Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

Chasing Joy

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

This world can be a difficult place some times; and during certain seasons of our lives, maybe more often than not. I’ve found myself moving down some good old paths as well as starting new things. I love new beginnings. But I realize new beginnings can be difficult too. New beginnings are even more difficult when you’re navigating them alone.

It’s not that I want to exclude people. In fact, I think, now more than ever, I’ve become more inclusive. But at the same time, I’ve learnt to be completely cool with being by myself. We won’t always have the pleasure of other people’s company especially the pleasure of the company of like minds. And some times, we wish, only wish, someone else would physically come alongside us on our journey. At least I feel that way.

Sometimes, I think, in the middle of all this, we have to chase joy. Joy can be elusive. We have to actively look for joy in the Lord, because the joy of the Lord is where our strength lies.It’s not an easy thing to do. Some days we just want to drown in the pool of our self pity. It’s much easier – less tasking.

Joy requires a little bit more energy than self pity, but its reward  is so worth it. There are some dark days, when the only thoughts that come are thoughts of failure, loneliness, confusion, worthlessness, but joy is always so near if we would only reach out just a little bit.

It usually takes one painful step to get to joy. It takes looking away from all the ugly, closing your ears to the heartless voices and looking up. Just one act and then another. It begins with lifting up your head, your eyes shifting their gaze. Then you utter one word and then another. God… Lord… Father.

Father, help me. Help me. I trust You. I choose You. Help me, I have no strength of my own. Your joy is my strength. Thank You for joy. Thank You for making my life so beautiful. Thank You for never leaving me or abandoning me. I’m so glad You think of me. And You love me, and You’re with me. I cannot be brought down because You lift me up. I can never be ashamed because it is Your face that shines on me! Hallelujah! God is with me now!

So one first move, and then another. Look to Jehovah and give thanks. Thanksgiving is a wonderful expression of our faith in an amazing, unchangeable God (who is Love, by the way). So chase joy; don’t let it slip away. Chase joy in God; He is never far away from His family.

And finally, you can be a part of God’s family by calling on the Name of His Son, the Lord Jesus, who has already paid the price for your sins. Is sin a dirty word? Yes, but perfect to ascribe to us. No one, not one is righteous. We have all sinned and fallen short of His glory. Call on the Lord and discover the joy of the Lord as your strength! Choose God; choose joy.

You can comment or email me directly if you have any questions about this call to God’s family. You can comment or email anyway!  😀 I pray that you will know God’s joy, love and mercy in Jesus Name. And so it will be.

Dreams and the Future · Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

Like Fresh Air

I’ve recently reached a milestone in my life. Its probably the reason I’ve been moved to break my blogging silence. 😊

I am truly happy and encouraged that God was with me through my struggles and brought me out of them. I’ve learned so many lessons in the process, but one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt is that I have to trust in God no matter what, and I have to depend on His strength. 

Even when things seem uncertain, God is able to deliver us from every kind of trouble. That’s about the most important lesson I’ve learned. 

I’ve learned other lessons as well. I’ve learned that God loves human relationships-He created them. And because He designed them, He also designed the rules of engagement. For every kind of human relationship to work, there must be boundaries. We must know those boundaries and function within them for our own good and the good of others. And if we ever find ourselves breaching the boundaries and giving birth to Ishmael, we must learn to say goodye to Ishmael, pray for our Ishmael, but wash our hands off concern for the child. This is because as God said to Abraham, Ishmael cannot share in the inheritance of Isaac. It may have seemed cruel that Abraham had to send away his own son, but it was expedient to do so. 

I’m learning not be afraid to say no, and not to ask for permission to do so. I’m learning to trust in God’s principles and in His design even when they seem contrary to my feelings. Above every person, living or dead, God is our greatest lover and biggest supporter. So let’s trust in His love and darn every human device in the name of love (which God is by the way. God is love). 

I’m so blessed and encouraged to be out in the luscious green plains. Freedom smells like fresh air! Thank you God!

Dreams and the Future · Faith · Life Hacks · Spiritual

Beloved, and Loving the Wind of Change!

