“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our
likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air,
over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures along the
ground’.” (Gen 1: 26 NIV)
Three wooden boxes on my bookshelf…waiting… gathering dust. The oldest is 4 years old. Inside are the
ashy remains of my three beloved furry-friends – Tammy, Toffee and my beloved
Three boxes on my bookshelf…waiting.
I’ve been holding onto these boxes all this time; I’ve simply
not been ready to release them. It’s the last thing that remains of my beautiful,
departed dogs. Up until now; my latent grief has simply been ‘boxed’ up together
with these three boxes. Closure has been delayed.
But today is the day! Finally, I am ready. It’s time to
release them to whence they came.
2014 has been my year to be at Bible school. It’s been a year
where I felt I was been called to a period of studying God’s word. It was an opportunity to uncover a clearer
picture of what my faith was all about. Although I have been a Christian for a long
time, my soul hankered after answers. I
needed more knowledge about my faith so that I, in turn, would be able to
encourage others who struggle like I do.
In January this year, when I started at Bible school, I was
very aware of a statement that many of my animal-loving, blogging friends had so
often repeated to me.
“If my dog doesn’t go to heaven, then I don’t
want to go there either!”
I had few
answers and even fewer words of encouragement for these mourning friends. I understand their pain and their deep
connection between them and their beloved furry-friends.
The loss of a companion animal is devastating. The loss of
my own beloved Maxdog was devastating too. It’s been four years since I said
good-bye to him. After all this time, my
tears still well up when I think of him and the blessings that his presence
brought into my life. There are so many memories – some happy, some sad. We spent ten whole years together – with Max constantly
by my side. Without him in my life, I
may well not have been here today.
Nowadays, I have a much better understanding of that time of
my life. I am absolutely convinced that Max’s presence in my life was directly ordained
by the God, Father and Creator of the Universe.
The word of God tells me that He has always known me – that He “knitted me
together in my mother’s womb”(Ps 139:13). He has always known my deeper
emotional needs too. And he knew, just when Maxdog was needed in my life. I believe strongly that Max was sent to me – a
buffer against the world and the difficulties I was having at the time. He was a gift from God at a time I needed it
So now …three boxes remain… and it’s time to let them go.
For me, scattering these ashes in my garden is symbolic of
my trust in God - for Him to receive the spirit
of my three beloved companions. It’s clear that these animals never really
belonged to me in the first place – I was simply their ‘steward’ during their
lifetime here on earth. They were my
helpers. But they belonged to God and to God they must return. Scattering their ashes is my gesture of “thanks”
and acknowledgement to God. I am
eternally grateful for the role these animals played in my life. I know now that I no longer need to rely on
their memories, but instead I can turn to Jesus – who understands and
faithfully loves, cares and protects me. (from myself)
At last, here are the words of encouragement, I have longed to share...
I have learned during my Bible studies that God cares deeply
for the animals of this earth. He gave them to us – to name and to use for our
purposes on earth.
“Now the Lord God had
formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the
air. He brought them to the man to see
what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that
was its name.” (Gen2:19 NIV).
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Gen
God’s covenant (after Noah), I believe, also extends to the
animals. And this is why I say this: scripture tells us:
"Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 'I now establish my covenant with you and with
your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the
birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the
ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again
will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be
a flood to destroy the earth.' " (Gen 9: 8-13)
“I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.
Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the
rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting
covenant between God and all the living
creatures of every kind on the earth.” (Gen 9:15-16)
So now it's time...and I've scattered their ashes in my garden.
Fly free, sweet Tammy…
Fly free, sweet Toffee…
Fly free, sweet Maxdog…
"Thank you Father, for the blessings these beautiful animals
brought to me. I release them to you now
in love and trust. You are an amazing Creator
and an amazing God!"
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."
Can you remember a time when you were very, very afraid?
This is the question that I asked my husband some years
ago. The imagery of his answer has
remained with me ever since:
He was small: three or four years old. It was the middle of the night. He remembers
clearly sitting on his mother’s lap, with her arms around him…Her presence and quiet
reassurance allowed his fear to eventually dissipate. His trust in her was absolute.
