Last Monday our team transitioned from the Jurassic jungles and volcanoes of El Salvador into the old, ancient cities and Mayan ruins of Guatemala.
We crossed the border on foot, and instantly we could feel the change of pace in the atmosphere. There was so much work that awaited us in a place that, both physically and spiritually, is full of ruins.
On one particular afternoon we visited a safe home for abused women. We sat in a circle wreathed with stiff, quiet women, including a fifteen-year-old girl named Marta* who remained silent and unresponsive for the first forty-five minutes we were there. As one of the girls from YWAM Guatemala shared her testimony with a message, and I decided to pray that she would feel secure and open enough to speak – for reasons still unknown to me.
After the message was over, we were given the opportunity to individually pray for and talk to the ladies, and so I leapt to my feet and claimed Marta’s shoulder with my hand. A lovely, patient translator came with as my wingman, and we began to pray.
After a few minutes the prayer ended and she opened her watery eyes, and instantly the layers of fear and concealment peeled from off her heart as she allowed herself to be vulnerable with me.
I learned that she had been abused by her uncle just months prior to that day. God then impressed on my heart to respond by sharing with her my testimony of a closely similar experience. As soon as I did, her eyes lifted from off the ground and right at me. I was able to personally encourage and relate with Marta. Jesus was soaking up the vulnerability and heaping blessings of ignited confidence and hopeful strength right into her spirit. God LOVES vulnerability. As soon as I opened up my life before her, something broke. As soon as she put her heart in a state of openness, God engulfed her soul with love, security, and joy, and He banished the fear and tainted views of herself.
When we put on humility as clothes before God and lower ourselves, He doesn’t just leave us down there in the dust, but He bends to our level, stands us back up and brings us higher than we were before – closer to Him. He responds with love, favour, and reconciliation! He guards out hearts by not fortifying them, making them impregnable, or either leaving them ‘unmanned’, but He keeps the bad stuff out and flushes away, as through a sieve, anything that is bad within, and He only lets in the good stuff. It’s a promising paradox; the more we are vulnerable with God, the more we are protected.
By Natalie Harvey
*We have changed her name has been changed to honour and respect this amazing young woman.