I’ve been navigating some difficult things this period of my life; the silence, the confusion…did I say the silence?

It seemed like on the things that mattered to me, God was silent. It seemed like God was unfair for allowing me to experience the pain I did. I struggled some and triumphed some, but I still wondered if God was with me. I knew it but I could not feel it.

Today, God opened my eyes to the thorn in my side. I said to my Father, now, in my mind, I am free, but I do not feel free. I asked Him to MAKE me free. He showed me something WAY bigger than I could ever have anticipated. He freed me from the bondage of ignorance. He blew on me a wind of change.

God made me realize that He is love, and as large as He is, He wants to pour every drop of Himself into me! So I saw through His eyes, how precious I was (am) to Him, and I began to thirst for every drop. I have become convinced – FULLY convinced – that God wants to give it ALL to me!! To Him, I am worth every drop of His amazing love. I am precious in His sight. All His love is for me to desire and receive and experience. I am the Beloved of God!

Today, I cried out to my Father, “You are just! And Your judgements are fair O God!” God is indeed just and merciful for allowing me to go through the darkness and pain. I could not see it when I was in it, but when I came out of it, I saw that it was by the mercies and love of God that He took me through the valley of darkness. I praise You God, for You are merciful; all Your ways are true!

Now, I can begin again, in full assurance of God’s love because He patiently took me through this place from which I have come. I am eternally grateful. I would have given much to know what I know today. Dear fellow sojourners, if you see me, you will see a thirsty soul, thirsty for the love of God. You will see an insatiable soul, because I will never say enough! Oh God! Your love is better than life and I want EVERY drop!

    

Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

Be Hopeful

Life is sometimes bland, crappy, and occasionally interesting. Be hopeful. Don’t just “be hopeful”; be JOYFUL in hope!

That’s basically all I have to say in this post. Cool isn’t it? (Or not.) It’s the truth. 🙂 

I’ve been struggling with cynicism. I, the optimist, have faced my biggest challenge yet: REALITY. You see, I’m a dreamer. It’s my design to dream – a lot. I forget sometimes that God uses the real stuff to test me. By test, I mean to cause me to grow. We don’t grow when everything is green and perfect. That’s a heaven type experience really. We grow when we are faced with affliction. 

The thing is I’ve been trying to follow Jesus’ way because the Bible says that “Christ, even though He was a son, learned patience by the things He suffered.” I’ve been working on my patience, but it turns out that I’ve been numbing myself to the pain – the suffering. 

If you are going through some suffering, I urge you as God is urging me, to be hopeful. And not just hopeful. Be JOYFUL in hope.

It’s not easy. It’s straight out difficult. But so very rewarding. Joyful people are beautiful. Faking smiles doesn’t help anybody. Smile. Laugh. Dance. Sing. Cry if you have to, but for your sake, REJOICE!

“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2: 16, 17 NIV)

  

Faith · Inspiration · Spiritual

Rainy Days

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.” (2Thessalonians 3:5 NLT)

I felt compelled beyond my own desire, to write this blog post. I honestly have no idea how long or short it would be, although I’m leaning towards something short.

Suffering. This weighty word that comes along with the blessings and promises of Christ. The Bible says that Christ Jesus, though He was a son, was made perfect through suffering. It isn’t the kind of thing I like to hear about. I like to think of only the nice and happy things, and skip “the valley of the shadow of death”. 

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me…” (Psalm 23:4)

Why does David say that? Why does it even come up? The sheep will have to go through the valley. And when they do, they have to trust that their shepherd knows where he’s leading them. They have to trust that he is still with them even when it’s so dark that they cannot see.

I’m walking through the valley. It’s dark and I cannot really see. He’s with me, but it doesn’t change my circumstances. I still am not at the end of the tunnel, where I can see the light. He speaks to me, and comforts me, but I’m not where I want to be. My thoughts are in the safety of the pen. In the warmth and light. But he says, “I’m here.” He doesn’t tell me how long I would walk in the valley. But he wants me to trust. It’s a little cold. It’s dark and I’m tired of walking. “Are we there yet?” 

