Tag Archive | suffering

A Turbulent Heart

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God’s Thoughts to Me

My soul followeth hard after Thee; Thy right Hand upholdeth me (Psalm 63:8 KJV).

She has heard about Jesus, so she came up behind Him through the crowd and touched His robe (Mark 5:27, NLT).

Behind The Veil

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The late Brennan Manning said in his book, The Lion And The Lamb,” You will trust God only as much as you love Him. You will love Him not because you have studied Him. You will love Him only because you have touched Him – in response to His touch”.

Divine wisdom wrapped in Truth. Jesus warned the Pharisees that they were searching the Scriptures daily thinking that in them they had eternal Life.

But they were oblivious to the Living Word, blind to the Eternal Life standing right in front of them and they were doomed.

I recall a time in my own life when I was stumbling through a severe winter season. My physiology and psychology were naked and lost in sinister, dark, lifeless forest of religiosity.

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The giant branches of the ancient trees of traditions gnarled its fingers around my turbulent heart, trying to steal the last shreds which were panting for streams of the Living Quiet Waters of freedom.

They locked me up with the chains of religious high-sounding words in the cruel grip of laws and rules and regulations at a time when my body was immobilized by pain and exhaustion.

But like the Pharisees, my spirit was the prisoner of the lifeless idol of Bibliolatry. Silent pitiful cries and despondent tears enveloped me with an unbearable longing to touch the Robe of the Beloved.

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For many years I was an avid student of Theology and had the fundamentals of the faith at my fingertips. I could almost quote the Bible, chapter and verse.

I fell in love with the idea of God’s grace and love, but this love affair was only a figment of my imagination.

It was a poor substitute for that almost magical reality of a spirit becoming one in union with the sweet Spirit of God; that intimate closeness that seemed so utterly unobtainable.

It was not for lack of trying; just the opposite. I was the master striver, striving earnestly to build beautifully crafted altars, begging God to consume my hand crafted offers with the fire of His Love.

I was from the old school who prided themselves in their strong work ethic and was perplexed by the absence of Holy Fire.

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No … it was because of my lack of touching Him as a response to His touch. My heart was bound with the cords of doctrines and creeds. I was experiencing the death of the letter of the law.

My lips were singing Hallelujahs, but my heart was far from my first Love, yearning for that mysterious something many saints seemed to smile so secretly about all through the ages.

At the same time, I was suffocated by an unhealthy fear of God. I was terrified of that relentless monster of self-condemnation and shame.

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This master of deceit taunted me day and night with sneering, damnable lies that my hand was already spoken for by the dark, evil one.

When I stumbled upon these words of Mr Manning, a new day dawned in my inmost heart. A passionate, burning flame pierced my soul and my eyes were opened to see beyond the veil of my mind.

I was swept off my feet, overwhelmed with a love that was at the same time beautifully disturbing and devastatingly delightful. I was in awe of the prevenient grace of our King.

imageThoughts of another woman from another time; the woman with the issue of blood stirred my mind. We were both at a very lonely and needy place; both at the crossroads of our lives; bankrupt and seeking the ancient paths of eternity.

With shame I confess that I hoped that our Pappa would to transform Himself into a genie in a bottle, where my wishes were His commands.

But this Genie surely seemed as deaf as a doorknob and as blind as a bat, very unappreciative of all my clever selfish maneuvers. Yet, He patiently and gently kept on drawing me into His Loving Embrace.

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When I finally came to the end of my tether, I had no other choice but to crawl on my spiritual knees, like the woman with the issue of blood, until my heart finally touched the hem of my Beloved’s heart.

He took the tatters of my brokenness and started to heal me from the inside out. Although my illness is still very much part of my life, He has brought me to a place of sweet acceptance.

A place where I can eagerly look forward to the day when I will leave this old coat behind to be clothed in a new glorious spiritual body.

I will not dare to trivialize the suffering of a chronic illness, but I do want to dare all to follow hard after our God, assured of His right hand upholding us.

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Crawl if necessary until you are near enough to touch our Lord Jesus again and again and again … and then still again and again.

