• sarah@healingeyes.org

Tag Archives: life

I wish for comfort and stability but instead I get a turkey

Why am I in Africa? There is a cozy apartment back in Michigan calling my name. It has water and a toilet and even a washer/dryer. What does it accomplish traveling all the way over here to interact with others who don’t understand you? Cultural differences and uncomfortable situations daily and hourly. Why do people sign up for this abuse? Crap…I’m one of those stupid people. 

Honestly … I want to leave. Truly… I want to run. Freakin get me out of here is what I want. 

Does it matter what I want? Or am I supposed to die to self and give of my desires to serve others? Ugh…I’m cool with more of a balanced approach ha. Give me ice cream and I’ll give an hour of my life. Could that work? Please!!!!!

Where am I leading with this rant….

I just finished using two buckets to wash my laundry and hang them to dry while 5 geese and 2 turkeys attacked me. The twisted side is I actually felt good about washing my clothes. Finally I got to do something alone and independently! I did something!! Then I mopped my floor and began writing letters to some girls I exchange notes with at the school. I added some stickers to “girly” them up. These girls have no fathers and are disliked by there mothers. One girl is on her own because she couldn’t handle the abuse. Sometimes when a woman remarries the new husband will treat her kids badly and so the kids are forced out. 

I’m not doing much here but I am spending time with teenagers who are suffering. When I get back to Michigan I don’t know what to do with my life. But maybe it’s not up to me and my invisible friend is in control. I want comfort and independence but my hands are tied…for now. 

Healing Eyes

Anniversary of change and loss

What happens when a shy widow meets 30 kids in a classroom to teach English vocabulary? An opportunity to stretch myself….whispering kids…and an occasional hand clapping to get there attention. Part way through teaching new English words I noticed some sleepy heads and changed tactics. I had them write on the blackboard. One boy was very shy and so I went easy on him but others I forced up and tried to encourage them with smiles. It was lots of fun and after English they learned the ukulele. They also insisted I sing for them. So I stood in front and bashfully sang Somewhere over the rainbow. Then I taught them the words and we sang together. I would love to share the video but perhaps when I have better wifi 😉

It’s been a long journey to get to this point and each day I am saddened by what I lost before arriving at this point. I miss my career and miss feeling important and successful. I try to explain to the kids my ‘job’ and I feel stupid for what I gave up to do this. I can’t even articulate in a way they understand because it sounds crazy to me! 

Selling everything while grieving and then moving to an island and now serving in Africa. When I am not a chipper missionary like they are used to. I stick out and don’t smile and wave enough. Instead I silently wait for kids to find me (and they do) and then I talk to them and find out maybe I can connect with them in unusual ways. Even yesterday I explained compassion and empathy to some students. They had no idea what they were. So I used my story as an analogy to explain how I can empathize with death and widowhood. I think they understood. 

I never thought I would enjoy talking with older kids but something changed in me and now I am so at ease with them. 

I still miss my boyfriend terribly at the same time as grieving my husband. So odd…but being a widow is proving to be a tiring thing for me. I miss my soulmate and still question why me and why this and that. Why do I love again and still love my deceased husband. Why do I like kids now. Why did I give my job up. Why do I doubt and fear. Why Africa?!?! 

Tomorrow would have been my 15th wedding anniversary. Normally I eat a fancy dinner but this year I’ll be having rice and peanut butter. Plus I’m in Africa following something I don’t understand. 

For photos check out our Facebook page. 

Healing Eyes

When I can’t it must be the right path

When you look at someone crying what do you see?

When you look at someone screaming what do you see?

Why do I do what I do……simple…….because it would be crazy to NOT do what I do. I met with a friend over a smoothie at Starbucks today and she said I am not crazy. That going off to Africa isn’t crazy but actually quite appropriate. If I didn’t do what I do that would be a worser fate than settling for what I have been programmed to think as the right thing to do. Confused?

When I reach the point of … “I can’t” than it must be the right path to take because than it isn’t me doing it anymore but my invisible friend. The hard part comes when you think know one else understands or is with you on this decision. A decision that really is a no brainer because it’s what we are supposed to do. Bring Flavor to the world we live in and be Different…be compassionate…be empathetic…and to just BE.

I am looking to the left of me and I see my mattress sitting on the floor in my bedroom…its an irritant really that it’s on the floor and feels like college all over again. Looking for a platform bed but not wanting to spend the $150 on one if in a year I won’t need one. Looking at my couch that’s only a couple months old and think why did I need that….to feel normal? Everything can be gone again and it doesn’t matter how hard I hold onto it… Kind of like life, we can hold on to it so tightly but still lose it in many ways.By walking past that person in need that was crying silently inside and too afraid to show it. By walking past that child screaming on the inside but too afraid to express it.

What do you See when others cry? You should see you in their pain and let go of the walls that we put up to protect ourselves from connecting with another’s life.

Healing Eyes

The mind can be a prison to our thoughts

I feel trapped …

between my way of control and my invisible friend’s version of life.

I feel trapped between the world’s way of living and my invisible friend’s way of living in the world.

