I feel like I have been climbing a mountain for a very long time …
I came across a story yesterday that has resonated loudly in the silence of my heart and I don’t know how I missed it! I discovered it on searching through Child Prodigy Akiane Kramarik’s paintings. For a long time now I’ve not been able to articulate the thousand musings of different topics that have constantly raged through my thoughts; and have dominated my moods of expression on paper for fear of being judged by those very feelings and thoughts, and the people that read them. Thia is why this story means so much. In fact, reading this story on one of Akiane’s paintings stunned me and vibrated a deep truth yet simple illustrated in the best way I know how in the form of storytelling which has started to open me up again and prepare my tongue as ‘a pen of a ready writer’. Storytelling is a most beloved childhood favourite. Therefore, I thought it only best to share this story with you. I just couldn’t keep it to myself and let facebook have it alone!
Let it bless you as it has me! Oh and a… Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!
Akiane Kramarik shares the story as follows…:
“Once upon a time, in an island there lived six feelings and emotions: Happiness, Knowledge, Love, Sadness, Richness and Vanity. One day they discovered that the island began sinking! So all of them built boats and canoes and left, one by one. Except for Love. Love wanted to delay abandoning her beloved island as long as possible.
When the island had almost sunk, Love decided to ask for help.
Richness was passing by Love in a boat. Love asked, “Richness, can you take me with you?”
Richness answered, “Sorry, Love, I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat, so there is no place here for you. With both of us in here we will sink for sure.”
Love next asked Vanity who was also sailing by, but Vanity offered the same answer.
“I can’t help you, Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat,” Vanity answered.
Sadness was close by, so Love asked, “Sadness, take me along with you.”
“Oh . . . Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!”, sadness said in a gloomy voice.
Happiness passed by Love, too, but she was so preoccupied with her happiness that she did not even hear when Love called her.
Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come, Love, I will take you.”
It was an elder with a tattered head scarf. An overjoyed Love jumped into the boat. When they arrived at a dry land, the elder went her own way.
Love looked around and saw the Knowledge who was the first to have landed there a while ago.
“Who Helped me?” Love asked.
“It was Time,” Knowledge answered.
“Time? Why time?” Love was surprised.
“Because only Time is capable of understanding how valuable Love is.” The Knowledge smiled. “
As ever and always Keeping it Real!
The Elected Lady xx
Commissioned to Mission
So its becoming the same generic Where I start momentum to write yet slip into a season of writer’s block (which by the way feels like I’m still currently in) and not write anything for a long while. When oh when will I ever fully discipline myself to write more regularly? All I know is that I guess I’m someone who tends to write under inspiration and when I do it’s usually more poetic and in such circumstances, you cannot rush inspiration and you cannot rush creativity.
But, its not that time for the self-admonishing but rather a time to say, thank you to all those who have been reading, and commenting and liking my posts as its really encouraging and it gives me great pleasure knowing what you’re thinking and knowing how in some way my posts help. It is a blessing to have you guys listen to what I have to say…
This week, a young person asked me during Choir practice why I love Mission or going on Missions so much? I realise life’s journey itself is a mission. It’s about purpose. It’s what we’ve been created for. It’s that purpose that drives people to either write, sing, be creative, be academic, and come out with books like “The Purpose Driven Life” (Rick Warren) and articles like “The Spirit Driven Life”. (Just a quick side-note here: we are to be Spirit Led not Purpose Driven…being driven puts enormous pressure on one’s self but we ought to have purpose and be led by our Spirit for direction to fulfill that purpose.)
Purpose is Mission. You’ve been sent here for a task, a purpose, a mission. Whichever way we put it, we were born to do something or to be someone who we are and who we’ve been created to be. So for me, I love Mission. I love purpose. I love the idea and the reality of knowing I am here for something. I am here to contribute and display the beauty and the character of the One who created me and share my experiences and life.
