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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: India (02/12/09)

TITLE: Women Be Wise
By Chely Roach


He was grieved in her grief.

No matter how many eons he ministered, it always broke his heart anew to witness such conflict; such agony.

He observed Bhavna push away her morning tea, and rest her head in her arms and sob quietly. “My heart is telling me that it’s another girl. Another daughter. We are only permitted two children, and Rishi will only permit male offspring. I cannot bear this again…”

He whispered, “Do not be afraid. The Lord your God will not give you more than you can handle. He will provide an answer.”

“I have had three daughters slain. One still wet from my womb, and two more ripped from it! What was God’s answer for them? I cannot stifle this terror...”

“I realize that you have only known me for a short while, but I have heard the trials of your heart. I can taste your tears. I am here for you, Bhavna. Your faith is a babe itself, but it will strengthen you.”

Bhavna wiped her tears on the sleeve of her sari. She rose from the table and carried her cup to the sink. He followed. Her voice wavered, “My faith is as repugnant to my husband as the daughter in my womb. I cannot form the words to tell him about either.”

“I will give you the words…”

“If I tell him about my conversion,” she glanced at the photos on the wall, “he will surely take our son from me, too.” Bhavna ran her hand across her still smooth stomach, “And when I tell him that I am pregnant, he will bribe the doctor to tell him the sex of the child. He will make me…again, he will…” Her chin fell to her chest, and her shoulders slumped from the weight of the memories. The grief. The guilt.

He waded in her avalanche of tears. Witnessing this child of God, wallowing in despair, melted him. As they stood at the small kitchen window, watching the brightly colored fabrics dancing on the clothesline, he wrapped himself around her. He enveloped her entire being; his embrace so warm and comforting, that it penetrated her very soul. “I know your fears. Be assured, child. You asked the Father for forgiveness, and you are forgiven. Your precious children are present with the Lord.”

The weight upon her grew, her sobs racking her frame violently, making her crumble to the floor. “I didn’t know the Lord when I lost my daughters. I had no covenant with Him yet…”

“Oh, precious child…He knew you a thousand years before you knew Him; since the foundation of the world. You have always been His. Let me help you in your unbelief.”

“Please, help me in my unbelief…”

His warmth stroked her spirit, “You must speak the truth in love to Rishi. You must be brave, my sweet Bhavna. I will be brave for you.”

“Give me the words to tell him about this child…and help me to be steadfast in securing her safety, her very life.” She pleaded, “And please, please give me the boldness to tell him about You.”

“I promise I will. Woman, be wise as a serpent, and gentle as a dove.”

Bhavna’s head wearily rested on her knees, and she was consoled. But as she heard Rishi’s key slide into the door, her courage evaded her. She whispered aloud, “Lord, be with me…”

And like a brightly colored fabric dancing across the recesses of her heart, entwined with her very essence, the Holy Spirit breathed these words across her soul, “I will be with you always, until the end of time.”

Author’s note: In districts all over India, the elimination of girl children—either through sex-selective abortion or female infanticide—goes largely uncensored, undetected, unpunished and unmourned. In India alone, it is estimated that sixty million girls are now “missing”, victims of this demographic vortex. Even with new laws banning sex-determination testing, it is feared that these numbers could increase as much as forty percent in the next generation.

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This article has been read 1102 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/19/09
Oh, my! This shoots up to the top of some of my favorites here ever. What I love most is how you portrayed His presence...it felt physical, more real than real, and so very, very precious. Wow...
Eliza Evans 02/20/09
This is a powerful entry about a heavy, heavy topic. Truly heart-wrenching.

Huge kudos to you for tackling this.

The characterization of Bhavna and her plight is just searing and unforgettable, and Rishi is like this black, ominous presence in the background. Well done!

I think the portrayal of God here is way too human-like though, and that was really uncomfortable for me.

The last line would be so much more powerfully rendered just simply "the Holy Spirit breathed these words across her soul, “I will be with you always, until the end of time.” My opinion. :)

I do think you have enormous writing talent!!
Lynda Schultz 02/21/09
My favourite: "he wrapped himself around her. He enveloped her entire being; his embrace so warm and comforting, that it penetrated her very soul." I know that feeling, and your description brought tears to my eyes.
Seema Bagai 02/21/09
When I first read this piece, I thought there was a literal person in the room with her. It took a couple more reads to realize the subtle clues you left that it was God. Very good.

One thing puzzled me in this piece. The line "We are only permitted two children." By whom? There is no law restricting the amount of children a family in India may have.

I really appreciate that you shed light on this tragedy that happens all too frequently in India. This piece is a powerful message to pray for the women of India.
Folakemi Emem-Akpan02/23/09
I didn't submit an entry this week but if I had, it would have been on this same topic; the killing of innocent female babies. But I must admit my story would not have been this strong, this compelling.
Thank you for sharing this story that needs so much to be shared.
Karlene Jacobsen02/23/09
I tossed between knowing she was talking with the Lord, and a physical person in the room. By the end I knew.
I thought that was well done. I often talk to God as though HE were in the room with me, and often-times I hear His response in my heart. I loved how you portrayed that.
Joanne Sher 02/23/09
Very poignant. And what an awful situation you present! I can't believe this happens. Wow.
Bryan Ridenour02/23/09
Connie Dixon02/23/09
This is a sad commentary on life in India. I had no idea. Thank you for your informative and well-written revelation.
Marijo Phelps02/23/09
Very powerfully written! Incredibly told story.
Carol Slider 02/23/09
I had heard that this practice was common in China, but I didn't realize it was true in India, as well. A powerful and well-written story... thank you so much for sharing it!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/24/09
I was pulled into your story by the emotions of the woman and the beautiful sense of God's presence with her--just like the loving, caring Friend He is to His children.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge02/25/09
This entry is beautifully written and charged with emotion. My concern however is that it's misleading. There are millions of Indian girls that are not aborted. When the father doesn't want another girl they are left on the steps of clinics, missions, and orphanages. Many Indian women love their daughters enough to carry them to term and hope someone else can give them a better life. My family has been building orphanages in India since 1969. I do appreciate how eloquently you brought this issue to light.
Steve Fitschen 02/26/09
Powerful, as everyone has said.

Obviously some questions have been raised about the two-child policy in India and infanticide versus adopt.

For those interested, on the former, here is a good link. http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/jul/06072804.html The policy never applied to all states nor to the entire population of those states. The policy has been repealed by many of the states that adopted it. All of this would be pretty hard to deal with in 750 words. Perhaps just a mention that the husband is running for office or holds office in one of the 6 states affected.

And, of course, many women are killing their children without being forced to by the government, while many others are doing valiant and/or desperate things to save their daughters as Angela pointed out. On the non-adoption side, i.e., the infanticide side, here is a link that is not overwhelming in length, although the sources are getting a little dated: http://www.gendercide.org/case_infanticide.html.

Again, a wonderful, yet tragic and heart-breaking piece.
Diana Dart 02/26/09
Incredibly well written, the choice to present God there with her, more physical than spiritual, gave such beef to the conversation and the emotion of the whole piece.
Tallylah Monroe02/28/09
I was going to say that the Lord seems weak and powerless, here. I thought it was a weak Indian minister at first. I'm not sure how I feel about that. But truly, this is a stellar piece of writing. Something to aspire to. Well done.