What Enkelejda Taught Me

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Do you live as if the goal of life is to get your own way?

It’s not every day a girl like me gets to meet a woman like Enkelejda Kumaraku. As I listened to her talk about the challenges facing women in Albania, I thought to myself, “I’m talking to a modern-day Esther!”

What struck me most of all is her faith in God in the midst of impossible sounding, the-entire-world-is-against-you-circumstances. Circumstances and obstacles that would make me want to hide in a closet and never, ever come out again. And yet, she never once sounds weighed down. She shares everything through the grid of “But God is greater! God is stronger! God is bigger! God is mightier!”

And when she makes these statements, she isn’t simply parroting religious platitudes. These are the confident assertions of a woman who has watched God perform “impossible” feats time and time again.  

Although we worship the same God, Enkelejda’s God is infinitely bigger than mine. And it isn’t this way in spite of the set-backs and challenges she faces—I believe her faith and (right-sized) view of God are due to these trials!

As I listened to her speak, I realized one of our greatest challenges (at least as Christians in America) is learning how to live by faith in a culture that teaches us to do everything we can to live a problem-free life of comfort and ease. Have you bought into this thinking? I have. Almost my entire life I’ve lived as though the goal of life is to get my way. To see all my dreams realized.

It’s in this culture—as well as places like Albania—that we’re told to:

“Count it all joy...when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).

Oh, God, would you do a miracle for me and the women reading this post? Would you radically alter our outlook on suffering and trials—no matter how big or small they seem? Would you make us women who thank you from the bottom of our heart for everything from every-day inconveniences, to unfulfilled dreams, to devastating losses, to persecution? Would you use these to cause us not to depend on our own power, but to grow in our understanding of Your awesome strength? Would you make us women of daring faith?

“Truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you” (--Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 17:20).

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