Five times now I’ve cradled newness in my arms. Limbs and bone and blood with bits of secret still clinging to its sides. My eyes widened in awe, body still aching from the delivery, my eyes have beheld a glimpse of glory that words can barely encompass. In four of these instances, the babe in my arms has been a girl. A girl. Four times I’ve held a girl child in my arms and blessed her as she was given her name and with that name she became known.
Today I’m thinking about another set of mothers...the mothers of Nigeria--our sisters who also cradled their babies, their 223 babies who were kidnapped by the Boko Haram leader. They have names, y’all. They. Have. Names.
These are not nameless, faceless girls. No, these are our sisters. We are their sisters and their mothers; their aunts and their grandmothers. We are their voices and their very names cry out for mention and for their worth. They are not chattel. They are not property.
And so we pray again and again for the girls who have been abducted, but now we pray not only with a “You, God, know their names,” but with an adamant voice of many mothers and sisters decrying the injustice done and forever declaring their names again and again. And with every repetition of these names gifted by their mothers in the moments following their births, we make them known not only to our own hearts, but to our fellow beings and we declare that they are worth finding. They are worth fighting for, their names ringing out and daring us to not accept these atrocities as commonplace or relegate them to a tragedy that happens “over there.”
Instead, we are challenged to pick up the heavy burden of injustice, shoulder it on our backs and carry their names as a prayer until they are found. It is with one voice that we cry, “#BringBackOurGirls."
A list of the names of the stolen girls has been released. Would you consider picking one or two to pray for by name? You can view the list here.