Nabeel Qureshi

Nabeel,
I knew you were going to a place where everything would be made right.
Your body would be restored.
Life would be renewed.

A place where pain no longer ruled
And sickness was a forgotten foe.
Where humans didn’t kill each other
Over religious beliefs or skin color.

Yet you didn’t want to go.
Not many of us do desire to leave
Although what’s awaiting some of us
Is divine glory beyond comprehension.

But, the cancer ate away at your body.
The doctors removed your stomach;
Left you bare.

I wonder if you remembered what food tasted like,
What it was like to drink something cool and refreshing.
Or had you become accustomed to the tubes
That kept you with us, although you were suffering?

Nabeel,
In this world, you left the old life for the new.
The only promise you had to cling to
Was the promise of God’s ever-presence.

We are not ensured health in this life
Nor wealth, although we try
To keep a firm grip on both.

Nabeel,
You showed me what it meant to be a Christian.
To suffer, to be sick, and to love Jesus regardless.
You’re in the Lord’s arms and that brings comfort.
But we’ll miss you and the work you did for the people you loved.

Nabeel,
You are enjoying everything new.
New body.
New mind.
New home.
We just wish you didn’t have to go.

 

 

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. – John 11:25

For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. – Philippians 1:21

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Nabeel Qureshi is in Heaven

Nabeel Qureshi has passed away after a year-long battle with advanced stomach cancer. This morning he closed his eyes and opened them to see the face of his Savior, Jesus Christ.

I knew this day was coming, but I’m so heartbroken by his death. I have no other words to explain how I feel. He was a light shining the truth of Jesus to Muslims. I know he could have done SO much more if God had healed him. But, God has His reasons and His ways are good and just. All of that doesn’t take away from how painful it is to see someone suffer from cancer and die. Yet Nabeel is with Jesus now and that is what gives me comfort.

To learn more about Nabeel’s ministry, check out his books:

“Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”

“No God but One: Allah or Jesus?”

“Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward”

 

Brother Nabeel, you are with the Lord now. We will all miss you. The world will miss the beautiful work you did for Jesus and the love that you constantly had for the Muslim people.

I know you heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

 

Rest in the Lord’s arms, Nabeel. We love you.

 

 

 

 

Self-Sabotage and the Single Girl

Readers,

I have a confession to make. I self-sabotage all the time. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, I’ll find a way to make it harder for myself. Jobs, boyfriends, friends, it doesn’t matter! I self-sabotage.

This realization has come upon me recently and for a few weeks I wondered why I did this so constantly. It’s become almost second nature for me. Well, I think I have an idea why.

I grew up in an abusive home. My parents had a marriage void of love, respect, or shared purpose. My dad was not the best example of a father OR a husband. As a result, I’ve noticed ways I react to conflict or difficult situations that must have been learned in childhood. When there’s a conflict, I fight viciously for myself and cut ties. When it appears that someone is taking advantage of me, I remove all emotion from my words and treat that person in a professional way. When a job seems like it might be too hard for me, I quit the job or find reasons not to take it.

This was taught to me in my childhood. When my parents had a fight, divorce was threatened each time. My father would leave for the night, slamming the door and abandoning us. My mother would then go to the bank, taking out cash and teaching me how to “get what I need for myself.”

So much happened in my childhood that I’m slowly seeing how even my relationships with simple things like money or food have been distorted because I’ve never seen a healthy example of one.

What’s the point of all of this? I’m a runner. In difficult situations, I neither flee nor fight. I freeze.

But when people hurt me or appear to manipulate me, I fight with all I’ve got. It’s a positive thing that I’m a fighter. However I have to let my shield down a bit and put my sword back in its place.

Because sometimes, a person will show you that they would never treat you like how your dad used to. They aren’t that person from your past. And if they’re worth anything, they’ll stick around while you painfully and awkwardly discover that.

 

Be patient. Work out the lies you’ve believed and harmful habits from your childhood.

 

Let God heal them. Let God show you that there are people out there who will love you.

