No one wanted her, the second daughter.
Her father’s parents kicked her mother out of the house when she was born, complaining that “this woman only has girl children”.
Cut off from their support and shelter, her mother had to work as an agricultural day laborer. She would lay her newborn baby on the ground nearby under the hot sun – without even the layer of oil traditionally applied to babies’ skin for protection.
When the tiny baby would cry from hunger in the middle of the day, her mother would hit her. “It’s your fault,” she’d say, “that I’ve been kicked out of my in-laws’ house and have to work here like this”.
But God was with that baby girl.
He was born into a family already deeply fractured – children from four different wives competing for the scarce affection and attention of their father. His status as favorite son only served to unite his brothers behind their hatred of him. When his father gave him a special gift, his brothers plotted his demise.
They eventually found a way to get him sold off into the world of human trafficking. He entered the life of a slave far from his loving father in a country with strange customs and beliefs. His story seemed to end in a dank, smelly prison charged falsely by a powerful woman.
But God was with that young man.
When her father, who was working a few villages away, heard what had happened, he brought his wife and two daughters to live with him at his place of work. It was a large compound housing a hospital and school.
Growing up around children going to school, she wondered why her parents insisted girls shouldn’t go to school. At a stubborn seven years old, she finally satisfied her deep desire to study, entering kindergarten as the oldest student. Teachers initially laughed at their oversized pupil, but soon discovered her sharp mind. She became their best student. She never missed a day.
She didn’t know what “Sunday school” was but since it was school – she went. And discovered a God who loved her and had plans for her.
And God was with that little girl.
A service done for one of the king’s trusted servants became a service done for the king himself. Straight from the prison, he became the king’s most trusted adviser and deputy.
After many years, his brothers came to his far off land, seeking food aid. They didn’t recognize him, though he recognized them. He slowly revealed himself – the brother they had betrayed. They cowered in fear, they cringed and apologized. They feared retribution.
But he embraced them. He told them that his God had meant it all for good. He forged reconciliation.
And God was with his whole family.
She got her teacher’s certificate and returned to her hometown to work with an NGO, involved in community development work. When she listens to the stories of women oppressed, beaten, forgotten – she sees herself in their place. She weeps with their troubles because they have also been her troubles.
She lived with her parents and proved to be a good daughter. Her father discovered her God three months before he died.
Her brother – the boy child so much hoped for as insurance in his parents’ old age – left to become a successful engineer in a big city. He forgot his mother and fails to send money home for her support. It is she, the worthless girl child, who provides for their ailing mother.
“The child I neglected now cares for me,” her mother says. Her mother has also found the God of her daughter. They have reconciled. There is love.
She tells her story to the women in the villages where she works. They weep. They confess their disappointments when a girl-child was born to them. They see their daughters in a new light. They begin to believe in the worth of girls. Her story is redeemed in their lives.
And God was with her whole family.
his story: Genesis 37-50
her story: small rural village, South Asia