RAJI OPENED HER EYES WITH DISAPPOINTMENT as the dark reality set in: Somehow she had survived her latest suicide attempt — and her family would never forgive her for it.
She had made many attempts on her life before. Like a cat with nine lives, though, Raji always managed to raise her mutilated body from the grave. With this latest failure, her family would only despise her more, but what could she do when even death wouldn’t take her?
Girl Grows Up in Poverty
Danger had followed Raji since childhood. Her father, Ednit, had a nice job in the military, but when he came home every night, he and Raji’s mother would drink and fight.
Listening to the drunken arguments, Raji and her five siblings could be happy only for the fact that when Ednit screamed at their mother, he wasn’t screaming at them. The alcohol was costly, however, and soon the family fell into desperate poverty.
After the sixth grade, Raji dropped out of school to support her family and found work at construction sites. After each day of toil, she came home to her father’s abuse, and as the years went by she could only dream of escape.
Marriage was the most likely route: Her new husband might be kind and her in-laws loving.
But when the time came to arrange a marriage, Raji’s father had none of these things in mind. Soon she was forced to marry a man who was anything but her savior.
Marriage Leads to Greater Oppression
It was as if Ednit had sought for his daughter the worst version of himself.
Like Ednit, Aadesh drank often and his physical abuse was even more brutal. He tormented Raji for no apparent reason, and his family did nothing to stop him because they hated Raji just as much. It soon became clear that the new bride had stepped from misery into torture.
Then one day, she made a decision. Without thinking twice, she doused herself in gasoline and set herself on fire.
Like many desperate young women who light themselves on fire, Raji hoped her death would be instantaneous, but she quickly discovered the horrible truth.
As the flames ripped across her body, Raji couldn’t help screaming in pain. Her terrified neighbors ran to her house and put out the fire, but devastating damage was already done. The woman writhing on the ground was disfigured beyond recognition. And her in-laws’ hatred for her only intensified.
Hated by Family after Failed Suicide Attempt
After the fire, Raji’s life was even worse than the one she’d tried to escape.
Throughout her painful recovery, her family demonstrated no sympathy or remorse at the way they had treated her.
They felt justified in their animosity.
Isolated from any form of love, Raji grew more desperate. Between her family’s scorn and her self-doubt, she heard a rough voice whisper in her ear, “Commit suicide and finish yourself.”
She tried to obey the voice once, twice — as many times as she could. Whether by the neighbors or bad planning, she was always thwarted as completely as on the day of the fire.
With each failed attempt on her life, her situation became more hopeless, as if she’d been condemned to live forever. And as long as she lived, Raji was certain, misery would follow.
But one day, one of Raji’s neighbors showed her a strategy she hadn’t tried before.
Finally, a Friend
The neighbor told Raji about Jesus, who loved everyone so greatly that He died for their sins. Raji could see for herself in a film the local pastor was going to show in the village.
The pastor explained even more that night about Jesus, and as Raji watched the movie, she could see the goodness of this Man.
As she watched the crucifixion, she realized how deeply Jesus loved her. And after a lifetime of pain, she was eager to embrace Him.
Soon after Raji chose to follow Christ, she began attending prayer meetings and Bible studies. To her surprise, Aadesh not only encouraged her — he went with her, and listened with an open heart!
With a new joy that seemed incomprehensible, Raji began sharing the Good News with her sister-in-law. Within a week, she, too, decided to follow Jesus. Suddenly, Raji’s worst enemies had become dear friends.
Now the trio regularly attends church together, Raji’s home is filled with harmony, and the life she used to dread has become a sweet gift.
“My burden is rolled away,” she says, “and I feel peace in my heart.”
You can bring peace to lives of turmoil by showing them Jesus’ love on film.