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.

How to Fight Anxiety

A friend shared this devotional today and I thought you could be edified from it as well. I hope you are safe.


[Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Notice: it does not say, “I never struggle with fear.” Fear strikes, and the battle begins. So the Bible does not assume that true believers will have no anxieties. Instead, the Bible tells us how to fight when they strike.

For example, 1 Peter 5:7 says, “[Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” It does not say, you will never feel any anxieties. It says, when you have them, cast them on God. When the mud splatters your windshield and you temporarily lose sight of the road and start to swerve in anxiety, turn on your wipers and squirt your windshield washer.

So my response to the person who has to deal with feelings of anxiety every day is to say: that’s more or less normal. At least it is for me, ever since my teenage years. The issue is: How do we fight them?

The answer to that question is: we fight anxieties by fighting against unbelief and fighting for faith in future grace. And the way you fight this “good fight” (1 Timothy 6:122 Timothy 4:7) is by meditating on God’s assurances of future grace and by asking for the help of his Spirit.

The windshield wipers are the promises of God that clear away the mud of unbelief, and the windshield washer fluid is the help of the Holy Spirit. The battle to be freed from sin — including the sin of anxiety — is fought “by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

The work of the Spirit and the word of truth. These are the great faith-builders. Without the softening work of the Holy Spirit, the wipers of the word just scrape over the blinding clumps of unbelief on the windshield.

Both are necessary: the Spirit and the word. We read the promises of God and we pray for the help of his Spirit. And as the windshield clears so that we can see the welfare that God plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11), our faith grows stronger and the swerving of anxiety.

A new post from The Engraved Series will be published today! Remember you are precious.

Anxiety & COVID 19


Every time I talk with people, one thing always comes up, how uncertain they are of the future. I struggle with this too, one reason I shared about unfulfilled dreams. It seems the virus has rendered the best of us powerless. I am absolutely persuaded that is a blessing. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware of the suffering that this is causing and I grieve with people who got the short stick. The families who lost loved ones, the health care workers, the business owners and the employees who got laid off (me included), students who don’t know when they will finish school, I understand. This virus has made a lot of us take another grip, coming to the reality of the state of our souls.

Uncertainty has always been a pain for me. I am not one of those, ‘let the chips fall where they may’ kind of person. An accurate description would be me, reading about the chips, checking their weight, practice throwing them so when the real test comes, I can almost predict what will happen up to the 5th throw. No way to live life? I disagree, forecasting helps with decision-making. But today I am not interested in persuading you to be like me. I am not encouraging you to be like the carefree person either. The person I want us to be like is, kind of, different. 

Since my first post on the virus, I have to admit, there are days when I am not so comforted. The promises of joy seem so far-fetched and anxiety creeps in. I realized that this fight for joy, peace, and rest is daily. Whilst I had heard it before, I didn’t understand it. 


I am interested in improving my writing; the best way to that is to read more. So, over the weekend, I read a popular novel, one that is ‘safe’ in my eyes. It was a delicious book too, the writer had me with every word. However, at the end, I recognized that a particular death scene was replaying in my head. During the days it would haunt me, but I didn’t think it was serious. Turns out it was, after having trouble sleeping I prayed with my mother and then I could rest. My reading choice process will definitely be more tedious but I am sharing because it showed me just how words are powerful. What if instead of being induced with fear, we took a daily dose of hope? That’s why for the next couple of weeks, I want to share hope here. Precious Thoughts Press will share posts for us to become like the individual who has it right — trusting the one who knows where the chips will fall and who follows him. 


Guess what!? You can submit entries as well! Whether it’s a testimony, thought or prayer, we will absolutely love to hear from you. It doesn’t even have to be about Covid 19! Don’t worry, you need not be professional, neither am I precious. If you are interested, please reach out to me via email (shanyesica@gmail.com) or fill out this simple form. It behoves us to encourage one another with the truth. Thank you for considering this, until next time, remember you are precious. Don’t forget an all new post in the Engraved series will be published on Friday! Catch up with last post if you missed it.  

@shanyesica via Instagram

Engraved: Unspoken

Malcom pulled up in his driveway. He had maintained a civil disposition upon hearing the news. What he was to make of it was beyond reach. For the first time since this all began, he loosened his tie, placed his hands over his eyes, and cried his eyes out. What a fool he had been? The man who prized himself on having a good judgement, deceived and deceived publicly. He walked in with hunched shoulders. 


His wife met him at the door, she had been waiting in the sitting room. She wrapped the pink night gown tighter as she met the cold air. Sarah got her frame from her, plump in all her feminine forms. Noticing how puffy her husband’s eyes was, she hesitated in asking about the details. But one could only bear so much when things have gotten even more out of control these pass few days. Helping him with his jacket, she asked if he would like tea first. He accepted half smiling. He had always appreciated how well his wife knew him. He knew she saw he needed to gather some strength first. 


Returning, she took her seat beside him, handing him the tea with a slice of banana bread. He took two sips then began. 


“Other victims have come forward.” he said flatly.


