Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Vulnerable Girls

"See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are!” First John 3:1a

I was a vulnerable little girl. Where I grew up I often felt like I was viewed as a sexual object. I heard indecent words, endured pinches, and long lustful stares. My missionary parents carefully protected me by not allowing me to roam around by myself outside. My brother could but not me. One day a Muslim man approached dad about wanting to marry me. With his ability to come up with quick answers dad informed the man I was worth one hundred camels, knowing that he could not fulfill that demand. In that culture men are worth 100 camels and a woman 50 camels. Furthermore dad told him he would not know where to store the camels either. I’m sure mom and dad prayed fervently for God to shield me.

Little girls can be vulnerable in the Islamic world. Of course, they can be anywhere in the world, including the West, but having lived in Muslim countries I have observed there is a difference between how boys and girls are viewed or treated. Very sad! There was a time in pre-Islamic history when some baby girls were physically buried alive. Praise God that practice has been abolished. Being “buried alive” psychologically can still take place, however. There are little girls who have not been wanted at birth. Thank God, I also personally know many families where girls were wanted and loved equally as much as boys. Congratulations will be given to the mother who gives birth to a boy but not always if she has given birth to a girl. Perhaps the mother’s marriage may be jeopardized by giving birth to a girl(or too many girls) rather than a boy. Occasionally a woman is rejected if she does not produce any child. Sometimes a girl is given away to relatives in the extended family who can’t have a child.  I have a Muslim friend who had this happen to her.  The single Muslim woman does not have an easy road to walk. A girl is often raised with different standards and rules than her brothers. They are given more freedoms than her. Many little girls, but not all, are not able to go to school or pursue higher education. Their brothers are but not them. Then there are vulnerable little girls(both Muslim and Christian) who go through the trauma of undergoing female genital mutilation. Some get married off at a very young age. One of my Muslim friend's told me how her 12 year old sister was married off against her will. She had not even begun menstruating. I know these girls personally.

The good news is that God loves girls as much as He loves boys. We are equally precious. Remind your Muslim women friends of this truth. They need to hear it often. Maybe, my Christian sister, you need to be reminded of that truth, too. Are you carrying some unhealed wounds from childhood? How’s the “little girl” in you doing? If your wounds have been healed share that good news with your Muslim friend.

Dear heavenly Father, please heal some vulnerable girl’s wounds today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.