I may post again tomorrow. Then again I may not. Those of you who have been following me consistently for years will have noticed how inconsistent I’ve been. You’ll have witnessed a once very active online blogger, with a relatively big following (for an ordinary from Bradford), then delete her social media; only to pop up again – perhaps for a few months – to then disappear again.

I’ve been struggling.

I’ve been internally tussling since 2011. It hurts writing this: I don’t like vulnerability, emotions, or the ‘talk about your feelings’ rhetoric. In an era where people are self diagnosing themselves with labels of the Depressive kind, I’ve diverged, becoming increasingly cynical and stubborn with my own battles. Not wanting to admit my own weaknesses and resisting the need to sob and surrender.

I’m being transformed.

I’m sat in a library, 4,813 miles from home and unable to deny any longer that I’m being broken yet it’s a weakening that’s necessary. I’m experiencing for the first time – or am fully conscious of the fact that – I need God because I’m innately and inherently weak. And that’s the point of a Saviour.

This isn’t a sermon. I renounced my faith in 2011, spent the next few years despondent, indifferent and broken. Devoid of direction. Devoid of hope. It’s only this year that I’ve made a sincere re-commitment to faith.

And I’ve a long way to go. I moved to a foreign country 3 months ago, with no knowledge of the language, immersed in a culture that is so alien to anything I’ve encountered. And I’ve lived abroad before.

It’s lonely. It’s painful. It’s haphazard. It’s scary. But my perspective and attitude is contingent on choice. I could choose to feel sorry for myself when I’m hooked up to an IV for hours in a non-English speaking hospital. I could choose to get frustrated at my communicative constraints. I could choose to give up any day and go back home, should the feeling of isolation in a country where probably nobody understands my particular circumstance.

Or I could choose to not admit defeat and cave in to the flesh. To remember that there are colleagues on hand, deeply willing to sit with me, translate on my behalf, invite me to their homes for meals and cheer me up when they notice a slight difference in my countenance.

I could choose to be grateful.

The blessings of have far outweighed anything else. Good people exist everywhere.

You could choose to admit defeat and cave in. Or you could rise to the challenges that pale in comparison to those born into misery and oppression – and instead participate, in what is essentially another test.

No I don’t understand this yet. But I’m still here, mapping our ideas and plans. Battling it out with God on a daily basis, still tussling, still trying to subdue the pangs of impatience and curiosity of why I needed to be physically removed from familiar voices and faces.

In spite of how I sporadically fare, I choose to pursue in obedience and wait this out. I choose to be stubbornly faithful. I choose to pursue.

That’s why I’m sat here in the mornings before work, tackling the Urdu script, re-awakening my dormant Germanic knowledge and working out when to have Chinese tuition. At some point I’ve got to resume blogging. And picking up a violin again. The list goes on.

I don’t know what my future holds here. Or anywhere. I know you don’t hear from me, or see from me – even in pictures. I’m trying to get better at the latter. Still a process in itself. But you don’t hear from me because I’ve gotten my drive back, that ambition, that thirst for knowledge and hunger to understand this world through as many unfiltered experiences as possible.

Had you told me I’d be sat here, far removed from my domesticated circumstance, carving a niche for myself – I’d have probably thought you a basket case.

The future is indescribable. Do not give up.

It can start here, in the tiniest of libraries and with one book.



  1. Dear Anniesa
    We visited your wonderful family last year and were amazed at the way in which Jesus has blessed and kept you all even through the most appalling persecution. I have read some of your blogs and was very moved by your honesty and openness. How God loves you and your honesty and openness! I remember a poem called ‘The Hound of Heaven’, I guess you know it. It explains so clearly how we are pursued by a great Saviour even when we feel like running away. Re-read it. It might just help a bit.


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