Friday, 20 October 2017

You are not as ignorant as you feel

“I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob's descendants, 'Seek me in vain.' I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right.” (Isaiah 45:19)

“He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding; making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:8-9)

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." (Isaiah 30:21)

“Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

I keep hearing some of my brothers and sisters say “I want to know His will and what He wants from me, but He is not showing me. I just want Him to tell me what to do.”
I myself have said the same words several times in my life. Now I know that the problem was not God’s lack of clarity in communication. The problem were my receivers. What do I mean by that? God can share His ways with me until “He’s blue in the face”, if I lack the capacity to receive and process what He is telling me, He might as well not tell me anything.

So how do I work on my receivers, or “my antennas”, as I like to call them? I think the answer comes from Romans 12:2.
I change the way I think and my perception on things. “Easy for you to say, Ema. How do I go about accomplishing that one?”

Well, lets look at the problem. In its essence it appears to be confusion over understanding God’s plan and the direction in which you should go. Right? Wrong!

The problem is in approaching the situation from a perspective where I feel ignorant about my direction, while God, although aware, for some reason is not telling me and He keeps me in “His waiting room”. "Well, a brother just told me the other week that God is working on my patience so I should just shut up and “wait on God.”

I am not saying God never does that, I am just saying don’t accept the thought that that is how He “always” works. In the 1979 movie, “Frisco Kid” there is a great and very funny line which sounds like this “God always works the same, until He changes His mind.” What I am trying to say is do not become complacent in certain ideas either heard from others or acquired by yourself. Go to Him every time. How would you feel, if someone would say about you “No need to talk to him. He always does that, so ignore him and go ahead.”? Don’t assume, ask Him and keep asking. And more importantly ask Him with the right perspective. What is the right perspective? This is the right perspective:

“He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding; making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:8-9)

You already have everything you need to make it on this journey. You are not alone. He promised He will be with you "wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9). Wherever means wherever. So, stop accepting the lies. If He said you will "hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it" whether you turn to the right or to the left (meaning wherever you go), then that is the truth. So, stop fretting and start walking. If He goes with you wherever you go, what do you think are your chances to get lost? And even if you would get lost, how long do you think you will stay there with God as your travelling companion? So why then be afraid of anything?

God is not some cruel entity sitting up there on His throne, looking upon your confusion and misery and making you wait so you will know who is the boss. He is not only kind with you, He “showers” you in kindness. He gives you wisdom and understanding and He makes His mysteries known to you. You just need to stop looking at Him through the eyes of a world who does see Him as cruel and distant and indifferent to pain and confusion. Once you do that, once you set your heart on “God is good and He will continue to remain good, loving and merciful even when I look at Him from an evil world”, then and only then, you will understand His good and pleasing and perfect will. “Good, pleasing and perfect” for whom? For you, of course. Because guess what?

When you got to the point where your God does not change according to your problem, but remains good, loving and merciful no matter what, you will no longer see problems, or pain or confusion. Not because they will not be there, or you will never feel them again, but because instead of just sitting there “feeling” them, you will busy yourself with seeing the opportunity for growth and knowledge and intimacy with God which lays behind them. You will know that feelings come and go and they can easily be manipulated. But your God remains the same- kind, loving and merciful. Does that mean that He always works the same way? Nope, so ideally you should go and ask Him and make sure you do it from the right perspective.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

I love my body

"When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you"

Well, this one was long overdue. I avoided writing about this topic for many reasons- it felt uncomfortable, I didn’t understand what was the root of feeling the way I did, I was running from it or I was hoping to write about it at some point in the future when I would look again “as I used to”. If you haven’t guessed it yet, I am talking about my relationship with my own body. I am 5 foot 3 inches and currently somewhere in the region of 10 stone and a half. I was skinny all my life but when I reached 25 and moved to another country something just happened and I went from 7 stone and a half to my current weight in a very short time. I managed to get skinny again between 2009 and 2012 and then again in 2015, but in rest I spent about 7 years either torturing myself with fad diets or exercising until I dropped for a while and then stopped every time my back pain would kick in. Then I would have to sit in bed and eat regular meals because of the painkillers I had to take so this became a bit of a vicious circle.. I would spend most of my journeys to work or any other places where I was surrounded by people, comparing my body with those of other women, feeling frustrated and ashamed and swearing that I will get slim again or die trying.

