Kwibisa* approached me after our third day together in Zambia.
“Cindy, I need to talk to you.”
We pulled away from the 100 or so caregivers, community leaders, and church leaders who were gathered to learn how they could better care for the vulnerable children in their midst.
“Cindy, I want to tell you my story.”
And I stepped onto holy ground. Time disappeared as Kwibisa shared with me her story of loss, betrayal, and eventually redemption. Her parents died when she was four. And she went to live with her grandmother. Though she missed her parents, her childhood was happy. She was bright, articulate, and as she grew up it became apparent that she had a gift. She was headed to medical school.
Then one day, her aunt showed up at the door. “Come with me,” she said.
Kwibisa was a bit confused, but went with her aunt to the next village. What happened next altered the course of her life.
In that village, a man waited for Kwibisa. He had paid for her. And now he took her.
Afterward, Kwibisa walked in pain and shame back to her grandmother’s home. Telling her grandmother was impossible. And so Kwibisa buried the shame. But shame can lie dormant for only so long. It comes out … one way or another.
In a few months, Kwibisa realized that she was pregnant.
Unable to face the shame, Kwibisa ran away. She found work as a typist, and several months later her baby girl was born.
Kwibisa is a rare woman. Though this child was born out of betrayal, pain, and so much loss, Kwibisa welcomed the baby girl. Cared for her. Provided for her. But Kwibisa never told her story. Until she told it to me. Holy ground.
As I listened and prayed and listened some more, Kwibisa shared that the story of her life is the story of so many others. Through Holding Esther she had learned that healing, and ultimately freedom come when we share our stories. And so she shared her story with me.
Our stories, laced with pain and watered with tears, are holy. The enemy would have us believe that there is no grace. That we will be rejected if we tell our stories. That our shame defines us. But the enemy is a liar.
The third day brought resurrection life to Jesus. And on that dusty afternoon in Zambia, the third day brought resurrection life to Kwibisa.
Perhaps today is your third day. Perhaps today is a day for you to share your story.
If you don’t have a safe person with whom to share your story, please write to me and tell me your story. And I will hold it sacred. And together we’ll see the Lord bring healing.
“He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.” Psalm 37:6
*Kwibisa's name was changed to maintain her privacy.