He sat expectantly as the gravity of the situation weighed in on his wife. Her eyes widened and pupils small. Even in the lamp’s flicker, her hazel iris shone. He remembered the first day they met. It was her eyes that drew his attention. Not the colour really, but how focused they were on sketch she was making. It was his umteenth summer camp at 19 years old. She sat under a tree with a drawing pad and a dark pencil. Her maxi skirt covered all of her legs even though she held them close to her chest. He had somehow wandered over to her looking at the sketch.


“Is there something I can help you with, sir?” She had said without lifting her eyes. 
He was quite dumbfounded, staring at the elegantly clad woman on the drawing. Her drawn posture did something that made him think of one thing, “Grace,” he heard himself say. This time, she looked up at him quizzically, “How did this stranger know my name.” she thought. He pointed to it and said again, “Grace.” She only looked at him. Even though they said no other words that day, Malcolm recognized the word meant something to her the way she reacted. He made a mental note to find out to what extent and after seeing her often at conferences and of course camp. It was only after when he had asked for her name he realized.

The two easily became acquaintances. 
She was hesitant about their friendship, always cautious of him. A previous heartbreak teaches you to be wise. He was that hard to figure out. Always open, always honest. Whenever he called her, she could tell what mood he was in. How easily he switched from playfulness to a sober tone. 


She noticed him staring off in the distance and gently squeezed his hand. 


She said, “Tell me what happened.”


He explained to his wife that after going over the details with the detective; they had enough evidence to prosecute Ray. To put him behind bars for a really long time. Most of the girls were minors including girls he knew. Grace placed a hand on his back. She felt a pang in her heart against her husband. This reaction puzzled her.

“It’s all right, dear. We will get through this.” she said. 


“Did you see him?” she asked distracting her thoughts.


“I couldn’t —  ” Malcolm managed. 


Making some soothing noise, she rubbed his back more. Finally, he gave up and hugged her, breaking down frantically. This display somewhat surprised Grace. She knew he loved his brother. But crying, in front of her, was very much unlike her husband. If it was another circumstance, she might have laughed at him. He’d always have a command over his emotions, it seems this, this was too much. 

Sarah shuffled out of her bed. Recently, only two things get her out of bed this early, Ruth or her bladder. Today it was the latter. Racing for the bathroom she had already started despising the fact she drank so much before bed. A good night’s rest was rare. When she was through, she cleaned her teeth and her face. She made a hot cup of cocoa and headed to the garden. The ‘room’ was no longer a place of solace just somewhere she had gone to expose her shame. Just somewhere she wasn’t ready to encounter again. 


She found her seat. The dew dripped off the leaves near her as she shook the tender plants. She had grown fond of the lavender bud. She felt it understood her, as she knew how to well to remain tightly concealed. She wondered how she kept the secret so long.

 
“Hypocrite” she muttered to herself. 


Not too long after, she heard a voice calling her name. The waist high girl came and sat beside her, nuzzling into her side. At least Ruth didn’t think she was, and at the thought she exhaled. 


“For someone who doesn’t go to school, you are up early.” She pointed out. 


She didn’t know what to say. How could she explain?


“Just enjoying the view.” she said.


“It quite beautiful Sarah.“ Ruth added. “Almost as beautiful as you.”  


Sarah didn’t respond. It’s been a while since she saw herself like that. When she looked at her face, at her chest, at her legs, all she saw were the scars he left behind. It was the unseen ones that were the worst though, the ones that tore her apart mentally. Broken was no longer a description for her, it was her name. 


“It’s time to get ready, let’s go inside.” Sarah said. 


She hadn’t quite figured out what to do while away from school. She spent mornings in bed. After noon in front of her TV and dinner with her family. Her mother worked from home so she would pop in now and then. She was in the middle of a series when she heard her father’s car pull in. Things have been awkward between them, he doesn’t seem able to meet her eyes. He only really talks with her when others are around. He didn’t always come home for lunch, this was new. That means something was wrong. I turned down the show just enough to hear their exchanged. He asked where Sarah was, and her mother directed him to her. 


He forced a smile and asked how she was. She answered shakily and then he took a seat, Grace entering the room.  He told her what the detectives told him. She didn’t blink; she didn’t move. When he mentioned that Camelia was one victim, that certainly got a response from her. She pulled down her sleeve even though her sleeve covered it.

Her father went on but she heard nothing else, “Poor Camelia,” she thought. How could she haven’t picked it up? She was distant too but only attributed it to deserting her. “Right” she placed her hand on her forehead. “I am an awful friend.” she thought.


He said Ray could go away for at least thirty years if they testified. What was she to say, that she was happy other girls went through what she did so they could prove his wrong doing? Would she have to testify? What about the other girls? This was stirring up way more problems than she hoped for. If he only he hadn’t—. She fled to her room overcome by emotions and shut the door. In there she was safe, from court, from Ray and from eyes that would only judge her.


She heard her father’s car leaving, her mother saying she would talk to her. She agreed with herself to apologize tonight and hear him out further. Only her father didn’t show up that night. It was only a knock on the door by Police saying curtly her father was missing.

Unspoken

11 Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. 12 There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. 13 I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!

2 Corinthians 6:11-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

I have been dealing with possibilities I wasn’t quite sure I’d ever imagine. It seems with the economy almost toppling over; I am no longer simply unbothered by corona but moving on to concern. Health risks were seemingly no threat, heaven sounded sweeter but now with lay-offs at our heels, I have a new faith to take a firmer grip onto — that God will provide. Whilst my family has food and a little savings, my heart flutters to the thought of future needs. At work, they are having the agents work from home. Every day we release a new batch. As a receptionist, if there are no workers at work, then — you get the point. 

