Sacrificial Love

On Monday we got to interview 2 new moms for the project.  It is always a very moving experience to be able to hear their stories as well as their struggles and to offer them a place in the project.

As we interviewed one of the moms I was struck by a phrase that we throw around a lot within Christian circles, but when I meet someone like her I start to wonder if I really understand what it looks like in practical day to day living.  That phrase – Sacrificial Love.

As followers of Jesus we point to Jesus as the ultimate example of sacrificial love and ourselves as the extraordinarily blessed recipients of that love.  However, I am struck by how often I fail to walk out that Jesus brand, sacrificial style love that He calls me to freely give as I have already received (and continue to receive) from Him to others.

Maybe it strikes me deeper since we currently are in Lent – a time when we talk more about sacrifice as we reflect deeply on Jesus’ sacrifice as well as our call to love Him and others sacrificially.  I was struck by how often I have given up chocolate or Pepsi for 40 days and called it sacrifice, while this mom lives it daily.   All I know is that it got me.

This Mom told us her story that is filled with struggle and pain.  When we got to the point where we asked her what her child is eating I had a difficult time holding back the emotion.  Her daughter is 14 months old and she tries to breastfeed him as well as feed him baby cereal.  She sells charcoal along the road and whenever she makes 150 ETB, she goes to the grocery store and buys another box of baby cereal for him.   She, herself, typically does not eat, but rather takes her income to try to provide for him.   It probably takes her about 7 days of charcoal selling to have enough to buy that box of cereal for her baby.

But, she loves her baby sacrificially – to the point of going without so that she could have a little.

As we talked we learned that she is worried about her baby.   Her 14 month old baby recently had some health issues that made mom fear that she was dying.  As we talked longer we also learned that a dog had recently bitten mom.  She was afraid that she was going to die because of the bite and that her baby was dying as well.  This is the background to why some of our staff found her along the roadside one day, crying, deeply concerned for her baby and wanting to give her up so that her baby could live.

The rub is that to spend 10 minutes with this mom it is very easy to see how deep her love is for her daughter.   It is also very evident to see how much this baby loves her mom.  We want this loving family to stay together.

As we talked, we had the privilege of sitting with some trained medical folks who explained to mom that her daughter was fine overall and with nutrition could become strong and healthy.  They also treated her dog bite and let her know that with a little further treatment, she will be okay and be around for her daughter.

We also got to talk about how EHE can help both herself and her daughter nutritionally as well as in other ways so that they are getting what they need to grow and thrive. And, that she no longer needs to think about giving up her baby – they can stay together as we partner together.

One Mom’s example of what love looks like.  A sacrificial brand of love that was about fully giving herself in order to care for another.   It looks to me a whole lot like Jesus brand love.  I want some of what this mom has got.

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