My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Breaking the Silence

I used to come here often.  A place of reflection and respite.

This season of my life has been challenging, perhaps not on the outside, but internally.  I have struggled to voice the internal emotions.  I have filled my empty spaces with food and entertainment and anything that would stop the questions.  I stopped up the emotions and told myself that today was not a good day to "fall apart".

In all the filling up and the stuffing down, I found my heart becoming bitter and angry and frustrated.  I felt like giving up and leaving here, leaving my ministry here in Ghana and this place that I have called home for almost 6 years.  I felt let down and alone.

And one night, the dam broke with the words of a sweet friend.  And I realized that all that bitterness and anger and frustration...they weren't the true emotions of the deepest places of my heart.  They were merely secondary emotions masking what I truly felt.  Sadness.  I felt grieved.  As if I had been promised something that could never be fully given.

Looking back over this season, I realized that at the very root of it all, all the hard hard days and lonely, discouraging, anxiety-ridden nights...it came from this longing for more.

Tonight, I sit in such a tender hungry place.  I feel like I fought myself all day to get here.  To just sit in the rawness of it all.  To ask myself the questions.  To listen in the silence instead of drown it out.

I realized that I haven't given myself the permission to be in this place for quite some time.  And because of that, I have neglected my heart for the sake of "getting things done" around me.  There is never going to be a perfect time to dig deep and uproot the lies and start engaging my emotions again, to sit with the Lord in the middle of all this, to fight for myself once more.  But, I have to start somewhere.

Tonight, I started by giving myself permission to:

*take the time I needed to do some self-care

*sit in the silent places and give myself space to internally listen to what's going on and respond (emotionally, spiritually, physically, creatively, etc).

*say "no" to things (and people) that may want to enter into this sacred space (i.e. social media, screen time, having a day where Aunty Autumn gets "rest time" and the kiddos leave my door knock-free, etc).

*allow God to speak into places in me that need healing and wholeness, mindsets shifted, lies revealed, truth restored, even when it hurts.

I'm hoping that my Sundays in the months to come will be places of sweet restoration and that with the silence and the stillness and the study of my soul, I will find my voice once again.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Today, it was this that rocked me most:

"But what do I love when I love you? Not the beauty of any body or the rhythm of time in its movement; not the radiance of light, so dear to our eyes; not the sweet melodies in the world of manifold sounds; not the perfume of flowers, ointments and spices; not manna and not honey; not the limbs so delightful to the body’s embrace: it is none of these things that I love when I love my God. 
And yet when I love my God I do indeed love a light and a sound and a perfume and a food and an embrace—a light and sound and perfume and food and embrace in my inward self. There my soul is flooded with a radiance which no space can contain; there a music sounds which time never bears away; there I smell a perfume which no wind disperses; there I taste a food that no surfeit embitters; there is an embrace which no satiety severs. It is this that I love when I love my God." (Confessions by Augustine 10.6.8)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Rollercoaster Rides and Meeting the Other Side

It's been awhile.

The saying is out there, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder".

I know it's true in regards to people, but the absence of writing here, in this space...well, I'm not sure I'm quite ready to be here again.

But, my time away has been less about me being "too busy" or "caught up in life" and more about "escape".

I stand on the precipice of this post, knowing that I have spent the last few months hiding out.

This hasn't been the easiest season of my life.  It's hard to know how to talk about my life here sometimes.

There is so much beauty here in Ghana and the fingerprints of God are all over this ministry.  I see Him at work everyday.

And yet, there is at times, a warring inside of me.

I speak and call up and encourage...and then doubt creeps in and I run and hide and wonder if I've said anything that matters at all.

I train and equip and challenge...and then discouragement finds its way to my door and I think that maybe I've not done enough or not said the right thing or not explained it well.

I pray for marriages and blossoming romances and encourage my staff to seek Godly partners, and then I wonder at my own state of singleness.

It's been a confusing season for me.

Best described by the climb and fall of the old rickety rollercoasters of the past.  Unsure and a bit unstable.  Sometimes you might have even wondered if you would live to see the end.  And when you climb out on the other end, you realize that because of your time in that little car, hurdling along the shaky wooden path...you gained something.  You became a little stronger.  You lost a little of the fear that seemed to haunt you as you waited in line for your turn.

I'm riding along and can feel myself slowly identifying and removing the old doubts and fears and tossing aside the age-old lies that still haunt my steps all these years later.  It's a bit scary and sometimes it takes my breath away.  Sometimes, the drop from the highest peak makes my stomach sink to my toes and I recognize that the quickest way to healing is simply to trust.  Trust the journey and trust the Maker of this wild ride.

This season is a journey of ups and downs.  The process is messy.  There's nothing neat and clean about it.  It's wild and jerky and winsome and hard.

But, I can see the other side...a stronger me...a me standing in greater freedom and greater confidence and greater understanding of an even Greater God.

I'm looking forward to meeting the other side.

Until then, here's to the ride...