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“Is Mother’s Day on Sunday or Monday,” my youngest pipes from the far back of the car this morning. He’s been asking me about Mother’s Day for at least a week now. I’m thankful to his teacher, who I’m sure has been reminding her students to tell their mothers that they love them.

“It’s Sunday,” his sister answers.

“Oh,” Jack says. “I can’t wait… Sunday…. That’s only two days away.”

I don’t know what he’s expecting. Maybe he thinks it’s like a birthday and that we will have cake. Maybe he’s super sweet and has made something for me at school that’s burning a hole in his cubby – just ready for me to sink into all its kid-cute craftiness and beauty. Maybe he just doesn’t want to forget to give me an extra special hug. He’s good at those. I don’t know.

One thing I do know is that I don’t care about a gift. My gifts, even though they can on occasion be whiny and eye-rolly and frustrating, are sitting with me in the car. The kids are my gift. In fact, I never knew how much I could love until these five people entered my life. And, even though my life’s road has been paved with love-filled relationships, friendships, family, and a husband- until having kids, I never knew the capacity of a heart to feel.

That’s my Mother’s Day gift. And I treasure it every day.

So, as I listened to the news last night and heard that the United States is sending help to Nigeria in an effort to locate the missing Chibok schoolgirls, my heart ached. Truly ached. I cannot in any crevice of my imagination know how I would feel if any one of mine was brutally taken, hidden, likely abused and possibly sold at the hands of terrorists that have no regard for the human beings they have stolen. These girls are people, young ladies in the prime of their life, ripped from society, treated like …. can we go there?

One of the abducted schoolgirls that escaped recently told the Associated Press about the ordeal (as reported in the Washington Post):

“LAGOS, Nigeria — The girls in the school dorm heard the sound of gunshots from a nearby town. So when armed men in uniforms burst in and promised to rescue them, at first they were relieved.Don’t worry, we’re soldiers,” one 16-year-old girl recalls them saying. “Nothing is going to happen to you.”

The gunmen commanded the hundreds of students at the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School to gather outside. The men went into a storeroom and removed all the food. Then they set fire to the room.

“They … started shouting, ‘Allahu Akhbar,’ (God is great),” the 16-year-old student said. “And we knew.”

What they knew was chilling: The men were not government soldiers at all. They were members of the ruthless Islamic extremist group called Boko Haram. They kidnapped the entire group of girls and drove them away in pickup trucks into the dense forest.

PBS reported last night that Officials fear the girls have been separated, sent to neighboring countries and who knows where else.

Sitting thousands of miles away, worlds apart, it’s hard to imagine what any of us can do to help. One thing is certain, we can pray. And we can pray by name. Here’s a recently released, by the Christian Association of Nigeria, list of 177 of the girls. Please pick a name and pray for her. And pray also for her mother, whose celebration this Sunday might feel a bit different than most of ours.


We will be praying for Naomi Zakaria and her family. I hope you will pick someone to pray for, too.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


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