All of have us experienced heart break at one point. Best friends, parents, significant others; they all cause heartbreak. When it happens, it’s as if the world suddenly turns two clicks slower. You feel a mixture of hurt, sadness, anger and a dash of shock. It is so earth shattering you talk to only the closest people about it. You cry on your confidant’s shoulder, sometimes only figuratively because you cried alone in your room the night before. Heartbreak changes things. It changes the way you see people, the route you take to your locker, and the way you see the world.

I remember my first heartbreak. I also remember the day I learned the difference between my self centered heart break and a heart broken for people.

I started volunteering for City Life Club, a campus ministry for inner city kids. Every Friday we would drive to downtown Orlando to play with kids after school. We developed a connection with the parents in the neighborhood and picked up anywhere from 10-20 kids, walked them over to a local park, played for two hours and walked them back home. While playing with these kids I sensed such an urge for attention. They thirsted for approval and we freely gave it. Whether it was Jesus or hopscotch we never ran out of anything to talk about. I could see imagination bursting out of every child when we made up a sharks and sailors game. They loved to be there and hated to leave. Sure enough our two hours were up and we walked them each back to their homes, packed up our half used chalk boxes and soccer balls, and drove back to our lives.

I didn’t have the opportunity to serve regularly with City Life Club but the car ride back from my first week was filled with stories of how these children had been transformed from these meetings. It also made me aware of the pain some of these children go through everyday. The things these kids carried…Some of them would become so attached to counselors they would start calling them mommy or daddy. They would wonder why Jesus loves them more than their mommy does or why the “po-po” would take their daddy. And that’s when it happened. At that moment my heart broke for these kids. I experienced such a strong feeling of hurt and righteous anger for these kids, a group of kids who only wanted affection. I wanted to protect them. I wanted to let them know that they mattered and give them back some of their innocence lost. My only response was action. It was an intense love for the children of that city.

Its easy to get caught up in our own lives and problems but in this season of giving I encourage you to think outside yourself. Let yourself be heartbroken for a cause or a people or freedom. There are hundreds of thousands of people in need all around you.  Open up your heart to see people as God sees them. Because after a heart break we are all changed.

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