I cannot describe the stink of the room with not one normal smelling thing in it. We had just walked through slush to get here. Marin, the lady with ash blonde fringe and eyes like green stars, she ploughs on as if it were a normal day. In the room, the child* sits with amputated leg; my thoughts are a hung merry-go-round. The child will die soon, her grandmother tells us. The old lady sits spreadeagled in the floor with the abandon of hopelessness and dare. Like- dare you tell me any thing about hygiene– poverty did that to her. To us all. As we leave, the child’s eyes are wide saucers above her smile. She wants to say much but is afraid of Grandma. She loved drawing class with me, and times we did little stories from the Bible. I say ‘did’ because we’d act them out, act out those scenes where we were actors, we were boat and waves, we were the storm, we were scared in the storm till we saw Jesus walking on the water to us, and then we’d scream for sheer happy riotous fear/ joy.
All this I felt as we left the child and grandmother; the child died a few months later. I never forget how beautiful her face was in that little room strung with gunny sack and tarpaulin. The child knew she was loved by Christ, the pain did nothing to stop her joy: like a garden in bloom, in the breeze that took its fragrance into other places.
She wants to be loved like every other New Year, and I hesitate to call her good: I hesitate to say a nice word just in case it contrasts with something in the Headlines tomorrow: but then, the Still Small Voice inside me that urged the dusk to light up my holiday yard, It says, “Year of Harvest’, so
So here we are, another brand new Baby wailing to be fed, unwrapped, walked…. Um, stuck between a sigh and a smile; Jan 2nd feels like dew in fallen leaves: feels like health sneaking back in my bones, like summer in winter, like new ways to sit, walk, run, stand, be still, hush, God is in His heavens,all’s well. You don’t fake a good feeling. Its too late to fake much anymore. Not this time around, where we step into another 365….., what will it be?
I want to wish you the best year you’ve ever ever had, (said that to a friend and she sniffed loudly. Like it couldn’t be. She needed a new house and funds to run it. She needed everything humans need to run secure… but in a minute she grinned on the phone, as if she’d given herself permission to have the kind of year she needed, and I’m giving myself that permit too) –
“Choose life!” God always said, in His great Book we tend to blame for all our errors – the Bible. Some of us read old comics,for comfort, or Sudoku or Horoscope and the stars. We just want to heal, when no one’s watching we do just about anything to heal from things we are not healing in.
I’m looking forward to cold days turning warm in the light of days healing. Nice, you say. Um hm. Yes. There never was a better time as this one to be grateful for every miniscule and large detail here on earth. Never been a year where we looked beyond into the non material. Here we missed each other, we fell in love all over again with market places we shuddered at: we missed the way our morning papers fell at our door and the steps of the newsboy spiraling down away out past our gates where the jasmine seller woke up street after street of flower buyers; oh and dogs, they were silent too, like Christmas so quiet you could hear the sheep in old Christmas cards breathe! We gazed at stars and memorized each others faces,even politicians’ (and priests’ we remembered from churches now with locked down altars). We did not worry about lip gloss, we still aren’t, we mask new fears with new words; “..be practical, we must go out. We aren’t hermits,” but now we got used to sanitizing our tomatoes and phones. We are a Changed Race, we cannot go back to most things we did last year today, and I’m betting we are wiser, kinder,slower, sweeter,more giving, less fussy about toenails. We got used to pajamas at 12 noon, we understand Time better. Maybe.
What’s to be afraid of? Aunt Jena wears Psalm 91 like an armor; Minki eats spinach like Popeye and she a carnivorous being, now singing anthems to lemon and ginger brew first thing every morning, ah, inhalation too. And skull rinsing gargling, sounds like burglar alarms. No one’s laughing. We are waiting, for what exactly – is hard to say: for vaccines? For Life as it was? For what it can be, should be? Waiting for Immunities; for ourselves to wake from a nightmare that is still not inactive….
never the less, its a whole new year- the old has gone, the sky never felt this blue, the stars this wide eyed. Go to the country side, meet new people, a farm, a river, trees, choose Life, eat well, rest, pray, read His Word, drink His dew falling like gentle rain at dawn where an old woman named Thayi cooks you a hot pot of Forgotten foods. Ok I’m no promotional Blogger, but this Farm deserves mention for inspiring this Post!
Resolutions ? Yes, a huge one – to appreciate nice people in particular and to be grateful to God for making them! (Wish I’d taken more photographs, but that’s the way it is with a good day- you are not thinking of surface tension. You plunge in a river, you climb a tree, you scrape a knee, you kiss a scowl away! Life arrives differently, you bask in a new flurry of beginnings like a child happy about new socks to school never mind worries about homework).
