She had a quiet spirit about her and a face that spoke volumes of the hardships she'd experienced in her mere 16 years.
When I started the Rehabilitation Home, she was one of the first to come and live with me. We spent many days and nights talking, as girls love to do. A boy had impregnated her and left her.
Alone, rejected, and abandoned, she had little hope for her future. Her biggest dream, being able to go to school.
She became indispensable to me. Helping with translation, resolving the many conflicts between teenage girls, and she quickly became a trusted friend. I had no idea that at such a young age, I would become a mother. But almost overnight I was feeding, clothing, giving advice, and bandaging the broken hearts of 11 girls.
Pauline's heart was very tender and as the healing came, so did her love for Jesus.
I remember the many nights we spent praying that some day God would send her a godly husband who would love her with all his heart so she could get married.
I can see the incredulous disbelieving faces of the girls now as I told them, that this was God's plan for them. That no matter where we've messed up, or what has happened to us, no matter if we have a child and are afraid no man will love us, that God's good plan is to give us the desires of our hearts.
His plan is always redemption.
Picking up the gold glittering in the dark.
They looked at me like, “Yeah, right.” Sure, Mama.
Slowly, I began to watch them start dreaming, start hoping, and this was the scariest part of all. To think that now open, now softened, they might be crushed again.
I could only pray, “Father show them your goodness.”
Through the years, I've watched Pauline grow into a woman I'm so proud of. She accomplished her dream of finishing school and went on to a degree course in Accounting and soon became our first Financial Officer at Zion Project.
She met a great man who is head over heels in love with her and her son, and loves God. Their dream was to get married. The hope grew.
We began dreaming and planning for a mass wedding where she and Mark would finally get married. As time drew near, her father had still refused for them to move forward. Here in Uganda, one of the major obstacles to marriage is a high dowry price the future husband is supposed to pay to the parents.
Pauline cried and we prayed.
Move heaven, for this one.
Pauline kept trusting Jesus, and I kept pleading.
A few weeks ago her father finally gave his permission.
Tomorrow, Pauline will put on the gown that I wore on my wedding day and walk down the aisle to her beloved. Tomorrow, the fulfillment of her dreams, the crown for the many years spent alone and waiting.
Many others—the broken, the former prostitute, the ones others had given up on, will commit their lives before God to love only each other.
In a country rife with polygamy, this is Heaven's precious gift.
The victory sweetest after the long, hard fight.
I am reminded that this is a miracle. A healing of a different kind. Not in the body, but in the soul.
And in a nation.
Her life, a stone of remembrance, that Father keeps His promises.
In the middle of all the chaos, in the midst of the swirling storm, the gold on her finger glitters against the night.
And I am as proud as a mother can be.
*Want to say a special thank you to all of you who donated your wedding dresses to make this day very special. Hopefully it will be the first of many weddings to come. Pictures to follow.....
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