When Death is the Only Option

It all began when she was 20 years old and her parents arranged for her to be married to a much older man who lived in the city of Jakarta, a whole day’s journey from her home.


Afraid and nervous, she left her family the morning after her wedding and travelled with her husband to live with his parents. The silent journey to her new home was a preview of her future.


Except to give her brief, curt orders, Batari’s husband said very little. There was no show of kindness, respect, or affection. Nothing changed the next day, the next year, or the next decade. She hoped that at least the children they had would bring them together. But she was wrong.


She hoped that helping her mother-in-law around the house would pave the way for a better life. But it didn’t.


Going back to her family was out of the question. Joining a social group to get some respite was not acceptable. The only freedom she had was to do as she pleased in her little courtyard. Here she occasionally entertained the neighborhood women, but found it very difficult to keep up appearances of being a happy wife.


After about 15 years of a loveless, miserable life, Batari was done. She had nothing to live for—not even her children. She felt that her sadness only had a negative effect on them and they were better off without her depressed influence.


Her life seemed like the best solution. Deliberately and dispassionately, Batari began planning her suicide. She picked a time when the children were to visit her parents and her husband would be away on a business trip. She’d combine poison and sleeping pills to make it quick and simple.


It took her months to find the courage to execute her plan. And then the day was finally there. Poison and pills in hand, she stood in her living room. Sobs began rushing out of her in wretched wails—thinking about her children. In an effort to muffle her cries, she turned on the television and turned up the volume.


Crushed by the weight of her decision to take her life, she fell to the floor, clutching the poison and pills in one hand and the remote in the other. Inadvertently, the tight hold on the remote caused the channels to change—and suddenly she heard a voice talking about finding purpose and hope in Jesus. Startled by this ominous message coming from the television, Batari looked up and saw Hope Channel Indonesia! The message was for her! She was too stunned to do anything else but listen to the rest of the program. By the end of that hour, the poison and pills found their way to the trash and Batari found herself a new life to explore.


Her husband didn’t change; neither did her in-laws. But they don’t have the same effect on her as they once did. Her new life is filled with a desire to live for her children and for Jesus.


Every week, Batari now has church in her courtyard with the neighborhood women. In sharing God’s Word with them, she is content and sees her future as an amazing journey in partnership with God.


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