Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Some of my most climactic interactions are those of deciding where and when to meet a friend. Decision-making conversation turns into high-pitched voices rapidly escalating into “YEEEEEE!!!! Ok! Ok!”

It’s the whole, “You will be here? Right? You are coming, right? I wait for you, ok?”

“Yes! Yes! Yes!” come my answers, with which we both adamantly follow up with vigorous nods of our heads, breathing, “Inshallah, inshallah,” [God-willing].

After a few times of going great lengths of preparing big meals in my house and my friends bailing on me in the last minutes or not showing up at all with no warning phone call, I started asking them: “Now, is this an “Arab inshallah” or an “American” one? Because I know there’s a difference.” They would keenly smile at me with twinkling eyes, knowing that they were making an Arab one and that I knew the repercussions of this. Sometimes it was just that they would be late by two hours, since time isn’t of the essence, but rather an order of events—they’d get to me when they get to me. And other times, they would just “commit” to coming or meeting me when really they didn’t want to, but couldn’t say “no” to my face.

One of my most favorite things to do is look at the stars. I love when there’s a full moon and it casts a shadow on my bedroom floor. I love laying out on a Middle Eastern roof, listening to the late night traffic, the sounds of my neighborhood, while I watch the stars. They really do “twinkle.” I don’t get it. But they’re awesome and they’re big and seem to be so promising.

And after a night when a friend “broke her promise” of being there, when apparently “God didn’t will for our meeting to happen,” I like to look to the sky and remember His promises of old. One of my favorite passages is of Abram/Abraham when God tells him to “go to a place I will show you.” And later when He takes Abram out in the night and says something to the effect of, “Look up at the sky, count the stars, try if you can—for as great a number of these, so shall be your offspring.”

God made a promise to Abram when he was doubting and questioning how God would provide for him. God reminded him of His goodness and faithfulness, and indeed, He kept His promise.

I came to the land that God showed me—I didn’t choose it out of a catalog or off a map. I’ve just continued to follow the passions He’s given me and have continued to walk through open doors and knock on closed ones. He has lead me here and His promises are true. So even when there’s a cultural padding built in for broken promises—no matter how big or small—God has none of that in His character. What He says He will do, He does.

And I rest in that. I rest in His character. I laugh to myself as my lady friends cluck over me like hens, pressuring me to be at their house, to go to their village, to share a meal with their family. Their earnest desire for me just to say the words that I’ll be there, for me to come through on my promise to visit, to bring cookies, to come kiss their mother, to try to dance like they do… I feel that it’s all part of a greater desire to be valued, to be remembered and to be treasured.

I don’t get hurt anymore when my friends “break their promises.” It’s in our human nature to break them, and I for one, have also broken many—more than I’d care to admit. Sometimes to circumstances beyond my control, and sometimes because I was just stretching myself too thin.

But if God made this great big world, and in particular this fantastic night sky, surely He’s involved and caring in our small, minute lives. Surely He is a Creator, Good and Faithful to keep His promises.

He whispers to us,
He makes these promises to us when He shows us His plans,
and step by step
He gives us ample reminders that
He is Strong, He is Good, and that He endures.

Photo by my sweet, dear friend, Noor Renfroe.
Please check her out.
She’s an incredible photographer, artist and woman of God.


  1. Hey! Thanks for your heart in this post. I love reading about your experiences and insights...as I am in the midst of soon "heading out". I won't be going to the same area, but I have a brother in your area...so the culture is very helpful to know how to pray for him and his team and future wife who'll join him. But, the emotions, feelings, ups and downs are the same no matter where we work!

    Keep it up!

  2. When I read your posts, I feel like I'm understood without ever having met you! As always, thanks for sharing!

  3. Hey Tori! I'm so excited for you to be heading out! :) Keep checking in with us here at TYD. I hope we can walk with you as you're journeying along. Keep on running after Him! :)

    Leah B: As always, thanks for reading AND commenting! I love comments. They remind me I'm not alone. :)



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