This picture of a child sitting in its mother’s lap is
something I can relate – especially if I visualise myself sitting on God’s lap
with my own fears.
“There is no fear in love.
But love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in
love.” (1John 4:18)
In 2006, at the lowest point of my journey with depression,
I remember fearing life itself… In my darkest hour, I reasoned that death would
be an easier choice. My God, faithfully, brought me through that dark time of
my life – something I will always be so thankful for.
Jesus identifies with this kind of fear. He also had His
darkest hour – in the garden of Gethsemane – just before facing his horrifying
crucifixion. It was during this moment,
that He resorted to prayer:
“Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow
to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ Going a little
further, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My father, if it is
possible, may this cup be taken from me.
Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” (Matt 26:38.39 NIV)
Having studied the bible this year, I have come across
numerous passages which deal with fear. Yes, a healthy fear of our God is very
wise (Job 28:28); but this kind of fear is a respecting, reverent fear of God.
It’s describes the time that we stop and consider, in awe, God’s immense majesty
and power. This is, indeed, the beginning of wisdom – when we know that
everything – even our fears - is under
In contrast, however, I am talking about the kind of fear
which is crippling and which hinders our lives. What are we afraid of? Is it the
unknown? Is it because we are scared of being harmed in some way? Are we scared
of what others think? Or is it financial
fear? Abandonment? Physical threat? Illness? Politics? For our faith? All these fears stem from past experiences
we have had in our lives. Dwelling on these experience have fueled them
It reasons therefore, that the more we experience Christ in
our lives, the less fearful we will be. If we focus on Christ and pretend that we
are sitting in His lap, sharing our fears with Him and focus on the LOVE and
protection which He offers us, then surely our fears will dissipate?
“Do not be afraid,
Abram. I am your shield, your very great
reward.” (Gen 15:1) It’s not fear that
God promises us, but great REWARD!
“...for God gave us a
spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:6-8 ) (English Standard Version Anglicised)
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank you that we can come to you with our fears.
Please help us and grant us the strength to face those things that we fear.
You are our shield, Lord.
We love you.
Have a happy day, dear friends...and celebrate this life that God has given us
“Faith” is a concept that may be vague to many people
and it may be valuable to explain it more clearly.
In order to accomplish this, I would like to introduce an analogy which I have
considered for many years.
It is really interesting to look at ‘the relationship of us Christians to our Lord God; Jesus Christ’ and
compare it to ‘the relationship between
a companion dog and its Master’. There are some strong lessons we can learn
from dogs and their behaviour. Indeed, we can apply some of these lessons to
our understanding of our own Godly ‘faith’.
Let me explain...
Let us first consider the definition of ‘faith’ in Hebrews 11: 1(NIV)
faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see.”
A well-trained animal that has been trained by using ‘positive-reinforcement' methods, will follow the commands of its master happily,
diligently and efficiently…simply because it knows that it will get a reward in
the end.In the case of a dog, these
well-trained furry-friends will even go so far as to initiate action (like picking up an item off the floor for its
owner, or bark, or do a trick) in the knowledge/belief that there is a biscuit or
other reward at the end of the process. Their training gets to a point of total
and absolute devotion. They become singularly loyal and will take a fall for
their masters in the blink of an eye. In total faith, they will run through fire, endure the most
dangerous of situations (eg taking people out of the Twin Towers, displaying
loyalty at grave-sites, etc ) – because they have
total trust in their master’s plan!
I have had the privilege of
experiencing this kind of devotion from an animal and consider it to be one of the most beautiful examples for us - of ‘absolute
FAITH’ - by any non-human creature on this planet.
So, let’s look now at us human-beings. In the same way, if we believe and have total faith in our own Master, Jesus Christ,
and if we follow His commands and trust Him completely, we too will be
rewarded. Our rewards, however, may be
delayed and we may only experience them in Heaven, once we leave this life. In
contrast to the dog, however, we are challenged to a higher call. We are asked to have faith in eternal life
and the promises of Jesus Christ. Many of these promises are ‘unseen’, but
through faith, we are certain of their truth.
