Skidding towards 2019

Normally, if memory recalls correctly, things start to wind down towards the latter part of a year.

Not so, 2018.

2018 seems to be adamant to make a mad dash for the proverbial finish line.

Then, off to the beach for a week, and the bush for two. Friends and family. Beach hair, no care, kaalvoet stofpad, laeveld kampvuur kuiers

To start all over again in January …

In the greater scheme of things, 2018 has been lemon butter, compared to the peri peri that was 2017.

I guess any year compared to the year that a parent passed away, seems mild.

To an extent, it has been an aftermath year. Restorative, to a degree. Still rough, to another. I instituted several unapologetic measures to self-preserve. With bouts of unexpected relapse into inner turmoil.

Hope prevails. Life beckons.

2018, in its conferring of generational blessing, added new realities and complexities. Like suddenly being part of a rather turbulent homeowners association in another part of the country. Like needing to make decisions about future legacy building investments. Super rational decisions in highly emotional times. Wrapped in grace, mercy and beautiful family love-that-covers-a-multitude-of-stuff.

Stuff like that.

I honestly had no goals coming into this year. I started 2018 simply thankful to have survived the year before.

I only wanted to not have to choose to bury or cremate anyone. Sorry to seem crass. (These are awkward conversations you need to have with your loved ones, by the way. Also, be kind and have a funeral policy or life insurance in place. Side note. Tell someone what your passwords are. Etc.)

Point being, if 2017 was war, then 2018 was a slow and steady road to emotional and physical rebuilding.

I simply wanted to do my work well, get some exercise, eat healthy, climb a few mountains, spend selected quality time with family and friends, and perhaps sing something on the odd occasion.

I did manage to do one 21km race, and finally publish a poetry journal. And tick off a bucket list item: Climb Table Mountain. Not too bad, as far as having no goals go, I guess. But for the grace of God …

People forget that 2017 smashed everything against the rock of mortality. I lost the person who knew and nurtured my talents from birth. It’s really hard to keep going when the one person who unconditionally and sincerely believed in your ability to succeed, is no longer there to give words of affirmation and encouragement.

A mother is irreplaceable.

2018 was all about collecting and picking up the pieces. Figuring out what goes where, again. By myself, largely. It simply is a solo journey. In the shadow of His wings. But faith also takes a serious knock at times, despite the evidence of Faithfulness.

I might consider dreaming big again, as the 2019 clouds roll in.

As for 2018, it was a year of navigating a way out of the sense of futility, which is a normal companion to grief. Walking through the valley, finding that there is beauty for ashes. Strength for fear. Gladness for mourning. Peace for despair.

We finally had a proper funeral in May, almost a year later. There are no rules. Only principles of honour.

All the while, there are days to be seized. Moments to be savoured. Views to delight in.

Eyes to look into, caught off guard as a fragile hope flickers. Maybe … ? Dare I … ?

May your vision be restored for the year ahead, as you enter this time of holy-days, remembering and finding true rest in He-who-has-overcome-this-world.

Albeit entering teen ’n moerse gejuig

Selah.

Desiring empathy

In retrospect, I think I might be jumbling two insights together in this post.

That’s the challenge with creativity. Seemlessly merging seemingly disparate ideas into a new reality, where a more linear and rational approach would view the conclusion as being farfetched…

Be that as it may. I’ve been mulling over two things. Firstly: How to interpret my interactions with people through a leanse of empathy. And secondly: A realisation that it is helpful in some contexts to separate desire from aspiration.

So, bear with me. It might come together in the end … or not. Take only what you can use.
___

Interactions with people fascinate me. It also exhausts me.

Especially where there are power dynamics or prejudices at play.

I’ve stopped trying to explain that I sometimes seem to simply just “know” things. Some people would call it intuition, and others would call it gifts of discernment and prophecy. It’s probably a combination. And they sometimes all fire at the same time, catapulting me into a battle zone …

To try and explain: When someone starts to speak, I often can sense the layer of emotion or intentions that they are not communicating verbally. I really don’t like conflict, so when I sense hostility or worse, someone trying to exercise unwanted or illegitimate authority over me, I simply retaliate in my mind … When there are other spiritual influences, I feel highly uncomfortable.

