I wanted to cry when I read Mayuri’s story. I cannot fathom the depth of despair she and so many other women face every day in Asia. I have been blessed to visit a dear friend a few hours after she has delivered each of her two boys. She and her husband have rejoiced at each boy’s birth, but not because the new family member is a boy, but because a healthy, happy baby has arrived. Its gender does not matter; they have refused to find out ahead of each baby’s birth, relishing the surprise when the baby finally arrives. But in many parts of Asia, a baby girl is nothing to celebrate.
Can you imagine, growing up, knowing that your family wishes they were not burdened by your expense? Can you imagine knowing that you are unwanted and unloved by your father? Can you imagine growing up, marrying, and delivering a child of your own—only to be beaten again and again when your first child, and your second, are also daughters?
Mayuri suffered beatings at the hands of her husband and ridicule from her in-laws. She finally fled the marriage, alone, with her two daughters to care for and support. She returned home to her mother, who had suffered beatings from a drunken husband. By this time her father had left, and Mayuri and her mother attempted to provide for themselves and the little girls.
But attempts to find work ended disastrously and Mayuri finally resorted to the only means left to her to earn money to feed her hungry children. This choice brought more shame to her family and ridicule from her neighbors.
After so much abuse and mistreatment from so many, Mayuri was skeptical when a pastor told her about Jesus. Could there be a man who would cherish her, even now? Could there be a God who would hear her? She didn’t think so, and she refused to risk another heartache. But then she found the tumor, and she grew desperate. She agreed to visit a church service, expecting to be shunned and despised by the people inside and the God they represented.
But she wasn’t. She was loved. She felt joy unlike anything she had ever experienced before. So she returned the next Sunday. And the next. Until one Sunday, Mayuri took the chance. She said “yes” to this God who loved her, who valued her, who looked at her and saw a precious, broken daughter, not a burden or an object of scorn.
Mayuri received new life that day, a life full of hope and promise for an eternity full of love beyond imagination. She also received physical life, as God healed her tumor and gave her body another chance. She works now as a daily wage laborer and is able to send her daughters, whom she loves so much, to school.
Because every child is a reason to celebrate.
You can read more about the needs of the women of Asia at http://www.gfa.org/news/articles/a-baby-girl-is-nothing-to-celebrate/.