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

And Then I Got Sick (God Allowed It)

Hey readers,

If you’ve been reading my blog since the beginning, you know that my family has dealt with many illnesses this year. My dad had a pulmonary embolism in April and discovered that he had an enlarged heart, my brother had a severe bone infection in his leg in July, and my aunt who has Lupus isn’t doing so well.

In an odd way, I sensed that all of this was God. God allowed these things to happen for a reason. I began to see my friends and friends of friends become sick. One of my friends’ mom is undergoing a hysterectomy soon. This friend also has a friend with lung cancer. My old roommate was diagnosed with a spinal cord infection and possibly an auto immune disease. My half-sister’s grandma was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.

All of this happened within the past few weeks.

So, I was kind of waiting for my turn to get sick. Now, I had been dealing with some acid reflux symptoms but chalked it up to stress from family issues and every doctor I saw confirmed this. A couple of weeks ago, my acid reflux became so painful, that I went to the ER and the doctor informed me that I could either just have terribly bad acid reflux or potentially an ulcer.

Yesterday, I had an upper endoscopy and the doctor found 2-3 small ulcers and a nodule on my esophagus. They’re doing biopsies of everything. 

I’ve never heard of a 23-year old having ulcers and nodules or anything like this. I only know one other young person who has had an ulcer. As a result of my ulcer, I need to completely change the way I eat and drink.

I’m not just talking about eating healthy foods. I typically eat very well. But there are some foods and drinks I can no longer take and if I can, they must be in small amounts.

Here’s an example:

  1. Black tea (MY BELOVED CHAI!!!)
  2. Onions (the best)
  3. Garlic (yum yum)
  4. Eggs (my typical breakfast)
  5. Anything fried (bye, bye chicken fingers)
  6. Alcohol (see ya, beloved whiskey and wine)
  7. Caffeine (adios, Coke Zero)
  8. Citrus fruits (nature’s candy)

There’s probably more, but it’s trial and error for me and my stomach.

Why did this happen to me? I don’t know. The biopsies come back next week. It may be the result of an infection and it may not be.

What I do know is that God let this happen. For some reason, God allowed me to have ulcers and nodules. What I’m resting in is the sweet sovereignty of Jesus. He is in control. He dictates what happens to me and what is kept from me. I trust Him with my life. I have to trust Him with my life. Because it belongs to Him. One day, I’ll no longer eat and be in pain. I’ll have a new, healthy body in heaven. Can God heal me of these ulcers and nodules? Absolutely. Will He? Maybe. Is He wrong if He doesn’t? Nope!

 

Let’s see what God does with this…

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

Medical Camp-Kolkata City Mission

Hey dear readers,

Those of you who know me outside of my blog know that I spent some time in Kolkata, India, volunteering at an Indian-run NGO. They provide so many wonderful things for people, like schools for children, medical care for those in the slums, and business projects to help women escape the red light district or other difficult circumstances.

In order to keep giving people in Kolkata the care they need, especially medical care, they need financial help. Every year, they run a medical camp where they offer free care to those who can’t afford any: those in the slums.

If you’d like to donate to this camp, please click the link here:

https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/medical-camp/#menu

 

To learn more about KCM, click here:

http://www.kolkatacitymission.org/

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

My Thorn

My dreams often times run wild and free. My dreams…what are they? From where do they come? Is it just me in there? Or does my Father sculpt them? Perhaps it’s both blended together. God’s influence and my talents working as one. That’s the ideal, but is it true for me?

My worst enemy will always be me. Pulling against Him as He extracts the rotten growth. Those roots run deep. They’ve woven themselves around my heart and traveled between the curves in my brain. I pray and wait for Him to set me free.

But perhaps this is just my particular thorn. Everyone’s got one, I’m sure of that. When I grasp the rose that is God’s heart, my thorn cuts deeper in my palm, but I squeeze tighter. Regardless of the pain I let the blood trickle down. It’s not mine. It’s His. It cleans me as I hold on. My thorn forms the crown He wore.

