My first week in Wilmington proved to be a part of a clearly formulated plan by God. Within the first week God met with me in a raw and heart-wrenching way that left me broken in the best way possible. My heart had been revealed to me and I had to deal with it and grow from it.
In the course of a week I was faced with the realization that I was in need of God more than I thought. Just weeks before going into my internship I graduated college and left the safety net of spirituality that surrounded me for the last four years. I no longer had chapels on Wednesday and Friday, I was no longer walking distance from a beautifully designed building crafted especially for prayer, and all of my friends were in various parts of the world. I left college with a large hole in my heart. I was unaware of the source of this hole. Confusion and longing were bedfellows of my broken heart that left me yearning for an encounter with the real and living Triune God.
It was as if I was constantly aware of my need for God, yet simultaneously I could feel the lack of authenticity I felt within myself. I became dissatisfied and felt completely unprepared to leave for my internship. Inadequacy about my ability to show people Christ became almost crippling. The realization of God’s love for me and his capability to work through me despite how I felt was what encouraged me. But, the hole in my heart, the emptiness I felt, did not leave and did not lessen. The feeling slowly evolved into a deeper longing for the presence of God. Within my emptiness and my pain of not fully understanding the season I was in, God met with me.
For eight weeks God saw fit to place me with the organization called UrbanPromise Wilmington. I did not want to go at first, but in February of this year, I felt a tugging on my heart to say “yes” to what God was prompting me to apply for. In the months that led up to my departure, my weariness and doubt of leaving ebbed into excitement and anticipation of whatever may come my way, because I did not know what to expect.
My first week in Wilmington, God showed me parts of myself that needed healing. My relationship with my father growing up had been interesting. My father was and is present in my life, but as a young child growing up it still felt as if he was absent. As I grew into adulthood, much of how I felt about my dad, I kind of just threw it over my shoulder and I believed that I was okay and unaffected. However, my first week proved me wrong. In numerous conversations that week with other interns and even teens who’ve grown up in Wilmington, I had conversation after conversation about fathers and what each of our own had been like. Much tears and prayer later, I realized much of what I thought I did not hold against my father I had been harboring pain and unforgiveness.
Even through all of this, I did not “feel” closer to God. I sensed God at work in things that could be considered small and my soul knew that this summer, I was in the right place. It was not until the seventh or eighth week, light began to be shed on how I had been feeling.
In my 22 years of life, I have discovered with much angst like that of a teenage girl and a YA novel, how hard it is to trust God, how difficult it is to grow, and be purified and refined so that one may know God and be known by Him. I have learned this summer that God wants to know me. His Spirit, and his Son want to know me and I can now take the initiative to respond to a Triune God who says “call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3
So, in all of the busyness of that first week, I wrote this poem. To me, then, this poem represented the beauty in the brokenness of the city of Wilmington and how in it all, the violence, the poverty, the longing for anything substantial, beauty could somehow be found. Now, I realize this poem also represents a part of me and my own brokenness.
There is beauty to be found in broken things
the shattered, the torn, and the burdened
facets of little intricacies that make us
fragmented pieces in a puzzle of wholeness