I feel trapped by my willingness to go and the uncertainty placed before me of ‘norms’ of this life.

Fear of putting too much of what I have to live on into an unthinkable direction in life. In the ‘Widow’s Offering‘ it doesn’t mention the fear she must have felt as she put the last very small copper coins into the offering. Will I resort to that? Will my days dwindle down to the last 2 pennies I have left from Andy be put towards living beyond what we comprehend as ‘Ok standard of living’…

I came to this island to heal a year ago..I met many different people. Learned I could love again. Learned to love me as Sarah only. Found meaning in life again…had many adventures. Now my next adventure begins and I must give up things, people, and safety to travel far and see the worst mankind has to offer. Send a widow to the wolves more prepared for trials to build a life once shattered by loss. “Sing barren Woman! More are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.”


Fundraising Goal for Kenya Tutoring and Exploratory Mission Trip..only $377 to go by May 19!!!

The goal of this upcoming trip is to Tutor orphans but also seek out where I will land next…is it the land this other organization had donated to them by the government? Is that where the Home for Neglected kids is to be built? Is this another step closer to serving long term in Africa? Who knows…BUT it’s a step to take!!!

Donate Button with Credit CardsHealing Eyes is a 501c(3) Non-Profit Organization based in Western Michigan. If you would like to partner with us on a one time or monthly basis, please make your checks payable to Healing Eyes, Inc. and mail to 4160 Blue Heron DR SE, Apt 302, Kentwood, MI 49512. All donations are tax deductible and a statement will be mailed to you for your records. Thank you. If you don’t have a PayPal Account Don’t Worry it’s not required  look to the bottom left side after clicking the Donate button, where it says “Don’t have a PayPal Account”.

Healing Eyes

An angel knocked on my door with a key to my pain

Woke up…Sun shining…an Angel came to the door and gave me encouragement.

The last few days have been a bit challenging on the island but I am still kicking. When most think of an island they think vacation and sun…this is true…I am staying at a beautiful villa in the hills thanks to a gracious friend. When your only companion is an invisible friend it can get a bit lonely and the mind begins to twist thoughts in your head. The mind can be your worst enemy.

But then…and Angel came and knocked on my door with a key. A key to my worry of feeling alone….doubt…and defeat.

“I am working on your behalf…I am comforting you now so that you may comfort others suffering. It will hurt now but with each stroke of my pen I am recreating you and molding you into someone with my gift of comfort and compassion.”

Then I saw a key….to replace the other key that didn’t work. Last two nights I come home and can’t get into my place, frustrating when it’s dark and I am alone ha.

Sometimes God uses other people and events that seem random to deliver messages.

Now I don’t feel so alone and abandoned and can enjoy the sunshine and cool breeze…enjoy being wooed by my invisible friend and lulled to sleep at night.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7


Second part of the morning I saw a delightful email from a church that shared my story.. Check it out here


View outside my little villa on a golf course

View outside my little villa on a golf course

Healing Eyes

I know Who I Am!

I love KIDS!!!! Yes I DO!!!!!

My husband would be flipping out right now and amazed at the transformation. Years of never having kids and trying to have kids hardened our hearts. But Now GOD has done a miracle…and I love kids! Which leads me to Missing the kids I fell in love with.

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That’s why I can’t help but run back to see them:)  No I’m not moving back to St. Croix but I sure am gonna love seeing them in a month and giving each one a huge hug! I wanted to see them before school was out and now since I am going to Africa this May I needed to push the date up.

I’m coming End of April to hug each one and embrace who God made me…how he finally used fire and pain to win be back. How he made me smile and enjoy being vulnerable around kids…feeling stupid and awkward. I don’t have kids of my own and never will but I am finally for the first time in my life COMPLETELY ok with that because more are the children of the desolate woman.

Come May of this year I’ll be with even more kids and living in poverty but at the same time feeling the most Rich I have ever felt. I will see things that will bring me to tears and break me even more for the years ahead in this ministry. I am ready for it! Bring it ON! Bring the impossible my way and show me how to build that home for neglected kids in Africa. Why NOT?! The impossible is way more possible when it’s not my idea. This week I have learned something about myself and it was through another breaking point God used on me, did it make me sad and feel hopeless.. YUP! Did it make me feel like I am not worth it and not good enough for the task? YUP! But who cares because I know that for years upon years I have felt incomplete and alone. But finally I don’t feel alone anymore! It’s finally happening.. I am becoming who I always thought I would be. A MISSIONARY!

Great song…that sums it all up!

I KNOW WHO I AM

Healing Eyes

Void where there was pain

Thousands of miles later and I am looking out at the palm trees and pink fluffy clouds again. My return to the island is very strange feeling. It isn’t happy or sad or even elated.

I feel ‘blank’

Used up…

Incomplete…

Maybe its the rush of adrenaline that has left my system or perhaps the exhaustion. All of those reasons would make sense logically based on our limited bodies. Or I could go with the other reason I feel empty.

Something happened in Africa that I can’t quite explain yet. I wasn’t excited while there, I wasn’t elated, I wasn’t even full of ideas of what to do. While there I saw a lot and felt a lot but did I really fall in love with it there? Or perhaps it was the feeling of being Alive in extreme circumstances. Was it the outpouring of love and fragility of life that fills the inevitable void?

