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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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.

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!

Finding it hard to pray?

20130822-111736.jpgEver had that niggling feeling? Like there’s something you need to do, but you don’t want to? I have this experience a lot. Especially in the car with the radio on. Sometimes it’s just background noise to help drown out the thought going through my head… “Pray”. It’s just a thought. But, I don’t know about you but it takes so much strength to turn that radio off and even more strength to start speaking to Him.

I struggle to pray sometimes. However, even when I do finally muster up the courage to pray, I ask for things that are spiritual only. Believe me…that’s not because I’m over spiritual! I get scared to pray for something that I can actually have evidence of. Just in case He doesn’t come through. I don’t ask for things that require a dead-line, so that I don’t get disappointed if He doesn’t answer. When I do ask for something tangible… I feel stupid for even asking in the first place.

I was reading Daniel 9 this morning and I only got up to verse 4 because something stood out to me and I couldn’t ignore it…

“Darius, son of Ahasuerus, born a Mede, became king over the land of Babylon. In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, was meditating on the Scriptures that gave, according to the Word of God to the prophet Jeremiah, the number of years that Jerusalem had to lie in ruins, namely, seventy. I turned to the Master God, asking for an answer—praying earnestly, fasting from meals, wearing rough penitential burlap, and kneeling in the ashes. I poured out my heart, baring my soul to God, my God: (Daniel 9:1-4 MSG)

If you didn’t get that…just read through it slowly. Honestly, this is crazy!
Daniel read the book of Jeremiah and when he understood from the text that the desolation of Jerusalem would last 70 years, he was filled with sorrow and he asked God for an answer.
Don’t you think that whatever is written in God’s word is pretty final? Set in stone? But even then, Daniel gets on his knees and prays to God.

Now that is faith! I wouldn’t even start…I’d feel stupid for even thinking I can talk to God about this. But what I’m starting to realise is ‘faith’ is based on God and God alone. It’s not on how good I’ve got things figured out. It comes down to how I see God and who I think He is.

When I was younger, there were some nights that I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t feel too well. In the middle of the night, I wouldn’t hesitate to go to my father and complain. I didn’t feel like I was being a burden, I didn’t feel like I was asking too much. I didn’t feel stupid! I was just being a daughter.

And when I opened his door and called to him… You know what his response was?

What is it, apple of my eye?

That was dad’s response every time. That’s my earthly father.

How much more?! I can’t even begin to explain. I’m not going to try. All I know is our God is loving and He cares for us.

Praying with ease comes when we get the right perception of God. He is loving, ready to give and shower us with good things. Things that are good for us.

So when your radio is on and you have a few moments out on the road…don’t be afraid to turn the radio off. Don’t be afraid to be His daughter or son…you are not a burden and you’re not asking too much. He waits for you to call on Him…He will answer…

What is it, apple of my eye?