Then we all bit into the cupcakes. A creamy pink center was revealed and pandemonium broke out. We laughed, I cried, we hugged, I exclaimed disbelief. We looked at the revealing sonogram pictures. It was glorious. A BABY GIRL. Could there anything more wonderful to anticipate, dream about and plan for?
Pink frothy dresses, those head band things that make your baby look like her brain is being abnormally squeezed, ruffled socks, Hello Kitty Pajamas, the list is endless.
We could NOT be more excited or feel more blessed. A girl. We’re getting a girl. Her name is Brooklyn Grace. She will be welcomed by people who will love and adore her, her whole life long.
Then, less than an hour after the momentous announcement, I went to a meeting at my church where a Jordanian woman, Randa Khlaif, was to speak about her ministry to abused and broken women.
It was a devastating hour and a half reality check. Randa told story after story, shared fact after fact about the life for women who live in the Muslim world of North Africa and the Middle East: How the Koran teaches that women have just ½ the brain of men. How women have literally no value or worth. How they have no hope. Women are routinely beaten daily for every possible reason: The power goes out – it’s her fault and she is beaten, if the rice is dry or the coffee cold, she is beaten. The women are raped by their fathers, their siblings, their husbands and even their own sons. If a woman or young girl becomes pregnant by these rapes she is either thrown into jail or killed by her family. If she is thrown into jail, the minute the child is delivered, it is taken to an orphanage and the girl is returned to her family for the nightmare to begin again. The babies are placed in orphanages where they are kept until they die. Adoption is against the law. Randa said there are 10’s of 1,000’s of unwanted babies wasting away with no hope of every being with a loving family.
One story that I cannot get out of my head is about a young wife and mother of 2 two darling little girls. This woman’s husband converted from Islam to Christianity. Less than 1% of Jordanians are evangelical Christians because it is against the law. This woman’s family was so angry that they demanded that she divorce her husband and come back to them. She refused. Her father kidnapped her and her daughters and threatened to kill her husband.
Then this father... This father took his daughter, sliced her throat with a knife, chopped her up into small pieces and left her body lying in his doorway so that people had to step over her to come into his house. The husband fled to another country but he is still trying to get his children back. Randa had to pause many times as her tears got the better of her.
She said that now, because of the war in Syria, 1,000’s and 1,000s of Syrian women and children have crossed into Jordan and Randa’s group are trying to help them too. Randa said that many of them have only the clothes on their backs – they left homes and husbands. Even with all the loss, even with having NOTHING, they say that life is better for them because they are not being beaten and raped.
This is the life of millions and millions of women and girls.
My heart broke over the truth of such evilness.
I think about Brooklyn Grace and I am overwhelmed with the thankfulness that I was born here, in America, where girls are loved and valued.
And I am overwhelmed with the pathetic helplessness of not knowing what to do for those women. Randa Khlaif asked us to pray. “Who will pray for Fatima”? She asked. A woman raised her hand and said, “I will”. “Good”, Randa replied. “There are well over a million women named Fatima in the region. Pray for Fatima and you are praying for a million women and one day when you meet a woman named Fatima, you can tell her you have been praying for HER. Who will pray for Hanan or Shaida or….?”
If you have a daughter or granddaughter, love her especially well. Do not forget that purely by God’s grace, she was born HERE. And pray for the women who were not so fortunate. Who need hope and help and love and compassion. Those are gifts God bestows freely but they need to hear about this love. So share and help and support people like Randa Khlaif and her husband, Kamal. This link will enable you to give to them directly through their sponsor, Campus Crusade for Christ: Give.cur.org/2399060
I cannot wait until December when Brooklyn Grace will make her appearance. I will snuggle her sweet pinkness, kiss her toes and head, sing soft lullabies to her and never forget that she is a gift beyond all measure.