hopesightings

finding hope and sharing it

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

 

 

 

I Crossed the Line…Segment 4 January 27, 2017

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 6:49 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

line-in-the-sand

Feeling EXPOSED and VULNERABLE?!?!

This is not what I expected

Had I even signed up for this?

This was not part of the journey I wanted to continue

Where did this come from?

I thought crossing the line was the tough part

I felt my heart resist taking more steps

Could I simply stop?

I really wanted to stop

Could I just sit down and stay right where I was?

I told myself I could…so I did

I felt that I lacked the energy for anything else…this was too hard

Thankfully, He did not let me stay there long

As much as I fought my feelings and fears, He patiently softened my heart

He cut through my feelings and fears to my heart…to my soul…

He showed me what was really inside of me waiting to be released

Beauty

Potential

Creativity

Value

I remember the morning I finally saw His full knowledge of me as a gift

I could honestly say to myself, if He knows me so well and loves me anyway, then He truly loves all of me

It took courage to act on this but I decided

– I CAN TRUST Him

– I CAN WALK with Him

– I CAN GO where He leads me

I stood up…I was ready to move on

However, I could not take a step

We still had heart work to do…

Really?

Moving ahead placed me at a fork in the road…a decision was before me

I had to choose: Be real with God and deal with my “stuff” or not

Being real with God would require me to come clean with myself

Being real might be painful at times

Being real would be the harder of the two roads…the road less traveled

What did I choose?

What would you choose?

(Thank you for walking with me. More to come…)

© 2017 Brooke F. Sulahian

 

Stepping Up Courageously…Pursuing Hope December 1, 2016

celeste-aka-edalina-with-baby

I am Edalina. I am a wife. I am a mom. I have dreams, hopes, strength and potential. Tragically, I leaked urine all the time. Fistula tried to destroy my dreams, my hopes, my strength and my potential. Fistula almost succeeded.

 

I want healthy children. I want to contribute to my community with my husband. I want to make sure my daughters don’t suffer like me. Hearing about a visit with women from America and nurses from a local hospital brought me out of hiding. With ten courageous sisters I put aside my fear of further isolation and shame. I came to the local clinic. I stood strong. I said, “Here I am, I am worth your time”.

 

At this meeting, I discovered the name for my suffering…fistula. I discovered healing and help were available. I never knew anyone could help.

 

I never knew anyone wanted to help. I never knew anyone cared.

 

At the end of the meeting, we were advised to see the local doctor. Hope filled my heart. I was closer to healing, to a life worth living, the life I wanted! At the clinic I saw our American sisters and local nurses. They smiled, held our hands, and loved us. In them I saw hope in who I could be, who I was meant to be.

 

My flight to the main hospital was hope-filled and fearful. I came with my sisters who suffered just like me. People, those who believed I was worth it, YOU, funded my surgery. YOU saw my strength. YOU saw my potential.

 

After surgery I was told, “You are DRY!” DRY? Me? After three years of leaking on myself day after day, minute after minute. Three years of soaking my only clothes. Three years of isolation. Three years of despair. DRY!

celeste-aka-edalina-preso

I have hopes, dreams, strength and potential. Now that I am DRY I get to discover all that I am…all that I can be.

 

My sisters, our daughters, our mothers, also have dreams, hopes, strength and potential. They live for the day to hear, “You are DRY!” They pray for the day fistula no longer exists. Can YOU see their strength and potential? I can!

© 2016 by Brooke F Sulahian

 

AWAITING RELEASE THROUGH FREEDOM AND HOPE April 21, 2016

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 4:04 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Drops in branches

While walking home from the kids’ school, I was captured by the beauty of these raindrops upon branches.

Each drop held within it a piece of the sun…a reflection pleasing to the eye.

Each drop hung on…untapped amazing potential waiting within…waiting…

These drops reminded me of our sisters…our sisters suffering from or at risk of fistula.

Each of our sisters is a rare beauty.

Each of our sisters has an inner light…not from the sun, but from God.

Each of our sisters has amazing potential that is untapped due to fistula and the cultural norms that create an environment where fistula flourishes.

Our sisters are waiting…

Our sisters are waiting to be released from their branches…

But they will not fall, as a drop of water would…

They will each soar like an eagle…

They will soar on the hope, love and encouragement showered upon them by health providers, fellow sisters, and all of you who support the mission and work of Hope for Our Sisters.

How many of our sisters will be released today?

© 2016 by Brooke F Sulahian