Today a 27-year-old man was killed over a traffic dispute. The police in South Africa tied him up to their van and dragged him behind it. The man died from head and internal injuries. Read article.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:17-21
Children Killed by their Parents
According to very basic statistics, on average approximately 70 children die every year in Britain and between 2000-3000 in America. Those on their own are horrifying enough without looking into the statistics for the other 194 countries in the world. The “Daily Mail” reported just two incidence today. One English 4-year-old girl was killed by her mental ill mother; and a 9-year-old Indian boy was killed by his mother who feared his penis was too small. Life is so easily take away.
Be sure you do not hate one of these little children. I tell you, they have angels who are always looking into the face of My Father in heaven. – Matthew 18:10
This week in England a 9-year-old boy hung himself after being bullied at school. Today photos appeared online of a couple jumping from a bridge in China. Every time I hear of stories like this my heart just breaks at the loneliness, desperation and hopelessness each of these people must have felt. Read article.
God is with you. The Powerful One who wins the battle. He loves you greatly; and with that love He will calm you, bring you peace and give you a new life. He has much joy over you and loudly sings your praises. Zephaniah 3:17
Lack of Basic Life Needs
Shelter, clean water, heating, food, homelessness… the list is endless. Billions of people all around the world are in need; including in our own cities. We have so much to offer them, but are we brutally honest enough to admit that and act on it?
Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.” Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove. – James 2:14-18
Fat/Thin. Able/Disabled. Male/Female. Old/Young. Black/White/Coloured. An independent counsellor recently resigned from his post in Cornwall for claiming “disabled children cost too much money and should be put down.” Our world is filled with unfair judgement and sadly we are all guilty of this too.
You are not a mistake. Before time began I was thinking of you. I spent eternity creating you for a reason; and only you can represent this special part of Me. – Genesis 1:27 and Psalm 139.
We all suffer with some sort of sickness at some point in our lives. For some its minor and for others it’s great. Some get better, some don’t. I don’t know why God doesn’t just heal everyone… but I do believe this. We can’t escape death, it happens to 100% of us. God can most certainly step in and heal but maybe He doesn’t because in so many situations the story of grace, strength, wisdom and courage is far greater than an act of healing could ever be. Medicine and science is incredible, but there’s still a long way to go.
For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less. – 2 Corinthians 5:1-5
Shattered dreams, goodbyes, sadness, choices, reality, separation, rejection…
Jesus wept. = John 11:35
For millions death came and took life in a terrible way. We only have to tune into the news or look around us and we lose count and at the number of lives gone. For the majority, death wears the face of fear. How can one have hope or be comforted? War, child soldiers, casualties of war, sickness, accidents, murder, natural disasters…
But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will rise. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
What am I passionate about? … I really just want to see the world …
1. Follow them everywhere around the house.
2. When they say your name: “moo” like a cow.
3. Sing really loudly through the toilet door when they are using the toilet.
4. Pretend you have amnesia.
5. Say everything backwards.
6. Complain that wearing clothes is against your religion.
7. Go into their room at 4am and loudly say; “Good morning Sunshine!!”
8. Snort loudly when you laugh; then laugh harder.
9. Run into walls.
10. Have 20 imaginary friends that you talk to all the time.
11. Pluck someone’s hair and yell at the top of your voice: “DNA!!!!!!!!”
12. Talk to a pen. For example: “Oh you write so lovely. Yes you do! Oh yes you do!!”
13. In public yell: “NO MUM I WILL NOT MAKE OUT WITH YOU!!!”
14. Switch the light button on and off whilst yelling: “Oh I get it!!!!”
15. Try to climb the wall.
16. Hold their hand and whisper: “I see dead people.”
17. Eat your hair.
18. At everything they say yell: “LIAR!!!!”
19. When you take a shower yell: “I’M DROWNING!! I’M DROWNING!!”
20. Tap on their door all night long whilst saying: “Help me. Help me. Help me.”
21. Talk to the pople on the TV adverts about your problems.
Sometimes I wonder how I will react to something. A situation. A person. One of those “what happens if this happens with this person” or “what will happen in this situation” type of thing. Then it happens, the situation, with or without the people you envision it to include… and you react. Only, when you get to that point you realise your thoughts were spent wondering 1. if you would react; 2. how you would react; 3. would the situation happen or not, and 4. will it happen with that person or not… And you didn’t spend any time thinking through how to interpret your reaction. So then you find yourself, having already reacted to the situation, and a bit clueless as to what it means for YOU.