I’m saying out loud Choose Life, I’m stealing my Maker’s line. He said it first. He knew we’d be making choices, not necessarily nice ones. So He makes years go round and round like a Relay race. This time around I’m not letting one day go by without paying attention to detail. This time around, is there really a choice ….to not choose?
Am attaching a👇🏼 must read by 17 yr old Gabriela and she’s good!
Part of our Fellowship’s zoom candle light carols night, this was our fam’s medley of old carols and new harmonies improvised; wishing you a blessed day today and always; may the Lord of Light, Peace, Joy & true Love fill your days with His Song, all of now and the days to follow, stay precious!
I got one of the dearest surprise Christmas presents I’ve ever received: Lil Marijs! – a baby sheep in soft fur, oh the child in me came out to play. Marijs, from a literal far away country, is a gift from a generous hearted person who did not let a deadly viral stop her – am surprised silly how her Lil Marijs makes me unselfconscious dizzy happy.
I’ve always fussed over our childrens’ toys- their soft long ears and tails. Yesterday our second daughter tells me lovingly that I didn’t need to talk to her via Elle her elephant, or insist she puts socks back in via Turta, or make Purple(bear) remind her about her bed covers…I ask her why I’m this way, she says, “Ma, because you’re still a child…”
I loved the way those words settled in my ears; the way they pulled at my opinionated bones to rise and shine. How was I to know that today at 5pm there’d be a delivery of Marijs: a Reminder to regroup my inners.
Marijs‘ cross border Arrival @ a time of teeth chattering International misery is a thing to ponder at. Don’t tell me its just a child’s toy: this things Delivery is of the kingdom of the God of Impossibilities. Here one is Shepherded into a Place reserved for those who dare to be baffled
yeah, stare at how we could stare at where Joy and Peace and Mercy and Purity kiss each other,
touch the impossibly melting softness of human kindness, this quality that did NOT birth off the devil who destroys, accuses, lies,steals,kills…hates.
This quality births off the gentle lowly Manger, where Love came down soft one tender night: a Surprise Visitor that still loves like none I know can….
Marij is a 2020 Reminder of Him and how He moves us to Gift each other this Giving, of everything opposed to evil, of everything born of God, in the humility of a manger,
The Hush of That grabs me by the jaw and asks me to lay off grown up protocol. This is a time to peer through the dark glass and see
That the Giver of Gifts isn’t dead; He has mysterious ways of reviving our real selves no matter the viral forecast.
We are born with the constant hunger for reality; shut your eyes, feel that pulse, it was there when we took our first breath and walk and words. But we gave ourselves permit to retire into Doubt; Faith Hope & Love were for the ladies in the prayer circle who knitted socks for babies of refugees. Not Us. We were grown ups with toothpicks in our brain just in case we bit back into old ways. Faith was for Medieval mystics. Not for the Renaiisanced. We walked the Moon, we fed graves, we became the Machine that fed the beast in us. An earth that cud chewed Itself, ouch. That bunch of words hurts to just write it. Or read it.
Marijs makes me want to stare at the possibility of being free of doubt that all will be well, and that there will be peace on earth,
stare at the act of prayer that began me as a child; I prayed for Dan the tall boy with a hole in his heart, and he went on like Deep, the paraplegic 30 yearold who took me for rides in his chair he drove like a maniac: Dan & Deep had the manners of people who knew who they were and where they were headed, it was to God. These were real people who impacted me much as a child. Dan left me a book of Bible verses he cut from Calenders. Deep gave me a box of Legos I loved and gave to a tiny boy called Deepak – he had a pony fringe and worried eyes but when he smiled he grinned 360 degrees.
All this I revisited after Marijs came home to me a few hours ago from a country across my Northern border and am staring at how the Gift of Giving can provoke, promote Life: the kind that makes us kind in the purest sense.
We are all bells aren’t we? Every Lil whisper and word or sigh or silence saying so many things : good tidings or not, invites to this and that, to talk, or sing. We are all carols aren’t we? Tellers of stories and state; we choose the rhymes, the way with words, we are messengers of Peace, or of other things.
Lift your eyes to the sills of heaven, watch what happens when you pray. When the heart stills its noise and the mind rests with the pulse of God. How often I have not done that, amazes! The power of disbelief stuns me, its incredible power to hold us back from the greatest power ever given to humanity: the ability to talk to God.
Did not have one nice thing to say on my blog and then I see this Beauty from Instagrammer Louise_ness whose lens capture of blossom in hedge and porcelain made me want to post some! She is gracious. I say Thankyou thinking of her silver birch wreath ’round papier mâché deer, and get a hearted reply,
sure there are people that are kind to strangers, but after a year of dodging viruses in waves, oh sanitising each other to insane levels, I’m blessed to look at Louise_ness’s last roses of summer,
and am suddenly startled by Grace.