As a person, I am very expressive emotionally and physically, which others may sometimes perceive as a weakness but its rather a strength. It takes strength to admit when your weak. It takes strength to explore areas of emotion that usually one fears because of the consequences of experiencing such emotions. It’s all a part of Becoming who we are and Becoming who we’ve been created to be.
Why do I do mission? I do mission because Mission is a way of life. And to narrow it’s context, what is my mission? My Mission is to do the Will of Him that sent me and to Finish it. That’s my mission. So whichever vehicle or form that takes to complete and fulfill my mission I will take it.
It’s why I can’t be put in a box. It’s why I have to be versatile. Fluid. Spirit-Led. Why do I do Mission? It’s because we’ve been Commissioned to Mission. I have a role and have a hand in the Great Commission of Life to Share the good news about the One who loved and Loves me and paid that Price for me, and I want others to encounter that Love I’ve experienced. That LOVE that I’m so passionate about. Yes. That LOVE. IT’S WHO HE IS.
So Where am I going? I don’t know but as I’ve always said from the beginning, this Life is a Marathon, not a Sprint and its a journey so my ultimate goal and journey is back to the One I love. The One I adore. The one who Hears. The One who Sees. That’s where I’m going and I’m taking others with me, as I enjoy the roller-coaster ride. As I let go of the reins and let Him Reign. Be Obedient. That’s my cry. So it’s what I’m doing. I am going to France and Germany on Mission this year working with young people because I love it. And with people in general. I love to travel. I wanted to be in Lebanon this year, but my Spiritual Satnav didn’t direct me there this year due to many different factors and I needed to remain here in the UK.
It turned out that it was very worthwhile that I didn’t go, although I miss Lebanon terribly and crazily. One of my young people died brutally last week. Was hit by a train. When I heard it, it felt like a punch to the stomach. I thought, “If this is what it feels like to me and he’s not even my blood or direct child, I’d hate to think and wonder what his mother must be going through!”
This kid, Charlie, was 16. He had purpose. He wanted to be a Civil engineer. It hit me hard. I realised that I needed to be there for the young people who were affected. And I realised that this was my newest Mission. This is my mission for the time being until the Lord says Switch. For those of you who’ve been following my facebook posts and Twitter posts, you’ll find that we’ve been doing anything we can in remembrance of this wonderful guy. Through being there and connecting with these young people, they have been open to receiving love and having encounters of their own and those who don’t want to know are also okay. It’s not my place to force them. But, It’s mine to Love them. However, I’ve had to work as a wounded soldier helping his other wounded comrades.
I feel I’ve taken bullets since this season called February began, where one mission ended and it felt like I lost a job and my heart to be frank, and then side-tracked mission which put me in danger, but the Lord rescued me miraculously. Yes. sound familiar?
Sounds like a Soldier. Sounds like an Ambassador. Sounds like each and every single one of us who are facing challenges and facing circumstances with a choice without no choice. Yes. Sounds like Mission. Sounds like life.
So Why do Mission? Again: We’ve been Commissioned to Mission.
Keeping it real as ever,
The Elected Lady xx
Laying down your Isaac…
I prithee please forgive but I must warn you now. This isn’t one of those “short expression” moments that I’ve recently adjusted to so if you don’t have the time to listen then I must advise you to overlook now or find the time when you’re ready to read/listen because today, I’ve a lot to bleed today and pour out in this journey called LIFE. (Yes I know I haven’t been on this Earth that long but my goodness! I’ve seen enough to let one’s skin crawl, and had enough adventures to fill a library…well maybe not that exaggerated but at least you get the point!)
‘Ever feel like you’ve come across moments in your life where you have been challenged to give up the things that mean most to you and to your heart? Or have you ever felt moments where you were challenged to relent and give up your hearts’ desires in order to possess something greater, knowing that it would kill or hurt you in the process? Well, to me right now that’s where I am and it feels like a knife circumcision to the heart. Let me explain…
On Thursday Night I had finished Choir Practice at 9pm and headed to Mojos (youth/young people’s club at New River Church). I walked in the bitter cold night and crossed the clear road whilst observing the green-cross code “Stop! Look and Listen!“, and marched towards the bus stop in an attempt to keep myself warm then waited for bus W8 to arrive. En route to Lea Valley Leisure Centre, I stopped in Edmonton Green.