And so my train wreck of a trail of thought continued. Trying to process the information that had landed on my plate. Unwanted. But inevitable. I found myself thinking about how their decisions don’t match up with the calling God has on their lives; and I began thinking “I’m so glad I have more freedom in my life in these areas than I ever did before.” On one hand I felt relief, on the other I felt smugness. And everywhere in between I felt joy, disappointment, pride, thankfulness, grace, heaviness, desire… both negative and positive… As well as many other thoughts and feelings.
Where’s the line between being proud and being prideful? Where’s the line between relief and smugness? Where’s the line between thankfulness and arrogance? Where’s the line between giving glory to God and giving glory to self? Actually, what do those things even look like? Sometimes it’s not even clear or obvious at all!
I don’t think it’s wrong to be pleased at our accomplishments or at our discipline or at our obedience etc. But I was keen to hear from God where He thinks the line is with this stuff. Tonight I was watching House and Chase had a bachelor party. Woohhhooo!!! And I’ll be the first to hold my hand up and say I found that scene just so funny. But I also realised as I was watching it I found myself saying “Wow, I really miss some of that life style.” And it was at that point that I realise the line between all of these things is “believing” in yourself and KNOWING you need God. If I’m willing to put my hand up and say I thought that fictional storyline was funny… then I have to be honest enough to be real and say I am just one step away from all that is wrong in the world. And most times, I am just that.
I’ve been thinking about “success” a lot lately. At work I’m surrounded by managers and team leaders who are 22 years of age and younger. Some of my closest friends have their “dream jobs”; or are earning what I would describe as “the big bucks”. So many friends, family members and acquaintances are in relationships. My “adopted brother from another mother” is getting married. My cousin and a best friend from high school are due to give birth soon…
I stand and I look at it all. At everyone. And sometimes it’s really hard to not think “they’re living my dreams; when will it be my turn?”
I’ve said it many times, but before Mike’s death I felt like I was going places. Post Mike, it went completely out the window. For the past 4 years I feel like I’ve fallen into a dark well and I’m paddling my brains out trying to find a way to climb out. Climb out to the path that I was originally on. My plans. My dreams. Everyone else seems to be excelling past me at lightning speed… And I’m “on pause”. But I’m not, because the time continuum is quite literally carrying me on.
Two things had gathered in my thoughts on this subject recently. Firstly, my life hasn’t followed the typical traditional pattern of: go to university, meet someone, get married and have kids. Secondly, I’ve realised I am at present walking in my destiny. Consequently, if these two statements are correct, then I’ve realised that in my confusion and frustration I have been fighting against creation itself.
Sometimes in life we feel so unsettled and incomplete. And often we realise we’re trying to go against something or force something to happen when we actually just need to let go, jump in, trust and accept. By constantly comparing myself to my perception of the world’s standards of success I’m guaranteeing myself to fall short every day… I’m not giving God a chance to show me success in my life through Him.
I found myself faced with the question “well what do I really see as success?” Because I’ve seen “success” all around me these past few days. As well as the successes mentioned above I’ve also seen: the patience of a colleague who spends almost 2 hours trying to find the locations of items; the biting of one’s tongue in an argument; the sacrifice of time and finances for others; the demonstration of extravagant love; a midnight trip to see the stars; the energy to complete daily chores; the discipline to eat healthy; the wisdom to submit to leaders even in disagreement and injustice; the commitment to invest in a phone; a kind word; the ability to make others feel important and worthy; the freedom to hang out with friends; arriving to a destination on time…
The list is endless.
In truth, none of this makes me feel passionately alive and hopeful that my life is successful; but I do feel challenged to balance out my fears of the “huge” life achievements with all the daily successes God gives me. I’m not sure turning my attention to this will reduce or replace the longing of my larger dreams but I do have a feeling somewhere between my heart and stomach that I wont be going to bed each night feeling bad about myself.
