hopesightings

finding hope and sharing it

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

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 6:02 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Advertisements
 

Creativity – I’ve Missed It September 29, 2017

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 9:05 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

This summer was not as we planned

Peter’s heart-breaking anxiety over his injections

Lucy coming down with strep, pneumonia and walking pneumonia at the same time

Me processing my unexpected, physically challenging yet amazing trip to Africa

My own creativity was drowned out…

without my noticing

 

I am reading Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall

Great title…don’t you think?

The idea behind the title caught my eye and heart

Being present in the moment is tough

The urgency can crowd it out

My to do list can be louder than the call to be

present, quiet, rest, and create

I have ideas in my head about all of these topics

Today? Creativity

 

First of all, Peter’s anxiety is gone

He is rocking his shots

He is back to his funny, goofy, active self

Thankful!

Lucy is healthy

She is free to take on the world in her 9-year-old fashion

Wahoo!

I am working on being present

One day I’ll share about my 8 minutes of pure quiet

Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

It is

Pure quiet with God rocks

 

So…creativity

In this book, Alexandra writes the following:

“We were made to create! It is in us, so when we don’t

allow that part of us to flourish, we wither.”

This hit my heart…deep within my heart

My creative self has been withering in my pursuit of goals, deadlines,

smooth mornings before school, being present with my family, etc.

All of these are very important and very good…but…

when we the last time I was creative for creativity’s sake?

Like writing these words right now?

How about you?

 

Peter often gets carried away with his 3-D origami

Lucy is often found with pen and paper in hand

ready to draw or create a story

How did I not see that my creative outlets were clogged?

When was the last time I made time to write?

Writing is one of my favorite gifts from God and yet

it’s been ages since I have carved out time to write

 

I did not enter into these moments on our back deck today

with a goal for this “blog”

Hmmm…if I think about it, what would be the goal?

It’s not to impress

It’s not to convict

Now that I think about it, I’d like to let my creative juices flow,

share my heart and encourage your own creativity

 

What inspires you?

What gifts have you been given in the realm of creativity?

May we all simply enjoy our creative gifts

May we all try not to evaluate our creativity

May we all not expect to live up to a certain standard

We don’t have to be a famous author, painter, inventor or singer to create

May we just set some time aside to

let our creativity flow

We were created in the image of the ultimate Creator

We were made to create

 

As I sit in my backyard next to Tim,

with Peter, Lucy and friends playing wiffle ball,

I think of the women we serve through Hope for Our Sisters

Their sheer joy at creating bags, hats, etc.

This organic growth is such a gift for our sisters

However, it is now requiring planning, structure and organization

May our efforts to support this new program not drown out

the real beauty behind it

The sheer creativity

The discovery of potential

The joy of learning what can be accomplished

 

Have you set time aside to discover your potential?

Have you set time aside to be creative?

In this book the author challenges herself to write for fun (she’s an author)

and to do something creative each day

I have not read the full chapter yet

The idea of daily creativity actually seems too big at this moment

but I want to try it

I’ll give it my best shot

I am sure I will find fun and simple ways to

tap into my creativity

I will do this because I believe those I love, serve, and enjoy will benefit

I also know and believe that I will benefit

Maybe I will benefit most of all

 

We were made to create

How will you create today?

© 2017 by Brooke F Sulahian

 

An Unexpected Journey July 19, 2017

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 11:22 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(Thoughts from my May/June 2017 journey to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo)

It was a trip, a journey, I did not plan

But one I knew was mine to take

The gift of a journey

Far from family

Home,

Comfort and

Knowing

 

Where would it lead?

Would it change me like prior trips?

Would it break my heart anew?

How would it fit within the Hope for Our Sisters mission?

 

I could not predict

I could not foretell

I could only say,

“Yes…I will go”

 

1 friend going in

10 friends coming out

A team of 11 formed through

Stories and prayers,

Laughter and tears,

Courage and celebration,

Food and sickness,

Dreams and heartache,

Lush landscapes and bumpy roads,

Languages and new adventures,

Plans and uncertainty,

Shared passions and hopes

 

An unexpected gift occurred on this unexpected journey

The gift of a moment, captured in time

Me surrounded by beautiful, joy-filled African children

The fulfillment of a vision God birthed in my heart seven years ago

 

What does it mean?

God will guide and time will tell

Could it be a reminder?

A reminder of the precious children of the next generation

A generation that is starting to see and taste more hope

A generation that can continue their parents’ work to drive culture shifts for beneficial and lasting change

A generation that can take hold of what their parents are unleashing today to establish a better tomorrow

A generation of precious and powerful change-makers

 

An unexpected journey with a newly-formed team

Returning home with hope for a

New day in DR Congo…A new future of

Healing,

Peace,

Medical access,

Sustainability,

Strength,

Ownership,

Renewal, and

Hope

Written while flying back to America…

6/11/17

 

© 2017 by Brooke F Sulahian

 

On The Outside Looking In May 28, 2017

When I turned 11 I found myself on the outside looking in.