Her deer is made from trees (paper), the roses, foliage like frosted dew crystallising everyday colors and yes, it makes me want to cry for beauty we know we have if we will tolerate each others’ Lil spaces in our spaces, like Louise_ness’s visiting spider who she let be in the picture without destroying him. Aye, Grace.
Another friend and I got chatting today. One hour down the conversation, we agree that the greatest gift humans could give each other is Mercy: another word drenched in attributes we all know we must know and give and be.
Mercy & Grace. Two words our news men maynt have thought of much as they reeled out reports of this & that, this year: two words that sit in my ears tonight, like earrings too expensive to not be heavy. Grace, Mercy. Just to think on, feels heavy. Mercy for those who need it, and need it bad, or probably do not deserve it, thats Grace.
Where’s this Post going? What is December going to be like?
Will Mona Mayi dish out Christmas catering like they always did? Will we all major on Christmas/ new year ensembles, will we host another papier star? Will Susa the Physician call in all her colleagues and street vendors to high tea in her villa with mango trees lit up like Christmas evergreens ? Will everyone have rice and gravy, blankets and candy, @Christmas party- give aways to footpath people off St.Marks’?
It hurts to ask some questions : but I’m thinking how Grace looks on any given day, or Mercy.
Another 31 days and 2021 will be here, with all her engines gunning for the next 365!
This December I’m praying we will give each other space to be accepted and loved as Christ of Christmas did. Uncle Chandu hated that word Christmas. Said it wasn’t in the Bible. No one disputed that, they just ignored his mutters and gave him a good new dhoti and colorful shirt. By Christmas eve he was a melting pot of love and the Nativity, too.
Look at Grace long enough, and there will be the scents of summer all through anything ahead. There will be acts of mercy, and they will wreath your front door with colors like stashed sunlight for cold hearts. After all is said and done, and we are bone weary for trying to make peace not war, we perhaps can rest in the fact that we are loved by the God of Grace, ay e’en be startled by the Grace of God.
..the need to feel unafraid again. We’ve cast our vote against the thing that causes insecurity….
after all of that, if we have not got our own person in sync with peace, we will still be afraid, we will need hope and the energy that rises from freedom from temporary sunshine.
Some of us do pilgrimages, we do rituals, we dance our prophecies of pain away,
and some of us do the humble thing of kneeling to pray: not that we can be perfect for doing it, but oh the relief of seeing how tiny we are in a universe of divine intelligence. Here nothing shakes our Unshakeable Kingdom within; for what can separate us from infinite existence that does not depend on economy, on professional stamina, on legal majority, or socially acquired sweetness. Here, in the gaze of a Christ who defies all else, here I rest, arrested by a certain non – need of material anchors that can spiral me down!
These are my thoughts this nice November morning; what happens when you pray, you ask? For me it centers my core, it shakes away all that hinders freedom. So I did not get this and that, we lost some feet, but when you wait in prayer you and I , we rise on eagles wings, renewed strength to run and not be weary, walk and not faint.
There will always be human need for strength & security. And there will always be this human leaning towards God, much as we might deny its leaning.
Looking ahead to days of nestling in that Unshakeable Kingdom within!
Heart slamming our ribs we stare at His bouquet staring at us in equal devotion: every curl, petal and sepal, a startling testament of Him, His unshakeable Kingdom around our little planet.
I look up at Light filtering through nearby trees and see another Bouquet closer: its orange blossom flushed with rain. These trees were always here, now they are no longer just trees,
they are Messengers from the Creator: His voice in startling tones I never really thought were specific convo with me, in this here tiny moment no one else might even notice. Vihan, my daughter grins and says, “Yeah Ma, you’d catch this! Now pl Blog post it? “
The picture we managed here, barely captures what really was, pulsing with His 7D Presence! I needed to share it with you this eve of November: a Bouquet for you from the King.
May you too be startled by wild insane Events in corners just waiting for you to notice Him-
notice His Messages of Unblinking Love, no matter the forecast. Nothing mortal compares with His presence- NOTHING.
Not even who, but what am I, the boy asked looking at the floor, his eyes flat with nothingness. What had happened here, would stay with him till the end of that day. And when it spilled it was like lava, every word singed our ears. There had been self abuse and total lack of feeling to anyone even himself. He could not trust himself. He believed everything negative ever said against him.
I’d been brought up to a level of humility necessary to be good civilized people, but this beat all civil existence. He would not believe anyone could love him and he stared through my face when I said God loved him. He was not more than 24, and looked old. Old eyes and skin. He’d cut himself, done drugs, done things he felt nothing to reveal. He had died inside. They’d told him he was a waste, a shame. I didnt know how to reach him, but prayed that night.
