As the Mother’s Day-themed bouquets and greeting cards are removed from store shelves and we move on to the next holiday, my heart grieves as I reflect on how very different the motherhood experience is in Iran, where I lived until my preteens. Every year, while my children are presenting me with homemade cards and extra hugs and kisses, I thank God that I’m free to fully express my heart toward them and be actively involved in their daily lives.
Still, I never forget about the women in my native country. Countless Iranian women are without rights to their own children, and in many cases, they’re separated from them completely. Many young girls are forced into marriage and motherhood without a choice and before they’re ready, seen only as a possession to be used and later discarded. They’re unable to protect their kids or have a say in their day-to-day lives or their futures.
These passionate mothers have the ability to radically impact eternity for their children and transform the lives of many others, creating ongoing ripples of Christ’s love throughout all of Iran.
Figures published by Iran Statistical Center between March-June 2021 showed that 9,750 girls aged 10-14 were officially wed in the three month period, the highest number of child marriages recorded in a single quarter of the Iranian calendar. This one data sample represents a tragic norm in Iran — girls becoming mothers before they become adults.
While my heart aches for these women, God continues to reveal His passion for the Iranian people through the many testimonies of His faithfulness and redemption. He makes beauty from ashes again and again.
Just recently, through my work with Transform Iran, I had the honor of speaking with “Meesha,” an Iranian woman who, despite being exiled from her own family, distanced from her children and persecuted by authorities, saw God redeem her motherhood for His glory.
Born into the Baloch culture, a strict sect of Iranians which devoutly follow the Sunni Islam faith, Meesha was forced by her father to marry at the age of 13, a common practice in Balochistan. She experienced the all-too-common loss of rights to her own body, a sense of identity, voice or purpose. However, the marriage resulted in three children, whom she would devote her life to protecting to the best of her ability.
Meesha’s world was forever changed when her father, brother and husband were murdered by the Iranian government. Further tragedy struck when she lost 15 family members to a catastrophic earthquake, leaving her heartbroken, frightened and alone to raise her three children. Convinced that she had somehow cursed her family because of her own sins, she pressed into a staunch Islamic faith. Rather than finding peace, however, she felt more hopeless and lost than ever before, and eventually became addicted to drugs.
Meesha had never heard the Gospel and had no Christian friends. Yet, something inside her kept saying, “You need a savior.” At the same time, Jesus was working within the hearts of her three children — one of which even asked Meesha to get him a Bible after he had personally encountered the Lord.
Then, Meesha began to see Jesus in her dreams night after night. Dressed in white, He would call her by name and extend his hand to her, saying, “Take my hand. Trust in me.”
One day, as Meesha began her traditional Muslim prayers, each time she tried to say “Mohammed,” she could only speak the name “Jesus.” In that moment, with every utterance of the name of Jesus, she felt more at peace with trusting in Him, until she was so overwhelmed with the Spirit of God that she surrendered her life to Christ. In what could only be described as a miracle, she was forever changed, instantly healed from addiction, delivered from depression and filled with real joy.
Her spiritual transformation was met with harsh rejection from many of her devout Sunni family members. Facing the threat of death, Meesha was forced to flee the country. Iranian law doesn’t permit women to take their children out of the country without written consent from the father (or his family), leaving her to make the unbearable decision to leave them behind.
Arriving at a safe house in Turkey, Meesha offered her shattered heart to the Lord and turned her focus to serving Him and sharing the Gospel. Although her biological children are physically far away and she has only seen them a few times over the course of many years, Meesha sees the ways in which God has redeemed her deep loss. She is now a Baluchi Bible translator, church planter and “spiritual mom” to hundreds of new believers — currently actively discipling 195 in Iran, as well as members of the church she pastors in the Diaspora. Each of her kids, now grown, have accepted Christ as their Savior and are dedicated to sharing their faith with others. Many of Meesha’s other Iranian family members have come to give their lives to Christ as well.
God is using Meesha’s divine encounter with Him years ago to transform the hearts of many.
Pray for the Mothers of Iran
There are countless stories like Meesha’s — stories of Jesus appearing to Muslims in dreams, calling them by name and asking them to trust in Him. Just as Jesus so deeply loved and cared for the broken and forgotten women of His time as He walked the earth, he also unconditionally loves these special women and pursues a relationship with them.
Life following Jesus means hope for mothers and children alike — regardless of temporary separation on this side of heaven. Even in instances when our children feel far away, we can trust that they are in God’s hands by devoting them to Him and keeping them covered in prayer. In the same way, we must remain cognizant of the orphaned individuals and infant Christians God places in our lives for the purpose of nurturing and discipleship.
Let Meesha’s story inspire us to pray that all Iranian mothers encounter Jesus. These passionate mothers have the ability to radically impact eternity for their children and transform the lives of many others, creating ongoing ripples of Christ’s love throughout all of Iran. Jesus wants to use these voices that have been silenced by their very cultures for so long to share the love and never-ending hope found at the foot of the cross.
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” Ephesians 1:4-6
Lana Silk is the Chief Executive Officer – USA of Transform Iran a nonprofit organization which seeks to transform Iran into a nation that bears the image of Christ. Silk was born and raised in Iran before emigrating to the UK where she completed her education at Imperial College, London. With over 20 years of marketing experience across all media, Lana considers it her life calling to represent and advocate for the people of Iran in the West.
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