I am Satisfied in….?

I am rarely ever completely satisfied with what I have. There’s always someone I can look at and think “Why can’t I do my hair as well as she does? Why can’t my skin be as smooth as hers? Wow look at those legs. If I had those legs I’d be a whole other woman”. It even creeps unapologetically into spiritual life; “Why can’t I pray like that? God, why don’t you ever give me those kinds of blessings? Well, I guess God just didn’t want me to have a solo career as a Christian soul singer/rapper/poet.”

It’s funny because it looks right into one of the basic features of being human; we are rarely ever completely happy with what we have when we are aware of the blessings of others. Now I have to point out, there is a difference between admiring the work of God in someone’s life (for example how he used a friend in teaching an atheist about the truth of the Gospel which leads to them being baptised) and potentially secretly envying them (for example wishing he had used you to take down the whole group of atheists and turn them into a Gospel street-preaching-choir). I mean really, everyone wants to be that person who leads a billion people to God…or maybe that’s just me.

I really enjoy the preaching of Judah Smith. His style speaks to me because even though I’m Catholic and I like that cool, calm and structured way of worshipping, when I go and speak to anyone about anything pertaining to the Bible or Gospel or God, all the characters turn into gangstas. I don’t know, I think in my mind when I describe them in this way I understand what I’m saying a lot better. I’m not quite polished at using that fancy rhetoric, and especially when I’m speaking to someone who has minimal knowledge about anything involving my faith I find it connects better. I’m not trying to make the Bible sound hip and I’m not drowning it in glitter because have you met Jesus? He’s already the coolest guy I know and the Bible’s an awesome read. That’s where I feel Judah and I are similar. We are both wannabe gangstas, he’s just more popular than I am. Anyway, I’ve been reading his latest book ‘Life Is____’ and it’s great. At one point he wonders how happy we would be if we had no information about our friends and neighbours, and I think that has some truth to it.

The other night I went for Bible study and I was feeling good, ready to share my testimony and tell everyone how God had blessed me that week. I was practically buzzing and my heart was singing silent psalms of praise to the Father. As we went around the circle the tone of my heart was pretty solid until we arrived at one person. She told us about how she had been in communion with Jesus during the weekend. She described how she had locked herself in her room and actually forgotten about the outside world because she was just enjoying being with Jesus, talking to him, singing, revelling in his presence. And little me sat up in my seat wondering why God never called me to do that. I wanted that too. It’s happened before with so many other situations where someone wins a prize or brings out the big guns during fellowship bringing everyone in awe of God, and sometimes I think to myself and wonder why my blessings are always so much smaller than everyone else’s. Ironically before I even knew about their blessings I was feeling pretty good about mine. I was feeling invincible. I felt adored by God. Jesus was my anchor and the Spirit was my sail.

My friends and I often acknowledge how humans are rarely ever happy with what they have. We always want someone else’s hair or eyes or complexion or height when God’s already given us a pretty sweet deal if only we looked into ourselves a little more rather than at others.

God is just and after Jesus he really doesn’t have favourites. He is a just and fair God even when we don’t always see or acknowledge it. Besides, no two relationships are identical. The way I relate to God is different from every other people and it mainly consists of an occasional tug-of-war, one-sided arguments, sulking, and lots of smiles and laughter. My day of communing with God may look different to yours because we are different children at different stages of our spiritual development.

Keeping this in mind I’m going to try a bit harder to be thankful in all and every situation he throws my way. When it’s my turn to win a ruler and a friend’s turn to win a bicycle I’ll be happy with my ruler and happy for my friend and their bicycle. It’s just another thing Jesus has to help me sort out; to first be satisfied with him and then be satisfied with everything he gives me. After all he knows best.

Edge of Desire/I Will Wait

What better to bring me back but a matter of the heart!

I’ve never been that kind of girl who’s been planning her wedding since she was a child. I didn’t dream about my Prince Charming, coming in and sweeping me off my feet. I did crave the relationships born out of pure friendships. I did crave the presence of a boy who would give me his football (aka soccer) jersey to wear with pride. I craved having someone to tell all my problems to who wasn’t my mother or my brothers or my father or my dogs.

From a young age however I made the personal decision that I wouldn’t date anyone just to pass the time. When my time to date arrived I’d be looking for a husband. Now when you make this decision before your 16th birthday you’re bound to stumble and end up falling for probably not the best person out there. That’s exactly what happened. I fell for a guy who visited my church often. Eventually he started attending my church for me. I was so happy to have someone pay attention to me that I blinded myself from all the warning signs until it was too late and I was close to ending myself (there were a lot of unaddressed, underlying issues). As with all the events in my life I learnt to return to God, he was there with me through it all and I knew he would be there with me at the end of it all. I found my solace and sanctuary in the Lord God and I felt whole. More complete than I’d ever been before.

