On Monday, Faith’s* Father, brother, and cousin visited. I felt honored to see a glimpse of her life and family, even though briefly. I wasn’t really able to converse with them, but I did get to point out how she writes her new name (she changed it after baptism last year) and the beautiful jewelry she makes. I knew Faith* was really excited to see her Dad, but anxious about the questions that might be asked. So, in the morning she asked me to pray about it before she left to meet them. I was pleased for her openness as I sensed her concerns. Besides her father wanting her to marry, nearly all of her family (besides her father) do not know that she is a Believer, and as they are Hindu, I think she fears their comments, ridicule, and lack of acceptance. Faith* left in the morning to meet them, and then returned with them near lunch time. When she walked back into the building I asked her how things went and she said, “It was good,” with a big smile on her face.
As Faith* walked out to say good-bye to her father, brother, and cousin– Zoe* and I stood alone in the workshop. She looked over at me, and with the most honesty and vulnerablity I’ve ever seen from her, she said, “If my mom and dad weren’t died; I think of how they probably would have visited here like some of the other girls’.” My heart swelled with compassion for her as she looked at me… eye to eye, and began to cry. I hugged her and told her, “but you are still loved.” She responded with, “I know I am loved.” Then I expressed to her that I know it must be hard, and make her sad, and though she does not have parents at least she has a sister and is not all alone her family. As I wrapped my arm around her shoulders and stood in silence for a moment I could sense the tears falling down her cheeks… and she let them. These kinds of emotions aren’t really expressed by the girls and Zoe* of all people to see this from was incredible. Then after a few moments she began to quickly try to wipe them away with her top and I told her, “it’s ok to cry… it’s good to feel our emotions and we need to cry sometimes.” Really. I think the look I received from her may be tucked away in my heart forever. Honesty and vulnerablity open the doors to new life and freedom.
I find myself telling the girls things like, “I want you to know how God loves you,” more lately as I do Bible studies with them in the morning as I teach, and Friday nights. Sometimes I feel like they are only half listening waiting for me to finish, and then there are those times when they look up, nod, and take it in. I’ve noticed Hope* in particular paying more attention lately. It makes my heart rejoice. Truly, God’s love is amazing, so unconditional, and we are so undeserving. But with these girls sometimes I just want to shout it! “God loves YOU!” It’s like I can feel it bubbling out of me. What God can do for us— giving us true freedom, peace, and joy is seems too good to be true sometimes. But God steps out of those limitations, and it makes me want to do the same for Him. I want these girls to know how much I love them… and God loves them. He accepts them, he accepts us. His Love is perfect, it never fails- Just as I shared with the girls this week from 1 Corinthians 13. Learning to love in ways you don’t know how, loving when you feel disrespected, and worn out does something to a person. It can either become an obstacle, or it can give you fuel to move forward… To move forward in love. This is what I choose.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” – C.S. Lewis