Lili´s classmates share their stories of suffering and redemption
The Costa Rican Blue Morpho, after coming out of its cocoon
Crosses are displayed Holy Week
This will be our first Holy Week in Costa Rica. Many folks here use it as vacation time, going to the beach for a few days. For Christians, it´s also a time for remembering Jesus passion, both his suffering and his victory.
Jesus knew terrible things were to come. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed, “Take this cup from me…”, after which he was arrested, beaten, tortured, humiliated and killed in an extremely painful way. When we listen to the details of Jesus´ last hours before his death, especially the crucifixion, it is hard to hear about his intense suffering.
This past month it´s been hard listening to women in the advanced level class of Pastoral Care for Women share their stories. It´s part of their training; they must learn to share their pain but also recognize where God is at work in their lives, in order to offer hope and help to other women.
I share the main points of Lili´s (not her real name) testimony. Her father and mother weren´t married so her father pressured her mother to abort her. Her maternal grandfather molested her at a young age. When her mother married, Lili witnessed her stepfather beat her. By the time she was 9, a teacher had obliged her to perform oral sex and her female babysitter had also sexually abused her. As I listened, I asked myself, “How much suffering can a child take?”
At age 14 Lili went to live with a Christian couple as their maid. They were a light in the darkness for her, offering security, a different family model and a new set of values. She married at age 21, had three sons but ended up alone again after her husband´s repeated infidelities. She then fell into a destructive lifestyle, hanging out with a wild crowd, drinking in excess, and even the occult.
Again, God placed a woman in her path who prayed for her and to whom she finally confided all her deep dark secrets, all those painful details.
Jesus´ suffering and death had a purpose: to atone for
the sins of all humanity. The
resurrection was a victory over sin, death and evil.
Lili believes that she has been resurrected, been restored because her return to God has changed her life. “I´ve been alive for 5 years now,” she says. God placed the Christian woman in her life, and the classes at Pastoral Care for Women that showed her the way toward healthy self esteem and healthy relationships. She found artistic painting which has served as a healing process as well as a way to bring in money for her family. “For me the butterfly is a beautiful symbol, it has come out of its cocoon after its struggles. I, too, feel like I´ve gone through a metamorphosis.” Lili ended. She will soon graduate and wants to help other women find this same hope.
As Jesus brought us life and healing, we Christians try to do the same. That is why I find working with “Pastoral Care for Women” so inspiring and worthwhile, not for the horrifying details of suffering, but for the hope we can offer for healing because of what Jesus did for ALL of us in his death and resurrection. As you celebrate Easter week, pray for those who are suffering around you and around the world. Share God´s victorious hope and salvation with others.
Thank you for making it possible for me to accompany this ministry in Costa Rica.