Saachi slowly poured the kerosene over her body. The matchbox was sitting just inches away. The horror of what she was about to do didn’t deter her; she deserved this. Soaked through, she reached for the matches. The time had come to say goodbye.
The Picture-Perfect Family
Just a few years before, Saachi’s life seemed perfect. Her husband Udit was respected as a military officer, and his generous income from the government provided more than enough to keep their two small children secure and sheltered.
Saachi had a beautiful family, and all was going well. But lately, something had changed in her husband’s manner, and she couldn’t figure out what it was.
A Marriage Begins to Unravel
This new routine did not thrill Saachi; money Udit once gave her in abundance had slowly decreased, until he finally stopped giving her anything at all. Saachi’s previous attempts at asking had ended in painful beatings, but she had no other choice. The children were hungry, and it was Udit’s duty to provide for them. She was reduced to begging from her own husband.
As Saachi reminded Udit of the needs of their children, he grew irate and came at her, swinging his fists. As the blows landed, she cowered and tried to make sense of it all.
Then one day he disappeared. The truth finally came out that he was having an affair, and now he had moved in with the other woman. Devastated, Saachi sunk into despair. She wept bitterly, but had no one to turn to. The children were frightened without their father, and Saachi had to figure out a way to provide for them. She found a job at a garment factory, knowing that the small income would help keep them alive.
Now Deserted; Abuse Continues
Beauty isn’t normally a curse, but Saachi’s beauty brought her problems with the men at her new job. She was continually accosted and it left her with little dignity. Finally though, she accepted one man’s advances. Their love affair was short-lived as Saachi realized this would negatively affect her family. If this new man would not accept her children, what would happen to them?
Refusing to put her children at risk, she broke off the affair. As the realization hit her of what she had done, Saachi began to hate herself. She couldn’t live with the knowledge of her actions, and her thoughts condemned her. Suicide was the verdict. She did not deserve to live.
She Thought Death Would Solve Her Problems
Saachi set down the now empty kerosene bottle. In a few moments it would all be over-the guilt, the shame, the pain. She struck the match, its small flame sizzled, and before she allowed herself to change her mind, she let it drop.
As the flames enveloped her, the pain was unbearable and Saachi started to scream. The neighbors heard her cries, hurried over and rescued her. But her burns were already extensive. She was immediately taken to a hospital.
Someone Understood Saachi’s Pain
Jabeen, a Gospel for Asia-supported woman missionary, heard about Saachi and her heart ached for the poor woman. As more of the story circulated, Jabeen could understand Saachi’s pain.
Jabeen had grown up in a nominal Christian home. A few years after her wedding, she too learned that her husband had been involved in an affair. Like Saachi, she was devastated. But God led her to a pastor who shared with her about the love of Jesus. She finally made her childhood faith her own and chose to follow Christ. Later, God called her to serve Him full-time, and her life had never been the same. Jabeen knew that Saachi needed to hear her testimony.
Finding Hope in Missionary’s Story
As Jabeen stood beside Saachi’s hospital bed sharing her story, she told Saachi about Jesus and how precious her life was to Him. Saachi didn’t need to pay for her sins; Jesus already did. Saachi wept as she realized that this man, this God, would never be unfaithful to her or abuse her. He loved her perfectly.
Three weeks later, Saachi was released from the hospital and decided to go to church. There, she made a decision to fully accept the love of Jesus.
The scars from Saachi’s burns remain, but God is healing the scars on her heart. She has found a job that helps support her and her children’s needs. Her friendship with Jabeen continues, and they stay in touch. She knows that God sent Jabeen along when she needed her most.
Gospel for Asia women missionaries like Jabeen can minister in ways men can’t. Understanding the struggles of other women in Asia as they visit homes and hospitals, they are able to share the Gospel with those in need of hope.
Please help tell these women that they are precious to God.
In the comfort of a beautiful hotel ballroom, I heard about the mission of Gospel for Asia (GFA). I sat there, eating my three-course meal, sipping my cream-lined coffee and watched a story of real life for a woman on the other side of the world. And my heart stirred.
