Not Just Life, Abundant Life

  What does it mean to live? Is it to experience different cultures or cities? Or maybe it’s living out the ultimate foodie dream by tantalizing your taste buds every waking moment? How about being the most famous person in your profession or hobby? To be deeply loved by another? Or as I have often wished, to be without clocks, quotas, expectations, based on impulses and passions to just be, no restraints, no comparisons? How about pain free, rent free, even better, bill free!? Tell me, what does it mean to live?

I can laugh at the matrix, but it’s not a far-fetched theory. Our reality is, however, a hundred times worse- we don’t get to shift bullets. I mean, the real reason is, we are aware of the monster controlling us and we remain in bondage; we don’t fight; we don’t run, we even find pleasure in it. Our deception is so dangerous that we make excuses for it, we have fallen in love with the thing that hates us.

I have been ranting about death to self a lot these past few weeks, but I have been missing the bigger picture. Yes it’s true, this world is full of trouble and when we seek solace from the despair, we come face to face to a bloodstain, wooden cross to carry. I have been running from this truth, hoping to avoid it somehow, whilst reaping the peace it springs at its edges. But the beautiful thing is the cross isn’t only an emblem of suffering and shame, but of discipline, obedience, forgiveness, love and the one I most need now, hope. The cross bears the paradox of being death and life at the same time.

Beauty of Pain

I was so focused on my death, I couldn’t see passed it. All I was thinking was, “What will I have left after this painful death?” I wasn’t seeing the beauty to this pain, perhaps not even Christ when he felt forsaken saw it either. I found to be true, a kernel of wheat cannot grow unless it dies, bursts, rips, gets torn. Has your mother or friend ever shared embarrassing, sometimes painful pregnancy stories with you? Well my mother does, over and over and over, I pretend to dislike them but I honestly couldn’t get enough of them!

She says it was like, “My life turned upside down.” Yet she can affirm how much she loves her children, and even how much those experiences help her love her children. The cross or self denial or discipline, whichever you choose, is not the destination, it’s the journey. For a mother, (all being well) a healthy bundle of joy awaits, for us, life, abundant life. So I’ve started telling myself when I feel exhausted on this journey from carrying the cross, it’s because I am ‘expecting’. I am expecting life. Thomas Merton understood this beauty,

 Why should I cherish in my heart a hope that devours me—the hope for perfect happiness in this life—when such hope, doomed to frustration, is nothing but despair? My hope is in what the eye has never seen. Therefore, let me not trust in visible rewards. My hope is in what the heart of man cannot feel. Therefore, let me not trust in the feelings of my heart. My hope is in what the hand of man has never touched. Do not let me trust what I can grasp between my fingers.

Death will loosen my grasp and my vain hope will be gone. Let my trust be in Your mercy, not in myself. Let my hope be in Your love, not in health, or strength, or ability or human resources. If I trust You, everything else will become, for me, strength, health, and support. Everything will bring me to heaven. If I do not trust You, everything will be my destruction.

Thomas Merton, Thoughts In Solitude

He calls us to obey, trust. John chapter 10 has been working on me with my submission struggle. Sheep do nothing but drink, eat, follow. Yet, Christ says he has called them to life and not just life, but abundant life! What if this is what it really means to live? To eat the word of life, drink the wine of the Spirit and follow the Shepherd? Guess what, because it’s life that I’m after I must be a sheep. Oh, far away I found myself from the fold.

Sheep Need a Shepherd to Survive

Sheep are by nature are preys. The only defense they have is a thick coat of wool. That might be beneficial in the cold, but not when a lion is interested in what’s underneath. The sheep does not have a choice but to depend wholly on the shepherd because it recognizes its powerlessness. That’s why the parable says the Shepherd left the ninety-nine. That one is almost as good as dead on their own.

Despite our poor excuses for sources of security, when real danger appears, be it spiritual attacks, financial crises, sicknesses and relational issues, we realize how defenseless we are. Sheep-like Christians don’t acknowledge this helplessness at crossroads or on Sundays, but every waking moment of the day. This is does not mean we live in anxiety of our frailty, but submissive to Christ because of it. The Shepherd of our souls is no hireling, he’s not doing this for the money. He cares, like deeply, authentically and fully. He gives up His life for the sheep. He isn’t only the shepherd but also the gate, access to all things. David proclaims:

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.

Psalms 23:1 (NLT)

Sheep Strive In a Community

Sheep have this thing they do when threat appears, they huddle together. Whilst the shepherd wards of the attacker, to prevent vulnerability, they get closer. When isolated, they bleat until returned to the flock. I have grown sorrowful for people who proclaim they don’t need anyone. If they say they are called by The Shepherd, He takes care of us individually but as a flock.

He addresses in groups, Israel, Jerusalem, the Church, other nations. He has called us to be a body, a multi-membered bride. He died for all, not just you. Perhaps it’s the bleating we hear when they express these things, or when they themselves withdraw, when their eyes tell us they are not okay. Perhaps it’s the silent cries that shout to alert us of the separation.

Sheep are Followers

If a sheep goes one way, you can almost be certain the others will follow even if it is off a cliff. They often lead each other to slaughter houses. When a shepherd is present, this trait amplifies even more. Shepherd spends a considerable amount of time bonding with the sheep. He can `call of them by name, sometimes up to fifty. He scans for the ones who limp, pregnant, or young and helps them. He anoints their bruises with oil and carries them across streams. Jesus says, His sheep follow His voice because they know Him.  I don’t believe a sheep that keeps running away will develop a deep intimacy with the shepherd so they follow when he speaks. Talk about consistency.

Sheep are Humble

Everyone is on the same level. No one seeks authority over the other. They look out for the flock, not just themselves. They never fight back when being killed. They may cry, actual tears! But they never fight. They don’t get into quarrels and stick out just to say they won. This is no sign of weakness at all! God has to be standing up strong in your spirit to not desire to preserve yourself, your reputation or right. Sheep don’t change their beliefs to conform, they just never change their posture of humility, even if it means death. Sheep understand that vengeance belongs to their Shepherd.

Dog-Like Natures

Unlike actual sheep, we have another nature raging within us, dog-like inclinations. Why do we rage war against sin? Because it will steal from us, destroy and ultimately kill us. To fight any desire successfully, we must replace it with another. We not only shift our minds from sin but we turn it on Christ, ultimate pleasure. But we don’t just fight, we lay hold on abundant life. We lay hold on Christ. We are not surrendering to our death really; we are surrendering ultimately to life abundantly. I rather to stay with a Shepherd who sacrifices His life for me than a devil who is interested in destroying me. (John 10:10) Let’s look pass the weight of the cross to the joy that is set before us, just like Jesus did. Remember, you are precious.

The In-Between

The moment between dying and death, the time between slumber and delayed consciousness, the point between gasping and drowning, between sickness and deliverance- those in between moments are the worst. Even more excruciating is the occasion between rebellion and submission.

