• “This is a combination of my reflections from my diary after I finished working with F and my recent reflections.
    I had very low expectations of Solace. I presumed that they would not want to work with me. When I met F for the first time I presumed that she wouldn’t like me and I presumed that we wouldn’t get on together at all.

    Happy to say that I was wrong about that!

    It took me a while to work out in my head the relationship that I had with F.
    I came to the conclusion that she was a combination of a life coach, big sister, a therapist and teacher.
    When something happens to me now I can still hear her voice ‘so what did you learn from that?’

    When I first took my Shahada everyone was super happy for me. The support fizzled out. I had a bad experience following my interaction with a muslim group. It was very negative and I questioned my new faith. I don’t think that I was going to leave the faith I just felt very confused about lots of issues and felt very low. I felt stuck, I didn’t want to go back to my previous life but I wasn’t sure how to move forward.

    F was very good at challenging me about my negative thought processes and attitudes. It felt as though she helped me put everything back together nicely.

    The support that she gave me was very practical, not airy-fairy at all. She was always non judgemental, she was very caring. She was generous with her time, for example she called me on Eid to wish me Eid Mubarak. I was extremely touched by that cos I could imagine she was super busy with her family that day.

    F was crucial in helping me to build up my confidence with my duas and visiting local mosques. It also helped me to strengthen my relationship with Allah. All of our discussions came back to Allah.

    I seem to remember that most of my phone calls with F were full of laughter and just a few tears. I always felt buzzing afterwards.

    F is very intelligent and very well read. I really enjoyed our discussions about our faith.

    I felt sad when we stopped working together but it was obvious that I had made lots of progress and didn’t actually need the one to one support.

    My message to F is to say thank you again. I feel much happier now and more positive. It feels like the worse bits are behind me and my best is yet to come. Being a muslim allows me to express the very best parts of my personality. I only got to this place with the help from Solace.

    I am part of a community that gives me plenty of reasons to feel proud. I include Solace in the community too.

    I would also want her to know that I have lots of plans. I feel confident in my identity. I still have occasion bad days but I don’t feel so overwhelmed by it all.

    The contents of one’s duas are private, but perhaps I can just hint that I regularly thank Allah for the support from F and Solace. Maybe just maybe I ask him to provide you all with blessings in this life and the next.

    When I felt very low I asked Allah for help and I think F and Solace were part of Allah’s reply.

    Solace showed me what sisterhood means- kindness, compassion, love, laughter, solidarity, generosity and frequent references to food!”

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