The next day, he was smiling… it was near dusk and inmates were getting ready to go indoors. Someone had talked him out of his mess. I never knew who it was, but he told me in no uncertain terms that he believed God lives and loved him. I must’ve stared open mouthed at him because he laughed out loud and looked so happy. Only God could have worked that miracle. Twas like he was being held by a super power. I will never forget how that looked. That’s how it looks to be held by a living God. It looked fearless, free and unarguably happy!
And I’m thinking now, what are we, what’ m I, but Beloved of God…
Listen close and you will hear a bus, a neighbour’s drill….. yea was recorded in a tiny home studio, at a time of transits. This Album was worked off a Psr 630(keys), and my undying love for Theatre: it is perhaps who I am without choir costume and acquired taste… just all my voice & human pulse. It is the rough of pavement psalms and His pursuing love; (thankyou ABBA Father for being Who You Are: creative, generous, incredible!)
my daughter insisted we put it out again(released 2004,Mumbai). We even found lost Master tracks…. thanks hon risking this one on your channel💔
Often we might go barefoot in trails where we are in the enlarged presence of Other Intelligence. Here we strip protocol, and might hear a Reply. Here I knelt unashamed of my crying need for Christ alone: for Yeshua who gave His life for us, for me…
for the local prostitute who walked around our bus stop. She’d mock me with an inscrutable stare; oneday I saw her in an outfit I gave away to our building watchman for ‘his wife back home’ he said;
now this street girl knew it was my dress she wore, she watched me recoil, watched my righteous indignation. And then I sensed God watch me: my superior brows rise in ‘whoa’ as if the rest of us mortals were such perfection!
This one is because of that street girl.
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prayers like rain, like tears, these kisses of heaven?
I couldn’t have guessed this was a Garden. What.
Blossoms of Your Breath. Your Breath.
Oceans of Words, reaching in me, in me.
As if I were just ONE child You had, and wherever I went You followed / saw me.
Nothing between us, just Your Tears falling in my face. Thought they were mine!
You seeking all of us. All of us. What a harvest that be. All our soul safe in Your gaze. For this I pray everyday. Every single day… for Your harvest of Tears like kisses of heaven. Heaven.
Thankyou Father God for the Love You bestow on us that we be called Yours. Thank You for silhouettes of You everywhere. Most of all thank You for all the things about You I’ve learned in the dark, nothing compares with that. All the seasons of ‘festivity’ I’ve ever had, pale next to what You’ve harvested in my winters! I owe You my life, my all. Father God in Jesu’s name, I thank You.
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Stop pretending it’s not still there: that selfish way we lived our lives, vying, clamoring for attention- suspicious of each other, or plain scrambling for power. Stop it, it hurts us. It hurts you. It’s not just old mode now, its the naked truth of how humans have lived between plagues and wars and holocausts. Then we huddle and forget our differences for a bit. Then we talk of God and love and peace. As if that weren’t our birthright. We forgot who we were. We went into humanism. We forgot how we never made us. We never even knew how we died or where we went but we knew so much of how to hurt each other as if we were gods. We lost manners, we thought we were tiers of castes with Touchabilities and Untouchabilities. Yea we forgot there was a darkness so dark it could try obliterate the light in us. We put out each others’ iris. We talked of how there was no Light. It was all just a trail of burnt stars. That’s all we knew to say. So we sinned and glorified that. We killed God in every form and erased His memos with quarts of water we couldnot even make. That’s how far we all got before this pandemonium took its scepter and ruled us into neat queues of waiting dead, & dying dead, so now get this. You and I can talk on about all this just being here every century, these plagues. And in between we can still host our power parties and roost our joke- clubs about a Man in the Sky. But look deep. .. we are scareder. … yes… that’s a word now… than we’ve ever been. We laugh harder than before, we try our old power games, we are desperate to get back to when we could size each other up with our judgements as if our own vices did not matter, as if there were no God who could see through our shivers. But this. These times…..
these days are Lighthouses in the dark. We can mutter all we want about each other, we can back chat and we can try sit prettier than each other, who are we fooling? It’s a shared planet, whats mine is yours. These routes and air. This earth and God’s Love. Shut your eyes wide to the visible mortal, open it to the Invisible heartbeat within our rib. We are more than mortal, we are children of a Cross too much to bear on our own. Remember Christ. Remember Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:18. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
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Gojay dreamed of a well by the acre of hardened land his father had inherited from his father; a well with water in it. That monsoon after the last rain cloud was blown away, he dug little shallows in his fathers ungiving field, but there was no water. That summer and the next.
One weekend there was water in the local borewell, water enough to drink a palmful and then he was chased away by the queue of local women with pots. The following weekend it rained. It rained like it were asking him to come out. Ir rained in the coir cot outside his hut, it rained through the roof, it rained in Mai’s hair and in Maimai’s, his grandma’s….
It fell in the streets and mud steps. It washed away Boka’s wall, it swamped Keju’s hay, it felled two old banyan trees. They loved it then hated it, but that time Gojay had prayed for the first real time for rain, and now he shivered.
Yes God was real; He had fallen rain in Gojay’s eyes like tears. As he walked around the village in the torrent, the boy stopped and stared at a local cross he had always ignored, not because its iron was bent out of shape, but because in the rain, the Cross shone. Anush his friend said it was the way light reflected on wet iron surfaces, but all that and the lightning! It made Gojay want to say thankyou. For the rain, and for the way he was stopped in his tracks, in the rain, in the marketplace, opp. Teraki Saheeba palace ruins, in the street in the rain where the metal cross seemed to seep at him. It tore his quiet out of him. It wreaked a smile on him. For the first time in all his life, young Gojay felt everything was alright. Oneday he’d find appropriate words to tell all this to someone but for now, he felt he was in the presence of the King of Everything: where there was no external famine
That was enough for him right now, that was more than enough for him for right now. And no it wasnt. The more he thought about it, the more he reached out his palms.
Would, should, but could? That’s the option that hangs between abilities. Can you walk? Could you cross that river? Can you trapeeze? Could you bungee jump? Can you breathe? Could you live? Can we agree? Could you accept one another? Can we not kill? Could we not hate? Can we care that we dont care….
here’s where it should be ‘would’ve, but could becomes the more used word, because we may say, “Nah I cannot!” “I could not.”
Last month we had the privilege of meeting Arron’s Blog where he nurses among a whole list of care giving for older citizens, caring for their homes and gardens,(even people’s precious pets), he has a Faith Garden, yeah Mustard seedlings in happy rows! In a time when Faith Hope and Love are Essentials like never before, Arron, is a fellow Survivor/ brother, working where the Love of God leads him. Do take a look at his Mustard Story.
Arron, all of your story cannot be shared here, I understand, but am so glad you are who you are, a Warrior with a heart of gold. You’ve not just journeyed through life surviving, you are a piece of God’s own heart, shedding His Light the best you can. May your tribe increase; your home and Ma, and Sis… your dear neighbour friends whom you help and pray for. Am touched by your service of kindness and love to older citizens, who I know, wait for the sound of your feet and friendship. May the Lord who brought you and your family this far, warm your hearth with every single thing you need. May you continue to bless, heal and live well, live safe, growing stronger in faith as the Heavenly Father would bless you to. And may your Gardens li’l and great, grow into more and more testaments of His provision in your dear life, Arron,
And if you have a personal story to share in these unusual times, do write to us in comments. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay blest, stay precious!
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she said that to me, just like that and I felt the arms of those words descend on my senses. We are limited by human description, we are victims of fatigue and yet, now and again, God sends His angels to remind us of the Christ within, waiting to be unfurled again, and again, and again.
May you know the power of what lies within you: for we were not born to be paper and twig houses. We are the original temple of the living God, if we would…
When I was a child I was skinny, and I was a child. Shy. I stammered. Had to wear glasses very young. It kept falling off my snub nose. Got teased for that and my skinny legs. All that and I couldnot speak as well as the grown ups around me. I was ‘Pin throat’, ‘drumstick’, ….
“You’re the worst in your family!” One of my school teachers told me. “Terrible at sports.” Yes, unfortunately. I was underweight, how could I lift and throw, or jump heights, my ankles felt too tiny for my height. I was best in my bare feet running in the sands at the beach along our little home by the sea. I was happiest in the guava tree; I talked to squirrels and myna. They talked back to me, I’m telling you. Their grey soft fluff and under wings, their little eyes and snacker of beak in tree branch it all spoke to me in a peace that other languages did nothing to comfort a tiny person growing up in a world too fast to understand its slower creatures.
When I was four, a dream began. A nightmare. It happened around the time our landowners son tried to molest me, an afternoon my Ma was out working. I waited, and as I did, the landowners son grabbed me by the arm. It was odd, we knew him. A tall darkish boy who didnt talk. Now he pulled me to a stool in the corner of their shadowy shop. The shutters were half downed. Then he pulled me to the floor, it was cold hard stone, too fast to scream. I called to my God. Ma had taught me to pray, would God be here in this cold terrible place? He was. The shutter shuttered back up, someone entered I cannot remember who; the sound of that was freedom.
Daylight filtered through.
The landowners son flung me from him and disappeared. I do not remember how I got to stand on a heap of red ants. The househelp found me there, she yelled me to safety back up the stairs to our home above the landowners’ place. Was it that night the night mares began? It was a thin, very brown skinned woman in white flowing clothes, she had no face. She chased me around the terrace outside our home. Peering down at me, I saw it over and over . That face with no features. Like a painting smudged brown. It was the first time something hurt me, it took my peace. It chased, stalked, ate at me. It was the first time I felt alone. Afraid. Slowly the dream faded and left a shadow in me. A shadow that grew grew grew till it blocked out the light. Strange how you can believe the grey shadow coming in through a bad dream, is the light. Strange how we can believe lies that we are imperfect because we are not physically strong, strange how we can believe we are disabled because someone did a bad thing to us. Strange how we disbelieve the gifts we are given by God, just because someone somewhere made us numb.
Now later I met Christ at the Cross and He told me about murderers who didn’t know what they were doing, but what does a child know about bullies? I never told my Ma about the landowners son; never told her about an uncle who later tried that same vicious thing again. Ok they didn’t succeed, but why the silence?
I do not know.
But this I do know. It is the shut up – ness of a terrible event, that fosters nightmares. It fosters a lack of trust in oneself. It rears self hate. How I do not know.
I was once a child and spoke as a child. Now I am grown I do not speak as a child in the dark shuttered place by a red anthill, numbed by life. I speak as a grown woman, as a mother with girls of her own. I never spoke about that shuttered time, now as I do,
The nightmare recedes. The thin brown woman in white linen, her featureless brown face? She recedes. What was she?
I do not know. But yesterday I heard a girl talk about a Promise from the sacred lips of Yahweh. ” ...the years the locusts’ve eaten I will restore to you…”
A locust is an evil grasshopper I replied to the girl. Yes it takes our harvest. Everything that was ours rightfully. A metaphor of a thief , the locust & it came in a swarm! A whole thousand upon thousand of them, an army. years of badness. Of bad bad sad words said over and over. “You there, shush! Sit! You are reject. You are odd. No dont come here. Go to your corner. Shush. Dont talk. Dont sing. Go in the back row. You lil ugly thing.”
The locusts tried eat me up,
Bad dreams stole my nights now and then. Shadows grew their harvest tall. They spread their soft wings around my news. The news that crept in 24x 7. Bad news . Bad news. We believe it all.
Then I heard the good news of a Christ who taught me to forgive the landowners boy who didn’t know what he was doing. The good news that showed me how to love and not mind the bad all the time. I was a collector of sad events world wide, the good news of Christ was that, He knew. He knew about all my shadow. Nothing was hidden from Him. He was there too.
I had that good news now in me…. a Light that burned the dark away. Bit by bit or burned the dark away. Flame by flame it burned the dark away
Flame by flame it burned the chatter of my locusts stealing my joy. Christ was in every dark valley I’d ever tread. He, in every page every line every chapter every episode of my life. Times I messed, times I offended His name, times I ran from Him and His in the dark. Times the locusts killed me. Then I buried me. All my skinny self and snub nose and stammer. And times I felt not good enough. Times in the red ant hill, times numb with the loneliness only thieves of time give. Thieves of time, of smiles, of joy, of the fountain of life. Like locusts they arrive, not just ones and toes but thousands on thousands of lies with big jaws they chew chew cud chew on our weakness.
But Christ told me that….His power was made perfect in my weakness. My littleness. The littler, the weaker I was the more his power showed up in me. Like cracks in a wall, with light showing through. He didnt take advantage of my vulnerability. He laid Himself down for it.
Opposite of that locust, He, Christ.
The Good news. My defender. Healer. Physician. Rock. Strong Tower. Saviour. Master. Protector. My Light. Yours. Your defender. Your protector. Your shut-er up of the locusts eating up your mind. Eating up your time. Your life.
Their chatter chatter chatter it goes on and on in Mindfields we’ve buried with the ashes of time. You burnt out just trying to rise. Burnt out just trying to wake up refreshed from nights you did not sleep trying to sleep. But hey no.more..you hear me. No more.
Locusts… no more. In the name of Jesus, go get out of my life. I …am with the Christ.
GOD LACKS NO CREATIVITY EVEN IN THE LABOR ROOMS OF CHANGE
Two years ago our gentle teenager began to steadily turn into a stranger we could hardly recognize. A new medication put an end to his seizures a year later, but the trial had just begun.
We broke into raggedy worship … surrounded by the prayers of dear family and friends. ~ R.Noel
God lacks no creativity even in the Labor rooms of Change!
Two years ago our gentle teenager began to steadily turn into a stranger we could hardly recognize. A new medication put an end to his seizures a year later, but the trial had just begun.
Light fell through the Emergency Room’s glassed-in ceiling and onto Johann’s face as he sang, “Whatever lies before me, I will be singing when the evening comes. Bless the Lord oh, my soul …10,000 reasons and forever more …”10,000 Reason. Matt Redman
BLINDNESS ISN’T EASY ON ANY COUNT
Johann sings while waiting. Ah, yes. Blindness isn’t easy on any count, but today I froze as he sang the words – “When the evening comes???”
As he waited on a stretcher near the CT scan unit of Nimhan’s Hospital’s Neuro Science Department, an orderly changed the sheets to Johann’s favorite color – lavender. How could she have known? Was this a sign that total healing would follow? Johann, now 19 and blind from birth, can detect a few colors and has light perception.
“Ma, I love the lavender …” he said.
I bit back tears, nodding a muffled reply.
IT WILL PASS
When Johann’s seizures finally stopped, his aggression began. He was 18. “It will pass,” friends said.
The girls and Johann had a beautiful childhood, sharing music and fun, sharing games with a brother they were proud to be seen with. Now there were blows, bites, scratches, rage, and verbal battery. We went to parks on sunrise picnics, did road trips, prayed, wept, clung together as a couple, and individually with each of our girls. But when we went out in twos, Johann would scream in panic, running past the gate in search of us.
A kind new doctor changed Johann’s medications gradually while withdrawing earlier prescriptions. Dearest Lord God, now we must have withdrawal combat too?
EVEN IF YOU SLAY ME
“Brace yourselves,” the doctor said, his face filled with a compassion that scared me. The months that followed were a Gethsemane place for us. Here we would taste the bittersweet of Job and Daniel, “Even if You slay me…”Job 13:15, Daniel 3:14-18
Johann adopted us at age one. We were all being brought up together by God in His Kindergarten of Faith, but now, was He letting us out on our own?
The first hint of Johann’s illness started around his school final exams. Johann refused to touch his Braille. His dimpled grin receded faster as December stretched into January. We guided him to hand write, “I know my Redeemer lives…” then pinned it up where we could all see it. We were clinging to sanity.
“How long?” I frantically texted our second daughter, Kitsy, who was across the room. To avoid trigger words, we texted each other.
“God won’t put something in our laps that we cannot handle. Unsure how long Ma, but I’m willing to wait,” she replied. Was it just yesterday that Kitsy had screamed, “I – I want my brother back!” Now she was beaming and serene?
This is what happens.
One of us sinks, but another perks up with unthinkable faith or Scripture leaps out from a calendar. The movie, Hacksaw Ridge, spoke volumes to us. It is easy to fall into self-destruction, but God lacks no creativity even in the labor rooms of change.
Johann sings with the voice of an angel. His seizures took that from him, but from the pit of that hell, he began to sing again,10,000 Reasons, a song that brought me to tears. Johann was singing! Yes, with a crackly sandpaper voice, but he was singing!
We broke into raggedy worship, in the midst of cushions-flying-at-our-heads-and-worse, but surrounded by the prayers of dear family and friends. Often, I would stare at the predawn sky. God was and is present, like in those days, those three silent days after Gethsemane: “… a Rose trampled on the ground, He … thought of me most of all.” (Above All, Michael W. Smith)
OUR PRAYERS GREW DESPERATE
Lord please help me through the noise of my questions. Give the girls some joy today. Help my husband, Jeff.
About this time we also experienced professional setbacks. Could it really get any worse? It could. You cannot re-route through Gethsemane if you want to finish with colors.
Some of my own prayers irritated me. “Thank you Lord for the trials You send us.” Gratitude was the best thing we could do – thanking God for a little bird in the window, for a relative who sent a gift, for a glorious sunset, or even for Johann’s question, “What is happening to me?”
GRATITUDE KICKSTARTED JOY
Yes, it did and some things I have no words for.
I began to blog and paint again. A friend called asking why I had dropped off social media, and asked if I would consider an art book contract with a Christian publisher. The theme? Hope for the Hurting. My head said, “No,” but God nudged me to say, “Yes.” So I did.
Jeff started painting too, and though he is not one to be poetic, he titled it, Autumn Blush. It was soul harvest time. Our daughter, Kitsy cooked offerings of love. This once hyper, young teenager was turning out exotic recipes in the midst of COVID-19 lockdown rationing. Our eldest daughter, Vihan, had begun a fellowship for those her age and older, and we now joined her online — not easy to do with Johann intolerant of a particular chord on the guitar or insisting on rocking right in front of camera, yet his presence reaches more people than we think possible.
As I write, light falls through the curtains and Johann asks what I’m doing. I tell him I am writing about his song, 10,000 Reasons, and he smiles his lop-sided smile.
SING LIKE NEVER BEFORE
Outside a Koyal bird calls. There will be rain tonight after a sweltering Indian day. Ah, Lord God, more reasons to bless Your name even if our son isn’t well yet.
“Sing like never before, Oh my soul.”
Worship Him for His Spirit of matchless comfort in the presence of our frail humanity.
