Negative Words of Hope

Maybe you have looked at your life lately and noticed that all your pillars seem to be falling apart. Sometimes its NOT about preparing your ground for a ripe harvest and beautiful new season. Sometimes, you need to make peace with God, who is as Terrible as He is Merciful. I learnt the following today, with a heart that trembled at His Words as I journey through the book of Ezekiel (25 & 26). I hope you read with a listening, and submissive heart…towards God.
If you,
1. have been privileged at one time or other, to be within an intimate circle of trust or vision with a child of God whether as a family, friend, colleague, fellow minister and pilgrim, media consumer and…
2. felt satisfied with the destruction of a called one, or nation, or tribe who had rebelled against God “… Because you said, ‘Aha!’ against My sanctuary when it was profaned, and against the land of Israel when it was desolate,”
3. Rejoiced gleefully when you witnessed God’s dealing with one of His own in judgement, to despise them… “Because you clapped your hands, stamped your feet, and rejoiced in heart with all your disdain for the land of Israel.”
4. Made nonsense of God’s election of a particular person on group of people during the time of their distress, to pronounce them as common, not really special etc ““Because Moab and Seir say, ‘Look! The house of Judah is like all the nations,”
5. took advantage of a person’s or group of person’s distress when God’s favor seemed to desert them, to avenge yourself of real or imagined/fabricated wrongdoing at this time, i.e. kicking them while they were down. You believed them hated and unprotected of God because of their predicament in the land and added to their pain due to your previous disapproval of them…”Because of what Edom did against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has greatly offended by avenging itself on them…Because the Philistines dealt vengefully and took vengeance with a spiteful heart, to destroy because of the old hatred,”
You need to seriously consider making peace with God. When a loving parent disciplines their child to draw them back to himself or herself, there is appropriate response by witnesses, and this never includes, picking up crude artillery against them, trying to fan the parent’s anger, trying to convince the child that their parent no longer loves them and they are strangers to them, or even stomping them down with your heavy duty boots to rid the parent of their obvious disappointment at their child. If you do these…it is against you the parent will unleash His anger…without leaving their child un-taught. God is not dysfunctional as God, Father, Leader, and in all His Sovereignty. You need to make peace with God…believe Him to be The Best Parent you have ever had the privilege of coming across…There is yet another group that God’s Hand is Targeting
6. If you have ever seen the destruction of someone else, a nation, organisation, business, ministry, marriage, family, friendship, as an opportunity to exalt yourself into a place of privilege, especially when these were ordained and established in God, for you there will be a special hell on earth. People will come from high places to tremble at your own descent for it will be obvious that God has dealt Himself against you. Ezekiel 26 “…because Tyre has said against Jerusalem, ‘Aha! She is broken who was the gateway of the peoples; now she is turned over to me; I shall be filled; she is laid waste.”
God’s paternity is not seasonal…let us return to Him to request that He amputates, and delivers us of that stubborn limb in us that perpetually seeks and rejoices in the shaming and destruction of others…or else…you will know Him as God, as you feel His Hand turned against you.
#NegativeWordsOfHope
#Ezekiel25
#Ezekiel26
#AncientWordsEverTrue
#GodsEternalCommitementToHisOwn
#AppropriateNeighborliness
vipslit@yahoo.ca
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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

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

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

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

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