About four years ago, the church I was pastoring decided to get more involved in the community. After a few months of researching as to what we could do for the community, we ended up going to a shelter for abused women to take care of the children while the mothers went to various classes, ranging from counseling to learning basic skills in order to help them find jobs.
Since the children came from homes where the male figure was abusive, one of the greatest needs for the shelter was to have men come in, spend time with the children, so that the children could have a positive male role model.
Week after week, the church members and I played, taught and hung out with the children. One day, as we were out in the playground playing, one of the four year old girls we were watching wet and soiled herself. It was not a pretty site. It was messy. Wanting to take her to those who would change her, I started walking towards her. As I got closer, I noticed that she totally froze and that there was a look of fear on her face. So, I knelt down close to her and asked her, “Are you alright?”
“I am sorry, I am sorry, I didn’t mean to,” came her terrified reply.
“It’s alright, these things happen,” I said. She cowered expecting a blow. I reassured her once again, “It’s going to be alright, don’t worry.”
By now there were a few kids gathered around and a few other adults looking on. She stood there like a statue, unable to move, filled with shame, embarrassed at what had happened, afraid of the consequences. There was only one option left to comfort her and remove her away from her shame.
I picked her up knowing it was going to be messy. I carried her in my arms as she rested her head on my shoulder with teary eyes. I gave her a warm hug, knowing that the mess she was in was soon going to become my problem too. I carried her, reassuring her that I was not angry, that these things happen, and that everything was going to be alright.
I am not sharing this story to take pride in my humility or “heroism”. Neither am I sharing this story to show you my virtues. I am sharing this story because that little girl reminds me of myself.
Humanity is broken. Just like the four year old, who messed herself on the outside, we are muddled, disarrayed, and shattered within. My façade might be perfect. I smile, love, laugh, and care. I enjoy family, friends, and church members. The Facebook page portrays me as living the dream life. But so often I find myself sitting alone in a hotel room feeling empty. Feeling as if the gap in my heart can never be filled. Many times I find myself saying things, thinking thoughts, acting in a manner that is not befitting.
I am a broken vessel. An empty jar.
In the silence of my brokenness, in the hour of my disparity I am reminded that I am not alone. There is someone who can fill the emptiness, someone who can seal up the gap, someone who can carry me as I lay my head on His shoulder teary eyed. Someone who is not afraid of the mess I am in. Someone who came into the mess, walked in my footsteps, except He was perfect, and now tells me “Come to me…and I will give you rest”. He reminds me that He knows what I am going through, He understands my pain, emptiness, gap, shame, guilt, and fear. And in spite of who I am, He reminds me, “It’s going to be alright”.