I try hard to talk myself into it. I recite verses, I pray, I fast, I share about it; I save them as wallpapers, I journal, I write posts about it and yet here I am still battling with it. I have weeks when I think, this is easy. I love this sacrificial life; it makes me happy, makes me free. Yet, every so often, my hearts long for the chains of yesterday, my hands feel weird without them, like a baby that has lost her favorite blanket. I know, I shouldn’t miss it, but I do. Especially on days when I judge, Oh God this is hard. Why would God even require this? I thought he was interested in making me happy. This does NOT make me happy.

I believe in cause and effect, that nothing is isolated. Even if the cause is outside of one’s self. Therefore, these thoughts weren’t isolated. They never are. Something dragged a baton across the bars of the jail cell housing my sinful nature. Something awoke it, something that identifies with it, that speaks its language. Something I opened the door to.

I had falsely held the belief that once under the shadow of the Almighty, scorpions wouldn’t come there to sting me, or hornets wouldn’t remind me they still have the power to distract and confuse me. When I realized this, I turned to the Hill, looking for the ‘help’ that was promised. The help I assumed would destroy my enemies, my sinful craving and ungodly raving. To not hear the enemies you see today, you won’t see them anymore, was quite discouraging. Instead, I heard, my grace is sufficient.

My response, (very different from Paul’s I might add), first, I wasn’t even referring to that and it may be, but I am interested in getting rid of the present scorpions and hornets that are pulling me from you. Or me being close doesn’t matter anymore? Then, silence.

When my parents (who love me) give an instruction or promise and I make a rebuttal, I am usually faced with a look. The expression that makes you realize the idiocy of the presence of rebuttal. Children obey your parents, for this is right. Whether we understand or are comfortable with the request or gift, we obey. That’s the look I feel from God. The face I imagine as He says, you won’t understand everything I am doing, but one day you will.

I’d like to spend some more time writhing on in self pity about the cost of discipleship, but frankly, I have had enough. Enough of despising hiccups on this journey, of the constant up and down, all the while trying to find balance, to find something concrete to hold on to. Perhaps it’s because I am realizing the rules aren’t changing, I just never knew them. So, the more I know, the more I am expected to adjust. I must learn that my life if lived for God will never experience the false tranquility of being unbothered. It’s experiencing pain, shame, suffering, destitution, joy, nakedness, hunger, happiness, hurt, forgiveness, rest, peace, sometimes all at the same time.

Fire Without Heat

The fiery furnace has always been a favorite for me, especially the way how it’s preached. And who doesn’t love a supernatural deliverance?! After all, an angel or God himself, whatever your persuasion is, showed up! His presence caused the heat to not scorch them, he protected even their clothes! I want that for my life too. Fire without heat, a prisoner in a den of lions without a bite, red seas without water, snakes that heal instead of harm, burnt sacrifices without providing the fire, food without planting or reaping. Is He not still that kind of God? Definitely!

But what if He wants us to really see more of His magnificence and not just His back side? That’s why Jesus allowed Lazarus to die. To show not only show He can protect someone from dying, but He could bring them back to life. I admit I am not ready for this kind of God. I am not ready to experience the death of my will for God’s glory. It breaks my heart to admit it, but it’s true. I judge the Israelites for their cycles of belief and doubt, yet, here I am doing the same thing. Struggling with trust in the invisible, the invisible God, the invisible promises, the invisible heaven, the invisible hope. I am who Thomas Merton calls a coward.

“And sooner or later, if we follow Christ, we have to risk everything in order to gain everything. We have to gamble on the invisible and risk all that we can see and taste and feel. But we know the risk is worth it, because there is nothing more insecure than the transient world. For this world as we see it is passing away (1 Corinthians 7:31).

Without courage we can never attain to true simplicity. Cowardice keeps us “double minded” —hesitating between the world and God. In this hesitation, there is no true faith—faith remains an opinion. We are never certain, because we never quite give in to the authority of an invisible God. This hesitation is the death of hope.”

― Thomas Merton, 

Thoughts In Solitude

Now, yours truly does not intend to remain a coward or give in to the death of hope. Struggle I may, but I will not stop reaching for that prize. Fall I may seven times, but like the righteous, I will rise eight. Will I allow the prisoned nature to speak to my free man? Yes, he may speak, but I won’t trust him. I will remind him, there is a reason why he is behind bars. Why he may not be in control. I will say to my soul, the affliction now cannot be compared to the glory that will be revealed. I will fight with every drop of blood, of sweat, of tears, to submit myself to God, to resist the devil, to resist me. Martyn was on to something:

Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is because you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc.

Somebody is talking… Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So, he stands up and says, “Self, listen for a moment. I will speak to you.”

― Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression (20–21)

I imagine you are having a hard time as well with submission, or a besetting sin. Let’s tell ourselves to shut up and listen. Let us know that we have a hope, that we are fighting against the carnal man. That we are no longer on the benches observing our lives, thinking we aren’t even apart from the game. That we have taken over the ship and we are now captains, submitting to the greatest Admiral. That even if we murmur because of prayer or fasting or sacrifice, we will do it anyway, because we answer to God, not ourselves.

Will I always be happy? No, but God will be with me. Will I be free from my prison instantaneously? No, but he will sit with us through it. His grace we will see was sufficient. He also promises to open its doors at an appointed time. A time I might not get to experience on earth, but a time is for sure. He is still that kind of God, who is comfortable with three days in the grave that gives way to the salvation of my soul. The kind of God who never leaves, even in weakness, even in turmoil and mess. Take heart, he can overcome yours.

I have told you all this so you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

― Jesus, John 16:33

What’s In It For Me?

The cause and effect principle I shared earlier is something God has invested in. We see him saying, if you do this, this will happen, whether blessing or curse. Abraham went through this cause and effect, yet at the time he didn’t know, hence, the demonstration of faith. After not withholding his son, this is what God says to him:

“This is what the Lord says: Because (Cause) you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that,

I will (Effect) certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies.

Genesis 22:16-17 (NLT)

On the other side of submission is joy. On the other side of submission is what your heart truly desires, deep past your flesh and fulfilling the discomfort of your soul. Now, I will leave us to choose. The fleeting, temporary, insufficient or everlasting, satisfying, meaningful? Simply, life or death? Remember, you are precious.

Engraved: Foundations

Secrets unfold and while they do, petals of lies whither exposing the truth. Sarah can hardly compare herself to Job, so maybe it’s the balance of her sins adding up. Something in her changed that day, something she has not yet understood. The day she talked with Ray.

It’s been a week now since they have declared her father missing. Her mother’s skirts sway even wider, her brother more passive aggressive and Ruth, quieter. They meet for prayer but they don’t stay too much together, somebody always ends up sobbing, that makes everyone cry too. No one says it but they are tired, tired of crying, tired of listening at the phone, tired of looking out the window, tired of hoping. The only thing she can be happy about is news she heard from Rachel.

“Devon, I mean father and I have been talking more these past few days… some things recently have taught me to be more appreciative of him.”

