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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Zoar and Ishmael

Its been a year and more since God started speaking to me about this move. I believe Him, just that I keep looking, like all those that God has ever spoken to about a move…I have looked at myself and seen all the ways in which I am flawed, I fall short and wondered…

So I did what I could, and then waited. Heart beating so fast, it wore me out. So I settled back into the status quo. Into the shame of stagnation. Choosing to the endure the scorn from those who knew…who had heard from me what God said He would do for me and mine, rather than risk being disappointed by God. I add this latest one, to all the rest I have heaped in a treasure box…knowing that God speaks to me…but wondering if the characteristic of His Words, that they never go back to Him void, applies to the ones He speaks to me. But then, that would make God – The Truth a liar wouldn’t it? And that is an impossibility if ever there was one.

So then God begins to gently lead me through Genesis – from chapter 1, and Deuteronomy 1-2. I am now on Chapter 19 and am so trembling at His Word and His Mind. He is tough about the things He says. When we think we can advice Him better on how to navigate through a seemingly complex plan of His, He demonstrates otherwise. And don’t I know it…this laps around this stagnant mount have worn me and mine out.

Its true, I haven’t heard from Him the ‘where’ of the move. But I have heard the urgency of His call to get up and get going. I don’t yet know the ‘how’, and yet I know its urgent. So this morning again, this early afternoon, His words break me again. I hunger for His direction. I feel guilty, condemned, that I have failed Him. That I am still here, when He wills for me to me to be elsewhere. Then just like that, He sends two words “No Condemnation.”

I realize that its no longer up to me. This is His thing…it has to be. He has put me to sleep, so to speak, as He did Abraham – made me incapable of doing anything about this lest I taint it with flesh. He reminds me of Ishmael – Abraham’s work. He reminds me of Zoar – Lot’s work. The choices they made, that am not immune to making over my own navigation to perfect faith in Him. Choices that frustrate us, that complicate what is already beyond human abilities. Let this not be my story again – for it has been in other areas of my life.

‘No Condemnation.’ Amazing Grace. He has made and effected His covenant all by Himself. All He needed from me, was my willingness. I can trust Him with this. When its time, He will override all my hesitations and lead me to His chosen sanctuary for me and mine. A sanctuary where His Will is effected on earth as it is in Heaven. A copy of Heaven. And I cannot wait to finally enter into all that He has for me, everything, but especially – an walk and fellowship with God Almighty that is uninterrupted by bouts of doubt and resistance from my end, accompanied by a cheap, weak patchwork of human activity hanging grotesquely against the excellence of His priceless work; because His Mind, Heart and Words are as He says them, beyond my wildest imaginings and greatest wisdom…as they should be.

Shalom.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

33 and 77

The numbers 33 and 77 have been appearing enough times in my life, since perhaps April for me to notice them.

77 was particularly special for me when Daddy was at his worst in ICU. I would come in early, and sit in with him while waiting for the rest of the family to come. I would listen to the different sounds, Daddy’s breathing, the different beeps of the machines he was connected to, then inevitably God would cause my eyes to turn to the numbers on the monitor. EVERY time I saw the number 77, I knew God was in control. He would whisper to me “My Heart is Perfect towards you Vip.” I would relax…and journal my thoughts. Its been the same since…no matter how rough things got, God would somehow find a way of sending 77 my way – “My Heart is Perfect towards you, Vip.

This morning, I turn on my laptop. 33 shouts at me. Its been a challenging weekend for my family health-wise, but also, mainly victorious in Christ. First, my grandson Gio woke up from his nap on Saturday evening and drank a quarter of a bottle of Dettol Antiseptic. As we were handling this, I get a call from a number I did not know, “Are you Shukurani’s mother?” Those calls…

Apparently, my baby had fainted at her place of work. I got money from my hairdresser friend in order to take a motorbike (bodaboda) to meet the caller, a lady called Eunice (God bless her). When I got to the Health Center at Nyayo Estate where she was, I was met by a lady called Juliet, who hugged me though I did not immediately recognize her. I penned her down for hospital staff, and thought the worst. But I could hear Shukri’s voice shouting “No, No!” and the doctor and nurses around her trying to calm her down.The receptionist was asking me for the consultation fee and I just looked at her and said, I didn’t have it but wanted to see my daughter. I was met by the sight of her bleeding face, and noted also she had thrown up. Well lets just say several stitches, tests, injections, scans later we were finally home at 11:45pm. Hypertension kicked in on me…Sunday morning we were again first in the clinic. For Shukri not me. She was fine. Doing a lot better. Gio was fine, playing. Then yesterday there was me – Fatigue, Hypertension and two teeth aching. Finally in the evening, Dr. Simon calls me in for an injection to help me go through the night. Thank God for friendships.

