hopesightings

finding hope and sharing it

Fleece Thrown…His Answer? February 20, 2018

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 6:34 pm
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The door to 2018 stood ajar

Inviting me to walk through

Year seven for Hope for Our Sisters

I could not believe it…seven years of hope generation

Seven years of others coming alongside me to serve

beautiful women across the globe

Seven years of empowering our sisters and brothers to

change their culture for the better…

their choosing, their ownership, their version of better

Seven years of seeing God’s hand at work

more clearly than any other time in my life

However, sitting at the threshold,

I felt overwhelmed, stressed and confused

This is not what I expected

Hope for Our Sisters is my sweet spot, my calling

Even though I know this without a doubt,

doubt about carrying out this journey pops up from time to time

Feelings of being overwhelmed can take over when I least expect it

Stress creeps in when I forget that I am not the One in control

I share this because there are others like me…others like you

Serving out of our giftedness

Doing what we believe we were created to do

But feeling overwhelmed, stressed and confused at the same time

What we are doing is beautiful work, but also hard work and heart work

During my time at the door, I read about Gideon

I felt led to throw out a fleece

regarding Hope for Our Sisters

Really?

I did not take this lightly

I’m not sure I had ever done this before…ask God for an answer in this way

But my heart, mind and gut were clear…I needed to do this

 

When you throw a fleece, you need to be open to any and all answers

I had no less passion about my calling

I had no less drive or desire about this work

I saw new doors opening up for us in 2018

However, feeling overwhelmed, stressed and confused held me back

It scared me to do this…what if God said my time was up?

I still wanted to lead this effort, I still wanted to generate hope,

But I am doing this for Him, not myself

With a big gulp and prayer, I threw my fleece

I asked God to replace my current feelings with

Joy (not happiness), Delight, and Clarity

I went to bed…

Again, please don’t take this lightly

I only threw my fleece because I truly believe He prompted me to do so

How did He answer?

In faith, I threw my fleece and He responded

I awoke with a very strong sense of

Joy, Delight, and Clarity about 2018 and the years ahead

This does not mean I will never feel overwhelmed, stressed or

confused about my calling

But it does mean that leading Hope for Our Sisters

will continue to be my calling as I follow Him

© 2018 by Brooke F Sulahian

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Leading the Way by Following January 30, 2018

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 2:16 pm
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You and I know our plans for today

I also know what I will do on behalf of our sisters today

But what about tomorrow and the next day?

What will those days hold?

 

Are we at Hope for Our Sisters setting goals for 2018?

Yes, we are!

We are setting bold goals with our partners that we believe will

lead to lasting change for the better in:

Angola, the DR Congo, and Nepal

We are setting stretch goals for internal growth enabling us to:

Generate more hope for our sisters, and

Create the opportunity for lasting cultural change enabling

greater health and empowerment for those we serve

We are dreaming big once again this year

 

But can you have goals without knowing the future?

We have to

Even though we can only see the steps we are taking now

We are trusting that Someone else knows:

The impact of today’s actions and decisions on tomorrow,

The paths we are to take today, tomorrow, this year and the next, and

The role we are to play in the lives of precious people

here in the U.S. and abroad

Someone knows

God knows

Just last week I was reminded to keep my focus on Him

Leading an organization requires seeking wisdom and insight

from mentors, team members, partners, investors, and our sisters

I am thankful for every person walking with us on this journey

But my eyes must first and foremost seek God and His plans for us

 

Walking home after dropping Lucy and a friend off at school last week

I was reminded to seek Him first

Due to the light playing off my glasses, there were beautiful cords of light

appearing to reach out from the sun and end at my heart

It was stunning and inspiring…I did not want it to end

I so wanted to take a picture to share with you,

but it would not work…you could only see it through my glasses at that moment

I felt these cords were pulling me to His light,

showing me the way I am to go

 

I know not what 2018 holds for Hope for Our Sisters

I have learned that each year is unique

The results of one year do not guarantee any results in a future year

However, as I walk with you, I will look first and foremost to

the One who knows the future

I will allow His cords of light to keep

Hope for Our Sisters and me on His path

 

We hope you will continue to walk alongside our sisters and us this year

May I be able to lead the way by following the One

Let’s all dream big together!

© 2018 by Brooke F Sulahian

 

YOUR WORD…YOUR FOCUS…YOUR YEAR January 1, 2018

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 7:31 pm
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It’s that time again…

New year

New beginning

New hope

New challenges

New paths

New mysteries

New disappointments

New knowledge

New experiences

 

Are you ready for 2018?

Are you going to dive into 2018 with a guide or map? Or

Are you going to dive into your new year without a compass?

Your choice

I choose to have a focal point

The word God keeps placing on my heart for 2018 is CREATE

This will be a year of CREATING through…

My walk with God

My role as a wife

My role as a mom

My role as a daughter,

sister,

aunt,

friend,

neighbor,

volunteer and

leader of Hope for Our Sisters

 

I cannot wait to see what the ultimate CREATOR

CREATES through me and my life this year…

if only I choose to fully follow and obey Him each day

with courage, trust and hope

 

What will be your guiding word for 2018?