I was blessed by my Lord with a big heart. It burdens me as I live, move, and have my being. This heart of mine, it isn’t mine anymore. I gave that ownership to another, to the Only. A heart for His purposes must not be filthy; it must be purified. But, it must always be broken.

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

We Saw Each Other

Yesterday morning, I woke up with intense stomach pain. I knew I needed to be seen by a doctor soon, but these NYC doctors weren’t taking me seriously. Thankfully my mother offered for me to fly down to Atlanta and get the medical care I needed there.

Nothing that morning was going right. Instead of diving into the underground, I saw a bus headed toward Penn Station, where I needed to catch the NYC Airporter. I swiped my MetroCard and plopped down in a seat, waiting for my stop. Two hours ticked by and the bus still hadn’t reached Penn Station. Next, I get the notice that the bus would only stop at 42nd street, not 34th street. I dashed off the bus and ran to 34th street, praying that the Airporter would still be there. It was. Thank GOD!

I lugged my backpack into the Airporter and sat directly behind the driver, a tall black man in his 40s or 50s. He ended his phone call and demanded, “Who are you?” I replied, “Gabrielle. Who are you?” “Ray.” he said, confidently.

I could tell that he wanted to chit chat with me so I put my headphones in my bag and prepared myself for whatever he wanted to discuss. During the fifteen-minute bus ride, he told me a big chunk of his life story. Here’s the essentials: he’s from NYC and moved to Maryland recently to save some money and start a new life. Unfortunately, no one would hire him in Maryland. He discussed the various reasons for that:

  1. He’s from NYC and they don’t like New Yorkers.
  2. Black people down there have a “slave mentality.”

I don’t know if that’s true, but I know that his experience is valid. So, he wasn’t able to find a job in Maryland and had to come back to NYC last winter, the absolute worst time to be down on your luck in the big city. In order to survive, Ray stayed at a homeless shelter and worked as a street cleaner, sweeping streets and changing garbage bags.

While he told me all of this, I thought about my own life. To me, a retail job is demeaning. I couldn’t even imagine myself doing the type of labor he had to do for his survival. Who do I think I am?

Now he drives for the Airporter and he rents a room in NYC, although he has aspirations to move outside of NYC. He never thought he’d be in this situation at his age, but he’s not giving up hope. His friends tell him that God is testing him, and of course I put my two cents in at that moment.

After describing everything I’ve been through this year, I added that maybe God is teaching him to learn to rely on Him. Maybe God wants him to appreciate what He’s given him. I don’t know what God’s doing in Ray’s life. But, I do know that God loves Ray deeply. He cares about his life. He wants the best for Ray.

Ray gave me some good life advice. He told me to never give up. He told me to hang in there. I’m young and my whole life is ahead of me.

After the bus ride, he tried to give me a high-five and I tried to give him a tip. He refused to take it. I insisted and he said, “You need it more than I do.”

I looked up at him and said, “This is for the life advice you gave me. From a sister to a brother.”

Immediately his eyes flushed with tears and he hugged me and called me his friend.

 

God bless this man. What a God experience.

 

Gabrielle G.

Why I Almost Left Christianity

Wow. That title probably shocked all of my friends and relations. Catch your breath. You good? Ok. Leggo.

I’ve been a Christian since I was 8 years old. I began to actually know God personally when I was 15 and suffering from terrible depression and anxiety, much of it because of my father’s abuse and my subsequent feelings of inferiority. Through that desert, I clung to the promises of God revealed to us in Scripture. I prayed constantly and always filled my ears with worship music. I enveloped myself in all things God.

Since then, I’ve been on a roller coaster ride with God, in a completely positive way. We’ve experienced depression and anxiety, friendships lost, hearts broken, mission trips to India, and life as a young Christian in NYC. He’s walked with me every step of the way.