Much love and sweet blessings xx

Mia

I am linking-up with the ladies at my Tea Time and Link-Up page.

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The Bang-Bang Club

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God’s Thoughts to Me

What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help,trusting their horses, chariots, charioteers and depending on the strength of human armies, instead of looking to the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. In His wisdom, the Lord will send great disaster; He will not change his mind (Isaiah 31:1-2, NLT).

Hungry Hearts

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In 2010 the movie, The Bang-Bang Club was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

It portrays the lives of four photo journalists active within the townships of South Africa; Ken Oosterbroek, Kevin Carter, Jaoa Silva and Greg Marinovich.

They captured the low intensity war within the South African townships during the time of apartheid, especially during the period from 1990 to 1994.

The movie was the result of the political intolerance between the ANC supporters and the supporters of the Inkhata Freedom Party.

Greg Marinovich's Pulitzer Prize winning Photograph

Greg Marinovich’s Pulitzer Prize winning Photograph

In 1991 Greg won the Pulitzer Price for his photo of the murder of Lindsaye Tshabalala and Kevin was the photographer of that tragic picture of the little girl dying of hunger in Sudan while a vulture was stalking her in the background.

In 1994 Kevin also received the Pulitzer Prize for this heart wrenching photo. He was a man with a gentle, soft heart and in the same year he committed suicide.

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Ken Oosterbroek was caught in friendly fire from the UN Peace Corps in Soweto in 1994 and died in hospital. Greg was also wounded but survived.

in 2010 Joao accompanied US soldiers on a patrol in Kandahar where he stepped on a land mine and both his legs had to amputated below the knee.

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Being a South African, I was deeply touched by this movie. I want to honor these four valiant men for recording this specific period in the history of our country. I dedicate this poem to them.

Massacred

Am I poetically correct
Clinging to tatters of sanity
Deliberately distancing myself
From a Tokoza, Soweto, Boipatong
A genocidal, massacred Marikeng
From frivolous political commentary

From rotten broken bodies
Offering up their life blood
Gushing a solitary sticky river
Feeding the greedy god of death
Some already grinning eerily
The cruel, crying rigor mortis smile

From the heat and smoke of battle
From a thick, impenetrable wall
Of naked hatred, of tangible fear
An unlawfully occupied dust road
Built with granite rocks of terror
And tarred with human excrement

From assegais and machetes
Broken humanity, black and white
From fields being prepared
To serve as a dance floor
For rubber tyre necklaced dancers
Dancing the fire waltz of death

From puppets manipulated by Evil
Who clutches the strings of power
From the spiflicated mother hearts
Emaciated, drained of comfort tears
Mesmerized children dodging bullets
Flickering like swarms of fireflies

Will I be socially correct
When I hear the gentle voice of the wind
Sighing softly through pine needles
Singing subtly of my Beloved
Calling as I seek and I seek
And I’m found

Much love and sweet blessings

Mia

Please visit my Tea Time and Link-Ups page and meet all the friendly ladies I link with during the week!

Simeon’s Truth

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God’s Thoughts to Me

The Child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but He will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him …. and a sword will pierce your own soul. (Luke 2:34, NLT)

He Never Promised us a Rose Garden

Life has taught me a valuable lesson. Suffering causes one of two things; it either breaks us, or, it draws us deep into the life and arms of our Pappa God.

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The families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre are experiencing suffering beyond comprehension … suffering that makes our Lord Jesus cry. I recall our Lord’s tears of sorrow when He saw the suffering of Martha, Mary and their friends at Lazarus’ grave.
It caused Him so much anger and anguish against the one who only came to steal, to kill and destroy.
As we walk through the pages of the four Gospels, we see how so many of the religious Jews stumbled over the cornerstone of our Heavenly Father’s spiritual temple, our Lord Jesus. Just like Simeon prophesied, they opposed Him. He caused many to fall … they refused to come to Him so that He could give them His eternal Life, the life once forfeited in the Garden of Eden.
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Suffering also has another tendency. It causes many to blame their Pappa as the cause of all their woes. Others would rant and rave against our God, whilst hammering their fists against His chest. But He understands our limited human nature.