So back to 33…I put my laptop on this morning and my yahoo and facebook are both reading 33. I wonder what that means for me today…and I Google this even as I ask God to speak to me. “Vip it is accomplished. It is finished.” I rest…

Eunice means ‘Good Victory’, Juliet means ‘Youthful’ and Simon means ‘hear, listen.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

Loving Perennially

Its been happening a lot to me lately; how certain relationships that are special to me, are defined totally differently by those I behold as dear in them. Honestly…heartrending to say the least. Every time. I woke up this morning full of joy at the prospect of seeing God – then between two teeth aching simultaneously and another reminder that a beloved one does not think lovingly of me i.e. that we are not in the same relationship, storm clouds descended on my brow.
I sat heavily meditating of these for about two hours. I wondered which one hurt more…then God reminded me that He is Healer. He reminded me that I love Him far less than He loves me and yet, He never gives up on me, and stops being Who He Sees Himself as to me. He reminded me of my priesthood, and His expectation of the same from me – that I keep holding on to the Truth He has laid in me about these associations, and living my walk as He gives me Strength to. He promises me His Strength to be as He is.
He comes as He wills doesn’t He…even in a cloud.
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” Revelations 1:7
#CastingCrowns #EvenSoComeLordJesusCome #EternallyBelovedOfGod #GodIsRoomMaker

Strike Your Shepherd Scatter Your Brethren

The LORD IS my Shepherd.
Recently, Leroy (my son) and I were standing side by side early morning on our balcony, looking out mostly quietly at…just about anything that passed. Its where and how we bond many times. Suddenly a flock of sheep bust into our view (yes we live in Nairobi city) running in one direction in a way that reminded me somewhat of a waterfall. We watched, partly because there was nothing else to see at that time, but for me, because I sensed deeply that God was speaking to us about something.
 
Leroy remarked on the beauty of the flock, I agreed saying that God often spoke of us as Sheep. We noticed that a few of the sheep broke off in two groups, running in different directions from the rest. Suddenly the shepherd rushed into our view as well. He was a short, slightly built man wearing tan trousers, a luminous green shirt and a pink cap. I smiled. He had this long cane, that I believed could reach the from one end of the flock to another [his rod and staff – they comfort me].
 
Apparently the entire flock had herded and were eating from a place he did not want them to be. He rushed first at the majority of them. I marveled at his agility…knowing that this was a daily and day-long activity for him. He rounded the sheep…in my mind it seemed he chased them, rod in hand to the direction he wanted them to be facing, before running after the other five that we probably eating somebody’s house plants some way up our street, before finally coming for the two standing before our house.
 
Somehow, his activities made me think of leadership… of church leadership, and my spirit was humbled within me. Each one of those sheep had a mind of their own…but most tended to head towards the direction that the ones in the front row were headed. Some more independent ones got up to their own devices, in their own directions. Two things stood out for me from this morning scene – the passionate resilience of the shepherd in re-channeling the flow of the sheep to his way, and also, that as long as they were not following the way he wanted them to be on, despite their independence, the greenness of the meadows they ended up at, they were ALL wrong. And then my friend sends me this sadly hilarious video clip :). It reminds me of the biblical proverb – strike the shepherd and scatter the sheep. And that its not always an exterior enemy that brings down the shepherd, but a sheep in his or her care. Thanks Nyar Ruoth.
 