When I left home for university I was focused. I knew what I was going for and I was taking my God and my heart with me.

The university environment made it impossible to ignore the coupled groups around me. I was genuinely content with being single and sticking to being coupled with Jesus. He’s the ultimate love and he fills me with joy.

Lately however I’ve been feeling more alone, more isolated from the seemingly coupled majority. I am a virgin and I’ve only kissed one boy in my life and I’m proud of that. Perhaps it’s an attack on my person because I’ve been feeling the pressure lately. I’ve started a Pinterest board where I pin ideas for my wedding. I know what style dress I want at my wedding, I’ve started looking at bridesmaid dresses, and wedding cupcakes. I’ve begun making references to how I will and will not raise my children. I’ve written letters to my future husband…and yet I’m still single.

I don’t hate my singleness and I have no intention to waste it. When my heart hurts I crack open good ol’ Philippians 4 and tell God what’s on my heart. I watch videos like Janette…ikz’s ‘I will Wait’ and Joseph Solomon’s ‘Worth the Wait’. I rejoice at friends who are getting married or are just in happy relationships. I pray for my future husband frequently. My heart was even genuinely glad when my beloved Justin Timberlake got married and now he’s going to be a father!

Yet I feel like I’m still slipping into the desires of my flesh. I’m looking at a dear friend of mine with eyes and a heart filled with expectation even though I know my feelings aren’t reciprocated. I suppose what troubles me most in this situation is the fact that I feel like I’m at risk of giving away my heart to someone who hasn’t asked for it but I’m that desperate that I’m prepared to make him take it. At the same time I’m disappointed in myself because I’m giving my heart to an outline of the man I want, not the whole package.

I vowed years ago that I wouldn’t give my heart to someone who wouldn’t lead me to heaven and didn’t love God/Jesus/HolySpirit more than me. Lord give me strength so I don’t waver in that!

I’m not sad and I don’t regret my decision to wait for the man God made for me. I am genuinely content living my life with my God. At the end of the day marriage is meant to reflect Jesus’ love for the church, so Jesus will be my foundation no matter what path God sets me on. He’s been kind enough to allow me to see heavenly couples who are best friends and support one another on their spiritual and earthly journey. I’m especially grateful for being able to grow up in a household led by a couple exactly like that; my parents.

I have faith in the plans he has for me, and for each one of you who’s ever felt the same as me. Maybe you’ve found your other and you’re happily married or planning to marry. Maybe you’ve gotten frustrated from having to wait and you’ve settled for less than you know God would want you to have. Maybe you’ve been hurt and you’ve turned to other ways of satisfying the desires of your heart. That’s okay, but remind yourself about the Almighty, looking down upon you without judgement. Is what you have right now the sum of the grace he’s gifted us with or are you tired of waiting on the edge of desire?

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for who you are. Thank you for letting us love you but more importantly thank you for your unconditional love for us. Lord, forgive us for the times we stumble and settle for less than you have planned for us. Forgive us for the times we take our lives out of your hands because we’re tired of waiting for what you have in store. Remind us of the grace and peace you have left for us, within us. 

For the couples Lord I pray that you may be the foundation upon which they base their love.

For the singles Lord I pray you may help us guard our hearts and only give them to the people you have destined us to.

And for those who you have called to a life of singleness; I pray that you may fill their hearts with Jesus.

For all Lord, quench our thirst, grant us your peace and patience, and may everything we do be for your glory.We are nothing without you Jesus. You are our everything.

Amen

They walk among us

God is love. You are His angel

Each day my views of the world are reshaped and transformed by the touch of the Lord in my life and the lives of those around me. One concept which I believe I’ve finally begun to grasp is the concept of angels. Most of us are familiar with the concept of saints and how the Bible describes us all as saints when we believe in God and follow the ways He has set out for us (some are just recognised by the church more than others but we are all saints). I’ve been touched enough to believe that in the world there are scatterings of angels from whom resonate the warmth and love of heaven; an unearthly kind of joy and happiness and love.

If you ask anyone who knew my grandmother they would say that she was a clear example of an angel on Earth. She could speak to anyone and everyone and at her funeral there were politicians, diplomats, civil servants, nurses, doctors, unemployed people, gardeners and maids all present because she had managed to touch each of them with a heavenly love and acceptance. Ironically, to the average human, her name was Angelina which means ‘little angel’. Like I’ve mentioned before I no longer believe in coincidences and while this cannot be given as an example of unquestionable action by God I do think that He had it planned out that way.

