“But Momma, you can not die,” Alexandria, my eight year old daughter clutched my hand. Her long fingers cool to the touch. “Momma, you said to pray to your Jesus and he would make it all right…well I’ve prayed and maybe he’s not listening,” tears formed in her purple hazel eyes.
I shook my head unable to speak. Days of stale bottled water and little food have left me dehydrated.
“I know why your Jesus is not listening to us,” Alexandria’s eyes turned to a dark plum. “I heard Grandma say that here in Libya only Allah listens to prayers not Jesus.”
I coughed, “Alex…Jesus does listen to our prayers,” I was at a loss for words. I stroked her long dark hair.
“But Momma…” Alexandria jerked her head away from my hand. Her eyes now held the look of suffering that I’d seen from the Bedouins who lived in the Sahara. “Grandma says you are sick and may die…soon,” tears rebelled and flooded down her olive cheeks.
“Please Momma, do not die…do not leave us here in Libya…if you leave us here alone in Libya then we will never get to know who your Jesus really was…please Momma don’t die.” A deep sob escaped her lips.
I fought nausea; I wiped my tongue over my dry rough lips. “I don’t want to die,” my chest tightened and my throat ached. For a moment I felt as if my eyes were beginning to swell with tears, but in an instant they began to burn as if they had been scorched by the sand.
“Please tell your Jesus not to let you die…we will never make it without you,” her little body heaved with sorrow.
“Dear Lord, what have I done?” I felt as if someone had kicked me in the stomach and shoved a sword in my heart. I knew I was very ill and that I would die soon without proper medical attention. But in my sorrows and selfishness I had given up hope and the desire to live. “Dear Lord, please help me,” I prayed softly, “give me hope and the will to live.” I closed my eyes and held my daughter. “I promise Jesus that I will not be defeated…that I will live as long as You allow…even if I am forced to live in Libya… I want to teach my children about You…and guard them from the persecution and terror that surrounds them.”
I lifted Alexandria’s delicate face, “I promise that I will pray to Jesus…everyday…and I won’t give up.”
“Promise?” Alexandria held out her pinky.
“Promise,” I linked pinky fingers with her.
“Oh Momma, I knew Jesus would listen,” Alexandria wrapped her slender arms around me. ”
I was surprised by a wet and cool sensation that started to fill my eyes. I lightly touched my eyelashes and felt moisture. “Thank you Lord for my life and the lives of my children,” I kissed my daughter’s soft head. "I want to live Lord, I don't want to die." My chest relaxed and my heart lifted as a multitude of imprisoned tears finally found release.