Its been just over two weeks since the young women arrived to stay at the RAP (Ratanak Achievement Program) Community home. I feel like a new mother who just gave birth to 13 children except in this case they are teenagers! With each day I find myself asking them how they are doing, did they sleep well and eat well. Overall, the young women have been enjoying the greater ''freedom'' and independence of living in this transitional home. Our team too has been adjusting to new schedules and new programs. Two of the young women are working full time while the remaining 11 are going to school and so we have found ourselves rotating dropping young women to school and to work. In the midst of all of this constant movement of picking up and dropping the young women to different school locations or work places, a few of the young woman had some serious illnesses. I found myself at one of the nearby hospitals spending hours with different young women as they underwent tests.
In all of these activities, I couldn't help but reflect on the fact that this is what if feels like to be a mother. Just watching one of the young women as she lay in the hospital bed getting medical treatment and seeing her cry as an IV tube was inserted into her hand. She felt the pain and winced. I felt so bad for her that she was suffering and there was nothing I could do to ease the pain. Other times, it was receiving news from the doctor that a particular medical treatment was not working and seeing the frustration and anger of one of the young women when the medical tests came back showing that the medicines she was taking was not working. It is times like this where God has been filling in the gaps. We are constantly casting our cares on Him knowing that He has created each one of these young women and when we have reached our human limits to help them, we leave it to Him to heal them completely.
So these past two days it was a time to rejoice after spending much time at the hospital that two of our most serious medical cases were on a journey towards healing. The new medicines were working, the young women had more energy and were full of joy. Yesterday they even helped me make a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Today, I was touched when one of them came into the office and gave me a handmade picture she had made out of paper.
The drawing says ''To All the sisters (staff), you are the light for this flower. You are the fertilizer and water for helping this flower grow." Indeed for this young women to define herself as a beautiful flower is a reflection of the value she is seeing in herself. Indeed they are beautiful flowers made in God's image and as I think of all the medical challenges and the numerous hospital visits we have made with these young women in just these two short weeks, this picture is a reminder of the privilege we have on a daily basis to plant God's seeds in His garden. It is is a privilege to nurture their journey to wholeness and to tangibly see how appreciative they are of the time we have spent with them in the midst of their sickness. Like a proud mother, I have pinned this picture to our office wall as a reminder to all of our staff that the Lord wants us to be His light and to shine His light as we walk together with the young women at RAP sharing their burdens and lifting them up when they fall down. At times it is not easy but we celebrate these small victories with them as we see them experience healing in their bodies. We are thankful for the opportunity to invest in them and empower them so that they indeed can grow strong in Christ and achieve all that He has planned for their lives. Today when one of the young women came back from the visit to the doctor, she came right up to the office to joyfully report that she was healed. Just 4 days ago one of my staff and I had prayed with her to not give into resignation and discouragement because of some of the medical concerns and we asked for God's intervention on what seemed to be a bleak situation at that time. To see her smiling face today, full of energy and joking around was a gift --a gift of thanks to the Lord who is not far from those who are broken hearted and crushed in spirit.
The light of God is shining in the RAP home and the flowers that were wilted are coming to life again as the Lord breathes His life in broken places and strengthen those who have been bowed down.