Eager to welcome a beautiful soul today, Kristi Scott whom I “met” through Twitter & the #FMFparty community. Besides looking a little like my sister, I feel drawn to the beauty of this sweet soul, so passionate & lovely. Her post is part of a series of guests post over the next couple of months on the theme of Genesis 50:20, What you meant for evil, God meant for good. This passage in particular stuck out to me a few weeks ago in a marriage class the hubz & I have been attending. It’s a complex idea worth exploring, especially when ‘ish is hard! Since I recently decided to put a little more focus into editing my memoir, it seemed a good time to invite my fellow writers to help explore this issue here, while I explore it in my book. I hope and pray the series will lead to an exploration of the redemption happening in your own life. Amen & Amen.
I was a wide-eyed, idealistic 23-year-old woman when I decided to uproot my new post-college life and move to another country. I had only been abroad twice before, yet I knew this new place was my long-lost home before I stepped off the airplane. God had called me and I was anxious to start. I was 24 when I left LAX that summer of 2010, my heart full of joy for the year-long adventure ahead.
Just days after arriving at the orphanage in Peru, reality set in. In America, I was a college-educated, smart, bright, young woman with an amazing future ahead of her. In Peru, I was a virtually illiterate tourist trying to help orphans she could barely communicate with.
All my idealism drifted into the nearby ocean shore.
If you haven’t been to a place seeping with poverty and heartbreak before, you’ve likely seen pictures or a non-profit’s promotional video of such circumstances. I’ve seen those videos and the pictures and I’ve seen the pain up close. The children you’ve seen need rescuing and many people want to be a part of the rescue. I was volunteering in a place meant for after-the-rescue part of a child’s story. But the rescuing was still going on in those kids’ lives and my own heart needed some rescuing of its own.
I would tell you details if I thought you would still pay attention. But surely, if you’re like most, you would only focus on the details. The details matter but not for the purposes of this story; this story is about something deeper than details.
Think of the worst case of child abuse you’ve ever heard. Many of the children at the orphanage had been through it. I would tell you more but the orphanage would become the worst-story-of-abuse you’ve heard and you’d forget what I’m going to tell you.
Those children healed me.
Just seeing their faces. Holding their hands. Laughing with them. Those children healed me. They healed my selfishness, they healed my broken heart, they healed my worry, they healed every part of my broken soul. Had they never been to the orphanage, surely they would have never healed my broken heart.
Don’t misunderstand, as most do.
If I could take all the things back that those children healed in me so that they could have whole families and lovely lives that never saw the inside of an orphanage, I would. If I could receive my pain again in order to insure that no child would ever need to be taken from their family again, I would do it without hesitation.
Here lies the tension.
My God sent those children there because evil happened to them. Many of them faced terrible things since being there. They had good experiences too, don’t misunderstand. Those children had better lives because of that place. Since leaving the orphanage, many of them have faced pain and horror again. Not all of them, but many.
Yet, my soul is not the same because of the joy they gave me.
My soul is not the same because of the grief that they gave me.
Because of them, I am forever mended up by divine broken hands through the life of those kids. Those orphans rescued me. To this day, they rescue me. The evil that they have endured brought them to the orphanage, where they were free to love a broken gringa like me.
That makes no sense unless…
…unless you know the God who redeems a boy who was sold into slavery and turns him into royalty.
…unless you know the God who sends a baby to earth to save humanity.
…unless you know the God who floods worlds in order to change everything.
…unless you know the God who doesn’t give up. The God who can’t give up on his kids, including me.
I am not fixed or perfect because of those children. Rather, my eyes are fixed on a God who heals me through those who most people have forgotten. The powerful systems and the money and the privilege haven’t healed me once; they only perpetuate my brokenness.
Even still, the experiences that have broken the lives of Peruvian orphans and privileged Americans alike cannot prevail. The Rescue Plan is complete; He’s always with us and always on His way. He can’t leave the evil to itself; He transforms it into something that looks like an orphan’s hands healing a broken 24-year-old woman’s heart.
About: Kristi Scott runs an after-school program for junior high students during the day. At night, she writes about faith and social issues on her blog papyrus will grow.com. She loves Jesus, laughing, Peruvian orphans, and dystopian fiction. She lives in Los Angeles with her celebrity fish, Ruddy. Find her on Twitter here.