She’s with me when I wash dirty dishes.
I see her when I drive in the car.
I’ve never met this woman, and yet she’s everywhere in my life.
She humbles me when my material stuff seems to be in short supply.
She haunts me on days when my kids are frustrating and my patience is also in short supply.
She comes to mind when I am sitting warm in my house and raindrops fall outside.
My life has been changed by hers, and I wish I could tell her that one day face-to-face.
You see, all that I know of her is a bracelet that she made. A bracelet that I try to wear at least once a week, just to keep her close to me.
It’s made of paper beads, and it’s a beautiful bracelet, to be sure. I chose it because of its contrasting colors and intricate patterns.
But I have to admit that I purchased the bracelet because of the artisan that made it.
A brief note about this woman (along with her picture) was attached to the jewelry:
Vanessa is a mother of two boys. One lives with his paternal grandparents and the other has been relinquished to adoption after spending two months in the hospital for malnutrition. She loves her children and is often visibly upset by her loss. She just wants to be able to raise her children and provide for them.
I don’t know her back story—the unique puzzle pieces that answer the “whys” and “hows” behind her tale.
I can assume, however, that this woman knows heartache, pain and misery like I have never known.
As a woman living in the earthquake-aftermath of poverty-stricken Haiti, not only has she probably lost several loved ones, but her life overall must be extremely difficult. Every day she faces challenges that I hope to never endure.
And yet, she is no different than me. She was created by the same Heavenly Father, and is adored just as deeply. Her life (and the potential for her impact in the world) is no less than that of mine or yours.
I read through the note again, finding myself in a woman that lives a very different life from mine:
“Vanessa is a mother of two boys.” (So am I).
“One lives with his paternal grandparents and the other has been relinquished to adoption after spending two months in the hospital for malnutrition.” (I can’t even begin to imagine my children living away from me. And what about the guilt of knowing that one of my children spent time in the hospital and now has to permanently live with another family because I couldn’t feed them enough?)
“She loves her children and is often visibly upset by her loss.” (Her pain must be unspeakable. Mine would be.)
She just wants to be able to raise her children and provide for them. (At her core, doesn’t every good mom feel this way?)
This weekend, as we celebrate all that our moms mean to us, I wish that I could sit down with her over a cup of tea and let the Lord speak to her through me.
I’d share how her life is changing mine—a life being lived half a world away.
I’d tell her that God wants to use her pain to bless others, and that, in fact, He is doing that right now.
I’d encourage her to keep on going—to keep doing the best she can to push through the difficulties.
I‘d make sure she knew that her life mattered, and that God hadn’t forgotten about her.
So today I’m pouring a cup of chamomile and praying for you, Vanessa. Happy Mother’s Day.