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The Faceless Ones

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God’s Thought’s to Me

“For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy, he has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help.” (Ps. 22;24, NLT)

“I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.” (Mat.25:43(b), NLT)

Introduction

imageToday I am so honored to introduce my friend, Joy Lenton. She is a very special lady who suffers from ME/CFS and arthritis.

Joy is a mother and wife to her husband, Phil. She used to work as a nurse before becoming chronically ill.

Joy and her husband live in Norfolk, United Kingdom. To visit her blog, just click on her picture. Thank you, dear friend, for blessing me by being a guest at my place. Over to you.

The Girl with Light in Her Eyes

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Sadly those who are too sick to work have to contend with issues of shame. In a society where we are “framed, boxed, categorised, sifted, found wanting in society’s eyes” as I wrote about in the poem here, we experience deep frustration at being pigeon-holed and stigmatized.

It all impacts our lives adversely, affecting our relationships and connections with others.

On the rare occasions when I am alone downstairs in the house and have to answer the door during a late morning/afternoon/evening period in my night-clothes, wearing  bed-head hair, a dazed, sleepy expression and a veneer of embarrassment, …

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…I either say nothing (for such a state is normal to those who know me) or mumble something like, “Please excuse me, I’m unwell today” to those I don’t.

Then I hasten to close the door as fast as possible to avoid curious stares from neighbours or passers-by who may wonder what they are seeing.

I just want them to understand I am sick rather than lazy. Does it always take a stick or wheelchair to convince people we are ill?

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As someone who used to be thought of as attractive, took a fair amount of time and trouble over her appearance, sought out clothes to enhance and suit my figure, it is a far cry from those days to be where I am now .

I am almost permanently pyjama-clad due to the time I spend resting in bed or too exhausted to make the effort required to get up and dressed,  and I’m far too weary to let it worry me as it would have done before.

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I have a body that doesn’t walk like it should, lists and comes to a halt after a very short distance, is riddled with and swollen-jointed by arthritis, sinks wearily under M.E fatigue.

I have a face marked by the effects of over 20 years of chronic illness, exhaustion, pain, medication-taking, as well as the natural ageing process. I feel ashamed of my appearance at times. It doesn’t reflect how I feel on the inside.

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Though I’m far busier these days trying to work on the inner beauty that endures and cannot be taken away. To feel ashamed just for being ill is an additional burden we don’t need. And, yes, there are other areas of shame that have a great impact on relationships.

One of those is having experienced childhood sexual abuse. To have precious innocence taken and adult things pressed on a mind and body too young to understand them is a horrible thing indeed.

Those of us who have experienced it feel that we not only carry a huge scarlet letter ‘S’ for shame hanging around our necks, but have it imprinted on our very souls.

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Many who carry this shame stigma also carry a burden of emotional trauma, often leading to mental and physical illness, whereby the acid accumulation seems to leach into our very frame causing deep emotional/physical pain and disorder.

It can take a great deal of time, wrestling, prayer, struggle, pain, counseling, and much Holy Spirit input and help to work through the devastating legacy it leaves us with.

Full emotional healing cannot be rushed. So why share these things? Aren’t they meant to be private? Well, yes, and no.

The minutiae of how people deal with these issues is something for them to work out individually and together as a couple. But the sadness and frustration they cause is something to make known if it will help even one other person to feel less isolated and alone.

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Actually, it’s the hiding, shaming and embarrassment that keeps us from feeling understood or getting the support we need.

When your daily life experience lacks most of the defining vestiges of normality, it tends to reduce life to a drive to appear normal in the midst of personal chaos. And to a drive to see lives changed, with health and wholeness restored….one day.

In our image-obsessed society and culture, all of us who fail to manifest the perceived ‘norm’ ideal can be left feeling totally inadequate and shamed. Much depends on where we place our worth and value and where others do too.

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“We are “normal” in God’s eyes when we demonstrate endurance and long-suffering, when we keep looking to the unseen things. This is the normal Christian life” ~ Joni Eareckson Tada ‘Daily Devotionals’.