What word has been pressed into your heart?

 

© 2018 by Brooke F Sulahian

 

Unfinished Stories December 8, 2017

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 4:18 pm
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One of my favorite books is Pillars of the Earth. It’s a 1,000+ page novel that tells a sweeping narrative of the building of a cathedral in twelfth-century England. I’ve read this book at least three times from cover to cover.  I know the plot. I know each scene by memory. And yet, each time a character enters a dangerous situation, I try to think of a new way out. I hope and believe with all my heart that maybe this time it will be different.
            But this novel is complete. It was written a long time ago, and there can be no different ending to any of the scenes within it. Nothing I hope for or imagine for my beloved characters will happen. The story has already been written, and it’s finished.
            However, our stories are not. Our stories, along with our sisters’, are still being written. So even as we experience or witness danger, violence, poverty, and pain, we know the story does not have to end there. We can help each other write new endings. We can imagine new beginnings. We can do this because we have hope.
             This hope is what motivates us to stick with a painful, uncomfortable, or challenging story. It’s what drives us to give generously of our time and resources. It’s what binds us together as sisters.
            And hope is what interrupts painful, merciless stories and redeems them into something beautiful. This year, we’ve heard shocking stories of abuse and rape. Unthinkable stories of neglect and gender-based violence. Uncomfortable stories that seem to have no light.
            But thanks to your generosity, prayer, and hope, these stories have not ended at the darkest moments. Our sisters-fueled by hope for a different, better, brighter story-stood strong. They fought for their futures, for their healing, for their babies. They lived, they thrived, and now they tell their new stories – hope stories.
            For Deborah, Solange, Esinam, and Elsabe, a painful story became one of redemption. But it doesn’t end with these four. Because women around them everywhere are watching. Women terrorized by gender-based violence, women living with fistula, women abandoned by their families and spouses, women recovering from painful deliveries and stillborn babies. These women continue to hope, because they see that good can prevail. They believe that a dark and painful story can become a hope story. And thanks to the help of sisters around the world, their stories are just beginning.
Written by Dianna Sawyer, Hope for Our Sisters Partner in Hope.
You can learn more about our precious sisters and help them write more hope stories at hopeforoursisters.org.
 

Was Admon’s Hope Story Coming to a Tragic End? December 1, 2017

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 9:40 pm
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Below is Admon’s  hope story…a story you helped us write this year. (I wrote this to everyone who invested in Hope for Our Sisters this year by giving of their time, talents, treasure and prayers. Passing this story along to you as it is a favorite of mine. If you feel compelled to help women write stories of hope, you will see our website at the bottom of the blog. No pressure at all. Thank you for reading this story of hope!)
The day started as it always did. I left for work in the fields while my beautiful wife, Elsabe, swept the dirt floor of our home. With Elsabe nine months’ pregnant, we were very excited to welcome our first child. We knew this would mean one more mouth to feed and one more person in our small home, but the idea of a baby filled us with joy.
Can you imagine how Admon felt? With the upcoming birth of a child, writing hope stories comes easy. You have so many dreams and hopes for the child. You spend so much time wondering who your child will become. Admon was writing that type of story.
Returning home, I saw a site that stopped me in my tracks. My lovely wife, so full of life that morning, was lying on the floor, seizing out of control and unable to wake up. I thought she was dying. I feared for my wife. I feared for my unborn child. How could this be happening?
Unknown to Admon, Elsabe was having a seizure due to high blood pressure (eclampsia). He had no idea how long this had lasted while he was away. His hope story, in his eyes, was at risk of coming to a sudden end. However, he held on to hope.
 
I immediately ran out of our house and yelled for help. Friends in our community helped us find a vehicle to take Elsabe to the nearby hospital. I prayed. I feared she and our baby were dying. My other concern? We did not have the money to pay for a trip to the hospital. What would I do when we got there?
Elsabe was rushed to one of our partner hospitals, Central Evangelical Medical Center in Lubango (CEML), Angola. Can you imagine going to a hospital without the needed money or benefits coverage? It was with hope that Elsabe was brought to the hospital. Even when the situation looks dire, hope can carry us through. Thank you for investing in women and their families. You consistently help them write hope stories amidst loss and lack.
Once we arrived at the hospital, they took my wife and unborn baby into surgery. Again, I prayed. I worried. Would Elsabe survive? Would our baby survive? Would I return home without my family? How would I pay for this support?
Dr. Sarah Hudgins, HFOS Partner, performed an emergency cesarean section. Care is available at local state hospitals, but people fear them due to poor quality of care. Coming to CEML was a courageous choice for quality, safe care, even though it would be expensive.
A nurse from surgery approached me. Elsabe survived! My wife was alive! Guess what? Our baby, our son, survived too! I cried out with joy and thanks. I could not believe it!
Admon’s hope story was not over. It was only beginning. Thank you for investing in this story of hope.
Then I began to worry about payment. We did not have enough. I asked the nurse. She said the rest would be covered. We had enough! Could this day get any better?
You funded the rest of Elsabe’s surgery by investing in Hope for Our Sisters. This partial payment came from one of our new Maternal Health Funds.
I could not believe our good fortune. A successful surgery and help to pay for it. This is not the way I expected our son, Abilio, would enter the world, but I am so thankful I can enjoy my future with my family. Thank you for sending HOPE our way!
You, through your generous investments, partner with us as we together help our precious sisters and their families in Angola, the DR Congo and Nepal write stories of hope.
 
