My Story

My Story

Hello and welcome to Purple Phoenix Journey. A little about me:

My name is Corrie Zacharia. I also go by Corianah, and will respond to Coco.

City-of-Shanghai-I am…
American by passport
Dutch, Jewish, and Palestinian by heritage
A Shanghai resident for 7 years and counting
Living on the 19th floor
Working at a school with kids from 52 countries
At the start of my thriving thirties

I love…
Anything sparkly
Strangers, bonfires, butterflies
Eagles and sea turtles
Singing, speaking Chinese
Purple and hot pink
Being organized, being healthy
…and the occasional sour gummy anything

I grew up knowing about … Him, but had no real spiritual experience until I was 12. At a conference, on the beach. I just knew He was there. I felt “seen”, accepted.

Ok, I will follow, no matter what.

My journey had begun … and life was good. But every spiritual experience felt few and far between, chasing after glimpses of that “seen” place, and only quieting down to listen to Him for big decisions – choosing a college, getting married, moving to China. Not that often. I was busy, and life was good.

Until 2010.
One day, and my marriage as I knew it was shattered.
My world went dark, deathly quiet.
Unspeakable pain… a heart that ached daily, countless tears… grieving over the damage done to a beautiful covenant.

Corrie journalingI was alone … or was I?

Starting to notice things, sense things, hear things. Him. Strands of light piercing the darkness. Feeling “seen” again. Often. Dreams, visions. Light! Sensing His heartbeat for reconciliation, but also hearing Him ask me to trust Him with the outcome.

And then … Finding myself … dancing. Often. And singing. Even more often. Having soul-searching conversations with strangers. Not nearly as afraid of people anymore, or second-guessing myself as much either. Feeling alive, free, bold, and joyful. Resting, exploring, creating, listening, engaging.

The hardest 3 years of my life. The most fulfilling 3 years of my life.

And now?
I have been gently led to a place of closure, a place of surrendering the outcome I had clung to, releasing my grasp on the person who had been the center of my world.
This place is home now.
A place of trust, healing, restoration.
A place of being… me.
Walking in delight, joy. His kingdom.
A new name, a new vision, and new hope, a new center.

Fire Purple Phoenix JourneyHim.

Who is He? Who is this God? Good question.

This is the God of the impossible.
An active, living, breathing God.
This is a God who strips us of what we think we need, so He can give us something better.
A God who relentlessly pursues us with intimacy, who purifies us through fire, who redeems and restores brokenness.
And that’s what I have: brokenness.

Stripped of what was my most precious thing, stripped down to my core. I knew at any point I could choose to enter the easy and faithless void of fear, rejection, resentment, bitterness, and desire to somehow take things into my own hands.

I chose a different path.


Complete reliance on this God I always thought I knew, but now really know that I know. I throw myself at His feet. I surrender. I am learning to walk, step by step, my hand in His hand, listening to what He says, watching what He does.

It’s such a relief to not be in control anymore.

Street in ShanghaiThis is a God who is close to those who are hurting, a God who is found by whole-hearted seekers, and a God who is so intimate in the midst of pain, that we start noticing Him more than we notice our circumstances. The pain is still there, but He frees us to soar above it.

You’re probably reading this because you are being stripped. You are in pain.

Have you surrendered yet? If not, hold out your hands and speak this out (yes, out loud): “God, I can’t do this on my own. Take my life. I trust You. Redeem this and heal me. Have Your way, and show me where You are in this. Reveal yourself to me. I need you.”

Now, open your eyes and watch Him work. If you’re new at this, that’s ok. It’s a process of daily surrender, daily reliance on God.

Maybe reading about my encounters with Him will help you discover how He is encountering you.