Deciding Tears

Was reading Judges 19-21 wishing I wasn’t all the while that I was. For me, its hands down, the most terrible story in the Bible. Remember the one about the Levite and his concubine? Always leaves me…in another not so good place… for days after I read it.
Anyway, I learnt from it how a single decision, a deeply personal decision, can affect a nation – in devastating ways. Without giving all the details, so the story goes, a woman decides her lover is not enough for her, finds another then takes off home to her Daddy. Her lover, a priest decides that he cannot live without her, leaves his duty post and goes off to woe her. The woman softens her stance and decides to take the priest – her lover – to meet her daddy. Her daddy decides he really likes this one…and decides to keep him for a few days – longer than the priest planned to stay, since he has a job to return to. On the fifth day, the priest decides to break free from his darling’s daddy’s manipulation and return home late in the afternoon. Home is not close by, so the priest decides to take refuge among those like himself – it would be too dangerous to find lodging among those unlike himself. After hanging out in the Quad for some time, an old man takes pity on him especially upon learning that the priest is from his original home, and decides to take the priest, his wife, his servant and two donkeys home with him.
Some time in the night, some young men decide the priest is too irresistible a guest not to be intimately partaken of – in a sexual way. They howl at the old man’s door and finally the priest’s resolve breaks…and he…throws out the woman he has gone through extended leave to bring back home. He decides it is better her than him…and the men glut on her…internally break her to pieces. She decides to crawl back to the old man’s house and dies face down with one arm penitently stretched into the threshold of the house. Her lover, the priest, decides to take off from this place as early as he can, but has to step over her to get onto his donkey – he decides to finish the journey with her body. Back home, not at work, he decides to break her remains into twelve parts and send this to the twelve tribes of Israel. Israel decides to come to him, to find out why. The priest tweaks his story a little, he decides to, so that the villains do not include him, but are those lustful sons of Benjamin…. Benjamin decides not to release the criminals…after all they are a super power unto themselves and can take on the nations of Israel single-handedly. They after all posses the war personnel to shame all warriors, and it was possibly against their national policy to surrender their nationals to those who are not Benjamin…even when they had committed crimes against humanity.
Well – God saw one of His little girls die…took into account her last moments and decides to arise – The Avenger, the Man of War…God The Just Judge…nothing escapes Him. Before the week is over, about 90,000 of a nation’s best warriors are in eternity. And they are not just from the offending tribe’s side. A daughter of Israel died. More than this, an entire tribe is wiped out leaving just 600 hiding behind a rock. Israel mourns one of their own…and decide to rebuild that tribe. 600 young women are not asked whether they would choose to participate in this ‘noble’ endeavor…a town is wiped out of all its inhabitants save 400 ‘useful’ virgins. 200 hundred others are basically kidnapped as they dance at a religious festival. Decisions were made by their kinsmen…and they are the ‘clean-up team’. For life. They did well…Israel’s first king came from these chaos and ashes. Because in their day, Israel had no king, and everyone did as they chose to.
May my one decision, a breath at a time, always Lord, be an echo of Your Wisdom, and birth Healing, Life, Resurrection, Order, Peace…produce what is like You. Shalom.
vipslit@yahoo.ca
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Harvest Pursuit

What did you do with your elevation – your promotion? Did you use it to build or destroy lives? When we are or seem to be at an advantage, what we choose to embrace to the harm of another has the tendency of ‘imagining’ that we desire it for ourselves: it then begins its pursuit to be established in our lives – pressed down, shaken together and to the overflow. It’s not therefore always the system, witch or satanic agent pursuing you – but your own harvest. I implore us, to be careful how and what we are tempted to sow into the lives of others especially those we have judged adversely (as forsaken, powerless or wanting in some way)…because Life ensures that we reap…unless of cause, genuine repentance is met by God’s Amazing Grace. Shalom.
 
““Because you have had an ancient hatred, and have shed the blood of the children of Israel by the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, when their iniquity came to an end, therefore, as I live,” says the Lord God, “I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you; since you have not hated blood, therefore blood shall pursue you.
 