“I will put my laws
on their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
God Himself is faithful, and our trust in
this fact serves to affirm our own faith:
“Let us hold unswervingly
to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
Just as I have highlighted the faithfulness of some
companion dogs, the author of Hebrews 11, (Paul and/or others), highlights
various bible characters who have demonstrated great faith for us to learn from. These people have done things (demonstrated
faith), in the knowledge of a Godly promise and their certain reward (even
though this reward is an ‘after death’/eternal one). Here are a few examples:
faith, offered a better sacrifice than Cain because of his ‘attitude’.
faith, was taken from this world and didn’t experience death. (Gen 5:25),
faith built an ark and suffered the ridicule of his generation prior to the
flood, and the promise of a brand new world.
4.Abraham (and Sarah): by
faith, left his country into the ‘unknown’ in obedience to God – believing that
God would make him the father of many descendants. In his old age, he continued
to believe this too. Indeed, God granted
him a son – Isaac – in Sarah’s old age. By faith, Abraham was willing to
sacrifice his one and only son in obedience to God.
5.Joseph: by faith, spoke about the exodus from Egypt
and gave instructions about his bones after his death.
faith led the Israelites out of Egypt and instituted the Passover. He regarded disgrace for the sake of God as a
greater reward than the treasures of Egypt. By faith, he turned his back on the
there are many, many more bible characters who are examples to us of incredible
The message of Hebrews chapter 11 is simple:
“God has planned better things
for us, that through Him, together with us, it would be made perfect.” (v40)
We merely need to trust and have
God wants us to practice our faith, by demonstrating
obedience to his commands…so that we, ultimately, will spend eternity by His
“Let us run with perseverance the
race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter
of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its
shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:1-2)
What do I, by faith, want to accomplish this week?
This week, I want to focus on totally believing God’s
promise to me:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to
prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
(Jeremiah 29: 11)
I have, by faith, nearly completed my first year at Bible
School. There were times, during the year, when I wanted to give up, but in my
heart, I believed that this is what God wanted of me. God is my Master, and I
believe that Bible school is the first step that he wanted me to take in his
plan for me. I am still not clear on
what direction He wants me to go next year, but I have faith that He will reveal
it when His time is right... and use it
for His ultimate glory
So, dear friends, what do YOU want to accomplish, by faith this week?
Everything on earth is accountable to a Master and there
is a subtle hierarchy of command amongst all living creatures on this planet.
In Genesis 1:28, God
“Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds
of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
In other words, we have been appointed
God’s ‘stewards’ of this earth for the creatures living on it. This is the
reason that I feel I can present my chosen analogy of the dog and it’s Master for
this particular blog post today.
God has made us accountable to Him for everything we do
and don’t do. Our relationship with the creatures of His creation is pertinent
to this accountability. He will judge us
at the end times for these things. His creation is a precious thing.
we constantly fall short in our behaviour and our spirit towards these things, there
is good news: God offers us a Saviour, a Mediator and a Counsellor in the form
of his precious son, (our own earthly steward) Jesus Christ, who bears the
brunt of our failures.
thank you for your beautiful creation.
Help us to be faithful to your message, your commands and your promise.
I took time to carefully measure out the ingredients and mix them together into a smooth dough. I felt warmed by the notion that I was doing something special for my family. Then I rolled up the little balls in the palm of my hand and carefully placed them on the baking tray. After gently flattening them, I gingerly pressed out tiny indentations into the flattened, soft dough. These would be the troughs for the drops of jam each of them needed. I placed the tray in the pre-heated oven and breathed a sigh of satisfaction. Then I set the timer and waited...
Soon the house was filled with that homely aroma of freshly baked "yummies". I was sure that my family would devour them - the perfect complement to a companionable "cuppa".
When the timer buzzed, I reached for my oven gloves and opened the oven.
My heart sank...
Instead of beautifully light, puffed up cookies, they looked hard and flat.
I'd left out the essential ingredient! Baking powder.
Oh dear :(
As the creator of these cookies, I must admit, I was really disappointed.
But it got me thinking...
