A baby girl gasped her first breath of air. As people held Maisie’s tiny body on the day of her birth, no one knew that the day would come when she would be violently abused by her husband. No one knew when that little breath of air entered the world that the day would eventually come when Maisie would long to take away her own breath.
Slum Dweller, Mother and Victim of Abuse
Maisie lived in a plastic hut surrounded by mud. Everyone around her was in a similar condition of poverty and desperation. Her stomach growled, and Maisie’s husband, Abhaidev, was perpetually drunk. It was difficult for him to find work every day, as he had to hunt for odd jobs to keep his bottle full. Abhaidev abused his own body, and he abused his wife and neglected his child’s needs. Maisie endured her husband’s blows and harsh words, but she often felt like she was living in an earthly hell.
Peace was something Maisie seldom felt. Desperate for life change, she cried out to her gods. Maisie’s petitions and sacrifices, however, never provided her with an answer. Anxiety and depression became her closest companions. What would happen to her child? This thought flung her deeper into despair. The only way out of the misery seemed clear to her: suicide.
By God’s grace, the same day that Maisie decided to end her life, one of her neighbors stopped by her home to share a little but powerful booklet. As Maisie’s neighbor poured out her heart and shared about the love of Jesus, Maisie, the broken woman, was drawn in. She readily devoured the booklet, and a phrase captured her attention: “You do not worry about anything, because He cares for you.”
Was it true? Did Jesus really care for her? Did He understand her neglected spirit and her broken heart?
Maisie didn’t know, but she wanted to find out more.
After Maisie pondered these things, she showed up at her neighbor’s door to ask her more questions. Her neighbor shared about the deep sacrifice Christ made for all humanity, one that gives new life and hope for the hopeless. After learning more, Maisie knew Jesus truly did love her, and she decided she would put her trust in His loving arms.
That Sunday, Maisie went to church with her neighbor. She was so happy to be part of a worship service with many other believers. She met Pastor Mrithun, a GFA-supported pastor, and he prayed for her after he heard her life story and struggles. Maisie was joyful and excited about her new life in Christ, but soon her decision to believe would be put to the test.
A Love that Overcomes Fear
When Maisie’s husband found out about her new faith and her visits to the church, he was enraged. Abhaidev beat his wife and warned her never to go to church again. But Maisie didn’t back down. God’s love filled her with courage in the midst of the terror and pain caused by her drunken husband.
Maisie would go to church on Sunday, whenever Abhaidev was working, and each time her neighbor had prayer in her home, Maisie attended. Even though she was always met with harsh words, Maisie shared what she had been learning about Jesus with Abhaidev. She prayed faithfully for her husband and hoped that, one day, he would love to hear about what God had done for mankind.
Maisie’s prayers were heard and answered as Abhaidev began to change through watching his wife’s conduct. One day, Abhaidev attended church alongside his wife. When he heard the Word of God read in the church, Abhaidev no longer opposed her new faith. And eventually, through Maisie’s prayers, the Lord provided her husband with a regular job that helped ease their financial strain.
With newfound peace and hope for the future, Maisie is being cared for by the God who gave her that first breath. Today, Maisie keeps praying that her husband will understand this love for himself and reject the addictions that bind him.
Not an Uncommon Story
Sadly, Maisie’s testimony is not uncommon for many women around the world who face abuse at the hands of their husbands, relatives or even strangers. Globally, one woman out of every three suffer abuse; yet there is hope. GFA-supported workers are part of spreading this hope to broken women.
This year, as we remember November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, let us pray for GFA-supported pastors, Sisters of Compassion and Bridge of Hope workers as they face the reality of violence against women nearly every day and bring living hope into desperate situations. Praise the Lord for restored lives like Maisie’s!