Broken Heel Days

Sometimes, the devil throws stuff at you, but God allows you to walk on through to a lovely day. It may be a puncture, a broken heart, a betrayal or two by a friend, financial challenges, an illness, ministry, or work challenges, an eviction, a death – varying degrees of pain and discomfort; it does not have to be fixed the way you desire it to be. But you run to Him, cling on Him, realizing your need of Him…keep your toes and heels level as best as you can, your hand in His and keep walking. Its not yet over, until God says it is.

A broken heel, should never prevent you from getting home…and when you do, in spite of it, you realize that those broken heel days, are actually miracles in the making. I did.IMG_20160811_122029

`Thus says The LORD to Cyrus His anointed, Whom I have taken by the right hand, To subdue nations before him And to loose the loins of kings; To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars. “I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.`
Isaiah 45:1-3

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LESSONS FROM THE LABOR WARD

I spent last night and early this morning at a labor ward with a close friend whose husband was away on a trip. The labor ward has a lot of lessons for those who wait in prayer in The LORD.

I learnt that because you get in first, does not mean that you get out first or at all, or even get blessed first. Sometimes, one looses their expectation at this crucial time.

I learnt that, in the labor ward, modesty of dress and manner is really not priority. The less you have on, the easier it is to remove, the better you will be attended to. Ignore those that mock you in your birthing hour…they are the ones who are inappropriate.

I learnt that when you pray for release, and the pain seems to increase, and your groans seem to choke up your prayers, God is still in charge, and at His exact timing, He answers your prayer according to His Will.

I learnt that sometimes the more human assistance you require and receive at this crucial place of birthing, the longer it takes you to heal from the trauma of it all.

I learnt that when you hold the answer to your prayers in your arms, it is often very difficult to remember what you just went through, and if you focus on the past, it keeps you from enjoying and worshiping God for the breakthrough you have received.

I learnt that something you go through may be potentially fatal, but does no harm to you or your blessing – but one may be harmed in seeming safety.

I learnt that you may be in the same situation with another in the ward, even groan at the very same time, but that even when someone is there to hold you, the pain still is very personal…and cannot be numbed simply by being in like company.

I learnt, that God raises who He Wills to intercede for your birthing experience, that others may want to be there for you, but are kept out because He is The Writer of your story.

I learnt that the intercessor will notice others that suffer like you, but because they are called to stand with you, they can not stand with the others there too. Not in the way they are with you anyway.

I learnt that you may know its time, the intercessor may know its time, but it is God who moves the mountains to work in agreement with His timing for you. You cannot make it happen, because though there for you, there are not really there for you…but for themselves.

I learnt that in labor ward, it helps to focus on the task of birthing. Just that.

I am grateful that God raised me, and strengthened me and moved me to be in a place of His revelation, then rested me afterwards.

To Climb a Tree

WHAT MADE A RICH AND POWERFUL MAN CLIMB A TREE:
I got thinking today, seeing in my mind the rich and powerful people I know, have heard of or seen from a distance, and imagined them, one by one, hoisting themselves up a tree for a better few of…okay, think of the ones you know, unless they are actors or environmentalists, what would they be doing up there? It would be more plausible for them to shove their way to the front, or get their security to do it for them so that they would get a better view. And then I thought of a group of rich and/or powerful men all trying to get a glimpse of the same thing, live. That would be even worse…a cloud of security would probably make it impossible for their bosses to get a glimpse.
Short Zacchaeus was in such a situation. He was rich, he was powerful, but the pharisees and the disciples seemed more fitted for a close up with Jesus Christ. This was not his crowd, and it was likely that they would not hesitate to remind him of the fact. Among this sort, his position was despicable…because you see, they thought they knew him well. The source of his wealth was, fishy, so they felt it was their duty to protect God and heaven from the likes of him. Even without knowing they were doing it. But this did not numb his keen hunger, to see Christ, and say to Him what only He could hear, understand, appreciate and mitigate.
So he did something that could mostly be associated with a child, or someone who life had drained of anything they could loose. He was both. And because the Kingdom of Heaven belonged to such as he, The LORD of Heaven, ‘heard’ his faith, his hunger, and saw him shed all, that he might have a glimpse of Him. And Jesus, spoke above the cloud that hindered Him from getting to Him, and then drew Him forth that they might fellowship together.
BELOVED, SO ‘THEY’ ARE IN THE WAY, BLOCKING YOU FROM SEEING THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE – THE LOVE OF ALL AGES. DO SOMETHING THEIR POMP AND POWER WOULD KEEP THEM FROM DOING, SOMETHING POWERFULLY CHILDLIKE, ENOUGH TO GIVE YOU A VIEW OF HIM. ‘THEY’ MAY DESPISE YOUR FAITH IN ACTION, BUT THAT HAS NEVER MATTERED, WHAT MATTERS IS THAT YOU DRAW THE APPROVAL OF THE ONE WHO MADE THEM AND YOU. [thoughts on Luke 19:1-10]
“let the LITTLE children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, ANYONE who WILL NOT receive The Kingdom of God like a LITTLE CHILD will NEVER enter it.” Luke 18:15-17
vipslit@yahoo.ca

December 1, 2010 , God was there…

A year ago today, my children and I were evicted from our last house. We had no where to go to, humanly speaking. Yet, God had a plan and a messenger to execute it. God became in a very real sense, our Shield and Shelter. As I look back to this past season, I can say God has been Ebenezer, Emmanuel, Jireh, Comforter, Husband, Abba, Friend, Defender…and more. Much, much, more. He has been undeservedly gracious to us. Thank you Abba Father. You have caused us to sing Your Song in a strange place.

My prayer today is for those who face the fear and hopelessness I faced in that time, that they will meet and know my God in ways as personal and complete as He has been to my children and I.  And that the messengers He sends their way, will not fear and be absolutely and joyfully obedient as those He has sent and continues to send my way. May you learn to look to God for your provision for the arm of flesh WILL fail you – and know that no particular helper He sends can ever take His place in terms of permanence and provision. In any way. May you learn to let go of the season and friends and even family whose presence cannot withstand the season you are in, and forgive yourself for expecting from them, what heaven did not give them to give to you. May God keep your heart loving, and free from bitterness and unforgiveness. May you find joy in this new season, for though it looks gloomy, and it feels like dying, there is joy in this pathway…if you follow Jesus closely. May He give you purpose in the new place He leads you too, even if its much humbler than the one from which He has taken you – there is joy in being broken. May He rise up to defend you from the ones both flesh and spirit that would maliciously and sometimes out of ignorance turn up the faucet of pain, despair and shame, and give you a new name and identity that cannot be changed by any circumstances you find yourself in. May He be your Bread and Wine, and the cloak that covers you. May you feel His gentleness, hear His Love and allow yourself to be renewed and restored to that which you would never have been if not for this valley. May the valley of shame and trouble, become because you have passed through it, a sanctuary unto God, a place of rejoicing, a fertile place for each of the others that WILL pass through it in the times to come. May you find God’s shalom in this place.

Thank you my unexpected friends and helpers, for not looking the other way…for visiting with us in the wilderness, and for every hug, every word of comfort, every honest word of rebuke where you did not understand what God was doing and perhaps still do not with our lives, for the ones who left worn out from the loving in a difficult place, for the ones who prayed, for the ones who heard God with me, and encouraged me to carry my cross and follow Him. Thank you, and may your God be identified by your name as mine is The God of Vip. Thank You Jesus.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

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

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

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