She was 16. Our relationship was both longstanding and newfound. Longstanding
because I first met her years earlier as a child in the ministry I had worked with, and
newfound because God knit our hearts together as I stood with her in the greatest
struggle of her life. She had become pregnant through no fault or choice of her own.
Nothing but a bleak future stood before her and her unborn child. It was in this time
that God called me to her side. Never before have I been given such love and
compassion for someone who had essentially been a stranger. What could I do for her?
How could anything I did make a difference when I was in Rwanda for under three
To that, God said “Feed the hungry.” It was within my means to meet some very
immediate physical needs, so my husband and I did just that. It so happened in God’s
great sovereignty that my brother was sponsoring this precious one. So as we delivered
food, we also got to bring words of hope and encouragement from her sponsor across
the world. I stood in her home with her in my arms and my husband relayed these
words through tears that God said, “Bring hope to the hopeless.” My heart was forever
lost to her that day. The Lord allowed me to be the vessel of His intense, pursuing love
Through simply listening to her story, acknowledging her wounds, and committing to a
continued relationship, she felt like someone truly loved her for the first time in her life.
She began to believe that the God she had prayed to saw her even in her shame. Christ’s
hope started to be a light in her smile. While my intention was always to support her in
every way possible from home, what I didn’t know was that hugging her before I left
would be the last time I would get that opportunity this side of heaven. Disease took her
from us only three months later, but not before she delivered and loved on her beautiful
baby boy. I wrestled with my God over this loss. I mourned for the life that could have
been. I cried for her son who was without the one person he had in this life. And I
wondered. I wondered why God connected me to her with so much love to pour out but
for such a short season. Why did I have to mourn this? Why did I have to feel so
immensely for someone just to lose her? While I knew that I would never regret
showing her His love and seeing the change in her heart, I just felt so let down that this
was the end. It wasn’t happy. It wasn’t what I hoped for.
I can’t say I have gotten all the answers I have wanted from God, but moving forward He
says to me, “Care for the orphan.” Before she died, she got to know that we were
committed to her and this little life she bore. She knew that we intended to do all we
could to help provide for her son. In the end, he was her greatest concern, and God
allowed me to be used to bring her peace.
Does God need us to accomplish His plans? No. Does He use us? Absolutely! We are the
privileged when He does. So as you follow Christ, spend yourself in loving in His name
and for the sake of the gospel. Allow Him to pour into you a love for others that is
beyond your understanding. It will require sacrifice. It may leave you with aches and
tears you didn’t ask for. You will never regret it!
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19