The ‘Womb of God’

God has been teaching me about ‘His Womb’

I was sitting wondering why so many of us are in such pandemonium …and God reminded me that labor can happen at any time during a pregnancy…but when its real, and timely, it comes much faster as the birthing of the baby nears. The protective membrane around the unborn child collapses and there is no longer support internally…the womb begins to contract to expel the child…and the child is often born crying out loud…perhaps the pressure of the womb makes it suspect that the mother is trying to kill him or her..but I know there is a true reason for this as labor often tires both the mother and the child, not to mention all the rest witnessing it.  But there is also a feeling of achievement if the baby survives the process…and if the mother survives too.

So …it is hoped that the child being born has developed well enough during the time it was hidden from sight to resemble its parents when presented to those like it, and will not be born looking incomplete or as something other than human…in terms of species.

In the process of labour, the one being born looses their pattern of breathing, survival in the womb in order to gain a new superior way of breathing and survival. In order to relate more maturely perhaps, even publicly with the  parents…I kept hearing that the womb of God is contracting faster and that my DNA had better be that of The Father when expelled He sends me out to His World, to relate with others like Him and those not like Him as well. That, in the labour process the womb seems to be the enemy but it is actually the friend. S/He who has ears….

vipslit@yahoo.ca

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Weeding Angels

“‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. “‘No,’ He replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”…

“Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed.  The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one.  The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and THE HARVESTERS ARE THE ANGELS.[emphasis mine]

“Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will remove from His Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!” Mathew 13

Dear Jesus, thank You for Being The Answer to every issue in life. Please LORD keep me away from the temptation of doing work that belongs to angels with regard to focusing on discerning between the good and bad seed. I know many that love You genuinely have been thrown out of fellowship and discouraged from following You by those who sold them the idea that they are not good enough to warrant Your Mercy, Love and Relationship because of something they have done or are doing, or becasue of the lies that have been cleverly schemed by the devil to keep them from being extenstions of Your Character in this world.

Keep me involved in the business You have placed as my portion. Help my soul agree with you that as of TODAY I am not given the mandate to qualify the work of salvation that You have done in the lives of other brethren, to pull them out. We both know You are still at work in my own life, and will be till the day you call me up to You. Help me to love You by caring and feeding for Your sheep and allowing others to worship You as well by doing the same. Help me to worship You by reminding myself and others about the Good News of Who You Are and What You have done. I humbly and brokenly pray this, in Your Name Jesus, The Rock on Whom I stand. Amen.

The Dilemma of Interpreting Human Rights Ideals into our Romantic Relationshipss

I met an old friend recently and on finding out that this handsome specimen was still single I offered to take a look at his ‘resume’ and introduce him to someone. Or better still see if his qualifications fitted into my list of requirements for the still vacant position of ‘Vip’s Husband’. He laughed and told me in so many words that he was basically terrified of my ‘Beijing ideals’ finding their way into and corrupting his comfortable existence. It made me wonder, not for the first time, why many men an some women fear and distrust the notion of human rights for women. Not only that but why belief in these disqualifies almost automatically its adherents from any hope of a permanent, blissful, committed relationship.

Poor understanding of the concept leading to poor translation into real life.

Many of us who have been involved in the advancement of the human rights of women seem to make men generally uncomfortable. Especially with regard to the possibility of building long term relationships. The media depictions that remain engrained in their minds are unfortunate – we have those of women tugging their skirts over their heads reminding the world that bloomers still exist in order to express their displeasure over some serious issue. Then there are those that will chop of a crucial male muscle as punishment for real or suspected infidelity. What I think scares them the most is the template answers we have for every situation we face – ambiguous, puzzling clichés that we learnt at the last workshop and we are still to be sure what they mean, but said with such vehemence that our hearer will be sure that they have been insulted, but not of how.

There needs to be much more depth in teaching on transforming international conventions into usable life skills. Where a woman is allowed to work on knowing intimately both these conventions, as well as her own character, personality and dreams and interpreting the former into the latter. As vocational, purpose driven home-maker – can you still claim your rank among the empowered? Does being empowered mean that you place less value on the man you love; and the live you dreamed of building together, to become  a human rights advocate when this does not fulfill you?