So, sometimes when I am in a situation where other people are generally ok with what’s going on, and I have a defensive demeanour (because I am furiously processing what is not being said, or seen), my reactions might not be in line with the face value of the context.

In short, it looks like I am overreacting.

I am getting better at smiling and nodding while resisting in the spirit. Wisdom is increasing, I hope.

Obviously, it takes time and maturity to realise that not everyone understands or appreciates this “knowing”. And that there is a time and place to speak out about what you are sensing. Or that the only reason for knowing something “hidden”, is to pray into it, and to treat others from a place of empathy. Because I see where you come from. I feel it.

And accept that your interpretations might also be based on your own insecurity and misinformed perceptions. Or PMS. To never have a moral high ground view of your interpretation abilities. To humbly test stuff.

To give people the benefit of the doubt.

Even when you see or experience prejudice, or sense power play.

To understand that even that comes from a place of feeling overwhelmed. Intimidated, insecure, threatened, or unsafe. Afraid. Or genuinely misinformed. Or blind arrogance.

Nothing that hasn’t been an issue in my own heart too. So, I have another opportunity to repent, and can henceforth have empathy.

Not going to unpack this too much.

Let’s just say that I pick my battles these days.

It is however useful to note that we can assume that people aren’t necessarily intentionally condescending.

It is rooted in their ignorance of the fact that they are treating others through the lense of their own frames of reference. Their own stereotypes, which have been built up through years of learning and experiences.

I can literally feel when I am being treated according to a stereotype or a cultural/gender/race expectation of me, and not as an individual with a very unique (if not borderline-eccentric) personality, history, life-path and insights. It infuriates me, to be frank. But I am learning to decode that sense of frustration more constructively, by applying the principle of empathy.

That person does not necessarily have the grace to see people the way I do. They do not have the “eyes” to see me. They see their own world, and in their world, this is where my “type” fits in …

I guess we all do that, though.

I just need to stay true to my conviction, and not conform to the projected expectations that they have of what they perceive me to be …

It’s not always that simple. (Narrator: “Notice the gear-change into the other insight right about now …”).

For example. I was confronted again recently with how highly the Afrikaans Christian culture values marriage and motherhood, and how difficult it is for some people to understand that I highly value marriage and motherhood as a desire in my heart, but that I do not, or simply cannot, pursue it as an ambition.

My ambition is not to be married and have children. Those are desires. I desire to be married and have children.

My ambitions and life-goals are not related to that. My “ambitions” are largely related to my talents and career goals.

I’ve been living out my ambitions and aspirations, and I believe in God’s timing for the desire to also be fulfilled.

In this context, I simply seperate desire from aspiration. I find it helfpul. Which seems to be hard to comprehend.

This irritated me immensely, until I realised that it is how generations of people were brought up to think. So I can have empathy with someone who unintentionally communicates that all that is really expected of a nice Afrikaans Christian girl is to find a nice Afrikaans Christian husband. To submit to and make babies with. This career thing is just a distraction to keep me busy in the mean time. Don’t take it too seriously.

mini-Selah. While all the feminists blow up.

It’s a worldview thing. Maybe it’s also a generational thing.

Point being. (Narrator: “And this is where it should dove-tail if you were able to track with …”)

If we can try to process all the interactions we have with people through a lense of empathy, to always try and understand why they are the way they are in moments of disconnected encounter, we will be less offended in this life, and less entitled to receiving preferential treatment. We will judge less. Which is a good thing.

It’s very seldom about you.

It’s about how you stay true to the One who created you to be you. And to help others do the same. by viewing them through a lense of empathy.

And treating them the way you want to be treated. With empathy.

I hope that brings some freedom.

Or irks you to the point of recognising and dealing with your prejudice. To have empathy.

Narrator: “That sort of came together, right?”

Selah.

Wat keer jou?

Ek het al baie boeke begin skryf. Ek sit met vier aangrypende Hoofstuk 1’e.

Daar is net te veel plotlines wat verstrengel raak, en karakters wie se stemme te veel soos my eie begin klink.

Daar is net te veel mense wat hulleself gaan raaklees, en regte geprekke wat ingeweef word in karakters se dialoog.