Let me reassure you, my friend, we are ‘normal’ right now, even when our lives and bodies may feel anything but, no matter how well or badly we function, no matter our level of disability. Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.

If, in naming and discussing these issues I can bring a greater degree of clarity, understanding, empathy or practical solution-finding to the mix then it will have been worthwhile.

We need to speak out. To air our concerns. To make invisible illness visible. To open up a forum for discussion so that others who suffer like-wise (and those who may follow after) will be assisted to live as fully and freely as God intended.

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For God the Father is not ashamed to call us His children who are restored, whole, beloved, precious and beautiful in His sight as He looks at us through the lens of Christ our Lord and Saviour.

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

Writing Stories

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God’s Thoughts to Me

See, I have written your name on the palms of my Hands (Isaiah 49:16, NLT).

He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love He will calm your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs (Zephaniah 3:17b, NLT).

Love Letters In Sandy Soil

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Long, long ago, before the birth of time, You were the Author of Creation when the intensity of Your Love exploded into the story of man.

Breathless with desire, you created a crown for your glory … the ones to enjoy your love forever … the ones who refused the fruit of your Passion.

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Yet, still, you write love stories at the break of each day with the rays of sunlight to woo your lost ones home. You splash your words with the colorful mercies in the promises of rainbows.

You caress us with beautiful birdsong and the fragrance of your compassion is captured in the petals of delicate flowers.

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You heal the bended reeds with the fresh early morning dew drops of your grace.

Every faintly flickering firefly shines brightly with new life and the glory of your gladness after you have touched them with the brilliance of your smile.

You are the Author of a the love letter once written in the quicksand of the world when I was naked and soiled in the eyes of the monster called Self-Righteousness.

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You bent down to where I was lying in the dirty soil of despair, petrified and shivering with fear as rocks and stones of cruel words were killing me slowly.

Your gentle heart touched my fragility and filth and transformed my sin soiled rags into the beautiful gown of Your Righteousness. You crowned me with the crown of your glory.

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You gathered me into your Embrace and wrote a new song in the dusty soil of my brokenness … a special song where I am yours … the most beautiful of all … a song where you are my Beloved.

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

Linking -up with Lisa-Jo and the ladies at my Tea Time and Link-Up page

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Knocking on Heaven’s Door

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God’s Thoughts to Me

The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20, NIV).

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said,”I believe; help my unbelief (Mark 9:24, ESV)”.

Enoch’s Secret

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There was a nagging thought that had the habit of pestering me every Sunday after church, “What makes you any different from all the people who walk the aisles of the grocery store when the first thing you do after church is walking with them along the same aisles in the same store?”

My heart was compelled by a persistent still small voice urging me to find the reason for this thief stealing my pseudo peace.

I had no idea that it was our Pappa convicting me through the avenues of my conscience about my hypocrisy.

This peace had the abilty to make me feel smugly superior to these poor lost souls. I know now that it was only a fabrication of the latest great gospel songs we sang at church. Music does have the ability to lull the soul. And today’s gospel music has a great beat and melody.

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I envied Enoch who knew the secret of just walking with God and I did the only thing I knew how to do well. I went knocking on heaven’s door, imploring Pappa to teach me Enoch’s secret.

And my Pappa answered!! I admitted to Him and Him alone, alongside many voices through the ages, that I had no idea what true faith really was!

I lamented alongside Mike Yaconelli, “I had totally misunderstood the Christian faith. I came to see that it was in my brokeness, in my powerlessness, in my weakness that Jesus was made strong. It was in my acceptance of my lack of faith that God could give me faith (Abba’s Child)”.

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Together with the father of the boy with the evil spirit, I cried out to our heavenly Father,”I believe; help my unbelief (Mark 9:24)”.

Our Pappa tenderly showed me how I desperately tried to manufacture faith through striving very hard, on my own, in the flesh. What a futile endeavor!

He knew of my fear of being included in the crowd who were chided by Jesus, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you?” (Mark 9:19).

He knew of my uncertainties and insecurities that made me believe our Lord was speaking to me in particular. He was well aware that in my vocabulary and my mind, “faithless” meant, “unlovable, useless, nuisance, shameful” and so forth!