Neo-colonialism

Most read empowerment of women to mean the transference of power from men to women. Granted, in some cases, this needs to be the case. But just as being a man should never be the prerequisite for a job, the same applies for being a woman. We need to realize that although things have changed considerably, and we are more independent of men than we used to be, we still have use for them, and that the world can only function well if each takes their roles seriously. And by this I am not saying we go back to the idea that “women can only do —– and men must be —–“ Each person has strengths. When we come together as a team, as in a marriage each one should use their strength for the betterment of that institution.

Adapting bad manners

We realized a long time ago that men’s weaknesses were a sign that they had lost control of their lives and could not be trusted with those of others. Why we should think it is a sign of empowerment to repeat their self abasing patterns of serial monogamy/dating/one night stand puzzles me. A truly empowered woman will price her dignity and integrity both in public and in private. Those who have not really grasped the concept of gender equity may interpret true power as the opportunity to seek revenge in ways that ultimately cause her more pain than any relief. Others will not go this far but will adapt the arrogant manner and speech that still reflect more on her than on the person who hurt her. Let us take a little more time to think before we act.

A realization of the cosmetic nature of out commitment to empowering women.

Some of us have been known to say of the endeavor “That is work; and this is real life.” No wonder therefore that the argument is not making any difference in the life of the real woman. She keeps going back to the man who beats’, rapes, and emotionally abuses both her and her children. She is perplexed by the gravity/ the weight of the knowledge she has received in theory, but has given her no real power to change her personal circumstances. A truly empowered woman will realize that discipline is a loving and important part of the growth of every human relationship and will use it to build her love affair with the man in her life.

A realization of the sanctity of our rights as human being needs to be combined with innate wisdom to know when to enforce them and when to exercise patience. On the other hand, all disagreements should not be cause for divorce, separation or result in some legal tussle. We need to demonstrate our prowess in communication and in truly loving ourselves by being able to discern which relationships are worth keeping, to realize that even in the right circumstances relationships demand work, and use her intelligence and grace to fight for these.

 

The ‘Wife’ Dilemma

We spend so much time developing ourselves in our unique disciplines but when it comes to relationships, we are expected to dismiss these as unworkable theories. We shed off our ideals as soon as the opportunity is extended. We are then so uncomfortable with who we have become, because we ourselves are not convinced enough. We go back to being ‘traditional wives’ which translated means lacking in esteem, opinion, passion, personality, character except as an echo to this man we are so afraid of loosing because we feel he is what defines us. And many of us have fallen into that trap only to have the men we have slip through our fingers and into the claws of a woman who reminds us so much of who we used to be. As an empowered woman you are a pearl that can only get better. If someone loves you for who you are,  then that is who he wants.

Creation of Empowered men for the empowered woman

In some communities, opportunities for women to be educated came about in response to the need for educated men to find like companions in their marriages. The truth is that for these ideals to work for your relationship, you may need to clue your man in on them. Your man is exposed to rumors at work and as his socializes, that may affect the way he responds to your endeavors. He needs to recognize and be re-attracted to the empowered woman that you have become. If you have always been aggressive be so – in an empowered way. But even to the gentle, soft-spoken, maybe he just needs to hear it in your voice as you lull him to sleep and see it as you sew on his buttons on your way to yet another convention. He probably needs to see you leading a convention and nursing his 10th baby – unabashedly. When you fall asleep after work for two straight years and deny him his conjugal rights because your passion has been spent empowering other women, and then are perplexed your house help has seen to it that her duties include expanding your family, you are not being fair to him or honest to yourself.

It is true that sometimes men need to be shaken into realizing that their women folk are human beings demanding of equal, sometimes more, regard than them. Especially those abusive ones. And that mystery does wonders for a woman. Beyond this though, you need to be able to communicate with the man you love. Ask him to help you understand some of those concepts you still have difficulty with. Find out what he thinks about the ones you do understand and how these can improve the way you relate to one another. This way you will be enlightening him and helping him realize that Beijing was not another word for ‘Home-wreckers Convention’. It will also build him up because he needs to model true masculinity to your sons, and relevant males in his sphere of influence. Even if he is negative, initially and in the long term, you will still have passed on a message. You would be surprised to find that he defends your course to his friends using your exact argument. Being an empowered woman does not contradict your being feminine. It should be the amour that guards your womanhood from injury from critics of both sexes. It should not stop you from doing things for the man you love because you love to do it.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

First Published in Oakland Media’s Eve Magazine in 2004

Divine Justice – Where NO ONE Escapes

Doubt comes in at the window when inquiry is denied at the door” – Benjamin Jowett, 1817-1893

You have been feeling rather confused lately, and helpless too. It seems that to some justice happens only when you are able to convince a large enough crowd into your way of thinking. I keep thinking that every tyrant in history probably thought they were on the right track with God. And you know intimately how their victims felt. Lately you have felt the keen steel of your enemy’s sword as it bites in with his buoyant strike. Your adversary seems so sure of himself that you begin to doubt that you were ever sure of your own innocence. I don’t know what it is that you are loosing to your enemy my sister, but somehow I get this strong feeling we are all loosing something today.