I grew up in warm Southern California as the youngest of three.

I would describe it as an idyllic childhood…

Riding bikes with my brothers, lots of friends on our street and at school,

good grades, fun times of soccer and softball, and a loving family.

I also had a strong sense of who I was.

I felt anything was possible.

I felt I could conquer the world.

Then we moved…

My life was rocked to my core.

I no longer belonged.

I forgot who I was.

Moving to Texas at 11 is still one of the most impactful and difficult experiences in my life.

Not only did I move to a new town in a new state, but

I moved into a new and totally different culture.

I felt as if I had moved to a new country.

I did not have the right clothes.

My accent (or lack thereof) was wrong.

I even had different slang.

No matter what I did or how I tried to connect, I was constantly reminded that I was

An outsider looking in.

Once we entered Texas, I had lost my sense of who I was.

I did not feel valued but lost.

I felt as if I was stranded on an island, in the middle of an ocean.

Over time I found my way “in” through new friends

Who accepted me for who I was.

I made friends just being “me”.

I learned that I could overcome and rise above obstacles by being myself…

The one God created me to be.

As a child, I always cheered and spoke out for the underdog.

Now, I had become the underdog.

I had a new appreciation of the value of community and

This increased my life-long compassion for

Those on the outside,

Those considered less than,

Those considered not important or of value.

I should not have been surprised that the issue of fistula would resonate with me,

Even though at the time I felt it hit me out of the blue.

As I first read about fistula, the focus of Hope for Our Sisters,

I was not only struck by the injustice of the situation but

The aloneness,

Isolation,

And lack of community

Suffered by these sisters of ours.

At Hope for Our Sisters we extend our reach beyond fistula surgery and prevention

By directly investing in each woman.

Just like you and me, each one of our sisters has value.

Each one of our sisters has a story to tell.

Each one of our sisters has a contribution to make.

Each one of our sisters has the right to rejoin their communities.

Each one of our sisters has the potential to change the world.

(NOTE: A session with the organization Resonate helped me tap into this story behind my passion for HFOS. I fully believe God broke my heart for this issue but I also believe He used this very difficult experience of mine to help fistula resonate with my heart.)

 

© 2017 by Brooke F Sulahian

 

 

 

Motherhood is Eternal, as is Hope May 10, 2017

Springtime brings with it new life – flowers blooming, baby animals being born, the miracle of Easter. With our attention on creation, we as a society choose to mark a Sunday every May as “Mother’s Day”, pouring extra gratitude and love out onto the women who birthed us, raised us and supported us. We also reflect with reverence and fondness on the mothers in our lives who have passed away – some older, like our grandmothers, and some younger, dying of illness or accidents too soon.
There is a special group we are challenging you to consider in your prayers this year – women suffering with fistulas. Women who may or may not be mothers to living children, who may or may not have anyone celebrating them at all. According to a United Nations report from 2015, 70-80% of the babies born to mothers in obstructed labor (the mothers who are most likely to develop fistulas) will be stillborn.  Of those who do survive, there is a high risk of para- or quadriplegia, cerebral palsy and other defects related to low fetal oxygenation while the mother is pushing.
Motherhood is simply defined as “the state of being a mother.” This definition doesn’t exist solely in the present tense, it doesn’t have conditions. Famous artists, like Michelangelo with his Pieta, and famous authors, like Maya Angelou in Mom & Me & Mom, have tried to capture the spirit of motherhood and its endlessness in ways we all understand – but find so difficult to put into words.  Mothers who have departed from us do not stop being our mothers – so what of mothers who suffer on the opposite end of the spectrum? Are mothers who lose their baby or a child any less in that state of motherhood? Their child is with them always, a part of their existence and the course of their life. Whether their child lived thirty seconds or thirty years, the hopes, dreams and prayers for the life a mother supported likely differ little from those of every other mother around the globe. Surely the very act of hoping, dreaming and praying is an integral part of the transition from “woman” to “Mother”.
Women with fistula are desperate for new beginnings and life of their own – for repairs that will help them transition back to their communities and families, for cesarean sections that will bring their babies safely into the world with less risk of consequence from obstructed labor. They are desperate for HOPE. Is there a better place from which to honor our own mothers than from a mother’s constant place of generosity, support and love? As Mother’s Day approaches, we invite you to partner with us to honor our own mothers and these beautiful mothers in other parts of the world with your prayers.  Additionally, if you feel so moved, please consider making a gift for a mother in your life by supporting fistula care and prevention programs, whether by way of a Mother’s Day card or any other donation format available at hopeforoursisters.org.
Motherhood is eternal, as is hope. Thank you for your support of the sisters we care so deeply for at this special time of year.
Written by Cara Daniels, Hope for Our Sisters Team Member & Hope Generator
 