Karakters wat minder het om te verloor as regte mense.

Die goeie skrywers is nie bang om wille goed op hulle regte name te noem nie. Ons kerklikes trippel maar nog ligvoets-wyd om temas wat verdien om kaalhand (of -gat) aangevat te word.

Ek was baie dapperder op skool. My opstelle het pryse gewen. Van aborsie tot gang-violence in townships. No fear.

En toe raak ek kerklik.

Ek skryf nie meer oor die een kyk wat mens moeilike keuses teen jouself laat maak nie. Ek skryf nie meer oor die bloed op die kant van die polisiewa nie. Ek grou nie meer in die donker psige van weemoed in nie …

Want ek het kerklik geraak. Ordentlik.

’n Bietjie boring.

Maar storielyne loop nie altyd die nou pad nie. Storielyne moet partykeer die pad byster raak.

Ek dink ’n mens kan eers regtig ’n goeie skrywer wees as jy jou kerklikheid verleer.

Ek praat nie van geloof nie. Ek praat van vooropgestelde idees afleer oor hoe goed moet uitspeel om ’n positiewe lewensles uit dit uit te kry …

En ek dink dit is so met baie dinge in die lewe.

Ek skryf oor wat ek raaksien in en leer by mense, en van myself.

Maar karakters moet kan foute maak.

Dit beteken nie dis my foute nie. Dit beteken ook nie dit is nie my foute nie.

Dis wat ek sien.

En dis hoe my hart behoue bly.

As genade, genade is.

Selah.

Digterlike vryheid

Dalk kan ek
meer
gee
as ek nie so vaskyk
teen my eie gevolgtrekkinge nie

Dalk word daar
makliker
gepraat
as ek nie so oortuig is
van wat reeds besluit is nie

Dalk kan dit
gouer
genees
as ek nie so bewus is
van die vooroordele nie

En dalk kan ons
goed
wees
as jy nie so skerm
waar daar nie gevaar is nie

Patient in affliction – notes from Arise

Last night, I had an opportunity to share some of my story at out church ladies event.

The theme of the event is “Arise”. I thought about the significance of the invitation to arise, from whatever it may be be where one has been “knocked down.”

Romans 12:12 was the verse for the evening. Marion spoke about being joyful in hope, and tannie Susan about being faithful in prayer.  Lize was the MC, and Tertia and Riette shared their powerful testimonies and insights as well. What a delight to learn from the real stories and revelations of other women!

The part of the verse for the evening that I spoke on is “be patient in afflication.”

Here is a summary of the main points:

When I teach, I normally first unpack concepts.

So, what is patience, and what is affliction?

Patience for me is a heart attitude. The definition Google gives is that it is “the capacity to tolerate delay, problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious”. “Staying power” stood out for me as well. It is a fruit of the Spirit.

Affliction, on the other hand, seems like a direct attack on peace. “A cause of pain or harm, or a state of being in pain”. I see storm clouds. With threatening hail. Basically, everything that tests patience to the max.

There have been a few contexts that have activated seasons of afflication in my life. For the purpose of the talk, I summarise it into a) open graves and b) unfulfilled desires.

Both my parents passed away on Fridays. My father passed away on 18 September 2009. My mother passed away last year June. In a nutshell, I became an orphan at the age of 36, and have sort of been in mourning for 9 years. Without going into too much detail, the afflication of grief and mourning is well portrayed by two prophetic images that friends had for me during the course of 2017: Running a gladiator’s gauntlet, and being pummelled by a massive wave, not knowing where is up or down, or even if you will ever see the beach again. Literally, a sense of drowning.

The other context that causes occasional “afflication” is the fact that I have desired to be married for as long as I can remember, but that I am 37 and have yet to meet the prophesied prince … unfulfilled desires are sometimes catalysts for emotional afflication.

Firstly, looking at patience in mourning:

The insight that enabled me to have an attitude of waiting on the Lord, and growing in patience through mourning was whispered to my heart on the day of going to the morgue after my dad died. I was panicking about all the admin and the mountains of two funerals that lay before us. I simply heard the Holy Spirit say: It is finished.

And that has been my eternal perspective on mourning. It s finished, Jesus won. We will see our loved ones in the Lord again. This life is not what this life is about.

