…Did I really just say that?! Yup. I did.
This year at MTO (missionary teens camp) we were going through a section of the Lord’s Prayer each day, and around the third day from when we buried Mike, we were looking at the section, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us…”
Forgive God!? Akila No!! How can we possibly forgive God because that would mean He has done something wrong! How can GOD ever do anything wrong! Well…that’s the reaction I pretty much got from the girls in my group. But I asked them, “Girls, you may not understand what it’s like to lose your brother for no Earthly reason and conclude that God took him, but you do know what it’s like to deal with the consequences of God telling your parents to move, you’re the one who have to leave your home country, forced to say goodbye to friends, to deal with loneliness and pain, and not by choice. So many times we have to do things that we don’t agree with because of our parent’s choices and obedience to God, and so many times we suffer through it, unable to understand really why God told them to do it, even though it’s apparently in our best interests”
I think, God is like a parent, making decisions that we as kids don’t understand, and it hurts! It’s confusing and painful! But we somehow trust our mum/dad. “So thats acceptance not forgiveness Akila”…the girls said to me. “No”, I told them. Whilst God’s plans are of good, and not of evil, we as humans don’t understand them. In order for us to move on from something… in order for us to say “It’s Ok, I don’t understand, but I’m going to say Ok”… We need our pain to be acknowledged…that is a form of forgiveness…
Amateur and out my depth didn’t even come close to what I felt after saying that…but somewhere deep down I knew I was on a journey with God, trying to understand this new dynamic of God’s character…
The last night of MTO, we had a Worship Bonfire, and as I was stood with Fitz, and everyone was singing or praying…I was looking around me, just devastated that a year before Mike was there with us, enjoying the Worship Bonfire. Emotionally, I was in a place where I had no idea where Mike was. His Spirit left His Body…but where? Is he with God in Heaven? Is he asleep? Is he in an “in between” place?
I felt so lost and hurt, and as a sister I needed to know where he was. I needed to know he’s Ok. Stood under the stars, I felt so small in the galaxy and that just multiplied the sense of Mike being lost… I decided to talk to the couple that lead MTO to try and get some clarity to my questions…I eventually went over to them on the other side of the fire, but I completely burst into tears and couldnt even say the words I needed to say…
Dan and Suzie gave me a massive hug and Dan said, “Akila, I believe God wants me to tell you something, and I’ve been sitting here for about 45 minutes trying to decide whether I should come to you, or if you will come to us…Akila, I believe God wants me to tell you three things, 1. Mike knew you loved him, 2. God wants you to know He is so sorry you are hurting, He’s so sorry for all the tears you have cried. But He wants you to know that He has cried each tear with you. And 3. Mike is dancing. Have you ever seen Mike dance? Akila, Mike is very much alive, and he’s so consumed in this wild dance with God, that he may not even know he’s gone…”
I love My God. He doesn’t mind when I say I need to Forgive Him, or when I feel like I need to challenge Him to acknowledge my hurt…He cares about the details and knows even before I do, my thoughts…and He goes further to prepare someone with His answers before I even ask the questions…in fact…I didnt even have to say anything to Dan for God to speak the words I needed to hear through Dan. Where ever Mike was, I knew He is, is safe, alive, and happy, intertwined with God.
God is God…but He’s also my Best Friend. I have a lot to learn, but I know I wont learn it being afraid that I might step on His toes…He’s Gracious for a reason, He wants us to try and learn more about Him…so don’t be afraid to stand on his toes…Don’t kids enjoy playing that game where they stand on their parents feet and walk together face to face holding hands?
God doesn’t do it as a game…He does it for Real…
Ok, here’s what I think a relationship with God is, “Waking up each morning, making the decision to fall in Love with your Best Friend”.
I think there is so much demand and pressure on us as Christians…read your bible, go to church, fellowship, bible study, feed the poor kids, worship…and whilst every one of those is very important… I think it’s easy to ignore the very essence of God…Relationship.
God created us so we could be in a relationship with Him, and back then, in the garden, there was no bible, there was no church, it was only Adam and Eve and there were certainly no poor kids… It says God walked and talked with them. So, I think thats where it starts, waking up in the morning, and saying “Hi God, How are you”…it IS that simple and everything else WILL fall into place from there.
