If you need/want a reality check; a realignment of your perspective that, despite the difficult trials you may be facing, there are so many innocent people in this world suffering incredible injustices.
If you want to be challenged to redefine what you value in life, to be reminded of what an unbelievable gift freedom is, or to remember to cherish all that you have, all that you are sheltered and protected from, to simply be grateful for the life you have been given, then you need to read this book.
Slave: My True Story was recommended to me by the Headmaster at the school where I am volunteering. As a member of the Mende Nazer Foundation, he has been working with Ms. Nazer, along with a committee of volunteers to create more educational opportunities for the youth in the Sudan, specifically in the Nuba Mountain region where Mende is from, through the construction of schools and providing funding for materials and teacher salaries.
Violently captured from her village, ripped apart from her family, her friends, her home, Mende was made to be a slave at the age of 12 for an Arab family in Sudan. Filled with abuse and injustice, her story is heart-wrenching, moving, compelling, and will open your eyes to the harsh realities of slavery that still exist even today, in our so called modern world.
In a season of life where Luis and I have experienced greater trials and hardships than ever before, this book was a humbling reminder that despite our pain and suffering, we are still so incredibly blessed beyond measure.
Reading Mende's accounts of rape, abuse, and slavery, our current situation pales in comparison. It has helped shape a new perspective in me of just how much we have been given, and how much we really could do without. I have been challenged to reexamine what truly matters, what I absolutely could not do without. My conclusion: God, family, freedom. Beyond that, there isn't much else that is necessary for true fulfillment.
Whether you read this book or not (but really, you should) I challenge you to replace the negative things with the good. For us that looks like:
- Money's tighter than we would like it to be. Yes, you read that right. Not all pro athletes make millions :) But we always have exactly what we need. And that includes being able to fly home twice (sometimes more for me) a year. HUGE blessing.
- Luis's career doesn't always go the way we think it should. It is physically demanding and mentally taxing. There is an expectation of impossible perfection and people aren't always very kind and forgiving when that expectation goes unmet. There are unbelievably difficult challenges for him at times. But we have a job. And it allows us to have food, an apartment, a car.
- We lost a baby. But we still have each other. We have an amazing relationship and are blessed with a happy and healthy marriage. We have unbelievably supportive families and wonderful, encouraging friends. And most of all we have our faith. And a God who is gracious, loving, and who will never leave nor forsake us.
Whatever your challenges in life, I pray you have contentment with what you have, see the joy in whatever life brings, and find unwavering confidence in who you were so perfectly created to be. Happy Tuesday!