hopesightings

finding hope and sharing it

MY UNEXPECTED RETURN TO JOY (PART 4) November 28, 2018

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 3:26 pm
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It call came to a head at a silent retreat

Located at a beautiful monastery

With inviting paths and stunning stained glass windows

 

Although a silent retreat, group sessions allowed for talking

Each session began with a song or poem

Friday night’s poem was about living in the gray versus living in full color

I immediately thought, “I want to live in full color for God, living to the full…”

 

However, I suddenly realized in order to do that

God needed to work on my heart first, during this gray period,

As I climbed out of my valley

I needed to believe with my heart, soul and mind that

He loves me for WHO I AM, NOT WHAT I DO

I prayed that night that this truth would move into my heart during the retreat

And stay there forever

 

The next morning, I was doing my Bible study at a small table with soft, comfy chairs

The sunrise through the wall of windows was breathtaking

I felt God ask me to sit with Him for a bit

He then opened His hand and showed me my dark, disbelieving heart

I did not lack faith in God

I lacked the belief in His love for me…just because I am…well…me

 

God then showed me a new heart in His other hand

A new heart that believed this critical truth

God held out both hearts to me so I could choose

I could choose my old, disbelieving heart or this new one, full of this truth

God asked if I believed that He loved me for who I am,

Not how I perform or what I do

I hesitated, I pondered

I had prayed for this very thing, this very offer to occur

But thought it would take much more work on my part

I’ve been a striver my entire life

Trying to earn what I could only receive

However, I wanted this and wanted it badly

But I knew this was a big step, a door through which I could not go back again

After what seemed like many minutes

I eventually replied, “Yes, today, this day, I believe You love me

With Your complete, unique, tailored, all-encompassing Love”

 

I felt God place my new heart inside my chest

It felt lighter…still does

It beat differently…still does

After my actual birthday and the day of my healing from depression

This day, 9/22/18, feels like my third birthday

I feel reborn with this new truth residing in my heart

I am overjoyed at His gift, His investment in me

 

I then asked God to remind me of this new truth every day

So I would never forget His gift or His truth…so I could make it my own

He has reminded me each day since and I know He always will

 

As I arrived home that following day

A dear friend gave me a birthday gift for my actual birthday

A bit delayed if you looked at the calendar

But from my view, it was perfectly timed

The motto at the monastery is

“How good is our good God?”

He is very good, y’all

 

© 2018 by Brooke F Sulahian

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MY UNEXPECTED RETURN TO JOY (Part 3) October 24, 2018

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 1:35 pm
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Soooo…what did I do?

I went for it!

I jumped in with both feet

I chose God rather than comfort, fear or routine

I started my day with Him, not His verses

I am so thankful He gave me the courage to choose His way

A way that seemed so foreign and strange

What happened?

God met me throughout the day

Popping into my head

Dropping prayers into my heart

Prompting me to stop and sit with Him

Just to be WITH Him

This is NEW

Not striving FOR Him

But being WITH Him

It’s as if God cleared away a barrier

I was seeing and hearing Him more

But I was not just seeing and hearing Him more

I was seeing and hearing Him in a NEW way

He was reaching out to me in a very tailored way

A way to best reach me

As if I am the only one who mattered

I had prayed to be more awake to Him

He was answering my prayer

This was His gift

I was climbing out of my valley with

God by my side

Little did I know He had a great surprise awaiting me

What was it?

(More of my journey soon…)

© 2018 by Brooke F Sulahian

 

MY UNEXPECTED RETURN TO JOY (Part 2) October 10, 2018

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 1:08 pm
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I went for a run

(I enjoy such sweet God time when I run)

At the beginning of my five-mile journey

God invited me to take a new path out of the valley

It felt very unconventional

It almost felt sacrilegious

What was it?

It was a request to STOP

 

He asked me NOT to recite my daily memory scripture verses

What? Was this really God asking me to do this?

It felt so strange to even consider this

But it WAS God, so I needed to think about it

 

Let me stop here and say that memorizing scripture from the Bible

Is a great gift for many others and myself

Having His Word in our head and hearts

Can nourish us when we most need it

 

However, for me

My routine of memory verses was blocking my awareness of God

I realized I was reciting my verses in the morning

Placing a big check by “Time with God”

And not checking in with Him again

 

I had been praying that I would be awake to Him

Was this God’s way of helping me be awake?

Not just in the morning

But throughout the day?

Could I do this?

Fear crept in…what if I forget these treasured verses?

Would I choose God or fear or the comfort of routine?

(More of my journey soon…)

© 2018 by Brooke F Sulahian

 

MY UNEXPECTED RETURN TO JOY September 26, 2018

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 1:21 pm
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My joy was gone

I had no idea it had vanished

But I knew I was in a valley

A very deep valley

 

My return to Joy was truly unexpected

Because I don’t remember walking away from it

I don’t remember choosing stress, anxiety, fear and hurry

But I did…again

I’ve been here before

I have come to realize one of my greatest joys

– Hope for Our Sisters –

Can also be my greatest Achilles heel

My greatest weakness

I often turn from God and turn inward

I try to lead this organization without Him

It never works

I had no idea I had made this choice again

But I knew I was there

Stress, anxiety, fear and hurry reigned in my life

I was not present with my family, friends or God

They may not have seen it, but I knew it

I was miserable and did not see any way out

Eventually, I looked up

God was there

He had a very unconventional idea for me

A unique way for me to climb out of the valley

Would I give it a try?

(More of my journey soon…)

 

© 2018 by Brooke F Sulahian

 

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

 

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

 

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