hopesightings

finding hope and sharing it

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

 

RELEASING OUR SON March 29, 2017

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 2:30 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I feel dry

Weighed down

Overwhelmed, actually

I felt God lead me to write this morning

Writing often open up my way when it feels blocked

I planned to write about something else but

these words

simply

poured

out

of

my

heart

Our precious son is not well

He’s not dying…it’s a chronic condition with treatment

Painful treatment potentially, yes…but treatment

I am sincerely thankful to You for answering our specific prayer for answers

No more “we don’t know what’s wrong with your son”

These answers are a wonderful gift…thank You

Yet, I find myself wondering if there is more to discover

I keep dreaming about surprise findings, unexpected discoveries, lack of control

more to process

more to grieve

more to accept

We learned new information this week

processing

praying

talking it out

What else is happening in his body that I cannot see?

Is this my deep fear?

What else is happening in his body for which I cannot prepare?

Is this what is weighing me down?

My desire (i.e. idol) of having control is being challenged like never before

This is our son

Is this the reason parts of my heart are closed off to everyone, even You?

Is this why parts of my heart are locked?

I did not even realize I held the keys…did I lock my heart?

Why all this weight and dryness?

I feel I am being overly dramatic

I have become adept at rationalizing our situation

Others near and far suffer so much more

Many children right now are fighting for their lives

Too many others have already been lost by their parents and families

So many children are lost inside themselves due to other challenges

We have our son…why not rejoice?

Others lack access to medical care

Others lack benefits to pay for medical care

Others lack in far worse ways

Why can’t I be fully, sincerely and consistently thankful?

Is this even possible?

Is this even real?

God, I have often thanked You for not making us like robots

We must choose to love and follow You

We must choose this daily

Our commitment to You is not automatic

We can turn away

We can question

We can get angry…even yell at You

You can take it

We can feel betrayed

That is a very strong word

Is that what I am feeling?

Do I feel You betrayed me…our son…our family?

I know You could take your pinky finger, touch our son’s body and heal it

Yet, you have not done that

Part of my heart trusts You…part of me is where I need to be

Accepting this…at peace…ready to move forward

But I am not all there

I am not yet united

Parts of me are cut off…locked away

The Bible, Your Word, says we will suffer…

why should all of this surprise me?

In addition, You also remind us that

You have overcome the world

You have…I know this in my head

I just want to feel it in my heart again

My mind trusts in the idea of Your larger plan that I cannot see

However, I am not enjoying this current valley

Not at all

You’ve seen me through my deepest depression and desire to end it all

I know how You walked with me

I know the years in my pit were used by

You to prepare me for all I am and all I am doing today

Your plans are best

Your wisdom perfect

Your love eternal

Why is my heart holding out?

You gave me a gift two weeks ago

(Hard to believe I am currently further along my path…

more work ahead of me but some healing through You has occurred)

You met me in my heartache and called me back

You showed me that this is a small story within the larger narrative of our lives

A narrative of You as Provider, Restorer, Lover

This story may even be more like a small chapter

My heart is no longer totally shattered…progress…thank You!

Our son is not his diagnosis

He is far beyond what is happening within his body

He is a treasure of Yours which You lovingly loaned to us

He is taking all of this new and potentially scary stuff so well

He inspires us each day

He is strong because You give him strength

Why won’t I accept Your offer of strength?

It is right before me along with Your offer of

peace

release

fullness

joy

hope

in You

Why won’t I pick them up?

Why won’t I own what You have prepared for me?

