Here Am I...

We just finished a weekend retreat with the Heart Cry International Board at our home in Michigan. It was an incredible time with incredible people - an event that will change history. That sounds like a bold statement but I realize now that is true. What we do changes lives that impact other lives, altering their course and rewriting their stories. And more often than not, their stories will have a happier ending than they would have before. That makes us history-makers! :)

This weekend we set a new structure for the ministry in place that will allow us to impact the lives of children at a new level. Never has the vision been clearer or the steps forward more sure. It IS a new season! We will be sending out a newsletter in the next two weeks that will share some of our exciting plans for 2019 and beyond.

Some of my favorite moments with the HCI Board were spent in sharing our hearts and seeking God together. Each time we prayed, my heart burned for the children of the world. I could see their faces. I remembered their stories of parents addicted to heroin, young friends who committed suicide, abuse happening in their homes, their fear of sleeping on the street or being beaten again. I remembered their hunger and the way they have to steal, lie and cheat to survive each day. And these are just a few of their stories. They live in Brazil, Canada, Nigeria, Uganda, Haiti, Guatemala…all of the places I think of as another “home.” I could hear their cries as we prayed. Their need can seem so overwhelming and yet…

My heart was flooded with joy when I realized how possible it is to rewrite the stories of these children’s lives into something beautiful and meaningful. Think of it…when we train pastors to truly disciple the parents, youth and children in their churches; when the parents have strong marriages and are taught to raise their children in godly, healthy ways and to disciple them at home; when youth and children are given the tools and training to find their identity, joy and fulfillment in relationship with Jesus Christ and can experience the wholeness He provides despite the pain of life’s experiences - churches have multi-generational ministries that change homes that change cities that eventually bring changes to states and even nations! For these children, life stories are altered and a new ending is written, changing the course of history for future generations. THIS, my friends, is the beauty of discipleship. Oh how I love God’s plan!

I woke this morning with a very old song ringing in my heart. “Ask of me, and I will give the nations…as an inheritance for you,” the Father says. “Here am I, send me to the nations as an ambassador for you…” my heart sings back. Without a doubt, THIS is what I want to give my remaining years to. I’m 57 years old and have no idea how old I will be when I step through heaven’s gates. I want to live each day for the One I love and be His voice, His hands and feet to continue His mission of discipling generations to know, love and follow Him. I may not be able to rewrite history for the multitudes, but I can be a part in God’s plan to rewrite life stories for the ones He puts in front of me. One tear wiped away; one wound of abuse healed; one marriage saved or parent who learns to love and raise their child God’s way; one young person discovering the joy of salvation and the fulfillment found in following Christ….each story-line edited and carefully rewritten to a victorious end by the Word of God.

For me this is the song that will not end, “Here am I - send me to the nations…”

Carla Ives