“I will do according to your anger and according to the envy which you showed in your hatred against them; and I will make Myself known among them when I judge you. Then you shall know that I Am The LORD. I have heard all your blasphemies which you have spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, ‘They are desolate; they are given to us to consume.’ Thus with your mouth you have boasted against Me and multiplied your words against Me; I have heard them.”
 
‘Thus says The LORD God: “The whole earth will rejoice when I make you desolate. As you rejoiced because the inheritance of the house of Israel was desolate, so I will do to you; you shall be desolate, O Mount Seir, as well as all of Edom—all of it! Then they shall know that I Am The LORD.” “
Ezekiel 35:5-6, 11-15

My One Time at a Time

Many times, you cannot imagine it getting to where you hope it will not: then it does, and God Alone holds you as you take a step at a time. A breath at a time. A word at a time. A tear at a time. A smile at a time. An ache at a time. A lifetime at a time. Sometimes a kick at a time, a setback at a time, an insult at a time, then back to a breath at a time, and His Embraces – one at a time.
Hope has endured. I look at another sunset, and the horrors of the night it heralds, but also the amazing view of what God’s words alone can create and sustain as I look at the moon, the stars, the clouds and sometimes encounter creatures that He made to conquer the nights.
So its gotten here, excruciatingly so, but how else would I have known His enduring Love, Might and Friendship here, if I hadn’t walked this night with Him? So I take another step, another breath, take in another bout of pain, block another onslaught of fear in His Might and allow His Word to take me in and hold me and mine within His Promise, Himself. I rest. I rest. In His Everlasting Arms. I rest.
vipslit@yahoo.ca

Bird Call

So I woke up this morning. I tried to get out of my bedding but was struck by the heavy implications of this day coming at me – headlong and in full speed. I lay my head back on the pillow as a deep darkness sought to overwhelm and drag me to a place I no longer had the strength to dwell in or out of on my own. I heard my Forever Friend whisper in answer to my unspoken plea for a particular breakthrough “Not today beloved.”
At least I knew what to expect from this day – I encouraged myself as the darkness rushed at me. But The Holy Spirit is never asleep and I heard my mouth begin to pray: And my heart to reminisce – especially to the beginning of the last ten years. And the words that poured out of my heart – battling painfully with my determined enemy were those of thanksgiving. God took me back to a time I was facing a similar situation but was even more frightened and reminded me that He had taken me through. And that opened a floodgate of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving from various places I was now privileged to remember during that period. Slowly the darkness dissipated and I was now overwhelmed by peace. I got up, drank my bottle of water, folded my bedding and packed them neatly into a large shopping bag.
Then I sat. And the darkness that I thought had given up on me for the day, returned. I faced head-on the meaning and possible implications of my Forever Friend’s words. At least I knew. But just in case He had forgotten, my mouth opened and I began to speak from a place of pain, despair, fear even…and peace fought back. The battle in me evoked tears. More sad words poured out of my mouth – honest words, then I heard what to me sounded like a crowing of a cockerel. I tried to push it back but another, and then another rang out. At the third cry, I heard the words coming out of me change to repentance as I wept. The frantic crowing went on until the bird had vented seven or eight soul piercing sounds…then silence. I continued to pray, to repent, and when the darkness had passed, got up and took a bath.
I realize that this is battle. I have had one other session of thanksgiving, this time going back to the time of my children’s birthing. The peace has prevailed but I am alert to the possible attack of the darkness. As I stood outside trying to catch a bit of the lingering warmth of the sun, I noticed a mother hen walk by followed by her four beautiful white and light brown chicks. It sank then – the trumpet had been sounded by a mother hen, and not her mate. I laugh thankfully and then sit down to immortalize this lest I forget. Thank You LORD for ensuring I stay faithful. Shalom.
#WhenAMotherCries #MotherCall #MotherHeartofGod #WellUnderHisWings
“I will extol The Lord at all times;
His praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in The Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify The Lord with me; let us exalt His name together.”
Psalm 34:1-3
vipslit@yahoo.ca
+254-722755485