With the uncertainty of the length of this outbreak, I could start working week on and off at a time. I have always enjoyed taking in my share. It seems only fair. Maybe things aren’t all that serious and all I have to risk is my pride, still I am concerned. I don’t intend to add to the noise of panic on the matter, rather my encouragement is way less economical or medical. How many persons like Paul have showed love (with no evil desire) and we closed our hearts to them? Whether from getting help or simply forming prejudices about them to hide your mistrust for people. I want you to be honest with the people closest to you. 


Not a hard request seemingly, but what if for one week you shared how you really felt? To share why something has been irritating you for months possibly years?

To share that you really enjoy someone’s sacrifice, company or kindness?

To share that you loved them?

What if you shared your deepest struggle with someone who could counsel you and pray for you?

What if you connected more with the community that you see than the one on your phone? 

What if you tackled the hard issues? Like why you have been avoiding someone and even why have you muted their status? 

What if saw your heart for what it was and not what you wanted it to be?

What if you obeyed God, accepted his will? 

What if you did open your heart to love?


Oh, what a week we would have had, full of honesty, realness, and probably a little brokenness? But in no wise greater than the joy of being you, of walking in your identity. There is brokenness that needs healing in all of us. Steffany Gretzinger says the more we encounter God, the more we become undone. The more we become conformed to his image. Take it not lightly that the bridge to wholeness means reconciling with our counterparts.

With that said, I wanted to say I really do appreciate you taking the time to read. People always say how much the blog helps them but I believe it helps me more. Thank you for giving me a safe space to express myself. The grace you extend to me is mind blowing. Your feedback, excitement, comments, corrections and thrills adds so much life these black and white pages. I cannot thank you enough. I am working on something for you but I can’t say yet. It’s having me giddy every time I think about. But, it will have to wait, blessed is he who endureth. Until next time, remember, you are precious. 

P.S. I am waiting on those predictions. *winks*

Engraved: Seasons

Sarah understood that it was a word of caution rather than notification. 


Ruth leapt off the bed. “Aunty Tracey!” She hollered. 


Dashing down the stairs, Ruthie ran into her arms. Staggering back from the impact, Tracey held on to her shoulders for support. Her silver bangles clung together as her small hands smoothed Ruth’s dark loose curls back. 


“Happy Birthday.” Tracey said with a fainted smile. Ruth had always loved her voice. When she was a toddler, she read stories to her when they visited. When she ended one, Ruth would beg for one more story that turned into many. She thought too Uncle Ray was the luckiest man to have her. To Ruth, she was the most beautiful woman she knew. 


Ruth blushed.


“I brought something for you.” Tracey said holding out the purple gift bag. Ruth gasped. “For me!? Thank you!” 


Her father, who had been sitting in the corner chair of the hall, interrupted the exchange and asked Ruth to give them a moment. 


By this, Grace had entered the hall and offered Tracey a drink. 


“I heard what happened on the news this morning.” she started. Tears were already gathering on her lower eyelids. 


Malcolm immediately looked down. 


“I should have said something, I …” she said. 


Grace gave her the drink and noticed how Tracey’s hands were shaking. 
“It’s all right dear. It wasn’t your fault.” Grace said. 


“But what if it was?” She shot back. 


Malcom straightened in his chair, “What do you mean exactly Tracey?”

 
Tracey took a struggled breath. 


“I have been experiencing some abdominal pains over a year now and it has made every thing down there unbearable.” Grace reached out her hand to her.


 “The doctors say they are not sure what it is and they are still running some test. They have a feeling that it is some form of cancer.”  


Malcolm stood up. He felt he no longer knew his brother. What kind of man would do this to his wife? “No, no, no.“ He thought. She must be guilty somehow. 


“What about the night he came here? What was the argument between you two.” He roared. 


Grace wished her husband would talk more calmly, the woman’s dispair was obvious.  


“He started staying out late, coming home drunk. When he was home, he was irritated with everything. The kids became withdrawn. That night he hit Jacob so bad with his belt that it left marks. I told him he needed to take some time to sort out whatever was going on, then he came..here.” 


“I should have know he would have done something like this.” She said, with tears streaming down her face. 
Grace hugged her and whispered in her ears. Malcolm didn’t linger. Instead he said good night and slipped away. 


“We will get through this Tracey.” Grace assured her. She left and Grace went to her room. 


“How could you talk to her like that Malcom?“ Grace said. 


“Please Grace, can we talk about this tomorrow? A lot has happened today and I would just like to get to bed.” 


Grace looked dead in his eyes and said, “Tomorrow? Tomorrow might be too late.” 


“What’s that supposed to mean?” Malcolm asked.


“We will discuss it tomorrow.” She said, turning off the light and turned her back to him. 

The sun peered through Sarah’s windows. The light played on her skin as she turned in her bed. She stood up and grabbed a robe. There was a slight throbbing of her temple. The fact that she never left her room after her aunt’s visit should have meant that she got some rest. Instead she was up fixating on what their relationship would be like going forward. 


