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Lean In

Posted on Jul 1, 2015 by in Faith | 3 comments

His body was bent and contorted in ways no body should be; every joint turned the wrong way, like a broken deer on the highway. Impossible even to sit in a chair, he was draped over a beanbag chair on his tummy to accommodate the spine that curved like an “S.”  Although he was technically in his teens, he wore a diaper, and inarticulate sounds IMG_7751emerged from his mouth.
I raised my camera but it felt like a thin place between earth and heaven and I stopped, put it down. I couldn’t bring myself to capture the full picture of his poor, damaged body, even though I knew he was not aware. Even now, it hurts a little to bring him out here in my tiny little place online. Most of us wear our brokenness on the inside, carefully concealed and smoothed, like icing over the cracked cake, but his body is his brokenness and his identity by default.

Before we entered the special needs Orphanage in Nicaragua, I had prepared myself with these words, Lean into the discomfort. Mission trips bring out the flesh and the flesh hates discomfort. I wanted to move forward when my tendency would be to hang back, to reach out when my flesh wanted to draw away. So I knelt by the beanbag chair he lay upon and stroked arms and legs, talked to him by name. Gently I removed his shoes and began rubbing his socked feet. His movements increased along with the vocalizations, but I couldn’t actually tell if he enjoyed theIMG_7755 contact. Someone that day had taken the time to put socks and shoes on these feet that would never, ever walk.

Nearby, another team member cradled what appeared to be an infant who was actually three years old… To read more, click over HERE>

Lord, when did we see you in need and help you?
Whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40


  1. Thanks for putting things into perspective, Ashley!

  2. Beautifully written Ashely. Your eye for detail and reflections take me right back to those sweet souls. I can’t wait to read more!

  3. I remember both of these children from last year and the year before. The little girl was dressed in pink. She was so beautiful with her dark skin and black hair. She looked like a little doll laying there. Even though her eyes were closed I couldn’t help but touch her, rub her little arms and talk to her. It causes tears to come to my eyes even now.

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