This is a guest post from Rebecca McDonald who is serving with her husband Barry in Haiti. They are on a BIG mission with a BIG purpose that was derived out of their pain. Here is their story and a way for you to join them.
In 2007 our life took a really unexpected and heartbreaking turn. During his birth our Son Isaac died. I don’t want to rehash the story for those that know our history, for those that don’t you can read Isaac’s story here.
Instead of the past I want to focus on the future and the redemptive story playing out in our lives everyday. Too often when bad things happen to us we linger in the grieving pit to long, we don’t allow those close to us or our loving God for that matter to help us heal and we find ourselves stuck.
I definitely found myself stuck at more than one point in the grieving process and I didn’t even contemplate trying to fall pregnant again for many years.
Those years were hard, there are no ways around it tragic death just stinks and no one is prepared for it. The seemingly pointless nature of tragedy is what I think hurts us the most.
Why God Why was a common question coming from my lips. I now see the error in my pain induced line of questioning. Instead of why, I should have been asking How.
How will you use our lives now they are shattered into tiny pieces? How will Isaac’s life be remembered or valued? How will you heal us and make us whole again? Those would have been better questions and with the advantage of hindsight and many years of healing I can see that now.
The good news is He took my Why questions and gave us the answers to the How questions anyway.
When we first arrived in Haiti we quickly became part of the Heartline community. Heartline has been faithfully serving the women and children of Haiti for well over 20 years. The have all kinds of programs and I encourage you to check them out here.
One of the Heartline programs is a Maternity Center. It’s a truly wonderful holistic program, that not only cares for women with dignity and respect but it truly works. Evidenced by the educated moms and the sweet chubby babies that are the result of the program. The center walks along side every mom and educates them on eating properly, drinking enough water and what it will take to raise each precious baby in Haiti.
They fight the myths that have plagued this country for decades. Myths like “Breast milk is bad”. “Colostrum is poisonous” and so many more. They fight to change these ideas and they fight for these women. They give them a safe place to give birth and they provide postpartum accommodation so the ladies can be cared for in those important bonding hours post birth.
I can’t describe the program to you well enough for you to understand, my words do not do it justice. It is a truly special place, with incredibly talented and loving people who run it caring for the beautiful souls that depend on it.
The maternal statistics in Haiti are hard to stomach.
1 in 83 women will die during or shortly after childbirth (lifetime risk)
52.44 babies die before their 1st birthday for every 1000 that are born.
The statistics here go well past shocking they make me want to cry and scream because most of these lives could have been saved. Husbands could have been spared the grief of losing a wife or child, and many babies would not have to endure life in an orphanage if their mom had not been one of these numbers.
I find myself falling back into old habits screaming Why God Why?
In spite of my question asking in inadequacies. God choose to again answer the How? Barry was given a specific vision. A HUGE vision. A painful and seemingly CRAZY vision. Barry wrestled with the vision for 6 months. He felt unworthy, incapable and completely inadequate for what was being asked of him. At some point he gave into what he knew God was asking him to do. Fast forward to today.
In 71 days my courageous husband will run 12 marathons over 14 days running from one side of Haiti to the other.
I know what your thinking “Why would someone do that?”
The run will shine a light on the redeeming and beautiful ways this broken country is being healed.
It will shine a light on what the moms of Haiti go through. It will also highlight what can be done to write a new story for maternal care in this country.
The run will also raise $800k to build the new Heartline Maternity Center. The new center will quadruple the size of the current program saving more and more precious lives.
I know it’s a bold vision, some days it’s a scary vision. We are 71 days out and I have absolutely no idea how God is going to pull this off.
But what I do know is this; the same God that pulled us out of the deepest valley we could imagine, is the same God that held our marriage together when everything around us was crumbling. He’s also the same God that cares deeply for the women of Haiti.
He is not deaf to their cries and is not blind to the injustice, and He’s a God of action always working to bring beauty from the ashes.
The best part is that we all get to be part of this BIG BIG vision, you don’t have to be a bystander you are invited to help write a new story for the women of Haiti.
To donate to this cause and support my run at the Women’s Running Magazine 1/2 marathon on November 18th go the Run for a Cause PAGE at Weekend of Wins.
My goal is to raise $1000 or more to help Heartline Ministries build a much-needed maternity ward for the women of Haiti. Michelle Howe
Please share this post. A life may be saved just by sharing it with someone who is able to give out of what God has given to them. Thanks!
- Run For Life Haiti: The Local Story Behind the Running Man (blogs.abc.net.au)