Let Us Not Forget

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.

The Kidnapped Bride video

I read this book as part of the United Methodist Women’s Reading Program.

Sisters in Service
Reaching Out to the Unreached
News from the Frontlines of Persecution
Human Rights Watch
International Center for Research on Women
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Vision

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The Glory of Motherhood

Some words send fingers of chill, fear, and dread up the spine. One such word is barren. Women in the Old Testament were thought to be cursed and filled with if they were unable to bear children. However, that is not the case. There are many “medical” reasons for the inability to either become pregnant or carry the child to term. Thankfully there are also many choices that a couple may choose in the face of this diagnosis. Alex and Adrienne Arieff was one of those couples facing the devastation of the death of their pre-term baby and then subsequent miscarriages.

In The Sacred Thread A True Story of Becoming a Mother and Finding a Family – Half a World Away, Adrienne tells of their journey from their courtship and marriage through the birth of their twins bore by an Indian surrogate. She speaks candidly about the pain of the death of their daughter, Colette, at twenty weeks. The choice to then use a surrogate to realize their dream to become parents was met with both celebration and accusations of exploitation from their friends and family. However, the Arieff’s were able to realize that dream with the help of a clinic in Anand, India. Today the Arieff family includes twin daughters.

Arieff’s book is filled with both raw emotion about the journey and information concerning in vitro fertilization and surrogacy. She does not paint the picture as all roses and song. She is truthful concerning the pros and cons of utilizing a surrogate. I found her book to be an excellent resource for those who are facing the same decisions and/or responses from friends and family. She includes a list of resources at the end of her book which could help other couples. I also found myself captivated by her story and the way she captured every nuance of the journey.

I received this book free for review from Read it Forward.