Redemption

Walk Carefully and Deliberately With God” Let Your Life be an Image and Resounding Echo of His Commands. 
Blessed day beloved of God.
Many times, lack, extreme lack, is used as a valid excuse to disobey God’s direct commands over how our time and consequently our lives are to be spent. We become such an offence to those around us that we are tempted to offend God in the intimacy of our individual relationships with Him. Those that claim to still love us as well as those who hate us push us strongly towards specific paths of direct disobedience because they imagine our situation is because we didn’t make the choices they did, either with or independently of God. They surround themselves and give audience to those that slander our lives and callings in God. Their stance is “you either do what I want you to or think you should do and ignore what you believe God to be saying to you, or I will pull my love and help from you.
I am reminded in my own case of Who truly has been Jireh, Healer, Master, Friend, Deliverer… Who has led me into battle and with each breath, into His victory – and though God may have spoken once or twice through the giving, the love, the counsel of those that now stand strongly to sway you or I from what they define as blind or even foolish dedication to Him; He Alone is, remains and will ALWAYS be God – my God.
It is hard right now, but this is what the choice to lay down my life and follow Jesus, Christ was about. Above the din of these extremely perplexing times I will listen to what The Lord will say to me, for His promises are Yes and Amen.
As the song writer wrote and is my theme: “I have decided, to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.” I have already gone too far with Him to look or turn back, for me now to live or die, is Christ and Christ Alone.
“I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints: but let them not turn again to folly.’ Psalm 85:5
Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”  But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:38-39
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do,forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

Burning Un-burning

As this month ends, I hold God in great awe yet again. He preserves lives – does what He wants to do.

The house I live in and the flats behind us, hold a special position in our neighborhood by being right next to the electrical transformer. In the last about six months we have had three occasions where something happened to the poles and transformer and a fire, akin that of Moses’ Burning Bush, explodes on the line that connects our house to the main one and hangs low over the balcony. Its a Moses Fire as it burns big and bright, ‘speaks’ like thunder and yet does not seem to burn anything. It always happens when there is no one on the balcony and for that I am grateful, but each time, leaves us traumatized with the ‘what ifs’.

Last night was different and yet the same. 7:30pm finds us in the family room with Gio; Shukri was on the stairs coming up and saying something, Leroy was busy doing something in his room. The first explosion was very loud and the fire burnt bright, switching off our lights and then dying out as the lights came back on. All these must have taken place in a minute or two but it seems like hours to us who were caught in it. Gio was immediately on my side. The second and third explosion find me reaching down for him and partway down the stairs calling out to Leroy and Shukri to follow us outside. My feet felt like lead and for a second I wondered if there was anything in the house that I could go back for, but my arms were holding all they could – Baby Giovanni.

At the bottom of the stairs I put him down and he reached up to me and said “I am scared.” I carried him and ran out of the house as the fourth explosion came, wondering why Leroy and Shukri were not right behind me. It felt as though the house was shaking – but Shukri told me later it wasn’t. Outside the house Gio repeats “Dani, I am scared, let us go back into the house.” I quickly explain as I run to the gate calling out for Leroy and Shukri, that the house was about to catch fire and we were safer outside. Leroy was apparently in the middle of sending out that all important text, Shukri had noticed that I was carrying her son out barefoot and had gone back upstairs to get his little shoes. Gio and I were outside the gate looking up and then down at the lines that had come undone and were now on the bush that fences the house. I found out then the entire immediate neighborhood had been drawn out of their houses by the noise and huge sparks…

After about 20 minutes of traumatizing one another with frightening discourse among the group of neighbors gathered in the road in front of our house, we all went back to our houses. Surprisingly, we still had electricity, though a line of neighbors did not. We had a ‘normal night’ except for the baby that was especially clingy as I prayed and asked God not to allow us to die in an electric fire, but if this was what was coming to this house – to move us again. This morning the technicians from KPLC were telling me as they worked that it could kill someone, because its a live fire that searches for something to attach itself to…that we needed to switch off the lights from the mains when that happens…but thinking about how far downstairs was last night…I don’t know…if it even possible to reach there on time without God…I hope we never have to find out… I am just grateful for today.