It seems that when you choose to live a life of integrity, you inevitably attract the weirdest kinds of adversity. There will be people who begin a campaign they hope will end in your death, at least that of your spirit. My experience with all of us humans has led me to respond to people’s criticisms of others with strong doubt like in the quote above. Especially when the words are spoken with loud emphasis, vehemence that suggests that the speaker hopes to gain some of the territory they are tearing away from their victim. If you are watching and listening you will be able to see the scripts that are written in dark places, and the attempts by life’s actors to convince all that their theatre is reality. I find this especially true in the work arena, especially in the humanities, where each of us if allowed has something really special to bring into the pot. Something that builds all those it touches, and is simply special because everyone else is giving uniquely and authentically. Something that can never be imitated and yet someone thinks they can embrace it by destroying you. This something is that which threatens those who have not allowed themselves the freedom to truly create, so they concentrate their energies in strangling and stifling that which attempts to be beautiful.

People have all sorts of reasons for trying to wipe you out. Sometimes it is simply impunity – doing it because they think they can. Spending time with God and in His word helps you expect this, and know how to handle it without loosing your footing. I found some words in the Bible that have helped me through this time. The first four verses in the sixteenth chapter of the book of John prepares people throughout all history to expect the fire rejection, injustice and attempts at extinguishing their fires. It blesses the keen seeker with special vision that with compassion will see your oppressor as disadvantaged. Disadvantaged because in denying the reality of God by their actions, they denied the authenticity of who they really were. Their uniqueness, and the fact that they were not simply decaying matter, but spirit beings that could live forever. There are things you can only live with doing, when you truly believe that there is no God.

Looking at life through these words I have opened my eyes to the fact that whenever we choose malevolence, it often costs more than we are willing to pay. It doesn’t matter how victorious you feel today for destroying the lives, the work, the creativity of other people, usually the decay you hoped for them will catch up with you eventually. If you don’t come to your senses and make peace with the one you hurt.

And the paradox of life is that, in accepting adversity it leads you to a better place. Sometimes it is simply in knowing that you are a survivor, many times you develop character, and strength to muster even bigger problems. Many times is so that you understand the pain of someone going through a similar valley. I find that adversity if handled wisely, will develop in us a deep concern for the one who hurts us. You see, they hurt you so deeply that the praying have no choice but to kneel before God with the name on their adversary in their heart and tears. And whenever we pray about someone, our hearts open more to them. You will find that on the day they face their inescapable justice, you will be standing right by them, pleading their cause before the punisher, and sincerely hoping that your pleas will fall on merciful ears. You have been there too haven’t you – to that place where you hurt because the one who wounded you, is hurting today. And you are confused by it.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

first published in The Sunday Standard: November 11, 2005

Stopping Violence in Your Own Way

‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”

Nelson Mandela

You must have heard. It’s that time of the year when we focus on violence. It is important, because for the most part, we like to live as though it does not exist, as though it happens to other people, as though it does not affect who we are, our lives at all. I have been learning a lot about women who did the uncanny, unexpected in order to get the world, even God to listen. And I have been thinking, that if there is a solution to the plague of violence, it will take a woman who has the audacity to be different to bring an end to it.

You see other people spend 365 days every year wracking their brains about what else could be done that is new, to stop the violence. My new friend Lorraine sent me a photo of a child, a Kenyan child that had given birth to a baby. She was distressed because this photo was being forwarded by email, exposing the child to further violations of her rights. She wants to do something, anything that could stop the suffering of this child – her question is, where did she go after the beautiful photograph in the newspaper? Mine is, did the find the male who took away her childhood, making her a mother before her time? Did her mummy and daddy step in to support her, go back to school, fulfil her dreams, did they comfort her on the nights she didn’t know what to do because her life dolly just could not stop crying? What happens to our children after we as adults steal their innocence? Or help someone do so, because we are so afraid of loosing something that we thought was more important?

