This month we are featuring Guddi, whose story appears in Shrouds Over Eden, a book for the broken hearted. Guddi has had to make some difficult decisions in her life. Here she is to share with us more about who she is.
Again, with me, is Alizeh Rasheed who has graciously agreed to act as our interpreter for this interview. And just for the record, the picture you will see in print is a younger Guddi as she says she no longer is as beautiful as she once was. I think she still has a striking personality. She has certainly aged gracefully. Okay, so let’s hear from Guddi.
Tell us a little about yourself. How old are you and where do you live? Do you own your own home, or do you rent?
I am now close to 50 years old. I live in a village, District Jalandhar. I live with my husband and sister who is also my husband’s wife and three children, two sons and a daughter. The children are my sisters, I am not able to have children.
It isn’t common for people in your country to have more than one wife. Could you please share why your husband is married to your sister?
You’re right, it isn’t common. But in cases where a wife is childless and there is no one to inherit the property, then it is permissible for the husband to take a second wife. My husband was afraid that his relatives would steal the land from him if he didn’t have a son. So I suggested that he marry my younger sister. She is the one who has the children. But because I am the first wife, the children call me Mama.
Who is the most important person in your life? Why?
Those two boys that call me Mama. They are very important because it is they that will look after us in our old age.
What is your greatest fear?
That someday my husband and sister will no longer give me full respect as the first wife and I will lose our sons.
How do you measure success? Would it be money, career, husband/wife, children, happiness, etc.?
My husband has much land, he is a big farmer here and very successful. So, having good crops, land and sons to look after us in our old age is success for me.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness would have been able to carry my own biological son. But fate was not with me. We tried everything to have a child. I visited our holiest temple, the Harmandir Sahib and I even went to Goindwal Sahib. It is a gurdwara that has 84 steps in it. On each step you recite Japji Sahib, that’s the divine word revealed to Guru Nanak. If you do all 84 steps your sins are forgiven, and you don’t have to go through so many reincarnations. But you can also pray for personal things, so I asked Satguru to give me a son. Even though I endured and did all 84 steps, I didn’t get a son. That’s when I decided my husband should marry my sister.
Do you work outside the home? If so, what is your occupation?
My sister is a teacher, but I stay home and look after the household and children.
What did you eat for breakfast? Did you make it yourself? Do you wash your own dishes or do you have a maid to do those things for you?
I had a paratha with yogurt and achar this morning for breakfast. For those that don’t know what that is, it’s a stuffed flat bread fried in a pan along with the achar which is a kind of spicy pickle. I make the meals, so I made breakfast for everyone. Also, we have a girl that comes in and washes dishes and cleans the floors and does the laundry.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish Satguru would take away my barrenness. To be barren is to be cursed by God which means looked down upon in the village. Even though my sister’s boys call me Mama, when I walk in the village, I still feel that people look at me and gossip about me because I can’t have children.
Sonu talks about you in the book Shrouds Over Eden. Where did you meet her?
What an angel! She came to our village a few years back. She shared many things about this one she had met, called Lamb and how his compassion strengthened her and gave her courage. She shared about how he valued women. I wish I knew Lamb the way she does because then I would have asked him for a son. If I had a son, then I wouldn’t have asked my sister to marry my husband.
Are you not happy?
I am not complaining but sometimes I get depressed. It is not easy being one of two wives, even if I am the first wife.
Well we have run out of time and we don’t have time for another question, except for this last one. It is a fun question. What is your favourite colour?
I like bright colours, bright blues and greens.
Thank you Guddi for taking time out of your day to be interviewed. I’m sure it wasn’t easy sharing your story to a large audience. You did an excellent job; I feel I know you so much more. For our readers who want to read Guddi’s story, you can purchase Shrouds Over Eden at various outlets worldwide.
With this coronavirus outbreak, most churches have been closed down. Fortunately, thanks to technology, we are still able to chat and share scripture. Last Sunday, I had the privilege of sharing with my small church group. The topic that I chose to share on, which I feel is very neglected, is the wholeness of God.
The reason this topic is so important is that we don’t know God. And what’s worse, I fear that we don’t want God. So I shared how there is one God of three persons- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And when we make little of one, often the (angry) Father God of the Old Testament, we make little of all.
First off, Who Is God?
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the LORD is one.Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. (Deut. 6:4-6)
“I (Jesus Christ) and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you…” (John 14:26)
I’ve just connected the three persons of the God-head. God says, “I am one God” in Deuteronomy (Law). Jesus says, “I and the Father are one” in the gospels. And the Holy Spirit is a promise, Jesus says, that cannot work apart from God the Father or God the Son.
Early on, my faith was wrong.
Growing up, I was given this very inaccurate view of God. The mean God of the Old Testament with all of his rules and punishment. Jesus Christ says, “NO!!” and comes to earth to satisfy this big meany. And the Holy Spirit is kind of this random guy who helps us do party tricks.
For nearly a decade, I went to a church where your “spirituality” was all about emotions. People standing up to say, “I felt God say to me…” or “I felt the Holy Spirit…” And it left me as a spiritual orphan because I didn’t get these great emotional reactions.
If you have spiritual gifts, such as tongues or prophetics, I’m not criticizing. What I am saying is that if your “gifts” are contrary to the Word of God, you are in error.
If I pray, “God, I really want to cheat on my wife with my hair dresser,” I am in error. Imagine the next day, my wife gets informed that she has to leave for work for a month. Should I take this as a sign from above that God approves? No. This IS NOT God giving me permission. God’s Word is sovereign over all. God’s Word says, “You shall not commit adultery.” It’s confirmed.
Now, we are called to love God with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength. So I must mention another part of the wholeness of God. That is that God is Just. As opposed to modern day’s perversion of justice in our courts and politics who show favouritism as they deem worthy, God does not. So, we too, must love justice.
Deuteronomy 16:19-20 says, “Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the innocent. Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
Psalm 50:6 reads, “And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice.”
This, my friend, is very good news. God will not change his rules in the middle of the game. So if God told the Israelites in the desert not to murder, not to commit adultery, not to covet and not to steal then…
Than we are commanded not to do such things now.
As God is leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, Moses warns them in Deuteronomy 9:4, “After the Lord your God has driven the people out before you, do not say to yourself, ‘The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.’ No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you.”
So, we are seeing how God is calling on the people Israel, through the law, to be different than the other nations. And we are called to be different as well. Let us not be deceived by saying, “This doesn’t apply to us under the new covenant.” When tempted by Satan in the desert, Jesus quoted law.
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:143-16)
I’m sharing all of this with you because I want us to know God. I asked a men’s group a couple weeks ago that if we didn’t have God to answer our prayers, would we want him at all? What I meant was that, so often, we fill our prayers with petitions and supplications: “Lord, I need this job, this car, this house, strengthen my marriage, strengthen my friendship, health, wealth, happiness, etc.” But if we only had God as our righteousness and eternal life, for which we were created, would we want him at all? Sadly, I fear the answer for far too many is no.
I feel like this question went right over people’s heads. So let me tell you a story.
You know, my dad wasn’t around very much growing up. It’s wasn’t like he was an absent father, it’s just that he would leave for work early in the morning and get home from work after I was asleep. I would try to stay awake to see him, but I couldn’t.
We didn’t have a whole lot of “extra” things. One year, he bought my brother, sister and I suitcases. No vacation. Just used suitcases from a swap-meet in town. Now, albeit, the small green suitcase was perfect for taking my Super Nintendo to friends’ houses. But that was by chance, not design.
Do you think that my dad didn’t love me? Of course, he did. We always had a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our back.
This is what I meant. If God didn’t give you every whim and desire, would you still want him. Psalm 19:7 says, “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul…”
The fact is that we are imperfect, and we do sin. In God’s holiness, he cannot allow us in his presence as we are. God’s holy law demanded a sacrifice. However, the Israelites thought it was them making the sacrifice, when, in fact, it was God making the sacrifice. Ever since the Garden of Eden, it has been a holy and loving God making the sacrifice to cover our shame and forgiving us our sins.
Hebrews 1:3 reads, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
As we know, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins. His death on the cross satisfied the law, the justice of God. However, sadly, I fear that the grace shown to us on the cross has been used as a liberty to sin. My friends, until we know the true freedom from sin, we may never know the true beauty of God.
Jesus is the “Exact representation of his being.”
John 1:1 & 14 says that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
I’m trying to point out that God loves us. He always has loved us, always will love us but remember that God is also filled with justice. And he gave us law. Imagine if there were no speed limits on the side of the road, and everyday a police officer pulled you over for speeding. You would say, “This is unfair.”
First John 2:1 reads, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
First John 3:4 reads, “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”
Apostle Paul says in Romans 7:7, “I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law.”
Jude 1:4 reads that there are “ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”
Remember that Jesus Christ brings us back to union with God the Father. Perhaps the greatest sermon of all time, The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5-7, covers the entirety of the law in 21 minutes. And, in John 17:3, while Jesus is praying says, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
The Holy Spirit
Now, the Holy Spirit, I believe has been completely disrepected. A lot of people want and do express external gifts of the Spirit, which I’m not discrediting. What I want to discuss is what Jesus warned about false prophets in Matthew 7:15-16, he says, “By their fruits you will recognize them.”
In John 16:8-11 Jesus said, “When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
Galatians 5:22-25 gives a further understanding of the “fruits” of the Holy Spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galations 5:22-25)
Galatians 5:23 says, “Against such things there is no law.”
Do you see what Apostle Paul just did? He took us back to Moses in Deuteronomy. He is saying that there is no law telling us not to be loving, not to be joyful, not to be kind, to be good, gentle and so on. People love to say that they are filled with the Holy Spirit, but if you are purposefully living in sin, you are living in contradiction to the Spirit.
When King David was confronted by Nathan the prophet for sleeping with Bathsheba and killing her husband to hide his disgrace, he wrote Psalm 51. In verse 11, “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” He recognizes that something was missing because he didn’t recognize his sin. He was missing the discernment of the Holy Spirit.
In Romans 14:17, it says, “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…”
I’m not trying to disregard any of the spiritual gifts that people have. I just want to encourage us to seek out the holiness of God. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven…” They will testify to the great things they have done in the name of Jesus, but in the end, Jesus will say, “I never knew you.”
I encourage us to seek out God through His Word. Let’s not feel condemned because we lack a constant emotional reaction. Let’s pray for a filling of the Holy Spirit to give us knowledge to read the law.