When I came to that place where I had to admit defeat, our Pappa showed me the beauty of relationship. He didn’t give me faith as an entity per se; He gave me Himself.

The deep longing to desire Him and love Him, and then to love Him and desire Him even more, was the answer to my persistent prayers of years ago! Truth be told, I didn’t think I was worthy or important enough for Him to listen to my prayers, let alone, respond to my requests.

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First, He patiently had to remove the veil of law still covering my mind. The glorious truth and understanding of grace were veiled in my heart.

Like a bridegroom removes his bride’s veil, He removed the veil that prevented my heart from KNOWING His love … His grace … His mercy and compassion.

He gave me the wedding gift of receptiveness to receive Him into my longing heart and taught me the secrets of any relationship of love.

He convinced me that to get to know one another, I had to share with Him not only my life, but also my heart with all its secrets and my depreciating thoughts of myself.

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I willingly had to open the door of my heart to the room where a little girl was still hiding in fear, rejection and pain. I had to allow Him to gather her in His arms and heal her with His Kisses of Delight.

I had to dare to believe that He truly loved me unconditionally before I was able to show Him my spiritual nakedness and allow Him to clothe me with His righteous robe of His blood and redemption.

He whisked me off my feet to our private garden where He showed me the beauty of true love … where He overwhelmed me with His grace and forgiveness.

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He taught me Enoch’s secret of how to walk with Him, living in His Loving Embrace.

Much love and sweet blessings XX

Mia

Linking-up with

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The Joy of The Lord

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God’s Thoughts to Me

This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength! (Nehemia 8:10, NLT).

The Kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21, NIV)

The Kingdom Within

We were all created with the longing to be loved … accepted, faults, failures, boots and all! It is quite the opposite of what the world teaches.

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From childhood we are bombarded with the lie that we need to be independent! Stand on your own two feet. At best, keep your feelings at bay!

Work hard and climb the ladder to success, only to find that there is no end to this striving, no end to this crazy scurrying to nowhere!

And this longing to be loved goes unfulfilled. And we starve!

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Another lie that is soon added to the world’s diet, is that worldy pleasures supposedly would still the hunger in our hearts for fulfillment.

We soon learn that playing just as hard as we work, is another prerequisite for happiness.

At some stage we begin to realize that there must be much more than this rat race that ends up only in the cat’s stomach and we feel the first stirrings of the sweet Holy Spirit drawing us to the heart of our magnificent Creator.

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Some people try to quiet this stiil, sweet voice through drugs or sex or alcohol, only to spiral down into the destruction of their ability to be human.

Others sell their souls to a career only to find that ladder resting against a shaky wall, built on an even shakier foundation.

Others seek filfillment in sports and different societies, but I have found that my nemesis was religion!

My heart was like a sunflower turning its head towards organized religion hoping to find the warmth of the Son.

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I was experiencing all these stages of life while I was a member of a church, a Sunday School teacher and part of a Bible study group and I was at my wits end.

For even there I couldn’t experience that deep inner joy and love my whole being craved for.

I cannot even begin to describe the intensity of that longing and how it robbed me of my ability to eat or to sleep.

I started on a journey, an inner journey, through the streets of the heavenly Jerusalem … a journey to find the priceless, costly pearl … that pearl of incalculable value.

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Like the Shulamite, I said to myself, “I will get up and roam the city, searching in all its streets and squares. I will search for the one I love. So I searched everywhere but did not find Him (Song of Songs 3:2, NLT).”

Yes, I tried everything religion had to offer in the name of my beloved Lord Jesus. Yet, all to no avail.

I soon realized I was in an adulterous affair with the letter of the word and it was killing me slowly but surely (2 Corinthians 3:6), while my heart was longing, no craving, for the love of the Living Word!

Yet, it is so human to prefer the familiar, known streets of captivity, than escaping to the glorious freedom of the unknown.

I had to ask for grace to leave it all behind and to start my journey to Mount Zion … grace to be bigger and wiser than my fears!

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When I read verses like Nehemia 8:10 , I became so frustrated, for the much coveted joy seemed to mock me in its absence.

