I would love to say that it is rare that I climb up on my soapbox to preach a sermon, but that is not me. I climb upon my soapbox every time something breaks my heart or inspires my sense of justice and mercy. Today I am not only on my soapbox, but I brought along my megaphone so that others will hear. The authors of Daughters of Hope, Kay Marshall Strom and Michele Rickett have written a book that had me crying, angry, and hurting. Forgotten Girls Stories of Hope and Courage is a book of short stories of girls and women who have been oppressed, held captive, raped, beaten, and forced into lifestyles that were not of their chosing. Stories of girls from Nepal, Indonesia, North Korea, China, Senegal, Egypt, and the Sudan (to name a few of the countries of origin) who were sold into prostitution or forced marriages, were held either kidnapped or abandoned, were ostracized, and who felt unloved or unwanted.
In the introduction, the authors wrote, “Have you ever noticed how seldom something “life changing” really changes your life? The term gets tossed around a lot – to describe watching the sun set in a gorgeous blaze of color, for instance, or to rave about an exciting adventure. Consider the number of books with the phrase splashed across the front cover. Good things, all. Inspiring and helpful and memorable. But life changing? Yet truly life-changing events do occur. Events that forever mark a divide between the then and now of life. Between despair and hope. Between ignorance and understanding. Between death and life.” I can tell you that this book IS life changing!
Living in the West, we can read about the horrors of war and dictatorships, but after a time we become immune to the stories or we learn to tune them out. However that is not what Jesus called us to do. Jesus called us to live as Micah described in verse 8, “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” To do what is right is to seek justice for those that are widowed, orphaned, captive, and oppressed. Our hearts should be broken for the same reasons that Jesus’ heart was broken. Strom and Rickett’s book will open your eyes, your heart, your sense of justice and mercy.
I read this book as part of the United Methodist Women’s Reading Program.