After all, He created us and knows how our machinery works.

He listens with so much compassion as we ask Him those difficult Martha questions. (John 11:21).

May they know that not one grief-filled sigh or sob will escape their hearts without Him knowing … crying and collecting all their tears.

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May He bless these dear folks as they grieve and mourn over their loved ones. Let us ask our Lord Jesus to hold them tight in His Loving Embrace as they pound against His chest.

Let He be the Rock they fall on when their world seems to disintegrate as the sword of suffering pierces their souls.

May they receive mercy not to oppose Him like Simeon has prophesied. Instead, let us beseech our Pappa to draw them closer, into a deeper level of His life and love than ever before.

Amen

Much love XX
Mia

Today I am linking up with Jane at Monday Morning Meditation where we send our condolences and pay our respects to the families and community of the Newtown shooting. You are welcome to join us at http://girlmeetspaper.com/

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An Ornament from Russia, with Love

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God’s Thoughts to Me

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has annointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom to the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn. ( Isaiah 61:1-2, NIV)

A Broken Matryoshka Heart

Before my beloved pappa was promoted to heaven about 8 years ago to meet His Saviour face-to-face, my wanderlust parents explored the beauty of Mother Russia.
They blessed me with a beautiful Russian lady-doll dressed in the traditional shapeless peasant jumper dress, a Matryoshka, or better known by her common name; a Babushka.

These ornaments date back to 1890 when they were the artistic brain child of a Russian folk crafts painter, Sergev Malyutin, and crafted by Vasily Zvyozdochkin.

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As I was contemplating the theme for this week, “the ornament”, this silent lady uttered a silent cry of despair.. Peeking through her big, blue lifeless eyes, the windows of her soul, I discovered an enigma…a metaphor within a metaphor. Her pearly pink rosebud mouth uttered a silent cry, a sigh of abuse…pain….neglect….rejection….and, tremendous suffering.

Her untold life story begged to be released as the hidden metaphor of her confinement within herself longed for freedom. Freedom for all the silent ones hiding within her…each telling their own stories, the age-old story of the craving for love. The craving to become a subject of affection and grace; to be released from the stigma of dead, nameless objectivity.

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A craving to become the recipient of words softly and tenderly spoken in love, instead of a heart being bruised and battered by harsh ruthless shouting. The craving of a body longing to be fondeled and held in a caressing embrace instead of the absence of loving arms. A craving to be wanted, desired instead of feeling endured with cruel indeference. A craving to be reminded of happiness and joy, instead of crying tears without words….silent tears of pain and abandonment.

Until the Master Craftsman opened her up, whispering sweet love filled caresses to the hearts of all the girls hiding inside. With determination He released all the broken ones within her soul from the prison of lies that have chained them in the dark prison cells of unworthiness, unlovable-ness, self-loathing, despondency and utter loneliness.

freeThey were cowering in the darkest corners of her heart when His Light ushered them out into a Kingdom not of this world…a Kindom of Light and Love and tenderly nursed them all back to life, eternal life….a life lived in Him….a life lived daily in His Loving Embrace.

That doll is me.

Much love to you

Mia

I am linking up today at The Run-a-Muck. Thank you Amber for allowing us to unchain our hearts. Come and join us at http://therunamuck.com/.

FCB Member

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Tenacious Thankfulness

God’s Thoughts to Me

A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? (Proverbs 18:14, NIV)

The Gracefulness of Grateful Suffering

“What a contradiction of terms! Mia, you surely do not have all your ducks in a row!”, my fleshly self exclaimed through a lot of pouting and complaining.

But a still, small voice beckons me with persistent, patient wooing,”Come to me, my darling, for I will wipe away your tears and transform them into sparkling diamonds of delight!”.

I recall a time when I was lost in Fibroland, wandering through the thick foggy swamps of despair and excruciating pain. In complete dependance my heart reached out to our Pappa who gently hushed me to sleep. My feeble heart was murmering a quiet prayer as I drifted of to dreamland.