How many of us have left out the essential ingredient in our own lives?
How many of us, who have been perfectly created, choose to live flat lives with hardened hearts?
How many of us feel incomplete?
Couldn't life be so much better?
Now imagine our own Creator - God - looking down and seeing this?
Imagine his heart when He sees the gift he so freely offers...rejected, forgotten...
Perhaps it's time for some of us, today, to become part of the abundant life that our precious Lord, Jesus Christ offers in His Kingdom.
It's your choice.
"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
(Above: Lilac-breasted roller: Kruger National Park, Sept 2014)
Dear Father God,
Thank you for giving us the choice of receiving an abundant life, in You.
Forgive us for any doubt that we ever entertained.
Help us to lead this life in the way that You would like us to live it.
Help us to be a creation in which You take joy.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
Sending lots of love to all my friends around the world.
He reveals Himself to us through God-breathed Scripture:
"This is my blood of the covenant,
which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
He reveals Himself to us in our own design...
(we are innately Spiritual creatures and created to worship Him)
He reveals Himself to us in History, in Miracles, and especially through the hope of the Cross and it's meaning.
If we are willing to accept Jesus Christ into our lives, and allow the Lord to work in us, we encounter a loving, living God in all Fatherly forms. As His children, he loves us, disciplines us, teaches us, guides us, protects us and interacts with us all the time. He places hope in our hearts and the desire to reach out to others. We are filled with the knowledge that God is in control, He's "Got it" and we merely need to rest in this knowledge and obey His teachings.
I believe that the imperfections of this world are clearly designed in order for us to reach out to our Living God; to declare Him our Lord and Saviour, and to acknowledge our dependence on Him as He guides us along His path to Salvation.
Rest assured, God is alive and working in this world... His Holy Spirit is ever-present is in those who believe in Him.
And for those who don't...
He's waiting with open arms...?
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I wil give you rest."
"Dear Lord, thank you for offering us your precious gift of Salvation, through no deeds of our own. Thank you that through the sacrifice of your son, Jesus Christ, we can come into your presence and learn to live this life. Thank you for loving us and never leaving us. What a blessing it is that we are able to reach out to you any time, any day, any hour, any circumstances, and that you will welcome us as we are. We love you, Lord. Amen"
A few days ago, I made a promise to my daughter to help her out. She
is a young professional who cannot take off time from work. As a home-maker, however, my own days are flexible. Her request was simple. It required that I set aside a morning and
drive to the municipal offices of our sister city to open up a Municipal services
account for their newly purchased home.
Although this is a simple task, it becomes rather complicated for
me personally. My anxiety condition
plays up seriously in situations like this. I battle in unfamiliar environments
and then, out of irrational fear, struggle to drive. In this case, I was so
scared that I battled to sleep last night.
I know that my fear is irrational, but there was no way that I was going
to renege on my promise to my beautiful daughter. As a human being, I need and want to be helpful.
Somehow, I would muster up the resolve to tackle this small, important task.
When I opened up my bible this morning, I was drawn to the story
in the gospel of John where Jesus’s disciples were on a boat when their own
storm built up. (Jn 6:16-21):
“A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When
they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the
boat, walking on the water, and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be
It’s a beautiful story of connection with our Master when
things become scary. So, this morning, I thought I’d take God at His word and try
to apply this teaching to my own situation. In the solitude of my kitchen prayed out loud,
“Please Father, would you help me overcome my fear and help
me through this task.”
Soon I was on the road:
I managed the 60km drive without incident. I found the place
easily. Although I wasn’t sure where
exactly the place was, there were friendly people to guide me at every turn. When
I finally found the offices, the person attending to me was extremely helpful too.
It was her first day on the job and I was her first customer. It was as if she had been specifically chosen
to be there for this particular situation.
My heart skipped a beat when I discovered that I would
require a second set of signed documents. I only had one. This would require yet another trip to
the same offices on yet another day. “Please,
Lord, help me.” I smiled and asked her if there was any way she could help me…?
She did. She stopped and went around to the back to consult
her manager. She was soon back to indicate that they’d made a plan for me and
would use the documents I had already supplied.