“It’s okay, you can say it, the last thing I need is somebody who tip toes around the subject. Plus, friends are happy for you even when they aren’t happy.”

Rachel apologized and continued. She tried to control the excitement in her voice, but the bouncing of her legs betrayed her.

“He wants to know the weirdest things, like how old I was when I first lost a tooth, scraped my knees, learnt to swim, if I had a boyfriend, if they treated me well and all. After all of them he apologized, said he wished he was there. The skeptic in me is still reserved, but I don’t want to be the one to mess this up, so I’m cooperating and all.”

“Has he spoken to your mother?”

“Yea, they call each other now and then. It’s weird, but I think she still loves him.”

“Ewe, old people.”

Both giggled. It was nice to. Those things were rare.

“You said you had something to tell me?” Rachel enquired.

Sarah swallowed and called her closer.

 “Mark and Adrian came over this morning. I was in no mood to talk but they insisted they had some information about Dad.” Sarah said.

Rachel straightened. “Mark? How did he seem? Relieved?”

“Far from it, I didn’t like the pity in his eyes when he saw me.”

“Perhaps it’s sadness Sarah.” Rachel looked away. “This might be painful for him too, you know.”

Sarah lifted her glass, “To Rachel, always seeing her glass half-full.”

“I thought that was your job.”

“What does it get you Rachel? A ‘global scandal’, a missing father, and a brother who thinks you are as weak as a mouse, a God who leaves breadcrumbs that won’t ease the hunger for relief. Sometimes a butterfly’s wing gets broken and it can’t be mended. This is me now.”

Rachel took a drink.

“You said you heard something about your father?”

A lot of things have caught Rachel off guard, but this, this was different.

Rachel leaned over and whispered, “A gang?!”

“Well, he owes them money. They have some deal where he gets a different girl from the community every Friday. It seems they couldn’t find one on my Friday.” Sarah chuckled, then more seriously, “Ray’s more of a monster than we thought.”

Rachel’s hand flew to her forehead.

“Adrian‘s friend told him. Adrian had the symbol and everything on his forearm. He said he saw it when they visited the garage where they kidnapped him.”

“Do you realize what’s happening?! They want your father to pay his debt or drop the charges so Ray can pay them.”

“I do. They might lock up Adrian. I tried persuading him, but he said Dad was a real mentor for him when he just came to church, that he loved him like a son. He couldn’t just stand by and not do something.”

For the first time all evening, Sarah softened. Perhaps it was the fleeting sun that made her feel safe.

“I don’t know what’s up from down anymore Rachel. I am trying to read and pray but it’s like my fears gets triggered like a siren, it keeps interrupting me.”

“What do they say?”

“That they will never find my father and my family will blame me, that I will never be normal, that I can never love God like before, that I’ll end up in hell.”

“I can understand why you would feel like that. You can consider your love was not a secure as you thought. Houses on rocks don’t fall when winds and rains come, it stands no matter.”

Sarah shifted in her seat.

“You remember that church sister I said was the only who called often? She prays with me most days too, especially now. She had a similar experience, but she was out in the world. She often prayed with me. She said how she got over by calling the biological brother that raped her and told him she forgave him. She said she cried for about an hour on the line and he didn’t hang up. She said a weight lifted off her.”

Rachel looked at her expectantly.

“I don’t think I can do that yet Rach. He ruined my life, my family.”

“Okay, I trust you understand you will continue to feel like this until then.”

Sarah pulled the frays of her sleeve. “I have to get home now. Text me when you home.”

God is funny sometimes, he requires the victim to leave an offering to make it ‘right’. Sarah pondered this as she journeyed home. The God she said she served seemed for foreign now. When she saw her house, the needles of pain returned and the weight on her shoulders gained ten pounds. She was tired of this. Tired of being tired.

“If a confession will fix this, might as well try.” She snorted as she turned the keys.

Her mother offered to accompany her the next day. Grace grabbed her in such joy. She spent her nights praying that God would work on the hearts of her family and to protect Malcom.

Mark’s father prepared a room for them at the station and stood in the corner. Ray’s charm seemed off. He couldn’t look her in the eyes. 

“Look, I don’t know where your father is. I don’t intend to be here long.” He said.

“That’s sad news, but that’s not why I’m here. This is.”

What’s Next?!

The series is coming to a close, but don’t let go of that breath yet! Better is on before. What’s your house built upon? See you next Friday! Remember, you are precious.

All Except One

I have a story to tell
But I don't believe anyone wants to hear,
I can tell by the scrutiny on their faces
How unfamiliar the things that come out when I share
They tell me, "That's impossible"
They tell me, "That's not people-friendly"
But what they are really saying 
It's not necessary to be unashamedly me , 
All except one

I admit, I agree with them
Maybe I should take it down a bit
Have 'normal' interests, so others can comprehend
Not to think so deep
Not to be so 'sensitive'
I have wished to be somebody everyone wants to keep
So, I tried copying their tastes
To find my place
I could have pulled it off too, 
They believed it to be true 
All except one 


I didn't recognize me anymore
My real smile was absent,
My thoughts forgotten, 
And my feelings, well, dead.
My 'me-mess', hidden in a box,
Yet, I was 'normal' 
The voice with the story still managed to speak, 
In the hollow parts of my cheek
I tried, hard, to keep the mask. 
Yet the cracks kept appearing
No they didn't ask, they never ask
When I was alone, 
I tried hard to convince myself, this was enough for
All except one


It took rejection for me to see, 
Even if I was someone else 
They still wouldn’t have chosen me. 
Person after person, friend after friend,
They denied the one thing I sought. 
I remember the nights when with my soul I fought 
To be rejected because of who you are, 
Are the heights of pain,
Something I cannot explain. 
Maybe that’s why I haven’t told my story.
Maybe that’s why it’s hidden 
Because they wouldn’t understand 
And myself I couldn’t have forgiven 
Of course, all this is unknown to
All except one


To embrace me took a lot from that one, 
I couldn’t find the strength
I didn’t have the courage to be myself
I just wanted to pretend 
But I had run out of options to put on the shelf
Slowly, he gave me a shovel
I began digging for my mind, for my life
To my surprise, I found it but didn’t love it
How could he choose this for his wife?
It was worse than before, bitter, hurt, ashamed and condemning
It became my enemy like 
All except one 

Wounded, I open my heart to the one who gave his all
Little by little, I made him get closer, 
Until he was in the middle of my mess
And instead of running or requesting I get a 'helper'
He took up a broom and started cleaning
I stood clueless. 
Surely, there must be something I should do 
He read my mind and replied, ‘No, that’s why I died.’ 
Yet they didn’t see, they never see,
All except one 


There is still mess
But he hasn’t left
Teaching me his truth is the only thing I need to profess
I started loving me because he does 
Embracing my uniqueness because he saw them as good
He tells me, I am worthy of celebration as any creation would
I couldn’t tell this story because nobody would believe me, 
All except one

Identity Update

That’s how I started the year. This was the only way I could truly express my state of heart. My lifeline was the approval of men and if I didn’t get it, I would squirm in a corner, destitute, starving, burdened. But, to be pursued of God even like that is the best experience in the world! Guess what? He’s pursuing you too. Isn’t that amazing?