I am Romanian and one thing you will find on any tourist feedback form when one visits my country is “amazing food”. We love our food and we love to eat tasty foods. But after every session of making my country proud by enjoying my food, I would punish my body by starving it until I would shake, or refusing to get off a bike until I couldn’t walk anymore. In case you haven’t guessed it yet, I never do things half way.

Last Thursday, I was walking through Newstreet Train Station in Birmingham, and in my head I was trying to thank God for the beautiful sunny day and just share that moment with Him. I decided I have a serious problem when instead of enjoying that beautiful moment, I realised that for about 5 minutes I wasn’t praying nor was I enjoying anything. Instead I was constantly comparing my body shape with that of other women.

Then during the weekend, while I was in Bath, a really sweet friend asked me whilst I was busy taking pictures “Ema, don’t you want me to take a picture of you in front of the building.” I answered her, “No, thank you. I rather take pictures of buildings than of myself.”
The third incident is what completely knocked me over. I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and I noticed the posting of a person I am following. He uploaded a picture with his partner with the comment “If only this one smiled more often.” His partner was absolutely gorgeous and she had an amazing smile. Then my next thought hit me, “She is stunning and skinny, what’s there not to smile about?” Just like that! As if I knew anything about that girl’s life. As if being skinny and stunning is everything a person needs in order to smile. I had one of those moments when you grab yourself by the ear and drag yourself somewhere for a chat.

I’ve grown so much this year, I’ve learnt so much and achieved things I thought were impossible for me, I am happy and content and above all else I am healthy. What was my problem? So what if I am not size 6 or 8 anymore? Who cares? Who am I even listening to that I ended up believing that to be 37 and starve yourself in order to be a size 8 is something that should be aspired to? How did I allow someone out there to define my beautiful and most importantly why did I ever allow it? I wake up at 4,30 most mornings and do all the things I love, including exercising and eating a healthy breakfast. I have never in my memory felt more full of energy or content. So, is this something I am prepared to throw away, in order to starve myself and drag myself to bed every night without a dram of energy so that I can be a size 8 again? I am no longer prepared to accept their lies anymore, be it magazines or screens. Beautiful is not defined by skinny, or breasts size, or length of hair. A woman can have all of these attributes and be miserable and mean. That is not beautiful. That is sad.
My beautiful is being healthy and happy and content, walking about with a smile on my face, not because I fit in a perfect size 8 again, but because I get to experience so much beauty in my life that not smiling would be a crime.

Yesterday morning for the first time in my life at the “tender” age of 37, I related to my body for what it does rather than how it looks. And I loved it! It was 5,30 am and I was doing my stretches. I was never so grateful for my arms that can move perfectly, or my healthy legs than can walk and run and dance, my healthy lungs and heart, my open eyes that can see, my ears that can listen to all this beautiful music. My body is an amazing beautifully designed creation that humans still can’t fully explain in its entirety. And it is my home. I live there on the inside. And instead of taking care of my home and being grateful for it, I punished it for what my mind accepted and agreed with others on what beautiful looks like. No more!

Last time I dragged myself out of depression a few years ago, I started paying attention to the thoughts that were flying through my head in a day, so I came up with this statement: “My mind is a beautiful garden. I am very careful what I plant there. You don’t dump your rubbish in my beautiful garden.”But whilst taking care of my beautiful garden, I neglected to enjoy my beautiful home. I’m done with that. I will eat healthy and carry on walking and running and dancing, because every beautiful home deserves to be taken care of. If I am healthy and skinny, great. If I am healthy and a size 12, great. Those values mean nothing to me anymore. My health and energy levels and my contentment are my values now. I will define my own beautiful every time I will look in the mirror. I will love my body for the amazing ways in which it serves me and I will be grateful for every day that I get to be healthy and go places and do things. I am the only one who lives in this home and I am the only one who gets to decide what makes it beautiful.

