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Read BN Reader Frances Okoro’s Sweet Ode to Her Amazing Mother on Her Birthday



I am a total sucker for birthday celebrations.

I rarely let the birthday of a friend or family member pass by without celebrating it.
Yes, I am that friend who bugs her friends to “do something na”, for the day.
I even had a mini accident in the market some years ago because I had woken up a friend who had no plans for her birthday for us to go to the market and buy foodstuff for her day. You would think that I was the birthday girl with the way I was so “gingered”.
Despite all these though, there’s one person that I have never even so much as called on her birthday.
I didn’t even know her birthday for the better part of my life – you’d see the reason why soon.

Every February 20th for the better part of my life has passed by as a normal day without so much as a call to wish the woman who birthed me happy birthday.

I have determined that this year won’t be the same with previous years.
I am going to tell her story and celebrate the amazing woman that she is.

I mean, she may think that I do not know, but I know. I know more than the smile I see in her eyes right now. I know more than the laugh that I see tumbling out of her belly.
I see more than she is willing to show to me. I see into the twelve years of her life spent without a man, and maybe this article will finally be able to tell her just how much I know. Maybe this article will be able to tell her that I am not that nine year old girl anymore but I am a fully grown woman who can relate with her on the same pedestal.

I know an amazing woman, her name is Mrs Perpetual Okoro and she birthed me.
My childhood was filled with the mischief that children are won’t to do and such mischief she didn’t hesitate to squash immediately they came into my mind.
She is the reason why I am not a tout even though we once lived in a tout filled neighbourhood.

She is part of the reason why I am a lawyer today. She always said that her children are different from the rest and yes, I am indeed different from the rest.
I hated her discipline, but right now, I see the good in it all.

She was so strict. Strict enough to not let us play on the sand outdoors. That was the worst punishment we thought we could be given then but still, we were happy till trouble knocked on the door of our home and the marriage between her and my father was broken.
She left us; she left our home and I was shattered. I remember crying for days on end with thoughts about my parents fights haunting me.
I do not like to reach into my memories from those times, I do not like reaching deep down into the memory of me crying while the fights raged on with the neighbors ever present consoling words ringing in my ears.

The fear of everyday being like the last with no change in sight left me torn for days.
We prayed and prayed for 12 years and our home is reunited now, Perpetual is back at her husband’s house and I am so grateful to God… but that doesn’t mean that memories do not seep into my head sometimes.
I still remember.
She was not blameless in the events that led to the breakdown of the marriage. She had her days; but that does not stop me from remembering the events of those 12 years spent living in a broken family.

I still remember her sitting on the stairs outside the house just to visit us.
I still remember her not having mere 50 Naira to pay for the fare needed to take her back home.
I still remember that she had forfeited her JAMB admission into a University to enable her to take care of us when we were kids and when she was left without a husband, she still went through her years at College of education with debts piling up on her… but still she rose.

I look at her when she smiles now I remember those 12 years of sleepless nights spent in her father’s house, filled with the shame of being a returnee wife, living with her step brothers and sisters, being mocked and used as a laughing stock.

I see it all clearly now because I am a woman like her and I share her story, not because I am not yet healed of all that took place in the years past but because she inspires me.
I know without any iota of doubt that some women would have been broken in spirit in those 12 years Of pain… but not Perpetual.

In the midst of insults and financial difficulties, still she rose.
In the midst of her kids putting the blame on her as the one who caused the break down of her home, still she rose.

In the midst of attacks on her marriage, still she rose.
And when she told me she wanted to go to the university in 2015 to get her degree, I smiled with joy bursting in my spirit.

She may have spent 12 years of her life being mocked as a returnee wife but still she will rise. She may have forfeited her opportunity to go to the university many years ago, but still she will rise. Getting her degree from the university may not be foreseeable in the near future. She may not even have the funds to go to school right now, but still, she will find a way.

This is the Perpetual I know, strong and ambitious.
Strict and loving.
Sacrificial and amazing.
Broken, beaten down and bent… but still she will rise.

And when I look at her, I believe that I have no excuse not to shine and spread forth my light to everyone on my path while I am on earth.
I have no reason to not rise out of the ashes whenever I need to and I have no reason to not reach for the stars.

No matter how long the journey to the stars may take, be it 12 years or more, I know I can get there because Perpetual has shown me that I can.

I know an amazing woman, and she taught me to never give up.
This amazing woman birthed me and today is her birthday.
Happy Birthday Mrs Perpetual Okoro.
This is the beginning of my never forgetting your birthday for the rest of my life.
May your path shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect light of day.

With Love,
From Your daughter,

Hephzibah Frances is a Lawyer and author currently based in Lagos Nigeria. She is an author of more than 15 books including the best-selling book “Prayers for your future husband”. She is a Voice for the Lord. She proclaims God to the Nations through her songs, books, podcasts, talk-shows, movies and the new media. Carrying God’s word to her generation on the wings of the wind. She is the founder of two women ministries, The Women At The Well and The Deborah Generation She is also the founder of Awakening Youthful Seeds For Christ Initiative a Non-Governmental Organisation focused on raising purposeful youths. She runs a business to help authors and aspiring authors BIRTH THEIR BOOK DREAMS at Beautiful Feet Publishing - Email: [email protected] for help with all things publishing and marketing your books. ***** KEEP IN TOUCH: Email her at [email protected] Follow Her On Social Media: On Facebook: HephzibahFrances On twitter @Hephzibahfran/ On instagram @hephzibahfrances Listen to her Podcasts At: Podcasts By Hephzibah Frances Watch her videos on her YouTube Channel at - Hephzibah Frances Read her blog at Download FREE eBooks written by her from here


  1. kenitola

    February 20, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Happy Birthday Madam Perpetual Okoro, may you live to eat the good fruit of your labour. AMEN.

