12
Oct
2012

Injustice.

stored in: Life and tagged: , ,

Injustice.

I suppose that’s the word that’s been haunting me. I suppose you could say “unfair”, “wrong”, “messed up”.

This world is broken and falling apart and full of hurt. And when I hear the stories and see the faces behind them, I want to fall down. And yet…I also desire deeply to rise up and set things straight; to fix the broken and protect the weak.

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I see a young girl on the verge of growing up. She is bright and full of potential, but she is afraid to try. She mixes the truth that she cannot read with the lie that she is unable to learn. A teacher who tells a student they are mad or sick in the head is no teacher at all. And caning {striking with a long thing stick} a child for wrong answers will teach nothing but fear.

It’s not fair. I want to march up to the school and give the teacher a piece of my mind. But that’s already been done {by someone else}, to no avail. So, instead I’ll speak truth, life, and encouragement, “You are NOT stupid. And you WILL learn to read. I’m going to help you.”

Gulp. {God, help me with this one. I’ve never taught anyone to read before.}

sunflower

Speaking of things that boggle my mind and make me want to cry…

I have two good friends whose husbands at some point brought second wives into the home. What exactly happens when your husband brings home a second wife? As a first wife, how do you respond? Do you stand and stare, jaw dropped in shock? Quietly continue with your work, all the while scheming up something nasty to add to the cooking pot? Do you throw an all-out fit? Screaming, flinging insults and any nearby objects? Do you give your new housemate a tour of the place? Maybe you just turn away as tears fill your eyes.

And just exactly how does a husband announce the addition to his bride?

“Honey, I’m home. I brought the cassava…and, oh, uh, someone to help cook it.”

“You know how I’ve been traveling lately? Well, I met someone, and I had to work some things out, but, uh, now here she is – my new wife.”

“I’d like you to meet someone very special to me. This is Mary* and she’ll be living here now…as my wife. Oh, and here are her six children.”

What compels a woman to accept the position of a second wife?

Does a man REALLY think about what he’s signing up for by bringing a second woman {and her children} into his home?

echinachea

These are just a few of the questions that come to mind when I try to process some of the families around me. One of my friends has been quite open, but, I have not asked her all the details of the day the second wife came to stay. She has volunteered a few. I do know that she is hurt by it, and has chosen to live apart from her husband and care for her children as a single mother. My other friend remains with her husband, and even though the second wife has her own house just down the street, there is strife.

To the best of my knowledge, it is not legal in Ghana to have more than one wife {my Ghanaian friends may feel free to correct me if I am wrong in this}; however, in a place where marriages are often “traditional” and couples may not necessarily receive an actual marriage license, there seems to be little stopping them. If you don’t have a marriage license, I suppose the thought is that you don’t need to worry about getting papers of divorce before taking a new wife.

{Note: I am not suggesting that having the proper paper work justifies divorce/remarriage. I am simply giving a possible reason why a person MIGHT choose to add a wife.
FYI: a traditional wedding would involve the groom presenting a dowry to the bride’s family, thus declaring his intention to take her as his wife. I believe the bride and groom, family members and maybe some other witnesses would be present.}

Basically, sometimes it just seems hopeless. Like, nobody values marriage or understands that God intended it to be a model of Christ’s covenant keeping love for us. I read This Momentary Marriage by John Piper a while ago. Wow. Marriage is a high calling. It’s not cheap, and it certainly is not meant to be entered into on a whim.

When I see families broken and mixed and split and hurting, I ask the age-old question, “Why?” I know. I already said it. We live in a broken world. Yet, I serve a God who heals, who brings redemption. Beauty from the broken. This is not a problem I can fix, this wide-spread collapse of family. It feels like, maybe, truth is seldom spoken into this subject. Do they know that God lovingly calls them to walk a higher path? Have they heard how beautiful it is for a family to function according to God’s plan? Sure, most families are “broken” in some way. We’re all people with problems; however, a home in which one man and one woman value their commitment to each other {and GOD, above all} is a strong one. No, I can’t fix this problem, but I will listen to the stories of my friends. I will pray for them, and help them in tangible ways. I can spare a cup of coffee for a tired Mama, or babysitting services so the walk to town goes more quickly. Maybe I can provide work – a chance to earn some money. Even if my skills are limited, I can mend those tired clothes and extend their life, just a little. These are little things, but there’s something else. I can point the way. Sure, I can talk, but my life will say more than my words. The way I treat my husband just might be huge in the eyes of my friends – and their children.

banana-leaves

Gulp. {God, help me.}

Written by: Juanita

2 Responses to “Injustice.”

  1. Carol Horst says:

    Blessings Juanita as you minister to your neighbor women!!

  2. Melissa Fisher says:

    Wow, I’m not even sure what to say. We continue to pray for you and Jon every day. Thank you for telling me how to pray.