I wonder sometimes, what life might have been like if things had been different. Has my life been worth it? Have I done anything others will really remember? For the good reasons, I mean.
I don't want to be remembered for my bondage. I hope that's not my legacy.
I remember the day well. I was twelve, I think, and my mother had just died. We'd hit some rough times and were out in the streets. I just started walking. Then a man came out and asked me if I wanted a place to stay. He looked so nice. Like he could be my dad. What choice did I have?
He showed me a nice warm bed, and he told me I could sleep there and he'd feed me and treat me like a daughter. If only I had known.
From that day forward, I was his prisoner. At first, my life was good. He wanted to build my trust to him and only him. That's how he kept me in the house. He convinced me he was the only one who'd ever take care of me, the only one I should trust. By the time I knew better, well.... It was too late.
I've seen so many generations of my family. It's both a blessing and a curse. Just last month I met my great great great great granddaughter! I had Margaret when I was just fifteen. I didn't even know what I had gotten into at that point. Not really. He didn't even introduce me to his business until I was about fourteen. Then, when I was fifteen he gave me my first test. I fathered his child. I didn't even know to be ashamed. I thought this was what all families did. I thought all dads had visitors every night, and I thought if they didn't take an interest in me, I was worthless.
I'm not sure when I realized what was going on and how wrong it was.
Margaret had her initiation at age fourteen and had Linda when she was sixteen. Then Linda had Susan, and the trend continued. So now there's me, Margaret, Linda, Susan, Rebecca, Emily, and, just last month, Madison! That's seven generations all living under the same roof at the same time. I wish I could get a picture. But no, that would not be allowed, for that may give away our master's secret.
Our master allows the first-born daughter to stay in the family business, as he calls it. First-born sons go to him to keep the business running. The boys only know their father, and so they do not care what they do to their mothers, sisters, and other relatives... if they know we are their relatives. Any after the firstborns are either abandoned, or the pregnancy is terminated.
It's been a few years now since Margaret and I have done his business. But he and his sons still keep us here. "Why haven't you escaped?" you ask? I don't think I can fully explain it. What's holding us in is a bondage so strong and powerful; little can overcome it, and I don't think I have it, now that I'm in my nineties. Besides, I want to see the little ones grow up.
I want to see them. I love them! But I hate that they all think this is the only life. I've tried to explain it's wrong, and it's not normal, but when it's all you've ever known....
"Lord, please break us from this bondage!" What? You're surprised I know the Lord? Oh yes. I know Him. One customer wasn't here to take advantage of me. I was shocked. He told me about a Savior who could bring me out of the bondage. I clung to it, because it was the only thing good out there.
I'm not sure if he tried to do anything to get us out of here, but we're still here.
As I hold dear Madison, I can only hope she will be happy and know the Savior. While I swell with pride with each new generation, it has come at too high a price. I hope Madison realizes the cost is greater than the sacrifice.
I must make my own sacrifice.
"Lord, take this child to be Your own. She is not mine, and she is not Emily's. She is Yours! May Your will be done, and not mine. Amen."
Psalm 145:4 One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. (NASB)
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