I listened this week “The Pursuit of God” by A. W. Tozer and fam, I was constantly draped. (I recently realized books were on Youtube! I know, I am late to that discovery but it doesn’t matter, I know now!) The ninth chapter was the most significant to me, it drove a wedge right into my heart.

Jesus spoke directly to the issue of burden and rest. The burden He was referring to was not of political oppression or poverty or hard work. What is the source of our burdens? Our own pride (self-love), pretense, jealousy, envy, and artificiality. As a result, we are never relaxed. Our culture is continually playing on these desires to appear what we are not.

Jesus calls us to rest, and meekness is His method. In His meekness is our rest. The meek man doesn’t care who is greater than himself, for he has decided that the esteem of the world is not his desire. The meek man has stopped being fooled about himself. He knows that he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but he also knows the great value and the esteemed place God has provided for him. The meek man’s motto is, “In myself, nothing; in God, everything.” The meek man rests, perfectly content to allow God to place His own values on him.

The Pursuit of God, Chapter Outline

“All I Need Is God”

A hundred pounds lifted from my back instantly. All I needed to do was to rest in God? I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone? You mean I can relax in public because I didn’t need to over filter anything? Whew. I’ve heard it before but when the dross clears from your heart, its secret places get discovered. You should spend some time meditating on that passage, paying special attention to ‘self-love‘. I trust you can see my error in the poem and perhaps in you.

To think when I wrote it tears smeared my screen and now, I have this ridiculous smile, feels beautifully strange. Even last time I was at a low, feeling estranged from God, turns out my idols stood between us. Idols of self and people pleasing. It’s amazing the power of the word, chastenings, fellowship, fasting and prayer. It’s amazing how the roads have led me here, seven months into the year. To be able to say, “All I need is God,” is no ‘hurry come up’ declaration or emotional stance. I realize that even when I don’t feel it and it helps me obey his commandments.

I don’t want you to be bound like me in pretense I nurtured. It becomes an unwanted vine, suffocating everything in its path. It blinded my eyes to all the love and acceptance around me. You don’t need seven months, you need a thirst. A thirst for rest and a weariness of the burdens you carry. Believe Him when He says,

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11 (KJV)

How do You Live in that Rest?

Take up his yoke, deny yourself, take up the cross, do His will. Then learn of Him, get into his word, pray, fellowship with other believers. Then, anticipate the temptations to return to vines outside of God. Ensure you have a counter thought, promise or truth, look for the way of escape that’s provided. Precious, may we become meek, may we be ourselves, may we be bold enough to share our mess and imperfections, to seek only God’s approval and accept it, to be real with God and man.

Lastly, honour God in all things. Chapter 10 had these main point:

Paul’s exhortation to “do all to the glory of God” is an integral part of the sacred revelation and is to be accepted as the very Word of Truth.

It opens before us the possibility of making every act of our lives contribute to the glory of God. Paul specifically mentions “eating and drinking”; if these everyday acts can be so performed as to honor God, then it becomes difficult to conceive of one that cannot.

THE PURSUIT OF GOD, CHAPTER OUTLINE

That means, every moment I spend should be used glorifying God, whether on whatsapp, Facebook, netflix, quiet time, group outings, posts, everything. I don’t want you to think I have perfected this. Trust me, it’s a daily battle, but now, I am not fighting against me or God, we are fighting the sinful nature together.


What’s Next?

Other than more non-fiction posts, the long awaited Engraved Series continues next Friday! I have been musing on it and we are in for a treat. I can’t wait to see who picks up on the clues ! Yassss! I’m excited! Read Engraved: Doubts to refresh yourself on what happened last. Thanks to those who reached out to me, it has given me exxxtra motivation.

P.S. You are really a good listener, I hope to return the favour, reach out, shanyesica@gmail.com. If you liked this post and would like to receive more, sign up below! Remember, you are precious.

I Can’t Breathe

What does it mean to be alive? Is it just to feel the rush of air in our lungs? Is a man in a coma alive as you and me? Then why do we not join him? Why is simply breathing not enough for us? We sense somehow; we have a purpose, right?

‘When Breath Becomes Air’ is the memoir of a neurosurgeon and writer, Paul Kalanithi. He died of lung cancer. The journey to his death was heartbreaking and widely inspiring. After the diagnosis, the things he found important lost their significance, and he was meaningless. For some months now, that’s what I have been experiencing.

Nameless Thing

No, I am not sick. The best way I can describe is lingering restlessness. I think I am realizing I really don’t like it here, that I don’t like me here. I would like to forget corona or believe it hasn’t changed me, but it has. I saw most of what I was doing and thinking about as pointless. Somehow planning photo shoots and having witty ideas for social media posts mean so little for me. This void creeps in, even if I seek to muffle it with binge watching Avatar, (the cartoon not the movie, that’s a letdown, Aang isn’t as entertaining) but at every quiet space, the nameless thing returns. C. S. Lewis gives us some insight:

“We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter.

Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing.”

The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis

I was on a rock or sand rather and someone pulled it out from under me and I have fallen flat on my face. Slow detachment from my ideals made me sick, like an addict being weaned. Then in the middle, it occurred to me the closeness that I desired can only be found when I see him face to face. I wrote this on April 14, 2020;

Is it enough to desire your face, only to never behold it here?
Is it enough to desire your voice, only to be met by the echo of mine?
Is it enough to desire your embrace when all I feel is the void in the air?
Is it enough to desire your truth when my mind is filled with fear?
Is it enough to desire the fruit only to be left hungry for you?
Is it enough to be thirsty for your presence when my drink is tears? Tell me, is it enough, oh Lord, to just desire you?

But it hasn’t just been Corona that has shifted the sand. Our world is being unhinged, maybe it always has been. Ebola is breaking out in Africa again, the earthquake a few months ago, tsunamis in other places, wars (that was ongoing), pending recessions, censorship of social media platforms by governments- whatever happened to free speech? China’s communist government literally has a platform called The Great Firewall that rules out any anti-government claims and they are not the most sacrificial leaders. Chinese can’t use Google and most parts have blocked Facebook. The US is now working for Twitter to be uncensored, the motives for which I am unsure. Then the boiling pot turned over.

I Can’t Breathe

The video before George Floyd’s death pulled air out of me, I barely finished it. I can’t even express how horrific it all was and the lack of emotion from the police officers was appalling. It frustrates us as blacks. It makes me angry. After over 400 years we presumably still don’t have the acceptance or justice we seek. Hundreds of Floyds happened before, this is the problem. Have we progressed in these postmodern times? I cannot imagine the pain of his family. The future might not make grieving any more possible. He could be my brother, no, he was. We cannot replace him.