"The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and live it more abundantly." Jesus, John 10:10

P.S. This blog is dedicated to my sister-in-law, Lavinia Pop. Thank you for consistently living your life in a way that honours your health, your life and everything you are. You are a gift and an inspiration to me.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Midnight conversation in the shed

I had a dream last night. The dream kept moving around all sort of lifeless Christian conferences that I kept trying to make myself enjoy in the dream. But at some point, I was in the open air, in an audience sitting on a chair. On my left there were two men having a heated debate. From the context it appeared that one was a believer and the other was a curious one. The curious asked the believer, one of those questions like “Is God against gay people? I cannot remember the exact question. I asked God to remind me, but He didn’t, so I will assume it was not that important. Then, the believer gave an answer that I did not hear, but it made the curious livid. I thought he was going to hit the believer. Instead, the curious turned around and found refuge in some sort of a shed that was still to my left. I stood up from my chair and I went to him. What you will read below is my recollection of what I told him.

This morning I sat my alarm for 5,20. It is Saturday morning, but by 4,15 my mind was talking to this man whilst my body told me I was awake. I asked God, “You’re not going to let me go back to sleep, are You?” and I got out of bed and with a coffee in hand I wrote everything I remembered from my dream. I did it because I realised that it explains everything I believe right now and yet somehow it sums up all my journey with Him so far.
So here’s my speech to the curious one in the shed:

It is ok because I’ve asked the same questions as you and that is why I came after you in this shed. I read all that Bible and I believe it all. I believe it was God inspired and given to us as a guide. But the guide was given to all men who ever lived. And all men who ever lived had different cultures, different perceptions of what is good or bad. And yet that Bible can and is speaking to all of us. Yes, I know you think right now “It is clearly not speaking to me. Why do you think I hid in this shed so that I would not retaliate or punch that person?” But you see, it did speak to you, otherwise you wouldn’t feel the need to retaliate or punch that person in the first place.

Do you know why I am still here standing up for God and that Bible? Because after reading it, I grabbed on to some verses that spoke to me. And they spoke to me mostly because of circumstances of my life that were out of my control, places and feelings I ended up with. So I believe if they were out of my control, He took me there because He wanted to give me those verses. And those verses became my sustainers until I grabbed more and more of Him. Of Him, not what others told me He was like. But I haven’t carried on with me only those verses, I also carried the questions and the discomfort of not understanding, or of thinking that at times He contradicts Himself.

I wrote once that the greatest mistake a man can make is to try to explain God through his five own senses, because God cannot be explained by something limited by time and space. God can only be understood once He filters Himself though a human heart. Not just a human mind, but a human heart. Because once He does that, He alters you forever. So along the way, He altered me. He altered me until I was ok to live with what I do not understand. It was ok that my five senses could not explain to me everything, because I am an eternal being, they are not.

Something brought you here. Something still makes you stay in this shed and control your need to retaliate and punch in spite of the confusion and discomfort. Are you not curious to find out where this “something” plans to take you further? I was, and that is why I stuck around instead of going back to what I knew before and say that this was not for me.
One of those verses that carried me and still does, was “You will seek Me and you will find me if you seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 
So at some point amidst my hot mess and dilemmas, I decided that since I will not go back and I will stick around, I will seek God with an open heart, with all my heart. Fearlessly, full of hope and courage. I thought to myself “If He clearly said that is how you find Him, then that is how I will seek for Him. Without trying to manipulate ideas to fit into my already created set of beliefs, without admonishing my heart and mind “how dare you?” every time it dared to ask questions such as the one you did, without fear of getting lost. With an open heart. I thought, if that Bible says that humans look at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart, then no matter where I end up in my “searching” if my heart is opened and all my motives are “I want to know You”, then He will not allow me to get lost. 

And do you know what it means for me to get lost? It means getting lost in a place, or an idea I no longer wish to abandon for the rest of my life. An idea I would use to make others feel like they are not good enough, that they are wrong and more lost than, in all fairness, I would be. I hoped and believed beyond all hope and belief that seeking with an open heart, will not make me get lost from Him and “miss it”. But the price to pay, is your willingness to lay down your ideas. Not the core of you, but your ideas. 