The action required for me to hold on to that perspective, though, is to worship in spirit and truth, and to stay rooted in and covered by authentic community, and family.

Two moments of worship that stand out for me in this journey.

– Singing “Your love O’ Lord” at my father’s funeral. “… and I will find my strength in the shadow of your wings”, is a line on the song. The Lord gave me Psalm 57:1 before I flew up to JHB to be with my dad, who was in already in a coma: “You will hide me under the shadow of your wings, untill this disaster has passed.” I also had a vision of Jesus on the cross, as the plain landed.
– Signing “death is defeated, we are victorious, You are alive …” on Mother’s Day this year. I had to do four takes in practice before I could actually get the words out.

I also journal. As in, a lot.

The outcome of this seasons of affliction for me, is the absolute knowing that God is real. My most precious faith has been through fire, and I am left with an unshakable knowing that He is true. When everything that your identity has been built on is shaken, when you are not longer anyone’s physical daughter, all you are left to be is a child of God. You find that it is true. You find that He is true. He has kept me safe under the shadow of His wings, and there have been many potential disasters that have passed.

So, my declaration is: God is good. God is faithful. God redeems. God restores.

Psalm 40: ”I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD And put their trust in him.

The second context seems less dramatic, but sometimes equally painfull: Patience in unfulfilled desire.

I have yet to be someone’s girlfriend.

Romantic relationships have yet to work out in my life. It’s either he’s just not that into you or something’s just not there yet on my side.

The insight I have is that singleness is not an affliction. It’s actually quite liberating, and there is definitely less life-admin involved. The pain however lies in the lies of shame, broken dreams, disappointments and loneliness that goes with unfulfilled desire and longing.

The action I take to be patient in this “affliction” is to petition for the promise, surrender frequently and purpose to live my best life. I delight myself in the Lord. I pour my heart out to God often, and I pursue my calling and purpose with everything I have.

The outcome of going through season of unfulfilled desire is simply this: Freedom.

My identity has been secured, apart from a relationship status. It has also dealt with idolatry, where I may have placed too much expectation on my husband or my marriage to fulfill me. I know now that only God fulfills, so my marriage will not have to carry that burden. It also refines the promise, if you have to hold on to it for so long.

My true declaration is: His grace is sufficient. My hope is alive.

Psalm 16: “Here, U is my lewe, U sorg vir my. Wat ek ontvang, kom alles van U af. ‘n Pragtige deel is vir my afgemeet, ja, wat ek ontvang het, is vir my mooi.”

At the end of the day, our ultimate example of patience in affliction, is Jesus.

If we are to be like Him, there will be seasons in our lives where we are going to need to develop patience in affliction. He has compassion. He’s been there.

At the end, it is about being left with an unshakable faith, founded upon the eternal perspective that: Love never fails.

It is all about Him. For Eternity.

Selah.

A moment, with Eternal impact

A week ago, I was pretty much at my wits end.

I was physically exhausted, but even more than that, my soul felt frayed and agitated. Dead tired. Literally. Irritable to the point of being snappy, and downright rude. Fatigued.

With a weekend ahead, filled with stuff. Hiking, worship team, class prepping, teaching at church, and a packed week looming large beyond what I knew was not going to be a restful Saturday or Sunday. Uphill, all the way. Also, battling with an undercurrent of emotional bleh-ness that I  got tangled up in again, which may or may not still somehow be related to mourning. Never can be sure.

You know.

Demands. Expectations. People. Life …

Basically, I was done. Nothing left, with no option to opt out …

Too. Much. Can’t deal.

So, what do you do?

You get up on Saturday morning, and you attack a mountain. The Jonkershoek Panorama route, to be exact. Fryed nerves and all.

Got back home, after 8 hours of serious ups and downs. Literally and metaphorically. Barely energy to have a shower. Got in bed. Depleted.

Sunday morning, got up at 6am to be at church at 7. Still frayed, knowing that this would not be the ideal frame of mind to be in for worship, or for teaching about the gifts of the Holy Spirit … My soul, sapped.

Got to church, and had the sense that there were a few people feeling unusually strained, so I knew something was up.

Then it happened.

