Monday, August 27, 2012

the important things

sitting before me in a beautiful black huipil (shirt) with handsewn embroidery around the neckline, i look at this thin little girl in front of me as my mind travels to what her life most likely entails on a daily basis. although she has not told me any of this, i know that a few years ago, she would have left her father, mother, and siblings to move in with her husbands' parents and any siblings that are still at home (the custom here for all families). and as a young girl in love, i am sure that she had dreams and hopes of the life that she and her husband would lead as she knew she would follow him anywhere... even to a bedroom in her in-laws' home. and as i notice the weariness in her slumped shoulders, i am led to see more... she is not worried about her washing machine breaking - as all of her clothes are hand washed - and she has never heard of a dryer. she is not worried about her "second home" having a two car garage or a beautiful array of kitchen cabinets - she does not even have a first home. she is not worried about whether her children will make it into the "elite" preschool and go on to be doctors or lawyers - she is happy if they make it past their fifth birthday. and i am sure that she has long ago forgotten those dreams that were so set in her heart as she ran away into this night with the man that was to be her husband. i see the exhaustion set in the lines on her face, and i know that at the young age of 19, she has already aged well beyond her years. and i know that a few years and two kids later, the sacrifices she has made for her marriage and children are already great...

and so, she emphatically shakes her head "no" as i repeat the question "are you sure you aren't pregnant?"... although even i catch the small tremor of fear pass through her face as she turns to her husband, her eyes begging him for agreement. and as he looks at her with a shrug of his shoulders that says, "how am i supposed to know?" my mind goes to the fears that he also has tucked away in the recesses...

she and her husband are from a village (cruz chich) that we also work in on a monthly basis - a very large, gorgeous village set up high in the mountains. the primary source of "employment" (as is true in all of the villages that surround our area) is agriculture (corn for sure and beans if they are wealthy enough to buy and plant them), and in this particular village, the corn is all planted by hand on extremely steep mountainsides... mountainsides that often wash away with the torrent of rains that drench the ground this time of year, washing away all the hope of a harvest along with the soaked earth. although we have witnessed personally how extremely family-oriented cruz chich is (a seemingly rare characteristic in our area), i know that despite their high regard for their children and their beyond willingness to help each other out, a third child will not only add to their work load, but also add to the many mouths already in this household that will need to be fed... that a pregnancy will mean that the mom will not be able to do all the work that she normally does as her level of exhaustion and belly continue to grow... that this young man's mind must be already turning back to the baby girl sitting on his lap - 1 yr old and 15 pounds; she is the real reason they came in today... to see if there was anything we could do for her swollen little belly and diarrhea.

and so, as i place the ultrasound probe on this thin mom's abdomen after much persuasion on my part, my heart already starts to go out to them as i find a very much alive little 8 week baby inside.

as i watch shock and confusion and then a resigned overwhelmedness register on their faces, i sit down next to them, praying that God moves me aside and speaks His words of hope at this time, especially as i am aware of the "coat hanger" methods that, in desperation, they use for abortion here. i start with how i KNOW how much work kids are... to which they both emphatically shake their heads up and down, eye wide with understanding! but, then i remind them also what a joy they can be, that they will not be this young forever, that they will not be this much work forever, that this is a season of work - and a work worth doing. they quietly listen, nodding their heads every now and then. i continue on, asking them if they know Jesus. the husband actually smiles and gets a teasing twinkle in his eye as he says, "when we go to church... which is rarely." glad for even a small smile as an open door, i smile back and talk to them about how great our God is and how much love He has for them... how when we are at our weakest (and really, how often are we more weak than when we are exhausted from having been up 63 consecutive nights feeding a baby every few hours with one or more active toddlers in tow along with housework and normal life functions? ha), His strength is that much stronger.... how He is longing to reach them through a relationship with His son jesus... how His Spirit will give them the power and strength to get through each moment of each day. while i know that the wife, who speaks primarily quiche only, was not understanding all of this, i was somewhat amazed as i watched the husband focus on the words and process what was being said. i implored them that when they go home and think and talk through all of this, if their thoughts turn to abortion, to please come back and talk to us, as we know many families who long for a baby of their own and would love to adopt. and then i asked them if they had a bible. the husband was quick to say no, and i asked them if they would read it if i gave them one. the husband answered yes, and accepted the bible i handed them more readily than i would have expected.

as we finished getting the wife's vital signs and her little one year old set up on our nutrition program, i watched as her husband took the bible outside, opening it up to some of the books i had tagged as good ones to start with.

as i have prayed and thought of them since then, God has also reminded me of so much... how much sacrifice and work the important things in life take! how the key to life is giving more and more and more, and in the irony of this faith we live, it is through this process that He fills us, blesses us, takes care of us, comforts us, and shows Himself the greatest. that at that point where we are absolutely sure that we cannot possibly give anymore - that we cannot possibly have this third or tenth child or we cannot possibly continue to pour out to those around us without the help of a spouse or cannot possibly daily juggle work, family, and all the financial responsibilities on our plate - that at that moment - when we turn to Him - we discover that we are just starting to understand how to truly live... that when everything is taken out of our control, we are finally starting to see who we really are and who He really is... that we are able to see how blessed we really are and that even though it may still be hard, how GOOD our God really is!

"the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; i have come that they may have life, and have it to the full!" john 10:10


Blogger Samantha said...

Thanks so much for sharing. I am always reminded of how God works when I read your posts. SO thankful to know you and see God's work played out in your life.

11:12 PM  
Blogger Samantha said...

So thankful God used you in their lives, and allowed me the blessing of reading this post. I always need to be reminded to trust God to handle what I think is my domain.

11:13 PM  

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