Honored to generate hope with you.
Brooke F. Sulahian
President & Co-Founder
Hope for Our Sisters, Inc.
 
P.S. Thank you for helping Admon, Elsabe and Abilio write their hope story. If you choose to invest in hope today to enable more and more stories of hope to be written tomorrow, go to our website at http://hopeforoursisters.org/donate/.
 

What Does Your Reflection Look Like? November 9, 2017

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 7:36 pm
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I feel called to be God’s image bearer.

I believe our lives are to reflect God’s love to others.

God chooses to use us, imperfect human beings, to radiate His love in the world.

We won’t do this perfectly, but we can choose to try.

 

What does your reflection of God look like?

Have you ever asked yourself that question?

 

I have a new way of reflecting God.

My reflection of God has changed because

I have changed.

God is actively transforming me from someone who was constantly

Striving,

Producing and

Performing,

To someone who tastes and accepts God’s peace each day.

Thankful.

Peaceful.

Humbled.

 

For many years,

I started my day in a self-imposed cage

Of impossible expectations.

Today,

I start my day floating in a still pool of water

With Jesus, my Savior.

Thankful.

Peaceful.

Humbled.

 

Better yet…

Now that I have finally tasted and experienced His peace,

I get to share this peace with others!

I won’t do this perfectly,

But it’s finally at my disposal to share!

 

I want people to see God in me

For His glory,

For His good.

I cannot determine how or if they will see His reflection in me

Or what their response will be,

But I can plant seeds of hope and peace

By choosing to reflect God each day.

 

What does your reflection look like?

 

© 2017 by Brooke F Sulahian

 

MY NOT-SO-QUIET “QUIET TIME” October 12, 2017

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 6:02 pm
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For as many years as I can remember

I’ve started my day with “quiet time”

It’s looked different during different seasons

But one thing holds true…

It was NEVER PURE QUIET

 

My quiet time was full of things I did

Reading devotionals…sometimes four at a time

Reciting Scripture

Journaling

You name it, I did it

 

Maybe I did not speak aloud, but

My mind, soul and spirit were not quiet

They were not still

They were busy

A better name for this time would be

“Doing time”

“Checking off my list time”

“Routine time”

Anything but quiet time

 

What a gift to discover recently that

I had no pure quiet in my life

It never occurred to me

But when it did, I wanted it

I yearned for it

God used the book Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall

To open my eyes, heart and mind to pure quiet with Him

I know He’s got more for me in this book

But this has been a real gem

My time with Christ has never been more sweet, pure and nourishing

to my heart, mind and soul

 

I like how each of us can have a unique relationship with God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.

There is no cookie cutter way of doing life in Christ

It makes me feel special knowing this is MY way to simply connect with Him

Quiet time crafted by my Father

Just for me

 

As you know, my spiritual relationship is very visual

I can “see” myself meeting with God

I can “see” where I interact with Christ

I can “see” how the Holy Spirit guides me

And I love “seeing” myself experience PURE QUIET each morning

 

The idea of pure quiet felt very uncomfortable at first

Maybe that’s why I chose to do it for 8 minutes

I’m not sure

But now I look forward to it each day

This is what my pure quiet with Jesus looks like

In this current season of my life

 

After reading a psalm and one devotional (Jesus Calling)

I enter in to pure, non-agenda-based quiet with Christ

I actually “see” myself approach a small, still pool of water

I set along the bank all of my responsibilities

I come into the water and simply float beside Jesus for 8 minutes

He stands beside me and watches over me

 

Why water?

What floating?

I think it’s because it requires all of me and only me

I need to remember that I am enough in Him

Also, anything else I carried in the water would

Get wet and ruined or

Weigh me down

He invites all of me

Only me

I am enough

 

This is not about escape

This is about saying yes to His invitation to be with Him

I think He loves it even more than I do

It has become the most beautiful time of my life with my Savior

For the first time I am simply being with Him and receiving His love

With no strings attached

Just as He wants it

 

Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

Sounds pretty fabulous, right?

Wanna give it a try?

What does your PURE QUIET look like?

 

 

(P.S. I would sincerely enjoy hearing from you about your pure quiet journey during your current season of life.)

 

© 2017 by Brooke F Sulahian