Handcrafted or Production Line Made: Which One Are You?

For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139: 13-14

Everyday thousands of girls are born, unwanted. In some countries like India and Pakistan, boys are the preferred gender. A man might divorce his wife because she bore him a son. Girls receive less or no education because of gender discrimination. The list of abuses against women is exhaustive. Many girls grow up wishing they were born boys for they know they would fare better as males. And it isn’t just in Asia or Africa, gender discrimination against females is a worldwide problem.

Many young people, men and women, grow up hating themselves and their bodies because they either feel unwanted or they do not like who they are. They look in the mirror and see only an ugly face staring back at them. Their image is often shaped by an ill-placed insult or demeaning statement by a friend or relative. Perhaps an aunt many years ago said to her chubby-cheeked niece, “My, aren’t you a chubby one!” Although the aunt had intended no harm, the little girl begins to think there is something wrong with her body. She is too fat. This is especially possible in a world that emphasises thinness. Women are supposed to be shaped a certain way, thinly, that is. Soon, the little girl is eating less and develops anorexia. This may seem extreme, but all very possible.

Or maybe you live in a country where there is a strong “beauty culture”. You compare your body and facial feature to the latest Bollywood or Hollywood beauty or fashion model. You fall short. Low self-worth sets in. You wish you had not been born, or if at least, if you could have been born in a different body, you are sure life would be better. You begin to berate yourself.

Now I am going to take you on a bit of a journey; to a grandmother knitting a sweater for her grandchild. Let’s say it’s her granddaughter. She either uses a pattern, chooses the colour carefully, perhaps in a lovely pastel pink because her little granddaughter loves pink. It’s her favourite colour. Or maybe the grandmother is an accomplished craftswoman and makes her own design, a detailed artwork of cables, purls, and knits. She sits in a comfortable chair and love is wrought with every click of the needles, ever stitch knit, love for her granddaughter. The creation is finally complete, and the grandmother wraps the sweater up and gifts it to her granddaughter. A beautiful creation is born swathed in love.

Let’s now look at how God’s design (that is you) happens. The Psalmist says, he was knit together in his mother’s womb. Take now the imagery above of the grandmother and replace it with God. That is how God makes you. He lovingly knits you together in your mother’s womb. Love and beauty poured into one creation. You.

Then the Psalmist goes on to say that he is fearfully and wonderfully made, God’s works are wonderful. You are wonderfully created by the Creator. And the love that was poured into designing you! Unfathomable!

If you feel unloved, unwanted, imperfect, if you despair at how you look, what your gender is, if you feel unworthy of love and attention, look to your Creator. Look to the love he poured into you. Look at his design. You might not be a fashion model, but you are beautiful, you are wonderful.

Click Here to read Shrouds Over Eden by Helen Khan

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Featured Character in Shrouds Over Eden: Salome by Helen Khan

We were able to connect with featured character, Salome in her home in Sardarpur. She graciously agreed to talk to us about her life. If you have read Shrouds Over Eden, then you would have first met her there. I’m looking forward to hearing from her.

Assisting me today is Alizeh Rasheed who is fluent in both Urdu and Punjabi, plus, she tells me, she also speaks several local dialects as well. She is my translator.

Me

Tell us a little about yourself. How old are you and where do you live? Do you own your own home or rent?

Salome

I’m 27 years old and live at home with my parents in a small town called Sardarpur. I have a brother and two sisters. I used to be married but not anymore and I don’t have any children.

Me

Are you divorced or did your husband pass away?

Salome

I am separated from my husband. It is not easy for a woman to get divorced here, especially a Christian woman. My father asked his friend who is a lawyer about getting a divorce for me. He said, at one time that would have been possible, but one of our former presidents changed the Christian Divorce Act. The government is currently changing the act to include violence but it will be a long time before it happens. Besides, maybe my husband will change some day and I can go back to him.

Me

Who is the most important person in your life? And why?

Salome

The most important person in my life is my father. He has been my biggest support through all my difficulties, with my ex-husband and with my illness.

Me

What is your greatest fear?

Salome

I’m afraid to eat. Eating is very painful for me as my esophagus is damaged.

Me

What happened to you?

Salome

I don’t like to talk much about it, but I did it to myself. I was so depressed about my mom and sisters calling me names because I am not with my abusive husband. My mother is ashamed of me and couldn’t face people in the community, so she started to verbally abuse me, as did my sisters. All of this made me depressed so one day I drank Sweep. The acid burned my esophagus and stomach. But my father found me and rushed me to the hospital and now I am alive.

Me

Who is the person you respect the most, and why?

Salome

My father, because he loves me and he has supported me through everything. He is a very special father, especially in my culture where fathers don’t love their daughters the way my father does. Most men want sons, not daughters, so my father is an exception.

Me

How do you measure success?

Salome

Success would be having enough money to pay off all our debt.

Me

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Salome

Perfect happiness would be to be married to a good man and to have sons.

Me

Do you work outside the home? What is your occupation?

Salome

I work in people’s homes, cleaning and doing laundry and other chores. I am not educated so the only job I can get is cleaning.

Me

What quality do you like most in a man?

Salome

Kindness in a man. And hard working. I wish all men were like my father.

Me

What or who is your greatest love of your life?

Salome

God is my greatest love. I spend a lot of time reading his Word. I wanted to know so much about him that I learned to read by myself, even though I am not educated. Not everyone in my family believes the way I do. Black magic is commonly practiced here among women. They feel it gives them power. I get my power from God. He saved me from trying to kill myself.

Me

And my last question, is a fun question. What is your favourite colour?

Salome

I like red colours, bright reds.

Thank you, Salome, for the wonderful interview. I know you were nervous at first because your interview will go all over the world. But you did very well, and I am so delighted to have been able to interview you today. If any of you readers would like to read Salome’s story, click here to preview and purchase Helen Khan’s book Shrouds Over Eden.

Click Here to read Shrouds Over Eden by Helen Khan

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