He That Is Without Sin Cast The First Stone

However, may we never blind ourselves saying, one injustice is greater than the other. Between 2010 and 2014, on average, 56 million induced (safe and unsafe) abortions occurred worldwide each year. And surprisingly despite the current narrative, it is the number one killer for African Americans. So, not only are some women marching allowed unborn babies to think, ‘I can’t breathe,’ when the ‘surgery’ was taking place, some consenting fathers are there too. Our wombs are tombs yet, we don’t burn down buildings, hold peace protests, neither do we loot at nights and we don’t post in solidarity on social media this globally. Perhaps, it is easier if we step in the neck of our unborn black men and women by using our freedom of ‘choice,’ abusing a ‘right’ that was never ours.

Skeletons In Our Closets

We should take it a little further home; how many raids are reported of how our fellow brothers raids ‘Missah Chin’? Or does ‘Missah Chin’ not deserve justice? We rob and kill them, and harbor this aggression towards them saying, ‘They will soon take over Jamaica.’ Certainly our men that speak with such fervency will do something about it. Yet, the ratio in favor of women in Jamaican University demographics is 70:30 and even fewer start businesses. Do Chinese lives matter?

The blacks suffered more injustice in history you may say. So, we only fight for injustices that are more frequent? Martin Luther king said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere or is it only for black lives? Are we really pursuing equality or elitism? Why are we also not protesting over the death of Susan Bogle, a disabled woman was killed last week in August Town during a gun exchange between soldiers and a civilian? Or Noel Chambers, who died in prison after spending 40 years in a correctional facility uncharged? Please fam, let us not allow media to fan the flames of the evil in our hearts.

 ‘We Can’t Breathe.’

These are the words of global protesters. I agree with them. How can we with everything that has been happening? It’s not just the death of Floyd that has stopped our air supply, it’s our blatant disregard for God as humans. How can we expect a world that would rather teach children about gender fluidity, spread distrust for truth, spread relativism, facilitating individualistic focus, be more concerned with our pleasure than morality and expect a society filled with love and devoid of prejudices? How can we expect a broken world to unite? What kind of justice do we seek when a man isn’t inherently just or good? Despite our best human efforts, racist whites won’t suddenly grow a deep enduring love for blacks and a recent law can’t make them either. Only one person can do that.

What would Jesus Do?

Jesus was born in a Roman territory. Rome worshipped their Caesar as a god, and his reply? The interpretation of a coin. To contrary dogmas, chiefly among his people, he taught parables. Hardly a battle cry, or was it? Teachings that spoke of seeds, the broken, the annoying widow, lost money, an injured stranger, mesmerized his listeners. He went to weddings, act as the master of ceremonies for dinners, washed feet and spent his time with the poor. It’s either Jesus was an idler or everything he did was somehow part of a plan.

Ravi Zacharias said, in all of history there’s only one place that evil, love, forgiveness, and justice are all accounted for, the Cross. The only one who deserved justice submitted to injustice. Why? So, he could account for Floyd’s death, Susan, Noel and the list of every other individual who died along with their murderers. We lead men to him and we won’t have to fight for equality. Protest and post, but reconsider your why, is this from the deepest of my desires to show the harsh world the light of Christ? Or is this borne out of sorrow, anger and the urge to take vengeance out of the hand of God? Do we trust that He is just?

The Jews didn’t accept him because he should free them from their temporal slavery. What they didn’t know was he choose to rescue them from a deadlier bondage. And it wasn’t just them, but the entire world. What if in these times we are missing the bigger picture? The glimpse Paul saw. A sight so splendid and transcendent that even in shackles, he declared he was free.

This World Isn’t It

Maybe that’s why my soul is restless. Perhaps I haven’t known the real Christ. Perhaps I am contented with my idea of him. Because I want the knee of my own carnal desires to smother the life out of my spiritual man. Because I want to silence my conscience. I have fallen into the sea of my own devilish passions, pursuing my own ideas, unconsciously yielding to the mantra of living ‘my’ truth. I gasp, clawing for air. What about God’s truth? Or is that not critical to me anymore?

God forbid, a mere desire should delight me. I want to know Him and the power of His resurrection. Surely the tombs in my heart are stink with evil deeds. I demanded to feel some sort of fulfillment here, at least the quenching he promised. I have found tasting living waters doesn’t contain the thirst. It increases it and propels you to become like the persons Paul said would see God. The ones who drool at the thought of his appearing, (my version). God would become evil if he allowed us complete comfort here when glorification awaits us. We would be rocked to complacency as we now are, lacking world-changing convictions.

This world isn’t it. This life is a vapor, a flower that blooms in the morning and whither in the evening. So, we don’t belong here. What do we do with the time we have left? Hide away in a cave like Elijah?

God does not ask us to look the other way during times of injustice.

Tom Krause

2 Corinthians 5: 14-15, 18

 14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us.[c] Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.[d] 

15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.

20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, Come back to God!

Controls there denotes, urges us on, the love of Christ becomes our motivation. Because Christ died for us, we now live for him. How can we show Christ to a deaf world? We offer them light. The most wonderful thing, how Jesus shines ‘through’ us, is tailored to extreme specificity. Moses had a rod, Joseph had organizational skills, Esther had persuasive speech, Peter knew how to catch fish, Rahab had a home, David, an instrument, Solomon loved being in his head, Noah was a carpenter, Mary had a womb, Samuel an ear, Jeremiah, a mouth. What do you have? Better yet, what were you given? There’s is a reason we are alive now. There’s a reason we aren’t in comas. Let’s do something with this breath.

The message below speaks to how a handful of men revolutionized the earth that mirrors ours today. I am encouraged by it, I hope you are too. Remember, you are precious.

I Hated the Altar

I have some of my best and worst experiences of church at the altar. I will tell you a story; you decide which it is. I was probably seven or eight when I went to church one night. I remember little but I know people packed the altar. The praise team seem just about to jump off the pulpit, musicians were wet, members danced off their shoes. This older lady was tarrying with me, Sis. Stewart. She bent her frail back to speak into my ears. This wasn’t my first encounter with the altar, but you will see why it’s one of the most memorable.

Stunned

As usual, I was doing what most church babies do to get the holy ghost, I was absent-minded repeating, ‘Hallelujah’. My feet ached, my throat grew dry, so as audacious as I am, in the middle of her encouraging me to reach out, (whatever that meant) I tapped her hand. I saw my words threw her off balance when she heard, ‘Sis. Stewart mi tyad.’ I could tell it was her first-time hearing that. Partly stunned, she sent me to my seat. I honestly don’t know how my family found out, but I haven’t had space to forget since. Apparently, ‘I have come a far way.’ The best thing about that story is that it never deterred her though. Best believe she was there with me next Sunday and many times after.

Divine Grace

I got creative over time though; I would say I needed to go to the bathroom and didn’t return until I heard the closing prayer or feigned sicknesses. She was a lovely lady though and didn’t smell bad or anything. I was just not interested. It is really an act of divine grace how I developed a desire for God or more appropriately understanding that led to appreciation. However, the altar and I got more acquainted when I got the Holy Ghost but then this submission thing was only the beginning.

