I don’t remember the exact moment we met. She had big deep brown eyes, a cherub face and blonde hair just like her mama. She had just turned one – you know that stumbling phase where they are awed by a world they can finally touch. Her mom wasn’t too far removed from her life on the streets trying her best in a new world. She was in discipleship school. I remember her coming to the door once in an oversized men’s coat and handing me the baby not wearing pants. It was January and it was cold.
I bawled my eyes out talking to Bev Kline, the founder and director of a ministry for women and families looking for an alternative. Bev just listened and told me the importance of loving mamas and not just babies. I don’t remember much aside from my snotty tears and her gentle convicting statement. Love had to be the motivation.
So I set out to love them both. I remember her car seat in the backseat of my two door car. She slept in my dorm room sometimes. I took her to Dallas for the weekend once. I was a reprieve for a mother trying to find a her way. And I loved hard.
We ended up in central America together on an outreach. She was an angel baby – sharing a room with bunks, and a twin bed with her mom rather than a crib in a nursery. At one ministry, they spoke truth and life over her mother and invited her to come back and live there. My jaw dropped. What was happening? This was not my plan for this situation.
And that brave mom said “yes!” She wanted to go back and get her life in order, learn how to do life and how to be a mother in a foreign land. Soon I found myself driving down winding country roads with her in my backseat again and so many tears. I couldn’t imagine saying goodbye to that sweet cherub face for who knows how long. I prayed and gave her back to the Lord and peace swept into the car and my heart. Miraculously, my heart settled in an instant.
About a month later, I went on staff with the maternity home nearby. I have countless other stories like this. I’ve always had a heart for mamas and for babies – as long as I can remember.
Sometime later, the mother and baby came to the states for a visit. She had done the work and peace and a settledness rested up her. The little girl reached for me and laid her head on my shoulder. She recognized something, her spirit remembered because love is never lost on any of us.
I’ve held 15 year olds hands while they delivered babies. I’ve walked babies from their mamas arms to their new family. I’ve lived with these young moms and their newborns for months at time while they decided if they could parent or if the best decision was to to place for adoption. I’ve lived in the attic of a house full of pregnant teenagers. They would climb the stairs in the middle of the night with contractions and knock on my door. I’d send them for a bath or let them crawl in to bed while we waited for someone to take them to the hospital. It wasn’t always convenient, but was my privilege to love these girls and their families.
I am no hero, that is not the point. My story is just a drop in the bucket compared to the selfless love I’ve seen so many demonstrate. I am just a story teller.
I’ve witnessed so many people love. I’ve seen families offer their homes to babies and toddlers who normally sleep on the streets. I’ve seen my own parents as empty nesters give up their guest room to a new mother struggling to figure out how to take care of a newborn.
We can do this. We can love because He first loved us.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:3-7