Mothering From Afar

As a child you have no idea what will become of the friends you played Barbies or had spend-the-night parties with.  One of the sweetest things for me is to see how God chooses to use some of my childhood friends in extraordinary ways.  Michelle Kopp is one of those friends.  I love seeing the adventures she is living out in Alaska with her husband and children.  To read more about what Michelle is doing you can read her previous post here.
My family and I live in Galena, AK. “Why are we here?” It’s a common question, and I’ll be sharing a bit about what the Holy Spirit has encouraged me to do recently.

 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.–1 Corinthians 15:58

Imagine this with me: You are a teenage girl who has grown up in a small village, accessible by plane or snowmobile or maybe by boat in summer, but not by car any time of year. You know each person in your village and are related to many of them. You graduated high school and live at home helping out the family, especially your younger siblings, and working a job.

pregnant teen1You find out you are pregnant, and it’s a bit of a surprise. Wow! So many things to think about with this small bundle of life now tucked inside you. Will you keep baby or give baby away? Where will you and baby live? Will you be able to care for a baby and still work?

As the last months of pregnancy roll around, you prepare to fly to Anchorage (about 500 miles away) all by yourself, where you will wait out the last month of pregnancy until the arrival of the baby.

Anchorage is a huge city, so different in so many ways from your normal village life, which seems impossibly far away. You do not have a vehicle to get around in, or an opportunity to stay with people you know, so you stay at a hotel. You are nervous about giving birth. You feel unprepared and a little scared and so alone.

You begin to discover new questions coming to mind. What do contractions really feel like? What is dilation? How long can labor last? They say you might get induced. What is that?

And I know you. I met you when you came to the boarding school in Galena. You’ve been to my house for a baking night out with other teens and your RA. I remember your smile. I sat by you at basketball games. You’ve been in church on Sundays. You’ve talked to me at potluck and shared stories of home and hopes for the future.

And when I see your Facebook post about the baby, I’m so glad you are choosing life, but I feel other things too. I’m sad that you face difficulties and that you are alone and unprepared. I’m frustrated that I am far away and can’t be more hands on. I’m mad at the way others mistreat you or use you. Most of all I am heartbroken.

I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point that your stories don’t break my heart. This ‘story’ isn’t just about an imaginary you, but about ‘many’ that have found themselves on a similar path. So what can I do? How do I respond?

I can pray to the mighty God who is the author and giver of life. Every day I can pray. I can be available for ‘mothering from afar’, trading face-to-face talks, Facebook messaging and texting. I can answer questions and give encouragement. I can point you to the gospel.

Why are we here?  The Lord has brought me here for things such as this.

Who has our Lord placed in your path that you may be overlooking?

When the Holy Spirit is gently nudging you to take action, are you?

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.–1 Corinthians 15:58

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