The hurt and healing of meeting a nun– The Love Strong Chronicles Part I

Last Friday.
A week ago.
I spoke with a Sister.
A Sister of the Holy Cross.

A nun who had held me in a country.
A country torn from a war, measurably impoverished, and yet with fertile ground from the five rivers and beauty in its people. A land with vibrant religions and heritage, and yet a place that couldn’t find it’s footing as little ones sat without families.


I was one such child.


The nun.
I had met her before.

I met her when I was a child, a child without questions to ask because play and friends running about took my time.

I saw her as an adult, with others around, and heard of the few babies who had grown up, returned to Bangladesh, and were struck with survivor’s guilt and more questions than they had before going.

But last Friday, a week ago, I heard her voice on the phone. She had written to me from the convent on the grounds of Notre Dame. She said I could call. So I called last Friday.

She told me to come soon.

Soon was already pulsating through my heart.

I had stood on a rooftop in a small village in the Dominican Republic just weeks before and felt the pang of not knowing where I had come from. In seeing a village with little comparable to the life I live in Minneapolis but much to the place of my birth, my mind knew I had been afforded much in my adoption, but my heart couldn’t stop racing.

Something tripped a reaction.

A reaction that was willing to explore who I am before I keep writing of hope chasers, of loving strong, of belonging, of aloneness, of freedom. But the reaction was a zig zag of intensity.

And so I hung up.

The intensity of emotions had plowed right back to my core.

I hung up on the nun first.
My own baby lay in my arms.
The youngest of our boys.
He sleeping his three year old fatigue away.
The day.
He had played hard with a houseful of friends.

I looked at him.
I knew his story.
He had survived premature birth and a brush with infection.
He had thrived in our home from the moment we took him away from his month stay in the neonatal ICU.
He lights up our life.
He will likely change the world.


But of mine.
I knew less of my story.
I haven’t been engaged with the country or given the chance to fall for the people.

I have not ventured into the emotions out loud of being abandoned. I have not testified in my teaching or writing that who I have become is because I took adversity and survived. I have only briefly exclaimed that I have been adopted for a reason, that I have a story to share of hope and hurt, loss and love.

But now it is time.
It is time to own all of it.
To journey forward with you, and encourage others to be in the know that we are all held.

Will you join in?

Not to just hear of my story, but in it to hear of yours.

Not to just be consumed with the past but to be alive, doing good work now.

Not to just talk and hear tough conversations but to become people of compassionate action and strong, strong love.

Not to focus on the shame and unworthiness our lives teach us, but to know we are never alone and freed to serve, weep, love, and hope.

Last Friday.
A week ago.
I decided to visit the nun.
The nun that told me to come soon.


Last Friday.
A week ago.
I spoke with a Sister.
She told me to come soon.
So Friday led to Saturday.

The trip.
A drive from Minneapolis, MN to South Bend, IN.

A nun.
A convent full of women who had peace for lives spent loving.

It exploded my heart.
It gave love to the hunger.
It gave glimpses of God to my blindness.
It gave history to my parched tongue.
It gave perspective to my wandering soul.

It doesn’t do my wash, or finish my work, it doesn’t rock me to sleep or prepare food for the family table, my life still clips along.

But the Saturday following the Friday phone call, it gifted much.

It gave miles and a friend, a husband’s blessing and Providence. A well of questions and an ocean of just wanting to soak in and learn of the people.

I posted to Facebook.
My adoption wonderings became public.

My zest for a life lived well, real, raw, and fully present started to blossom before winter had fully thawed.

And truth is, my visit to the nun, it is an uncovering of the fullness of all my years. Of what has broken me and what has made me, of both what life has offered me and what I can now offer the world.


Last Saturday.

It hurt.

It healed.

It plays on repeat in my head and has not found words yet in my heart.

But it will.
It has to.
I need to know you are with me to write in this space.
I can write this quietly.
I can save it all for a book.

Or we can do it together.
Sign up on the right hand side to email subscribe. Push like. Tell me you are here. I won’t post daily, perhaps just Fridays. But when I open my heart, I invite you in.

Be with me in this and know that I will continue to cheer for you; for all that you enjoy and for that which you endure, chase hope with me.
The Love Strong Chronicles


Other places I will speak of reclaiming our worth and that our stories are to be shared:

The Winsome Retreat April 4-6, 2014.

