When I was 12-years-old, I was a shy girl who longed to have more friends. I found it was a good idea to smile to other people, and so I smiled to everyone at my school. The boys began to pay attention to me. One day I sat at my school waiting for the bus home, and so did a group of 13-year-old boys. They touched my thighs. I told them no and pushed their hands away, but they didn’t listen. At one point they stopped. The following days I didn’t go near the boys, and I stopped smiling. The boys stopped touching my thighs, and they began bullying me.
Today, I’m married and have two kids. I still find it hard to smile. When the boys at my school crossed my lines, I was broken. I began to be ashamed of my body and of being a woman. For many years I hated myself, and my self image had negative consequences for my marriage.
When I was 17-year-old, I met my savior. Jesus started a long process of healing me. A few months ago, I stopped being ashamed. I began to think it was OK to be me, to be a woman.
I have met few boys and men who looked down on me because of my gender, but their disrespectful behavior has had an effect on me. I’m angry on the cultures, thoughts and ideas which make even small boys look down on women.
Last summer I was on vacation, when I was kept awake by a noise and lights. The next day I read in the news that in the town close to where I was staying, a 17-year-old girl had disappeared. The lights and noise that kept me awake, came from the helicopter, that searched for her. The following months many people in Denmark searched for the young girl and we prayed for her. Last month the young girl who had been disappeared was found. They found her dead in a waterhole. The police said she was a victim of a sex crime and murdered.
In Germany, some women wear pants with a lock to protect themselves from the danger of being molested. In many countries, women are treated like animals and have no rights.
How can we teach our boys that girls and women have value?
How can we teach our girls they are worthy, that they are wonderfully made?
I kept seeing the same message. When a message is repeated to me in 4 amazing ways, I must take it seriously.
1. A devotional and illness
The first time I heard the message was in a devotional. A man told about his illnesses and his examinations on a hospital. His reaction to being sick was to be joyful, always praying and always giving thanks. He quoted 1 Thess 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. While I was reading this, I had a time when I was sad and complaining about my life, and I was not able to pray to God for days. I didn’t think further about this verse.
2. My husband and a broken wheelchair
A few days later my husband’s wheelchair was broken. Life became more complicated than usual. One night my husband and I went to bed, and he began to talk. It was as if he preached. He talked about all the good things in our life, all the things we should be grateful for. I listened and said yes. I turned around and closed my eyes while thinking: Yes, but…I’m sad, I’m bored, I wish a lot of things were different, and that the wheelchair was not broken.
One sentence became one word, crawled out of my computer, had wings, flew through my one eye and onwards to the core of my heart. This word was a bug biting me consistently and followed me everywhere. The bug was all I saw. I thought it had bad news for me from everyone: every publisher, reader and every friend. The bug was very real to myself and I was about to become a bug myself. The sentences had become a word, which had become an annoying bug, which name was No. No came to life in an e-mail, which told me the magazine didn’t want to publish any of the eight poems I had submitted. My brain knew why and what it meant, but my eyes only saw the No which attacked my heart. I saw the No vandalize every sentence I had ever written, every word I was writing and every letter I would write in the future. I stopped all my writing projects. The No began to yell at me even in situations which were not writing related, and it grew bigger and stronger. It was about to become a giant instead of a bug.
“When will it snow? My daughter asked me a few days ago.
“I don’t know. It may take a while”, I replied.
“No!” Her disappointment was obvious.
Then the meteorologists predicted snow, but the snow stayed away from my part of the country, until we woke up to a snowstorm, Sunday morning. Snow became sleet and rain, and we, grown-ups, nodded to each other.
Now Monday afternoon I can see I was wrong. The snow lies as a blanket on my lawn, bathed in sunshine.
The meteorologists say it won’t snow again for some time now. They might be wrong.
We can make ourselves wise and clever, but we can’t predict everything. I don’t think anybody foresaw the terror attack on Paris.
Every time I read the news or observe discussions (quarrels) on Facebook, it seems like there will soon come an ice age in the entire world. Many meters of snow has fallen into the ventricles of the Islamists.
Will it be Christmas? Can Christmas-joy grow in the frozen ground this year?
Suddenly, something else steps into my mind.
November is plodding
The trees expose their fragile branches
A drop rolls down
the cheek of a leaf
The last flowers wither
the storm rages
Raindrops are pouring down
We miss the summer
and our loved ones, who have left us
The TV shouts
the breaking news