"And if you SPEND YOURSELVES on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday."

"The Lord will continually guide you. He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."- Isaiah 58:10-11

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Baby Thoughts...

The past few weeks I (Ann) have been thinking about babies. Doubtless this is due to the baby experiences we’ve run into recently.  I am struck at the simple value of every life and yet the complex range of circumstances surrounding the birth of each child. There’s a verse in Psalm 139 that keeps passing through my mind. “For You (God) formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” According to God, a child is never a mistake and each one is carefully and uniquely crafted.  They do change life for those involved however.  Maybe you can relate to one of these stories and can ponder life with me.

Baby Experience One - Last weekend, we went to a baby dedication.  It was a noteworthy day primarily because of the family dedicating their son.  There was a mother present, which is typical in Kenya.  Usually the mothers come to church and even if they are not regular attendees, they dedicate their children.  The significance was the fact that there was a father present as well - and not just any father, a really good father who is not only alive, but is committed to raising his children well - a man who is committed to his wife, and a man who is a leader in the community.  It was joyful to celebrate their son and their family.  It felt good to be there and to celebrate the fact that this was the way God intended a family to function. 

Baby Experience Two - Just a few days ago, we welcomed a new baby into the children’s home.  She is precious, beautiful and a gift.  (pic of Daisy)
It was not a planned incidence however.  Her mom, one of my favorites, arrived at the home in 2009 after she’d been raped.  She was 13 and pregnant and though traumatized, she delivered a healthy baby who is delightful.  Last fall, she started struggling emotionally and began to exhibit rebellious behavior.  She ended up running away twice.  We knew her location was safe but, because she refused to return, we thought she was gone for good.  We don’t force children to stay here.  It was really hard.  After several months of being on the run and realizing life outside the home wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, she apologized profusely and begged to return.  It was a process, but she is now back with us and is a changed girl.  During her absence she became pregnant, and now we are helping her manage this hard road she has ahead of her. 

Baby Experience Three – There’s a young girl in this community who we’ve befriended.  Two days ago, she pulled me aside and, with tears streaming down her face, told me she was pregnant.  She’s 16.  She is the classic story of hundreds of young girls here.  She was born into a fatherless home.  Her mother is incompetent.  A generous relative offered to take her in at the age of 10.  She’s basically like a servant to the family. Though she goes to school and is given food, she spends all of her additional time watching cattle, washing clothes or dishes, hauling water, or cleaning.  She is desperate for love – desperate for someone to tell her she is worthy and valued.  The first boy that came along and told her she is beautiful and that he loves her became her savior.  She soaked these words in like a parched woman in a desert.  Without hesitation, she gave herself to him.  Now she’s pregnant and the cycle continues. 

Baby Experience Four -  There is another young girl in the community in the same situation as the girl above.  However, her mother took matters into her own hands and gave her herbs to induce labor in order to abort the child.  She became gravely sick and was bleeding to death when we were contacted about her situation.  In a series of miraculous events, we were able to rush her to a hospital and save her life but, unfortunately, not the life of her precious child.  This was one of the hardest days I’ve had here as I had to sit with her after her abortion while her dead child lay in a basin next to us.  It was horrific because of the life lost and yet miraculous because of the life saved. 

Life can be hard.  Only a small percentage of situations seem to live up to all that God intended them to be, primarily because of our own bad decisions.  But, even though living up to God’s plan can be seemingly impossible, God desires to be with us through every moment in our lives lived here on earth. He works through even our intentional wrongdoing to provide a way for us to reach out and find Him to begin afresh with Him at the lead instead of ourselves.  Every life is incredibly precious to God and so valuable He was willing to send Jesus to earth to pay the price for our wrong actions to make a relationship with Him possible. He knows we don’t deserve His love and forgiveness but that is why His gift is so ridiculously full of love and grace.  We just need to reach out and take it by asking for forgiveness and asking Him to lead our lives.  And then, like a new baby, we experience a fresh start. 

Thank you for pondering these things with me.  We are so thankful for the role you play in our lives.  May your day start fresh today…

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