“Thank you, Father!”
In the end, the account was opened successfully and my trip
home was without incident too. It wasn’t
long before I was back in my own ‘safe’ surroundings. Task completed!
“Thank you, Lord, that I can call on you anytime, any day,
any hour, with any aspect of my life – even the smallest of them all. Thank you that your promises never fail -
that you will always be there for me, no matter what. Amen.”
This morning, on Your day, I humbly ask for a blessing on this blog and all who read it.
Father, please allow, through your Holy Spirit, that Your will,Your way and Your love permeate through this blog. I pray that the eyes of the hearts of my readers may be enlightened in order that they may know the hope to which You call them, the riches of Your glorious inheritance and Your incomparable great power to those of us who believe.
Father, please would you be with those who suffer and who struggle today; whether it is a physical hurdle or an emotional one. I know that there are so many of my friends who are in pain of one sort or another, and I ask that Your love and healing may rest on them in a really profound way.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for this blog and for my cyber friends world-wide. I ask you to protect this Holy space and to allow my readers to experience Your incredible love through Christ Jesus.
(This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.)
In the silence of the night, a miracle waits to happen...
There is a moment, every 24 hours, when in the blink of an eye, everything on the earth is transformed. Usually, we are all still asleep...
In the changing light, the moment arrives - transfixed in time - waiting for an audience. Nature holds its collective breath, then stretches and snores again. In the silence, the temperature drops and the world is seemingly frozen. The old is about to pass and a new beginning waits. It becomes a highlighted question which, in this moment, is imprinted on all creation: Will the world continue? Will the sun rise?
This beautiful moment, just before each dawn, is drenched in silence; fraught in anticipation. Yet, we sleep while it's happening; hoping to become restored and prepared for what awaits in the day ahead. The world waits too. The birds begin to sing.
And then the moment happens - the amazing miracle which affects our lives every 24 hours...
It's called "breaking dawn". It's here when a new day cuts into the darkened, heavenly expanse and drizzles over the ready earth. Streaks of beautiful, bright light paint the landscape. Crystalline, shining rays infiltrate everything. All the hope of humanity and the new day is caught up in this brief and precious moment.
The silence is broken. Different voices unite; There are twitterings and coo's. Then the birds sing louder...then more...then more. From the ends of our human consciousness we may indeed be slightly aware of the singing: different voices, unique expressions; a cacophony of birdsong and praise. The sun is imminent. Everything in creation welcomes in the new day. Man, however, mostly sleeps..and misses the marvel.
Then the drone of the busy city begins. Rush hour: a quick good-bye to a loved-one to face the business of the day. More stress, gray hairs, unhindered emotions. In equal measure, human activity blots out God's beautiful sounds. His promise of a brand new day and new beginning becomes obscured. Hidden. Forgotten!
They say that if you live with something constantly, you don't see the small changes. They are merely absorbed; taken for granted...
But each day, there is something subtly different in the marvel of God's beautiful dawn. His plans prevail amidst the human chaos. Unnoticed, the sun follows a slightly different path in the heavens each day. The temperature on the earth's surface, the light and the climate are all slightly altered...tweaked. We are older, sometimes wiser, sometimes more stupid. Often unimpressed. The contrast is painful.
Then the beautiful gift of the dawn fades. Passes. Unnoticed. As we drown our hearts in the volume of our humanly designed lives, our souls plead, "Where is God?". But, it's us who don't understand. Don't you see? During all this activity,our Master waits - patiently, lovingly. He hopes with all hope that we will indeed search for Him; respond to His call and wash ourselves in His beauty, His glory, His story, His gift.
He's been there all the time...just look!
Praise, Honour and Glory to my amazing Father!
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
As part of our year at Bible School, we are required to submit short essays on a number of topics. Today, I thought I'd share one of my essays with you. I hope it blesses you and gives you strength in your walk with the Lord. Please feel free to comment or to give me feedback.
