Hello! My name is Eva Priest; that’s my pen name anyway.
In upcoming books, I’ll share experiences and encounters with women in Afghanistan over the course of my time there, tracing God’s hand in their lives and my own. So, I must conceal my identity to protect theirs. I can, however, reveal who I am.
Like you, I’m for the least of these, the crushed, the poor.
I’m a sinner, made clean by Jesus.
Broken, but being made whole;
Formed of dust that will return to the earth,
and of Eternal Spirit that will return to God;
Weak and frail, but with the power that raised Jesus from the grave coursing through my veins.
My Story in a Nutshell
I grew up feeling like I was sliding around on a ship deck in a hurricane. From five to eighteen-years-old, I survived seven marriages and five divorces—my parents’. I watched four step-parents and five step-siblings come and/or go through the revolving front doors of the two places I called home. My siblings and I have three different mothers.
The chaos and craziness of my home life threw me into the arms of the God who would prove an anchor through the coming emotional tsunamis.
As a pre-teen and teenager, I escaped my homes by running to church, a place of refuge, sanity, love, and hugs. I was there every time the doors were open, and usually the last one to leave (besides the guy with the key). That was where God met me, where I learned to mine His word for treasures, where my heart was infused with His own desires.
As I sat on the back pew of my church with the other youth, watching faces of people from faraway lands flash onto a screen and listening their stories, God began to lay claim to my suffering. With the Bible open in my lap, I read along with the pastor, my tears falling on the pages.
As I read Isaiah 58, a river of compassion—for the oppressed, the hungry, the homeless, the naked, the stranger—surged through the Grand Canyon suffering had already carved through my heart.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (NIV)
I was flooded with the goodness of this God who loved justice and mercy. Everything in me responded: Yes, this is the right way to live.
That moment was my first remembrance of God’s Spirit imparting to me His own insatiable love for the least of these, but it would not be the last. God would leave me undone again and again, moving me to chase Him around the world after the people He loved—to South and Central America, to the former Soviet Union, and after September 11, 2001, to Afghanistan.
Then, after a year-long stint in Europe, working with refugees, I was swept back to the shores of America—spent, wiped out, and unwell. Something had gone terribly wrong with my body and with my plan. Suddenly, I felt like a has-been.
I thought I had left behind the the land of white picket fences for good.
Isn’t that what saying “yes” to God meant?
Then a trip to India several years ago left me with a belly problem that, not only never resolved, but proliferated into a mysterious constellation of symptoms, including spine pain, chronic fatigue, and neurological symptoms. The last six years have been a dizzying odyssey through healthcare systems—traditional and alternative—in a quest for a clear diagnosis, restoration, and healing.
More than once during this process, I have despaired of life. Why all this suffering? Why such a waste of capacity that could be spent on others? Why I am still here on this earth? But I am still here, and God is still sovereign.
This suffering will end one day. And from that side of eternity, this life will seem to have lasted only a day, or an hour, or even a minute.
What I am beginning to understand is that who we are in the midst of whatever this life brings and how we spend this one life we have—whether it comes with one, five, or ten talents, or even just a widow’s mite—will matter long after this suffering ends, into eternity.
My heart’s desire is to use whatever is left of my life to love, help, and bless the least of these, and to encourage and catalyze you: the world changers (wanna be’s and has-been’s included!).
I pray these writings will impart hope and courage and comfort to you by showcasing the God of the Impossible, the God of All Comfort, the Lover of Your Soul, the One in whom there is no shadow of turning.
I pray God will make each one of us a vibrant display of His splendor.
P.S. Whether you’re having trouble moving off the starting block, or are feeling washed up after having spent yourself on behalf of the poor, you still have the heart of a world changer.
As long as we’re breathing, God is not done with us yet.