Until one day when I realized that I was not searching for my Beloved with my whole heart like our Pappa advises us to do,”If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me (Jeremiah 29:13, NLT).

Just then and there I decided to take the first step … that leap into the unknown and my whole heart rose up to seek and find the one I love. I cried out … deep cried out onto deep … longing, craving, starving for my Beloved.

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Then, one day in the early morning hours after another sleepless night, I was sitting on the floor, totally lost in my longing to be found by Him, when a shining white figure of a man appeared next to me. He held out His hand, inviting me softly, kindly and gently to come.

Just that one word,”COME”.

At first I was frightened, for after all, I didn’t believe in ghosts. But He kept inviting me with so much love and kindness that I couldn’t resist Him any longer. I took His hand and collapsed into His being.

I was lost in love and peace and surprised by JOY unspeakable.

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I was lost in His Loving Embrace.

Much love xx

Mia

Linking-up with

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At My Beloved’s Table

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God’s Thoughts to Me

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5::22, NLT).

Living in My Beloved

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My Beloved Lord Jesus, living in you and you in me, transformed my heart, allowing me to feast on the spiritual delights of your love.

Where selfishness were the reigning monarch of my soul,  you have created colorful blossoms of joy.

Where the storms of life threatened to destroy my life on the rocks of turmoil, the gentle breeze of your patience has steered my heart to still, calm waters.

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Where the stormy dark clouds of my petulance, blocked the sunshine of your heart, your brilliant, patient smile melted the crust of ice enveloping my soul.

Where rudeness was my fortress of protection against the hurt and sorrow of this world, your kindness demolished those walls of lies and brought me to the safe tower of  your gentleness and kindness.

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When you could only catch a glimmer of faith in my heart, as I was fearing and fleeing from your pursuing love, your faithfulness brought me back to the vineyard of your affection.

Where I was the captain of my soul, you were the captor who took control and gently uprooted my independence and grafted me into the vine … into your life … into your Loving Embrace.

Much love xx

Mia

I am again linking-up with

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Songs the World Sings

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God’s Thoughts to Me

To what can I compare this generation? It is like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends, “We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t mourn” (Matthew 11:16-17, NLT).

Prisons of Boxes

imagePain and exhaustion greet me every morning when I arise to the gift of a new day our Lord has made, a day to rejoice and to be glad in Him.

I am enveloped and embraced by a debillitating chronic disease, Fm/CFS. According to the clever people, this illness has disabled my whole nervous system and not much is working the way it should!

Sometimes, when my bird friends welcome the new day with a beautiful song, their joyful singing cause a sensory overload in my body and pain washes over me like the waves of the sea, breaking on the sand … wave upon wave upon wave of excruciating pain.

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When the frolicking rays of the sun invite me to come and play this game called life, I have to seek shade and darkness for their brightness pierce my body … stabbing … cutting … wounding, and the result, more pain!

My mind is encamped by another Fibro friend, Mr Fog! This  guy steals my thoughts and words like a thief in the night;  for this one truly is invisible!

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But this box has another side … the only side visible to the world. It is beautifully wrapped in colorful gift wrap. It is decorated with satin ribbons and perky bows of lace … a frivilous box fiiled with jokes and tears.

imageBut this is a facade … a heartbreaking, lying facade. It tells another story the world chooses to believe and adds tons upon tons of heartache. For it causes a short-circuit, overburdening an already disabled nervous system.

The world mostly finds it easier to label this illness as a monster in the mind; a psychological monster.

But this time the pain cuts much deeper than flesh … it cripples the heart and the soul. This monster has the ability to inflict pain where it hurts the most.

Yet, our Pappa God, in His divine wisdom, knew that I was held captive, floating aimlessly in another prison … the prison called “The Ways of The World”. The prison warden of this jail was a detestable master of telling lies.

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He overwhelmed me with  neatly wrapped boxes of systems, rules and laws. Political systems … economical systems … social systems … systems of morality … but … the most dangerous of all;  religious systems, laws and regulations.

Systems and laws forcing the  common folk  to hold their tongues and not query the status quo.

