When ministry hurts your heart

I have shed a lot of tears over the last few days.

I normally cry at sappy moments in movies, milestone moments in my children’s lives and weddings.

This isn’t that type of cry.  This is a gutteral “why are you letting this happen, God?” cry from a deep place in my heart.

One of the hardest things about ministry for me {recovering type-A control freak that I am} is that I am not responsible for the outcome.  I am responsible to run hard after God and to love on teen mama’s unconditionally.  I have zero control over what happens as a result.

There are 35+ teen moms in our ministry and they each have a piece of my heart.  Some get under my skin more than others, mainly because their story resonates with the road I have walked.  Most of the time, while exhausting, time consuming and stressful {and did I mention exhausting?}, it is a fulfilling job.  We celebrate graduations, we set goals and work towards them, we help restore relationships and show these girls who they can be in Christ.  We get to see God at work on a daily basis and it is truly amazing, humbling stuff. Literal miracles take place before our eyes and we get to be a part of something so much bigger than us.

The enemy is there at every turn though, trying to undermine the baby steps these girls are taking towards a better life.  His lies are easy to fall prey to when they are the same tune as the soundtrack of your life.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy… John 10:10a

Stealing dreams, killing hopes, destroying lives.  And, sometimes, despite our greatest efforts, it works and we lose a precious mama to the old and familiar.

It doesn’t happen often but when it does, it guts me like a fish.

I grieve.

I hurt.

I do not understand.

I cry.

Then I remember that He came to overcome.  That some day this battle between good and pure, downright evil will be over.  And the thief will not win.

I also remember that it took me quite a few years to let walls built by pain and betrayal even begin to come down in my heart.  I recognize the strength it takes to draw the line in the sand and refuse to let the cycle continue.  I know that the pull of the past is like an undertow, at times you don’t see it coming until it has drug you away from the shore. I know all of that in my mind.

Telling it to my heart is a whole different story.

My heart wants to quit.  My heart wants to say “this is too hard”.  My heart wants to not care so much.  And the bossy-mama-bear in me wants to get a hold of the wayward ones and drag their behinds back to a good place.

And, then I remember that there are still 34+ mama’s and babies that need our unconditional love, attention and grace.

So, I do the only thing guaranteed to make the situation better.

I remind the precious one that she is loved no matter what and we are always here.

And then, I get on my knees and beg the One that already knows how her story ends to hold her close, pursue her heart, heal mine and to please come back quick.  This battle weary worker is tired.

Hanging on this promise:

The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10



  1. Shelby DellaRosa says:

    You touched my heart, Melissa.  I hope one day my heart will be as open and loving as yours; my walls are still up and you’re just loving all-out.  You’re amazing.

  2. Absolutely beautiful and so very relevant for me, at this moment.  Thank you for investing in these girls.  I know the feeling all too well of closing up and saying, in my case, over and over and over, “it’s too hard, and I’ve given up too much to be here”, and in the end it only undermines my ministry and let’s the enemy win.  Thank you for the encouragement. 


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