You know that popular Christmas song that goes something like this, Last Christmas, I gave you my heart. The very next day you gave it away?”

If you’re not familiar with it, then chances are you haven’t turned on your radio around Christmas for the past 5 years.  Even when I lived in Russia in 2011, our interpreters would be caught singing these catchy lyrics

This song has nothing to do with orphan care, and everything to do with someone getting their heart broken from a romantic relationship.  But this year, as I listen to this catchy song that is not meant to spur deep emotional thoughts, I couldn’t help but be moved to tears as I thought of the 40 orphaned girls that I gave my heart to last Christmas.

And then something dangerous started to happen, I started to think too much.

What if that’s how THEY feel?  That they gave me their heart, and then I left.  And then I forgot about them. And then I gave it to someone else?  And now they will refuse to ever trust and love anyone ever again?

Orphan care can be messy. It can be tricky. And it can leave you feeling guilty.

I will be the first to admit that I have screwed up when it comes to helping orphans and children who, as result of their unfair childhoods, have attachment and trust issues.  The more I learn about the effects of trauma, neglect, and abandonment on their lives the more I realize how little I knew yesterday on how to help them.

There is a book circulating titled, “When Helping Hurts.” It talks about how people have actually done more damage than good when trying to alleviate poverty and social injustice.  Although this book makes several great points, I think it has also paralyzed some people from stepping out in faith and doing something for the Kingdom of God.

I have regrets.  I have concerns that I’ve caused more tears than bursts of laughter.  I have doubts.  But I also have a gracious, compassionate, understanding, and powerful God who is the driving force behind my love and dedication to orphans around the world!  And His perfect love will prevail.

He is the one who “will never leave or forsake” them (Deut. 3:16; Heb. 13:5).  He is the one who “works for the good of those who love him” (Rom. 8:28).  He is the one who fights our battles (Ex. 14:14; 2 Chron. 20:17).  He is the ONLY reason we will ever be victorious in this fight to eradicate the orphan crisis (Psalm 20:7-8).

Does that mean I have a free pass not to learn and grow in my knowledge for orphan care? Absolutely not! But it does mean that I can build on what I know about orphan care, and do my best to prove to those 40 girls in India and to every other orphaned child that I have been BLESSED to meet that I have not given my heart away.

In fact, little pieces of my heart are scattered all over this world because I am not with them.

So, although I am not with you, Feba, Thomas, Jessica, Kirill, Vika, Bangiri, Manju, Nastia, Egor, Usha, Mike ….. for Christmas 2015, I still give you my heart and I promise to never give it away.