There was a moment, just before we started pre-service worship practice that one of the guys just played a sustained chord on the piano.

And suddenly, the Presence of the Lord was there.

As in, the tangible, life-giving, darkness-dispelling Presence of the One Who Is Eternal Light.

I just stood there and wept. Deep crying out to deep. Sensing that I was being touched by the One who saw the weariness of my soul, and the desperate need of my heart for His love.

It felt like a thorn was removed in that moment.

The world has been different since. Mountains were moved this week.

I don’t know how else to explain it: One real encounter with Jesus, and the world is new. I am new.

Insecurities, gone. Frustration, gone. Weariness, gone. Anger, gone. Self-pity, gone.

Feeling offended. Gone …

Vaporised by His Light.

Delivered.

The mountain, conquered.

In His Presence, there is fulness of joy.

The timing for this newfound sense of absolute freedom couldn’t be more perfect. This past week, even though it has been way busier than even anticipated, has been full of testimonies of turnarounds, restoration and completion.

I will write the testimony of my parents’ estate matters at some later stage, but we did get good news that things are very much nearing full completion now, after a few dragging delays and admin challenges. With a significant milestone that happened for us on Yom Kippur, which fell this year on my dad’s 9-years-in-Heaven anniversary. Praise the Lord for His detailed, personal care.

There is literally nothing that compares to experiencing, intimately, the love of God.

My soul has been restored. I can honestly say that my life was saved, again.

Thank, You, Abba.

He is doing a new thing.

“See! The winter is passed …”

Selah.

Sing, o barren woman

Ek het vanoggend by die kerk ’n klein dogtertjie gehelp om haar hande te was. Kraan oopgedraai, en gehelp met die papier bykom vir hande afdroog.

Toe sy weer by die deur uitgedans het, het ek uitgebars in trane.

Ek het 37 geword in Julie.

Daar is niks wat ek meer wil he as my eie gesin nie.

Ek wil ’n mamma wees.

Min mense weet hoe erg.

Hoe beskaam die hoop nie?

En toe droog ek my trane af, check my make-up, en gaan staan op ‘n verhoog voor ‘n kerk vol mense met dinge wat hulle oor huil agter toe deure, maar vir niemand wys nie, en ons sing saam oor die getrouheid van die Here.

Want dis waar.

Selah.

A new personal perspective on breakthrough

It’s been a season for me of wrestling with the concept of “breakthrough”.

If you’ve been a Christian for some time, you would have probably been in conversations where people talk about trusting God for a breakthrough, or thanking Him for a breakthrough.

This is probably one of the most frequent conversations I engage with.

Normally, when people say that, they mean that they have been trusting for circumstances to change. A sudden positive turn of events. Some form of release.

Promotion. Sickness healed. Pregnancy going full-term. Marriages established or restored. Salvation. Hard hearts softened. Addictions conquered. Politcal corruption brought to justice.

There are levels …

I’ve always associated breakthrough with the experience of being moved (personally or collectively) from a state of feeling or being “stuck in undesirable or stagnant circumstances” (related with feelings of frustration, desperation or even incarceration) to a state of being released from that space into what Christians often refer to as a “spacious place”. Of freedom, fulfilled desire, or a general experience of victory.

I do believe that this understanding of breakthrough is Bibilcal and valid and a part of the journey of Christianity. I also believe that there is a breakthrough anointing. A specific Holy Spirit authority to intercede for evil spiritual strongholds to be demolished, and Life to flow. Let Heaven come … This is sort of part of the basic mechanics of spiritual warfare.

I have the privileged of being part of a worship team. In this context, I often stand before the Lord, and a bunch of people, internally longing for a radical display of His Glory and a physically tangible outpouring of His Spirit, so that people can taste and see that He is good, and worship Him in abandoned freedom. The spiritual resistance to that cry for breakthrough is more often than not, simply put, exhausting.

It has taught me something about how to redefine breakthrough, in all areas of life.

I’m just starting to refocus what I mean when I personally pray for breakthrough.

When we’re “stuck” in circumstances or seasons that we really don’t like, we can often get really focussed on just wanting to be not in that circumstance or season any more.

