Samira, Nadia, and Maha* now live with their children as refugees in Lebanon after fleeing conflict in Syria. Here, they share their challenges raising children in the midst of uncertainty, and the security they have finally found by experiencing God’s love.
In 2012, my husband and I had just married when a bomb destroyed our home. We escaped to Lebanon, along with my husband’s parents. We thought that we would soon return.
In Syria we had an easy life without worries. Now, in Lebanon, everything is so different. When I became pregnant, I was very worried if the hospital would receive me; if they would treat me well and be as good as the hospitals in Syria. It was around that time I got to know the Lord, and he comforted me.
Now I am a mother of two girls. It is challenging. I would like to dress them in nice clothes and buy them toys. I feel awful when they ask me: “Mum, can you buy this? Can I have that?” Sometimes I think: “In Syria I would have been able to afford to give them what they want.” But then at the same time I remember: “But then I wouldn’t have known the Lord.”
When my youngest girl watches SAT-7 and hears praise songs, she lifts up her hands, praising the Lord and dreaming of being a singer herself. It brings joy to my heart to see them in the Lord’s presence. But I still suffer by not being able to provide for them. My eldest daughter dreams of becoming a doctor, but she is not even attending a school now. It is hard to accept the thought that they might not fulfill their dreams.
My husband and I fled to Lebanon with our two daughters after the war started in Syria. It was hard to leave my parents behind, but with all the turmoil around us my main thought was: “I need to save my children!” In Lebanon I feel safe, because our lives are not in danger. But the situation is very difficult – no job, no money, and no family or friends to support us.
The Resurrection Church has been helping us with vouchers for food and other supplies. I started to attend church and I loved hearing the Word of God. My husband saw the changes in me and became a believer too. Our kids now watch SAT-7 KIDS movies and cartoons, and we like to watch the SAT-7 ARABIC programs. Our many problems do not affect our relationship with God – I always feel that God is near.
My girls have been out of school for two years and cannot attend public schools because of issues with our residence permit. Praise God, they have now been admitted into the church’s Learning Support Project. I often feel hopeless about not being able to provide my children with good shelter, food, and education. I would love to go to another country where my girls could have a better future. We applied with the UN in 2012 and have checked several times. But we are still waiting for an answer.
Before coming to Lebanon, I lived in Aleppo for seven years. My husband had a good job in Lebanon; we had two sons and a nice house. When the war started I remember seeing a bomb in the sky and screaming: “It’s coming, it’s coming!” Fortunately, my husband managed to get us all to safety. Things continued to get worse, so I travelled with my sons to join my husband in Lebanon.
In Lebanon we lived in a very small apartment which was dirty and infested with cockroaches and mice. The first thing I did was to look for a school for my sons. Public schools were full, but they were accepted into a private school. I worked for the school to reduce the fees. It was humiliating having to clean the toilets and I wanted to quit, but I stayed for the sake of my kids’ education.
My life was very stressful then. When some people from the Resurrection Church visited us, I didn’t understand the Gospel. I was angered, and I threw them out. But sometimes they would pray for my problems – and every time something happened. Once my husband was instantly healed.
I can’t provide everything for my kids, but I hope for a better future for them. My dream is to see my sons educated and with good jobs. I was deprived of education myself so my boys’ education is very important to me.
*Names and photos are for illustrative purposes only.