After tiresome hours of exhausting labor, I vividly remember my first moments with our eldest son. I close my eyes and am instantly transported to his every quirk; hearty squalls giving birth to his voice, eyes prying open for their first time, teeny tiny hands clenching into fists, but what I remember most are his feet.
Oh, I just love precious baby feet. Grabbing, kissing, and yes, smelling these teeny appendages is like therapy to me. Am I the only odd one who wants to bottle and sell the newborn baby feet smell?
Each and every detail intricately etched by the Master’s hand comes to fruition in this perfect portrait of two precious feet.
As a new mom there are so many decisions that consume us. What’s the best way to feed them? Should I put them on a schedule or feed on demand? Cloth or Disposable? Let them cry or rock them to sleep? Turquoise or neutral for the nursery?
Anxieties escalate as we attempt to wrap our brain around all that it entails to care for this new bundle, and even our 100th read through of “What to Expect When We’re Expecting” doesn’t settle us.
It’s a fact. We will never know what to expect. If we did, some may never choose the blessing.
Yet as I leaf through this best selling baby care guide, there’s a chapter missing; one which none of us ever knew was needed.
“What to expect when I can’t provide the most basic needs for my child.”
Why hasn’t anyone marketed that? Why isn’t that slogan plastered on the Must Read list?
Precious mother, Lily, puts a face to that question, and Compassion’s Child Survival Program, a system set up to equip,educate, and meet needs of mothers with newborns up to age three, answers the question.
As we entered the humble home, Lily’s sweet spirit welcomed us. People scattered trying to find seating so we could pull up a chair to hear her story.
Her story, a story which made my momma heart roar.
Her story, a story that unfolds amidst injustice, desperation, depression and survival.
Her story, a story now written because Compassion International and the local church desires to come along side her, educate her, and free her family from the bondage of poverty.
And then we experienced the latest chapter in her story.
Her daughter’s precious baby feet.
Last month, her daughter, left in the care of a relative, toddled into a pot of boiling water and received third degree burns. Immediately, she knew her daughter needed medical care, but she had no money for medicine, let alone a doctor. She shared that she did what she could, which was to wrap the burns in some dirty rags.
Infection set into the leg.
Through her tears and the English/Spanish translation, the heavy burden she carries permeated our presence.
From the Compassion workers, I found out that burns are a common occurrence. Without assistance from Compassion, many mothers leave children unsupervised as young as three years old. They learn to cook over a fire or use a dilapidated oven at an early age. Mothers have no choice because if they don’t find some work, there will be no food, and without food, their children don’t survive, so the vicious cycle continues. Compassion knows that the greatest attack on childhood mortality within developing countries hits before the age of five.
FIVE YEARS OLD! That’s something they don’t address in “What’s to Expect,” and this momma heart can’t quite put into words the emotional processing of what I saw today or what theses mothers and children live with day to day.
But I know one easy thing.
We can write the next chapter. We have the privilege of punctuating sentences by changing one sweet child’s family tree.
Fortunately for Lily, Compassion, partnering with the local church in her area, stepped in and wrapped their arms around Lily. They were the hands and feet of Jesus as they provided transportation, food, and paid for all medical bills associated with her accident.
My heart ached as I saw her precious foot, but my perspective changed over the course of the day.
Those scars symbolize so much more in her story.
Those scars mark survival and glimmers of hope in an otherwise hopeless life story.
Those scars demonstrate that God intervened when Lily had no where to turn.
Those scars serve as a reminder that there was One much greater who bears our scars so that we might have life; LIFE more abundantly.
Oh sweet friends, the stories our scars can share.
Join my family as we help write another chapter in a Peruvian child’s life story.
Here are just a few pictures from Day 1 in Peru. Throughout the day, follow along as I am posting live updates and pictures on both my Facebook Page, as well as instagram. (@jenschmidt_beautyandbedlam.)