In the beginning of his letter to the
Ephesians, Paul describes an amazing and accessible world, in
Christ. “In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ”
(1:5) Christians are “purposed in
Christ” to bring all things on earth together, under one head…" (1:9-10). God has chosen us for the praise of His
To be part of this Christian family is our sole
purpose on earth. This task, however, is not
an easy one; we are expected to withstand incredible pressures and to stand up
against everything the earthly world throws at us. Paul sets the scene about
the ‘war’ which we are fighting and describes it:
"We are hard pressed on every side, yet not
crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken;
struck down, but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). In other words,
although the battle is big, there is hope for us.In Ephesians 6:12, we read
about our adversary - Satan the devil - and his many, constant and conniving
plans that are aimed at obliterating the children of God. Satan’s
attacks come in many disguises. But all is not lost;
we have a Divine and unbeatable defense: the Armour of God. In
Ephesians 6:13, Paul calls us to take up these armaments. By putting on all of
God's Spiritual Armour, we can be assured of withstanding our enemy's onslaughts. 1. The Belt of Truth This enables us to combat lies; particularly lies which sound like the truth. 2. The Breastplate of Righteousess This enables us to ward off Satan's attacks on our emotions (heart), self-worth and trust. Jesus's death has made us righteous in God's eyes. We are tasked to protect this gift. 3. The Footgear, in readiness to spread the Word. This protects our motivation to proclaim the Good News and God's Truth. 4. The Shield of Faith. This allows us to guard against insults, setbacks and temptations. It gives us the ability to see beyond the things of this earth and adopt an eternal outlook. 5. The Helmet of Salvation The helmet protects our minds from doubt as Satan tries to convince us about the non-reality of God, Jesus and our personal salvation. 6. The Sword This represents the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. It is the only weapon of 'offence'; to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit and to resist temptation. This particular passage (Eph 6: 10-18) was written by Paul, in Rome, during his two-year incarceration, possibly in the early first century. During this time, he wrote a number of letters/epistles to various communities (Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians and Philemon.) Prior to this, Paul's life had turned from 'persecutor of Jews' (prior to his conversion) to being heavily persecuted as he went about establishing the early Christian church. During his life he was accused of many things. He was beaten, arrested, almost assassinated, shipwrecked and placed under house arrest. Yet, he persevered. Humanity might consider these incidents simply 'bad luck', but Paul recognised it as part of his job description in Christ. His experiences made him fully equipped to give advice about these battles. We can imagine the setting: Paul, in a Roman prison, constantly surrounded and taunted by Roman soldiers and their compatriots. But he continued to work for God (by writing and talking openly) despite being constantly under threat. He must have got to know those Roman soldiers very well, and gradually over time the analogy of the 'Armour' would begin to develop. Just as the Roman soldiers required physical armour to fight their wars and protect themselves, we Christians require spiritual armour to protect ourselves and fight our fight for God. It is a profound piece of writing which is still applicable to all of us as Christ's followers today. So let us all put on the full Armour of God and collectively stand together in this Divine war.
One of our tasks at Bible School, this year, is to write out a short personal testimony. This is my first attempt. It may still be too long ... but I can work with that. If you have any comments, or would like to share your own story (in the comments section below) I would feel truly blessed.
May God bless you as you read His story in my life.
The beauty of being human is that we are all unique. Psalm
139 explains this uniqueness – we are fearfully and
wonderfully made; known by God intimately; a precious creation that He knew
long before our actual birth into this world.
Yet, because of this imperfect world, many of us live with lifelong afflictions.
In my case, I have lived with the affliction of Depression
all my life. One can try and analyse it, pull it apart and make judgement, but it
is an illness like any other – a silent killer.
Despite medication and the professional help I get, it is something
that lives with me daily – urging me into its vice-like grip. I am aware of my vulnerability in this affliction.
It can be very dangerous ground. My affliction is manifest in a
deep-seated loneliness; a loneliness that no human action can fill.
In the early 1990’s, I was a ‘stay-at-home’ Mom with two small
children. The demands on my life were immense as I tried to become ‘Supermom’ –
mistakenly giving all my energy and everything I had to these two precious
human beings which had been entrusted to me by God. Life was busy. I chose to
ignore the nibbling depression and loneliness – choosing to rather fill my
day with every earthly activity which could enhance my life as a mother.
