As I walk down the streets of Swaziland, there is an obvious absence of father’s.
There are babies everywhere I look.
Infants are being taken care of by three year olds.
Teenage boys living on the street, with no father figure.
Twelve year old girls pregnant… abandoned.
There is an oppression that I can hardly put into words.
Grandmas take in children off the streets.
Mothers taking care of dozens of children.
This country is in survival mode.
Men are manly enough to make babies…
but not manly enough to stick around.
I often ask the children who they live with…
trying to get a feel for their home life.
Most live with their mother.
No memory of their father.
There is nearly no sign of fathers around.
The few that are around are alcoholic or abusive or too sick to function.
Even as I sat in church yesterday…
The ratio of men to women is extreme.
Few men are following the Lord in Swaziland…
In turn, few men are truly fathering their children.
I am not exaggerating when I say that in the past 11 days of being here,
I have seen one man interacting with his child.
A man holding his new born…
Loving on him as if he is the most beautiful thing that he had ever seen.
I was caught off guard by this sight.
Why are there not more men around loving in their babies?
I believe that everyone has a dad shaped hole in their heart.
A relationship with a father can make or break a person.
It is easy to get a picture of our heavenly father based on our earthly father.
It is no surprise that Swaziland is a broken land… seemingly abandoned by God.
Fathers are absent… making it seem as though God himself is absent.
There are no fathers around to show His true face.
I am extremely blessed to have the earthly father that I do.
He anxiously pursues Jesus with every ounce of himself.
He loves us kids like Christ does.
Growing up there has never been a moment that I felt as if I was in danger.
Anywhere pops was… there was guaranteed protection.
I have always known there are strong arms when I need them…
That there is forgiveness and protection no matter what.
There was always that affirming, “I love you Ruthie.”
Even now that I’m grown…
I get that phone call or that email just reminding me how much he loves me…
How proud he is of me.
I can’t imagine what life would look like if I didn’t have him.
Because of the life of my dad, I have a true depiction of the heart of God.
I have an earthly father who would jump through hoops…
but I also a heavenly father literally died for me.
As I walk down the streets of Manzini, Swaziland
my heart breaks at the absence of godly father’s…
But, I grin when I see the face of God all up in this place.
I see his protection.
I see his defense.
I see how he provides.
I see all of these things even when most of these children don’t.
My prayer is that their eyes will be unveiled…
That the babies will see that they’re not orphaned.
It’s my prayer for Swaziland… but also for you.
That today you will feel him hold you close.
Regardless of whether your father is there or not…
Know that He’s got you.