I had a big debate the other night with someone from university on whether Love was a “feeling” or an “action”…I think it’s both. It’s because you Love God you will naturally want to spend time reading the bible. It’s because you’re Listening to God, that you will be in tune with Compassion. It’s because you have allowed Him access to your Heart, that the Holy Spirit can lead you in Growth and Strength of Character,. It’s because you chose to Prioritize God with that first thought of the day, that He will open your eyes to His Power, Glory and Blessings…
It took a lot of baby steps for me to get to where I am in life, but it is so clear the difference in the type of day I have when I don’t say Hi to God… So that’s my challenge to you… Throw out the “to do list” and make it very simple, “Wake up each day chosing to fall in Love with your Best Friend.”
A couple nights ago, I was walking home from the university library, it was dark and cold and I was just wanting to get inside! But as I was plodding along, the Number 48 bus to Coventry went past me, and I found myself thinking, “I would be on that bus going to see Mike at worship college.”
As I continued to think on this, my mind wandered again to all the things that could have been, I was really looking forward to visiting Mike when he moved down near me. Our cities are only 20 minutes apart. But all those things a sister has to look forward to, the memories she can be a part of with her brother, the birthdays, the broken bones, the girlfriend(s), the wedding, the first born, the pain, the joy…everything has been taken away from me. Sometimes I feel so robbed by God…But then, God knows the number of days we have, so all those things, they were never ment to be, they were never going to happen.
I started to think about Mike’s dream to go to Worship college, how he worked his butt off, and then never got there in the end…I know I’m ignoring a lot of important factors in saying that, but, what about my life? What about your life? God allowed Mike to go down that path, believing in what could be argued, a false hope…and God allowed me to go down a path, and allowed me to believe all those future things with Mike were yet to come, only they never will. He never warned me about that…He probably didn’t warn you about your life and the hurt and disappointment you have gone/are going/will go through either.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the things in my life, my future, the long distance relationship, my dreams…how much of it do we really control? Where is it that God is actually leading us? How do I keep dreaming and striving forward without being fearful of the hurt and disappointment that could come?
The only conclusion I’ve come to is this, God doesn’t intervene, and he doesn’t warn us. He doesn’t stop things from happening and he DOES allow his own to go through the worst situations here on Earth. The only way we can survive is to live WITH God. Somehow we gotta FOCUS on Him and LISTEN…and even when we do all of that…we are completely dependant on His Grace, only He can get us through…
“Look at my Life, Look at my Heart, I have seen them Fall apart, Now I’m ready to Rise again, Look at my Hopes, Look at my Dreams, I’m building bridges from the scenes, Now I’m ready to Rise again…” Gabrielle (Singer)
Ok, so I’ve been trying to develop my understanding and commitment towards prayer and talking to God. I was reading in my devotional book that prayer and talking to God is like the “Chaos Theory”. Where a butterfly can flap its wings in one part of the world…and cause a hurricane in another part of the world as a result.
Now, my book and I arent sure if that’s scientifically possible…scary because every time I pick my nose I could be causing an earth quake somewhere?! Ha…that’s one way to tell your kids not to pick their noses I guess. But in relation to prayer and praying in faith, thats what my devotional book was trying to say. That a small butterfly effect of a prayer, CAN cause psycho things to happen that are not humanistically possible…it’s all biblical!
So, I’m not sure if I really can say whole heartedly that I pray in faith. Sometimes I think I’m too caught up in what God’s will is and what my “bold requests” are. I thought about when Mike died and I told God…I didn’t ask, stuff that! If God was taking my brother I’m going to stamp my feet and make my demands known!….”If you’re gonna take my brother, who means so much to me, you better make it his death worth it here on Earth. I want his death to impact lives and bring people into a relationship with you. Otherwise, you better give me my brother back.”
I guess you could say “um, who are you to say that to God?!”, others could say “Well you could boldly ask that of God because something like that would be in accordance to his will.” I’ve been thinking to myself, “What made it different that time, and other times I find it so hard to ‘move moutains'”…the only thing I could think of was “emotion”. When I asked God to make Mike’s death worth it, I really really meant it.