She didn’t have the answers. She didn’t have peace and the one person who she knew she could get it from was deadly silent.

Her home had a back yard garden that held her heart. Walking through it on the stone pavement always helped to relieve her mind. She sat on the garden chair, staring off into the distance, she sighed heavily.

“What could she say to make the pain all go away?” She thought.

Not one word came to mind, not one word accurately embodied her thoughts. She whispered ever so softly, “Jesus.” 


She noticed a lavender flower zipped tight in it’s bud. A hummingbird was buzzing around trying to get the pollen. Without success, it moved on to another flower. She watched it for a while until she heard her mother’s voice.


“AAhh, you’ve found my loves.” She said with a smile. 


“You won’t see their beauty yet, it isn’t their season.” She shared.

 
Sarah gazed even more intently at the delicate sprout. She wasn’t quite sure what was special about it but it imprinted on her heart. 


Things were calm at the house. Her father had gone back to work, Benjamin and Ruth went to school too. 


It was 12 pm and Sarah finally sat down to complete the application. She hit print and leaned back in the chair. She heard a strange vibration and turned her head quizically. “Oh, yes! My phone.”

She hadn’t seen it in days. When she finally found it far under her bed, she heard Rachel on the other line. She practically reprimanded her for her avoidance. It was after she had calmed down that she asked her about the details. Sarah found it extremely hilarious that  she cussed her out first. “Only Rachel” she thought. 

She told her every thing, it was no use trying to hide anymore. Rachel listened intently. She only asked this question at the end, “Have you talked to God?” 


Sarah wasn’t prepared for her response. “I think you mean if he wants to talk to me.” she said angrily. 

Rachel asked her to explain.

“I understand how you feel. But your faith has to be greater than what you feel. Knowledge should always trump emotions.” she said.


Sarah agreed reluctantly. She wasn’t in the mood for a lecture but held on to the fact that she tried. 
She told her about her break from school and Rachel queried if church was included. She wasn’t sure she could face every one just yet. She told her that she would let her know. 
Sarah enquired about her family and Rachel realized she hadn’t told her about ‘the father’ encounter yet. 


“Will you reach out to him?” Sarah asked. 


“I will have to. But I actually want to this time. I hope he can forgive me.” 


They ended the call. Rachel lay paralyzed in bed. She thought, “God things are getting really out of control, what are you up to?” 


She had a class in the evening so she got dressed and left. 


“Rachel! Rachel!” a voice startled her.

“Is it true? Tell me it isn’t!” he said. Mark looked ruffled and wild. 

Rachel stared at him. She couldn’t be the one to tell him. She didn’t want to but look in his eyes told her he would find out either way.


“Yes Mark, he did.” Rachel said in a whisper.


He sat on the lush grass underneath him and rested his hands on his head. He just started bawling. 
Rachel couldn’t believe her eyes. He didn’t care who saw him or how loud he sobbed.  People had started to gather when she knelt beside him and held on to one of his shoulders that jerked between the sobs. 


“I am sorry Mark” she managed to say. 
He wiped his tears frantically and stood up. “Thanks.” He said and walked away with his shoulders bent.


Rachel walked absent mindly to class. She knew she wouldn’t be learning today. 


Malcolm had a stressful day, it seemed every one at work knew and every one had an opinion. It was all he could think about as it was all he was asked about. He pulled up in the drive way and stared at his home. “ Have I failed as a father?” He thought. He was startled by a call from one of his friends at the station. “What now? Will they be releasing him now?” He thought sadly. 


“Reverend Maxwell?” The detective said. 


“Could you drive down to the station now?” he continued.


Malcolm said yes instantly. He called his wife and told her that he will be there after visiting the station. 


“He rushed through the door and said, “What’s going on? Are you letting him out?”


The detective said something but Malcolm didn’t believe. “Are you serious?!” He said. “Oh my God!” 

A Time and A Season 


This social distancing has me talking to people I hadn’t spoken to before and going places I have never gone. Today, I am by an unfinished house. It’s foundation is way lower than the land mass. So, as I sit on what would be a window sill, I am looking directly at sediments of rocks. The expanse demonstrates to me that it was conjured up over time. It needed time to be firm. It needed to pass through seasons. 


The Perfecting Work of Patience

I struggle with patience. I would have rather God not tell me some things. I would have preferred him just doing a thing when the time is right. But promises, that takes faith and endurance. I have learnt over the years that God is always trying to mold me to conform to his image. One of his attributes is long suffering. I have realized it’s in the moments when I had to wait that he was most seen in me. 


Our bible study at church has been focusing on Romans. Every Thursday, I am learning that our salvation is about faith. It’s about waiting for the promises of God. That’s what was so attractive to God in Abraham, his faith. He declared him righteous because of it. 

Do you have faith?


Has present circumstances caused you to waver in faith? Are you troubled, weary and doubt his presence? There is no other solution that allowing him to hold even more tightly to you. Be reminded we are governed by seasons, a time to weep, a time to laugh. A time to leap and a time to bow. A time to repent and a time to rejoice. A time to be tempted and a time to be free from temptation. A time to rest and a time to war. Your desires might not be in the right place right now but they can be. Let grace do its work. Know the season you are in and trust in God. Remember you are precious. 