We often stand before the Lord with a catch-22 statement, and a very real heart-cry: “This cannot stay like this. This has to change!” … and then … “Will this ever change?”

That “deadlocked” place is where I am currently confronted with my perspective on breakthrough.

I’ve started to change the focus of my prayer.

In circumstances that I believe require breakthrough, I now have a new cry:

Lord, reveal Yourself.

Let Christ be known.

Let me know You. Let me know myself as one known by You.

I am starting to see that the revelation of Christ (ie, when He is seen, known, received and worshipped for WHO HE IS), is breakthrough.

So, my prayers have changed from “Father, I trust you for a breakthrough in the area of …”, to “Father, please reveal Your Son to me in this area. Jesus, be known in this.”

It’s a personal cry (I want to know You in this), but it is also a corporate cry (let Yourself be known in this. Here I am, send me.)

My understanding of breakthrough has changed.

Breakthrough is when light dispels darkness. Truth replaces lies. When love wins hate. When wisdom wins foolishness. When hearts see Him.

It’s not super spiritual or airy fairy.

It is truth.

He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

And the knowledge of Truth, sets free.

To know HIM, in all things, is breakthrough.

Selah.

Feet fitted with readiness …

I bought a pair of shoes yesterday. Nothing too profound about that.

Sneakers with Van Gogh’s Almond Blossom printed on them, to be precise.

The prophetic nature of my almost involuntarily triggered actions hit me later.

I saw a campaign on social media, which I thought was a really clever piece of strategic creativity. However, South Africa doesn’t always get in on the cool stuff launched internationally. So, working in the brand communication space, I shared the campaign on various work-related platforms for inspiration and made a (not really) joke about someone from the US please helping me to get my hands on a pair … this is all documented on Facebook and Instagram … so you know it really happened :).

Basically, I saw something I wanted, but I didn’t think it was actually within my reach. Either, it would be ridiculously over-priced to import, or physically unavailable to source locally.

Can you see where this is going …

Lo, and behold. I actually have friends in the US, so that would have been an option … but we actually do have the shoes in our stores, as one of my collegues pointed out to me. In-store promos and all. Go Vans and van Gogh Museum! We weren’t excluded from the cool stuff … go South Africa! :).

So, Friday after work, I got in my car, sat in silly traffic, and drove to a mall 30km away that has a store, to buy the exact shoes I saw and wanted without really even being too concerned over asking about the price. I had a amount in mind (birthday blessings …) that I would deem ridiculous to go over. But I just had a sense that it would be below that number, in my number …

Which it was. Only just. But hey. Count the cost …

I simply knew when I saw them that I wanted those shoes, and when a realistic opportunity actually presented itsself, it was a no-brainer. I jumped. Immediately. Having counted the cost for a long time leading up to the moment of action …

It’s not that I desperately needed another pair of sneakers. Let’s be real. I’m comfortable in the shoes I have. They’re great shoes. I’ve walked many a happy mile in these shoes …

It’s never really about the shoes, is it …

You see, since the season started to shift, I have been looking out for a new pair of sneakers.

Just casually, as one does when you have something on the back of your mind that you don’t actually need urgently, so you’re willing to wait and save up for the right thing … Saw a few cool options in shop windows, but it was never quite right … So, I passed. Didn’t even bother to try them on. I knew.

Swiped left, if I may.

(Sidenote: At my lifestage, one should know oneself well enough to not waste the shop assistant’s time with shoes you know you’re not going to invest in. Mini-selah.)

So, no. I didn’t impulsively fall for a clever brand campaign.

I just found what I knew I had been looking for, when I saw it.

Then I started the process of inquiery. To test if it was, indeed, meant for me … looks being deceiving and all that … And to my surprise and delight the doors opened … and the resistance crumbled … and now I have blue shoes with a cool story … *adds drama for effect* …

Do you see where this is going …

I was reminded about the year I got to study at Rhodes. And the time I got to do a graphic design course at Vega. Both, for free. One on a Reserve Bank bursary, the other as a trade exchange … Things I only realised how much I wanted to do when I did them. Both completely out of my financial reach at that stage, were it not for the divine appointments that lead to the opportunities …

I have had numerous occasions where things I thought I could never afford at all were made available in a way that I could access it, simply because God made a way. Things I really didn’t even know I wanted, and needed, for future doors to open.

