The Blinding Light of God’s Love

Yesterday afternoon a divine errand led me into the city center and onto a bus headed south-west of Nairobi. The only vacant seat next to a window was the one at the back and a older couple was already occupying the center part of it.
I was struck by the beauty of the elderly lady who seemed to be looking and smiling right at me and yet sort of through me. I realized immediately that she her excellently big brown clear eyes were visually impaired. The man seated next to her lifted his head for a moment to smile at me and move her legs slightly out of the way to give me room to pass. I settled and then focused on them. The man was besotted with her. She had a dried tear stain on her right cheek but her eyes reflected deep joy as she listened to the man speak just loud enough for her to hear. A deep sight, beautifully so 😍. I had to painfully look away to occupy my mind with the sights of the CBD.
 
I do not believe in coincidences and as I later reflected on this scene, and the deep joy it evoked in me, I realized that God had given me an illustration of His relationship with me. When I am on a journey led by Him, my Groom Eternal, I do not really have to know where He is leading me – that he does, is enough to get me there. His Voice and Manner is simply Love incarnate, and many times He words to me are for my ears only – because He has captured my attention and my love. His…Being…His Loving breaks me beautifully to the point of tears. He knows my blindness and sometimes my deafness, but He made and keeps His covenant with me – with my permission sometimes 😉, and His Seeing, Speaking and Hearing, covers beyond anything that I could be capable of even if I could see all the time. I LOVE absolutely that He Loves me unabashedly, without seeking anyone’s permission to favor me however He pleases. In fact throughout the journey the words that kept ringing in my spirit was ‘God is in heaven and He does whatever pleases Him.’ Psalm 115:3. And that is my reason to smile today. I don’t know if that couple knows how much they helped me by just being there…that’s a story for another day…but may I have that impact on others who would never speak to me. Shalom.
 
“Who is blind but My servant [Israel]? Or deaf like My messenger whom I send? Who is blind like the one who is at peace with Me [who has been admitted to covenant relationship with Me]? Yes, who is blind like the Lord’s servant?
 
You have seen many things, but you do not observe or apprehend their true meaning. His ears are open, but he hears not!”
Isaiah 42:19-20
 
“And I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known. I will make darkness into light before them and make uneven places into a plain. These things I have determined to do [for them]; and I will not leave them forsaken.” Isaiah 42:16 AMP
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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

They Return

They Return.
They rebel in the dark. Enjoying the companionship, laughing loudly into the night…they think themselves clothed, and luxuriously so…not tattered like those with whom they come into contact and discard as inferior. Those whom God Himself had stripped and caused to fall flat at their onslaught. They capture cities, in the dark. They are well fed, seemingly orderly, considered wealthy by the nations that watch them march past…predictably. They pass by seasonally, and at the sound of their approach the nations flee to hide, for a season. In the dark. They are terrible and fearsome…yet almost frantically, they carry the worship of the conquered and vanquished as cherished and practiced souvenirs. In the dark. Oh, they are mighty, impervious, in the dark. Round and round they march, dying off yet rejoicing at the new births – the greatness of their numbers, in the dark. They are a coveted and covetous army, Laughing loudly, they articulate in their criticism of their God and His chosen leaders, in the dark, they march round and round.
 
Then…The Light dawned on them…and they realized that it had been long since they marched. The ancient chains that had anchored them to a mountain, had reached its limit. That they were hungry, wretched, that their decaying and shredding cloths covered patches of their bodies – just enough to keep them sufficiently deceived that they were luxuriously covered, in the dark. At the full stretch of their chains their left feet were captured tenaciously by concrete pits that produced maggots which crept up their legs, eating through their mobility rendering them dead even as they lived: laughing loudly, raining criticisms on those they could make out in the dark, believing themselves covered, fed,marching as they slowly died.
 
And The Light came and beckoned them, He broke them, crushed some, and then deliberately mended their hearts, their lives. The Light opened their eyes so that they could take Him in. He soaked into Himself the stench of the rot they had become in the dark; took over the dust that had imprisoned them causing them to tug their left feet free of it and take a step forward. Then another. They walked away from the stench of their own graves, God Himself stripping them of their grave-cloths; He embraced them, washed, refreshed, fed…then dressed them in true luxury…cloths that could not wear out, could not be stripped off them, did not attract decay, armors made to fit – that could not be stolen from them.
 
