What’s the fuel to your fire?

Ever had that moment when someone catches you off guard, says the rudest thing and then walks away? Then you’re left completing the conversation in your head of how you imagine it ending? “Damn it! I could’ve said…”. Maybe you imagined it so that you even put in a “yo’ mama” insult in there somewhere? Don’t lie!

Honestly, there are many times that I am so angry that it chokes me and I come up with nothing to say. Just the frustration is enough to eat at me. I’ve realised a few things after becoming a mum. Anger doesn’t fuel you; it stops you dead in your tracks. Anger doesn’t refresh you; it only gives you sleepless nights and a cluttered mind. Anger is not the key. Anger does nothing to get the job done.

Compassion. Compassion makes us respond. Compassion brings on momentum. Compassion is not sitting down and feeling sorry for someone…it’s strong. It’s action.

After forgiving and healing a paralysed man, raising a dead girl, healing a sick woman, healing the blind and healing the mute, “…he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36). Jesus was full of action and He still is today. Because, although God can get angry, He is not fueled by it. He is fueled by compassion and love for people.

One thing that makes me absolutely sick to the stomach is when humans use humans. We’re surrounded by it every day. It appears in small forms and escalates very quickly. Watch children play and you’ll notice quite early on that it’s imbedded in us to use others to get what we want. It starts off small but when a heart is not guarded, it can easily inflate to something much more serious. Bullying, child abuse, sex-trafficking, slavery, forced labour, terrorism. The list is quite extensive. But anger should not be our stance. It wasn’t Jesus’.

There are people who are strategic, purposed and make it their life to speak up for the oppressed. The story of Malala is definitely an inspiration. She speaks up for women in Pakistan to be educated. She makes it her life and even her name is prophetic. I really recommend you watch her story! Here’s the trailer. People like William Willberforce, Nelson Mandela, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Amy Carmichael…just to name a few, who dared to speak up for the weak.

Jesus is the greatest of them all. His Spirit was the one who spurred some of those I mentioned above and the one that can spur us on too. It’s in our nature to oppress for selfish gain. Heck! It’s easy to do good things for selfish gain too. But when we speak up for justice simply because we are moved with compassion and love…that’s when we seriously make a difference.

Our Jesus is good and it takes guts to be like Him. But we don’t do it alone. We who believe in Him have the same power that raised Christ from the dead within us (Romans 8:11). Who is it your heart beats for? May it beat and be filled with compassion for the oppressed and the captive all around the world. Lean in to His word, be filled and speak up!

“…for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,

that the blind will see,

that the oppressed will be set free.” —Jesus (Luke 4:18)

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Until the final trumpet sounds…

Return to the One.
Return to the One.

Have you ever found yourself looking at others and thinking you’re probably the only one that struggles the way you do? Or even convinced yourself that somehow there is no way some one could see good in you the way they see it in others? It’s strange how we can convince ourselves that we’re the minority… every time.

For goodness sake…I was sweating and smashing it in a gym class and I thought… “I’m probably the only one who’s losing my breath right now”. Never mind that the instructor is sweating like a pig right in front of me!

Well, I don’t think I’m alone here. I always think I’m too far-gone, too messed up, too complicated and just too much like the exception. But just when you thought it was too late, or you’ve already stuffed up yet another day of your life… God comes through and says two beautiful words…

EVEN NOW.

These words of hope break through a time of a horrific plague that gripped the Israelites. A plague of locusts…so many that they cover the sun and the sound of them is like listening to a jet plane right up close. They have turned their backs away from God and these locusts are about to eat everything in their land and leave it barren.

Then He speaks hope…”even now”.

Even now, when you feel like all hope is lost.

Even now, when you are convinced you will never amount to anything.

Even now, when even those around you agree.

Even now, when you know you can’t do anything to make it right.

He says “return to me with all your heart.” (Joel 2:12a).

“The LORD has never changed: from that evening in the garden of Eden when he called out to Adam, ‘Where are you?’ (Gn 3:9), right through to the closing invitation of the book of Revelation, ‘The Spirit and the Bride say, “come” (Rev. 22:17). The invitation is the same return to me.” (David Prior, 1988)

This is our God. He has never given up and He will never give up on you. No matter how dark it may seem or lost you may feel…His words will forever echo

“Even now”

And they will keep echoing. Why? Because it’s never too late with Jesus. Never.

That is… until the final trumpet sounds.

Take him up on the invitation today and you won’t regret it.

I just want to watch you do what you do…

How I long to sit beside you, watching. Hoping you won’t notice me.

That I could just watch you do what you do.

I’d love to just watch you from the side, observing every outline of you. Watching your eyes blink and lashes flutter as you pray to your father. I’d love to watch your hair move with the wind as you stare out across the land and tear up with compassion for the people. I’d love to see the early morning sunrise kiss your face. Just don’t take notice of me.

I just want to watch you do what you do.

As crowds come from near and far to see what all the fuss is about and religious leaders come to watch you fall…

I want to watch you do what you do.

My gaze will follow you as you get down and write on the sand. I’ll watch you…and long to know your deepest thoughts. Don’t take notice of me.

