Monday, October 3, 2016

Her Spirit was Crushed, but Healing Begins ~by Melanie Clark Metzbower

A 13-year-old girl’s free spirit is nearly crushed by a horrific rape, but healing begins where she’d least expect it…

It's 1941. Wildflower McAllister is a free-spirit who just turned 13. Though she’s left with a bitter mother after her Daddy’s fatal accident, she draws strength from his memory. Like all little girls, she dreams, she wonders, she has secrets. She also has fears, two to be exact: “One is dying young. The other is Johnny Monroe.”

Wildflower has a secret shortcut to get to her father’s grave, where she goes to talk to him and God. One day she arrives to find her fears realized. There’s Johnny, and fight though she may, there’s no escape.  She’s attacked, and forced to grow up much too soon.
Battered, bruised, and left for dead, she’s finally found by her family who vow to bring her attacker to justice. She feels broken, every last bit of her. Her mother blames her unjustly. Her community shuns her. It feels as though God has abandoned her, too.

Then, the unthinkable—she finds herself pregnant by her abuser.
She didn’t want to get raped, she didn’t want to get pregnant. But she knew without a doubt that her baby did not deserve to die for the sins of its father. And that strength, that determination, that baby, set her free again.

To say I was refreshed by this book is an understatement. In a society that glorifies selfishness, this Kirkus “Best Book of 2012” celebrates something completely different. I kept finding myself surprised as I read: Surely, she will get away…. Surely, she won’t be pregnant…Surely, the baby will be miscarried, or aborted, or at the very least, given up? She wouldn’t actually demand to mother her child, being just a child herself? You bet she did.

Through the eyes of a 13-year-old girl, we get a glimpse into the world of a mother from rape. Her strength, and her commitment to her child are inspiring:
Wildflower’s mother, along with the local doctor, pressure her to have an abortion, and her response is to “…cuss them both out to their faces...”
“If there is a baby inside me, I want to keep it safe, even though a part of me hates it for even existing.”

“…I decided not to blame the baby for being there. Just like me, it had no choice in the matter.”
“As hard as I wish it never happened, I can’t wish this baby away. It would be like trying to wish away the river in front of us.”—could there be a more profound observation?
In a moment of mercy, she even feels sympathy for her attacker—knowing he was raised by a mother who never loved him, and later abandoned him.

We live in a world where independence and self-fulfillment must be achieved at all costs; where pregnancies only contain “babies” if they are:
-Without any chance of defect (determined by prenatal testing)
-Conceived in love by two consenting adults (or, with parts donated by parent  A and parent B, mixed    and implanted into parent C, to be raised by parents D and E)

If any of those factors are missing, society tells us pregnancy is simply: A clump of cells, defined only by the mother’s feelings; disposable; acceptable to destroy. And if that pregnancy came to be through rape? Even in the pro-life community, many turn away from their convictions, conscience, and scientific truths to allow that child to be killed.

To me, being pro-life has never been a question—it’s where my heart is. It’s who I am. No matter the circumstances, babies are babies: Precious and beautiful, created in God’s own image. Every baby is worth protecting, celebrating, and loving.

I never imagined when I picked up this little novel for a book club that it would have such a profound effect on me. The characters come alive, as they do only in the best books. The prose is rich, transporting the reader right to Katy’s Ridge, Tennessee.  Wildflower’s keen observations, subtle humor, and strength of character make The Secret Sense of Wildflower a joy to read. The best surprise of all, though, was the undeniable life-affirming message that is the story’s very core.
P.S. Lily’s Song, the story of Wildflower’s daughter, was just released—I can’t wait!

BIO:  Melanie Clark Metzbower is a wife, mother, and Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) survivor. Before her daughter was born, she was an active volunteer with Maryland Pro-Life Alliance PAC. In her free moments, she enjoys reading, writing, cooking, and travel.