The reason that I was struck by this concept of angels on earth is because of a woman I happened to meet. When you first meet her or see her from a distance one wouldn’t think that she’s a Christian, she just doesn’t fit the mold we tend to have in our minds. She has long black and pink hair, laughs louder than most and has a past which only a character in a novel could bear. She has been blessed with the same heavenly presence I felt radiating from my grandmother years ago and she doesn’t seem to know it. Last night we celebrated a birthday in the city and on our way back we met a man in his 30s. Everything about him screamed trouble, drugs and a little bit of crazy. He looked like a punk.

This woman, let’s call her Jane, struck up a conversation with him. First she asked about his lip and tongue piercings. Then she asked about his age. Then his sexuality which surprised both me and a friend we were with. As their conversation progressed we were ready to step in and pin him to the ground if it came to that but there they sat, across from us in the train talking like old friends. I didn’t want to eavesdrop but from what I picked up he was a homosexual man who had encountered a lot of pain and rejection in his life, and there was Jane, talking to him ‘on his own level’, as a friend and reformed drug addict herself. Occasionally the name ‘Jesus’ would touch our ears. Suddenly, to our surprise and the surprise of the others on the train, he burst into tears. This man who had seemed so confident, cocky, crude and funny was crying. Something about the scene made me feel so broken. Before I knew it Jane was crying too and then our friend joined in the tears. There was this man who had gone through so much pain and turmoil, being told that he was something that he really wasn’t, having grown complacent in his own imperfection. There in that train was someone who was telling him about God and Jesus, the 3-in-1 who love him more than he had ever known before. He was being given another chance instead of just being written off like he had been his whole life. A stranger had made him cry.

I won’t say that he was immediately converted and was singing Alleluia in the train from then on but he was touched by something, on a level which we as people may never fully comprehend. God had sent this person who had spoken to him in a way he had possibly never been spoken to. Everything in me had said to keep away from him but there he was sitting across from me, hugging this woman who had experienced so much of what he had. It may be one of the most out-of-this-world things that I have ever witnessed.

Apart from this man Jane spoke to bikers, drunkards and who knows who else over the course of one night and while not all of them may have been convinced they did hear about Jesus from someone who loved him. It’s not always about who loves Jesus though, the emphasis I want to place is on this person, so loved by God, that He has entrusted her to preach to the broken without actually preaching to them. She has done so much in her life that would put off so many people but she is the kind of Christian whom Jesus loves; imperfect, a smoker, a drinker, a friend, a servant to his Gospel. She’s the brand of person that I would like to be when I’m older but I know that the plan for me may be a different one.

There is a purpose for each and every one of us. God has made it so that we may use the talents He has blessed us with in order to serve Him as best we can. For Jane and for my gogo it’s through talking to people. His plan for me is probably something different or something similar. God has a plan for each of us and when we live that plan, I do believe that we radiate His glory and we too become angels.

One day, today and for the rest of my life, I’d like to make Him proud and be the earthly angel He intended me to be. I pray that you may find that gift of the Holy Spirit in you as well and that together we can glorify Him.

Praise the Lord O my soul! Worship His Holy name. Sing like never before, o my soul, I worship your Holy name!

God bless you

“God Is Not A Man”

Occasionally I counsel young people struggling with depression, anxiety and other such disorders. It can be both challenging and fulfilling. Recently I’ve been challenged to not hide my faith when I am providing advice. Some people agree, some don’t comment at all. You can imagine how negative people’s views of God/religion can be.

Recently there was a girl who started a discussion asking whether or not people believe that God answers prayers. The responses were equally divided. Some said yes, others said no, some said that He listens but may not always answer them. There was one girl who stated that God doesn’t exist and the Bible is lies. When I asked her why she replied “Because I said so”. The sad thing is that she is not the only one out there. My response to the discussion was that God always listens to prayers. Always. The problem arises when it comes to finding an answer to these prayers. You see, mankind has it in their minds that when you pray you get what you want, but I’m relatively sure that that isn’t what prayer’s about. Mother Theresa once said “More tears are shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.” The answer to a prayer doesn’t have to be ‘yes’; sometimes it has to be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or ‘not yet’, but mankind is often too selfish to accept an answer that isn’t ‘yes, of course! Let me do it now!’

As I mentioned in my last post God had no obligation to make us but chose to make us anyway. That is the foundation of my personal definition of grace. Why is it that when people think of God as being a just, loving being He must conform to what we want Him to be? Since when does an apple go to the chef and say ‘Hey buddy, I want you to make me into a pie’? The chef may indeed want to bake a pie and he may use the apple or he may use the cherries or the steak instead. Does the apple then say because it was not made into a pie then the chef doesn’t exist?

