Nearly a year ago, I met a young Kurdish woman who ran and tucked herself into a corner, hoping to remain unnoticed, when I crouched down to enter the door of her humble home.
Later, my friend – the pastor’s wife in that village – whispered to me that she was childless after three years of marriage, and her husband’s parents were about to cast her out. She would be returned to her family, used, unwanted, and with no hope of ever remarrying and having a future.
You can read the full account of her story
Delor’s eyes and the memory of her shadow in the corner never left me.
When you live overseas in a developing country, you see needy people everywhere. A part of you becomes numb to the state of their well-worn shoes, their torn and smelly clothing start to become normal attire, and their begging and desperate eyes no longer haunt you.
Then I met Delor. I knew I had to help her.
Her mother-in-law told us that Delor would cry herself to sleep every night while praying for a child. She kept the floors spotless, the house warm, the dinners ready. She strived for perfection – anything to earn her a permanent place in the home. But, none of that was enough. A child must be born!
During our medical seminars with the Kurds that week, I remember sitting in shock as a group of women, my age, confided that all of their husbands can be found in the arms of a prostitute from the neighboring village weekly.
Delor longed for a child. She toiled to earn a place. She was to blame. Delor’s in-laws had taken her to the doctor and he confirmed that the problem was hers alone. Yet, her husband desired to be found in her arms only once a month – on the day that he chose.
The American doctor met with Delor, and met with her husband. They both committed to strategically try to have a child and they both acknowledged a need for God in their lives. We prayed for healing and that God would allow them to hear the sound of little feet echo in their home.
As we left that day, Delor looked me in the eye, whispered her thanks to me and took my hand in hers before returning to her dark corner next to the furnace burning cow dung.
I made a promise to the family that day. If Delor and her husband follow the doctor’s plan and still do not have a child in 6 months, then I will take her to my fertility doctor in Armenia’s capital city.
Six months came and went. I was afraid to go back. I was afraid to find that Delor remained hopeless. If I am honest, I was nervous about spending $1,000 or more for the treatment. I feared that if I took her to treatment and it was confirmed that she had an untreatable physical problem, that she would immediately be cast out of her home.
But, I KNEW I had to. Her eyes. Her shadow. Her story.
In April, as we drove the road to her village, I was praying for guidance. Praying for wisdom. Lacking faith.
When I walked into the door of her home, there was an immediate smile on Delor’s face. She grabbed my hand firmly between her two hands and whispered hello.
Her toothless and desparately thin mother-in-law proudly proclaimed, “Delor is 4 months pregnant! We were going to cast her out of our home this month if she did not produce a child. But she’s a good wife. She’s expecting!”
Oh, God. Why was I expecting her to remain barren?
But, here in this remote village in a nation that most have never heard of, you heard the cries of a young woman. You felt the tear-stained pillow as she whispered prayers to you in the night. You, amidst the billions of people in the world, looked down and saw Delor.
Soon those old, cracked wooden floors of that Kurdish home will be filled with the sounds of jumping, running, and the walls will echo with laughter!
You are a God that takes the barrenness of our lives. You mold us, You strengthen us, You sharpen us through the difficulty. And then, you whisper to us that You were the quiet presence standing with us all along the treacherous road.
When it was time to leave Delor’s home that day, she followed me outside, put her hand on my arm and whispered a quiet thanks. Even in the whisper, the joy bubbling up inside of her was unmistakable.
Soon, she will be irreplaceable in that family. Delor will be the mother of the only grandchild and the only future that family has.
In Delor’s story we can all find hope. God does not dwell in the mansions of the self-made rich, or in the minds of those who have it all figured out.
He is found in the streets of Calcutta,
in the hearts of the searching,
in the words of the humble,
in the deeds of the truly kind,
in the unquestionable faith of a child, and
in the tear-filled nights of a forgotten Kurdish woman.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”
- Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount –Matthew 5:3-5