What is the difference? You cannot abandon the core of you. The core of you is what made you start seeking in the first place. The core of you brought you in this shed, rather than let you show that man the finger and turn your back. The core of you, is that part of you that you can’t quite put in words fully, that part of you that He already altered forever. That part of you that whispers to your mind “No, God is good and loving and just” every time something around you tells you otherwise. Because the more you open your heart, the more the core of you will come to understand that God is good and loving and just. Your ideas will come and go, though. Your ideas are like scraps of paper on which you write down stuff. In the end you end up keeping only those scraps of paper on which you wrote something important and you discard the rest. 

So I became more and more brave, because the more I saw this process repeat with ideas in my life, I came to see, not only to believe, that I can’t do this on my own. At some point, I have to trust Him to guide me. And the more you come to trust Him not to let you get lost, the more you will come to understand that everything He brings your way is for you to either learn from straight away, or for you to use later on in the journey. A song, a film, a passage from a book, something someone said, something you once dreamed, everything. But all these road signs come wrapped up in packages of ideas. And because your heart is open, you take in the whole package, some of the stuff is good, some of it not so much. But that is ok. Do not be afraid of the packages, because it is the same open heart that brought it all in, that God will use to help you discard the ideas that are not for you because they are not from Him. Just don’t be afraid to run with the package for a while, in the same way you started running at the beginning with the hot mess and the dilemmas. Trust with the same open heart, that in the end He will help you keep what is truth. Try to be brave and you will become braver the more you do it.

So I became brave, but do you know what else it did for me? The more I opened up my heart to take God in, He brought in with Him other people, and the more I opened my heart the more people He brought in, until my heart became big enough to contain everyone. Even those people that the Bible condemns- all of them. Yes, even gay people๐Ÿ˜ŠAnd once you love someone, you will find it harder and harder to point an accusing finger at them. When I got to this point, I fought against my ideas for the first time in a long time. Perhaps for the first time since the beginning. Eventually, I calmed down and I trusted that He will unwrap what He was trying to show me and “things will go back to normal”, but they never did. For the first time, I stepped outside myself and I looked at my fellow seekers. I understood that we are all travelling the same journey, is just that some of us are better at opening our hearts than others. And then He made me see another verse or better said two verses: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified  and do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) and “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

God is not limited by time and space, we are. And yet from his non-dimensional place, He stepped into our world and whispered to us “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid and discouraged because there is no place where you will go that I will not be with you, and there is no amount of time that can pass that I will not be with you.” Wherever you go, even in the “wrong” or dark places, and always, even until there is no more time, even until the end of the age. And from really looking at my fellow seekers, I saw that the same “wherever” and “always” God was walking with them everywhere and all the time. With judgemental eyes and mind I asked myself “Why? Can He not see that they are pushing their ideas on others and using their ideas to make them feel like they’re not good enough? They are hurting others and putting them down, breaking people’s hearts and spirits. Why? Why is He walking with them?” Until I realised that I was one of those people God talks about when He says “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

I was judging my fellow seekers whilst they were mid-way through unwrapping an idea, but He looked at their heart, always at their heart. He was their “wherever” and “always” God, just like He was mine. Yes, they were more vocal at times, but so was I in the past if I dared to look back. We all are. Because, at first, we fall in love with our ideas. We love them, because they are the love child of our seeking and our open heart. We love them as a parent does a child, and we will do anything to protect them, including making others feel less than our ideas or at the risk of hurting them. Until, we look at Him and we remember that our ideas are worthless without Him. Because our ideas come and go, but He is part of the core. 

If you dare to get out of this shed and go with Him “wherever” and “always”, at some point, you too will become one of those people you just wanted to punch today, but if you are prepared to let go of your ideas when He points to them, these will be just phases you will go through. It will never become the core of you. Do you know what will be the core of you? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:38-39) This will be your core and this will eventually become your compass. When faced with one of those people the Bible condemns and the dilemmas will rush towards your soul like rapid waters, you will slowly learn to grab on to your core rather than your ideas at that point in time. And “the condemned” will become to you your neighbour and the one you love. And then your actions will follow. You will place yourself between your loved neighbour and the accusing crowd of ideologists and tell them “Let the one without sin cast the first stone.”  