I am not talking about the girls only, what about the boys that we don’t take time to love, so that they learn to love and not hit? What about the ones we hush when they tell us the Auntie or Uncle ‘touched them badly’ and so tell them that is the way people live? When the teacher or other adult brutalised them last, were we intimidated by their anger, or did our busy schedules make us impatient with the victim, our child? After all they must have done something to deserve it? My sister how many times did you as a child deserve the brutalisation you received? Really? My eyebrows are forming an upward curve at the back of my bald head.

The truth is, when you stand up against abuse, against the status quo, there will be opposition. I know because this year I learnt this fact the hard way. Still my children and yours are important enough, for me and you to loose all comfort for their dignity. They will starve you and them, they will gang up against you and speak profanities against you, because they fear to face the demon they habour, still, for the sake of teaching the next generation that their dignity is invaluable, all sacrifice is worth it.

This year we honour the sisters and brothers that braved the adversity that come with activism for the right to be a dignified human. The person who stopped the conductor from insulting you in the bus, who responded to your cry of disgust when a fellow passenger in pretending to look for ‘lost coins’ rubbed his knuckles against your thighs and then insulted you for noticing. For some of you, someone lost much more, like their lives, their homes, or their own dignities, just so you could keep yours. Can you remember their face? Then there was the person who picked you up and helped clean you up after a nasty ordeal. Took you to hospital, to the police station, stood by you in court, cried with you, reminded you that you are still beautiful after that event made you feel different about your life. There was the person who stood by you and reminded you of the other things that made your life worthwhile, and that they would stand by you years later when the nightmares still plagued you. There was the person who gave you their bathroom to wash away the grime from inside, the one who gave you bus fare to the hospital, the one who visited you, and touched you gently so that you could know the difference. They covered you, made you look presentable and reminded you that you always would be. They gave you a safe place to sleep. They all did something small, something that made the difference to you, between life and sure death. How many little things will you do, so that a sister, or brother will not be violated, or will survive their violation?

vipslit@yahoo.ca

First published in The Sunday Standard, November 27, 2005

The Gift of Loneliness

“It rings with the sound of goodbye, I can’t even tell you just why, It may be the truth or it may be a lie but it sounds like the sound of goodbye. We can talk of the weather, We can talk of the news, We can talk of the talk of the town, There’s another true love going down: We can talk about promises, talk about lies, But there’s no use pointing our fingers, And the sound of ‘I love you’ still lingers, But it rings with the sound of goodbye” Crystal Gayle: Sounds of Goodbye

 

The last Friday of October found me working later than usual. I finally decided that the world wouldn’t necessary drop of into oblivion if I just responded to my aching body and took it home to bed. One of the things I love doing when I am really tired is riding around. And this day, my body felt as though it had been run through a fine Mincer. Then a strange thing happened, I began to feel lonely. Strange because I am one person who should never feel that way. There are so many people in my life, chief of whom are my children. But as the driver drove out of the parking and into the streets I almost lost my head. And as though to drive the point further home, there were about ten young couples crossing the streets holding each other and walking as though if they did not step on the exact spot at the exact same time as their beloved they would be blown away by a landmine. Oh the pain.

As the driver went through his rounds dropping off my colleagues, I relaxed into the car seat and closed my eyes to try understand a feeling I rarely let into my conscious. Why today, I asked myself? I know that for the last few weeks I had been driving myself nuts working, keeping away my anxieties, and that I had not spent as much time as I would have loved with my children, but it was more than that. I had not spent much time with anyone outside of the office, not even with God. My friends have learnt to live without me and enjoy it – friendship can be like work you know. My family, well that comprises the children I found half asleep when I got to the house, and was not really up to date with their feelings. Not really anyway. God, well, I was going through a time when I wondered if it was really worth it to talk to Him because I was not sure that He was listening. At the back of my mind I knew that I was kidding myself about that one, the height of all loneliness was a life without God. Somehow I knew that like a very patient lover He was waiting in the wings for me to turn my attention His way, but my body ached, my heart ached, my life ached, I just wanted to sleep somewhere, somewhere that had the ability to soak in my weariness. Yet in spite of all this, my brain somehow mustered the strength for an intense feeling like loneliness.