This kind of experience, this shame, this overwhelm is beyond what I’ve known in so many ways. It’s overwhelming and easy to feel like there’s nothing I can do.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to partner with GFA and spread the word about these women and the missionaries who are meeting them in the midst of their hopelessness. This is the first of 40 stories I am honored to share with you over the next year. And my prayer is that you, too, will be touched by these stories.
How can you help? Pray for GFA, these women and the missionaries reaching out to them! You can also Sponsor a Woman Missionary! Across the miles, you can help change a life!
I never would’ve imagined not being able to talk at the Declare Conference I attended this past weekend. I’ve looked forward to this for a year…planning to meet wonderful women who love Jesus and writing as much as I do…talking with the many sponsors that helped make this event possible about their amazing causes…chatting with old friends and new. But a little cold earlier last week weakened my voice and after the first few hours of chatting, it was gone completely.
It was frustrating! And annoying! And not at all part of MY plans!
It was also a bit ironic…at a conference all about “declaring” God’s goodness in all our different ways, there I was, without a voice.
I felt a prodding that there was more to this voicelessness than annoyance. In this forced silence, at a time and place where silence was definitely not my plan, God wanted to show me more.
1. Listen!! You know the whole “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason” saying? That kept reverberating in my heart each time I felt desperate to interject some witty or wise remark into a conversation. Listen…Stop focusing on what I feel compelled to say and simply listen!
2. Be intentional with my words. I had to get very choosy with my words. I met all these amazing people who wanted to know my story, hear about my blog and my message. I could talk about those things for hours on end. Except that this time, I literally couldn’t. So…with great intentionality I chose the most important words to speak to convey the message. (And then I was quietly grateful that my business card could give them the info they needed if they wanted to know more.)
3. Stop and make eye contact. Does anyone else have the bad habit in their household of yelling questions/directions across the house? Mom, what’s for dinner?…Kids, hurry up and get dressed!…Honey, where’s my phone? Anyone…anyone else? We’ve let this become the norm in my home, which we all need to work on! But, this whole experience of me lacking in the speaking department is requiring us all to step it up and actually Make. Eye. Contact. So, questions must be asked face-to-face rather than in passing down the hallway. A challenge for us…a very worthwhile challenge…to show a new level of respect and patience for each member of this family.
4. A smile speaks volumes! It really does!! All weekend, when I felt like I had zilch to offer, I gave a smile and I got smiles and hugs and prayers and new friends and fresh opportunities and more business cards…and more than I’m even sure I can recount! I could’ve just stayed in the corner with a sour-puss face. But I would’ve missed out! I’m SO glad I chose to hand out smiles when my words couldn’t come!
5. Receive grace graciously. Everyone was so sweet and understanding! Not one single person left the conversation or felt like they couldn’t talk with me because I wasn’t able to speak. I felt bathed in their grace! It was refreshing and helped me realize that being voiceless doesn’t equate to being a waste or a nuisance.
6. Embrace humility. Once home, I went out to eat with my family and realized it was a bit difficult to totally rely on my husband to speak for me…order my drink and my soup…find the waitress and ask for refills. All these little, everyday things I had to release to another. A bit difficult…a bit humbling.
7. Consider those who have no voice. And in the state of my temporary voicelessness, I walked the long hallway of good causes representing many people who live lives of voicelessness. Children orphaned or sold into slavery…widows blamed for their husbands’ death, left to labor so their children can have one meal every few days …women trapped in prostitution, who know no way out. Those are the true voiceless…who need someone to listen and look into their eyes with a smile…who need to hear words of grace and intentionality…who need someone to stand up and speak on their behalf.
Is there a present inconvenience in your life that perhaps might be a tool God is using to get your attention?
One sponsor of this conference that stood out to me was Gospel for Asia. Over the next 40 weeks, I will be sharing stories from this amazing organization. I would love for you to take a look and then come back and meet me here each week to see how lives are being touched and changed forever!
The message of identity is near to my heart so much that I have written a Bible study called Refining Identity. Please take a look at ways you can be involved in helping bring this to life! Thank you for partnering with me to make this a reality. I pray this message will be shared with each person who needs to hear God’s definition of who they are!