Day 1: Choices and Voices in the Spice Bazar

BECOMING begins Dear Ella,

What a day! I know we’re tired with jet lag and the brutality of walking on cobblestones. Let’s enjoy this dinner and the evening ferry ride back to the Asian side. You know I’m in my glory, right? I’m showing you anew the places I hold so dear. I hope you forgive my walks down memory lane.

Speaking of lanes, I want to talk about the Egyptian Spice Bazaar. Crazy, right? Men calling at us from all sides, beckoning us to try their Turkish Delight, to buy their exotic teas. Can you believe the number of options of teas and spices? The colors? The smells? The tastes? Were your senses on overload?

As I think about this experience, I see it through the eyes of a woman becoming. You. And I wonder at the parallels of your current life and the next few years.

Many choices. Multiple voices.

Whose voice will win? Is it the one who is loudest? The one who is craziest? The one who flatters you the most? (Pretty woman with her lovely daughter! I’ll give 10 camels for her hand in marriage!)

Which choice will you make? The prettiest? The one which looks most unique? The one which looks safest and most familiar? The one which costs least?

Ella, you are going to be presented with a plethora of options in life and you have already experienced some at school. Will you be all about boys and “dating” because everyone else is? Will you wear makeup and buy certain brands because everyone else does? How will you choose what is important to you and a reflection of you in the midst of everyone around you yelling louder: Do this to be cool!

We are in a land of Muslims. 99.9% are Muslim. So when a Turk decides to follow Jesus, they are listening to a small, still voice of God, asking for their faith. They are turning away from the loud, familiar, common voices they have known all their lives. It is risky and some have died for it. They are my heroes. With courage, they have faced rejection at home, bullying at work, and persecution all around to follow the one in whom they have fallen in love, whom they believe is true.

What do you believe is true? Whom will you follow? What small, still voice asks for your faith? That is the voice you need to hear in the midst of all the others. Be brave my daughter. We’ve come from a strong and courageous body of believers.

Love, Mom

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