Sounds a bit like grace, doesn’t it?

People sometimes ask me why I don’t push harder or compete more aggressively for the things I say I want now.

Well, I guess I’ve just learned to allow desire to be tested. And there’s nothing like time, resistance, and the impossibility of making it happen for yourself to do just that.

This is not to be confused with passivity or unbelief. I often act on desire. I just act with a fine-tuned ear out for the “abort mission” command. To try and avoid breaking a nose, or a heart, against a door closing in my face. Or ramming into a brick wall. Or sinning. Which are all less constructive plans of action than waiting for a good gift from Above.

I believe in having “dream big” and “follow your heart” bumper stickers. But I believe in sticking “test your motives” up alongside it.

God is faithful in His “no’s”, even during my times of stubbornly pursuing things not meant for me.

But on the other hand, I thought about all the other times in my life where something I dared to want, and wait for, became a realistic opportunity. I also know what a “Yes, now!” feels like. Often, after long periods of discouragement and disillusionment, faced with seemingly impossible situations, bolted doors, thwarted plans or just plain desert drought.

Canaan, much?

Grace. It’s all grace.

Peeps. Please tell me you get that it’s not about shoes.

It’s just been a really, really, really long time. Waiting. Longing. Leaving. Laying down. Letting go. So, a small, even silly glimpse of fulfilled “desire”, actually helps to sustain hope …

This morning, as I write to unpack this cry for a season shift, for newness, I remembered a poem my late godfather wrote in my autograph book in 1993 …

“Amandelblom in somerson,
die rostrumstance(sic) jou somersdroom.
Prestasie of wen is als wederom
want amandelblom se trots dra die lewenskroon …”

For those who missed it: Amandelblom means almond blossom …

It’s about knowing who you are, in becoming who you are created to be. I won some stuff in school. In fact, I guess #winning was my motto… the poem was sort of meant to encourage me that gifting is great, and winning is a noble goal to pursue, but that my value is not based on basking in the sunshine of standing on a podium … that be the context. I think. I may have just made that up. By hey. That’s what we do with poetry …

I never got the chance to ask what the poem was supposed to really mean. My late godfather, my late mother’s brother, passed away some time before my late father, his best friend. Lot of lates in that line. Loaded with lots of heart-ache. As you might imagine.

So, you grow up. #winning seems to get harder. And then, you’re 37, and you’re not so sure what #winning even really looks like anymore …

And those be the times where you need to find shoes with priceless masterpiece almond blossoms on them. Having waited, and being subconsciously on the look-out, for something that you didn’t even know existed.

To remind you about the inheritance of flourishing that has been spoken over your life. Paid for, in full, by the Only One who could afford it.

To make plain the revelation …

There are seasons in life where no one sees you wrestling with flesh to remain kneeling in submitted obedience, aching for a true conviction to act on, while fighting lies that present false fulfilment on a platter.

There are seasons that refine those convictions. For real desire to be revealed. For fake/fleshly greed/lust/pride/ambition to fall away.

Ephesians 2:10For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

It’s about the faith that forms when you have to keep believing, for so much longer than you ever thought would be required, that “good things” are still meant, and kept, for you. To be released, again, in season.

Proverbs 13:12… but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

To stand on the word that His plans with your life will be established, to serve the purposes of God in your generation. To know that your life, and your personal breakthroughs, matter in the bigger picture.

But that it’s not about you.

Ephesians 6:15… and shoe your feet with the readiness of The Gospel of peace.

How’s that for taking tekkies to levels you never imagined they could go …

Take courage. my heart. Be steadfast, my soul. He’s in the waiting …

Isaiah 60:22… in its time I will do this swiftly.

Selah.

🙂

Verwyste pyn

Binne-sien word buite-woorde
soos wat geloof gestalte kry …

Verwyste pyn
kom uit die rug uit
wanneer kern-stabiliteit
nie lewens-impak reg herlei nie

Opgekropte senuwee
skiet in tone
terwyl die oorsaak
hoër op skuil

Dieper redes
vir dowwe knelling
waar net Lig, Klank en Konfrontasie
verlossing kan bewerk …

Selah