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.” 

I want to be tough, and I want to drown in self pity at the same time. I NEED to trust. I need my heart to be soft. At the end of this journey, I wouldn’t be the same. I would be beaten and humbled and meek. I would be strong. My strength would be the rare type, found in the rough parts of the mountain. In the parts least travelled by.

This is what my heart has always hungered for, and now I am learning the price I have to pay. I am clay. And God is the potter.

Amen.

Inspiration · Spiritual

Blue Days

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ.” (1Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Blue Days… 

Some days the sky is blue, some days I am blue, and some days the day is blue.

God is not absent when I am sad. He is not absent when I am disappointed in people. He is not absent when I am lonely. He is not absent when I am upset. He is present and constant. My feelings don’t have to be my enemy- they don’t have to rule over me, “For in this sanctuary, God is here…”* 

When I say this, I am conscious of the verse of scripture I put up at the beginning of this post: “ALWAYS BE JOYFUL.” What does that mean? I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean ALWAYS BE HAPPY. Joy isn’t happiness, which is something we mistakenly pursue. Joy is this huge blanket of peace and gratitude in knowing the constantNESS of God (pardon my grammar). That no matter what I feel, and no matter what I am going through, GOD IS HERE. God is here and He is greater than my feelings and my circumstances. That’s what joy is. That’s why it comes with prayer and thankfulness. 

I have fought my feelings as if God was asking me to be anything other than human. I have been tempted to harden myself against any disappointments and things such as that. I know what it’s like to harden myself. It’s not living; it’s more like dying. I have come to a conclusion and have said to God, “I rather know pain and be able to experience Your presence, than be hardened and know nothing at all.”

Some days the sky is blue, and some days the sky is hidden behind the clouds. But let us be joyful always, being at peace and being filled with gratitude that GOD IS HERE. He is constant. He doesn’t change when everything else changes. We don’t need to fight our feelings 😊. We need to focus on God and who God is. And His peace that is beyond understanding will guard our hearts in Christ Jesus. Amen.
*”God is Here” song. Lyrics by Martha Munizzi

Inspiration · Life Hacks

Dear Female Person

Dear female person,

You are NOT alone. Right here, as I sit uncomfortably in my chair, I am overwhelmed with pent up passion for you, woman. I refuse to stay silent and let you walk on alone. I am a part of you, and you are a part of me; I refuse to watch you die in silence. I refuse to let you be swayed by lies about yourself. I refuse to walk with my head bent down when I could show you what it looks like to have your head lifted up-not in pride. I am angry for you when people step on you. I cry for you-I would give myself for you, woman. 

You are not who they say you are, but who HE says you are. I don’t care what woman or man told you otherwise. I am angry with them with a righteous anger for making you feel small and insignificant when you are a princess, a queen. Female person, you are not what they did to you-not what he did to you. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone-I don’t care what the statistics say. You don’t have to beg for what is already yours. 

You DON’T have to trade your diamond for bronze because someone told you your diamond is all wrong. You are unique. Your emotions are not your weakness; they are your strength. Your body is not your weakness. Your body is beautiful the way it is-you don’t have to mutilate it to fit anyone else’s mold. You are fine, woman-female person. Your brokenness is God’s opportunity to show what light looks like-what glory looks like. You bear His mark. His love is yours.

If you give yourself to the One, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for you, you’ll be right where He wants you to be-wrapped in His arms, in the shelter of His Fatherly wings. My dear, wonderful, broken, female person, God loves you. You will not be left in the pit. My sister, my friend, He won’t let you, and I won’t let you either. You are so precious-you have no idea. God took His time to design you, beautiful female person. He took His time, and saw that you were good. He was like, “Man, she beautiful. That’s what I’m talking ’bout”. 

I want to hold your hand beautiful one, and tell you to your face that you are not alone. I am with you in the journey- the good times and the hard times. And even though I may never see you, you have a God who sees you. You have a God who wants to show you the beauty that He designed in you. And those people? Forget them. What do they know? God knows, and that’s what counts. I know too, because I’m just like you.