Unfulfilled Dreams

Some nights I wake up breathing heavily, paralyzed from fears realized in my dreams. Images of ravenous dogs, a pale man with bloody eyes and hair like fire standing by my window, men attempting to rape me and cryptic messages from the spiritual world taunt in the moments of expected rest. Some I forget after I have awoken and others follow me around like an unsolved puzzle. Even though these are terrifying to experience, there is one I am even more afraid of. It doesn’t find me asleep but leaves me trembling with my eyes wide open, taunting me with every tick of the clock. It’s the nightmare of living a wasted life.

Tales of a Dead Man 


I was at my desk reading a book when a co-worker came to sit in the lobby. As the receptionist from time to time, I now expect persons to drop by to just relax. The lobby is usually empty with sobering music in the background, probably it is the comfort of the chairs that feel like arms when you sit. Sometimes people just need a break, I understand that. Contrary to my trouble-maker friends, I don‘t see people as patients. I see them rather as my own self simply in a different form. I think, “What would I need in this moment? A voice of reason, rebuke or comfort? Or probably just an ear?” It gets easier overtime in telling which is required. It comes through connecting with the person.

I usually entertain a conversation when they initiate. More often than not, they have something on their minds. It’s interesting that when things are loud on the inside, we seek silence on the outside. 

I have a particular friend that only comes to keep me up to date with what’s happening in her life. Another comes to hear my views on relational things. Generally, the males ask me about my beliefs (spiritually or otherwise), they seem to enjoy debating ideas. (Yes, I believe Christians should have healthy relationships with the opposite sex.)


On this particular day, one of my friends (she is older so, not sure if I can call her that) was there for quite a while before she said anything. I should have known she wanted to talk. She made the usual grunts and moans when there was something pressing her. But the captivating book had me close to tears, I didn’t pull away until she just said, “Mi tyad yuh see.” (Translation- “I am tired”) She had never told me this before, being usually quite rested. She then reminded me of a funeral she had to attend over the weekend. I asked her about the details and she told me how awful the experience was. From the church arrangement due to the corona outbreak, the tributes, to the 5 month old baby who would never meet their mother to the burial ground proceedings. She mentioned something else which I won’t disclose and we started talking about her nephew that had recently passed. She described to me how heartbreaking it was and how grieved the community had been.

He was a role model, starting out with a small board house and then built himself up to erecting an extravagant house on the hill. But that wasn’t what really impacted me. She told me of his service to the community, how he cared for the elderly at his expense mentally, physically and emotionally. She spoke so passionately that I would have sought to meet him if he were still alive. He did all of this without so much as a title, national recognition or a massive amount of funds. Immediately a light went off in my mind. I have dreams of helping others. Dreams of being of service to fellow human beings and his story kicked the guts out of every excuse I had in my books. 

I know you have dreams, everyone does. A chat with the guys on the corner showed me that. Sometimes our dreams don’t unfold as how we would want them or at the right speed. That’s okay, I understand. I know the frustration that comes with aiming to make strides to accomplish something only to be met by a curve ball. This guy, didn’t wait for the perfect opportunity, he did what he could now. Don’t let the lofty heights of your goals stop you from starting or even finishing the climb. This sermon from Martin Luther King Jnr. was particularly encouraging to me. (I wanted to just take a clause, but my God you would have missed the meaning!)

Martin Luther King Jnr. (January, 1929-April, 1968)

“…So many of us in life start out building temples: temples of character, temples of justice, temples of peace. And so often we don’t finish them. Because life is like Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony.” At so many points we start, we try, we set out to build our various temples. And I guess one of the great agonies of life is that we are constantly trying to finish that which is unfinishable. We are commanded to do that. And so we, like David, find ourselves in so many instances having to face the fact that our dreams are not fulfilled.

Now let us notice first that life is a continual story of shattered dreams. Mahatma Gandhi labored for years and years for the independence of his people. And through a powerful nonviolent revolution he was able to win that independence. For years the Indian people had been dominated politically, exploited economically, segregated and humiliated by foreign powers, and Gandhi struggled against it. He struggled to unite his own people, and nothing was greater in his mind than to have India’s one great, united country moving toward a higher destiny. This was his dream.

But Gandhi had to face the fact that he was assassinated and died with a broken heart, because that nation that he wanted to unite ended up being divided between India and Pakistan as a result of the conflict between the Hindus and the Moslems. Life is a long, continual story of setting out to build a great temple and not being able to finish it.

Woodrow Wilson dreamed a dream of a League of Nations, but he died before the promise was delivered.

The Apostle Paul talked one day about wanting to go to Spain. It was Paul’s greatest dream to go to Spain, to carry the gospel there. Paul never got to Spain. He ended up in a prison cell in Rome. This is the story of life.

So many of our forebearers used to sing about freedom. And they dreamed of the day that they would be able to get out of the bosom of slavery, the long night of injustice. And they used to sing little songs: “Nobody knows de trouble I seen, nobody knows but Jesus.” They thought about a better day as they dreamed their dream. And they would say, “I’m so glad the trouble don’t last always. By and by, by and by I’m going to lay down my heavy load.” And they used to sing it because of a powerful dream. But so many died without having the dream fulfilled.