Are the ideologists wrong? Not according to passages from the Bible they are not and they will make sure they quote them at you. Is the Bible contradicting itself then? No, it never did and never will. But it presents to you an eternal, unchanging God and the ideas He offered humans throughout the ages in order to guide them through the hot mess. But He did something else, He left room for all of us to choose. He even encouraged us “choose life”, “choose mercy”, “choose justice”, “choose love”. And then He allowed us to read everything and make our choices. And that is how you end up with ideologists who get well and truly lost in their ideas to the point that they no longer see God or fellow humans. And that is how you also end up with open-hearted seekers who appear to the rest as unstable because they keep changing their ideas throughout their lives. But what only the One who looks at the heart can see, is that no matter how they might appear outwardly, the open-hearted seekers never ever change in their core. 

“You will seek Me and you will find Me if you seek Me with all your heart.” 

Is He hiding? Sometimes. Is He going away? Never. If He cannot be contained by anything, what am I actually seeking? Will this seeking ever end then? I don’t know. Probably not. But that’s the beauty of it. And in terms of what we are actually seeking from Him, that is a question each one of us has to find their own personal answer to. My own personal answer, up until now, is that I am seeking to understand Him more and more each time and with every new idea. I am seeking more and more to make room within myself for “all” of Him just as He made room within Himself for all of me. He made that room for me, when there was no room for me in Him. In my prior state, before Jesus, I had no room in God, because there’s nothing unclean in Him. And yet, there I was in all my hot mess and still He made room for all of me. So, you could say I am trying to “return the favour”.
Why did I come after you into this shed? I don’t know. Something made me stand up and come. Perhaps it is the same something that made you come here instead of punching that man, and the same something that makes you stay here and listen. 

I just wanted you to see another side of the One you are now contemplating turning your back on because “how could a loving God ever be like this?”. I just wanted you to see another side of the man you were about to punch, because “how could a God follower speak like that?” I just wanted you to see another part of the journey. You will meet many more seekers if you decide to stick around. Many will tell you far more than I did in this shed. Because you see, each one of them will show you another part of Him. Some parts you will fall in love with, others will leave you dumbfound. The point is, don’t judge God based on a specific point in time that you get to see, in the journey of a man with Him. God is not a point, God is everything and it will take you a walk of “wherever” and “always” to find Him. But do you know how my passage from Jeremiah 29 ends:

“I will let Myself be found by you.” It is not just your journey. He wants to be found and understood also. And as long as you keep an open heart and are willing to humbly let go of your ideas when necessary, you will find Him and He will be the greatest treasure a being can ever find “wherever” and “always”.

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 

Emanuela Robinson

P.S. This blog is dedicated to my brother, Cristian Pop, a fellow seeker with an open heart and determined soul. It is a joy watching what God is doing in your life and especially the way you relate to Him.

Monday, 20 March 2017

On tiny flowers and warriors...

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

All sort of bizarre things are happening to me and the people close to me these days and I find myself left with two questions "What does this mean?" and "How can I display all of the above?"

You see, for the longest time I missed the part with "the fruits OF the Spirit." and I thought they were something I must do my best to display or I was not fit to bear the name Christian- Christ follower.

Every spring I have the great joy of looking at my flowers fight their way out of earth, but this year I decided to go in my garden every morning and observe their progress. Some of them look so tiny, fragile and bent in half. Yet if you give them a few days you literally see the ground split in half in the place where the tiny flower pushed its way out.

And I came to understand that displaying "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" has nothing to do with performance but it has everything to do with endurance. Observing my flowers everyday, I noticed that in some days they appear so fragile and bent that it almost looks painful to look at them. But my flowers don't drop to the ground, they keep pushing the earth that covered them only a month ago. They endure so they can blossom one day. 

I never knew how to do that. Nobody taught me how to deal with pain in this world. It just came at me. So I helped myself, and I started to run as fast as I could and as far away as I could, because I always thought I am too tiny and too fragile to endure it. But I haven't seen any of my little flowers run away or lay on the ground and die. In the same way nobody taught me how to endure, nobody taught them how to run. 

