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I remember the day I experienced my first defining moment. This one negative incident as a seven-year-old little girl would change my entire outlook on life. It was the day when my little sister died. After a very hard pregnancy, my mom gave birth to my sister, who was born prematurely. She lived for only a day because the doctor neglected to turn the air on in her little incubator. We were all heartbroken. However, out of this unfair and dark circumstance a dream and a vision was born in my heart.

After my parents came home from the hospital and told me the news, I had only enough strength to go outside on our balcony and look up. It was evening. The stars were shining bright, as they always do on a clear, spring night. But that night was different. I saw something – not with my eyes but with my heart. Although we never celebrated Christmas under communism and it was forbidden to believe in God, that night I knew there was Someone beyond the dark blue skies.  I couldn’t see Him with my eyes, but my heart felt His presence with me. Gazing at the stars, I said to myself: I know there is Someone out there Who knows me by name, and one day when I grow up I will help as many kids as I can in honor of my sister.

A year passed. Seeing my continual grief and brokenness, my parents decided to adopt a little boy from the local orphanage. Unfortunately, the adoption was unsuccessful because we didn’t have enough finances to meet the qualifications. Shortly afterward, the little boy died because of inappropriate care at the orphanage. A second defining moment transpired for me that night. Once again I went outside on the balcony and lifted my head to the skies. I looked up and said to myself: One day when I grow up I will help as many kids as possible at the orphanages in Bulgaria in honor of this little boy who didn’t have a chance to live.

It has been said that we cannot connect the dots of our lives looking forward, but we can connect them by looking back. Each of us should take an introspective journey of our life in order to stop, to remember, and to define the moments that made us who we are today.

Years later, I find myself doing the very thing I promised myself as a child. And I couldn’t be more grateful that Jesus found me and showed me that I wasn’t alone on the journey of life. More so, He has made my dream come true, as I have discovered that the dream to help orphaned and abandoned children is truly His dream for me.

When I am asked why I do what I do, or how is it that after 23 years of traveling, raising funds, speaking, etc. I am still resilient and passionate about our work and organization, I share the stories from my childhood days under communism.

You see, a drive and a passion is not birthed when all is perfect in our life, it is birthed when we stand in the midst of the pain and choose to LOOK UP…when we choose to see beyond the stars, and feel the heart of God beating for us.

That is when the magic happens – when Christ pours His love into our hearts, restores us, and helps us to dream His dream. Once we look up and see Him, we can look around us and really begin to see the needs of others. Only then can we be moved with compassion to make a difference.

So, if you are wondering today how to become more passionate, resilient, authentic, and courageous, I want to remind you to STOP…LOOK UP…AND LOOK BEYOND! May we all see with the eyes of our hearts into the heart of God.

Thank you for stopping long enough to read this and to look up with me!


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