To this end I stopped going to church. Life was very
difficult and I was angry at God for making it so difficult. But, I was extremely fit and I was fighting –
teaching aerobics; baking, playing the piano, involving myself at school,
sewing for my children, knitting, gardening, housework – all in an attempt to
create the perfect home.
The more involved I got in these activities, the more my
deep seated loneliness and depression escalated. I was slowly and systematically side-lining
the importance of God in my life. My
trust in Him had waned. But as I applied myself to earthly matters, I felt the
control of my life slipping away. It got
worse and worse, and I began to become more and more aware of the pointlessness
of it all. (Something like King Solomon’s
text in Ecclesiastes – ‘Meaningless!’)
In desperation, I began to look around – particularly at
committed Christians who seemingly had everything under control. My neighbours were such people.
At my lowest point, I made the decision to simply try
copying them. Perhaps then, my life with
my elusive God would repair itself. I
(and my family) began to go to church regularly, we joined a fellowship group
and I began read my bible regularly (and take notes), praying that God would
speak to me and come into my life in a real way.
One Sunday morning, I was sitting in church. The
minister was telling us this story...
"A high-powered preacher was at a busy,
demanding conference. A woman came up to him and told him that she had a ‘message
from God’ for him. She asked for a meeting. Due to time pressure, the Preacher
put her off. Finally, however, he managed to make a moment to meet her. They met in
one of the gardens.
She walked up to him slowly, sat down
and dissolved into
tears. She cried and cried, morphing into wretching sobs – her face contorted in
emotional pain. Finally the tears stopped and the Preacher was able to speak to
her. “What is the message you have for me from God?” he asked. She wiped her
nose, looked straight at him and said,
“That is it!”
It was in that moment, that the preacher realised the pain
that he, personally, had caused God – demonstrated in the woman’s tears – of the
reliance he had put on himself in trying to control his own busy life.
Just like me!
Ironically, this story reflected the emotional pain I was
causing God at the time by my insistence on doing it myself. I was basically shunning the gift of God, in
the form of Jesus Christ. My eyes were opened that morning and I understood
clearly what pain I was causing God by trying to ‘go-it-alone’. I too began to sob and sob. In that moment, I finally relinquished control
of the responsibility of life to God. I knew there was no other way. I prayed hard that He would forgive all the
hurt that I had caused Him and those around me. I asked him to take control
over my life. That moment was an internal act of extreme vulnerability and
submission to the God of Life.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matt 11:28)
In the days that followed, a deep calm came over me. I began to practice the presence
of Jesus – inviting him into every decision I made in my day-to-day activities;
trying to show, by my activities, the joy and the hope I had in my
salvation. My journal at home attests to
answered prayer and guidance in my life.
To say the least, a lot has happened since that day –
profound things which testify to the greatness and glory of God.
My affliction remains – I continue to suffer from depression. The difference
is that I am comfortable, in God. The change
in me is that I now speak openly about my affliction. “My sin” is not the disease
itself, but rather me trying to manage my life without God.
Last year, I made the decision that it was time to get
baptised – an outward reflection of my inner condition. I am human; a sinner
who continues to juggle how much I allow God to control my activities and my
life. The reality, however, is that
without God’s direction, my depression and my affliction can get the better of
me. In my weakness, I am forced to rely
on God’s saving grace – daily. I absorb
all the love He has to offer me and I try and communicate that same love to
If I leave you with any message, it is this alone – the message
I received at my baptism –
“God has got it!”
really has! He has full control over our lives and their outcome – whether we like it or not. We still have a choice however: We either accept His saving grace (daily) and the abundant life He has
to offer us, or we succumb to our afflictions and ‘go-it-alone’. Either way, He'll never leave us. He's there - standing next to us - asking us to trust Him.
Praise God that I continue to make the right choice every
While driving around on errands yesterday morning, the words and melody of this song were placed on my heart. It's been a week of visiting a number of people in hospital. It's also come at a time of imminent loss and difficult decision-making. There are a total of four verses to this song, although the video only has two in it. I also know that there is more work to be done but for the moment I thought I'd share it with you.
