32 pm

We have these same conversations and struggles. Looking forward to partnering with you on some projects in the coming months. Love you, Andrea.

kristi johnson - August 25, 2010 - 2:45 pm

oh, wonderful post…loved every word of it, kj

Makenzie - August 25, 2010 - 7:20 pm

You are right- that prayer: “break my heart for what breaks yours”- will CHANGE lives. It changed mine. Thank you again for your words, Andrea!

Stephanie Webb - August 25, 2010 - 8:01 pm

I related to every sentence of this post! Thank you. It is so encouraging to know that others feel the strain too. Keep posting!

Catherine - August 25, 2010 - 9:16 pm

You are such an inspiration! Bless your heart!

Mary Ellen - August 25, 2010 - 9:18 pm

I had a conversation like this one with my hubby last night! It seems that God is stirring a lot of hearts about how to help “the least of these”. Thank you LORD for quipping a wonderful woman of God like you to give us the means to help! Can’t wait to see how we can help in real, BIG ways!

robin johnson - August 25, 2010 - 9:36 pm

I continue to be awed by the tears that flow when thinking about how “I” live…how I choose to live…with so many who do not have choices. I left a part of my heart in Ethiopia last year and continue to be drawn to “mans inequity to man” throughout the world. Thank you for continuing to bring it to the forefront!

Bobi Bobbitt - August 25, 2010 - 9:53 pm

Andrea, again.. all I can say is “WOW”… this is exactly how i feel I just can’t seem to come up with the words to express it… you are so talented at how you express your thoughts and feelings, they speak straight to my heart!

Keely - August 25, 2010 - 10:18 pm

I am reading David Platt’s RADICAL… this is so in line with living for the Gospel the way Jesus intended vs the comfortable way we have twisted our “christian mindset” to be. Lord send me!

polly - August 25, 2010 - 10:41 pm

We (as a family) started praying this prayer about two years ago and let me just say that God has rocked our world in a huge way. He has asked us to step out of our comfort zones in many ways but He has graciously given us the strength through his Holy Spirit to be obedient to HIS will for our lives. I love your heart. Thanks for sharing!

amber - August 26, 2010 - 1:10 am

I sat leaning in closer and closer to my computer the more I read this post.
You said it better for me than I could have myself.
Thanks you for being so eloquant with your words and for striving to show this world what TRUE JOY really feels like. May me and my family find it truly.

God’s Greatest in the days ahead.

Shannon - August 26, 2010 - 1:30 am

I catch myself asking “how do we balance it?” “Where is the line?” and then He whispers “you don’t and there isn’t?” It is ALL for Him. Hard. hard. hard. But please Lord show me how you want to use me! Thank you Andrea for always being so honest and encouraging. I can’t wait to hear about the projects and walk side by side for His glory!

Ashley - August 26, 2010 - 7:30 am

I’m in!! Can’t wait to see what you have planned! Another prayer that you need to watch out for is “give me a life of eternal significance.” That’s the prayer that God used to lead us to adoption. If you ask, He will surely answer!! =)

Kim Jewett - August 26, 2010 - 8:18 am

Absolutely the best post you have ever written and there have been some special ones. I am selective on what I link to on fb but this one is going on today.

Jessica - August 26, 2010 - 11:22 am

My husband and I have struggled with this since returning home in January with our two Ethiopian daughters. We know this world is not our rest, but our rest will come in Heaven when we are surrounded by the glory of God. We have now teamed up with to beging supporting a school of 166 children in Ethiopia and we feel that this is just the beginning. We are so excited to start living a life that brings glory to God as we daily die to ourselves. Can’t wait to see what God will do next!

Leigh Ann - August 26, 2010 - 3:31 pm

Wow! This post is EXACTLY how we have been feeling since we started our adoption journey over a year ago. Thank you for putting how we all feel into words!

jessica B - August 27, 2010 - 12:20 pm

i want in! let me know what I need to do!

Patti - October 12, 2012 - 5:44 pm

I put “break my heart for what breaks yours” and I ended up on this post on your website. Yes, I have prayed this prayer, and He has taken me into other’s pain, mostly emotional and mental. I have suffered in this way, too, and so with the affliction I suffered with, I could have compassion, and then out of that comes the prayers or whatever other actions He leads me in. My husband and I are involved with a ministry called InJesus’, which is focused on supporting the Body of Christ in impoverished nations. Our hearts are turned to the widows, orphans, rock-crushers, lepers, disabled, etc in mostly India, but in other countries as well. It is so refreshing to see that He is putting this joyful burden on others’ hearts as well, and that His ministry of giving, encouraging, compassion, and loving in action is being done, through the few laborers He talked about. Let us not become weary in well-doing, as the ones not in “fairyland” need the ones of us who are. We have been blessed to be a blessing, and not to hoard it unto ourselves. To Him be the glory! Keep on, keepin’ on,my sister and brother; the finish line will be here before you know it, and He will keep you until the end as you trust in Him.