“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you – Jeremiah 1:5
Imagine as you hold your baby daughter in your arms for the first time or you remember the first time you looked into those big, innocent eyes, that there is another baby girl who is not wanted simply because she is a girl. As you tell your daughter or grand-daughter how much you love her, imagine a little girl whose father doesn’t love her because she is not a boy. As you reminisce about the day you brought your daughter home from the hospital and laid her in her crib, watching her lie there, surrounded by stuff animals, and pretty wallpaper, welcoming her to her new home, think about another little girl who is abandoned–with no home to go to or a pretty room to call her own. Hard to believe, isn’t it? However, this is the reality that many women and girls face in South Asia. It is Mayuri’s reality.
After five years of barrenness, Mayuri finally got pregnant. For nine months she and her husband Rafat were looking forward to the day their son was born. This child would restore peace to a home that had been fraught with years of disappointments and bitter arguments. He would be the pride and joy of his family. Things were finally looking up.
The big day arrived. Excitement filled the air as Mayuri went into labor. However, when the baby boy turned out to be a baby girl, the celebration was over. Hope turned to horror as Mayuri was to face what usually happens to a woman when she gives birth to a girl instead of a boy. It is the same thing Mayuri’s mother no doubt faced when she had her.
Like most girls, Mayuri was not loved by her father. In fact, he drank, gambled and chased after women while she and her mother worked everyday to earn enough money to feed the family of five. When they refused to give their wages to her father, he beat them. Sometimes he beat her mother for no apparent reason.
Life at home was terrible for Mayuri. So much so that her mother, Olimani prayed to all the deities and local goddesses, hoping that her husband would change but her prayers went unanswered. He remained the same. As any mother does, Olimani wanted a better life for her daughter. She wanted Mayuri to escape her father’s abuse so she married off her when she was 14 years old.
Sadly, Mayuri’s new life turned into a nightmare. She escaped abuse at her father’s hands only to experience abuse from the man she was to spend the rest of her life with…
The abuse women face for bearing daughters is so great that many have resorted to gender-selective abortion and infanticide, resulting in millions of “missing girls” in Asia. Discover more about this and other issues facing South Asian women in Gospel for Asia’s new film documentary, “Veil of Tears.”
At first, life with Rafat seemed promising but that soon changed when they were unable to have children. The couple’s infertility caused tension in their relationship. Unfortunately, in South Asia, the woman is blamed for the couple’s inability to have children. Mayuri bore this shame alone for more than four years. How she must have suffered. I can’t help but think of Hannah who was barren but had a husband who loved her dearly. And of Abraham who didn’t love Sarah any less because she couldn’t conceive. Yet women like Mayuri are blamed, scorned and mistreated because they have trouble getting pregnant.
And when Mayuri finally got pregnant, she gave birth to a girl. She could not even celebrate having a child, regardless of the gender, after trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully for five years . She is punished by her husband. It’s unthinkable that the woman is blamed for the baby’s gender when it’s the man who determines the sex of the child. Ultimately, it is God who decides the gender and in His eyes, a child, whether it is a boy or a girl, is a gift from Him.
God blessed Mayuri with a second daughter but this made life worse for her. The abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband got worse. She got no sympathy from her mother-in-law and her husband disrespected her in front of the family. Things got to the point where Mayuri had to flee.
Furious at Mayuri for having two daughters after five years of infertility, Mayuri’s husband and mother-in-law abused her until she ran away.
Alone and with two daughters to raise there was nowhere for Mayuri to go except to her parents’ home. It grieved Olimani to see that her daughter had suffered abuse at the hands of her husband just as she had herself. Thankfully, Mayuri’s father was no longer living there. He had left and remarried. However, Mayuri’s problems were far from over. After losing her money to a con artist, she had to find work and the only option she felt she had was to turn to prostitution in order to keep her daughters from starving.
Desperate to support her daughters, Mayuri became a prostitute, which meant being shunned by the entire community—except for a GFA pastor.
It’s heartbreaking to see the lengths a mother will go in order to take care of her children. It’s also heartwarming to see the way God works. It was when Mayuri had a health crisis that she came to know Him. In search of healing she visited temples and offered sacrifices but her condition only grew worse. Until one day, Gospel for Asia pastor Patakin offered her the chance to pray to a different God. That meeting changed Mayuri’s life forever. Through the prayers of the members of the church where she was invited to worship and fellowship, God healed her. Today, Mayuri sees God’s faithfulness in her life and in the lives of her daughters as He has provided her with a respectable job and a school for them.
“Today, I am living; that is only by the grace of God. I was totally healed from my sickness by the blood of Christ. … Now I am living by faith in Jesus Christ” – Mayuri
By His act of love and mercy, God showed through Gospel for Asia and their missionary work that every life is precious and cause for celebration. If you are interested in helping other women and girls like Mayuri and her daughters, sponsor a woman missionary. Find out how here.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,And that my soul knows very well – Psalm 139:14
Source: Gospel for Asia