As I arrived at New River, I heard the sound of music coming from the venue (as with any youth group) and I perceived that they must be worshipping. So I entered into the building and after finding a suitable place to put my bags and coat, I positioned myself to enter into worship. Enter in, My FOOT!
Initially, when I started to worship (i.e. singing, praying, praising, telling-God-how-good-he-is) it was all good and I had felt a wave of intense love wash over me especially as we sung Hillsong’s “The Stand”. Suddenly, the familiar flicker of fear that indicates when “something-aint-right” crept on my vulnerable heart. I couldn’t understand why. I puzzled and thought, and thought, and puzzled; then I tried to figure out as usual what the reasons were when BANG! Complete Disconnection. The crawling sensation of anxiety gripped me in a moment and I began to fight it and struggled to regain that emotional and spiritual connection. That moment of emotional distraction left me feeling somewhat odd.
So I paced around the space in the room and eventually settled for sitting on the floor. This time I felt tired and simply entered the “can’t-be-bovvered” attitude whilst trying still to connect vainly. Didn’t work to be honest. It was in that instance when my friend sat with me when I realised that I had needed to be open and honest about what I was experiencing. After a bit of small talk, I told her about what happened and tbh I was genuinely seeking answers at this point. I just wanted to be free from this sickly feeling and something she said struck a chord with me.
She paused then expressed how when she felt that way sometimes, there was usually an underlying blockage that needed dealing with and she advised me as anyone would- “ASK GOD!” I did. I had. I had asked already but wasn’t getting or hearing anything or response which fueled the anxiety that much more. But this time I decided to wait and ask again. (When you’ve asked once and life throws you curve balls as NO ANSWERS, ASK AGAIN!)
This time, because I was actually READY TO RECEIVE an answer, it came very quickly. A scene in an episode of Friends where Rachel says goodbye to Ross came quickly into view. This scene for me had been so intense that it hit a part of me that I never thought would be impacted in such a significant way. I realised the scene confronted my emotions about a person I really really like and my feelings for this person had dominated my thought life for a long time that it was undermining even my relationship with my Maker. And it didn’t only undermine my relationship, but it started to dominate my songs, prayers and my life to a very small degree (but a degree nonetheless).
I know! it sounds silly and stupid. Ah well, what am I like?! It just seems that when I fall for someone I fall hard. like, really hard. Some of you understand. It was at this point that I knew what needed to be done and it was as if I heard the words clear “Lay down you Isaac“. (Look, for the theologians among you, I don’t pretend to know how theologically correct it is but all I know is this is what He said and I obeyed. Simple. We can argue later…)
But for the others who don;t understand the context this command refers to, it is the story of Abraham and Isaac and you can read it in Genesis chapter 22 (don’t worry I didn’t have to kill anyone but I understood the metaphorical context). In retreat, I knew that I had to let go and give it over to God, and so let go, I did. In obedience and in tears. And this time, there was a grace and an ease to do it. The song “Cry me a River” – the Justin Timberlake version, not Buble (though I love him so) springs to mind. It was silent, but the sodium chloride liquid coursed through my body and released streams down my face and into my palms. Strangely, it felt like a huge weight had lifted at the same time but it hurt. It hurt a lot. And I don’t pretend to feel great about it. I’m fine and I’m okay, but yea, it hurt.
You know, sometimes it feels so hard to let go. However, there is always hope. You see, when God or life requires you to give up your best, He often has in mind an even greater purpose and blessing in store for you. So count it all joy. As Maria from the sound of music said it best, “When God closes a door, somehow he opens a window…”
pffhtt! IT BEST BE A BIG WINDOW that’s all am Saying!!! coz for me to climb through that? Lawd have mercy!!
