photo credit: Joanna Howard
Keeping the charts updated. That was one of my very first jobs Beth gave me at Heartline. It was the perfect job for me. I could barely speak Creole. I was uneasy about grabbing a pregnant lady's belly and trying to figure out if her baby was head down or breech. I was not quite ready to ask a pregnant woman some extremely personal questions about her body...questions one would never bring up normally in polite conversation. Questions, I'm not even sure I could ask with a straight face, cause I'm mature that way. So...thankfully the files and I got to be great friends.
The task of updating the files was given to me early on in our time in Haiti. I'd come to Heartline, pour over the files, write down due dates, sit with the women during their exams while at the same time...at home..Aaron and I were having hard, oftentimes heated conversations about what our futures would look like. Will we stay in Haiti after our nine months at this school are over? Everything in me wanted to go home.
There were days when I hated Haiti, and I hated Aaron for wanting to stay here. Actually there were a whole lot of those days. Never once did I think we should leave before the school year was over. We had given our word. The boys were happy. As hard as it was, this would be good for us. I had peace we should be here. But after nine months? After our commitment was over? I wanted to head home.
In moments when the conversation would get a little loud or ugly, Aaron who is never the loud one or the ugly one would calmly say, "Let's not talk about this for now. I'm just going to continue praying that if we're supposed to be here that by the time we have to make a decision you will want to stay."
When I am fighting mad and Aaron says crap like that it makes me want to kick him in the teeth. Sad, but true story.
I'd go back to Heartline, oftentimes sitting alone in an exam room with the charts, updating them before prenatal visits. Those charts have been splattered with tears more than once. The tears would fall as I'd replay the conversation I had with Aaron the night before about wanting to leave. Why am I such a butt? They'd fall as I'd write down a due date...July 2...and realize I won't even be here to see this baby born if we leave. How can I cry about staying and cry about leaving?
I know God speaks to people. I know some people even say they have heard God talk out loud. I'm not one of those people. What I do know is that I kept getting this really clear message in my mind as I'd fill in those prenatal charts..."these pregnancies...your life here in Haiti...they are linked." I felt this tug on my soul...like God was whispering to me to find Him in these charts...in these pregnancies...they were deeply connected. Every single week. Me. The charts. Trying to find God somewhere in them.
We only made a nine month commitment to be in Haiti. Aaron was praying my heart would change. I would smirk off to bed after an argument with Aaron saying things in my mind like, "Pray all you want. This place sucks. There's nothing good here. How could I ever want to stay?" I'd also say things in my mind like, "Up your nose with a rubber hose" because again...I'm so incredibly mature.
Nine months. That's all we committed to be here. After nine months, we could go home...hopefully returning as better people because of our time here. People who could better understand the needs of the poor and be better informed as we advocate for the orphan.
At the same time God graciously gave me a front row seat to many pregnancies. Coincidental they are nine months? Maybe, but maybe not. I know I've seen our story in these women's growing bellies. I've seen a visual of the Kingdom of God. It's hard here. I've not gotten any better at tolerating the noise, the indescribable heat, the cold water, the lack of hot water, the traffic, the corruption, the trash, and how frustrating it is to get anything...I mean one dang thing...accomplished in this country. But I've seen babies born. I've seen new life appear. Rewards after a long, hard, oftentimes scary pregnancy or labor. No matter how long or hard a pregnancy and labor has been, there is always a beautiful reward. I've seen growing something good and strong takes time and hard work. I've seen how very little any of us humans have to do with new life, growth, the mystery of birth...this is God's territory. This is miracle making. This is the stuff of heaven.
In big picture things and little picture things these growing tummies and births have found the Lord whispering sweet, sweet truths into my ear. Truths about time...about a Kingdom that is coming...about how a pregnancy is only the beginning of something even more lovely...a relationship between mom and child that is deep and real.
I see our life in Haiti wrapped up in those wombs. Growth takes time. Learning takes time. Serving takes time. Loving the Haitian people takes time. There are no quick fixes, and thankfully God is the one doing the knitting. We've simply sat back and watched Him at work and have been invited to stay and see a little more of what He's up to in Haiti through Heartline.
We are staying in Haiti. I can hardly believe I just typed that sentence. God has truly changed my heart, and He's used expanding bellies of all things to do so. I mean...we don't want to leave right after the "baby" is born. How could we? I'm seeing how the nine months we committed to stay has only been the beginning of so much.
We won't be at QCS next year. Aaron will not be teaching. Both Aaron and I will be working at Heartline.
Many posts to follow as we fill in a lot of the gaps in this story and share how we feel the Lord is leading us. Once again, we thank you for being along on this journey with us. Your prayers and your encouragement continue to bless our family. So many of you pray for us, and in that you are connected to what God is doing. Thank you.