And each of you this morning in some way is building some kind of temple. The struggle is always there. It gets discouraging sometimes. It gets very disenchanting sometimes. Some of us are trying to build a temple of peace. We speak out against war, we protest, but it seems that your head is going against a concrete wall. It seems to mean nothing. And so often as you set out to build the temple of peace you are left lonesome; you are left discouraged; you are left bewildered.

Well, that is the story of life. And the thing that makes me happy is that I can hear a voice crying through the vista of time, saying: “It may not come today or it may not come tomorrow, but it is well that it is within thine heart. It’s well that you are trying.” You may not see it. The dream may not be fulfilled, but it’s just good that you have a desire to bring it into reality. It’s well that it’s in thine heart.

…On this morning, if I can leave anything with you, let me urge you to be sure that you have a strong boat of faith. The winds are going to blow. The storms of disappointment are coming. The agonies and the anguishes of life are coming. And be sure that your boat is strong, and also be very sure that you have an anchor. In times like these, you need an anchor. And be very sure that your anchor holds.”

What Can You Do Today?

Maybe corona has delayed your plans a bit. Maybe even if the virus wasn’t a pandemic, factors would have still held you back. With social distancing and workers being sent home, we have extra time on our hands. I am encouraging us now more than ever to bond even more closely with each other. It is high time we look up from our own plans, schedules, meetings and let every man look on the business of his neighbour, figuratively and literally.  


Here are my tips during this season:


Spend some Serious Quality Time with God

Don’t waste your time (and I say this with not one bit of humour), as these days might be your last. Catch up on your reading of the scriptures. You can research the topic you have been wanting to know more about. Pray earnestly for yourself, your family, neighbours, this nation and the world. I personally believe God is just giving us a vacation to get closer to him.


Do some Honest Reflection

Ask these questions; 

Where am I?

Where am I going?

What is God’s directive for this season of my life?

How will you improve yourself and those around you?


Visit a Neighbour 

If the virus hasn’t been identified in your community, visit your neighbour. Even if you have nothing to take along with you, show your face, whether virtually or physically. Encourage them during this period. If they are alone and elderly help by taking out the garbage, cook a meal, give them medicine and call to check on them. Above all else, the Word behoves us to serve God by serving each other. Your neighbour might just be in need more than you can imagine. I encourage that use wisdom and much caution in doing this. 


Take up a Hobby or Perfect it

Do some reading, painting, voice training, writing, drawing, blast some music (if it doesn’t offend your neighbour), talking, (this is for my mother and my dearest extroverts), composing, etc. Whatever it is that you enjoy, do more of that. Do Not Sit in the house and panic over every update on the news. Some of which aren’t even true. Give room for the peace of God. 


Be Cautious in all your Dealings

Ensure you wash your hands or sanitize, eat healthily, stay active and rest. Laugh with your family members. If you live alone, call up some friends. 


Follow the Directives of your Pastor/Bishop

Some church service methods might change, that doesn’t mean we lack faith precious. Church services need not only to be hosted at ‘church’. If you disagree, then we have a greater problem to tackle. 

Tell Me Your Experience

I will be home (gladly) for the next seven days. I need not tell you that I will definitely enjoy them. I saw a meme, and it resonated so much with me. I think I will add it below. See you on Friday for an all new post in the Engraved Series. Things are getting interesting. Read the last post here. Please feel free to reach out to me during this period (shanyesica@gmail.com if you don’t have my number). How are you? How is the family? How are things in your neck of the woods? Remember, you are precious.

Introverts, talk truth!

Engraved: Secrets

Sarah clutched her chest.

Benjamin witness the depth of confusion on Sarah’s face that made him sink. “Was this true?” he thought. “Did uncle Ray… touch Sarah?” He didn’t desire to believe, but the reaction of Sarah screamed the truth to him. 


Sarah backed away from the stove and leaned against the wall. Her tears blurred her vision as she attempted to read. Wiping them away frantically, she tried to grasp some of the details. The article didn’t mention her name, but they shared the address.

 
“No, no, no.” she heard herself say. “How could they?!” Sarah said. 


Benjamin said, “I’m sorry Sarah.” I can’t imag..” 


“It’s okay Benji.” 


“Sarah?” 


She said while walking away. “I’ll be fine, I just need to…”


She clutched the paper and stormed to the room the household considered the most precious. 


It was in the center of the house. All staircases seem to meet at its entrance. Turning the black door knob, Sarah entered.
Familiarity swept over her as she remembered countless evenings and nights with her family here. It was always a place of solace. This was exactly what Sarah needed – comfort. 
The white crisp walls contrasted photos of her laughing family exquisitely. The lighting fixture shimmered in the sunlight that was peering through the wide window in front of her. Sarah hurriedly closed the curtains. The army green chair in the corner looked darker than usual. Despite the mustard throw pillow that rested on its armed. She gripped it and nestled on the carpet. 


As she sat, the gravity of the situation seemed to sit with her too. Her pain was no longer an emotion but an individual who followed her everywhere, tapping her every so often during moments of happiness. She felt giddy from all her thoughts, yet the whisper that caught her attention was, “How could God allow this?” 


