CLEVELAND - It's being called the Miracle in Cleveland. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight have been rescued after a decade of indescribable abuse and torment. The person charged with the crime is in police custody and all three young women are now safe. The date of their rescue was Monday, May 6, 2013.
Exactly one week later on Monday, May 13, 2013, Cleveland community activist Yvonne Pointer receives news that Cleveland police believe they have the man who murdered and raped her 14-year-old daughter Gloria back in 1984. It's one of Cleveland's most notorious unsolved cold cases.
Pointer, who was at the hospital sitting with Michelle Knight as part of her job responsibilities with the city of Cleveland, has fought tirelessly to keep her daughter's memory alive. She hoped that one day she would know who killed her daughter.
Yvonne Pointer, Louwanna Miller, Nancy Ruiz and Barbara Knight are four mothers with one major character trait in common. They all prayed for their daughters. They believed in a power higher than themselves to sustain them as they dealt with the agonizing question marks surrounding their daughter's lives.
Nancy Ruiz, Gina's mother, was very vocal about the power of faith in her life. She made sure to mention on the day Gina returned home, that it was her faith in God that kept her believing Gina was alive. And to the naysayers who believed she was dead, Ruiz responded with words of gratitude. She thanked those who didn't believe because it kept her motivated to keep the crusade for Gina's return alive.
Louwanna Miller, Amanda's mother, isn't here to see that her prayers were answered. But she held on as long as she could to her daughter's memory, and sorrowfully passed away. Some would say she died of a broken heart. Others might say she died with hope in her heart that Amanda would one day be found alive.
Controversy surrounds Barbara Knight, Michelle's mother, because of reports about her strained relationship with her daughter. But Knight did report her daughter missing and I would imagine her initial feelings of worry overwhelmed her. She has left her Florida home and is here in Cleveland in hopes of being reunited with Michelle. Only time can paint the picture of their next chapter.
And there's Pointer, who knew her daughter was dead but had no knowledge of who could have brutally raped and murdered Gloria. Who could have done this to her child? How has she been able to press pass the pain and promote peace and unity in Cleveland. Her name parallel to the description " voice for the less fortunate" as she clings to hope for her own unfortunate circumstance.
How did all of these women manage to live without knowing if Death had taken their child or who Death used to break their heart?
One word: prayer.
Ruiz and Pointer are the most vocal about how their faith empowered them when they became weak and sometimes weary over the years. Prayer birthed a hopeful spirit that enabled them to get up every morning believing that it could be "the" day their prayers were answered.
So today we can report two miracles in the city of Cleveland. They happened 7 days apart. Coincidence? I don't believe so. To do so would contradict the definition of a miracle. A miracle is defined as an extraordinary event manifesting a supernatural work of God.
And what's great about miracles is that they give hope to those who are still carrying hopelessness and drowning in despair. It tells the person who is about to give up to hold on a little while longer. Miracles open us up to the possibility of seeing the impossible, possible.
These mothers prayed. Prayer was their tool of survival. And for the three mothers who are still living, prayer will be the source of their power as they embark on their journey to well being.
Because once you have the answer, prayer helps you process the information and move forward. These families have a long road of healing ahead of them. A road paved with forgiveness, understanding, patience, encouragement and an abundance of love. There will be good days and bad days and some days will be downright difficult.
But these three mothers will continue as they always have. Even as the winds of change are swirling around Cleveland, Yvonne Pointer, Nancy Ruiz, and Barbara Knight will stand firm on their faith as they embrace the "new" normal in their lives.
For now they are living testaments to the power of a mother's prayer.