I found myself home, was embraced by two sleepy children, with whom I prayed and sent off to bed, so I could be alone, went through my bedtime rituals and slipped wearily between the sheets. Only to discover I could not sleep. So I told my mind to go to that place it wanted me to go to. I acknowledged that most of my relationships had given way to a new season. For many, it was that of ‘goodbye’. We had all done the usual dance of trying to keep going something that we knew had been perfectly rounded last time we considered it. It had been over time for so many of my relationships, and I hadn’t done what was the most natural thing to do. Grieve and let go. I was dishonouring myself and the beautiful people God had flowered my life with by dragging it longer than the finish line. So I got up, put on the lights and cried, no wailed as only an African Jaluo woman can. It was painful but I understood that unless I let go, my hands were too full to receive the gift of new beginnings. My old friend were not just of the flesh and blood kind, there were things I filled my time with, thoughts, activities that I had outgrown or that had outgrown me. Where people were concerned I thought about the unanswered calls and un-responded messages. I thought about times when they needed a friend or I did, and the gaps in our lives were too large for us to reach other. So I let it be.  I wrung these out, crying as though by a graveyard.

Then I slept, and almost did not wake up the next day. I worked last Saturday, I think I did, I spent the day in the office with nothing really to show for it, and then went home to a new me. Considering just God and the Children as permanent friends, I began to rebuild the foundation of my life. The gift that loneliness brings is that it allows you to choose what you build your life with, that which is authentically about you. It teaches you to give yourself the love that you always gave others but never received, and when the time for new beginnings comes, makes you a much greater person for your gratitude for every love sent your way. We should all feel lonely sometimes.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

published in the Sunday Standard, November 5, 2005

The Miracle: The Strength of a Humble Servant King

Thinking of You Jesus…and I cant sleep. I dont know how You did it. How You do it.

How You gave Your living words and we could still prefer darkness. How You could bless each day even while knowing that at some point, or ten, I/We would spite You love. I don’t know how you could do dinner with Your twelve best friends and others, and while knowing that before that night was out ten would have deserted you in fright, one – the one You put Your money on – would catalyze the chaos that would cost You Your life for a small gift, and that only one would be with You all the way – albeit at a distance. How You would still pour Your treasure into them, how You could bend down to wash their feet, lovingly, thoroughly toweling those beloved feet that would determinedly retreat from you.

I don’t know how, You, Who is The Word, would stand silently, as men you created, sustained and even promoted to the thrones on which they now sat to play with words that would seal your fate and perhaps leave them guiltless. How those You had blessed with speech and an audience, would declare themselves unable to help because though convinced of Your Character were too intimidated by their audience that was  no longer willing to listen to them because they were crazed with a thirst for Your blood. I don’t know how You could stand dignified as they did all they could to break Your knees and Back. I don’t know how You could hold up Your Head, and knowing You were/are King over all kings, accept for that precious Head, a crown weaved in thorns of hatred, and keep it on as the people You created continued their unwarranted rage.

I wonder how You stood when they deliberately misunderstood, deliberately twisted Your Words so they would appear pristine, and make You appear vile. I don’t know how You accepted their lashings, your public stripping, their hatred against Your love for them, and held Your broken Heart in place – enough to cry out a prayer while bound in the pain in which Your beloved had bound You; a prayer that they not be held to account for what they had done. I don’t know how You could stride into hell to redeem me, to redeem them, when we had so clearly communicated our committed hatred of You and our rejection of the fact that you are God’s Best Answer to our waiting, our longing.

I don’t know how You wash my feet when I have dredged through the mire and soiled the gown that You had bought in Your Blood and so lovingly dropped over my scared but healed body; how You could patiently touch me again to bless, to make straight, to make beautiful again. I don’t know how now glorified, You could stand on Your Throne, as Commander of Heaven’s Armies to defend me from canal and spiritual foes when I deserve worse every second of my life for what I did to You. I don’t know how You feed, heal, carry, beautify, comfort, resurrect…how You outdo Yourself on behalf of me and so many like me, every second of every day, and qualify the vile for heaven.

You amaze me Jesus…teach me again to walk like You. To follow You. I am trying now, but am stumbling, am fighting back, am reminding them who I am, I am taking up weapons I no longer know how to war with, I am stumbling, I am falling, unless You come help me. I know how difficult it was for You, how painful it is. But I want to learn, to walk beautifully, like you do. I have prayed believing in Your Name, for this great miracle. Amen.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

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