The (in)RL Conference by (in)courage April 25 – 26, 2014.

34 thoughts on “The hurt and healing of meeting a nun– The Love Strong Chronicles Part I

  1. Nasreen, this is beautiful. What providence that has you two so close together now. So glad you are diving into the deep end with your eyes open and willing to share what you see. Healing prayers for you, my friend.


    1. Thanks, Amy. I was just thinking about the gift of proximity tonight. It took 8 hours to drive to her, but I could. No flight needed, no months of planning, simply the willingness to go and a blessing from my husband. And with the drive, yes, the dive. I have dove deep and your prayers are appreciated. Thank you.


  2. Your writing brings joy as we watch you, the crocus flower, blooming before the winter has thawed. May the melting continue and the puddle wash over you.
    Thank you for your Fierce courageousness.


    1. Meghan,
      You shared a picture recently to me of the crocus pushing through the dirt miles away from this city we call home. And like it, miles away, a piece of me came to life. Out loud on the blog and in quiet conversations, your words and model of courage meet my heart strong. Thank you.


  3. Dear Nasreen,
    Thank you for opening your heart to us, for sharing this story and for digging in deep and inviting us along. That in and of itself is encouraging to me–to delve into a part of your story that may be scary to difficult or uncomfortable or lonely with other people. You could do it on your own or you could share the story after you processed it yourself, but you’re choosing to walk that road with others. To me, that takes courage. Blessings on the journey! I’m cheering for you and I’m walking with you.



    1. Ms. Lamer, thanks for seeing that in the sharing there can be a scared writer, and in the scared writer, a willingness still to dig deep and do this with others. Your insight and cheering bless me.


  4. I smile so big every time I see that photo of you and the nun, first on Facebook (yes, I’ve gone back to look at it 😉 and now here. Your joy radiates through your eyes and smile. I’m SO in this with you, my courageous, hope-chasing friend! Lacing up my boots and thrilled to be along for this sacred journey. Thank you for inviting me. XO


  5. I am grateful you are sharing this journey with us. My precious older sister was adopted, and I’m eternally grateful she was chosen for our family. You are an amazing woman of grace and depth. I look forward to hearing more.

    Deb Weaver


  6. My friend. Love hurts. Love heals. Love leads us into the adventure of life. Do I want to join you? You bet I do. I knew we were connected somehow the first day I saw you at Allume. You stood there in your humbleness. I saw the yielded heart of one who knew the ONE. I saw the humbleness of one who grasped the truth that it is not our hands that hold us together but His grasp on us. I saw the truth. I saw my beloved. I saw my beloved sister. I will walk this road with you. I will walk just for the pleasure of it all. I will walk with you for the adventure. Thanks for letting me join you.


  7. Thank you so much sharing, Nasreen. I’m love to hear more about your story. And yes, I’d love to be a support on your writing journey. We’re practically neighbors, remember? (I’m in Rochester). Feel free to stop by if you ever pass through, okay? Bless you!!


  8. So much emotion and questions and answers… the beginning of something new and old all at once. Thank you for the honor of journeying with you, of praying for you, of seeing parts of our stories in the inveiling and unfolding of your own. And I can’t even explain how much joy spilled out with that picture of you and the nun, your smile lighting up – that comes from mysteries still unknown – but a (re)new(ed) assurance radiating peace and love.


    1. Karilee, the beginning of something new and old, all at once, agreed. We heard of the “mysteries of life and a Provident God” while sitting in the convent; your insightful comment reminded me of such. Thanks for your words!


  9. My husband is adopted, and we know some of his story but not all. Sometimes men aren’t quite as curious as we women are, eh?! I think adoptions stories are miraculous, and I’m so thankful to be living one with my husband, who wouldn’t be alive if someone hadn’t rescued him before he was even born. Thanks for sharing! {Enjoyed meeting you at Allume last fall}


  10. Stunning. Thank you. May your boldness and willingness to peel back the layers be of mutual blessing and encouragement, both to you and to the lives you touch with your words and your story.


  11. Oh, Nasreen…
    Thank you for inviting us in to take this heart journey with you. My own heart swells as tears rise to the surface for you, for the Sister and for myself. You are a beautiful soul. You make Jesus attractive – Titus 2.

    Much love, Sister, much love,


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