Eugene Bach called me out of the blue one day. “Can you come to Virginia for a few days?” My brain and my calendar immediately said no, but as I listened to him describe the story of a woman named Mariam, my heart and my voice answered with a resounding yes.
We met Mariam Ibraheem near her home. She was quiet, reserved, and polite, but there was something else immediately apparent: something deeper, more powerful, that she held behind her ever-present smile. We sat and talked to her, over coffee, over lunch, over coffee again. We made polite conversation, laughed and joked, and then, a bit unexpectedly, she began to reveal, shamelessly, the source of her pain, the source of her strength.
The details are much too vast and intimate to share here (she and Eugene have recorded her story brilliantly in the book, Shackled: One Woman’s Dramatic Triumph Over Persecution, Gender Abuse, and a Death Sentence). Simply put, she has endured the unimaginable. She has suffered what most of us could never dream of.
But, she has a secret many of us have glimpsed. Through it all, to this day, there is an inner, quiet strength, an eternal glow, that fills her spirit and emanates through her powerful smile. She knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she is never alone.
When she was imprisoned in Sudan for her faith and facing a death sentence, still caring for her toddling son and carrying her unborn daughter, she briefly let the hopelessness of her situation wash over her. She let loneliness seep in. But then, there He was: that voice, that light within, reminding her that He was with her.
That voice strengthened her—despite the powers against her, despite the odds against her ever seeing freedom again. The voice and presence of Jesus gave her the steely resolve to stand strong in her faith. She could have simply accepted the judge’s proposition, denied Jesus, and gained her freedom. She could have freed herself and her son, reunited with her husband and spent the remainder of her pregnancy in the comfort of her home. But she would never deny her faith in Jesus. And for that, she paid the price.
She corralled and entertained a busy toddler from inside a prison cell. With shackles around her feet, she delivered a beautiful daughter on a cold prison floor, but through it all she never wavered in her faith. She knew, without a doubt, that she was never alone.
Even in her freedom, today, she shares that unwavering strength, that inner light, that power that never leaves us when we believe in Jesus. She speaks tirelessly and vehemently for those still suffering as she once did, persecuted for their faith. She dedicates her life to giving a powerful voice to those afraid to speak.
To make sure that our children hear the powerful faith of women like Mariam, Eugene and I have retold her story to share with your families, in Never Alone, the latest book in the Tales from FuFu’s Forest series. We tell the story of Mariam’s unbelievable strength and unwavering faith. But most of all, we remind readers from young to old that, no matter what they face, they, too, are never, ever alone.
Other Books from The Tales from FuFu’s Forest
- The Courage to Obey, The true story of a missionary in Tibet who found the courage to go wherever God may lead
- The Miracle of Spring, The true story of a girl who saw Jesus and was raised up to a new life in Him
- The Healing Hand of God, The true story of a Chinese missionary set free by the healing hand of God
- Christmas in Prison, The true story of Brother Yun, who helped others to find freedom within the walls of prison
- Safe in the Storm, The true story of a bold missionary, whom God kept safe through even the fiercest storm
- The Power of Love, The true story of Tenzin, a monk who became a Christian
- The Name of Jesus, The true story of a missionary healed by the power of Jesus’s name
- Never Alone, The true story of Mariam, a woman whose faith in Jesus comforted her, in prison and beyond (Available end of year, 2023)