One could suggest “just change your dreams if it causes you sadness.” At this moment in time I don’t want to change or limit my dreams… But whether or not I reach those dreams I do know I don’t want to waste the time in between with constantly causing myself to feel like major parts of my life are under the title of “fail”. If I believe God loves me, if I really believe He isn’t finished with me… Then I need to trust Him that he knows my heart and my dreams. Solid belief and trust would certainly make it easier for me to faithfully walk my life even if I don’t understand why it is the way it is or what He’s up to.
Tonight I finished work feeling exhausted and I had a headache. Maybe you can relate to that particular “end of work” feeling. After being on my feet for eight hours for the first time in weeks, I was ready to go home and switch off my brain leaving only a little bit to understand my TV. It was dad’s turn to collect me from work tonight and when he did he mentioned I had a letter waiting for me. So naturally when I walked into my room I decided to check out this letter sitting on my shelf before I did anything else.
The letter was hand written, with just my name written on the front. Intrigued I opened it and immediately searched for the name at the end to see who it was from. There was no name. Even more curious I started reading from the beginning and was really touched by the kind words written to me by a silent friend.
Sometimes it’s really hard to see yourself how others see you. It’s always hard to do that but sometimes it’s really really hard.
I had a real heart to heart with Laura about some stuff when I went to see her in Cape Town. She asked me why I didn’t tell her these things before especially when I was so struggling in that particular moment of time some months before. I tried to explain to her the guilt I felt even trying to contemplate telling her these things. In real time, as I was struggling she was having an absolute blast with her friends. How could I be selfish and make this about me? How could I take her joy away and say “Hey, I’m really hurting and sad?” As I finally explained out loud to her why I didn’t tell her the penny dropped before me and I realised, “Wait a minute… I think I have been believing a lie.”
I haven’t been updating my blog because I keep thinking to myself that I sound so selfish, desperate, negative, draining… More and more I’m realising I am very insecure; and I feel like I’m in a “catch 22” situation. I don’t blog out of insecurity and when I do blog I feel so insecure at the moment about what I write.
So I have to ask myself, what am I afraid of? I’m afraid of you. I’m afraid of me. I’m afraid of where I am in life and where I’m going. My brain hurts being to figure out my health, my future, myself… I’m afraid because many things look really big; and I feel really small and really weak.
One of the things written in the letter was an acknowledgement of how brave I am. I don’t feel brave… But after trying to think about it, maybe bravery isn’t about being brave every time, but about trying to be brave.
The reason I’m thinking about bravery at the moment is because I need to think about my health. As most of you know a couple years ago I was told I might have multiple sclerosis. Very recently that got changed to being diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome. After reading up on it to understand my condition I declared to the world “I think I’d rather have MS than complex regional pain!!” A week ago they changed the diagnosis back to MS. I’m feeling very confused. Should I be happy? Should I be sad? I found myself thinking, “But I don’t want MS. I know I said I’d prefer it but… I don’t want anything!”
I felt stupid for being happy to be told I don’t have MS to then being told I do. I felt frustrated that I thought we were getting somewhere with my health only to take what feels like 10 steps backwards. I should be feeling happy I don’t have to take heaps of medication at the moment; but I don’t feel happy. I should be thankful that my independence isn’t going to be stripped away; but I feel heavy. Did I get MS because I said I’ve prefer it? I never thought life worked like that but actually, am I really sure life doesn’t work like that? I know I have it better than many others but hey, I don’t need the condemnation for feeling like I’m staring into an unknown abyss and panicking about it. I don’t want to be told “everything’s going to be ok” because truthfully, what do we know?
I do feel like “what more is going to come my way?” When is enough enough God? I do believe our lives are not random and everything has a purpose however misplaced it may seem. But when you’re tired, weak and vulnerable… And when nearly everything in your life feels like it has the dark mask on or over it… It’s really hard to see past all that. I do feel I’m fast approaching the point of “I’ve had enough“. What I mean by that I’m not entirely sure but I could really really do with breakthrough and intense mental and relational refreshment.
So anyways, thank you to the person who wrote this letter to me. You gave me hope that whilst I feel like I can’t see at the moment, you can. And that’s pretty special of you to take the time to encourage me 🙂