With my eyes closed I still see her… little Billah… branded on my heart. Why am I worried about her? She is one girl amongst a thousand and I am one small person amongst a million.

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This room I sit in right now is clean, comfortable, even without running water I can drink from the tap or a kitchen to cook in. This still is LUXURY!

It’s not a void I feel but an ache…a deep sorrow for what I saw and those kids I touched and held in my arms. My heart is bleeding for them and I can’t erase it. I have seen too much to just turn away from that need. To see so much pain and need when our dollar can go so far and turn my face to that. When education is bountiful in the States even for the poor but in Africa its a choice between eating and learning. Working to exhaustion to survive and children and babies starve in the streets, die of diseases, malnutrition, neglect, pain…

No I do not feel a void..but finally I see a purpose…I see what was missing…and yet I am powerless to do anything measurable in today’s version of ‘success’.  It has to be small steps and little victories, showing love, and teaching compassion to those with the least. But do they really have the least? When they live so fully in the simplicity of life when we drown ourselves with gadgets, clothing, fancy toys, and trinkets.

I will start off with one goal and that is to fundraise like crazy to go back…to show compassion…to build relationships and above all invest in LIFE. My first fundraiser was a success as I really thought it would fail. However, God showed me and raised $648 out of just 25 people! That to me is amazing and he gave me a CPA that I have been praying for. Now If I keep doing this than maybe Healing Eyes will become more than a dream, a whim, a crazy idea.

It starts with the Small Step forward into the impossible.

Healing Eyes

Compassionate flavor of life

Dark is the sky! and veiled the unknown morrow!
Dark is life’s way, for night is not yet o’er;
The long-for glimpse I may not meanwhile borrow;
But, this I know, HE GOETH ON BEFORE.

Dangers are nigh! and fears my mind are shaking;
Heart seems to dread what life may hold in store;
But I am His – He knows the way I’m taking,
More blessed still – HE GOETH ON BEFORE.

Doubts cast their weird, unwelcome shadows o’er me,
Doubts that life’s best – life’s choicest things are o’er;
What but his Word can strength, can restore me,
And this blest fact; that still HE GOES BEFORE.

HE GOES BEFORE! Be this my consolation!
He goes before! On this my heart would dwell!
He goes before! This guarantees salvation!
HE GOES BEFORE! And therefor all is well.

By: J. Danson Smith

What should I fear? If my future is already known than I should be filled with peace. I am blessed with time to mourn and contemplate…some are not. Some look for ways each day to scam an unknowing person of cash while others severely need that cash but will not turn to treachery. Deciphering who is in need and who is lying is something nearly impossible. If we are to give regardless of the intention of the receiver than is that enough? It’s the act of giving that shows our heart of love and compassion for others. If it’s the act of giving and not the assurance of its use that shows our worth than is that enough? In Africa there was a lady who appeared to be in need and suffering from a loss, she wailed and cried on the ground, but it turned out later she was lying. Was the expression of love towards her for nothing when later it was spat on? Is that to prevent any further kindness to others on the chance that they are lying?

If some choose to feed others with a bad tasting ‘flavor’ of humanity than others should overwhelm them with a great tasting ‘flavor’ of compassion.

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Healing Eyes

Imagine a breathe on fire

How is it my place to question where I am led to go?

How is it my place to doubt?

When all around me I see pain and suffering…can I turn a deaf ear to it’s call?

When the time comes to go and leave behind all that I love can I say No? Or perhaps delay until it makes sense to all?

What if life was more than we imagine? What if life was in a girl standing quietly in the shadows…

Waiting quietly in repose

Waiting quietly in repose

Close your eyes and imagine…breathe in the stagnant air filled with the smell of bodily fluids and fecal decay…the dry dusty air burns your eyes as tears roll down your stained face. Now imagine each day the same … Waiting …. Waiting… For more…for something to break the cycle of pain. Open your eyes…your heart and realize it’s still the same today and that girl is waking up in the shadows with no change.

Do you fear?

Do you wonder what the “least of these” see each day? Unimaginable! But have hope because each of “these” smile more in a day than those with the Most!

Who is that?

Perhaps in suffering comes something more…the gift of love.

Healing Eyes

Will Africa expose something?

Soon I will be getting on a plane again and this time traveling to a country beyond my experiences so far. It has been on my list of places to discover and now I’ll be serving there for 2 and half weeks alongside another Non-Profit.

It has been a hard two weeks with the holidays and facing memories left dormant from when he passed away. Each time I pull at the wound and discover new things about myself. Now I leave again and without a clear direction or what to expect. My internet connection will be limited and so blog posts may decrease but rest assured when I get back I am sure something will be different in me again. What I do with that is a huge unknown but at least I would have listened to a dream in me. A dream to travel and explore, to see how others live, and how others cope. This world is vast and not everyone lives the so called ‘comfortable’ life. Can I survive in such an environment? Only one way to find out….and that is to Go!

Healing Eyes