So, what have I learned today?
1- Well the keys to my Heart are in Big Daddy’s hands and when the time is right, they shall be released and it will be full of matured Joy. And Secondly, there is always a Ram climbing as I am, to be that substitute sacrifice. I don’t know…These are just my thoughts today. Making any sense? feel free to express but in the meantime let me leave you with a couple of songs!
The sayings of a transparent heart…God this is difficult!
As ever keeping it real, Peace!
The Elected Lady ❤ xx
Do I got what it takes to be a mother?
This is probably for me, an interesting title to this week’s post as many of you who know me would know that, I haven’t got any kids of my own so may not think I’m exactly qualified to answer or respond to this question. Though its self-evaluating, I suppose it conjures up all sorts of imaginations that may not be as accurate until I actually birth kids of my own – an affair that I’m sure to dread in terms of the pain….ooo me and pain are not friends and do not work well together at all!
But I’m the elected lady so I’m gonna keep it real and tell you the journey that caused me to come up with this question. So, if many of you remember from my last blog, I said I’ve been giving private tuition to two students. In case I didn’t mention it, let me talk about it a bit.
One pupil I have is a mentee of mine- who I’ve purposed to adopt as a sister because she needs a big sister and to protect her identity I’ll say her name is Nora. She’s a GCSE student and I help tutor her in areas she struggles with in Science and Maths (yes its not my strongest subject but hey I might as well give it a go and if her grades improve then Praise the Lord God). The usual systematic process we do is we pray before we start anything and then we laugh, joke and use objects for her to understand an area or a rule that she’s not confident with. Or I simply give her work to do and she does it. We’re 4th week in and I’m seeing a change in her as she was struggling with major identity issues and slowly but surely, she’s morphing into this wonderful teen that she actually is. Often, its quite nerve racking for me to teach her considering the fact that I’m conscious of the fact that I basically have to relearn subjects I swore I would avoid as an adult – Yes for those of you who think you’ve had a lucky escape, best believe you’ll find yourself revisiting those subject enemies that you have to conquer again but this time from a totally different angle!!
Second student is a beautiful, gorgeous little 4 year old girl and to protect her identity for legal purposes I’ll call her Natalie. Gosh this girl is so intelligent! She speaks as a ten year old except limited by words and some speech because she’s 4! Moreover, she expresses her feelings and emotions so matter-of-factly that its incredible to see her with such a big personality. I stand in amazement at the beautiful creation stood before me that God used when connecting sperm and egg together to make her. Now with her, I’ve been tutoring her for 2 weeks now. This week was the second week. But how I even got this opportunity was even a miracle! it was by chance that her grandmother randomly asked me if I gave extra tuition. She had asked me after I spent time praying and ministering to her after a Wednesday early morning prayer at my church. So she asked me this question to which I replied, I do and then she hired me then and there to tutor her grandchild! Thank God that through nflame and sublime I’ve been CRB cleared so I showed that to natalie’s grandmother and met the mother later that afternoon to discuss what she wanted.
Then last week Monday, the little girl Natalie just fell in love with me and just played and was so excited about me teaching her that she wanted to show me the whole world as it appears through her eyes. So, at times it was hard to get her to settle down and I realised that teaching a little girl was going to be more of a challenge than I thought. Moreover, times when I had to discipline her to just sit and listen, I had to remember to respect the boundaries of the parent of the child so as to not put myself in any trouble. By the end of that lesson, we read a book and she sat on my lap cuddled to me, sucking on her little index finger- aww she has the cutest hands ever! Success!