But, since our last presidential election, something inside me changed. No longer did I have sympathy for people like Donald Trump (racist, sexist, bigot, lost sinner), nor did I have any compassion for his supporters. To me, they were all trash. I hated them. In my mind, the least threatening were racists and the worst of them were Nazis. I began berating white people every chance I got. I thoroughly enjoyed this pasttime.

Then, as Donald Trump’s “presidency” progressed, and more and more acts of violence were enacted upon PoCs and LGBTQ people, I saw the church was silent. Actually, let me correct myself. The white evangelical church was silent. When Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were murdered by police officers last summer, the church was silent. Sure, a few people wrote a couple of articles online about police brutality and racism, but the church as a whole remained silent.

The real moment came for me when I saw how white Evangelicals were so quick to defend Donald Trump (not a Christian, by the way) for any little thing he did, whether that was bragging about grabbing a woman’s pussy (his word, not mine), or tweeting idiotic falsehoods. To many white Evangelicals, to be Christian means to be Republican. That’s laughable. I have a hunch that Jesus would side more with a Socialist movement than He would with a Republican one. That’s the Jesus I see in Scripture.

Now, the two main issues that white Evangelicals have made idols of are abortion and homosexuality. They’re so up in arms about abortion but lower their eyes when young black men and women are murdered on the street. They say nothing when Latinos are arrested like criminals and detained in carajo concentration camps! When Muslim women get their hijabs ripped off, they keep silent. Abortion and gay marriage. Abortion and gay marriage. Where did the church get the idea that THIS is what Christianity is about?

Christianity is the fact that Jesus Christ, Son of God, came to earth in the form of a human baby. He grew into a strong young man who never sinned and always loved. He showed us how to love. He taught us how to live. He demonstrated reconciliation and forgiveness. He took our sins upon Himself and died a criminal’s death on that tree, suffering humiliation and indescribable pain. He defeated both sin and death. Now we can stand righteous before God all because of Jesus’ sacrifice. It has NOTHING to do with us! It was all Jesus. It will always be Jesus.

Seeing my white Evangelical brothers and sisters defend a man like Donald Trump stirred up deep feelings of betrayal inside of me. I stopped going to church. I put away my Bible. I listened to whatever music I wanted.

 

Then God stepped in and brought me back. That’s a whole other story.

 

The point is, I have to agree with Gandhi when he said that he liked our Christ, but not our Christians. I don’t like many Christians in this hemisphere. But, I have to remind myself of a few things.

  1. We’re all human and therefore all sinners.
  2. Sanctification is a process.
  3. I follow Christ, not Christians.

 

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

When Your Parents Divorce (For Adults)

This is hard. This is vulnerable. This is complete exposure, but if it helps one person, it’s worth it.

After almost 30 years of marriage, my parents are divorcing. The divorce will be final later this month. A divorce can take those two people through incredible ups and downs. There are moments of sadness, times of relief, and seasons of depression. After all this time? We’re just going to throw it all away?

What happened with my parents is their own personal business, but I will talk about what happened inside me during this time.

For years, divorce had been a constant threat in my family. Ever since I was a little girl, my parents would fight weekly, big blowup fights, and divorce was promised each time. It never happened. So, by the time I reached my current age, 23, hearing of a divorce would not be too much of a shock for me.

In fact, a few years ago, when my mother would call me while I was away at college, complaining about my dad, I encouraged her to do whatever she needed to do. Even if that meant divorce.

But in the past few years, things seemed to get a lot better. The screaming diminished. The insults were silenced. Relations improved. Or, so I thought.

When my parents announced in April that they were going to divorce, it took me a bit by surprise. I had thought that we were going to be a family forever. I had assumed that their relationship wasn’t that bad.

Through this time, unfortunately my parents deemed it appropriate to seek my counsel. I counseled my mom. I counseled my dad. Remember I’ve had zero relationship experience and these are my own parents. But, I did my best to give them Biblical counsel.

After my counsel was rejected, the divorce was pursued full-force.

I felt defeated. I felt vulnerable. I felt broken.