This morning I had to face a painful moment. It sprang on me out of nowhere and it felt as if it hit me in the chest. My first instinct was to put on a song to block out my thoughts and have a good cry. But I remembered my flowers and I stood put. I told my soul "I know it hurts, but it is just a wave. Stay still and let it pass over you.Not every wave is tears worthy." So, I held it together and stood in my place. I realized a few minutes later that I was peaceful and that immediately produced joy in me and brought a smile to my face. 

We want to produce the fruits of the Spirit, but I realized today that perhaps we are so busy running from pain that the Spirit has no time to produce anything in us. This is because we are either busy striking back at the source of our pain, or we already leave a cloud of dust behind us in the rush to get away from it. And because we know they should be present in our life for "by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:20), we either struggle to produce them on our own, or we we imitate them by trying to copy those we believe got there already. And time and time again we fail to learn the courage of enduring, of staying put when it is uncomfortable, of allowing a wave to just pass over us. 

I talk a lot about warriors these days, because they fascinate me. Why? Because those who earned this name are the ones who endured the darkness of the earth covering them and day by day pushed their way out of it. They refused to run. They just sat there and allow one wave, two waves three waves of pain pass over them, until you will see them stand when facing a tsunami. 

For months now I am singing a song to God called "With everything", but I didn't have a clue what I was singing. I might as well have sang to Him "With everything that's left after I cleared off from here." 

We all know the verse from Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God," but we miss the first few verses from the Psalm in which it is basically being explain to us those circumstances in which we should be still:

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." Psalm 46:1-3)

Is it just me, or do these circumstances sound a lot like a tsunami? God could've said anything before the words "and know that I am God" and yet He said to us "Be still". 

"Stay put, do not run, hang in there. Endure this earth which seems to crush you, allow this wave to pass over you, push one more time today, and I will make you a warrior whose answer in front of pain will be love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I will make you stand even when faced with a tsunami."

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." (1 Peter 5:10)

Monday, 13 March 2017

I'm done with running

"I'm free! I'm free!" my heart is screaming
While anchors hold me down
From under waves that push me under
I pray "Don't let me drown!"

Running is what has brought me here
Running from the me I hide
I thought the running will surely prove it
That she is gone and that she died.

But she's not gone, she's still pursuing
My days, my dreams, the boat I sailed
Through pouring clouds of guilt and pain
I heard "I'm here and you failed!"

"You are not me!" I shouted
And then jumped overboard
I rather drown a thousand times
Than be like her again, dear Lord.

I know I'm not Your Jonah
I don't expect a fish
I just know that these murky waters
Are not Your plan, nor my true wish.

"What do you want, My girl?" I hear You
"Why all this pointless endless running?
Can you not see at all, My daughter?
I made you free and yet you're dying."

"You're free! You're free!", I hear You whisper
There's nothing wrong with you
You are just learning and you're growing
My girl, you are not split in two!

Yes, you still fall and yes, you're failing
But in all that there's nothing wrong
The falling teaches you to stand
And failing's teaching you a new song."

I hear that song while You are speaking
And it keeps saying that I'm free
That one like me should not be running
That there's no split of "her and me".

So I rise up from underneath
And swim back to the shore
And I embrace the me I was scorning
For now I know she makes me whole.

And we will overcome together
What's haunting her and makes me run.
They thought they'll make us hate each other
But we are one or we are none!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Love Warrior

“My courage will come from knowing I can handle whatever I encounter there -- because I was designed by my Creator to not only survive pain and love but also to become whole inside it. I was born to do this. I am a Warrior.”  Glennon Doyle MeltonLove Warrior: A Memoir

Some days my heart is filled with love
And on others it leaks pain
But I carry on, Father
For nothing is in vain.

These two are friends of mine and teachers
And shaped me, into me
To run away because it costs me
Would mean forgetting I am free

And I am free because they freed me
From all the running, guilt and fear
This pain and love You brought me, Father
Have taught me that You're always near.

And I look closely dear Father
At all the work they do in me
The way that they complete each other
And open all of me to see.

And what I see just makes me wonder
Why was I running all along
When love was teaching me about kindness
And pain was showing me I'm strong?