This thing is sure: The Lord is working in wonderful ways in my life.
I pray this song will bless both you and our amazing Father.
In Your eyes, I feel smaller than a speck of dust…
I am but a blink in your glorious plan…
Your mystery and my purpose are hard to fathom…
I am humbled…
Your presence in me is unmistakable; glued to my inner
I feel it when the sun rises and when it sets.
It reassures and frightens simultaneously. I cannot deny it,
but my boldness is fleeting.
Your Word tells of your greater plan; a vineyard where I
It calls on my willingness simply to obey: Without question;
That is scary, Lord…
I am Your creation, Father; a simple being in this vast, living
Like a soldier, I am called to faithfully serve; to use my whole being in
honour of Your incredible love.
Despite my unworthiness, my doubt, my disobedience and my
failings, I am compelled to claim Your name. My love for You is growing, slowly…freely
It is Your immense love that sustains me. And the knowledge that I have been
deemed worthy to receive Your gift of faith; to believe the almost
unbelievable, to accept Your message…willingly. I am a new creation; washed clean and
acceptable in Your eyes. You called me and met me, Lord. I am Yours.
Now that I’m Yours, Father, Your care for me is patient. You
are kind and generous and You are gentle in my weakness.
Your love eludes my understanding, Father. I yearn for it
when I doubt it. It enfolds me when I least expect it. Yet, Your Counsellor
reassures me; never leaves me – the incredible gift you promised.
The little gift-box rested on the small coffee table in our sitting
room. Its shimmery packaging winked at me in wonder and I moved closer to
inspect the carefully scripted label:
“Don’t open until your birthday!”
I stood, transfixed – admiring its delicate paper and the large
pink bow which encased it. I must have
stood there for ages – gingerly touching it and examining the careful way it had
been wrapped. But was in it? Perfume? A gift voucher? A ticket to some far-away destination? The intrigue was eating at me and its small
size gave no indication of its value either. But the intention was clear: I was loved and this gift had been carefully
prepared for me.
As my birthday drew closer I was reminded that this package
was so much like my own “gift-in-waiting” to God. Although I have been given an
earthly body, it is up to me as to what I put inside. Will mine be snow white,
or sadly tainted? Will I be ready for
the moment I meet my Lord? Am I worthy
of being called a Temple of the Holy Spirit? Or will I be offering my Lord an
Our reckoning day draws closer. Our packaging will be
removed and the gift behind our masks revealed. What a joyful day it will be if our Master’s response is;
“Well done, my
good and faithful servant!”
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his
appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at things man looks
at. Man looks at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.”
I was a real Tomboy as a child and loved to explore the
many footpaths that ran across our farm.
The African bush was my Eden – a place to escape when I needed to be
closer to my Maker. Even then I felt God’s gentle presence in my life.
In a desperate bid to escape the growing tension in the
farm-house one day, I ran off into the bush. With perspiration dripping down my
young face, I hastened along the mountain path towards the water-reservoir near
the waterfall. I was ten-years-old at
the time; young, impressionable and already searching for meaning. Who was I
and what was my purpose on this planet?
It took me half an hour to reach my sanctuary – a precarious
seat on the rim of the open reservoir. The valley around me echoed with life;
cicada beetles, birds, and the breeze that whipped through the valley. I dropped
to my haunches and dipped my feet into the icy water. Reflections of sunshine
shimmered across the water.
My attention was soon drawn to the pond-skimmers – little
beetles that created chaotic patterns on the waters’ surface. They buzzed
around in seemingly mindless patterns; a web of incomprehensible motion.
This was the moment when I realised that God’s plan is absolutely
perfect. Like the pond-skimmers, our lives appear chaotic. We run around with mindless goals and futile
aspirations. On our own, our lives are limited; imperfect. Yet behind it all,
God is in control. His beautiful
universe is ordered and fits together perfectly. We only have to reach for His
guiding-hand to be embraced into His Perfect Plan.
"For I know the plans I have for your," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
"Dear Lord, teach me to rest in Your Perfect plan."