Ferensheteh was “adjusting” to life in America well, just as I had when I was a child. She was actually loving life, and I was loving having her here, as was her Grandma, her Grandpa and her Auntie. We were all blessed by this precious little girl, and thankful the Lord had been so faithful to keep her safe, to keep her out of harm’s way. We had taken her to the doctor to make sure she was okay after we got back home, and they had said that Ferenesheteh was healthy well fed, and no signs of abuse, a world of difference from the way I had first come to America, but I knew that all abuse was not physical, you did not have to starve a child or beat them to abuse them, sometimes the lack of love, and care were just as damaging, some may argue even more so.
I was blessed that my daughter was doing so well, I knew it was for the Grace of God, and only for God’s grace. I knew that the Lord was blessing me, was blessing my family. I saw his hands at work and I lived his blessings.
“Mother I am so glad that Jesus decided to bring us together again.” Ferenesheteh said one day, as we sat in the room talking, Mother and daughter getting to know one another truly for the first time.
“I am glad too, I have spent a long time praying for you.”
“I prayed for you too Mother, and when I heard that you were hurt as a child I prayed that you would be okay now.”
“Ferensheteh I am more than okay, I am blessed.”
“I am glad you are blessed. I know I am blessed now too.”
Ferensheteh would have some things to get used to some things to overcome, but my sister, and my parents were there to help me through this. I would not be going through this alone and neither would my daughter. I knew that I was blessed because of it, and I wanted my daughter to know that she was a blessing not only to me but to my family. She was wanted and she was a gift, my little girl would never feel the way I did at her age, because she would know she had a Mother who loved and cared for her, and an aunt, and grandparents who adored her. She was a blessing, but she was also blessed.
Thank you Lord for my little girl, she is a blessing and I pray she always knows that. Thank you that despite everything we have been through you have helped us through things I know we could not have gotten through on our own, and you have gotten us this far. May we continue to follow your path Lord, and not be led by the world to stray. I love you Lord and I praise you for everything you have done and continue to do.
“Am I interrupting you?”
“No sorry Hope I was just lost in thought.”
“I could use your help with writing this, well not so much writing it, but making sure things sound okay.”
“Alright Hope, but you are a wonderful writer in your own right, I don’t know how I can help you.”
“Of course I will help Hope. Is it about you being shot?”
“Yeah, and it’s still so fresh, I could really use your help and your insights.”
“Okay Hope I will do what I can.”
I spent some time looking over what Hope had written not really seeing anything wrong with it, but I knew she just needed to be assured. She was writing about something that happened to her and it was not easy, I understood that, because I often felt the same way when I was writing about what happened to me. When you were writing about something else, or writing a piece of fiction you could in a way distance yourself, not so much that you didn’t get into the characters heads, but you did not have to live through everything the way Hope had when she was writing about what happened to her, or I did when I was writing about what happened to me. Delving into that could be hard, but I knew that what we were doing was reaching out to others so in that way it made it easier for me, and I considered myself blessed because of it.
“Hope I think you are doing fine with this. I know that it’s hard though.”
“It’s harder than I ever imagined, how do you do it? How do you write about the horrible things that happened to you when you were a little girl?”
“Hope it’s only for God’s Grace that I can do that.”
“Amen to that Star. I am so glad he has given you the strength and courage to do what you are called to do.”
“So am I Hope. And I am so glad he has blessed me the way he has with wonderful family, a beautiful daughter, a sister who loves me and parents who love me, I know I am blessed.”
“Star we are blessed by you as well, do you think I could have gotten through this without you? I know that I would not have been able to.”
“But for the Grace of God Hope. It’s for God’s grace, not in human power.”
“I know you are right about that Star.”
Lord thank you that you have gotten us through so much, and that you have blessed us. Give us the words we need to tell our stories and to reach others to you Lord. Allow us the strength to get through whatever else may come our way, and the wisdom not to fall into the traps of the world. May we continue to serve you until the end of our days.
Chapter Twenty Six:
In the dream I am a little girl, but I am happy for the first time in my dream I am a happy child.
The dream I know is God’s way of telling me things are going to be okay, that he has gotten me this far and he will continue to take my farther.
I know I owe the Lord so much. My faith has carried me to the place where I am now, with my daughter in my lap, my sister by my side, and my dreams coming true .
At one time as a little girl I lost my innocence by no choice of my own, but I regained my life when I gave it to the Lord.
I can hear myself laughing in the dream, laughing, truly laughing for the first time.
My sister, my daughter, myself, we have all been through so much, at the hands of a monster, but evil cannot overpower good, and now that evil is paying for his sins, in a prison cell. We had moved on with our lives and were beginning to heal, we would always have the scars, but never again would we allow those scars to define us.
Lord you have carried me so far, you have carried us all so far, I know we have a long way in this journey to go, but we have come a long way too, and I thank you for that. I thank you for everything.
I looked around me, my family, my friends, everything, and I realized how far the Lord had taken me from that scared little girl who came to America, afraid of everything. I no longer carried that fear with me everywhere I went. I had made it this far with the Grace of God and with the Grace of God I was going to share what the Lord had done for me with the world.