I decided to practice and asked God for a break through in my life in a certain area that needed it. I specifically asked him for what I wanted, and when I wanted it (the next day). Less than 12 hours later, I got my break through! So, I made a somewhat blind request (because I wasn’t really sure how to ask) and I got my result. Thank you Jesus! But I’m still learning the process because I’m still not 100% sure I know or understand what I’m doing! I just did what I thought was right and trusted God to show me the rest…
The learning still continues…
We went to the cemetary today, and it was a pretty sweet time together. Awesome sunset too. Thanks God. But it was a really good time to reflect. Particularly in remembering those who have laid down their lives for us, and for God. Mike may not have gone to war…but he fought a spiritual battle, and everyone knows he fought it well. Made me think about who around me is being benefitted from my life.
The other thing that was pretty sweet was there were hundreds of birds migrating for the winter….hundreds and hundreds of them high in the sky. They all knew the way they were suppose to go, and all of them at one point never flew the route before…
I think thats what I found the most encouraging and most challenging. Knowing the way…knowing the way well enough, without ever travelling it before, and having enough faith in it to lay down my life for it. Is it a question? No. I’m hand in hand with God on my way.
Yesterday we had the official opening of Mike’s new room, which is now the “Pool Room”. We’re following the foot steps of the movie “The Castle” apparently! It was a pretty sweet occasion, the room is SO different now it’s been redecorated!
We got Mike’s stuff back from the police last week including his laptop which had a number of videos of him playing his guitar…he’s pretty good like! There’s some clips on youtube! Check them out! Anyways, we all gathered in Mike’s new room and watched a couple of them after Peter Maiden, head of OM, cut the ribbon (which I made haha) officially opening the new room. Then, it was on to Champagne and Hors Dourves…ahhhh FUN times!
Tomorrow we’re going up to the cemetary because they put the head stone on Mike’s grave on Wednesday. So the immediate family, Mike’s youth group and a number of work colleagues will be going up to visit the grave and then celebrate back here at the house with a yummy meal before going to Sunday Night Service at the church.
Guys, we hear it all the time, the hundreds of inspirational life phrases such as “it’s not the number of breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away” , “Life is what you make it” , “keep your eyes on the prize” , “think positive and positive things will happen” , “rejoice in your suffering” …so why should death be any different? it is such an awesome opportunity to celebrate the old memories and share/create the new memories and emotions walking the road life with others…
“When life hands you Lemons, do Tequila shots!” Coonie
Oh dear, I’ve neglected you all a bit haven’t I? Ooops! Don’t worry I’m back…
I have a boyfriend (My Man haha), and he’s AWESOME…as most of us would say about our partners. However, we’ve been going through sex education together. Now, I’m not talking about the physical act of sex. I’m talking about everything that makes a woman, and everything that makes a man, including, how/what/why we are so different to each other. Coming to think of it, I guess that’s going to include every subject under the sun…hmmm bring on the arguments (haha) !
I’m really enjoying it actually. But there have been some major frustrating moments, maybe for him more than me. Sometimes he asks me, “AKILA!!!!!!!!!!!! Honestly?! How could you not see that?!” Well, not quite, that’s my interpretation haha. BUT, he does ask me that. Often once we discuss something I’m like “ooooohhh, that makes sense”. But even when it’s explained to me, a man to a woman, and though I can now see it from a guy’s point of view, I still don’t get it?! Many thing are still so native to my mind!
I once told him, “Honestly? I feel like a maths genius stuck in a science lab, told that if I don’t create the formula that’s going to save the world by the right moment, then I’m going to have the gun that’s pointing to my head explode!”
Hmmmm a little extreme of a statement? Not really! Maths and science have a little something in common, they both use numbers…men and women both have many things in common too. But how we look at the “numbers” in the situation, is usually very different, even when we’re looking at the exact same situation together. But, as a Christian, that leaves no room for mistake. It’s too dangerous to make a mistake. That’s why I feel like if I don’t get it right, like the science formula that will save the world, then that time bomb that explodes will leave very disastrous consequences in mine and his lives. And I hate that! Makes me feel lame and a sucky partner!
So what’s the answer? Grace, Honesty and ALOT of open communication (which by the way is AWESOME when it’s long distance!! Haha) I really like my Man, he’s got all those characteristics and he values them enough to practice them!