I have been waiting for this view for years. Is it familiar? It stares down at us from the ledge above our piano at home. This tower was built in 1348 and was the tallest building in the city at the time. It’s name meant Tower of Christ in latin.
As I think about our day and the footsteps we have followed, I am struck by the stories we have encountered.
We started at the hospital in which Florence Nightingale transformed modern medicine and saved hundreds of lives. Compelled by her faith to do something meaningful for the service of others, she left the comfort and expectations of high society in England to take care of soldiers during the Crimean War. What determination!
In Cengelkoy, we walked the streets of the neighborhood you remember best; saw the house and the park and the little market which hold your early days. The winding staircases and cobblestone streets in which you passed the hours with your beloved babysitter, Zeynep. She was God’s gift to our family and an ease to my mind every time I left you with her. But did you know back then how strong her faith is, how much she loves Jesus, how secure and confident she is as a Turkish woman? I can’t wait for you to see her!
And now, here we are in the Tower of Christ, looking out across the Bosphorus to Florence Nightingale’s place of ministry. Beneath and around us are streets full of other women. They are my ministry. Exploited women. Women who have stories of hard. Who have been harmed and are harmed still, used and shamed by men. Were we to wander down any alley, we would walk their footsteps.
Ella, I want you to know you’ve come from determined women. Women of faith. Women of strength and courage and sacrifice, but ours is a story of pain as well. Jesus comes from Rahab the prostitute. He spends time with the woman at the well, living with a man not her husband. He spares another woman her life by casting light on the sin of those who would accuse and stone her. They are his ministry.
And he loves us all.
We are sisters. Throughout time, past, present, and future. Those who are deemed heroines and those we call exploited. Women of God. As you begin to enter our company, never lose sight of the view from this tower - across the sea to courage and beneath your feet toward need.