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The maestros of these songs want to play wedding songs for their followers to dance … or funeral songs for them to cry. They love a charade of play-acting and role-playing with them as the directors of activities.

They call the shots, but are seldom happy with our performance for we can never measure up to their demands.

We are damned if we do … and damned if we don’t … So the games go on and on and on in a never ending circle of performance.

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And I danced and mourned and cried and performed until the blessed day arrived when my Pappa released me from that unbearable burden … that prison of pretense … of trying to please the world and the directors of its ways.

Our Pappa took away my ability to mourn and dance and perform on the lyrics of the songs the world sings. My feet and my heart ached from  all the useless striving on the dance floor of life.

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He freed my heart and spirit from the prison of this world and gave me citizenship in heaven.

He showed me the absolute futility of trying to do what only He can do and which He does with excellence, saving me and His creation from the chains of sin, death, chaos and destruction.

He wiped away all my tears, healed my broken heart and whispered love-filled words to my soul. His song of love, joy and peace opened a new world to my understanding.

He opened all the worldly boxes imprisoning me, freed me and gathered me into His rest … into His life … into His Loving Embrace.

Much love XX

Mia

Linking-up with

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A Woman in a Closet

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God’s Thoughts to Me

I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves will come after I leave, not sparing the flock (Acts 20:29, NLT).

These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostels of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14, NLT).

A Fearful Bride

The King of Heaven and His Father were riding in the splendour of a chariot of clouds through universes on roads paved with many rainbows, inspecting galaxies, planets, stars and the whole new world the King has prepared for His Bride, His Royal Lady Ekklesia.

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With pensive longing, yet filled with excitement, the King asked His Father, “Pappa, when can I go to fetch my bride?”.

He was shocked into silence when He saw a solitary tear of anguish running down His Father’s cheek as He replied, “Not soon, my Son, not soon!”, thinking of the beautiful bride  … a bride ravaged by wolves.

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Thunder and lightning of pain escaped His heart as He looked at His Son with divine pain of pity that cannot be contained in the confines of words and exploded through the vastness of time and universes.

Shocked, the King looked with apprehension at His Father. His eyes were oceans filled with unanswered questions, grieved beyond comprehension at the naked sorrow and pain that darkened His Father’s face.

“Why Pappa, why? And why have your sorrow brought darkness to our whole creation? Don’t you love my bride? That is just not possible!” the King explained while His eyes echoed the thousands upon thousands of questions that have been asked since all eternity.

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Hastily He added,”Have you perhaps forgotten the Ketubah and the bride price I paid for my Beloved? Pappa, remember how we signed the contract with my blood? Please, Pappa, please! Don’t forget to remember my joy when she agreed to be my sister, my bride!”.

By now He was pleading with His Pappa. But His Father couldn’t contain His sorrow any longer and universes were swept away by His tears. “Have you not heard, my Son? Have you not seen? Don’t you hear the angels singing and lamenting a song of sorrow over your beautiful Beloved? “.

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Perplexed, the King looked at His Pappa, “Why Pappa, what ails my Beloved?”. His voice was filled with such concern and love that even the radiance of His love transformed into an orchestra of color that evolved into new stars, because of its intensity that cannot be contained!

With resignation, yet firm determination, His Father replied, “Your Bride, my Son is hiding in a religious closet! She is terrified of you and me and us! Do you recall your words to her just before you came back home to prepare a house for her? Savage wolves have come after your departure, masquerading as angels of light, telling her damnable lies about us.”

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His visage suddenly brightened and the whole creation was suddenly filled with a joyful song of love, “But, don’t be afraid my Son, I am already wooing Her back to your heart. I am keeping her company there in the closet, my Sweet Holy Spirit is whispering unceasingly … words filled with warmth … with beauty … with incredible, divine love. She is not alone for we promised her that we will never leave her or forsake her. I am cuddling her in my Loving Embrace!”.

Much love xx

Mia

Linking-up with Missional Women.

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I have the honor of linking-up today with the Five Minute Friday team where I have broken all the rules, for His love is to much too contain in a Five Minute time slot! Please, forgive, it was more like 15 minutes today!

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