Mimosa — the name of a lovely flowering tree — also is the name of a lady of courage. Let me tell you her true story.
Mimosa and I became friends through the pages of a book written by Amy Carmichael in the 1920’s. I’ll have to introduce you to Amy properly on another day. Both lived in India a hundred years ago.
Right now as I write this, there are other ladies living in refugee camps. Life is sparse. A hundred years ago and now? Faith has cost them all they own.
The gospel, the Good News! All Mimosa had was a few moments introduction to God as the living, loving God of all gods, the one Who made her and all things. She was visiting the Dohnavur Fellowship where her sister Star lived. Then her Hindu father snatched her away, refusing her pleas to hear more.
Though the “stick danced” for Mimosa, a little flame of understanding lit her heart. She firmly refused to smear ashes on her forehead for Siva, the family’s god of choice. She had a heart of love for the loving Father God she knew almost nothing about.
Fast forward to an arranged marriage, an unscrupulous family member who weaseled her dowry away from her, and a husband whose caste did not encourage him to work. Three babies later and no money, Mimosa toiled in the fields to keep food on the table. She prayed regularly in her little pantry, spreading out her sari to God.
With no Bible, no church, and no Christian fellowship, Mimosa clung to the few things she had learned about God as a child. Her neighbors and her family mocked her faith. But the worst was still to come.
Her husband was bit by a poisonous snake and went blind and mad. She had no one to watch her babies while she worked in the fields, and then her infant son became very ill. While her husband was bedridden and her little son lay dying, her roof caved in during monsoon rains, and she had to find temporary shelter for her family.
“I am not offended with you,” Mimosa told God. Her infant son had died. The village blamed her for his death as she refused to buy a charm for his healing. More cruel mocking in her hour of pain…
Her husband regained his sight and sanity but had no urge to better his family. Often he lived with relatives leaving Mimosa to fend for herself. Mimosa bore two more sons.The main trouble was keeping the rice and curried vegetables on the table. One night she prayed for food and it seemed no answer was coming. She did not want to dishonor God in her unbelieving village by asking for help.
A knock at the door around midnight — there stood the one kind relative she had. She lit the lamp, for he had been unable to sleep until he brought over rice and curried vegetables. Mimosa and her boys feasted at midnight.
No Bible studies, no pat on the back, no words of encouragement. She could not read nor write. Her sister Star did not know how to reach her.
And then her oldest boy smeared Siva’s ashes on his forehead so that he might work at a Hindu shop.
Her heart broke. She wanted her boys to know the one true God. Yet how could she teach them?
At Dohnavur her sister Star was praying for Mimosa. Never giving up hope of seeing her and her boys.
Once again Mimosa remembered Dohnavur, prayed, sold her last dowry items, and set out to make sure her sons had the chance to really learn about God. The village was in an uproar. She would be breaking caste. Her husband and the relatives he lived with opposed her. Yet she still set out with her boys on foot. Three days later they arrived.
Spreading out her sari to God and not smearing ashes to Siva on her forehead finally brought Mimosa and her sons to a place of truth, comfort, and safety. One word from God’s Word had been a lamp to her feet all those years.
Sisters, keep praying in hope. Whatever hardships you are facing, hope in God’s love and Word.