But now I see their purpose, Father
That's why I'm calling them my friends
For pain has turned me into a fighter
And love into a pair of hands.

My hands just want to caress others
The hurt, the lost, the broken ones...
I want to fight as pain has taught me
For all Your daughters and Your sons...

So thank You, Father, I am grateful
For sending these two friends my way
Help me to love like love has taught me
And fight for kindness everyday.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Why I remain in Him

"You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:3-5)

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." (John 15:9-12)

"My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:27-29)

When Matthew 11 stopped me in my tracks today, my thoughts were "You talk about a yoke You give us, but it never felt like a yoke to me. It felt more like a warm blanket that you placed on my too exhausted soul after I tried so hard to be good for You..." The my next thoughts was "abide" so I went to John 15.

He starts by explaining how abiding works and that it works because it has always worked between Him and The Father. Why? Because it is not based on one of Them trying their very best to please the other. It is all natural and simple because it is relational. It is based on something that is already there, freely given and completely accepted- Their love for each other.

That is why The Father says about The Son "This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17) 
And that is why The Son never questions The Father's love and He knows what He was entrusted: "As The Father loves Me, so I have loved you"; "My Father has entrusted everything to Me."
Why? Because they remain in each other based on Their love for one another. They don't strive to remain, they just do it out of love. The Son doesn't sit there asking Himself "How can I make sure I remain in The Father?" He just knows He is in The Father. Remaining is not a process for Them. It is just who They are because of their relationship and what they are for each- "I am The Father", "I am The Son".

This is what Jesus was trying to explain to us. The Vine never questions or doubts Its fruitfulness because It knows and relies on The Gardener's hands. Jesus simply wants us, out of love for Him to replicate the relationship. He wants our remaining in Him, to be because of our relationship with Him and what we are for each other- "I am The Son", "I am a child of God because of You". It is that simple. For as long as you remain aware of this, you remain. You don't have to make yourself remain, you just do because it is all relational.And therein comes the rest.
Why does He want us to replicate the relationship? Because only He truly knows The Father. And He loves The Father so much that He wants us to "truly know" Him like The Son does. 

So where do we go wrong? How do we become so weary and burdened that we need an intervention? How do we start in love for The Son and one day end up here, crashing?
From personal experience, I think that this happens because we forget the beauty and simplicity and trust of Their complete love for one another. And we fall back on loving Him with a human kind of love. The only problem is that the human kind of love is selfish and insecure most of the times. It is selfish because it focuses on the self: "I love you so much that look what I've done for you..."
And it is insecure because it always needs reassurance and proof, so inevitably it always ends up focusing on performance and keeping scores: "If you love me, prove it, do this for me..." or "Remember when, out of love, I did that for you and you didn't reciprocate...?"

Jesus always talked about how much The Father loved Him and everything Jesus did was a reply to The Father's love for Him. He was trying to teach us God's love, the love that never focuses on the self and makes the object of their love the focus of everything that motivates their actions. He wants our actions to be motivated by His love for us, not our love for Him.
But we forget His kind of love, that love that drew us in the first time we encountered it. The feelings remain because we carry on speaking of our love for Him, but our actions become motivated by a human love that focuses not on His Persona, but on how much we love Him. And we carry on like this for a while without even realising that we are branches without a Vine; trying to produce fruit out of a selfish insecure love. And we try and try until we fall down exhausted and tell Him that what He is asking is too hard. Completely forgetting that the only thing He asked was for us to remain in His love and to allow that love to flow to others. But when we end up in this place, according to His good habit, He steps in again and beckons "Come to Me, My weary one, and I will give you rest. Let me teach you..." And then He starts again, "Remember how The Father loves Me? Look at Me and remember- that is how I love you. And beloved...I already proved it with My own life. So remember My love for you next time you tell Me how much you love Me, or when you're demanding proof. I love you as I am loved- completely. Now rest..."

That's why His yoke feels like a warm blanket on my exhausted soul. There's safety and complete acceptance here and a love that just flows over me without asking me to prove myself. So I remain here and I make His warm blanket my abiding place. Not because He asked me to or to prove my love for Him. I remain because He loves me like He is loved by The Father, fully and completely.