I found out soon enough that altar was almost synonymous to sacrifice and that it wasn’t just the space that separated the pulpit from the pew, it was a state. I have over time tied down a part of me to offer to him, but entirely? I didn’t want to then; I don’t want to but I want to now. It’s kind of what Paul said, you know the right thing but the doing part is wayward. I still have excuses too, I don’t have the time, things can’t really be this serious, my flesh is too weak, I have to balance things, I really can’t be expected to walk perfect on earth etc. I realize, however, that everyone is offering themselves to something. There is never a neutral ground, we either serve ourselves or God. We are submitted to the Spirit or to the flesh.

Skewed Ideas

In my younger years I thought God was selfish, wanting me to do everything to please him. What about me? Plus, I didn’t even ask to be alive. I felt He wanted me to be a puppet. I don’t enjoy being a puppet. There is a brazenness in humans that somehow believe God should serve man. I have realized too Adam or Eve never complained about these things. They were happy and grateful to commune with God. Cursing the days we were born and dissatisfaction with existence only happened after the fall. It’s sin and incorrect doctrine that has skewed our idea of freedom, of pleasure and of God.

Best of Me

I found out too that the parts I gave to him are the best parts of me. I was afraid I would never get what I want, afraid my life would turn into some colorless and unfulfilling vapour. But oh my God, that was a lie! I have never felt more alive, more me. What I wanted was happiness, love, peace and rest, even if I didn’t realize it. God is for me. He has my very best interest at heart. He loves me out of this world. The self-denial that seemed like bondage now became my freedom. We cannot really be ourselves until we live like what our creator desired. I am still striving to not let the meagre promises of sin distract me from lasting fulfillment in Christ. Fam, it’s a battle! But a battle worth fighting.

My assurance is salvation is His work, and He started it, so He will finish it. Again, my only requirement is to lay still at the altar while He drains away all the corrupt blood and refines me in His fire. That I might die to sin and raise to life. But exactly how do I do that?

The Call of Christ

Hebrews 13 (NLT)

10 We have an altar from which the priests in the Tabernacle[d] have no right to eat. 11 Under the old system, the high priest brought the blood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, and the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp. 12 So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood. 13 So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore14 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.15 Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

God calls us to life, but we must pass through death first. Death to our vain desires, death to our will, death to the nature that’s against us. Let’s ask ourselves, how do we die? There is usually an injury but the odd thing is, we are willingly facing the stabbing of the two-edged sword. Have you taken off your shoes, lay aside your robe and chosen to lie before His word, willing to obey whatever he whispers? If not, we are not living sacrifices. We are skipping lambs headed towards destruction, disillusioned that there is a better way to live.

What comes after is to praise God, do good, help those in need. That’s sounds like reasonable service to me, after all, Christ did deliver us from the worst damnation in the future of the universe, without even a request from us. Is submission a price too high for us to pay?

In all my ups and downs spiritually and emotionally, the word has been the wheel to steer me in the right direction. One of the spoken ones I have linked below. You know that moment when the Word feels like a weight and it calls something out of you? That was my experience and it still is. The preacher recited a song at the end, it never left me. I hope this helps in your walk. Remember, you are precious.

Now I Know


He left his father’s land, and boyhood dreams were in the past
He held his son, God’s promise, what more would his Friend ask?
“To yonder’s mountain, Abram, take the fire and take the wood”
So, trusting still, they climbed the hill, knowing that what came would
come for good.


And when the altar was all finished and the wood was all in place
He looked with love and sadness into his young son’s face
“God has asked this of me, there’s no less that I can do,
I have withheld nothing – I never dreamed He’d ask for you.”
And then the wind blew softly, God leaned close and whispered low
“If I ever wondered how you loved Me, now I know.”


I had left this world behind me and my dreams were in the past
But I held a few choice treasures – what more would my Friend ask?
“Go to yonder’s mountain, take the fire and take the wood”
So, trusting still, I climbed the hill, knowing that what came would come
for good.


When my altar was all finished and the wood was all in place
I looked with fear and trembling into my own face!
“God, what are You asking? There’s no less that I will do.
I’m yours for whatever – all I have belongs to You.”
And then the wind blew softly, and my Best Friend whispered low
“If I ever wondered how you loved Me, now I know.”

The mansions were all finished and the gold was all in place
I looked in awe and wonder into the Lamb’s dear face
And then I cast my crown before Him and I bowed myself down low
If I had ever wondered how He loved me now I know

When Quarantine Causes Your Weakness to Resurface.

Staying home to survive a pandemic seems all great and well, but what if it is wrong for your walk with Christ? Every single time you wake up not just with an inclination to want God but a wayward flesh that never stays behind. I often wonder why God didn’t take the sinful nature at the date of receiving the Holy Spirit, but that’s for another post. For some of us the extra time isn’t going well at all, we experience a rebound of our weaknesses. These for us may mean fear, apprehension, pornography, masturbation, idleness, greedy, bitterness, steady rage, unhealthy isolation, returning to relations that war against your race with Christ, etc.

Here are some approaches I have used to handle on them.

1.       Why a resurface?

Trust me, it’s not quarantine that started this. It was breeding all along. We walk with a sinful nature that is interested in dominance. We are in a fight even if we don’t accept it. James says we sin when we are drawn away by our own lusts. The propensity to sin runs from a place where we are not contented in Christ. It’s like we are asserting, ‘God is being unfair because here is something ‘proper’ and he doesn’t choose for me to have it.’ That was Eve’s response to the temptation. To counter that thought, what scripture would you use?

It could be also these weaknesses somehow to entertain ourselves from our present reality. The experience is like a drunk who forgets about their problems while the ‘spirit’ is active, but after the hangover, everything comes plummeting down and is sometimes worse.  It could be where you get joy, for example, by idling. It could be a ‘stress reliever’ for you. Or even to ease the lonesome feelings. Reasons should never become excuses. It’s important to find the root so we can mortify it. 

2.       Find Out the Truth

Jesus expressed in His prayer that God would sanctify us through truth and concluded the Word was true. Anything not justified by the Word is false. Our thoughts are wayward to the truth. Our emotions are to be blamed, but we know we have authority over our emotions. To do this, the word must be a sharpened sword in our hands to fight back the lies. We are governed by what we believe, not what we want to believe. Some nights I listen to music that counter my thoughts, it keeps me focused on the truth, rather than the turmoil in my mind. Listen to this, the Holy Spirit reminds us of Jesus’ words, verbal and written. If we don’t hear or read how will we remember?

3.       Surrender to the Spirit

When I contracted dengue, one symptom was that my tastebuds were completely covered, and I lost my appetite. We may find ourselves not having an appetite for God. This is a sign that we are spiritually sick. Who came for the sick? Jesus. He is the One who works in us, both on our will and desires. True prayer gives God access to our hearts. When we aren’t running or hiding from His presence but transparent, authentic, vulnerable, humble- accessible. 