So, paid I was, until the next week which was this week. And, on Monday, this time Natalie, wasn’t cute, little girl but cute, little, almost but wasn’t near a nightmare! She tried my patience but by the end of it I had more Love for her than I did when I first met her. And its so cute to hear her call me aunty, and say the three little, simple words that resonate so much power and meaning that it ricochets shivers down my spine “I LOVE YOU”. wow. let me pause here. I LOVE YOU. The three clichic words that are so overused in our society but hold no meaning. The three words that have been buried in the midst of suffering, caught in a web of hatred, lies and unfaithfulness because adults have misused these three words and perverted with Satan’s snare, the true purity of the words that people desire to hear yet hate to feel. Yes, these three simple words when heard from the lips of a babe, a child carry such healing, power, innocence and the ominous sense that this child would be affected by life’s darts that those words would take effort to really mean such things to them. These three words that need purifying everyday by God who IS LOVE to even have the deepest effect on a single human being. These three words, that when they were uttered out of the lips of this 4 year old girl shot like a spear into my heart melted every guard and annoyance I had towards her playing up determined what my actions were next. Like auto pilot, she hugged me and I picked her up and hugged her and whispered the words back, “I LOVE YOU” and guess what? I meant every word of it with every fibre of my being.
This nicely brings me to why my title to today’s blog?
Well, because I’ve been working with young people for a while, especially with the ones who’ve been coming in off the street, and now in a more close proximity setting of tutoring and mentoring, it made me think about what it means to be a parent. What are the foundations? how do you parent a child who is already being parented where you see the flaws and you want to correct knowing that that would be done to you once you have children – its almost inevitable. How do you avoid the pitfalls? How does one support a child? what does it take to be a mother? How do you discipline them? How do I do it without making a complete idiot of myself?
Then I was reminded of how God does the job of both parents to literally everybody. I realise that he demonstrates parenthood in the most unconventional way to what we’ve probably been taught parenting is about and he does that via experience. And though I’m not a parent, I am in many ways. In Isaiah 54 it says (and sorry if I’m sounding religious~ not intended to be so but its for the basis of making an emphasis on a point) “More are the children of the desolate wife than she who has given birth…” (paraphrased) I realise that the position I’ve been entrusted with to these young people and little children, is not one to be taken lightly but a privilege serving them with a faithful, loving and consistent heart. And that first stems from the root of Love and Passion for these kids. I watched, Natalie’s mother loving on her daughter and the new baby in her arms and saw that what she had was no different from what I had except probably deeper because she gave birth to them and she also lives and raises them on a daily basis. Realising this responsibility, made me feel somewhat anxious and gave me this sense of foreboding as I wondered whether I was really cut out for this and whether I was really doing a good job. Especially when it appears that there’s only little progress and not major progress. I even wondered that with the way i get on with these guys and the way sometimes I slip up, will it be more painful with my own? How would I be as a mother?
Then I remembered the words of Deborah, a wonderful Judge. who declared “I saw the desolation of my people….Until I arose a Mother in Israel”. This answered the question for me. Someone has to do the job so it might as well be me. I don’t have to qualify for the job by giving birth. I’ve been qualified simply because I am willing and I’m a woman- a man with a womb- who can carry the promises of life for these ones who struggle to navigate through life. I have had enough experience to help the little one’s pull through and I am willing to learn. But above all, I have Love. I have the Love that has been loved to me that I can love others. The LOVE that is pure that is overwhelming my soul that only has one outlet and that is to share that love. And this love is not my own but the one He Gave me. The Love I didn’t have for myself before has loved me to health and is still loving me to glory, and will love these Kids to strength.
And as usual, things like this always conjures up songs and music that connect me to my understanding and it clearly reminds me of my painting of a baby in midair that I did in GCSE Art some years ago. The first song that came to mind was Jason Upton’s When it Thunders which describes a relationship between a Father and his Child through the storm and this song has had imminent impact on my life. I’ve at times border-lined obsessed over this song and left it on repeat for 7 days. yes. call me crazy but I love it!
And also the other song by him When you were a child:
What’s inspiring you? please share. Peace out. Loving you, Loving JC!
Keeping it real, Elected Lady xx