Walking in the Dark

walkway to mosque

The light doesn’t go on until you walk half way down the stairs.

I started down the stairwell in my brother’s Istanbul apartment. They live on the fourth floor Turkish style of a large apartment building, fifth floor American style.

It was dark in the stairwell and I stepped cautiously into unfamiliar territory. Just as it was about to overwhelm me, the light came on. I smiled and rounded the next corner, walking with a bit more confidence. Sure enough – the light went on just as I was beginning to doubt it would. It was then I remembered the ‘system’. The lights are on a system and won’t go on until they sense movement.

Everyone who knows the system knows that you have to begin to walk in the dark! If you stop in frustration and fear the lights won’t go on. 

You have to keep moving.

I had to step out in the dark in order to walk in the light.

It’s a picture of a life of faith. What my sister-in-law, Carol, calls “visual theology” — seeing God and faith illustrated in the world around me.

All we have is the truth we know, if I walk in this truth than I grow more confident, more truth – more light is revealed.

In this season of empty nesting my husband and I are looking at some possible changes in our future. We don’t know exactly what this will look like, we are in the dark. We step forward hesitantly and in faith. And our prayer is that just as the light in the stairwell of an apartment building in Istanbul goes on as we move forward, that a light will go on to light our way.

But we start by walking in the dark. 

Picture – Walkway to the Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

Remember to share your favorite idiom on this post to be entered into a giveaway of Between Worlds. Also a reminder – if you buy Between Worlds in November all proceeds go toward refugees! 

When You Feel Small

I took a breath as I looked out from a high roof-top terrace over the city of Istanbul.

“This city is so massive, and I am so small” I thought to myself.

My brother had taken me to one of his favorite city cafés. It is across from the Süleymaniye Mosque, an imperial mosque from the Ottoman Empire and the largest mosque in the city of Istanbul.

We walked from the spice bazaar heading up hill along ancient stone steps, alley ways, and roads. Passing through a market beyond the spice bazaar with its plethora of everything from pottery to plastic, we reached the mosque just before the midday call to prayer echoed across the city.

We moved on through the beautiful courtyard of the mosque and out through archways arriving at the terrace café to relax and talk. That’s when I sat, looking out in awe and amazement. Levels on levels of buildings, some set high on hills, others low by the sea, all part of this city of Istanbul. Dots of people moving looked like tiny ants and cars were like toy cars that you buy cheap at a toy store.

“I am one of those ants” was my inner reflection and I felt small in the best sort of way. 

There is something healthy about feeling small, about recognizing your place and opinion in this world is finite, your influence limited. The apartment buildings housing millions of people were all around me and the Bosphorus separated the continents of Europe and Asia, connected only through solid bridges and ferry rides.

There are times when my opinion of myself is far too high, other times when I sigh in despair at my lowliness – but this was not that. 

This was a healthy, God-given reminder that I am small. And in that admission I sighed with relief. The world-wide problems are not mine to solve, the fates of nations and empires not mine to decide. Rather, as one who is small I lean hard on the One who gathers the nations, the One who will be glorified among the nations and yet still knows the number of hairs on my head.




A reminder that if you buy Between Worldsfor yourself or a friend during November all proceeds will go to refugees in Turkey. The refugee situation gets more difficult by the day and cold weather is coming. With that cold weather comes an increase in need for resources like blankets, heaters, tents and more. Along with that are the myriad of health needs so I’m thrilled to be able to send any royalties to a cause like this. It seems appropriate given the topic of the book and where my heart lies.

Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging can be purchased here: