Coffee along the way

Coffee along the way
Coffee along the way

December 13, 2016

How would you give a Definition of yourself?





How would you give a Definition of yourself? Starting with your name and then ________?

Take a minute to really think about it. Will your definition include how you look? What you do for a living? Who your husband/wife/kids are? How much (or how little) money you have? Would it be something funny to cover an embarrassing fact about you? Will it be harsh or flatteringly? Will it be truthful or maybe slightly deceiving?
What will it be?

The Definition of myself by myself. Hmm. Possibly quite the hardest thing to do. Also quite revealing. What does define you? And what happens to that definition when what does define you, changes? Hard questions for this time of year, for sure!

I could define myself by what I do. Easy. Missionary. Mom. Homeschool teacher. Occasional Physiotherapist. Cook. Baker. Cleaner. But what happens if I cannot DO any of these things? Kids grow up and move away (too soon one will fly the nest!), the house can become smaller, or I could lose the ability to clean, cook or move around. Then what? Who am I then?

How I look? Oh, my, that changes quickly! Hair turning white at an early age is quite a shock for the Image if that is important in your definition! A few kilos gained leads to devastation. Wrinkles can cause a few wobbles in how you define yourself. Getting old may seem a terrible thing if how you look defines you.

Money? Status? All can be lost. Same goes for the people you associate and define yourself by (spouse/kids/friends).

I was looking sideways into the mirror at my prematurely (haha) gray-white hair and thinking that I need something more solid to state my Definition on. Looks won't do it. :) Looking at Gap year options for my eldest makes me re-evaluate that part of my definition as a homeschool mom. Being put into a certain income category because of being a missionary, helps me see that that won’t be a good place to start my Definition either!  

The thing is – all these things we so naturally use to state our own personal Definition is temporary, not lasting and not good at all in the long run. We need something Unchangeable, Someone Unchangeable!
We need God’s Definition of us.

And what is that? In my humble opinion we are all looking for love and acceptance. If money gives it we try and hold onto that. If looks does it, we go there. If family, status, etc gives it we try that. But essentially we all search for the ultimate place of love and acceptance. We can only find this with God. He has unconditional love for us. Just think about it – God loves us no more today than He loved us yesterday. We cannot impress Him, we cannot earn His love. We have total acceptance from Him. Jesus made us whole with God the Father again. Through Jesus we have exactly what we are looking for. But we don’t believe it. We don’t live it. We try useless things.

At the end of this year, I think I am ready to start really living this. It has been a hard year but always God is there, whispering I love you. I approve of you but I kept looking at things that made me acceptable, loved and to no avail. I guess 2016 can be summed up by Deeply disappointed by Life in general.

No more. I choose to start my Definition by stating I am a child of God! I am loved by the Creator of the Universe. I belong to the Best Father ever. I have purpose. Nothing can change that. No hurt, no circumstance that this life throws at me can change that. God will always love me. Always.

As we celebrate the coming of Jesus this year, let us think of what He did – how He changed literally Everything! How He made it possible for us to have this amazing relationship with God! Unconditional love.

Bella





"Guard your ❤️ for it is the wellspring of life."



I realised recently that Bitterness is also a fruit. We tend to think that only the good things are fruit - like gentleness, compassion, self-control - but actually we can have many fruits that are grown from sin in our hearts.

Being unforgiving, making sure you never say you are sorry, holding grudges, keeping score of the wrong, etc; all of these will grow into solid and nasty fruit. With roots so deep and seeds so tenacious that it is really hard to get rid of them!

Bitterness
Rage
Hatred
Revenge, the List goes on!

These are all Fruit of the unwholesome kind and i can grow them right in my own little garden hot-house. By dwelling upon hurts, by letting these hurts or whatever wrong that was done to me - wrongly or rightly - take root, nurturing my hurt feelings and taking care never to let go of them, i will have quite a harvest of bad tasting, ugly looking and horribly smelling fruit.....

How do i get rid of these invasive growths with horrible fruit? How do i keep my heart sweet? How does one "guard" ones ❤️?

 The easy ones are those where you have caused hurt - ask for forgiveness! Say you are sorry - nobody so far has died because they said "I am sorry, please forgive me."

The more difficult ones are where you have been hurt. All of us have had our fair share of it!

I think for me the word Dwelling really coins it. To dwell on a hurt means to quite literally, live there. Living in it, with it - constantly. Dwelling. Mulling it over and over. This is a sure way of making sure it takes root and it will definitely soon bear fruit! Some hurts go so deep that, if you keep dwelling there, you can build quite a sturdy skyscraper or vast neighbourhood! No. Stop! Something needs to be done.

The opposite of Dwelling is To Move! The only way to move out is by letting go, moving on.....by Forgiving.

Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of Life. Don't make lists of wrongs 1Corinthians 13 says.

Never easy, but worth it. Jesus, as my ultimate inspiration, as He was being crucified, prayed....Father forgive them for they know not what they do. Forgive them.

Love. Forgive. Live. Become free.

Bella

December 07, 2016

Reality of life as a missionary



“This was the true light, which gives light to everyone entering the world. He was in the world — the world came to be through him — yet the world did not know him. He came to his own homeland, yet his own people did not receive him. But to as many as did receive him, to those who put their trust in his person and power, he gave the right to become children of God, not because of bloodline, physical impulse or human intention, but because of God.”
‭‭John 1:9-13‬ ‭CJB‬‬

I was sitting with clenched fists at the weekly Bible lesson. Probably the worst missionary ever. I was angry. My white fists a sure sign of just how angry I was. I truly hoped it was a Righteous Anger, but as i continued to just sit there this anger grew in me.....not very righteous at all.

The lesson was on Jesus' crucifixion and then His glorious resurrection. What a wonderful story as we are in the Advent leading to Christmas - being reminded that Jesus, sweet as He was as a baby, was meant for so much more and would face severe pain before returning to His Father, mission completed! But no. It was not going well and thus the clenched, white fists in my lap.

I was sitting on the women's side of the little grass-roofed shelter and they were paying rapt attention? No. They were really interested? Nope. They were actually having the time of their lives and laughing at everything! If a rain drop fell through the thatch roof it was funny, if a little baby screamed her lungs out, it was something to laugh about, if the wind blew cold and wet air against them it was snickered at. They were all giggling and talking in whispers and laughing at everything! This was all still bearable, i mean free choice and everything, but when the picture of Jesus hanging on the cross was passed around and they found it hilarious it really got to me! Why was This Scene funny? And when His broken body was taken down from the cross it caused them to nearly die of laughter.....?

I felt so shocked and saddened all at the same time. Do they not hear? Do they not see? Are they all laughingly choosing death instead of Life? How could they treat my King this way?

But,
Jesus was betrayed. Mocked. Scorned. Dismissed. Laughed at. Pointed to. 

And as He was nailed to a wooden beam, His life ebbing away, in agony He still prayed....Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

And it touched my hardened heart and i too pray....Father forgive them......

Bella, heartbroken

November 23, 2016

Into the Light



I am rather terrible at needlework. I mean, really terrible. If anything that involves sewing clutters my desk, i shudder. I am not one to procrastinate easily, but sewing related...always!!  I put it off until it is definitely the last second, but even so, my family still ask me to fix things, bless their souls!  Just small things like Sewing on a button or Fixing a seam....nothing serious or too challenging for their sewing impaired mother!

And so, on this Thursday morning i was trying to fix a small seam that came apart.  I made a mess of things, as i did not even look to see if the thread matched the colour of the fabric. Nothing out of the ordinary! I was picking away to undo my work (oh, for a delete button on sewing!) and i was struggling.  I mean struggling more than usual....

The extra problem was, that i did not have enough light where i was working, so i took my "work" over to the window to get more light on the .....uhm, subject - and then something clicked inside my brain - unfortunately still nothing in the way of making me an amazing seamstress, but still, something clicked. And it was this: I had to take my life into the Light. And only there could i really "see" what was going on.

I have had more than my fair share of challenges this past month - if only it was in sewinstuff! I had struggled to see what was going on. I was wrestling daily with things that i could not fix. I became really despondent at times and even a bit depressed.  These things started to consume me. They heaped upped. I could not stop thinking about it and it dragged me down. An unhealthy downward spiral. It also started me on "What were others thinking of me?"  I could feel a thick condemnation roll over the, oh, so dark, hills.

At the height of all this and quite timely (God's timing, of course!) a friend wrote and said that i need only be concerned by what God was thinking about me. He knows my heart AND my motives.  Am i good with Him? Bringing my life into the Light is the important factor. He needs to be the One convicting me at times, comforting me at others. God is the One True Standard.  This does not say i am not open to a word of warning or caution or conviction from people, but rather to always make sure before God. It does not matter what people think - rightly or wrongly - of my "name", only what God thinks of me. And i mean this where others might think bad of me and i cannot defend or explain myself kind of context. Obviously our conduct should be above reproach, that is also not what i mean. So don't get me wrong, i am talking about those situations where i need to put my name/reputation in His hands and trust Him for the outcome.

Just this week i taught my kids "Life is unfair/ hard but God is always good!" (I didnt realize then i would learn this lesson again myself!) Jesus did not explain or defend Himself in His last hours, even though we might think it could have changed Pilate's mind, or clarified things a bit! He said Nothing. Suffering for His Name is normal but worrying about my name is not!

If He convicts, i need to make it right and if i need justice i must trust Him for it. Only by bringing it all out in the Light will i have peace. There He can show me what i need to do - confess my sin, make it right, or just fall into His loving arms and know that He is on my side.

By bringing it into His light - all my troubles, all my spiralling thoughts - He brings calmness and perspective once again. No other way.

And so i stand in His Light in this new day!

Bella, who needs to go fix that seam.....


November 17, 2016

Hurting heart



When Jesus told us to be the light and the salt of the earth i don't think i realised that being just that would cause quite a lot of pain and suffering on my part. It is so easy to be the lamp under the bucket.  No-one enters, no-one disturbs.  It is just you and a few chosen ones and you shine, albeit in a small space. But that is a no-go. The command is to be a light in a dark world, not be a light in a nice comfy place.
Where the real world is and what the real world needs - that is where you and i need to be as lights and as salt. Guiding them to God, the Ultimate Light source.

Sounds so easy, right? nope. I haven't seen the easy side of this....

You know, i see some really bad wounds out here from time to time. Wounds that need washing, with salt water.  And it hurts! But as all physios or cleaner-of-wounds like to say/think, "no pain, no gain", or something like that.  Salt stings but cleanses really well.

Same goes for light. It can hurt eyes accustomed to darkness. It takes a while for eyes to adjust to a really bright light. Pain again.

I guess the light and the salt need to enter the eyes and the wounds for them to get better. Painful if you think about it - and this pain is not just for the receiver, but for the giver as well.  Sometimes you give all you have (hopefully in love and kindness) to only then receive a slap across the face as "thank you". Or rather "no, thank you." Extremely painful to the giver. Esp if you know you are in God's will and doing His bidding. God doesn't guarantee the outcome, He only asks my obedience. Be salt, be light. It is of no concern to me how they will respond. Hard at times. Very hard.

And just in case you think my theology is a bit off track....1 Peter 3:15-17  says
"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
For it is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil."


Suffer for doing good....

Stepping out from under the bucket, jumping out from the salt bin, i venture into the world relying solely on my Father to use me as He sees fit, and trusting Him for the outcome; helping people get closer to Him.

Bella,with hurting heart.

October 05, 2016

One woman show....




I had this picture yesterday of an aircraft mechanic.... There is this plane in the hanger, actually the remnant of a plane. Little bits and pieces, larger odds and ends all strewn across the hanger floor. Someone walks up to the mechanic, hands him a hammer, a bucket of spit and a roll of ductape. His mission? Putting the plane back together and letting her .....yes, believe it or not - fly!!!

And that just about sums up how i feel about my role in helping the sick people in our village. A one woman show, armed with spit, grit and a bag full of tea.....

Oh, for a real hospital! One where i can send my patient to someone for tests, x-rays, antibiotics, into a clean bed!!! But no. I make a plan, clean up wounds, dish out tea, mix salt water and send them off with a prayer. It is not that there are not any other help, it is just either 5km in one way or 15 to the other side. Once there the malaria tests may be finished, the treatment even more basic and most things cured or die trying with paracetamol. The options are, to say the least, very limited.

Yesterday i saw a small baby with what i suspect pneumonia. Her mom, a 15 year old, had already tried the clinic. A no go there. So she came to me. I would have liked to admit her, waltz in with my physio equipment and help her as part of a team. But it was just me. After giving her something for the fever and again asking her to go to the hospital i sent her off with a prayer - pleading God to intervene, because other than Him helping, i could not see much hope.

Frustration, sadness, and helplessness overwhelmed me. I wanted to scream at the sky "Spit, grit and a whole lot of ductape...erm Tea??"

A long time after this i was just quietly sitting, albeit a bit defeated, at my desk when God said softly, "Just do what you can. I will handle the rest." It appears i am not a one-woman show after all.

And that is exactly what I had to learn yesterday, again. God called me here. He knows what in can and mostly what I can't do. I need to trust Him for each and every one that comes here. Each and every one. Just a note here - i am not "playing" doctor, i help out of the pure and simple fact that their options are VERY limited, i act out of neccesity. I do not function here from a strong and self-assured place. I function from a weak and dependent place. And I do not like it one bit. I want to give my best and work in my best capacity not like this, floundering. But God's ways are usually the Topsy turfy way in my world.

The thing is, i have seen so many people healed and not get infections in serious wounds that, that alone should boost my confidence! But no. I want to work as the world works and it is just not possible here.

And so, in this place of constant humbling, i bow before my God and acknowledge Him as the Giver and Taker of life. I acknowledge that He really does know best and has a plan for me here. I need to walk daily with Him. Person to person and trust that He can use spit, grit and a whole lot of ductape to bring His healing. Because we all know that spit, grit and ductape can definitely not help with healing in any case!!

And so, i step out again in trust - trusting Him more and more and choosing to believe that He has work for me here. In His Name. With whatever He gives.

Bella, decked out in ductape and faith in a God who does not fail me.




October 03, 2016

Time, seasons and going on forevers......



Time entrapment, that is life here and now. And sometimes it feels as if This will never pass. Whatever the This is, it feels forever. And a day.

If i look out my window, i see dull dead grass browning and withering away in the deadly African sun. I see mostly blackened fields burnt down by runaway fires. I see dust and dead leaves, even if it is supposed to be "Spring". You cannot seriously call it Spring here....more a death grip of inbetween times before the rains come! Dust and dry red soil, powdery when you walk in; causing little dust clouds around your feet, turning them red. Every year it feels like it will never rain again. It seems like we will be stuck in this dry and hot time capsule until the end of time.

This "This" can be a number of things - each of us may have any number at one time. From serious diseases, to broken legs, to foot fungi to being a mom with toddlers, to doing mundane tasks from day to day and everything in between. It feels like things will never change, never let go, never let up.

I am working my way through Isaiah - slowly but surely. A lot of pride, idols, not following God, death and destruction are recorded in those pages. Interestingly enough it all has an undeniable time stamp on it. Things will not go on indefinitely. Kings will die, nations will dissapear. Earth as we know it will pass. Times will change. Only God is above time, timeless and wonderfully so!

Toddlers will grow up and out of our hands, people will get better or not, flowers will grow and rain will fall, wind will blow and dust will settle or blow in my face. Nothing is forever on earth even if it feels like it. Nothing. Even the good stuff.



I look out my window and i see dryness and dust, but the closer i look the more i see. I see trees with green and new leaves - no hint of rain in the air but they show Hope that it is coming....albeit in a couple of months, it Will Come! Things will change. Hope is green new leaves defying all the dust and dead grass around. Trees that Know without a doubt that this season too will pass.

And in my own life i think and drink deeply on this sight. This too shall pass. I lean back against my Father and look again. I see times that drag on and on but come to an end, i see Hope that there too He will be. Nothing is forever only Him and in that i rest.

Bella, timetrapped but free.

September 11, 2016

Going on "holiday"in Africa.....of boats, automobiles and feet.


 Going on a holiday in Africa (shoestring budget) requires a certain set of skills.  These skills cannot all be acquired from the start, but rather grows as you venture along.  Here follows an (un)complete list of required skills….


Courage!  You will definitely need lots of this!  Really bad roads, dodgy places where you lay down your head, mosquitoes of varying sizes, weird ideas of food, officials and their little pavement kingdom – all require courage!  If you dig deep, you will be rewarded with breath-taking views along least-traveled roads, broad smiles in brown faces as you try local cuisine, a truckful of new “friends” and much more. Courage!

Math skills are highly recommended!  Converting wares and fares into a currency that makes sense to your overloaded brain is of utmost importance!  Without it you will not be able to bite into your seven-fifty-dollar mini pizza paid for in Rands-via-banktransfer-out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere even though you have been thinking in Metical for nearly 10 years…. You also need to gauge for just how far a ride the boatman is taking you for this amount of money converted back into fuel bought by the barrel….sigh.  Math skills in the midst of throngs of pushing people, or trying to decide what you can afford to eat while your stomach is making quite an uproar requires, of the African traveler, nerves of steel. Oh, and did I mention that you need to do all of this math most probably in two foreign languages? 



No personal space.  Yip. None. Africa lives mainly in a cozy bundle.  Nobody thinks it strange to stand right up against you, even leaning a bit on you when they might be tired out…Buses, taxi’s, cars are all filled to the brim!  Ferries too, as I recently found out!  The boat ferry is quite another story, but suffice to say, it requires a great amount of NO Personal Space.

Flexibility. I do not mean the figurative one here, although that helps too!  I mean being able to jump unto things, jump down into things (small boats) and out of things (like taxi’s), climb up and over things (bags of fish, maize and who-knows-what-else-is-in-there), walking barefoot onto slippery gangplanks while grabbing steel cables for support, crawling into tiny spaces, etc.  You get the picture.  You also need to be flexible to tuck in mozzie nets all around, sleep curled up as beds are mostly quite short and doors and stools low.  Stretch those muscles before you begin to plan your trip!


Be Adaptable.  Be ready to Improvise at the drop of a hat. These two go hand in hand like old friends.  It can come in many forms but the one that usually gets me down is in the form of menu’s – after taking 30 min to decide what you are all having the waiter calmly tells you they don’t have potatoes today or no flour or or no hamburger rolls and heaven forbids that you asked them to make a hamburger on a normal breadroll of which they have literally stacks!  ???  be ready to take off your shoes, wade hip-height with a jean through the water, dry out , get wet again, wrap your wraparound around your shoulders for a blanket,  a sheet, a towel…..Adapt. Just a normal part of life now, I guess! But be ready to adapt, tuck and roll, esp when you least expect it!  Just take it in your stride.

And for now, last but definitely NOT least – a Sense of humour!!  Most important!  You will need this on a moment to moment basis.  From the time where the border official is lying on his veranda filling out forms and collecting $150 and nonchalantly stuffing it into his back pocket, to the “taxi” not being able to crest the hill and you have to jump off and walk uphill, to having ordered Moussaka and it is presented as follows – one thick slice of eggplant, covered in a thin white sauce with a hint of mince (or so you hope!). You also need it to order “Nail on a plate” and then get a kind-of-Prego- roll- directly-translated.  You need it to laugh in relief after having fought your way down two flights of ferry steps, over and under heavy loads and throngs of people only to then jump into a small dingy boat that barely floats and be glad you “made” it! A sense of humour is required when you pick up your bags to find a shady spot (on ferry again!) while at precisely that moment the ferry turns around and the whole boat thinks it is because you want to now get off!!  (And that after having fought your way unto it!!) A sense of humour to laugh loudly at yourself with half the population, as you bumble along trying to communicate as best you can with the languages you have been given and not succeeding!!  Hehe



But all in all, travel widens horizons, broadens the mind and makes you stronger.  What is not to like? It may not be quite as you expected so be ready to be surprised by Africa and be ready to see her wonder. It crawls under your skin and you always come back for more.

Bella, the barefoot traveller.





August 31, 2016

What is man....





My shoes were outside and my bare toes made soft imprints in the sandy floor. I was sitting on the edge of a palm-wood bed covered with wheat sacks, trying to comfort the mourning mother.  She had lost a small baby girl three weeks ago and today the baby’s twin sister followed. Sadness overwhelmed me. 
I looked down at the dirt floor where my footprints were and thought “ When I consider your
heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him?
  
Tomorrow my toe imprints will be swept away, never to reveal the fact that I had sat there and wept with her.  What is man?
But still God does mind, He does care.  He counts the hair on our heads!  As I sat there trying to comfort, I was glad that my Yao was limited.  Words are so inadequate in times like these.  Instead of talking, I laid my hand on her back and silently prayed. Prayed for peace, for comfort, for God’s touch, revealing Himself to her in her darkest hour….

And then Peace reigned in an unexpected place.

Next to the mother lay a 5 year old boy, eyeing me suspiciously.  But soon after his mother had fallen into a deep sleep he followed and I saw God gently holding the twins on His lap and they were happy. 
She slept through the fight that the family had with her husband.  He wanted a burial not as tradition demands but as a believer in Jesus desires. The local religious leaders were angry and did not want anything to do with helping to bury the small body wrapped in a linen cloth.  The family heads were angry because they did not want it the Christian way.  And still she slept.  Deep and peaceful. God was mindful.

And then, 4 hours later the family heads gave in and called the women.  The little bundle was placed next to the red flag which marks the house where death has come. My throat closed and tears flowed freely as my husband stood alone in front of the cloth-rolled baby and starts to speak in Yao.  For the first time everyone could actually understand what was being said at a funeral – no more Arabic whispers and meaningless chants.  Clear and focused he spoke God’s Truth.  Jesus is the only Way.  This baby is now with God.

Slowly the men gather the little body and walk off in the blazing sun to the graveyard while the women stare and start to wail. But this time, I know, some have Hope.  Because God minded and sent His Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not die but will live forever more.

Bella, barefoot on Holy ground.

August 02, 2016

Opinion of one...



The opinion of one....is just that - one person.

About 15 years ago i attended a conference and really liked the worship music.  So we decided to buy a CD, but the lady selling the Cd's opinion was that normally this singer/songwriter's music was quite "wild".  She offered the only one that in her opinion people would actually like.  (people like us or people in general i never found out.)  However i liked his music very much but i never bought another album of this particular artist because her opinion stuck. 

Last week we were listening to this same CD and my husband reminded me of what that lady had said and suddenly the lights in my brain went on and i started thinking that just maybe she was wrong....what could i loose?  In any case i started looking for more of his music and found to my not-so-great-astonishment that his other albums were in fact, excellent too!!  The opinion of one made me miss out on good solid worship music!  For 15 years!!

It made me think further that it is so easy to believe someone especially if they say something negative about me or put me down or don't say anything and then i feel bad, etc, etc.  So many times i believe the one and do not even check it with Truth.  Why do i believe the worst of me so easily?  Or the worst of others at times?

Opinions should not just be taken for truth just because someone else believes it.  Test and keep that what is good!

And i guess the One opinion that really matters is my Father's.  Do i test these opinions of others - spoken and also those unspoken opinions, you know the kind - the silent lifted eyebrow or the pursed lips - do i test it regularly to what His Word teaches?  Or what i know He believes about me?   Do i let the opinion of one fill my head with lies and just believe them?

Isa 49:16  See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands

Isa 43:10  "You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me no god was formed, nor will there be one after Me.   I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from Me there is no Savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you.

Believe Me.

Bella



June 01, 2016

Wonder



This morning i was visiting a friend at her, not only new job but also newly build hospital, when I was reminded of The Wonder. As we walked down one corridor a newborn baby emerged accompanied by an ecstatic new dad. He had that shine of Wonder on his face. Yes, his hair did stick up in all directions and he looked like he had been in the same clothes for about 36 h but he shone! And it reminded me to never loose The Wonder!

At times life gets just so, well a lot of things really, but with not muchmWonder in it. There is boring, there is stale, there is much of the same thing, there is difficult, there is hard and sad and mostly Wonder flies out of the frame. Much, much too easily.

I walked down sparkling new hospital corridors, clean windows and saw a newborn with his wonder filled dad and i was  touched by this Wonder. God in the Whisper. God in the Wonder.

I see it when i bring a cup of coffee to my son, i see it when the sun shines just right and makes a rainbow, I see it in a smile, in a tear even sometimes. The thing is, i need to go through life with both eyes open! 

So often i choose not to look for it and even if it stares me right in the face i still do not see. Selfishness or just being absorbed with daily life clutters my mind and closes my eyes and heart to Wonder. I have to choose to see God and His Wonder every day.

