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LESBIA




It's time to meet some of the special ladies that are a part of Abeja. Meet Lesbia! She brings so much heart and positive energy to each beautiful bouquet she makes. From singing to the flowers as they grow in our garden, to taking care and delight in every detail of putting together a bouquet she pours out love. When Lesbia is around, there is a whole lot of purpose in each bouquet, from planting the seed all the way to delivery!


The more we get to know one another and work together, the more I am inspired by Lesbia's strength and resilience. I first met Lesbia over two years ago, she was in a support group that I was running in town. Our meetings were a time to enjoy space with other women and work on creative crafts and activities together as we talked about both simple and important life matters.


Lesbia is a woman who holds herself with dignity; even in the middle of difficulty she had a steadiness about her, knowing deeply who she is. In those first days of knowing Lesbia, she cried almost every time we met. Her personal situation at home was extremely dark and she felt trapped inside an abusive relationship with the father of her children. The situation of abuse was nothing new for her, and had been going on for years: verbally, emotionally and physically. She was at her breaking point for years, knowing things would not get better unless she forced her husband to leave. She was in the extremely rare and fortunate position of living in her family home, so her husband had no legal ownership over the house, and she had the right to force him to leave. This is one of the leading factors, along with not being able to support their families alone, that keeps women suffering in abusive situations in Guatemala.


Despite the fact that she had legal rights to force him out, Lesbia did not have the support of her direct family. Her mother and father lived with her, and were intimately aware of the abuses which were occurring, yet they were unwilling to help for fear of what the neighbors or community would think, publicly exposing unrest within the home. Even with her parents seeing the mistreatment first-hand, to them, the better option was to accept the abuse, instead of shaming the family by exposing the truth. This is a very common cultural behavior in Guatemala, and fear of what people may think very often keeps things in the dark.


Lesbia began at working Abeja, assisting with weddings and large events, slowly learning about flower arranging, color combinations, and texture. When she first began, she was unwilling to attempt to make a bouquet, saying she felt more comfortable cleaning and prepping the flowers, but she would not be able to make a bouquet. Our times working together were filled with tears, as Lesbia mourned her mistreatment, the death of her relationship, and processed through the deep hurt she was experiencing.


Ultimately, Lesbia could not take the abuse anymore, so she took a strong stand and kicked her husband out on her birthday. She went against her family, knowing what was best for her children and her moving forward, for peace and wholeness. She was courageous, speaking truth and exposing the dark reality that was occurring, in order to walk out into liberty and freedom, knowing God was holding her hand the entire time.


Those first weeks after she left were dark and full of conflict. When her husband left, he took their bed with him out of spite, so Lesbia was left sleeping on the dirt floor. One day as we were working, she told me of her current sleeping situation, and she said she did not care. She had more peace and was happier sleeping in the dirt than having the fear and shame of an abusive partner lurking in her home. Even in her newfound freedom, she still was having to deal with the difficulties of the breakup due to many cultural factors. She still did not have the support of her own father, who was ashamed for his daughter to no longer be married. Even to this day, living in the same home, her father will not acknowledge or speak to her.


Despite the unfair cultural biases and judgment she is experiencing for leaving her husband, Lesbia is currently flourishing; living out healing, peace, and restoration, even though she does not have the support of her father. She is becoming brand new with her work, and there is a joy and brightness that did not exist months ago. She is experiencing God's restoration and peace as we work and pray among together. She is coming alive as she works with flowers, now confidently putting together bouquets and arrangements. She has an eagerness and excitement to learn and work, digging to prepare garden beds, talking about how beautiful the new varieties will be once planted. I have seen her met with the loving hand of the Father, gently restoring her belief in her own value and strength. She is an example to me of strength and solid hope. I am better through knowing her and working with her, and I am thrilled to see how God will continue to weave healing and liberty to others through the strength of her story.


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