I just want to watch you do what you do.

I want to watch you sigh and look up to heaven. Pleading for heaven’s healing to fall. I long to see the kindness in your eyes as you look upon sinners. I want to watch your arms reach to the sick, the dying, the poor and the leper. Not a shake, not an ounce of hesitation…just love acted out in strength. Don’t take notice of me just yet,

I just want to watch you do what you do.

I just want to be a witness of your service. I want to watch you get up out of your seat, wrap a towel around your waist and wash their feet. I want to watch you laugh, eat and share stories around the table with tax collectors.

I pray they would never take notice of me.

But teach me to do what you do so well. So when others see me…they would just sit and stare…seeing you instead.

Not wanting to be noticed,

but happy to sit and watch YOU do what you do.

Crossing Boundaries

fence

Boundary |ˈbound(ə)rē|

noun ( pl. boundaries )

“a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.

the boundaries of acceptable behavior”

When I was young and free in my mind, there was a particular place that seemed so spacious to me. I felt free to explore it and run freely in it. I longed to go to its deepest corners and rest there. Nothing, absolutely nothing was considered out of bounds or unopened to me. Even in the farthest edges, I never felt lost or far from home.

However, life has moved me far away from this place and I have been taught there are boundaries that I had apparently crossed time and time again. I was told the key to being free was logic and the way to be safe and secure was to build a shelter in the midst of my hurt.

Bounds, limits, margins, edges, fringes, periphery, perimeter… I feel my breath getting shorter and restricted…partition, fenceline, division, confines, borderline.

There is a place far from here, but it seems too far from the shelter I’ve built for myself. What if I get tired on the way? What if that ‘other’ place really doesn’t exist and I’m just let down again? What if that place is strangely not as comfortable as being here…in my confines? What if, like they say, I’ve experienced too much hurt to ever really be free again? So I’ll sit here and convince my self that this place is the best for me. These walls are protecting me and helping me live out these days the best way I possibly can. I’ll be…well. I’ll be ok. I’ll be fine right here. I may not be missing out on anything at all! Yeah, I’m probably not.

I feel a soft breeze dance into my shelter and surround me. Can I really risk staying here and never knowing what lies ahead…just beyond that boundary? What if it’s ultimate freedom and I miss out because my fear leaves me here; trapped in despair? I’m going to give it a try… It might actually be really quick and I’ll be back before anything goes wrong.

Squinting my eyes from light I have not known in so long; I can only just notice a figure in the distance. It seems like he’s waiting for me to come closer. Maybe he’ll help me to freedom. Maybe he’ll help me find better shelter. I hesitantly walk closer to him, hoping…wondering.

I am freedom

I could hear the words in the wind like they were meant just for me.

I am the way to freedom…follow me out of your darkness and into my light.

But…has life not taught me that I’m too old? Too weary and have known too much? Freedom surely is not for me to have.

I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly

My legs are weak. I’m afraid and unsure I can even go any further. Comfort is back there and the unknown surrounds me now.

With me there is freedom and I have come to set the captive free.

I don’t feel like a captive…I was absolutely fine. I was told I shouldn’t cross the boundaries and now I realize I should’ve obeyed. I should’ve done all the ‘acceptable’ and ‘right’ things.

The boundaries you’ve had were no more than prison bars. My burden is light and my yoke is easy. The world has put heavy burdens and back-breaking yokes on you…take mine.

He’s right. I feel strength come back to my feet and I can breathe freely again. As I get closer to him, I can see his face more clearly. His eyes are filled with tears. He sounded so strong and sure…why is he crying?

How I’ve longed for you to break free of the bondages that wrap around your neck. Now you are free…free indeed. Follow me.

I will follow you. Past the edges, confines, perimeters. Past the fence and way past my shelter. I will follow freedom; I will follow HIM.

A lady long ago pressed out of the boundaries of religion and rules. She found healing there. She found freedom there. SHE FOUND JESUS THERE.

Luke 8:42b-48

Which one are you?

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Today was such an incredible day… and I feel like it’s only just begun. 

I woke up today feeling…ummm…loved. Just loved. Incredibly, beautifully LOVED. There is no better word than that. I woke up with two certain people going through my mind. I met these two people in India, when I went on a mission trip there, 3 years ago.

The first one was David. David was the pastor’s son. He was cute, loved and really privileged in comparison to some other children. Pastor Thomas (David’s dad), loved him so much. He would love just watching him be a typical kid. Running around, not a care in the world. Pastor Thomas loved the fact that his son felt free to be himself and ask for anything he wanted.

The second person that came in to my mind was Suresh. Suresh was an orphan who lived in the orphanage that I was serving during my time there. Suresh was a beautiful boy, 8 years old and although he was sweet, he was street smart. Because he had to be. Suresh lived comfortably in the orphanage. He had all the necessities… a bed, the chance to go to school, books for school, food and his hygiene needs were covered. 

So…with these two boys running through my mind, I couldn’t help but notice the difference between them. David was loved…genuinely. It wasn’t just about what he was given. He was truly loved because he was connected by blood. Having David live under the same roof as Pastor Thomas was a given. That was never in question, it was always going to be the case. But Suresh lived in another house. With hired carers to look after him and the others with him. He is not connected by blood to his carers and so their love only goes so far.