Hope is on the Way this Mother’s Day April 25, 2017

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 5:40 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I am sitting on a train, headed from my job in the city to my home, where my daughter has a fever and needs her mom. But I am not worried. Help is on the way.
After an all-morning meeting, I checked my phone: 3 missed calls from daycare. My daughter had a fever of 102, and needed to be picked up, preferably within an hour. Unfortunately, it had already been an hour since they called. I checked the train schedule. A train had just left; the next one wouldn’t leave for an hour, and with the commute, I wouldn’t be able to get her for another two hours. I briefly panicked-what do I do? How do I get there in time? Then I took a deep breath and called for help. My mother-in-law works closer to my home, and I took a chance she’d be able to leave sooner than I would. She answered immediately, and in no time, she was on her way to pick up my daughter. She loves her granddaughter, and as much as it was a gift to my daughter to be taken home, this act of love was a gesture of love to me: “I will help you.”
Meanwhile, I had an hour to kill in the train station. I ate lunch. I bought some books for my daughter, a special treat to give her on her sick day home. And while I wished that I had been able to get there in time, I also felt deep gratitude that someone else who dearly loves my daughter was able and willing to step in and help. The message to my daughter was, “Help is on the way.”
And this is what God asks of us.
When our sisters are bleeding dangerous amounts during childbirth, suffering excruciating labors, delivering stillborn babies, and sitting alone in their huts, outcast and abandoned because of their leaking and stench, God turns to us. He says, My daughter needs help. I want to help her, but you can get there faster. Will you help?
When our sisters need emergency C-sections but can’t afford one at the only hospital trained to perform the surgery, God turns to us: My daughter needs help. Will you help?
When our sisters need education and skills to continue their lives after healing, God turns to us: My daughter needs help. Will you help?
Like my desire to be immediately by my daughter’s side in her time of need, God would love nothing more than to immediately pick up each and every one of our sisters at risk of, suffering from, or healing from fistula. So He has designed a way to do so: by calling us when His daughters are in need, the same way I called my mother-in-law. My daughter needs help. Can I send you?
Thankfully, my mother-in-law answered the phone, was able to leave work, and joyfully responded to my need-which, in turn, led to my daughter being taken care of more quickly. Had she not answered, or been too busy, or not been interested, I would have felt panicked. Had she said, “Not today, maybe another day,” I would have been crestfallen. I know that eventually I would have made it home, but it would have taken longer, delaying my daughter’s ability to get home, put on pajamas, and snuggle up to rest. And it would have meant that the next time I needed to rely on someone, my mother-in-law might not have been the first person I called. She might have lost my trust.
Clearly, a fever is not as serious as fistula. But as a parent, anything that ails your child can break your heart. And while I’m not God, we share this in common: we are both parents, and we both call on others to help us take care of our dearly beloved, spectacularly adored daughters. None of us can fill the role that God fills in our sisters’ lives, no more so than my mother-in-law can take my place in my daughter’s life. But in a moment of need, she was there. That tells my daughter two things: first, that someone loves her enough to be right by her side. And second, that her mother can be trusted-even though I couldn’t physically be there, I didn’t abandon her. I made sure she was taken care of.
So when our sisters need help, and God calls us to step in, what will we say?
For every daughter of God whose pain has become hope, and whose hope has become joy, I pray the answer is yes. By saying yes, we teach them that they are loved dearly by women around the world, sisters they’ve never met. And we teach them that God can be trusted-that He hears their prayers, knows their names, and will send help, if only we will answer the call. This Mother’s Day, let us honor God’s love for His daughters by letting them know that help-and hope-is on the way.
Written by Dianna Sawyer, Hope for Our Sisters Partner in Hope.
hopeforoursisters.org
 

ONE HEDGE AND FIVE KEYS April 5, 2017

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 2:34 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Strange combination

A hedge and five keys

A hedge that is green, lush and somewhat open

You would not scratch yourself if you were to go through it

You would merely have to push the bushes to each side

Yet the hedge is still a boundary of sorts

Five keys to my heart

Five parts of my heart that have been locked away

Surprised since I don’t remember using the keys

I don’t remember locking my heart

Yet, here I am with

A hedge and five keys

I believe as I sit with Him in stillness

I will eventually understand the meaning of the hedge and each key

In fact, I am beginning to think the hedge is around my heart

Thankful it’s not a wall of concrete or rock

It is permeable

My heart is still accessible by the One I need most

Yet the hedge is there

A boundary I don’t want to exist

A boundary between God and me

The hedge grew in my sacred place without my knowing

One day I had to pass through the hedge for time with Him

There was no opening, no entrance

I simply pushed through and did not think much of it at the time

Now I wonder why it is there

I wonder when it was built

I wonder…

It is still there

I truly believe one day, in His time and way, it will be torn down

Torn down for good

My first key

I held it in my hand just yesterday

What will this key open?

I wonder…

© 2017 Brooke F. Sulahian