A little time later I awoke, cuddled in Hubbyface’s arms. But….. Hubbyface was snoring to his heart’s delight in the Land of ZZZZ’s on his side of the bed. Our Lord softly whispered, telling me that He was nestling me in His Loving Embrace, holding me quietly just as my heart desired.

“Pappa, I want to bring you a thankful, humble gift of heartfelt praises for refining me through the fire of suffering. You have taught me to run to you instead of running away! You have taught me to hide under your wings, allowing you to envelope me in the sweetness of your love.”

Thank you sooo… much.

Your daughter

Mia. XXXXX

I am visiting all the dear ladies again at the Five Minute Friday get-together.
We all write for five minutes (sometimes a bit more, sometimes a little less).
We don’t overthink, don’t overedit or correct spelling mistakes and so on. Hopefully we all laugh at our mistakes. Please join us at Lisa-Jo’s for a wonderful fun time.

The Emperor’s Image

God’s Thoughts to Me

But Jesus knew their evil motives, “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed Him a Roman coin, He asked,” Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Ceasar’s,” they replied. “Well, then give to Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar, and give to God to what belongs to God.”(Matthew 22:18-21, NLT).

So God created human beings in His own image, in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27, NLT).

The Hurdles of Discipline

When my oldest son, Simon, was a secondary school learner, he was a provincial 400 meter hurdles athlete. At all the competitions his doting mother caused him endless embarrassment by, to put it mildly, proudly, yet noisily, jumping up and down, cheering him along and helping him to finish the race. Eventually he had to surrender, for he, for some strange reason, seemed unable to get his mother to behave more appropriately.

Then it happened! He stumbled and heartily greeted mother earth during a race he was about to win. My courageous, brave 18-year old baby got up and finished second…and then…collapsed! This mother hen quickly gathered her precious, bleeding chick under her wing, and that in front of an enormous crowd of spectators. So completely not cool at all!!

That was one of my favorite, precious God moments. Our Pappa taught me a most valuable lesson through this incident on His love and care towards us. Like the best parent ever, He lovingly disciplines us by allowing the hurdles of trials and tribulations during our race of life to teach us godliness and complete dependance upon Him. Every hurdle presents another opportunity to stretch those faith muscles to jump clear. When we fall, He lovingly picks us up and gathers us in His arms and wipes away all our tears while encouraging us not to lose heart, for He will always be there, right beside us, jumping up and down with joy as He cheers us on, rejoicing over us with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17).

As I was reading the above Scripture, the Lord opened my eyes to a big, bad insurmountable hurdle of misconception and wrong perception l had allowed to develop in my life, hindering my relationship with my Pappa to grow, to bloom and to blossom. My frame of reference told me that all our Lord Jesus’ anger towards the Pharisees and Scribes was also directed towards me. Our Pappa was, as far as I was concerned, a very angry, abusive God, expecting me to pull myself up by my own bootstraps and polish up my poor excuse of a life.

Our God patiently taught me through one of my favorite Bible teachers, James Fowler, my perception of His character was totally wrong. My frame of reference needed to include some “zits im leben” (setting in life). It needed to be based on the truth of  whom our Lord really was referring to, as well as the culture and traditions of that specific time. When I read the text in that context, scales fell from my eyes and I looked at this Scripture with new understanding.

Allow me to give a little background information. At the time our Lord Jesus walked the earth, the Roman authorities issued a silver coin, the denarius, stamped with the image of the Emperor. It was used as the standard payment for taxes. The Romans were well aware of the Jews’ scruples about “graven images” and out of respect for their religious traditions, they issued a bronze coin without any image for the use of those devout Palestinian Jews, without having to defile themselves when paying their taxes.

I have wondered why politicians and religious leaders often seem to be bosom buddies until I saw the truth of Solomon’s words, there truly is nothing new under the sun! (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The Pharisees and Scribes were hand in glove with the Herodians, inviting them along when they tried to soft-soap our Lord Jesus by commending His integrity. As if they were qualified to be judges of integrity! They tried to force Him into a Catch 22 situation by asking Him the famous question about taxes. These highly religious and righteous Jews, as they considered themselves to be, had no reason to defile themselves by touching a denarius, but when Jesus requested one, they provided the denarius from their own pockets!! I wonder if all the bronze ones went to the poor!

