Wednesday, May 02, 2012

seeing beyond

It's Friday and women are gathering on the front porch of Heartline's Maternity Center.

Every Friday they come for one reason or another.

Some come simply to listen to Agathe as she teaches and shares from her heart and from the Bible.

Some come hoping to socialize with other women and enjoy a bit of fellowship.

Others come for birth control, attempting to better space their children or completely prevent future pregnancies.

Many come ten or fifteen weeks pregnant, seeking admittance into the prenatal program. Some come close to their delivery date, wondering if they can give birth at the place they have heard has kind and gentle midwives.

A small handful come to meet with nurse Wini for blood pressure monitoring and medication.

Some come sick, hoping to find a medical clinic that can help them.

For those reasons and more, many women come each and every Friday.

Among the women, the oldest and youngest stand out. The faces of women ages 25 to 40 are beautiful and unique, we notice them; but the face of a 14 year old, a 50 year old, are easy to pick out of the sea of faces.

"Did you see that tiny young girl?"
"Oh dear, is that older lady pregnant?" we ask one another as we wait for the Bible study to end.

One young face comes almost every Friday.  Week after week she tells Agathe and Wini that she thinks she is pregnant.  Each Friday she is given a pregnancy test.

So far, each Friday the test is negative.

Eventually Agathe asks her, "Why do you want to be pregnant? You're very young."

She hesitates.

Agathe asks in another way, gently encouraging an honest response.

"I heard that you have a house for teen mothers and if you are having a baby you can live there."

Our hearts and shoulders drop in unison.

You see, in cultures and countries of deep, long-standing poverty, things get pretty complicated.

Long-range thinking and planning is not a part of the culture of the poor.

Living in today means not thinking about the 18 years of raising a child, but instead about the immediate - when you're pregnant and you might have a house. You might have food in your tummy every day.

What is intended to be an answer, can sometimes become a problem.  What is intended to be helpful, can be misunderstood and misconstrued.

Seeing beyond the surface is of the utmost importance for all of us.
Our hearts ache for these young women.
Our prayers remain steadfast...

Provide for each one Your love that cannot compare, a peace that won't be squashed, Your grace perfectly understood and received, provision for today, and hope for tomorrow.