Today, I am blessed to have my sweet friend Abby guest post for us. I've ask her to share with us out of her experience with war-torn nations. My hope is that our world view will be expanded and we will act in compassion for those living in these conditions. This being the month of celebrating mothers, Abby will be sharing from the point of view of a mother in one of the countries she has worked with recently. Keep in mind, there are various types of suffering, and poverty is not the only cause, but in some developed countries, like Iraq, violence is the reason for hardship.
Abby Davidson is an Idaho native, economics grad student, and wife/partner to the founder of ForgottenSong, a non-profit organization working to sustainably improve the lives of women and children in war-torn countries. She thrives on experiencing new cultures, loves adventure, and has a passion for seeing hope and love restored to people all over the world. Learn more HERE.
It’s a quiet, peaceful evening here in Duhok, Iraq. Almost one million people live here, and yet surrounded by treeless mountains and without another town in sight, it doesn’t feel that large. The sun is just setting, and families are beginning to gather in the park nestled in the center of town. Mothers and fathers walk and play with their young children, giving into pleas for candy and soda. I smile to myself, remembering when my children were young and when I was a new mother with my whole life ahead of me. I had so many dreams and desires, but none as great as having children. My experience was not what I had anticipated however. Memories begin to flash back in my mind, as they always do, and I am reminded of what motherhood truly is, or at least what it has become to me.
Four years ago, when we were still living in Baghdad, violence was common and affected many on a weekly basis. It was just after my daughter’s fifteenth birthday, and I sent her off to school like any normal weekday. During her third class, a man walked into the room, pulled out a gun, and shot her classmate in the head. My daughter was only several meters away and saw her friend’s life stolen from her almost instantaneously. We were later told he was part of a terrorist group that targeted girls wearing heavy makeup in order to make a statement to society. Sometimes I still cannot believe it when I say it.
My daughter changed that day. The innocence in her eyes was lost, and the hope in her laughter was reduced to a confused depression. The guarantee of happiness was ripped away as she witnessed a tragedy that shook her foundations and her naivety to its core. It was at that time that we decided to leave our home and come here, to join the thousands of other refugees that have fled Baghdad to seek some sense of normalcy in the north. My daughter never did go back to school. As hard as we tried to persuade her to return, she couldn’t do it. She acts strong, but I can see it in her eyes, she is afraid, confused, and broken.
I hear that children in other countries are too poor to go to school. That is not the plight of myself and other mothers here in Iraq. Money cannot solve our problems. There is no understanding these attacks, no way to avoid them. As a mother, I am supposed to be the keeper of my children, yet my love and care has not been enough to keep them safe. Mothers feel an urgency to protect and comfort their children, and when life makes this impossible, the pain is unbearable. Yet we press on. We hope for peace, which we work for consistently here in our new home. We strive for happiness, and find it in even the smallest of things. Motherhood has been redefined to me. It is no longer about protecting my children from harm, but rather my purpose now is to consistently release them into the hands of God and remind myself that every day is a gift. Sometimes certain gifts, like motherhood, can only come with pain as well.
As I continue to watch groups stroll through the park, I wonder how many of those young smiling faces are hiding fear and pain. And I think about the mothers and wonder how many have had their hearts broken like mine. But at this moment, it seems peaceful here. We pretend as though our hearts are whole, and we enjoy this moment together. The plight of mothers in countries like mine isn’t shouted from the rooftops. It’s hidden in our hearts, and although the rest of the world may not understand, motherhood will forever be redefined for every one of us.
As Abby addressed, simply money cannot solve some of these mothers' problems. Partnering with organizations like ForgottenSong can help by sustainably improving the lives of women and children in war-torn countries. Currently, ForgottenSong is in Iraq and Uganda. Learn more HERE.
Events coming up that you might be interested:
- Tri for Febby: Upon completion of the Fundraising, ForgottenSong will fully fund a trip for you to travel to East Africa to visit the Chicken Farm that YOU have funded!
- Go Out for a Change: Local businesses are helping us in our efforts to change the lives of widows and orphans in war-torn countries across the world by donating a percentage of profits for the day.