Unconditional healing is God lifting our innermost being, no matter the ordeal. Oh, the awe of holding hands with God, of being loved by Him in the midst of pain, learning to love Him back and to love each other unconditionally, like He does.
We were in tears recording this. It was a healing all by itself. … Very special hugs from our son who knows you are praying… ~ Rayla Noel
Rayla Noel lives in India with her husband, their three children and a God who never runs out of Creative Ways to help them graduate from His School of Faith.My Grace is sufficient for you; for My Power shows best in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 AMP
Has there ever been a time like this one? Has there ever been a silence like now: each of us one voice asking the same questions/ the same quest for peace/ the same need? We are as a race quietened; we have never before been startled as we are today. I’ve not experienced a certain shameless scream inside, for each other. Never before has my heart been this unafraid to say it out loud: we need you Lord Jesus. No one else met me in my darkest hour; no one else showed me the Light. Yea I can say it without a flicker of a doubt: you and I have been loved by the Christ.
Here it is! Woooo! 😄😄😄🥳 We received 112 expressions of worship, from 20 countries, 53 states, 5 continents, in 28 different languages! Let’s get on our knees, praise God, and pray for our land! 😄 https://youtu.be/GpnxLbxlx1U
Between all our rights and crime, we carve an existence. Someone made rules but deep within even a baby knows what is theft, what is hurt, what is cheating. You cant just say you and I can do what we wish, somewhere it hurts someone else. Our choices are dominoes. And like it or not we are responsible for each other. Like it or not, theres a sky and theres gravity. Theres hearts and theres love. Theres peace and theres war. Theres way too much going on in an earth keeling with need for understanding. We are bridges. We are bricks. We are more than just humans. We are givers and takers; we are borrowers and lenders. We hate, we are indifferent, we love. Emotion is unseen, and it’s there. There is right and wrong. Much as we yell about it, deep within we know, we knew it from when we were kindergarten and we took someone’s pencil and hid it; and we know it now too. We know when we hurt a sensibility, we know when we judge amiss, and we know theres evil and good. And if there is, then theres more to what we refuse to … and the chasm between those two is the answer to every question we ever!
And I’d thought this Cross was a symbol of suffering: but It is more. It’s a coat hanger for my soul…. but more, more! Now and then, I’m shredded by life. Now and then dragged into chasms alone… so I thought. So we think, we humans.
We are suicidal, sick, disabled, dependent on human resource; we are hostage, we are criminal. But
You standing next to me, in me: crossing out evil, negating my dark;
You pouring words through my lips of clay,
You rinsing my hands and feet o’er and o’er; You saying words in my ears I could not have found on my own. Words like a 2edged Sword- one edge cutting away death, the other granting me life:
You, shining a trillion times x infinity- more than all our suns: Your Light stark blazen smashing every last snicker of evil, every stinkn’ shroud casting its net in my bones, in the soul of my nation, my borders, my dregs… blazing with Your light…. personified by the Cross.
This Cross more potent than Light as we know it, Its reach deadlier than sin and hell; what force can separate me from its Love nailing me to Its heart, Its Heaven, Its Immortal Vein? ….NOTHING. NOTHING. NOTHING. IT IS THE BRANDING FIRE OF GOD, IT holds my breath, my pulse my all. My all.
paddled in puddles, laughed out loud in my mask, frightened a few men in shop shelter; their eyes crinkling in mirth. The rain fell slow thick drizzle, it tripped a butterfly that sashayed across my face into a nearby lamp post. A wet dog shrugged, its ears flapping to its tail. After a long long time for a bit there I forgot the propriety of propriety and colds. My sleeves fell in my skin. No umbrella. Electric wires sparkled with drops, a pigeon with spiked head feathers waddled under and into a low shuttered shop; I felt joy like a bubble burst, and thought how they said rains are bad for Covid. Then thought to hell with it, literally. We are sick of it, yes yes do not go laid back. I shook a girls hand today at the Centre, hugged her elbow…
.. then quick reached for sanitiser, it’s cool masks my thoughts. I hate how we’ve become careful, how we are so wretched careful. We have to be, and I love how the rain for a moment baptized me in itself. For a moment there it was like before all this took our care free walks. Yesterday reminded me we can still be the same inside an earth that never changes. Caterpillars and leaves go on. Stores still sell hair clips and Tee shirts, or pineapple crush. The rain still falls puddles and silver, in afternoon grass green gaudy green by a cream compound wall and new yellow flowers. I want to say a little prayer, thankyou God for everyone as is, and for all things that we have.
Did an interview with daughter here: oh go do the things you want to. Don’t deny us the laughter, the tears, the relief of honesties. Yes, suicides are on the rise, rape and trades beyond decencies. Somewhere between all this, one stops to pray, believe, rest our hearts on the One who loves like none other. I wish you love, joy, peace.
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