What would you do if your husband called you ugly?
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:15
She walked to the front of the conference room wrapped in her beautiful sari.
We were in Northern India and outdoors it was 110 degrees. Yet, inside the women were clustered together with rapt attention. None of us wanted this moment to end. These were the last moments of the last day of the conference dedicated to hearing what God had done. There were testimonies. So many God-glorifying testimonies. To encourage the women and send them off with strength. To encourage us and send us back home with wonder and gratitude.
Then, she said the unthinkable…
“He calls me ugly. Tells me to go away.”
Who? We wonder…hanging on the translator’s words.
What?! Thinking we didn’t hear correctly.
“Yes, she has to leave early each morning before he gets up so he doesn’t have to see her.”
Now, she was not an unusual spectacle or a malformed human. No photos of her would be floating around on social media. In fact, she was beautiful. Her face and her eyes reflected Jesus. Yet, that was not the most shocking element of her story. What she did when he sent her away was simply….humbling.
Stop and think what you would do if that happened to you. A family member calls you ugly and sends you away, so he doesn’t have to look at you. I can tell you my response to such a derogatory statement might not be so God-honoring. On my best days, I might stand firm. On my worst, I might cower in a corner. Both responses would be saturated with pride. How dare he say that? Or, poor me! Either way, I would be thinking too much of my ego, my hurt, and my feelings. Not this beautiful sister.
This 20-something year old woman rose early every day and walked to the other Hindu villages to spread the Good News. You see, she took her husband’s command to go and redeemed it to King Jesus’s commission to go, making disciples wherever she went.
She continues telling her story. As I wait for the translator to look at me, I can’t wait any longer, “please tell me what she is saying?”
The abuse is more than verbal, it’s now physical. “Her husband started beating her when she came home from the villages.” Why? “She is beaten for sharing the gospel.” Beaten for sharing the story of Jesus. Beaten for offering the free gift of new life.
Three years pass and the beatings continue, but this time it is not just because she is bringing light into darkness. She’s beaten because she’s not brought new life into their family.
New life to others? Yes. Regenerate people are multiplying in the villages she is visiting. New life to her family? Sadly, no. No baby means another beating. Another month passes and she is still not pregnant. Beaten again.
Her husband says, “If your God is real, then we should have a baby.” With those fighting words, strength wells up inside of her. Like Goliath threatening David, she sees this as a spiritual battle. His words attacked God’s power and provision. She rises to meet his threat by bending her knees in prayer. She responds, “I will pray to God for a baby, but I will pray IN THE NAME OF JESUS!! The boundary lines were drawn. The prayer would be offered, but only to King Jesus.
Like Hannah crying out to God, our Indian sister cried out to the same great God who heard her prayer and chose to open her womb. Yes, a son was born nine months later!! To God be the glory!!!
The story doesn’t end there. She continues to share. Apparently, this marital threat was known throughout the Hindu villages. This prayer to Jesus for a baby was watched by hundreds. The result of new life in their family resulted in new life in the villages.
“Many people,” she continues, “are scared because my God is a mighty God!!” Amen! Like the nations who cowered in fear when God stopped the river Jordan to allow the Israelites to cross on dry land, the surrounding Hindu villages saw the miracle in her life and feared the One True God…the God of our Indian sister…King Jesus.
As she returns to her seat, the translator whispers “that’s not all.” We learn God has worked through her life to start six house churches. Six! House! Churches! Six!!! I’m sure there will be seven in no time at all.
Here she was attending our intensive women’s discipleship conference so she – and the leaders she brought with her – could be equipped! Equipped to biblically and faithfully multiply the gospel; to know how to study the Bible; to know how to worship, pray, and serve in the power of the Holy Spirit. She was boasting in her weakness, so Christ’s power would rest on her. Oh did it rest, as she returned to her seat with a smile.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” The power of God was on her and she was beautiful.
God used her appearance and her shame to redeem His people…and bring Him glory. Now, isn’t that beautiful?
Let me ask you: what hindrances in your life can God use for His glory?
I invite you to partner with AIM by sharing this blog, by praying for this ministry, and by donating financially. You can equip women like our Indian friend by pledging to support AIM monthly, so we can help women of all nations be disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ. We are so grateful for your partnership.