The Mix : Episode 4 (Video)

Lifestyle Relationships Style

Religion, Race & the “Love Your Ethnicity” Game

girls, the mix, fashion, talk show, bloggers, asha dahya, taye hansberry, grasie mercedes, amelia alvarez, sazan barzani, stereotypes, religion, race

Happy Friday! You know what that means….I’ve got an all new episode of The Mix for you guys! Today my blogger babes Grasie, Taye and I are joined by Girl Talk HQ’s Asha Dahya and actress/blogger of Clothes Horse NYC’s Amelia Alvarez! We’re hitting a tough topic is avoided (especially in Hollywood): Race/Religion. We’re sharing our personal beliefs and playing a fun ethnicity game. Check it out and sound off in the video comments letting us know your take on the subject.

girls, the mix, fashion, talk show, bloggers, asha dahya, taye hansberry, grasie mercedes, amelia alvarez, sazan barzani, stereotypes, religion, race

 My Faith.

Since we didn’t have enough time in the video for all of us to expand on this topic, I want to share my personal experience. For me, my faith is at the center (picture it being the engine) of everything I do today. I wasn’t born a Christian, in fact it’s not something my parents were too fond of when I told them. I didn’t wake up one day and say, “Hey I’m going to be Christian today.” It doesn’t work like that. Ethnically a majority of Kurds from Iraq (where I’m from) are Muslim, but I was taught to believe in God as a higher being and not really attach religion to it. I am someone who has prayed every night since I was 6 years old, but I thought, “Who are you God? Are you real?” I think I just became more curious as I grew older and wanted to know who God was and if He really existed.

“When fear comes knocking on the door, answer with faith.”

Three years ago, I went through a pretty tough time at home after my brother got sick and in my personal life where relationships with people who I put all my happiness in started to fade away. I became so unhappy with myself and tried to hide behind my work. At the time I didn’t know that this was God pulling me away from all the distractions so He could step in. He wasn’t going to start the transformation until I opened my heart. I think when something devastating happens in our lives whether it’s a bad break-up, a sudden job loss, or close family death, we quickly start questioning God and get so angry with Him because we aren’t happy. Being the control freak that I was– I was afraid to let go and let God. I was also afraid to know God, because this would disappoint my parents and change the traditional beliefs established in my culture. However, I tried living my life that way and it failed me. It was time to try things my way.

When my little brother (8 at the time) was diagnosed with Leukemia on Christmas Eve 2008, I thought my life was over. I lost an uncle to cancer and thought seriously God don’t let us re-live that experience again. Through out the course of a year, my brother fought for his life and beat the crap out of his cancer. Science can only do so much. I knew God had a bigger role in this story. I was my brother’s 6 out of 6 bone marrow transplant donor and that was when God gave me a purpose. I thought if I fail and do nothing for the rest of my life, it’s okay because at least I was able to give my little brother this gift. I thank God everyday for this miracle. My brother’s sickness ended up being a blessing in disguise. God wasn’t going to take my brother from us. Instead He was using my amazing brother to teach us all a lesson in faith. After this experience, I started living my life differently. I thought less about ways to fix my own problems and started thinking more about ways God can come in and take over a situation- just like he did with my brother. I thought, God I know you exist. I want to know WHO you are, though. Am I praying to Mohammad? Jesus? Budda? I needed to know.

A close mentor suggested I ask God one night while I’m doing my routine nightly prayer to reveal Himself to me. (At first I thought is He going to pop up in my bedroom or something because that would just freak me out!! ha!) But I quickly knew that my ability to connect with “the other side” was likely going to happen through my dreams at night. As a kid I always had these prophetic dreams and I was about to have my biggest one yet. That night (I have goosebumps thinking about it), I had a dream I was in the church praising/worshipping Jesus Christ’s name. In real life (at the time), I didn’t even know what worship meant or who Jesus really was! This was a new revelation to me. I was actually in denial at first because I didn’t want to accept that this was the truth. I was excited and afraid at the same time. For two weeks straight, I had these out of body experience dreams that I can’t even put into words.  These dreams became an escape from reality (as cheesy as this may sound) and a way for me to get to know Jesus Christ. I started researching more and surrounding myself around the Christian faith. It just felt so right. After 22 years of missing out, I felt like a kid with a million questions for this Jesus guy. The rest is history.

God continues to reveal new things to me everyday. I’m still in the baby years of chasing my new found faith, but boy what a year living in Los Angeles makes. Sometimes I feel like Hollywood is the devil and it’s devastating to see people sell their souls. Whether I’m having a good day in LA or a bad day missing Texas, it’s always comforting to know that God is with me. He has transformed my heart, my mind and most importantly my path. I am literally living my dreams and it’s because God has given me the opportunity and a platform to shine. The biggest lesson I’ve learned in all of this is re-building your foundation of happiness around God instead of centering it around a person, a job, or whatever- is the best decision one can make. That foundation will never crumble on top of you. It will never trap you. Honestly there isn’t a right or wrong way to know God. All religion aside, having a personal relationship is seriously the best. You quickly learn that no question is a big enough question for God that only He can answer and reveal.

So happy I found the courage today to come out and share my personal testimony with you. This blog is seriously one of the biggest blessings that God has given me. Hope you have an amazing weekend guys! <3

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  1. This episode was so great Sazan. I really love how each of you found the positives in being your own person and being proud of your race, religion and ethnicity. I am Italian and Irish, and have definitely learned to embrace who I am as I get older.

    I love your blog, style and kind personality. Keep doing what you’re doing!

    K.McCall
    http://www.TheUrbanFlamingo.blogspot.com

  2. Sazan, your personal story and hearing about your walk with Christ was so touching! I know that taking the steps you took to find Christ might have not been an easy one, especially since maybe some of your family members might not have been to keen on the idea. I just wanted to mention that your story made me thing a little on not taking my faith for granted. Keep inspiring people and looking beautiful inside and out! xoxo

  3. Sazan
    I am sooo proud of you. I am always taken back at how hard you work. You are such a true testament of what hard work, dedication, and Loving Jesus will do for someone. You are such a blessing and an amazing girl. Habakkuk 1:5 God says: I will work a work in your days so big that even if I told you you wouldn’t believe it. God is Good all the time.

  4. I now respect you much more, specifically for sharing your testimony! Love you sister in Christ! and keep them post coming, they brighten up my day:)

  5. I just want to thank you for coming out and saying this ! Makes me so happy that you have that relationship with god ! I was born and raised catholic ! It’s a greeting feeling to have a great relationship with him ! I am so glad to hear your brother is doing good and kicked cancers butt ! I love you

  6. Wow this inspired me so much, my faith has been so down lately but the fact that you were so open and courageous to share your story has really inspired me to carry on! I think God has called you to reach out to many people through your blog, especially women who need to know they are so special, unique and beautiful!

  7. Wow!!!! I GOT GOOSEPUMPS READING YIUR TESTIMONY. God is amazing and you are so brave for speaking truth and faith to this generation. Love your work.

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