“I know that the Lord has blessed us richly.”
“Amen to that Hope, despite everything we have been through, seeing his blessings is a gift.”
I turned my Bible to 2 Timothy 1 and began reading, thanking the Lord for the word.
2 Timothy 1
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my dear son:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
Appeal for Loyalty to Paul and the Gospel
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Examples of Disloyalty and Loyalty
15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.
16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.
“I have come a long way since I came to America.” I told my sister. I was practicing for a speech I would give at church. “I know my journey is not over yet, but I am blessed because I have come this far. I thank the Lord for what he has done for me. I have gone through this journey, and I have had many stumbles, but the Lord has always been faithful to carry me this far. I had endured a hellish life at the beginning but now I saw myself as rich, rich in love and faith and wasn’t all that truly mattered?
“Star you truly have come far, but for the Grace of God, and I am blessed to have you for a sister.” Hope said.
“I am blessed to be your sister as well, the road to get where we are at now was rocky, but we have made it, that can only speak to a faithful and loving Lord.”
“Amen to that Sister.”
Hope sat next to me in the chair that now acted as her legs, since the shooting, because she could no longer walk, but that did not really slow her down much. I was thankful she had not let the shooting destroy her life. She was not going to be defined by it any more than I was going to be defined by what happened to me. I was thankful for that, and thankful for the fact that we had made it this far.
God you are so good to us, so faithful and we are unworthy still you bless us.
“Mother why do you call me your blessing, your gift from God?”
“Because you are Ferensheteh you’re an answer to nine years of prayer, for a long time I thought you were in Heaven with Jesus, but God gave me a second chance to be your Mother.”
“I am glad too Mother. I am happy that I get to be with family that truly loves me.”
“Ferensheteh I am grateful for that as well.”
“I love you mom.”
“And I love you too Ferensheteh.”
Thank you Lord for giving me another chance with my daughter. Thank you for giving us another chance at life. I know bad things have happened to me but that does not mean I cannot make good decisions and have a good life, because you have showed me now that I can overcome anything.
My life was good, and I was indeed blessed. I may have lost my leg all those years ago, but in the years that followed I had gained so much more. I had gained a strong faith, and a family who cares about me, and a relationship with the Lord, which I knew would be the most important relationship in my life.
We gave you the name Star, because you represented a promise to us, a promise from the Lord, we had prayed long and hard for another child. You were an answer to a long time of prayer.
I knew that I would face more trials in life, that not everything would be smooth sailing from here on out, but after everything I had already overcome I knew that I could overcome more. I knew that the good Lord would help me through any trials I might face. I was going to make it with a little help from the Lord I was going to make it and that in itself was enough reason to sing his praises.
I was telling my story, still blogging, still writing, and doing what I felt the Lord was calling me to do. I was sharing my testimony and reaching out to others, and I knew there were some that did not like the idea of a girl who was born Muslim being adopted into an American Christian family, but they were my family and no amount of hate or intolerance would change that. I had a family who loved me and whom I loved, and the same was true for Ferensheteh, and I was now a Christian, I had given my heart to Jesus, and I was thankful for that.
The Lord was faithful to those who served them, and I realized that now more than ever. I was surrounded by a family who loved me and people who cared. I had a wonderful church family who wanted to see me grow in faith, and I had a beautiful daughter, a sister who had been through hell with me, but had still come out singing his praises, and parents, parents who had been by my side, even when I had tried to push them away. All and I knew I was blessed.
You were so scared when you first came to us, we didn’t know how to reach out to you, but God was faithful and showed us how to, He showed us that you needed love, and Hope, your sister Hope she led the way.
“Hope I would not be where I am today if it were not for you. I tried to push you away, and you wouldn’t let me. I am so thankful for that.”
“I am thankful too, and I am glad we are sisters.”
“I am too Hope.”
You were a gift Star, and you are wanted. You are loved.
I felt that way now both loved and wanted. I knew the Lord did not look at me as damaged goods, but he looked at me as his child and I was blessed by that fact. I was blessed by his love for me and my family for the many gifts I had been given. I was not going to look at myself as unwanted goods as I had done when I first became a Baxter, because the truth was I was both loved and wanted, and I wanted my daughter to feel the same way.
“Mom I am glad we came to America, that we are now Baxters.”
“So Am I Ferensheteh, so am I.”
My daughter saw that we were blessed, she had seen what life in Afghanistan was like. She had lived there. Thankfully she had not gone through some of the things that I had, the kind of abuse I had, but she had her own scars, and scars were scars no matter how deep. I knew that my daughter was strong too, and that the Lord had carried her far. No nine year old child should have to go through the things she went through, but no nine year old child should be forced to do the unspeakable.
“Star are you ready to get up and share your testimony?” My sister asked. We were at the church now, the church I had been going to for the past several years, but this was going to be the first time Ferensheteh came up with me. My miracle, my answered prayer, and I was a little nervous, not for myself but for my beautiful daughter.
We had come along way, and we were all strong in the Lord. Ferensheteh was now ready to share her testimony in her own way.
“I love you Lord.” I said as my daughter and I made our way to share our story.