After taking a break, I’m back to my series about the lives of Indonesian women.
This entry is a particularly difficult one for me to share.
My friend, N just had her second baby this week. She was already a single mom to her 5-year-old daughter. Her ex-husband left her almost four years ago. She had a boyfriend while we were on furlough, a few months ago—a loser who has impregnated other women and who recently got married to another one. That ex-boyfriend is the father of her child.
Up until about a month ago, N worked as a house helper in my home. She spent three or four days a week in my home, helping me with my house work and with my son. She was a Muslim when I hired her. She became a follower of Isa Almasih (Jesus Christ) while she worked for me. I loved seeing her change and grow in that relationship. She has a good group of mature, Indonesian Christian friends who taught her, encouraged her, and loved her. She and her daughter lived with her parents, who didn’t accept her new faith. Her dad forbade it, actually. But she seemed to remain strong in her faith, and we talked often about it.
Her family is quite poor. For about the last year, she was the only bread winner in her family of two parents, her own child and her four other siblings. Her dad, who has diabetes, sometimes injures his foot and can’t work when it is infected. At age 29, she is the oldest child in her family, and the only one with a steady job (working for me) for the last three years.
Up until a week ago, I didn’t know for sure that she was pregnant. She never told me. And she did a really good job of hiding it. A couple weeks before I went to the States for my brother’s wedding, she asked if she could take a month-long trip to another island to visit family. While she has a lot of family there, she had never lived there. I was a bit confused by the suddenness of the trip. After asking her again and again about it, she finally told me she hoped to get married to a guy that her aunt had found for her. So, she may not return, she said.
I felt a bit nervous for her to go off and marry someone she didn’t know. But I also understood her desperation. Her parents had recently decided to move to another city, and she didn’t want to go with them. Plus, her ex-husband had recently moved back here, and had been pestering her to allow him to see their daughter, after having no contact with her for three years. Also, a single woman, living alone in Indonesia, simply doesn’t fit. It would be very hard for her to continue to live on her own, alone, in Indonesia.
So, while I warned her not to marry the guy unless she was absolutely certain he was a good guy, I also gave her my blessing if the situation worked out. I didn’t know she was pregnant.
Apparently, she was looking for someone to marry so she wouldn’t be single again with baby number two.
Well, when I returned to Indonesia from the States, I found out that she was pregnant, and had decided to move to another location after the husband-idea fell through. She left this island in disgrace, with her father telling her how embarrassed he was of her, and forbidding her from returning to his home. She is now living with Muslim extended family in another city.
I also found out this week that she had tried unsuccessfully to abort the baby using medicine. Then she had a dream in which a man in white told her to stop trying to kill her baby and to take responsibility for him.
I struggle with the choices she’s made. I am frustrated by her deceit as she secretly saw this guy while neglecting her other child. I feel disappointed in the example she has shown to her Muslim family. I feel angry at her father who spoke harsh words to her. I feel overwhelmed for her in a new city, with a new baby, no job and far from friends. But mostly I feel so very sad for her and her children and their uncertain future.
But after much prayer for her this week, I am hopeful that this isn’t the end to her story.