She felt steady by this. Aside from her anger with Ray, she wouldn’t accept that her loving God allowed this. Her cup was full. Frustration poured from her.  “Why? Why me? Fine, I am a terrible human but they didn’t deserve this!?“ She forcefully flung the paper. She stretched out her hand over the throw pillow and pulled up the right sleeve of her sweater. “Do you not see this?” 

“Why don’t you make it all go away? She cried.


Glancing up, not sure what she hopes to discover, she said, “Do you not love me?”


As the last words trembled from her lips, a single decaying leaf from the hanging plant glided ever so slowly to ground. She listened but received nothing. She attempted listening more but still not a word, not a breath, not a peace.She wiped her face and stood. Escaping the room, leaving behind her hope. 


“I wish to request a leave of absence from school.” she announced to her parents at the kitchen counter. Her father stared at her smooth face. He would have never guessed that those cheeks washed with tears earlier. They had gotten many calls from friends and church members while she was in ‘the room’. They all only wanted to know if it was true. Grace, after 10  minutes, simply turned off her phone. Malcolm never felt more angry at people.  Except for this one sister at church, Crystal. She expressed how sorry she was to hear and offered to help in any way she could. Malcolm felt compassion in her tone rather than pity. 


She reached out for her hand. “Sure dear, once you have completed it, I will take it in for you.” 


Ruth ran into the room, bursting with happiness. She sang, “Do you know what day it is?!”


She had finally woken up. Grace had let her sleep in seeing nobody was leaving the house after the article.
She was met by tired eyes and weary faces. She had this gift for reading people’s emotions. No soon after, she asked, “What’s wrong?” Sarah stood up from her stool, faking a smile. “Nothing Ruthie.”


“You didn’t forget, did you?!” she asked, looking up at her sister. 


“How could I!? she said. “I even made your favourite break-” Sarah remembered quickly that she didn’t finish the meal because of the news. She froze for a moment and Ruth searched her face. 

Benjamin broke in, presented a plate and said, “Yes, we made your favourite breakfast!”
Benjamin did it after she had left. Sarah whispered, “Thank you,” more tearful than she wanted.


Her parents started the birthday song and asked Benjamin to go for the presents. 
Her mother thought even amid chaos there some things left to celebrate. 
Ruth entertained them for the next hour, gasping and going on and on about her new presents. She loved the little journal the most. It had sequins on the back of it that changed from pink to silver. She couldn’t get enough of it. Her father pointed out the scriptures at the bottom of each page, encouraging her to think on them.


Sarah wanted to sulk in bed all day, but her family wouldn’t allow it. Everyone knocking every so often asking if she was okay, some bringing food, some bringing hugs and kisses. All except Ruth, who was ecstatic, she didn’t have to go to school. 


The afternoon was quiet. Peaceful, unlike the turmoil in the hearts of the Maxwells. Sarah finally got the energy to get up to type the request. She was in the middle of it when Ruth popped in and sat on her bed. 

“You’ve been quiet today. Are you ok?” she asked. 

Sarah couldn’t bear the concern on her face. She turned her head and said, “Yes, Ruthie.” 

“What are you doing?” she prodded.

“Filing out an application.” Sarah responded.

“Leave of abs..ence.” Ruth read. Where are you going?” 

“I am taking a break from school.”

“Why?” Ruth responded, pulling her sister’s hair, so she faced her.

“Are you sick?”Sarah paused and said, “You could say that.”

“What’s wrong with you?” she continued.

“You ask too many questions. Do you know that?” Sarah turned around and started tickling her. 

When she caught her breath, Ruth said, “Adults only say that when they don’t want to answer.”

Ruth clasp her sisters face with warm hands, “Secrets always come out Sarah.”

A knock on the door disturbed them. It was their mother. She said, “Tracy, Ray’s wife is here.”

Trust


Recently (I mean months), I have been contemplating a lot of things. Namely, my identity, my walk with Christ and my purpose. I was impatient at first, trying to find my answers instantly. I desired a quick fix to emptiness that crept upon me. The more I sought, the more it seemed God moved away from me. Have you ever felt like that? To me it always seems like in the moments when I need him most, he gets mysteriously silent but not like the silent, strong guy that some of us find attractive sisters. I feel he acts like this distant ego-maniac that just wants you to be at his beck and call, never questioning him. (I promise I am going somewhere with this.)That was how I perceived his reaction to me. I thought I had to become one of those girls who begged for attention and your home girl don’t do that. Ha. “I knew my worth,” I thought. Firstly, I am sincere. I am trying my best to please him. Was that not enough? What was missing?


You can imagine how low my head went, when the things I thought he took glory in had become a detestable experience for him. He progressively revealed to me the errors in my theology. I thought my works could save me. I thought if I was ‘nice’ he would accept me. I served hard. Harder than I thought was necessary to attain some type of ‘intimacy’ with him. You should have seen me, scrolling through YouTube to find the right lyrics, having a waving gallery in church to be in the right ‘atmosphere’. Ultimately, feeling empty and worse than I went to church. 