  2. Scared homosapien

    February 20, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Mother’s stay slaying!
    Happy birthday to your wonderful mum. May she keep rising against all odds. Amen!

  3. bells

    February 20, 2015 at 9:49 am

    My mum left my dad n me for her true love 22yrs ago. I’m no longer bitter about it(i had an amazing step mum, who loved me wella) I was 1yr old wen she left without me. No longer sad, bt I still can’t imagine mysef writing swt poems abt her. She was a kinda reunion nw but I’m nt interested. We both lived in Lagos, she had 22yrs to atleast visit bt she chose not to. Right nw, I jst dnt hv any love in my heart for her. DNA is d least of what mks a person a mother.

    • Miss N

      February 20, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Hi bells, I understand totally how you feel. In the same shoes with you, except this time, its my father who left, and I’m not even sure it was to be with his true love. But basically, i don’t feel any love or sweetness towards him, what i feel actually is pity (for him). However, as a child of God, my mother has encouraged me to find the strength to forgive him, and so I’m working on that and I respect him as a man.

      You too can do same, forgive her, respect her, and by God’s grace, love her (at least with the love of God). it is well………………

    • Frances Okoro

      February 21, 2015 at 4:37 am

      Awww Miss Bells…
      *hugs and hugs*

      I can’t say that forgiving your mom would be easy but you have to do it.
      I mostly don’t like remembering those 12years of my life but I lived in pain and anger for so long till I realized that the prayers to even make everything right had to be prayed by me(us)
      It took the grace of God to forgive, let go of whatever ills I felt and move on and it’s not a one day journey, it’s an everyday journey.

      Be willing to forgive and move on and ask God to work on your heart-He always does.

      Seeing things through your mom’s eyes would also help.
      What happened with her through her eyes not yours?
      You could take the olive branch she is wielding and talk to her, find our her perspective.
      And even if she had no tangible reason for doing what she did, forgive her anyway.

      I read a Francine rivers book where 3generations of family had issues with their mothers.
      I say to you what the daughter who brought about reconciliation said…
      “God will restore the years that the cankerworm has eaten”.

      A lot of things and strained relationships may have gone down in the past, but “no more”
      “No more”

      Much love sis.

    • toluh

      February 21, 2015 at 10:49 am

      Please what’s the name of the book.

  4. Ovweriavwose Sheila

    February 20, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Happy birthday Mrs Perpetual Okoro. The woman whose banga soup efe has not recovered from. I wish you blessings of continual restoration of all that the devil stole from you.
    God bless you Frances for remembering her day, may your day never be forgotten.
    @bells, I wish I had the right words to encourage you but I don’t. The way forward however is forgiveness. She didn’t care 22yrs ago, she cares now. She’s realized her wrong. You shouldn’t prevent her from making amends, especially cos we don’t know what tomorrow holds.


    February 20, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    HBD ma…….

  6. Opsy

    February 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Happy Birthday to your mum… 🙂

  7. 1 + The One

    February 20, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Awww this is a deep deep post!
    Frances you never cease to wow me.. God bless your heart for the grace to forgive and understand.
    Happy birthday to your mum Mrs Perpetual Okoro.. Many more beautiful Feb 20th to celebrate in Jesus name xx

  8. Chinagorom Martin

    February 20, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Bless her

  9. Adaeze Obiako

    February 20, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Frances, is it your goal to make me tear up? You have succeeded 🙂 As I was reading this, all I kept saying was I pray to be more like Frances. You make forgiving look “easy”. You make smiling in tough times look “easy”. You make doing the right thing and showing love look “easy”. I thank God that your mom is back home and I thank God for your COURAGE to tell the truth of the story – pretty and not-so-pretty parts (there are few things I admire and respect more than honest bravery).

    I wish your mom, Mrs. Perpetual Okoro, a very happy birthday my dear. You’re one of the people I am most happy to have linked up with online and posts like this clearly remind me why. God bless you, Frances!

    • Frances Okoro

      February 21, 2015 at 4:42 am

      @Adaeze, if this post was meant to make you tear up, you reciprocated with your comment too yeah? Lol

      I read your comment and I was thinking, “was it easy”…
      Ah, no it wasn’t, still isn’t but this is why we love The Holy Spirit yes?

      That we will be so enraptured and moulded by God, so much so that love will be our default mode.
      I’m working on getting there…
      We will all get there…
      Thank you so much.
      I’ve also got a lot to thank the e-world for.
      You and all the other wonderful persons I’ve connected with.
      God bless you bigly.

      And God bless everyone for all their comments.
      Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  10. Frances Okoro

    February 22, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    @Toluh, it’s a 2part book, “her mother’s dream and her daughter’s hope”

  11. lola carey

    February 28, 2015 at 12:17 am

    Am speech less..happy birthday mummy Frances….. And frances.,I like ur reaches ur eyes!

  12. Thank you Carey 🙂

  13. tessa Doghor

    March 20, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Still she rises.

  14. vicky

    May 2, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    Reading this brought tears to my eyes even though i came across it late. It’s amazing the way God works out things. I pray he will strengthen the love and give you guys many more amazing years together as a family that the memories of the bad years will begin to fade away.
    God bless your heart and many more awesome years mum… Hope to see you some day

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