 
#HeWhoHasEars
vipslit@yahoo.ca

Station 007 line 23 – My 2017 Voting Experience

My election story: Was woken up by whistles and vuvuzelas at 2:30am, so I prayed and was on the line, with my entire household, including Gio, by 4:30am. At around 5:45am the administration of the polling center decided that the gate, in front of which we had been lining up for hours, would not be used and we had to go round almost a kilometer and a half to enter the school by an alternative gate. I saw here, the manifestation of the last being the first and first being last 🙂
 
I finally got in, and spent quite some time looking for my line. As the lines were not arranged in order, I got to walking almost every spot of the station. I saw God in this too…dedicated it to Him. I finally found my line, 23, and settled to chatting with those in adjustment lines. My line and 7 others were to enter a building by a single door; whenever the security allowed for people to enter, we knew there was progress by the screams of the women in front, and the violent surge forward. It seems like, no, it was factual that the eight lines ‘dissolved’ into a tight bottleneck closer to the entrance, where it was survival for the fittest. Occasionally a pole would emerge from inside the room, a security person trying to beat people into order but the crowd roared back so they gave up on them…at least for a while.
 
Anyway, we gradually surged forward until I was now a part of the bottle-neck. I found out first hand why the women screamed at this point. Somehow God kept me in His Peace despite the pushing, shoving and lifting…at some point I felt someone trying to pry my rings from my fingers, addressed them from midair and, then removed them and kept them safely away. A woman cried out and the young people literally carried her to the front. A young man pushing on my right asked me why I wasn’t crying. I said to him in broken kiswahili “Sina Pums” meaning, I had no breath to spare. An elderly woman, perhaps a few years older than me, squashed and sweating profusely on my left gasped at me “Siwezi toka…” She just wanted out. I told her to hold on as we were almost in. I wondered about my advise even as I spoke out. There was nothing in me that even remotely considered getting out of this situation without first voting. It wasn’t really about those that I had chosen to vote for, I had no vested interest in them really…but it was more about Kenya, and loving her…quaint…
 
I noticed after about five minutes more of being pushed, lifted, shoved in all directions so that I felt I would snap at the middle that the woman was no longer moving. Her head hung to her chest. Then, I made noise. A policeman had found his way right behind me and I turned somehow to him and said to him “Help this lady, please. She is in a crisis.” The youth around me took up my cry and somehow a way was made. It seems they noticed then that I was not young either, so they also ushered me forward. The lady was received by police officers at the door, and I stood on my own, trying to clear the blackness that was drawing me to the ground.
 
A voice urged me forward…and I obeyed, not really sure that I would make the next step. The IEBC staff on my line were fast, efficient and friendly. They recognized my plight and shared their water with me, allowed me to cast my ballot and then sat me down to somehow get it together. There were no first-aid personnel. I beckoned the officer who seemed in charge and asked him to go take care of the women in the line…he complied saying he would inform the security at the door.
 
As I left the station – I noticed that the eight lines were orderly, quiet, dignified, with security personnel forming a barricade at the door. I hope the other lady is feeling better too.
vipslit@yahoo.ca

Stories That Never End

I was in prayer on Wednesday morning and was led to read Genesis 19 – the story about the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah. I was left  with a bad feeling in my spirit as I wondered at God’s message in this.
 
This thing about town’s men gathering at one’s door to try and rape your visitors (who unknown to them are angels); a father so appalled at this show that he offers them his two virgin daughters instead (thank God they declined); the exodus of a family comprising individuals who had the previous day probably dreamt of stability in marriage but ended up as singles because their intended spouses would not believe the urgent warning about the impending doom and got caught up in it, and a wife who just had to have a last look; a righteous man who took to the bottle and ended up being the victim of rape by his virgin daughters so that they could raise for him descendants, descendants who end up as enemies of God’s people… Honestly, this story of God’s triumphant deliverance of Lot’s family read more like a tragedy.
 
Until God reminded me of something – nothing in life is linear…not really, not permanently. Something can be terrible, tragic, catastrophic – but ultimately God turns it around for good. Lot sired a son by his daughter called Moab…he became a nation, and from this nation returned Ruth the Moabites, to Israel as the virtuous wife of Boaz. She became mother of Obed, who was David’s grandfather…and the line of David is that through which Christ Jesus was reckoned. An eternal Kingdom line.
 
First, from the attack on the angels by the townsmen, I learn that God is able to defend His messengers. It doesn’t matter how many attack them, how close they are to accomplishing their evil mission, God remains in control. I never cease to be amazed by God’s ability to turn a messy beginning, or messy process, into something beautiful…something eternal, something Him. That when He defines someone a certain way – even when it doesn’t remotely resemble the current issue, He to Whom all wisdom belongs knows what He is talking about.
Our stories, have other chapters…
vipslit@yahoo.ca
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