My parents were no longer my parents. They were real human beings who needed freedom from each other. But, I couldn’t see this at the time. At that time, I screamed, whined, and cried all the time.

“Great.” I thought. “My parents had a shit marriage and now I’m going to have a shit marriage.”

“Where will I spend the holidays? Well, it’s not like we had any real traditions anyway.”

“Do I have to pick a side?”

 

For a few months, I was on the receiving end of my dad’s complaints about mom and mom’s complaints about dad. I was asked for advice. For my opinion. I was given deep and dark information about many things I had no desire to know. Secrets from 1995 were revealed to me. Specific abuses were described.

My heart was broken. My spirit was abused. There were no boundaries whatsoever.

 

So, if you’re an adult, or even a teenager, and your parents are getting divorced, hear you this:

  1. Create boundaries. This is hard for each person and it looks different for every relationship. Check out the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.
  2. DO NOT feel selfish for keeping distance for the sake of your mental health. You do not owe your parents anything. You don’t have to sacrifice your happiness for their sake.
  3. DO NOT give advice. It’s not your place, love. They need counseling. If they ask, say “I’d rather not talk about that.” or “It’s not my place.”
  4. Lean into your Abba in heaven for consolation.
  5. Remember that your parents’ marriage will not determine how your future marriage will be. Although their actions affect you, they do not rule you. You and God determine your life.
  6. Have faith. It gets better. It really does.
  7. Rest with your siblings. Bitch about your parents. Spend time with them. They are your biggest allies right now.
  8. Find your life apart from your parents. ❤

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

Using Freedom as License to Sin

Hey dear readers,

Lord, so many things have happened lately around the world. My heart mourns for those in South Asia and Texas who are suffering the ramifications of devastating flooding.

 

This morning’s post is going to be about something entirely different. It’s more personal, more painful. You all know I’m a Christian and I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Brother, and Heavenly Husband. I love Him so much and I want to do the right thing, but here’s something I’ve learned about myself recently.

 

I struggle with legalism. Yes, I know we all tend to be a bit legalistic, but my legalism was pretty bad.

 

From ages 15-23, I operated under a legal system in relation to God. I would force myself to do “good things” because I wanted to be good. I wanted Abba to love me more. I wanted to be a perfect Christian. As a result of this thinking, I would come into the presence of God without any sense of freedom and hardly from the posture of a loved child. It was always fear. I always felt like I was coming up short.

 

Lately, God has completely broken that. It honestly feels as if I’m getting to know God for the first time! I love it and am so grateful that He broke my legalism down. I remember the night He did this. It was two Sundays ago and I read Romans chapter 4 before bedtime. I can only explain what happened next as the Holy Spirit overcoming me, but all of a sudden I began weeping, sobbing, crying, llorando like never before. Suddenly I realized how much God loves me. Me! How He gave Christ for us and it is through faith alone in CHRIST’S work on the cross that we have forgiveness of sins and freedom. Now we can call Him, Abba Father!

 

Before this revelation, I went a bit wild for a few weeks. I’m not ashamed to admit it, because it was necessary for God to show me how a wild lifestyle was not the answer. I drank too much, watched inappropriate things on my computer, and considered having sex with an almost 40-year old man who certainly doesn’t love God. I literally considered it. It wasn’t just a passing thought. I was mere steps away from planning a tryst with this man.

I did this all in the name of freedom. Oh, since Christ loves us and saves us, we can have fun now, right? It doesn’t matter what we do because it’s all about Christ. Right?

 

Nope.

 

I got so low because of my behavior that Christ ushered in that Sunday night, loved me with his presence, and brought me to my knees before Him. Day by day, He is teaching me what it looks like to have a love relationship with Him, not a relationship built on fear.

 

Readers, our freedom isn’t license to sin. But, sometimes, we get so off track that God Himself has to snatch us up from ourselves and teach us what true freedom looks like. I don’t have the answer for that, but I’m excited to learn more about my Abba. My loving, patient, forgiving Abba. ❤