Our Lord saw right through their evil intent into their greed for religous power, position, prestige and money. They were unwilling to give it all up and to give themselves wholeheartedly to our Pappa. We are all familiar with the outcome of this story.

A question started to form in my mind, “As humans, whose image do we bear?” Our Pappa revelaled to my heart the precious truth that we are all created in His image!! He created us as spiritual beings to lavishly love us and enabled us to love Him in return. That privilege was forfeited in Eden and bought back on the cross at Golgotha. If only I could rid myself of that brood of “Pharisees” joyfully lodging in my heart, suffocating the loving relationship between my Pappa and me. Our Lord’s words became crystal clear to me, “You search the Scriptures because you think they give eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this eternal life” (John 5:39-40, NLT).

I rejoiced when we together chased the slave woman and her son from my heart as Paul instructed us to do. (Galatians 4:30). Good riddance indeed! But little did know of  all the son’s siblings, cousins and cousins-twice-removed still stealing and feasting on the delicious fruit our Lord was producing in my heart, keeping me imprisoned and chained to the system of religious performance. I had cordially invited them in when I had gobbled up many false teachings in the past. The stone tablets of my heart had many laws, over and above the Ten Commandments. As the years passed by, I kept adding more and more, as well as erasing a few outdated, old ones.

The slave woman and her son

I never was certain what the current religous modus operandi would be and was horrified of being rejected one more time, so I kept my list up to date, I never knew our Pappa could be so finicky for He seemed to change His mind from day to day, from denomination to denomination and even from congregation to congregation! Just to name a few of the silver denari, stamped with the image of religion, I was carrying in my pocket:

1. Only the Psalms and organ music are suitable for our Lord’s ears.
2. Communion must be served around a big table where everyone drinks from a humongous silver communion cup.
3. Tithe your gross income if you want to ensure God’s gross blessings.
4. As proof of having been baptized in the Holy Spirit, speak in tongues.
5. Serve, serve, serve and then serve some more; give, give, give and then give some more.
6. You have to be under the church’s covering, submitting to their authority. Failing to do that is proof of habouring a Jezebel spirit.
7. Wives submit to your husbands even if it kills you or be warned of the danger that you might turn into Jezebel herself.
8. Never mention someone’s name while praying for them in church for that borders on idolatry.
9. Do not disagree with your pastor, or if you do; zip the lip!
10. Do not always be the one suffering from an illness, for that shows your lack of faith and without faith you are not pleasing God. So rather suffer in silence and pretend to be well.
11. Spread the Gospel. Failure to do so will hinder the growth of your fruit supply and if you are empty handed when you meet the Fruit Inspector one day, you might be in BIG trouble!

And so the list went on and on and on!! Keeping them caused me endless spiritual pride and I could teach the Pharisees and Scribes a lesson or two about hypocrisy. Today I realize that it was all due to my extremely poor and shame-based self-esteem for I always used to measure love, anyone’s love, especially God’s, as something earned through my performance, yet mine always seemed to miss the mark!

Although some of these practices are not wrong in and of themselves, they do become law the moment they become rules and therefore replace grace, bearing the emperor’s image. I realize now that the Great Deceiver, the Father of Religion, played dirty tricks on my mind.  Our Lord Jesus did not mince His words when He told the Pharisees, “For you are the children of your father, the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth.” (John 8:44a, NLT).

Dear Ones, even though Fm/CFS takes us through deep, deep valleys of suffering, I can now see and appreciate our Pappa’s hand of love and wisdom in my life, providing the hurdles of suffering to draw me away from the law-based road to destruction and steering me gently into His kingdom of light of love, of freedom and peace. He will personally carry you over all the many hurdles this illness and life in general bring into your life, looking forward to the beautiful butterfly that will eventually emerge from your cocoon of suffering.

May our Lord bless you and keep you secure this coming week, snuggled warmly in the safety of His Loving Embrace!

Hugs and blessings

Mia