“And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.”
Strength. Pure strength. Those are the words I have found to describe the women of Nepal. Tucked away in this mountainous country are the women who still draw water from the well, the helpers, the dedicated workers, the caretakers, the homemakers, the cooks, the mothers, the sisters, the wives, the friends.
They dwell and survive in some of the harshest conditions on the planet and do it beautifully. In a culture where they are treated as less than human, cast aside as secondary not complementary to their male counterparts, they continue to exist. In a culture where they are ostracized for a monthly cycle that is nothing more than ordinary, these women are hidden away for almost a fourth of their life.
I had the privilege of observing a women’s training for women leaders in the ch*rch the last two days. Women from all over the capital came together to learn about women’s issues, discipleship, salvation, and what it means to carry this message of Hope to all who have not yet heard. We learned about the issue of human trafficking; and I was reminded that the statistic of 13,000 Nepali being trafficked each year is no longer a statistic. These are the women and children sitting next to me. Nepal is no longer a place over there, but a woman—a friend—sitting beside me.
My supervisor’s wife shared about a woman’s menstrual cycle. [The women had never heard this before.] These were not children or teenagers; but women who were around my age or older. And they had never been told why this cycle occurs to them each month. My supervisor’s wife asked the women to raise their hand if someone told them about their cycle before it happened. Not a hand was raised. Then, another question: who did you talk to about it once it began? Their answer: my number one friend. Then, the next question: what happens each month when you have your cycle?
“We cannot see the roof of our house. We cannot see our father or brothers. We are put into a dark room downstairs at the bottom of the house (sometimes where the animals are). We are considered unclean for 7 days if we are unmarried, 5 days if we are married, and 3 days if we have children.”
My supervisor’s wife and I made eye contact and both could see the depth of concern in the other and the look in her eye and what she followed up with saying showed me we were thinking the same thing.
She shared Christ with them. She let Christ meet them there.
Jesus cares for you. This is an ordinary thing that happens to EVERY woman around the world. [Yes, they looked at her and me with wide-eyes as if asking if that was true. I nodded my head in agreement.] And you are not unclean. Not only are you not unclean because of this; but because Christ has made you clean. It’s the year 2071 [I’ll explain the Nepali calendar another day] and you do not deserve to be locked in a closet for a fourth of your life because of something that is a normal process for all women. Christ has made you clean because of His blood.
“When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched the hem of his garment because she thought, “If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.”
These women—clean because of a Man’s blood that was shed.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God...”
Daughters of a King, indeed.