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Tony Rossi

Radio Host/Producer

God’s Grace is Part of My Daily Experience

Mahtob Mahmoody was dying. The auto-immune disease lupus was making her own blood largely incompatible with her body. Doctors worked feverishly to find a solution, and finally figured out that she needed a transfusion of a special type of blood. Their local search in Michigan turned up nothing.

After checking nationally, only two units of that blood type were available in the entire United States, so they were airlifted in, which saved Mahtob’s life and allowed her health to improve. She is grateful to the medical team that made it all possible, but she also sees a supernatural hand in her survival saying, “God’s grace is such a part of my daily experience.”

That belief has held true since she escaped another harrowing situation at age six. You might have heard of it because of the best-selling memoir “Not Without My Daughter,” which was written by Mahtob’s mother Betty and turned into a 1991 Sally Field movie. Mahtob is the “daughter.”

In 1984, Betty, an American-born Christian, traveled with her Iranian husband and their daughter to his home country for what she thought would be a two-week family vacation. But the Iranian Revolution had produced intense anti-American sentiments in him, so he informed her that they would never be leaving—and he used physical and emotional abuse to keep them there. After all these years, Mahtob is sharing these events from her own perspective in the memoir “My Name is Mahtob.”

During an interview on “Christopher Closeup,” she revealed her optimistic nature, saying, “The good experiences of my life far outweigh the bad.” That perspective stems from her Christian faith, which allows her to look back at her time of trauma and find God’s hand at work, especially when it comes to the Iranian shopkeeper who helped arrange for her and her mother’s escape. She said, “Mom asked him how she could ever repay him. His response was that he didn’t want any payment. All he wanted was to know there was a smile on my face.”

When Mahtob returned to the United States, her faith became even more important. She was always afraid that her father would kidnap her, so she memorized the Bible verses and hymns she learned in Lutheran school so she could “at least have God’s word in my mind” if that ever happened. Thankfully, it never did, but all those Scripture verses helped her move toward forgiveness of her father. They never rebuilt their relationship and she could never trust him, but she did forgive him.

Mahtob credits the grace she received in baptism as the source of her many blessings. During her last battle with lupus, for instance, she was in quarantine for a year and only left the house for doctor’s appointments. Thankfully, she had finished her book just prior to the lupus inflammation, and it was released in Europe. The proceeds are what allowed her to financially survive.     

In closing, I couldn’t help but ask Mahtob how she moves forward in hope after all the dark things that have happened to her. She said, “So often, I’ve been going through one of life’s dark threads—and then a friend will say to me, ‘Have you prayed about it?’ And I think, ‘Oh yeah, that’s a good idea!’ So I’m blessed to be surrounded with a loving, supportive group of friends who are like family and who encourage me in my faith. And it’s a good reminder for me to do that for others, to pass that on.”


For a free copy of the Christopher News Note, BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: