UGANDA

Kampala Kapers!

We’ve come to an area somewhere in a village, on the outskirts of Kampala.  It’s a part of our Leaderscape ‘developing world’ work, with Leaderscape.  www.theleaderscape.com

A dirt floor and a marquee splattered with the typical red dust and mud of the area, holy in places as you look up towards its roof and see spindles of sunlight breaking through the canvas.  But the ‘holy – ness’ isn’t just physical.

Tent church Uganda

I find myself now sitting listening to Michael preach with a Ugandan interpreter. MRM at CthKThe young man doing this job is brilliant – a fresh faced kid with a dream to study theology in Australia one day – headed for the big city of Nairobi in the near future to start his studies. He has a future assured as a speaker and a preacher.  No one could doubt his commitment and verve.  He imitates Michael’s every move, nuance and tone.  We have joined a bunch of enthusiastic young Ugandans, most of whom have ‘graduated’ from the Good Samaritan orphanage and schools which are just up the road – using the term loosely, because ‘dirt track’ probably describes it better.

As we’d walked in, past young people of around 18-25, lost in worship and the music, we’d noticed some 20 or so little kids in a corner, emanating the ‘stage’ young people and their every move.  Dressed in their ‘Sunday best’ these little ones were not going to be outdone in this intense atmosphere of dance and song!  Wide eyed and fresh faced, they imitate, spin and dance with all the passion of their elder ‘brothers and sisters’.  It’s a festive and spiritually invigorating place. The African beat and moves are mingled with Western praise music and modern instruments.

My gaze swaps to the stage boys and girls, all late teens and ‘twenty somethings’.  They worship like so many Michael Jacksons, with so much passion and heart, stopping to drop to their knees often, so that many of the boys have red mud colouring the knees of their trousers. The girls are often lost in the worship of their King, and demonstrate a purity of praise I’ve rarely seen. 

Earlier today we visited the Good Samaritan project, a school for over 2,500 orphans from all over Uganda. Most of them have lost both parents, killed by the last war or by aids. The young people who have planted this church, Christ the King Church, were rescued from the streets of Uganda and its countryside, brought to an institution whose heart is to restore and release these kids.  And there’s plenty of need for that.

kids praying GS child with Bible

A couple of hours prior to our visit to the fledgling church, I’d been so unprepared for our entrance to the hall where we spoke to over 1,000 little primary kids, aged 13 down.  We had navigated our way in the four wheel drive over terrain rivalling an outback adventure. We’d walked up the steep, uneven pathways towards the sound of  the singing and joyous atmosphere from the main hall of the school.

And as we’d turned the corner into the building, we were completely taken aback.  Walking in to a space which was dimly lit but overflowing with beautiful Ugandan children, the crowd all stood and cheered and stamped their little feet to welcome us for a few minutes!! We are the only white people, and a curiosity! Now I couldn’t walk anywhere as I’d misted up my glasses by this time, and found a couple of stray tears invading and tracking down my face.

Not. Prepared. At. All. 

Our host, Apostle Alex Mitala, has brought us to speak to leaders, pastors and now to kids and a thriving young adult church. A varied trip for us at Leaderscape!

The congregation here is a new church plant made up of ex Good Samaritan orphans, and is their own project. There’s a half finished church building started on the land adjoining this marquee. The ‘roads’ to get here cut through villages of mud houses and slum and squalor that, even after years of working in Asia, sets me back….good job we had 4wheel drives to get here. This is no Fraser Island sand!!

Michael and I are welcomed with much enthusiastic hand clapping and cheering.  And I wonder – how much are we bringing them, in contrast to how much they are teaching us?

My husband steps up to the front to bring a message to the little church, and its congregation leans forward as one, eager to hear, eager to move on what they hear.  He’s ministering now to those plagued by fear. Imagine. Many of these young adults have seen the horrors of African war and present day terrorism, child soldiers and the destruction of a life of abject poverty and misery. There are thousands upon thousands of them, yet still wandering out there in Kampala and other cities and the countryside. This church is just one that needs to influence this next committed and enthusiastic young generation of Christians!

Meanwhile tonight Michael will be speaking to pastors. The leadership of this movement (it’s totally indigenous- little overseas money or influence here) is growing older. The baton needs to be passed. And soon. Unfortunately some of the well-meaning influences from by-gone times have left traits and habits of ‘religion’ and the revering of ‘authority’ and ‘position’. And it shows. The need for a freedom of worship and the disciples of the future to be released to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to this generation is paramount.

Uganda.  just one of the many places where God is doing His thing among a people who are willing to welcome Him into their lives.  Leaderscape hopes to partner with many more of the organisations such as I’ve described today.

Good Samaritan schoolwww.theleaderscape.com

Perhaps we can help them.

I know they can help us.

 

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The magic of Christmas

 

Does anyone do a Christmas Parade better than Disney?

Though we were standing in a ‘desert’ land, Los Angeles, and even if it was a little chilly, we weren’t quite ready for what we were to experience.

The ‘heavens’ opened and we starting to be showered with tiny white snowflakes that fluttered gently down over the whole of Main Street, Disneyland….and, you won’t believe it, the flakes filled the air with the familiar, memory-evoking fragrance of spiced cookies!

And then came the fireworks, flashing over Snow White’s Castle, the occasional shooting star coming out of nowhere and streaming across the night canvas, making us wish we could just stay here forever. Genius!  (Here I would insert the words :Ohhh Emmm Geee, but I would receive an outcry from certain relatives and descendants were I to do that, so I won’t.) 

DISNEY Christmas Fireworks

Had I EVER seen such a magnificent display of light and music and beauty all in one? Rare, I tell you!  Even the legendary show of Sydney Harbour on a New Year’s Eve was not a match for this,(argh! Sacrilege!) I think it was the skilled and experienced marriage of music and memory in a masterful stroke which now brought corporate reflection, its inspiration literally thrilling the crowd.  We stood, transfixed.  And we reminded ourselves to remember this Disney miracle!

I sat down to spend some time with the Saviour this morning, in a quiet house of Sleeping Beauties (I’m staying at my daughter’s LA apartment and of course this is an hour on a Saturday when no man or woman should be up and roaming the streets, after all it’s only 9am). Not even a mouse was stirring.  (Sorry, a Christmas metaphor. We don’t have mice.)

And there….Lo and Behold (to use some fine Christmas language…)  There, in my trusty devotional from the legendary Billy Graham, was written the reason for my focus and subsequent elated response to the Presence of Jesus, which was now so, well… palpable. Yep, could actually feel it…

His presence.  With me.  On a quiet Saturday morning. No fireworks. No pretty, smelly snowflakes.  Just me.  And Him.

“God – you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, travelling across dry and weary deserts. So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last!”

(Ps 63:1-4)

And I thought….although I was moved to my bootstraps (sorry, my sandal straps) last night at Disneyland, and though I felt like I could fly like a Tinkerbell given a couple of lessons, or soar like Peter (Pan, not Cephas) because I felt so high and free….it was a release of emotion and memory and all the things that Disney is so very clever at bringing out in me.  It wasn’t until this morning when I sat and read Truth in the Bible that I realised something.

Emotion, feeling, happiness and great memory can all give me a lovely feeling that washes over me in touchy-feely loveliness, and that’s just great…..But it really is Truth that brings my spirit into play with my soul. That’s the eternal part of me. 

Lovely and inspirational as it is, it is simply not the Eternal Message of Christmas itself …  

Imagine, if you will, poorly clothed and under-educated men called shepherds, diligently minding a ragtag bunch of animals on the side of a Judean Hill in the First Century….The sky fills with supernatural beings who chorus in songs that have such a Heavenly lilt and pitch to them that it is clearly out of this world. And lights – more stars and light than they have ever ever seen, bringing to the unpretentious hearts of down-to-earth men the most brilliant Hope. Their hearts sink and soar at once, and they feel the whole ball and dice of emotion in a second. And Heaven’s glow washes them, inspires them and scares them out of their wits…all at the same time, as it comes to earth in a blaze of Glory.

Now that’s something, don’t you think?

Not that Disney is not. Something, I mean.  And I sincerely thank you, Walt, for inspiring and leading a movement (struggled with that word, but surely Disney is not just a ‘company’) that encourages people to ‘believe again’.  We honour you and thank you. Don’t want to denigrate what you’re doing to inspire yet again a generation.  You’re brilliant!

But let’s not think it’s a match for what has already visited our planet.  It’s not to be compared with what continues to be celebrated across the nations and peoples of our world every year at this time.  It’s not to be substituted for the Christmas Story that comes to us from long ago, remaining as an inspiration for all who will turn and take a look…

It won’t smell of spiced cookies, but it will change you. The lights won’t be manufactured, but will be a reflection of the Heavenly Host that was created so long ago. The sound will be from the heart of One who cares for you alone, even on a quiet Saturday morning in your lonely house. Because, He cares.  Deeply.

Love the Disney experience!   But, if you will, embrace the Jesus story. Find out about His heart for you that is Forever. Remember, there is a Story that is everlasting, ‘magical’ and amazing…we hear about it each Christmas, but it’s real and it’s ready to bring Heaven to us on Earth. Can you hear it?

SHEPHERDS

 

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MOTHER’S DAY – Like mother, like daughter!

 

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My daughter Elyse and I thought it might be fun to write a blog together for Mother’s Day.  So here is our offering to you, and you can check out her blog as well at http://elysemurphy.com

 Miss three years old!

Miss three years old!

As a mother of three amazing kids…now aged 29, 27 and 24, I have to say that Mother’s Day becomes a time of not a little reflection every year….but today as we thought about writing together, my youngest and I, there were some things that jumped to mind that I have learned!

Three things I have learned from my daughter:

1.             A Mother’s Love Is Inexhaustible.

When I had my first baby, I thought that I would never again be able to feel such an all encompassing and embracing love.  I thought that, like most things, the love that just took me over when she was born, was bound to fade, and that I would need to take some of it to share it with the next child. That’s how it works mathematically, right?

Not so!

With each one that was born, my heart was somehow stretched a heap more and I was able, without any sense to be made of it, and without any reasonable logic, to expand those love ‘tanks’ inside my heart that gave me such an all-out affection for each baby. And then number three child arrived… And she stretched me again with an encompassing, ferocious love that never fades.

How ever does that happen? How big is love anyway?  What if it is a reflection of how God loves us – without end?

2.             A mother’s heart is made to be broken

When I saw my last baby off to preschool, I couldn’t wait to get back into the workforce, albeit for 3 days a week.  But Elyse didn’t even turn and wave as she disappeared down the corridor to play with the other kids.  Miss three-year-old was so adjustable, so adaptable, and so ready to go out into the big world! Yes, I was the one who was left teary eyed and shaky! Had it been the same with my other two beautiful children? Well, no, but now I guess the family had learned to replicate itself, and to love upon one another purely because we are family.

It was the same on the first day of ‘big school’.  She couldn’t wait to get out and about without me! And now, in her 20’s, my baby girl has left home.  She’s gone to live on the other side of the world, in a country that she has adopted and loves.  And Mum is the one whose eyes are damp at least once a day, and whose heart longs for those Skype moments and those frantic phone calls where that little girl reaches out from her independence and asks for us to pray. If my heart weren’t broken though, if I were not ‘cracked’ as a vessel, how would the light that is on the inside ever show out? How would it ever draw others to hear my story of love? How could God even reach out through me to a broken world, if the ‘cracks’ in me weren’t there?

I guess that’s how He gets his message across about how much He loves each one on the planet – through the light shining out of my weakness.

3.             A mother can learn a lot from her kid.

As I have watched this little beauty grow up, I have realised that she is not only tenacious, but infectiously so… And an infection can spread like wild fire in the correct environment! I’ve observed her get her very own dream from God, and pursue it with all her might.

Though young, she’s taught me not to give up, never to take lightly what’s ahead with a “c’est la vie” approach, but to calculate the risk and move in on those dreams, absorbing both the cost and the exercise of my faith. Though it cost, it’s worked.

I’m seeing her make mistakes, but pick herself up and start over with a fresh resolve.  And it reminds me of someone; a person who was once young and thriving in unfamiliar territory herself.

And I wonder… Lord, do you teach children through theirmothers, and then turn around and teach the mothers through their children? I have a sneaking suspicion that this is how you work! 

That’s what I’ve learned. That’s what I am getting better at… Every day. 

And somehow I am starting to understand your heart a little more, that heart of Love that binds together families and holds them close, no matter how far apart they are… 

And now. Over to you Elyse….

elysemurphy.com
elysemurphy.com

I love my mum. Yes, mum. You can take the girl out of Australia, but you can’t take the original English language out of the girl… I think that’s how the saying goes.

I love her for so many reasons… For giving me permission to be unapologetically me, with my high pitch and strong opinions… For making sure I knew that I was loved no matter where I was or what I did, and for making sure my heart knew that, not just my head… I love my mum because, to me, she is home.

Plus, I’m pretty sure she’s the reason I drink at least one cup of tea per day… And I don’t even like tea.

You may not know this but my mum is a published author (she can also hold an in-depth conversation with animals, but that’s for another blog). She’s the one who inspired me to start writing. I saw her go on a journey of writing a book, which started out as her story of an abusive father. But as she wrote, she processed. As she processed, she began to heal. In the end my mum wrote a beautifully moving and honouring book about her father, my grandad – a man who had faults and emotional baggage, yes, but a man who loved his kids completely and was willing to sacrifice whatever in order for then to have a better life. And as my mum became vulnerable, as she took one step further than she felt comfortable in her writing, other people found healing through her words.

Mum, fireside
Mum, fireside

My mum taught me that it’s our honesty, whether on paper or in person, that unlocks healing in others.

So this mother’s day weekend, we had a fun idea. We decided to team up and reflect on what we have learned from each other. We have very different writing styles, which I love. I blurt whatever I’m thinking onto page, where as my mum lingers over every word, evoking imagery like no one else. You’ll see.

Three things I have learned from my mum: 

1.    Fierce Loyalty

Fierce is the only word adequate to describe the kind of loyalty mum possesses. It’s greater than an allegiance to a football team and she could give any One Direction a run for their money. Her loyalty is unmatched.

Growing up, whether life was scary or uncertain or exciting, I always knew one thing. Mum had my back, and my heart. I think back to these last few months of moving oversees. There were times all I wanted to do was a book a flight home and say, “it’s just too hard.” Until I skyped my mum. Though she wanted me home more than anything, she knew where I needed to be. She reminded me God placed me here and that all I needed was a good nights sleep. She promised me that tomorrow would be better.

And I believed it. Why? Because my mum said so.

2.     How to be beautiful

I love when people say, “Look at a girls mother to see what you’ll be married to in 20 years!” My response? Go ahead! My mum’s a total fox. If you’ve met her you already know that. She was a flight attendant for years back when flight attendants had to be foxes. I’m using the word fox a lot. I kinda like it. Anyway, she’s stunning. She taught me as a little girl how to cleanse my face, put on makeup and moisturise, “… and don’t forget to moisturise your neck and the backs of your hands because that’s where you can tell a woman’s age.” I can still hear her telling me in the mirror as I watched her get ready for a date night with my dad.  But more than that, she taught me how to be beautiful, how to hold my head high in public, how to speak up for what I believed in, how to dress classy not like a huss…. Un-classy.

Even as a little girl, I always saw her as the prettiest woman in the whole world… Now I know it’s because she radiates beauty. She is sassy. She is selfless. She is strong.  She is stunning.

Now she's 21!!
Now she’s 21!!

3.    No one will ever satisfy, comfort or understand me like Jesus.

This one hasn’t so much been taught, more caught. My mum loves Jesus, like really loves Jesus. Think of someone who loves Jesus, and times it by like a billion. That’s my mum. And it is contagious.

I have lost count of the amount of times that I have walked down the stairs to find my mum either worshipping, praying or journaling. Her answer to dilemmas has never been to call a friend, but rather to go for a walk and pray about it. I have witnessed her face battles with a shield of faith and a sword of the spirit, because she knows her word and she’s not afraid to use it. It’s inspiring.

I want my faith to be like hers. I want to love Jesus like she does.

When I grow up, I want to be like my mum.

Happy Mothers Day xo

Now Its Your Turn: We’d love to hear from you! Let’s connect in the comments box below or you can subscribe to my blog and/or subscribe to my mum’s blog!

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Easter’s gift!

As Easter approaches

Brightly wrapped set of Chocolate Easter Eggs photo

It’s Easter week and I am reminded of the profound gift that is mine from my Heavenly Father. This gift is given to me forever, and shows the generosity and incomprehensible love that has forever and always pierced and lifted my heart. The gift of Jesus, to me.

There are many ways for us to give.  For us to reflect the Father’s heart.

Let me tell you a story….

It was Christmas, 2013, and I received a gift from my son and daughter in law which made me cry, not out of sadness but a realisation that a tender and observant heart can bring blessing and honour to a mother, as hands are extended in love and generosity. These two dear ones had spent the last months bringing an old toy back to life and restoring its former glory, just to bring me joy. And it was presented to me with loving hearts and hands.

I share with you today an excerpt from my book “Dancing With My Daddy” so that you will understand the context, and then this gift.

My rocking horse
My rocking horse

“With dappled grey, hardwood body and long, flowing mane, he stood in the corner of my room, upstairs in the little council house which was identical to rows of others in a neat English street.  Ready to entertain me at a moment’s notice, this most beautiful of rocking horses was a hand-me-down, but nonetheless, my pride and joy.

Dark red reins draped his head, and he held a wry smile – as rocking horses do.  His saddle was ever ready to take me to a new adventure. 

Though painted on, his beautiful eyes beckoned me with a life-like wink.  Just a shake of his luxurious rope mane, and I believed in his whispering tales of new lands to conquer, new pastures to visit, long and rolling meadows to gallop together, with all my heart. 

For many years I was too small to climb up on his saddle without help, but later as I grew I would spend time just rocking to and fro, thinking and dreaming little girl dreams.  I was just the two of us, in or own special world.  Coloured and faraway lands called me forth to play.  Lands of castles, princesses and high towers, trusty steeds that sped through thickly wooded forests and spirited me away from lurking goblins and the like; terrors of the forest and true heroes lived in this magical world.

And as we travelled through verdant glens and valleys, passing by imaginary friends, and stopping in for tea parties at lavish estates with kings and queens, we would experience the adventures that only a child’s mind can comprehend.  He and I were one.”

The story goes on to say that my Dad eventually gave away my rocking horse, and of course, with it went memories and childhood stories that could live only in my mind. But little did I know, Dad had reflected the heart of the Father in Heaven as he gave the rocking horse to a poor family, to a little immigrant girl who had very few toys, and small joy in her life.

“What does it take to reflect God’s heart?  Generosity, care for others, and a vision to bless a neighbour.” 

What came next in the story, though, is what shows the generosity of one for another.The reward that comes to the generous.

My Easter Sunday was forever marked in my mind that year, as I ran home from celebrating the festival at church, and, wanting to open my usual one Easter egg, I was astounded as I opened the door and there, on the kitchen table…the biggest surprise gift from….the little girl’s family who had been given my rocking horse!

Yes…generosity begets generosity.  The Father’s love and His immeasurable gift to us is evidence that we are able to have hearts of love and consideration towards others…to love because He loved.

To give because He gave.

Here’s the prayer at the end of the chapter which may help you today:   “Often I hug the hurts of the life life so very close that I can’t see the lesson that you have in them for me. Help me to look up, to look around, and to see what it is in each season of life that you want to teach me.  Help me to understand that a generous heart is straight from you…..” 

As you and I celebrate Easter this coming weekend, let’s never forget the value and the impact on humanity that God’s greatest gift to us has brought us.  The gift that will never fail us. The Son of God in our hearts for ever…if we will just believe.

And in the meantime, our everyday lives can be released to reflect the Father’s generosity…if we will but ask Him to give us opportunities…every day.

Psalm 112:5:

“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely.  He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor”

**Note: Here’s a link to a video which will tell you all about Dancing With My Daddy (Every Daughter’s Journey)   http://store.influenceresources.com/products/dancing-with-my-daddy

 

 

Photos by stevendepolo,

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 
photo credit: M Hooper via <a href="http
photo credit: M Hooper via

It’s New Year’s Eve!    As we leave the old and bring in the new…what are your thoughts about the future?

Counting down at midnight, what do you think will be uppermost in your mind about what’s ahead?

I was taking down my Christmas tree and all the family decorations just yesterday and I mused about the correlation that this often has in our minds to saying ‘goodbye’ to an old year and ushering in the new one.
It never changes. We do it at this time of the year, every year.
And yet we hope for a ‘better tomorrow’ and wish one another health and happiness as we approach the countdown. Every year. Someone once said the ‘definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result’.
Truth is, if we just pack away the ‘old’ and bring it out again in the future…how have we moved forward?

tree 2

………..5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

And it’s here.  The new slate upon which to write. A year that’s never been lived. The hope that things will all be different now…

Sigh.

As I packed away the beautiful coloured baubles into their boxes and stacked each one neatly in its place up high in the storage cupboard, I couldn’t help but think to myself….this will all be away now until the end of the new year, when I’ll bring it all out and put it on display…again. Been doing it for decades.

BAUBLES 2

The Christmas tree now looks bare. It’s sad to see it being dismantled. The Santa hats have been flung around the place, waiting for collection. Listlessly they hang, as if nobody cares now, when last week we were all running around with the red and white adornments on our heads wishing health and happiness to all.  Now they lay like drunken and spent bodies after a wild NYE party. HAT 2

The angel dolls, so carefully placed next to Christmas candles, have spent the last month adorning my lounge room, silently singing carols and wishing us good cheer.  Now they sleep peacefully in the box of Christmas things, like resposing princesses, waiting for their chance to shine again.

ANGELS 2 Not sad, but thought provoking.  Here are a few of my own thoughts – call them my resolutions if you will – as I start towards the new year of 2014:

REFLECTION is always good!

1.   We can grow by allowing ourselves to think.

I know, I know…obvious, right?
But it’s something that we ‘prefectionistas’ don’t necessarily allow ourselves the luxury of doing. “Necessity is the mother of invention”, my Mum always said…. So when we come to the place of realising that it’s so necessary to reflect, and not just swiftly move on…that’s when change can actually happen in us. Do I allow myself to do that in my busy and bustling world?

Take it easy!  Put up your feet, make a cuppa and reflect on YOU. You’re so worth it!

2.   We can grow by allowing ourselves to dismantle.

What?! But I’m a mother, a wife, a woman of the 21st century…it’s dangerous and vulnerability rules when I think about this – and yes, that’s the point! We grow the most in our character when we are the most vulnerable, but then are open to change and move forward. Before the Creator of all things…let it all hang out! In the private place of devotion to Jesus, you can.  And it’s entirely possible, that things will be different from this moment on.

Let your hair down!  Allow yourself to ‘deconstruct’, not in an indulgent way, but before Jesus himself…being honest, believing for the best for YOU in the new year.

3.    We can grow by allowing ourselves grace.

Decide on a new colour scheme for the Christmas tree next year. (I can almost hear you sucking in your breath as your heart beats wildly in your chest…too much?) Yes, tradition is good, but it can’t rule you. Let God place a new dream, a new pattern of His thinking, a new vision in your heart. don’t box yourself in to the old perameters! (definition: ‘a limit or boundary that defines the scope of a particular process or activity’} 

… think OUTSIDE of that box. Why can’t things be different for you next year?  It’s just a decision away!

Think about this:

* What would I have changed?  

* What could I have done differently? (it may even help to write it down in your journal!)

* What could I have done more effectively? (character, relationship building, career/family?)

*  How can I avoid the mistakes of the past being repeated in this approaching new year?

*  What can I leave behind?

* What is useful that can be packed safely away but brought out another day?

Next year…newness may rule.  Or not.  That’s my decision. Bring it on!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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There was time to say goodbye.

photo credit: Debris2008 via photopin cc
photo credit: Debris2008 via photopin cc

Have you ever had a season of emotional turmoil?  Where you knew that emotions were building up on the inside, and all that you wanted to do was to share it, but you were never really able to get to the point of the ‘spilling over’ of your thoughts, your emotions, your world as it stands right now? I

It’s like it gets stuck somewhere deep down, a buried treasure covered over by layers and layers, just waiting for the digging, waiting for the discoverers. It is awaiting the time that all the golden coins, precious stones and buried wealth come spilling out, to enrich someone’s life, apart from your own.

As I write this, the news of the passing of Nelson Mandela has hit, and we have seen a deluge of people come together at a South African soccer stadium to mark this historical milestone. The loss of so great a man is impacting. An event that will leave its mark.  A legacy of mammoth proportions.  But the life that was lived will remain in the hearts of his family forever. Their hearts will be touched because they have loved a great man, a father, grandfather, a friend.

His faith and forgiveness through a Joseph type of existence is an example to our world. He had a will to live and do good through the most horrific of circumstances, a heart that could forgive.

He lead through the scars, most of which the masses will never know of, and yet, his family heard his soul.

4.13 221966_1934364315454_4605201_n

Let me tell you today about a legacy that was left by someone whose funeral was not attended by the ‘greats’ of this world, but by a family who stood united, looking towards another sunrise with hope and faith. They did this because of the constant prayer and focus of one man, who cared for them.

A month ago today I lost this dear friend, my one and only sibling, my brother.

I have not been able to write here or anywhere at all since then, such has been my anguished state of heart. You see, in writing one can bear one’s soul and set free the inner most thoughts that are hyper sensitive and vulnerable, yet able to release another with their testimony.

Have you ever had a season like that?  You want to share, but you’re aching inside so much that you can’t? 

There are times when we’re just not able to allow the plundering of our souls.  It hurts. But then a time comes when we understand that the very act of opening up will bring a richness to us all. It’s an understanding that displaces the inward isolation that can come through storms in our lives. And this sharing then brings healing.  It can open the doors so that others can relate and be revived themselves.

And the healing is what we are all aiming for, because it brings the promise of newness.  And right there, I think I’ve learned something again (does it ever stop?):

No matter what I face in life, Jesus is there to bear my burden as I in turn bare my heart.

And as my heart opens, creaking all the way with the rust and dryness that the storms and the grief can build, He gently coaxes my understanding to a place of comfortable acceptance. And I feel new.

Oh, there are certainly the ‘moments,’ unpredictable, piercing my day like a bolt of lightning out of the blue southern sky. But around me are the faithful ones, the acts of kindness, the empathy of those who understand the treasure hunt that is life. They bring to me the growth and freshness of friendship, love and a new future. It’s held out in their hands like a silver platter, my choice being whether I will take it.

Why is it so hard at these times to reveal? To share? To be transparent?

It was a beautiful home-going that day, just four short weeks ago.  There was the reconciliation of he and his only true love after over twenty years. There was the spending of precious time with those he loved the most. There was time to say goodbye.

Children. Family. Love. Acceptance. Eternity.

I’ve been reading the book of Hebrews ever since, and it stirs my soul about faith. How many of those great heroes of the faith never even  saw what they were believing for, and yet, they kept believing? It is inspiring me to live and walk in truth.

So, I guess this piece today is about never giving up. Even if you don’t see your rainbow in the sky.  Even if you can’t tell which way is up for a season. Even if you are finding it hard to communicate, to share, or to even get in touch with your soul.

Keep believing.

Because all your doubting will never, ever change the truth: He loves, He lives, He longs for you.  Leave regret behind.

This quote from C S Lewis was on the card we printed for my brother’s farewell, “Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are far, far, better things ahead than any we leave behind”. (C S Lewis)

No truer word has touched my own soul. Farewell Mandiba. Your family will never forget.

Farewell my brother. Your family remember, always.

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Rising Above my Situation – Transcendence in Jesus

 

Peace, Woronora Valley

I was shocked into the realisation today.

It’s not that I wasn’t taking notice.  But I was so involved with the everyday caring that I hadn’t seen what was missing.

Ever been pulled up sharp by God Himself?

And all of a sudden He’s in there, reminding you of His magnificence…His presence that transcends everything in your life!

I was at the hospital.  Oh wait.  I haven’t told you about this yet.  I’m in a situation of caring for my very ill and only sibling, my ‘big brother’ who is a man of God.  Loves Jesus! With all his heart and soul.  But now he’s in this situation, only months long now, and finds himself desperate to cry out for the very Presence that heals.  The Presence that guides.  The comforting Presence that transcends. 

"My peace I leave with you...."
“My peace I leave with you….” (John 14:27)

I think that I’m ‘transcending’ when I say a prayer, when I read an inspiring passage, but I learnt something today….When we ‘transcend’ something, we actually RISE ABOVE it….We’re not on the same ‘level’ any more.

“Transcend”:   “be or go beyond the range or limits of (something abstract, typically a conceptual field or division)”   To “surpass” (a person or an achievement).

The dictionary definition doesn’t do it justice, what I saw today.

A man who’s been told his life is dwindling fast away, still holding on to the faith and the confession that is his life…that is Christ.  When the news of the brain tumour hit us all we had the ‘right confession’…rising above what was being declared by a faithless world. Though we still continue to try, the help comes in way that is foreign to us, unusual…transcendent. And we feel inadequate, and we feel lack and pain and frustration…and it gives us something to rise above, again. But those of us who experience the transcendence can soar above. We rise.

He lifted his arm right up in adoration of His Saviour. Jesus, the only one who can do anything about this situation, in reality.  Yes there are doctors, nurses, hospitals and drugs.  And it all helps.  I guess.  But what transcends  it all…what causes us all to rise is the faith, the believing, the knowing the Saviour’s Presence?  What causes our spirit to gush, to speak forth praise and worship when we have lost even the capability to express ourselves in words…

My inspiration

The witnessing of it. As I read him the scriptures…his arm upward along with his face in a blessing that gave me the privilege of belonging…of being a part of, his journey. He spoke out adoration, though he could speak little else. A never ending flood of words, though used a lifetime in other ways, and now selected to support the TRANSCENDING faith that carries the Spirit with him…

I’m supporting.  I’m caring.  I’m believing.  But even now and much more…I’m transcending.  Rising above the storm.  

What an honour.  

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:6
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,”
Ephesians 2:6

 

 

 

 

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