Today I am being very real…very open

You, Lord, don’t want me to be a perfect follower, a perfect believer
You want me to be real

Even when I feel weak

Even when I feel my heart will burst if I truly

“sit” within our situation

I wonder if my heart will be crushed…not by You…by the situation

if I truly release it all to You

You created beautiful and restorative treasures that await me

I only need accept them

You have patience to walk with me along this path at my pace

You knew I would be here feeling dry, weighed down, lacking

You won’t leave me or grow weary of me

My realness is never too much for You

My realness is actually a treasure in Your eyes

You love me as I am and will lovingly guide me to where I need to be

Praying my transparency will bring others comfort, community, hope

There is a way out of this dryness…this lack…this weight

The way out is to leave it all with You

The only One who can handle it all

My head knows this…parts of my heart do too

But my heart won’t let go of our son

Even though I know he is best with You

Not yet…parts of my heart are locked tight right now

Locked with keys that I own

May my transparency help me eventually fully release our son to You

He is Yours anyway

You love him most

© 2017 Brooke F. Sulahian

 

STRENGTH THROUGH BROKENNESS August 17, 2016

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 12:48 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

grbr

Angola was AMAZING! God OUTDID Himself again! So, why was I unable to write about it? So much to share! Meeting 38 women (34 awaiting fistula surgery, 4 already dry), participating in 4 fistula awareness/prevention sessions, seeing future prevention effort doors open, viewing an emergency C-section (prevention), and more, I thought I would be writing every day. The words simply pouring out of my heart. THAT HAS NOT HAPPENED.

I realized I needed to first write about ME. I did not want to focus on MYSELF. I want YOU to meet our SISTERS. However, I believe if I write about MY JOURNEY, the STORIES from the trip will flow. In TRUST I share.

Part of me did NOT WANT TO GO on this trip. Most of me did. It was time. Our schedule fell beautifully into place. I wanted to connect with PARTNERS and meet more SISTERS I knew I would LOVE the moment we met. Why not go? FEAR. I was AFRAID for my heart. As many of you know, the first trip left my heart SHREDDED and BROKEN IN PIECES. I know God gently and patiently put it back together. I know He uses that experience to fuel my efforts with Hope for Our Sisters. Even so, the FEAR remained.

A mentor once told me that at times our HEAD needs to share TRUTH with our HEART. This was such a time. I knew God was sending me to Angola and He would watch over me. I knew if my HEART BROKE again it would be for my SISTERS’ benefit, according to His plan. My HEAD knew all this. My HEART did not. As the TRIP APPROACHED and the FEARS GREW, my husband, family and friends lovingly shared how this trip would be easier on my heart. I had been before. I would not be as shocked. I would be MOVED, HURT and ANGERED on behalf my SISTERS, but not SHREDDED.

Strengthened by others, I moved from FEAR to TRUST to SURRENDER. I WENT and I am SO GLAD! He had so much in store for our SISTERS and US as YOU can see above and as YOU will learn through my future updates.

My HEART? I shed TEARS, I asked WHY, and I got ANGRY, but I also saw PROGRESS, witnessed COURAGE, and experienced SOLIDARITY with our PARTNERS and SISTERS. When God healed my heart, it was as if He made SPACE for each and every SISTER I have met and will meet. The HEARTACHE and BROKENNESS have been experienced and now each SISTER has her PERMANENT PLACE in my HEART. I had to be BROKEN to become the most effective VESSEL to serve God and my SISTERS. I, a broken vessel, am thankful for every crack.

May my words inspire YOU to move beyond your FEARS and experience all He has for YOU. May the stories from the trip begin to flow…

Changing the lives of women, one woman at a time.

http://www.hopeforoursisters.org

© 2016 by Brooke F Sulahian

 

It Began with Butterflies December 18, 2014

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 3:43 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

butterfly_on_flower-1920x1200

Butterflies… What do they mean to you? To me they signify hope…transformation…becoming new and beautiful. As I look out at the snow falling, it seems a bit strange to be thinking of butterflies, but they are on my heart today.

We have a butterfly as part of our Hope for Our Sisters logo. We chose this because it speaks to the potential transformation of women and girls suffering from fistula. Once healed through surgery, these precious sisters have the opportunity to transform from unwanted untouchables into women and girls accepted within their community and enabled to be positive change agents in the world around them. A truly beautiful transformation.