4.       Learn Self Control

Self control is more than bodily restrictions, it’s about where your heart is. Self-restraint that doesn’t honour God is not what he desires. I know persons who have strict diets, a couple of fast days, restrictions from Television or social media etc. but it is an effort to either lift themselves. I have tried to win God’s favour by works. I found out soon enough that I can’t. The favour of God is not something I can work for, but it is a gift. Just like everything God gives us. Therefore, in my desires to exhibit that part of the fruit of the Spirit, I must ask the Spirit to help me. 

Starve your weaknesses. When are you most vulnerable? Avoid those situations that breeds it. What triggers your taste for it? What thoughts always precede the act? Watch them, find the truth and attack them before the act. (The video below gives more wisdom on this.)

5.       Confess It

The church has long debated what this means, whether it’s in the presence of the entire congregation or just to a trusted brother. I believe it can be both. The church should be so filled with grace and truth that if a man confesses pedophilia, we would never think to hold it against him but everyone would cry so earnestly, you would think they are the ones struggling with it. After prayer, a few men would rally around him not saying, ‘Don’t, don’t, don’t!’ He already knows that if he’s sincere. But as a support system he is not afraid to say when he’s tempted, never failing to remind him of truth.  Unfortunately, in most assemblies, that is not the case. My only advice is to pray and study about the best to approach it. The Word says we recieve healing through it. It also dispels shame that keeps us from God and replaces it with a sorrow that leads to God.

 I really hope this helps in your journey of holiness. The video below was really edifying for me. Real biblical wisdom. Remember that you are never beyond the reach of God, even if you are tired of your own self. I know what that feels like and that my friend is a lie. Remember, you are precious.

Uncertainty & Corona-Virus

Since this quarantine thing, I’ve been learning a lot and each day though they always seem to be the same for me, I still learn some things. I have been taking care of my mom since I left high school in 2014 so immediately as I left shortly after she became ill. From that time on till now I still do it with every second, minute, hour, day, week, month and year becoming harder. During this crisis however, at first before things got so strict it didn’t bother me and I wasn’t all that phased by the corona-virus issue. I could still go out and also go to church etc so my days were okay not so much routines. Then I knew I could call a friend and we go hang out or I go in town to take care of businesses without having to think about time restrictions and all of that. But when things got intense, and the numbers climbed and stricter measures we being put in place for staying inside I saw my life went from an all-time high to taking a face dive into ‘oblivion’ that’s what I call it. 

Endless Cycles

What I realize was that I wake up doing the same things each day and the funny thing about it is that I don’t know where time has gone I would wake up around 7:30 – 8:00 have my devotion, set up my mom’s bathing station bathe her, put her to lie down, look about breakfast, turn on the TV to Power of Faith by the time I’m done with breakfast it’s almost to 11. Then by the time I’m done feeding her its couple mins to 12. She fusses and I have to sit there with her till she falls asleep.  When she does I take my time and get up to fix up around the house or get started on dinner or try to sleep because I’m tired, or read or go to the supermarket or market or even pray but not long after I move she wakes again. She doesn’t want me to leave her so I often stay with her.

Then evening comes I bathe her again feed her sit with her till she’s sleeping and then bring her to her room to sleep this is about 8 in the night. After the time that’s left, that’s mine. Often afterwards I’m tired and sleep sets in. Then I go to sleep and wake up the next morning around the same time and do the same thing and when I wake up it feels like just yesterday I was doing this.  It’s frustrating especially when your praying asking God to help you and you can’t see nothing coming.

Uncertain Future

The thing is before this corona-virus I never used to go anywhere just church down town and home that was my life but at least I could go somewhere. So even thou I couldn’t always go out when I wanted to, at least I can know in my mind I don’t have any restrictions. But since this virus and you can’t go anywhere as you like, it haunts me. I’ll be turning 23 years old next month and I woke up thinking about my life and I got depressed and angry because most persons my age that I know already have a career or a job or something and I’m just here it hurts a lot because I can’t tell you what God is doing in my life or the plans he has. I just feel worthless and with my life like a giant routine makes it even worse.

My prayer life’s affected severely because each time I try to spend time I’m interrupted or mommy crying or I fall asleep so I leave God frustrated and just don’t do nothing. I pray each day but I am not satisfied with my prayer life. I love reading so yea I’ll read my bible and spend sometime but I am not satisfied with my efforts or what I’m doing. I believe that in this time it’s for me to get closer to God, inspire people and spread God’s love and hope to them. I can’t write enough for you our anyone to understand what I face each day. IT IS HARD EVERY DAY for me, and it’s not a joke. I remember in March at the high rise of corona-virus my mom took sick made 4 trips to the doctor 4 days in a row and was so hard because I have to be lifting her each time waking up super early to prepare her and so forth. I don’t really know how to write what I feel about my life or what I experience because I’ll never end, but through it all God has been merciful, and I am strengthened by his love. ~Daniella


Hope Series

The aim of the hope series is not to provide polished flowery bandages to our doubts. Certainly this is not the time for it. We are in desperate times. Uncertain times. Frightening times. Some days, it’s overwhelming, depressing and burdensome. Some of us are experiencing the full comeback of the issues we were trying to run away from. I just wanted to stop by today to say, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It doesn’t matter if you feel no one cares, if no one messages you, if you feel rejected, I am saying this even more firmer, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Millions are praying for you. Your friends are praying for you, wishing the best, they just are having a hard time just as you.Most of all, God is for you.

Isolation is never the answer. Reach out to a sober friend even if you feel uncomfortable. You can write down your emotions if that works for you. I made a promises bank in my journal based on the encouragement of a friend. I have scriptures that attack all of my struggles, it’s where I find my hope. Let me be quick to add that doesn’t mean fear doesn’t creep up to my heart inching closer like cancer. Sometimes if I am honest, it devours it. But, the truth pushes it back, the sword of offence. My last bit is asking you you to remember a time when you thought you wouldn’t pull through. Think about your past red seas. Did he not deliver you? Can he not do it again? But, what if this time he doesn’t? Will you still trust him?

Our hope is eternal. Transcending feelings, actions, time, life, corona-virus, rejection, hurt, abuse, everything. We cherish it not in vain precious. We certainly don’t cherish it in vain. I trust we have been spending time with Jesus even if it doesn’t look like what everyone else have. Jesus wants you to show up not your Pastor, Evangelist or youth president.

Look out for more in this series. We are still connected, even now more than ever. Please remember to pray for Daniellia. This song has been certainly encouraging me. I hope it does the same for you.

Hope Persists by Malik Ewan

The uncertainty of life thrusts belief,
And believing that something will, grants relief,
Hazes of unpredictability penetrate our being,
For what’s ahead, we have never been seeing,
Our walks are therefore not by sight,
So onto the hand of faith, we hold on tight,
Each step we take is so unsure of the other,
For to sit without action, we weren’t wired to rather,
Episodes of doubt flood our minds,
And along with it, is negativity of all kinds.

