Pieces of the Long-Term Puzzle


We’re on the topic of change, of course I need to update you on my dear friend Nadine.

Life isn’t easy for her right now. It seems like it never is, doesn’t it? I’m praying for her heart continually as I know that God is chasing her down.

Despite a rough living situation (she doesn’t really have a place to call home, more of just friends and half siblings who are willing to open up some space that Nadine knows she cannot count as permanent for her), Nadine has changed since I met her last June. Like Maxon’s unstoppable laughter, she’s more prone to joke with me, smile at the details, and come off overall as a happier person (on the good days).

The baby who used to sit in the corner is now the literal center of attention, climbing onto Jessica’s lap as nails are attempted to be painted around her.

But more than that, there’s a soft side that has revealed itself. The vulnerable side that comes to me in tears, “I don’t want to put my daughter in an orphanage.” The seventeen year old mother who feels that it’s her against the world and doesn’t know what to do about her daughter for normal occurrences for an 11-month-old that she has no one to advise her on.

Nadine loves updating me on the newest teeth to emerge, and showing off the six that Wes has off to new people. Everyone adores Westhalineda’s pure joy and laughter, and as they talk about this and how beautiful her daughter is to each other, Nadine will sit in the background with a quiet smile on.

She is paying someone back who fought with her over a phone issue, she’s asking about every detail in Wes when we have teams here who can possibly help.

She’s taught me so much about the culture that we jokingly call her my mother, and she gently redirects me when I need it – not because I ask or she needs to, but because she wants to help me. Sometimes she’s blatant about it “Stephanie, you pronounce that word wrong every. time. Now repeat it for ten minutes with me until I correct it enough that you’re right.” – but even then, it’s because she “wants me in Haiti a long time” and “wants me to do it right when I’m out.” (You know when you tell your friend a hard truth, for their sake when they’ll go out in the not-so-forgiving public? That’s Nadine.)

Amanda wished her Happy Valentines Day with a kiss on the cheek and her entire face burst open with a huge smile.

She proudly poses Wes for pictures and asks me to send them to my mom, she gets in the picture too and asks me to send it to Jessica, my sister.

God is so good, isn’t he? I’m so excited that I get to be a part of her life. I may not say that out loud in the middle of the harder days, but even when I’m at the end of my rope I’m so thankful that our lives get to be intertwined.

You see, I’m just a piece in Nadine’s story, and she’s just a piece in mine. Just as Maxon’s story explains waiting on the Lord instead of controlling a situation ourselves, Nadine reminds me that I’m not the main player in the story anyway – the One who CREATED Nadine is. I’m simply a piece to be used with my “Yes”.

I didn’t even know Nadine existed for the first sixteen years of her life, while he stitched her together in her womb.

My prayers are being raised up after a lifetime of prayers have already covered her, including a woman who took her in when she was an infant but died in the 2011 earthquake in Port-au-Prince. Unexpected, that caregiver would never have known that she would not come back from market that day – but God knew. She was a piece.

My time with her is building on time from years past in a church of our friend Enoch. Imagine my surprise when Enoch was in Bercy with us and greeted her with a big smile and asked where she’s been over the past few years – she used to be a member of his church! As pastor, he’s wondered where she disappeared to! She used to come to his house with others after church and attend the services on a regular basis. That body, that pastor, those services and the people around her in them – more pieces. I was shocked and praising God for his long term plan as I processed that encounter.

I am not the cause or source of change, but instead a piece of God’s lifelong plan for it that gets the joy of seeing some happen in front of me – then I shout what God is doing from the rooftops. Nadine’s life didn’t start in June – a fact that sounds laughable at it’s simplicity but honestly slips our minds in the middle of serving people or watching them transform (or waiting for it). It’s not up to us, and we’re not the one who moves hearts when we enter a situation. God created the situation and He, the maker of hearts, has a plan for lifelong change.We don’t get to see the big picture and all of the players or pieces, but we do get the promise that he hears our prayers and does not waste a thing, especially our faithfulness to Him.


3 thoughts on “Pieces of the Long-Term Puzzle

  1. Stephanie, Your reflections are amazing and thoughtful. Thank you for all you are doing. Thank you for opening up my world. Janet

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. After putting pieces of a puzzle together for the women’s retreat this weekend that represented all of the people that God has used to shape our lives, I am picturing all of the pieces for Nadine. I love that you met her old pastor confirming the belief that God is continuing to answer the faithful prayers of other people in her life. And I love the picture of the proud mommy holding her beautiful Wes!!! 💗

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