Now an army marches into the Dawn, limping as they re-learn to walk. They laugh deeply, cry deeper still, speak healing gently into wounds – their own and those of others. They speak and their hearers are no longer condemned but strengthened…they march away from their ancient path, forsaking ancient, rusty chains their heads raised and focused towards The Light. As they come…their true majesty is visible, strong, healed, prosperous, loving, kind, invincible…a people come destroying the feigned valiant, an army that heals the land they march through. Home is beckoning. They Return.
vipslit@yahoo.ca

When You Dare Step In

I like my old clothes, they are discreet, they are intimate enough with me to know which parts of me to keep from my conscience… When I allow my eyes to notice new cloths and linger and THEN step into a dress shop AND do a silly thing like trying on new clothes… They, especially the ones you really like, tell everyone in the shop (‘world’) the truth you that you have become adept at hiding from: the tales around your three stomachs, arms that just will not ‘enter’, the head that won’t pass through and zippers that become immobile exactly one inch to the small of your back.

New cloths mock you by choosing a new and increasingly ridiculous part of your anatomy to stick to with every trial, while, to your great horror, lovingly embracing and accentuating the anatomies of just about everyone else that tries them on. THEN they will refuse to cover your shame and allow you to leave the shop alone as they gloat, along with all the other shoppers, at your exciting profile, mocking the intimacy between your old cloths and you, and making you forget that you had neither the intention nor ability to take them along with you in the first place.

New cloths shove down your conscience the fact that there are just no cloths in that part of your existence that could EVER fit you, unless you do something loving to your body: Like take a walk once a day as opposed to once in a while…and particularly, to walk away from food that carry with them multiple seeds that germinate into new stomachs. New cloths are mannerless like that. S/he who has ears…

vipslit@yahoo.ca

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

Safe in a Fire

Fire…this word has been significant for me in the past three months or so. It started when I read and saw for the first time, that when God approved of a sacrifice, He sent fire onto it. I must have read it more than a hundred times – the story of Gideon in the book of Judges…but this time, it struck me that when this man gave his best to his divine visitor, Heaven sent a fire upon his sacrifice.

About a week later, I was at a retreat with family. During worship and later during the ministrations, I had the distinct sensation of being on fire, in my very veins. And yet it was not a fire that destroyed but one that purged and purified. I was humbled by the experience. Heaven had approved and accepted the sacrifice of me.

Today it was different. I had spent the later part of the morning and early afternoon in fellowship with two friends who happened to be ministers. Worshippers. I had to rush off to hospital to visit with a close relative who awaits the healing touch of God. I prayed with him, and then came home.

I was sitting in the room facing the balcony which we use as the family room with the male members of my household. Suddenly there was a loud explosion, then darkness, and with it a huge fire flared mid-air in the balcony. My grandson Gio had found his way to me and I held onto him, knowing that we were facing an electric fire which would consume the house. A lot went through my strangely calm mind…how to get Gio and Leroy out of the house; that God was serious about us moving; wondered who would hold Shukri – who was away at work – through the loss of her entire family…but there was no fear. Just a numbness, a calm, an acceptance of what was coming. Then the fire went off, without leaving a scent or sing or soot of any kind. Perhaps my senses were so numbed from the suddenness of the experience that they could not perceive any evidence of what had just transpired…but I sensed Heaven just as I had sensed death a second ago.

We rushed out to the balcony…the neighborhood was doused in darkness, except for our house and one other neighbour. It was not about the lines…we have had blackouts before so I understand which houses have which wiring phases…I sensed God’s Hand in this…making a selection of sorts. We were not the only ones to have seen the fire that blazed on our balcony. My landlord’s caretaker had been headed our way when the house flared.  He told me later, that his concern was on what the landlord would say at having his property burnt down. Our neighbours, the boys selling boiled eggs and smoky sausages, the youth that were now angrily stoning a lorry that had plowed into two electrical poles and left them broken and the wires mangled up also witnessed it. Every one was surprised that the house had survived it. Sort of like Moses’ fire that burnt but did not destroy.

The driver was angrily pulled out of the lorry. We run to the young men and pleaded with them not to harm him. We asked them to consider reporting the issue at the police post instead. Beating and/or killing him would not change anything. We called the power company and told them what had happened. I was impressed by their response. They arrived within 45 minutes. The police also came at the same time. The electrical technicians worked on the wiring and sorted out some of the mess…the rest would be for tomorrow. I stood and watched, wondering if my family would be safe spending the night in that house. We had nowhere else to go but back there, to trust God through the night, to trust Him for each tomorrow He chose for us, whether here or in heaven. It would be well, regardless. He had kept us safe in a fire, and in His fire.

Shalom

vipslit@yahoo.ca

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