I thought it was pointless, all my efforts meaningless. This one week it weighed so heavily on me, I couldn’t do anything. The shell of my body was present but my mind was absent, pressed by the state of my soul. That’s how I know I have the Holy Ghost. We were sharing in a group, and I admitted what I was experiencing. They encourage me and confirmed that God really wanted more than I was offering. (Part of the reason I am a strong advocate for community, you don’t have all the answers). He didn’t want more sacrifices. No, he wanted my heart. My whole heart. I read an article that blew me away. The answer was right in front of me but my self-righteous ways blinded me like the pharisees. Jon Bloom said this;


Trust is at the heart of intimacy. The more we trust someone, the closer we let them get to us. The degree to which trust is compromised in a relationship is the degree to which intimacy evaporates. 

Jon Bloom

Can You Trust God Even In Uncertainty?

The corona virus has revealed a quite deeper concern. It’s not a health one either, but rather a spiritual one. The truth, we are of little faith. We read, we pray and we hear, but we don’t believe. We don’t believe God is in control. We don’t believe he is omnipotent, omnipresent or omniscient. We don’t believe the word, it clearly outlines that our days are numbered. It clearly outlines that prophecies will be fulfilled. We don’t believe heaven is better than life here.
Maybe, you are not shaken by corona but are you shaken by bills, family struggles, storms in your relationships, trauma, the future or abuse? Can you trust God through them? 


How Do I Grow in Faith?

This is a question I am still turning over in my heart. Short answer? Read and obey his Word. It is as simple and complicated as that. He that cometh to God must believe that he is. (Heb. 11:16). Faith reveals to us ‘isness’ of his being. There is no secret passage to God’s heart. Everyone who comes must go through the Door (John 10:9-16). How do you find the Door? Through our map-The Word. If I find out more, you will be the first to know. Please do share your journey of intimacy and faith with me too. 


He Pursues You


So, we meet a God, (through the correct lenses of scripture not feelings) he turns out not to be an ego-maniac suitor. But he has stated his interest in saving us. He has shown his love and even when we don’t know exactly how to accept this unconditional love, he still pursues us. You know he pursues you when something in you won’t quite rest until you can say, “I have found the one whom my soul loveth.” Some of us have met Christ but we don’t know him. I don’t want you to assume, I have this intimacy thing ‘locked’ but as you are on this journey, I am your sister, striving for the same goal, Christ. For those who are suffering whether physically or emotionally, Rescue by Lauren Diagle has been hitting the spot. I hope it encourages you too.


What’s Next?


I am dying to know what will happen next! Are you? As usual, tell me your predictions. It is always a delight to hear from you. See you next Friday at 5 pm for an all new post in the unpredictable yet satisfying Engraved Series. Missed last week? Here it is! Remember, you are precious.

COVID 19- What does this mean for Christians?

Recent developments in the progress of COVID 19 have had serious impacts on our global community. Matters got more interesting yesterday, March 10. The corona virus is here in Jamaica. What does it mean for us Christians? Precious Thoughts found out from some of its readers and this was what they had to say:


“I’m not scared, we’ll be fine.” – Chivonne.


“I am not fearful but I don’t know that I am particularly hopeful. I am more indifferent. The disciples asked, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world? Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt 24: 3-13 NLT). 
So we wait with bated breath for our redeemer to redeem us from the calamity which is to come upon this world. We are confident that God can deliver us from all these things and we are victorious in Death and in Life, through Christ.” – Dean. (Read More)


“I don’t feel any way…I understand that it’s here but I can only take precautions to secure myself…I don’t want to be a part of the panicking few…As it concerns the spiritual aspect…I have sufficient time to get my camp in order and fix up my life before the coming of the Lord…Too many signs and all for me to be you know…playing Church…” – Javine.


“These things should remind men of how frail we are…How uncertain life is and the fact that this world was not made to last forever…You have people who are now running away from the job that they had found to be their ultimate source…Hiding from the parties where they found their pleasure…People with power are now realizing that their power is not sufficient to protect them and their families from this disease.” – Claire.

My Initial Reaction


To be honest, I experienced panic the initial occasion I knew about this virus. I assumed it was like Ebola. I remember traveling from a night class and just feeling fear grip my heart. I thought, what if it came? Is this really the end? Will my family die from this sickness? Would I get to accomplish all I need to? The worries spiraled one after the other. 


Soon after I realized that we do not control our circumstances but we govern how we respond to them. I recognized that my hope stood on the ebbs and flows of the events in this world. That it wasn’t in the sovereignty of God. It does not surprise God that we have this outbreak. I can take courage in that. Knowing where you are putting your confidence is essential to knowing how firm your foundation is. I admit, I wonder if it is because it is not deadly to me why I am so serene. Yet, I trust that when that moment comes, whether from sickness, or deliberate action, God will give me grace. 
Whether this is judgement, grace or prophecy. We can know that in death or life, we are Christ’s.

Promises


Here are promises and commands we should remind ourselves of in this season:


“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”  ~ Psalm 56:3

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” ~ Psalm 94:19


“But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” ~ Isaiah 43:1

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:34

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1

“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.  He freed me from all my fears.” ~ Psalm 34:4

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” ~ Romans 8:38-39

Precious, in the meantime, be strong in faith and cautious in your dealings. Get the facts and stay safe. You are in my prayers. Join us Friday at 5 pm for a new post in the Engraved series! We still have a give-away pending. Please stay tuned for details. Until then, remember you are precious.