The Kindness of Jesus Gives Hope and Help to Women Worldwide
By Amanda DeWitt
“I have no choice but to be enough.” Her words were strong and resolute. Like so many women around the world, Ruba feels the weight of being “enough.”
Women are the bedrock of society in developing countries. They raise children, teach them hygiene, prepare food, and connect with other families in the community. Yet the pain — and loss — so many of them endure seems cruel, especially given that these losses often are preventable.
Every day approximately 830 women die from preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Daily, 15,000 children die before their fifth birthday — 7,000 of these deaths occur within the first 28 days of life.
So what can we do to make a difference? How can we say “enough” to the women’s health crisis while also letting women around the world know that they are “enough”?
You Are Enough
As Unto® team members entered a refugee camp in Uganda, they sensed the grief hanging in the air. Over 80,000 South Sudanese people had taken refuge in the camp due to civil war in their home country. The people had no idea when — or if — they would ever be able to return home.
Over the course of three days, our team conducted a women’s health training for nearly 50 women who gathered to learn about health, hygiene, and childbirth and to learn about spiritual topics.
Ruba was one of the women who gathered and shared her story with the team. During the lessons on pregnancy and midwifery, she shared stories of her many childbirth experiences — the first at age 16. Coming from a country with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, she was grateful to be alive.
During the last day, the women discussed “heart wounds”— the unseen hurts every person carries with them. Ruba shared that while fleeing violence in her home village, she and her children were separated from her husband and parents. They ran one way. She and the children ran another. It had been three years, and Ruba still had no idea where her family was. She is now the default head of her household.
Ruba told our team,
“I’ve spent my whole life being told I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t smart enough. But now, I have no choice but to be enough. My children are relying on me … Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for showing us that God believes we are enough.”
Ruba’s story shows the heart of Unto’s women’s health initiative — not only sharing valuable health information, but also sharing God’s abundant love for women.
The Kindness of Jesus
Jesus lived and taught radical love and kindness. He looked outcasts in the eye. He spoke to beggars with respect. He touched the sick despite their disease.
His treatment of women was the most shocking. He broke societal norms as he spoke to them in public. He ignored religious customs when He let them learn from His teachings and sit among His disciples.
If you look at most of Jesus’ interactions with women — and anyone else who was hurting or in need — you find two key components to the kindness Jesus showed.
First, Jesus was deeply moved by the pain of others. Second, His compassion prompted His action.
We should do the same. When confronted with the needs of those around us, we should look them in the eye and listen to their story. We should allow ourselves to feel deeply and act prayerfully.
If a cause repeatedly comes to your attention, if a person’s face often comes to mind, if a story about someone’s suffering keeps you up at night, consider how you can help. Even a small action can make a difference.
Despite improvements in global healthcare, still so much remains for us to do. And as followers of Jesus, we have the opportunity to share both help and hope with those in need.
What can you do to say “enough” to the women’s health crisis and let women around the world know that, in Jesus, they are “enough”?
You can help women and others living in tough placesWhen you give to the Maximum Impact Fund at Unto, you ensure agile, effective ministry continues. The fund provides support where most urgently needed for the ministry’s three programs: Food and Agriculture, Clean Water, and Critical Aid, which includes the Women’s Health Initiative. It also enables a quick response to emergency requests.
Published May 17, 2019
Amanda is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Gift for Leadership, Kindred Spirit, and Christianity Today publications. She holds a M.A. in Media and Communication from Dallas Theological Seminary.