Soon there will be very little of clean and neat shops or buildings and a dust filled town will loom all to big before my eyes. There will be loneliness and isolation, far off times without good friends and fellowship but will i choose to still look for and sometimes even hunt for The Wonder? I hope so!

I am reminded of a song by Leeland  called Wonder. In it they sing of Awe and Wonder at Jesus' ultimate sacrifice - "I am afraid for no-one's ever sacrificed and loved me this way, so on my face i fall under Your heavy grace, Here i lay in awe and wonder"

That is where it starts and it just ripples out from there this Wonder! I don't want to be stuck in the "normal" day to day without this! I want to live with this constant reminder of Wonder - a Wonder that reaches deep and tells of an amazing love.

Bella, in Awe and Wonder

January 17, 2016

redeemed and being redeemed





I wish I could report that I was not the one on the downward spiral of destruction.  But I rather be honest than a fake.

I had all these circumstances piling up against me.  I won’t list them all, as it might depress even you, but trust me it was/is still long. I had a lot coming at me and my response was Help!!  Deliver me!!  Help me….but that was not happening.  Instead it felt like the storm intensified!  So much for help, I thought.

Hitting rock bottom I realized I do not think God cares or hears or is with me.  Oh, I can see He is around me, working in others lives, helping them, etc but not in mine.  I was blinded by lies. But so far gone that lies became truth and truth became lies.

I was not letting God use any of these things to shape my life into something beautiful.  I became bitter, distraught and depressed. It was all too much.
We are going through a course by Dr Bruce Wilkinson with our boys, entitled The Testing of your Faith. I know it well, have gone through it a few times, but as I sat there and listened the Holy Spirit showed me that I am in a huge test of faith. As Dr W named the things you should never doubt when in a test I could tick them off one by one – unfortunately a negative kind of tick mark…So, I realized this was definitely my test.

In a test of faith God usually wants you to pass the test and work on things you don’t believe about Him.  What was my test about?  What did all of these things have in common?
Well, for one I did not believe God was caring for me as a woman out here in the sticks. I felt it is all good and well being a boy or a man here but a woman?  Not so easy. I also did not think God knew what I needed – I have been praying for a good friend for years, one that knows what you are thinking before you say it, one who I can just sit and be without a lot of words. Nothing coming.  Even though there were some, because of others it also did not work out (and I was blaming people here!) In any case so my sad list went on.  All in all it boiled own to the fact that I did not trust God for me. I trusted Him for my husband, my kids, the unbelievers around me and I saw many ways in which he did just that – care for them, intervene, save, help, etc! But for me, not so much and mainly because I was not letting Him for several very real (to my mind) reasons.

I lost trust because I was asking God’s help but prescribing how He should go about it.  I think I tried explaining that in the previous post.  This was not helping me at all, as I was losing hope and fast.
I needed to trust God regardless of the outcome. That was hard for me.  As I prayed one morning I had this picture of me clinging unto a cliff.  I was shouting for help!  I was desperately waiting for someone to recue me, throw me a rope, get a better grip on the rocks, anything really!  But God was gently asking me to jump. 
Yip, jump down in to water.  So I declined as there might be sharp rocks or crocs or who knows what down there!  Not trusting I still clung.

Quite a picture!  I had to trust in God for everything and then trust Him some more not to harm me as I trusted Him.  Does any of this make sense?   To me it did!

My solutions to the problems were in not thinking up solutions - it was to trust God to use every one of these difficulties, disappointments and problems to shape my into the image of Jesus.  I had to let go and trust that all these things were for my good if I let God use them.

Jerry Sittser in his book, A Grace Revealed says it perfectly:


I belong to God.  He will not let me go. In Philippians 2 it says: "for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purposes." God was bringing all these things together - literally piling them up to make me see something huge that was harming me. God had me all this time in His hand, never once letting me go. Wanting to make me into something beautiful glorifying to Him! Rather than asking - why,oh why, me? I am asking how can God use this to make me more into the likeness of His son.  For sure, i have a long way to go, but i am on my way or actually more correctly, on God's way.

So i let go of the cliff, jumped and i fell into wonderful calm waters, save and sound, trusting.

bella, redeemed and being redeemed.