Then I felt God’s Spirit stir up in me… something painful but nourishing all at the same time. He showered me with HEAVY love, I felt completely surrounded by Him. I sat there, knees to my chest with my head down. It was as if His chest was against my back and His arms wrapped around me so much that he reached for the soles of my feet and brought me into Himself further.

Tears just rolled down as I tried to take in what He was saying to me.

You are a true daughter of mine…I bled for you. You are flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. I love you…you don’t live in an orphanage, you live with me, in my house. I have prepared a place for you.

Who is this? Who is this magnificent, loving, sweet and precious person who says these things to me? With all the love and affection I felt at that moment, I just knew who it must be. My Father. It was My Father. Not carer, not hired, not only my provider…He is my Dad. My heavenly, perfect, Dad. Oh! If only we knew what His love looked like! We would stop acting like orphans! We would feel free to be ourselves, we would never feel stupid for asking things from Him, we wouldn’t feel silly for raising our hands in worship and praising Him! He wouldn’t feel embarrassed for speaking up for Him.

May you be wrapped up in His love today! May He show you in a way that is special that you are a true child of His. No longer orphaned, no longer lost. You are His…be freed up in that sweet truth!

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. –John 14:3

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. –John 14:18 

More than she could’ve imagined

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There are some things we may never understand about people. This particular woman was one of those people for me. She had a thick accent and I could never really read her facial expressions. I met her at Mary Andrews College last year and although I didn’t understand her much, I was drawn to her. I had a feeling she had a story but communication barriers got me stepping back. Shame.

But! Mary Andrews College sent out a newsletter this week and I had the privilege of reading her story on the front cover! So glad they got it out of her! 🙂

Her story is one of overcoming anxiety and panic attacks. It’s such a real battle, and one that many of us would often face. I think she had quite a while to think about why she was feeling the way she was. Interestingly enough…this is how she puts it:

Before I was a Christian, I was happy because I had no guilt. But as time passed I became more aware of my sin. I went from being a happy ‘good girl’ to feeling guilty all the time. Of course I knew about God’s forgiveness, but I couldn’t quite work out it’s personal implications for me. I struggled…my sin, forgiveness, God’s judgement…what did they all really mean? I couldn’t connect them together. So I couldn’t grow closer to God. And I couldn’t forgive myself.

There it was. And I know she’s not the only one because many times I have felt that same way. I struggle to pray because of the very fact that I don’t connect God’s truth to me personally. If my plug is not connecting, I’m not going to work. Know what I mean? Whoever is reading this right now, I might know you personally or I might not…but be sure God’s truth hits you. Not the person next to you…YOU. Let it connect, let it simmer down. Let it heal your bones and your mind. He loves you, has forgiven you, knows what you will do and what you have done and yet…He’s grip on you seems to only get tighter.

You’re not too far, you’re not too gone. Look around you, child, forgiveness and love surround you!

One of the books I had been reading said ‘Everything we have committed has been eternally paid for by Christ and eternally forgiven by God.’ The Bible tells us ‘The truth shall set you free’ and that truth did! After 28 years of anxiety, guilt and misery, on September 24th 2011, I was set free!

I’m sure every prisoner remembers the day they were set free. Finally seeing and feeling the sun’s rays warm their skin after being in darkness for so long. Will you remember this day? Let God’s truth set you free. You are beloved!

I guess you never know!

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I’m in my SUNDAY school room…on a FRIDAY!

Please understand, this is very uncommon for me. There is a lot of work to do for Kidz Club and I thought coming here, where all the resources are, would help me make some substantial progress.

Driving here gave me some time to think. I hate to admit it but all my thoughts weren’t mysterious or important to even begin reporting them to you. But ONE thought was…

What are we doing Kids outreach for? Is it to run a good program? To show the pastor I’m committed? …Seriously?

There are times when I’m working in children’s ministry and I just want to throw my hands up in the air in frustration (with a bunch of papers to add effect, of course). That’s when I know something has gone wrong in this head of mine. I forget the problems that kids face each day. I forget how God desires better for them. I forget how He saved me and loves me.

Physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglectful parents, putting up with bullying at school, wanting to belong… and if that wasn’t enough…trying to meet media’s standards for ‘cool’.

There is a God who loves them. A God who waits for them. A God who longs to free them in truth.

I can almost here children laughing, running around on luscious, green grass. The sun shining on their sweet faces. No tears, no pain. I can imagine children knowing God and being in love with Jesus. I’m in tears as I share with you my vision for children.

Sadly, kids still go through living in this sinful world. So…as much as I can, I will dedicate to showing kids who Jesus is and what He has done for them in love.
What’s the point of kids outreach? Program? I don’t think so! It’s for the gospel…so that the chains holding them now can fall off and they can live in freedom…knowing and loving God.
So, although I may never know the fruits of kids club, well…it’s so worth it. He’s so worth it. So I guess you’ll never know and that’s ok…