How I Got Wrecked for an Ordinary, Comfortable Life

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“For me, that’s what it means to be ‘wrecked.’ To have my heart broken for the people of this world and say, Yes, God, I’m in … over and over again.”

By Idelette McVicker | Twitter: @idelette

This month, Author and blogger Jeff Goins released his latest book, Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into your Comfortable Life.

It’s our SheLoves/SheReads choice for this month, perfect for who we are as a community, desiring to transform our world together with Love. Living this better story does not mean driving the Volvo (a la Donald Miller), living in a beautiful home or waking up to the smell of coffee. Those are lovely things, but that’s not what compels my heart. That’s not what gets me up in the morning, for one. I believe we want our lives to mean something more.

That quote by Mother Teresa is in my home (ok, it’s in the bathroom). It reminds me of how I want to live and it’s become the prayer of my heart:

“May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.-Mother Teresa”

For me, that’s what it means to be “wrecked.” To have my heart broken for the people of this world and say, Yes, God, I’m in … over and over again.

Here’s why:

I got wrecked the first time when I woke up around the age of 16, having grown up in South Africa under Apartheid, and realized my life was based on a Lie that perpetuated systemic injustice. It really meant I had the comfortable, privileged life, while my neighbours—people living on the other side of the poplar trees, suffered immensely. How I could have been blind to that for so long requires a very long answer and I started writing about it here. What I can say now is that when I woke up to the ugly of Apartheid and my part in it, I was utterly wrecked. Shattered and broken. And it’s been a perfect place for God to start working in justice and mercy and Love.

I got wrecked a second time when my mother-in-law invited me to help her write a prayer journal about God’s heart for suffering women. When I learned that one in four women in our world suffer from abuse, at first I wanted to say, Abuse is not my issue. Let others deal with it and talk about it. But, as I read my Bible, I couldn’t get away from God’s heart for justice. When I came face to face with the ugliness of abuse—the many forms of it, from emotional abuse to the extremes of human trafficking and things like bride burnings, I couldn’t look away any more. I was wrecked for God’s heart for women.

I’ve been wrecked for an ordinary, comfortable life ever since.

– I got wrecked at The Journey, a three-day retreat hosted by Linwood House Ministries for women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The most marginalized women in Vancouver–often prostituted women and drug addicts–come and find a sacred space where they are loved right where they’re at.

I got wrecked attending my first Amahoro Africa gathering in Kenya three years ago when I was invited in, found mercy and community and experienced blessing in my African identity.

I got wrecked on that same trip, visiting the hair dressing school I’d raised money for in the slums of Nairobi.

I got wrecked when I took our family to visit Keamohetse in South Africa. When Gabrielle, our eldest, was in preschool, her class had collectively sponsored this little girl through World Vision. All year that year, Keamohetse was in our prayers and on our lips. Every Friday, Gabi took some of her own money to give towards Keamohetse’s sponsorship.

I got wrecked when we drove up to the World Vision center and the staff had made a poster: “Welcome home, McVicker family.” Imagine me–the white, Afrikaner daughter of Apartheid–being welcomed into the holy of holies–African community. I was undone.

– I got wrecked seeing my girls walk hand-in-hand with little Keamohetse in her pink dress; then licking ice cream and eating chicken at the KFC in Botshabelo. I saw a picture for a new generation and I began to see the glimmers of redemption.

I got wrecked when I spent a weekend with my backpack in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) and found rich community amongst the poorest people—economically speaking—in Canada.

I got wrecked when I spent that Friday evening in the DTES, laughing and crying with women at The Great Room, not needing to perform or do or host or bring anything, but being accepted simply for who I am. A woman. A friend.

I got wrecked driving back into my comfortable neighbourhood, knowing I would have to fight here to stay awake to God’s heart for hurting people.

I got wrecked last year walking the streets of Berlin and meeting prostituted women from the poorest countries in Eastern Europe. I will never forget sitting on a couch in Café Neustart, holding a young woman’s hand as I painted her nails. I had nothing to give her, except that moment of my prayer, my presence and a heart aching for her to discover God’s Love.

–  I got wrecked last year when we ran that half-marathon for women in Northern Uganda whose faces had been mutilated in the civil war.

– I got wrecked, because my friend Tina had been wrecked.

– I got wrecked then meeting some of these women, with Tina, in Gulu in May.

– I also got wrecked when I became an immigrant nearly 13 years ago. I crossed oceans, continents and language to make a new home with Scott, my Canadian husband. I became intimately familiar with loss and loneliness and starting over.

– I got wrecked when I discovered I’d lost my South African citizenship. My own fault, but I felt the loss so deeply.

– I got wrecked when I heard there were people in our world who don’t have their own ID cards, because then I knew—even a little—what it felt like not to belong in your country.

– I got wrecked when I put up my hand to say, Perhaps we could do something about those ID cards.

– Then I got really wrecked when I got to be there in Bubanza, with Tina and Kelley and Rene, when some of the women received their ID cards this past May. (I even have a picture to prove the state of my wrecked-ness.) That day, when we danced on Holy Ground.

 Being wrecked for me, is facing my own brokenness and yet seeing God’s grace sweep through that. When I sat with that girl on a couch in Berlin, I knew how easily it could have been me. When I met the women and children and Bubanza, I found freedom from my own story in theirs.

Being and living in this state of brokenness—a heart shattered for the things that break God’s heart–is the only life I can imagine living now. I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s an adventure. It’s often hard, but it’s the really good kind of hard.

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How have you been wrecked for an ordinary, comfortable life? I would love for you to join me in writing out your moment or your story of getting wrecked:

I got wrecked …

Or if it’s more than a sentence, why not link up a whole post? I’d love to read it.

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If you want more of this—more God, more of this wrecked life, filled with the goodness of God—please join us for a conversation with Jeff Goins today at 10am PST. We’ll be hanging out on a pretty cool platform called shindig.com. Imagine it as a virtual living room. Come join us here: http://shindig.com/event/sheloves

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About Idelette:
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women.

I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth.

My word for the year is “Roar,” but I have learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice.

I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago.

I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet@idelette.

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Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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Idelette McVicker
  • fiona lynne

    I meant to email you when you first sent this out to the mailing list. It was so good to read more of your story, more of what makes you you. Not having been around SheLoves from the beginning, I sometimes feel I’m missing the back story that some of the writers have already shared. Today I feel I know you better, and from where I sit it looks beautiful.

    • Thank you, Fiona … The irony is, as I’ve stood with others to write and share their stories over the past two years, I haven’t had as much space (time, emotional, etc.) to write some of mine. It’s been good, though and I am starting to share more. Sometimes I fight against that voice that says, “O, it’s too much. You’re too much.” I’m learning to push through anyway.

      Btw, I’m not intending to turn the newsletter into a blogpost every time. I do mean for our newsletter to be exclusive content, but we made an editorial decision last night to go with this one, in light of today’s shindig event.

      I so love getting to know you here. xoxo

  • i love this. thanks for sharing.

  • You – knowing you, loving you – has wrecked me, Idelette. Love this.

  • I am being wrecked by His challenge for living a life of radical obedience to do any. thing. He designs for me.

  • Good lord woman. This is beautiful.

    • Thank you so much, Melissa! I loved your letter to your teenaged self …

  • This makes my heart ache – for the places in my soul that have been “wrecked”, and the places that need wrecking. Thank you, Idelette.

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