Some days we sit, our hearts without light,
And of the end of our ordeals, we have no sight,
But in all this darkness there’s something bright;
And that’s believing that Better’s presence just somehow might,
Mistakes and mistakes, yet still we win,
Even when in disbelief our minds had been,
So you see, we can and yes we will.
To fight, we must and never be still,
The urge to hope, we can never tame,
For we were built to move, not to remain.

About the Author

Malik Ewan is a poetry enthusiast. He finds poetry as an haven; consequently, he uses it to convey his emotions and feelings. He is a firm believer in the oneness of Jesus Christ. He posts regular on his Instagram account, malquotes. Be sure to stop by for more!

Steps to Hope

Remain hopeful in this season. You can submit entries as well in this ‘Steps to Hope Series’! Remember you are precious.

Engraved: Doubts

Usually the police didn’t declare a person missing until 48 hours but a friend from work, Phillip, noticed that he didn’t return after lunch. He called his cell but there was no response. He had tried his wife’s too but to no avail. Grace had abandoned her phone just like Sarah, meeting the same intrusion like her husband. He comforted himself by saying probably Malcom got the rest of the day off. When he left for the day, it was his shattered car glass in the parking lot that alarmed him. Phillip then called the police.

After analyzing the scene they deduced that he was kidnapped. The blood on the ground near driver’s door, the jagged piece of his jacket left behind and the stolen car keys. The cameras showing him being put in another car that sped off.

It was 7 pm when they arrived to question Grace. Just like the day when she didn’t look up at Malcolm under the tree, she didn’t look at the police men. Answering each emotionless. One of the men shot her look and then turned to his partner who understood. “What if she was involved?” he had said with his eyes.

They decided to keep a close watch on her. Sarah didn’t get a word out of her mother who walked zombie like to the ‘room’. Sarah’s heart flung violently against her chest, she wanted to say, “He doesn’t care,” but the ball in her throat wouldn’t allow it. Instead she tucked Ruth in even though it was early, all the crying made her tired anyway. She waited until she fell asleep. Sarah was headed to her room when Benjamin stopped her.

“It isn’t fair to keep me in the dark any longer.” He said.

He was right. Benjamin had always been more mature for his age. Sarah knew spending a lot of time with her father can do that to a person. He used the simplest things to teach them lessons. They had gone to the river to fish on a Saturday. It was right in the middle of summer. After the children splashing and the parents sitting on a rock nearby watching, they gathered for lunch.

“How did you know the river would be here today?” Malcolm asked. The children giggled at the question. They told him because they had come before. He continued to prod and asked why they thought the river couldn’t move. They were laughing now. “That’s not what rivers do.” Sarah had blurted out. “How do you know that? He challenged. Benjamin said according to the geography book he was reading, Sarah was right. Malcolm seemed pleased. “That is exactly How we learn to trust God, through his word.” He said finally, “Faith is the bridge to God. Without it we cannot reach him.”

Just as serious as her father looked then, Benjamin stared at her.

“Come in” she said.

She started slowly, pacing herself but somewhere between Rachel finding her and the knock on the door tonight, she lost herself, screaming her thoughts and her fears. Wishing for everything to go away, wishing for dad to come home, wishing uncle Ray had dropped dead, wishing she was never born. She only stopped when the words, “Not even God can help me,” flew out.

She placed her hands over her mouth when she realized, in her mind begging, not sure who, that Benjamin didn’t hear.

But he did, his bent head rose up and he looked in her eyes. Anger, disappointment and pity all mingled on his face.

Sarah cried even the more. “Now he knows I’m a hyprocrite,” she thought.

He held on to hands and said, “That’s a whole lot to carry in there,” pointing at her heart.

She barely heard him over her sobbs. Brushing back her tangled curls he pulled her in. As if getting some unspoken permission Sarah allowed her self to truly feel all the things that were bothering her. She found herself thumping the bed with the side of her fist and all her brother said was, “Yes, you can express that too, it’s ok.”

She said things but Benjamin couldn’t make it out, choking mid-sentences and sobbing even more at the mention of names. If the clock on her desk was right, she was weeping and shouting and thumping for an half an hour.

Bewildered, she slowly raised herself, greeted by Benjamin’s cologne now mingled with sweat. He got up and gave her small towel. She felt a little embarrassed but relieved. The ball that was on her throat was no longer there. Only a pounding of her left temple that happened whenever she cried.

When she calmed down enough, he said to her. “Your doubts don’t scare God Sarah. I don’t pretend to understand how any of this make sense. I sometimes get angry and confused too. But one thing I cannot deny, is the presence of a God. Nothing else makes sense without him.” He paused before continuing, “I am not worried Sarah that you doubt, I am only worried if you hide it from him.”

She felt like a five year old when she asked, “You mean, I can tell him about them, even if they persist longer than I want them to?”

Benjamin smiled and kissed her clamy forehead, “Yes, where else can you go?”

He left and Sarah never felt more hopeful. No where else promised any better. No where else had eternal hope. It was better to be broken in the hand of God than be broken by it.

The conversation sparked a new desire in her. She had remembered the phrase and looked up the story. Things might get rough, she may not understand why it all happened but one thing was true, the response of the disciples, “To whom shall we go, when thou hast the word of life?”

From there she went to read parts Job, Psalms, Lamentations, Hosea, Joseph’s life and finally Jesus in the Graden of Gethsemane. For once, she thought maybe there was something greater at work than her pain.

Road to Faith

None of us trusted God from birth. It was something we learned to do. For many of us it started from a place of doubt. Whilst others boast in having the gift of faith, people like me have to battle with doubt daily. They say faith comes by reading the word, I agree with that. I was just misguided that simply knowing it was enough. I know he is a provider but I still doubt he can. I know he is a healer but sicknesses usually make me anxious and feel hopeless. Maybe I was doing something wrong, maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough. Faith for me has become not a moment but a journey. It started with me accepting that I really don’t believe a promise but I tell God I desire to. I tell him, it has to be a work of his spirit because it is. There is only one requirement from me – surrender. Then in surrender, obedience is born. In my moments of doubts, my prerogative is not my feelings but my ability to endure. Who is in control? You or your feelings? You will only know the end of faith if you hold on to it.

A famous poet called Joe said in the perspective of God, “Before you doubt Me, doubt your doubts!” Why is it easier to believe what we see? Because we are human? Possibly, but also because we choose to believe it.

Our actions follow our real beliefs not the things we want to believe. Want to change your actions? Change what you believe. As a man thinketh, so is he. Or as a man believes, so he will do.

Perhaps you have been praying for a while about a particular circumstance. Perhaps, you fear God is not hearing or even cares. Niether of this is true. He cares more than you. What he wishes to do, is his choice, simply because he knows best. Until we can accept his sovereignty, we will never fully believe in him. Remember, you are precious.