I’ve never doubted the existence of God. To me He was always present and watching and I was just trying to figure Him out. I am guilty however of trying to make God into a man. I wanted to understand God and so I’d try draw pictures of God with me sitting in His lap, or after my grandmother passed away I demanded that He bring her back because I knew that for Him it wasn’t impossible, after all He had breathed life into her to start with. So many other people try to get the concept of ‘God’ in a neatly wrapped package in their mind and they like to believe that they understand God. They like to believe that they have God in their pockets, ready to whip out when they need Him. Since when does God conform to what you (a mere insignificant pixel in the vast unending universe) want Him (the Almighty Father of Heaven and Earth, and Creator of the universe) to do for you?

When speaking to people who have some form of anxiety disorder you can’t really present this sort of view to them in the same way that I’m doing so now. A lot of them find strength in God and others are enraged at this God who gave them an illness which makes them want to slit their wrists at every waking moment on a daily basis. It is hard though, I would never lie and say that it isn’t.
Often atheists will bring up the world’s various illnesses, whether they be war or poverty or high mortality rates, and ask how this ‘apparently all knowing, all loving God’ allows all the chaos and pain of the world to happen. Is He not able to make it better or is He simply not there? In regards to this let’s look back to the Old Testament. God made the universe and it was good and He made man and woman and all was good until sin came along. Sin and our own sinful nature is what has lead us to where we are. We know the difference between right and wrong and yet we choose to do wrong anyway and then complain when God doesn’t instantly fix everything for us.
So many people were given countless chances,for example in Kings, and it was through their own disobedience of God that they met death and dischord. He kept saving them and they would be good again for a while then fall back and they would be punished then saved then it would happen all over again. I’m surprised God hasn’t just become fed-up with us by this stage. Seeing that there could only be one solution to this, so that every person would be saved and God could punish sin at the same time, The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us aka Jesus Christ. Jesus came, the human embodiment of God, in order to give us another chance and to take our punishment for us. Here it may get a bit tricky; Jesus did die for us but He truly died so that God could spare us but still exact His wrath and so He did so upon Himself in the form of His only begotten Son. He did it because He wanted to, it was all according to His will. No other human has ever had to endure that and yet we still believe that for us to acknowledge and agree that there is a God He must first prove it to us by granting our every desire. If you want a genie go off into the Arabian desert and look for one but I’m going to stick with the God who I am completely incapable of comprehending.

Another argument that’s often brought up is the battle of religions; Christians against Christians, Jews against Christians, Jews against Muslims, Christians against Muslims, Muslims against the world, Christians against the world. Why believe in something that causes so much sadness in the world? I’ll address this from my point of view, feel free to disagree and comment your own understanding. I believe that God isn’t in these disputes. God has sent armies to punish people before but where there is hatred and rage in the heart I don’t believe that you leave enough space for God to work. It’s more likely that the voice of the Holy Spirit within you is silenced. God is in actions of love because God is love. Love starts with Him and ends with Him. Not everyone is given an easy life but it’s like a diamond which starts off as coal or a piece of rock which starts off jagged and coarse but is weathered into something smooth and shiny. It would be wrong to believe that because you’re going through a hard time God isn’t with you. He is, holding your hand along the way. In the moments where you don’t get what you want or you face some form of hardship it doesn’t instantly mean that there’s no God or that He hates you, look around, maybe it was someone else’s turn to receive a blessing and yours is coming by snail mail instead.

I don’t want God to be a man. I don’t want Him to be someone I can wrap up neatly in my mind. I don’t want Him to do what I want but rather what I need. I don’t want to view Him as though He were a meal from McDonald’s (Here’s your God, do you want a slice of peace with that?). If I made Him into a tangible being that I could fully comprehend then I might as well walk out the door, find the first guy saying things I agree with and go worship him. Sounds ridiculous right? So why do we feel that it’s ok to do that to God?

At times I sit in my room alone and ask, why do you believe in God and why do you believe that He is a good God? It’s similar to trying to describe to someone why you’re favourite song is your favourite song. You could explain the lyrics, the sets, the instruments, the notes, the key changes and the emotional psychological impact, but at the end of the day you can’t explain something like that. You just know when you know.

In a single sentence what I’m saying is that God was not made for man, man was made for God. Below I’ve added a link to a video I found recently, it describes what I’m getting at quite well.

May God watch over you, your family and all your loved ones and may we all marvel at His awesomeness and show love in our actions.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”- Hebrews11:1