“…When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, and the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”
Isaiah 43:2-3

The Child Would Not Die or Be Silent

How long does it take for one to forgive their mother or father for what they did to them?” the little girl asked me. I smiled, but not from amusement. I was trying not to cry. Which was impossible anyway…because ever since I had walked into this children’s home and rescue center in Nairobi my whole system had frozen. God had taken over…I had known to be in prayer about this particular assignment the whole week. I had been invited to replace Pastor Terry Gobanga who was away – and it was not really about filling her really large and excellent shoes. It was about being asked to share wisdom with about 67 children…who were there not because their parents were no longer alive, but had allegedly become predators that orphaned the children they had borne.

This was the second rescue center, mostly inhabited by children who were healing from sexual violence, that I had been asked to speak at in a month. I wondered about that. But as I held a five week old baby girl in my arms, then later looked around the circle of about 30 eyes (the rest had been excused from my session for a play session with other members of the group we had gone with), I wondered how I could answer that question. Most of us, resent those that call us to account for the way we raise our own children: Mostly because they catch us at a moment, and make it about our entire parenting. But these were not ordinary parenting moments…although it seemed that it was becoming more normalized, this was a crisis.

In this particular home, all ‘except one’ (and I shudder at the use of those two words – because it was still one too many) had been assaulted by a mother, father or uncle – biological. Most of these children were in delicate security situations since their parents’ cases were still ongoing, and there was need by some clans to either “mute or get rid of the evidence.” Most of them were girls…but there were boys too…one too many. There were others who were or had been admitted in hospital, to undergo multiple reconstructive surgeries to lend their lives some semblance of normality. Most of the girls were first borns of at least one of their parents, or their only female child. I looked at their Mum1 – the founder of this home…fourteen (14) years of mothering other people’s children in their worst states had not dimmed her life Light.

How could I answer the children? What would forgiveness look like for them? How do you answer a child who in one moment, or a hundred, had endured war in their genitals to satisfy the hungers of a parent who temporarily forgot that they were supposed to protect not prey on them? Does forgiveness mean that what happened to them was ok? That it should be forgotten? That the children should repent of these (Because they were so often stigmatized – Mum1 shared for instant how one ‘church’ had denied them baptism after going through the classes under the excuse of not being able to afford T-shirts.) Many of these children bore the brunt of these shameful acts against them again and again as they lived each breath with the rejection of the extended families to which they had once belonged – who had perhaps initially celebrated their births and birthdays – who now wanted to forget them for the shame they are accused of bringing home. “For why hadn’t they just died instead of crying out, or getting pregnant, getting an important benefactor and family member whose quaint habits could be ignored into ‘disrepute’ or incarceration for ‘just’ a moment? Why wouldn’t they just let this go and keep up the facade?” This seemed to be the attitude their families had towards them.  What exactly would forgiveness mean for these?

The nightmares needed to end, the healing to come. Forgiveness may be about the offender (e.g. When God forgives our sins it puts us in the best place with Him), but it’s more about the offended (Humanly speaking). You forgive even when the fault is not confessed or admitted to because if allowed to – one offense can define the rest of your life in the worst ways possible. Unforgiveness often translates to meditating on an offence and giving it the power to shut down the functioning of what is still functional in us to hit back at the offender and survive the offense. Meditating constantly on what was done to you gives a grievous injury even more power over you than  it had initially. It can colour, darken everything…take away your smile…your life. I cannot remember what I said to them, because I was praying a lot, and asking God to speak to His little ones.  But they smiled…and they spoke…and they gave me strength as well. There was nothing God could not heal. It was hard leaving the home, leaving them behind to go be with my own household…I had intended to leave by 2pm. I was there till 6:30pm. It was hard to leave these little ones that because they still suffered from parenting wounds had become part of my own story. Their hugs, the whispered stories after the main session, the tears they allowed me to see, and the feel of them as they held onto me while I prayed for them – made them mine – indelibly. As I left though, I realized that they were indeed in the best place they could be for now, having been rescued and that for this moment were truly safer because they cried out and refused to die.

But somewhere in this same neighborhood, in this country, in this globe, other children were unfortunately starting the journey they were walking. I prayed that their parents would be hit by Heaven’s Might, that they would not put their babies through this, and that the babies who had gone through this, would find Hope again, find God, in parental touches by those in whose hands God would place them in. I don’t know…

vipslit@yahoo.ca

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