However, the initial connection between butterflies and Hope for Our Sisters did not begin in a conference room or café. It was not the result of a Board or Executive Team meeting. It began in the heart of Jessi, the daughter of our Co-Founder. Three years ago, at age 10, she started to take pictures of butterflies. She then decided to use these pictures to make cards that she would sell on behalf of our sisters with fistula. I thought, “Sure, great idea. Let’s give it a try.”

Her first cards were entitled the Butterfly Collection and no one but God knew the chain reaction she was going to initiate. What happened? Some people bought the cards and used them. Some people bought the cards as gifts for others. Some people said, “Hey, I’d like to do that too.” We now have a team of card makers…all ages, backgrounds and interests. It has been so beautiful to watch our card makers use their diverse gifts and talents to help our sisters across the world.

As of today, almost 30 fistula surgeries have been funded by the sale of Hope for Our Sisters cards alone. What started in a young girl’s heart is now a pathway along an avenue for ultimate full life change and complete transformation for our sisters suffering from fistula. In addition, the desire placed on Jessi’s heart is also playing a part in the prevention of fistula and restoration of women and girls who have suffered traumatic fistula and/or sexual assault. Amazing!

It began with butterflies and a young girl’s heart… When and where will the next chain reaction of transformation begin? Only God knows and I cannot wait for Him to show us as we walk with Him.

© 2014 by Brooke F Sulahian

 

Watching Him at Work December 21, 2013

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

 

Rivers_wallpapers_3God is moving mountains right before my eyes.  He is changing hearts and lives through the vision and message of Hope for Our Sisters.  God is showing us His presence on a daily basis and I am having a blast watching Him at work.

One way to see Our Lord in action is to follow His lead into His will and serve there.  Serve where He plants us with our whole hearts, as if working for Him. (Colossians 3:23) The Hope for Our Sisters team is serving in this way.  Those who support us on a regular basis are doing this as well.  Sisters in need are being put first and eternal fruit is being harvested.  We get to watch our Lord change the world one woman at a time. He does not need our help but He invites us to join in with Him. 

The Hope for Our Sisters team and supporters have done all they can do for 2013…our last event was held on Wednesday, December 11th, yet the fruit has been coming in like a mighty river. As recently as December 3rd of this year, we had funded 175 fistula surgeries.  How can it be that as of December 21st we have funded 190?  With each surgery costing an average of $450, the answer is God.

Not to take away from what we as a team have done and not to reduce the impact of our regular donors and Partners in Hope members, but the ripples of our efforts this year are reaching farther and wider than we could have caused on our own.  Individuals are catching the vision and joining in.  Our volunteer team is up to 43 members!  Our Partners in Hope program is expanding.  Our regular donor list is growing.  New supporters are accepting their role in the fight to eradicate fistula and causing ripples of their own.

200 fistula surgeries.  That was the goal we set for the end of this year.  Will we reach it?  Only God knows.  What I do know is that all of us who support the mission of Hope for Our Sisters are enjoying the ride as we wait to see other hearts moved to give.

There are so many worthy causes to support…we at Hope for Our Sisters are extremely thankful for any support that comes our way.  Our precious sisters…Maria, Celia, Joaquina, Luisa, Ana and others…await the gift of life, the gift of being in others’ presence without being scorned, the gift of renewed hope.

As I wait to see what else God has in store for this year, my heartbeat is quickened with anticipation and I walk with a lighter step, as I am reminded that it is God who is doing the work through us. What an honor to be used by Him.

Will you join with us to watch and see whose heart He moves next, to see who will enable us to change the lives of women, one woman at a time? 

God is at work in the world and for that I am most thankful.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Follow our updates on our webpage (hopeforoursisters.org) or Facebook page (Hope for Our Sisters, Inc.).

© 2013 by Brooke F Sulahian