Dear female person, lift your head up. The journey is long and hard, but you’re a winner. So lift your head up. Lift your head up. Lift your head up! Aargh! Lift your head up!

Everyday Life Hacks · Faith · Life Hacks · People · Relationships · Spiritual

The Hurt

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” (Romans 5:3-5)

I realize that I need the hurt to teach me what love is. The hurt does something to my character because I choose in Christ to be helpless- to be unable to do anything about the hurt. Like Jesus Christ said “I choose to lay down my life. No one takes it from me.” (John 10:18 paraphrase)

The hurt makes me able to feel- to bear a burden on behalf of another person when I take their wrongdoing towards me upon myself. 

Without this hurt in this age- this imperfect age- there can be no true love. Love hurts because people hurt.

I accept. 

Thank You LORD.

Imperfection

Humility

Brokenness 

Patient endurance 

Pain

Forebearance 

Perserverance

Helplessness

Disability

Weakness

Thorn

Shame

The Cross…

Uncategorized

Permission To Be Happy

Just as a quick note, I started this post about four or five days ago. Don’t ask me why I didn’t try to  post it sooner because I don’t know. 😀

Ok…

One lesson I’ve learned for real this time, is that to truly live, we have to be vulnerable. (I’m starting from the end here, people. Stay with me. 🙂 )

I saw a video by Jefferson Bethke called “To Love Is To Be Vulnerable” some time ago. I now know that I didn’t understand what it meant. Let me explain.

The past year was the hardest and also the most revealing for me. One thing I taught myself was self protection. I learned to put up walls because I learned that I could not depend on people to make me happy. But what I didn’t know was that I COULD really be happy regardless of what I had painfully discovered.

I cheated myself of real joy and happiness. I tried to be grateful and thankful to God each day for all His blessings. But everything was not alright.

It seemed that I had to come to the point where I had to be honest with myself about my life. Even though things were going beautifully well for me, I WAS NOT HAPPY.

I called out to God in my frustration and He showed me that I had kept my heart too safe. Too safe even from love and joy and happiness. He showed me that I could be happy. Not just ok happy, but that I could be tremendously happy! I could be happy regardless of my circumstances. I could be free to be happy!

It may shock you that this revelation came as a shock to me. After being so long in the dark, something so simple seemed so profound. Wow.

This is what joy really is. It’s not weird or abstract and it’s not something we’re supposed to pretend that we have either. It’s free and nice and cute and pretty. It’s all those things and more.

Give yourself the permission to be happy. We can trust and be vulnerable because God is there to protect us. We don’t need to do that ourselves. Not when the love of our lives is watching over us, counting the hairs on our heads, keeping us safe in our sleep.

I give myself the permission to be happy. Happiness starts here and now. 😀

Thank You LORD!

Uncategorized

6 October 2014 On Wounds And The Church

6 October 2014

The following is an excerpt from the book, “Speak,” by Nish Weiseth. Nish was quoting Seth, a friend of hers. “It took me a long time to realize it, but I finally told my friend I hated the church. He said that if I hated the church, then I hated Jesus, and I told him I didn’t want to hate Jesus anymore. It turns out I’d made an idol out of the church. And when you idolize anything that isn’t Jesus Himself, it’s gonna fail you.”

I believe a lot of us have been wounded in some ways by the church- people who consider themselves believers. It’s sad that believers whatever shape or form they come have been some times the greatest impediments to the gospel of Christ. I’ve been both the wounded and the wounder.

The times I’ve hurt people, I’ve hurt in my ignorance, and there are still believers today who I looked up to that have hurt me badly. I am truly sorry for all the hurt that has been done to you or any one of your loved ones. Please don’t let people come between you and the One (God) who loves you. I am still dealing with past hurts and learning to let go. Sometimes I find that I have to let go all over again, but this is what God calls us to do. He knows that where relationships exist, hurts exist, so He asks us to “forgive one another and bear with one another’s failings.” I hope you will look to God and not to man, because man including myself, is imperfect, but God is dependable. I love you fellow sojourner! Peace!