So I took a hiatus of two months

Precisely because I (yet again) fell into what I was not supposed to do.

Yep. Deviated into the path of sin again.

Went essentially nuts during this period. No excuse for letting Him down. Formed relationship with a divorcee with a kid, and it’s that kind of relationship Heavenly Father will never approve of.

It affected me not just in terms of blogging – I could, can feel myself being more distant from Him.

Not good.

There are other chaps out there who want something from me and I know for a fact I am not ready – that a relationship now will be horrible. In fact, one of the ‘suitors’ was so ardent I had to tell him to cease and desist…

Why am I so messed up?

Going for spiritual healing soon… and am not sure that that would work – I am covered with sin and shame.

Going off meds

God is working miracles in my life as I write this.

I had been diagnosed with clinical depression, and had to take a plethora of pills to manage my emotions.

Have, on my own accord, reduced this, and on some days I don’t even take them. And I feel fine.

Thanks be to God – how I love you Father – thanks for always listening to me though I have downtimes.

Amen.

On the Prodigal Son and language of Prayer

What does it mean to call someone ‘Father’? Or ‘Mother’, for that matter.

The parable of the Prodigal Son was used today to illustrate the way one prays; I had always used the words ‘Lord’, ‘Father’, God.

And while Pastor had talked about how God wants us to be like His children, to call him Father, instead of Lord, to be loved and feared, I never really knew what it was like to be a parent.

You see, I have had two abortions years ago. The first, in 2002, and the other, in 2004. 

I killed any hope I had of having kids – how could a woman do this, and twice, to her own children?

It’s not to say I didn’t have a choice in both – if women in third world countries could keep their children, why not me?

The first happened when I was in university. I was en route to getting a degree (which I eventually did.), and had a job secured already. When I got pregnant a second time, I was already in my job.

Money, certainly, wasn’t an issue.

The issue of face or shame was. 

Till this day, there is no excuse for my behaviour – which is why I am reaping what I sowed.

I would probably never know what it means to be a Mother. 

My biological dad was estranged from my mum during my adolescence. He had been really close to me and when mum was awarded care and control, my world crashed too. 

I was so angry. Where was my father? Step dad was, and IS nice; but papa was the one who hoisted me up on his shoulders and carried me around, and kissed me on the cheeks at night, waking me up as his bristles rubbed against my face.

When Pastor asked us to read the Parable again, and to think about how we address God in prayers, I realised that I had never really known what it means to have a Father. I never knew or really thought about how a parent must, when a child has gone so astray and wayward returns.

The child asks to be like his father’s help, to which he is answered with grand robes, a re-establishment to the family, with a feast thrown in his honour.

I was …oblivious. Mouthing empty words. As usual.

I just sat at the pew and wept. Because while I didn’t have a father, and am not fit to be a mother, all along I had a Father. 

And I still have Him now. And a Brother who died for me.

 

Trust in the Lord, and lean not on your own understanding

I attended a whole day cell retreat today.

And this, after attending my FIRST EVER cell meeting last Sunday.

The first half of the day went by very quickly – those gathered watched a video (Father of Lights),  where there were a few things which stood out.

The couple, who responded to God’s calling, sold everything and went to China, where they eventually set up a home for unwanted and sick kids (the husband was a VP in a bank). The quivering of the witch doctor, who initially (and apparently) cursed a pastor to death, and who when confronted with light in the form of the evangelists, cowered in a corner.

The healing of a random stranger, who in turn helped the evangelist and the film crew get into the Dome of the Rock

How great is God, and how He works in His Way.

So I thought – ok, these are works of miracles – there was healing, there was the conversion of a hardened mobster touched by the Spirit, a maharishi Indian guru who was in search of God who spread the gospel after the encounter with the evangelist.

I was inspired, to say the least. Things happen for His reasons. That is clear.

The video was followed by a short speech by one of my church’s pastors, who talked about how God is the Father, and not the Godfather, that our views of God as Father are influenced by how our own earthly fathers behave.

Which influences our decisions. Which forms you and I.

I was fatherless (my parents divorced in my teens). My biological father, while he loved me, was never there. 

I miss him. But he can hardly remember me now.

I never really thought of God as being loving, gentle, forgiving. But even prior to this retreat, a few days before, I read Heaven is for Realand that was when my eyes were suddenly opened to how simple it is to be loved, because Father is there. And what I was experiencing was an affirmation. 

After a break, we were split into two groups – one group would have ministers who would prophesy by word and image, while the other group would undergo the River of Experience.

I was in the first group to go for the Prophecy and Prophetic Drawing session. 

I went for the Prophecy by Word session first. I didn’t say anything. Except a prayer. And then the first lady said: I see you dancing and singing, in joy. But you are in pain now. The second said she saw a vision of me walking and walking and looking. Then I boarded a bus, and Jesus sat right next to me. 

And both concurred I was in pain. I was. And I wept. So what was I to do? 

I waited for the next ’round’ – Prophetic Drawing. The lady prayed. Looked at me. And said:”I saw this yesterday and this is for you.” She then handed a drawing over to me.

Part 1 was an illustration of a heart. It appeared fine on the outside but the inside was gray. Dying.

Part 2 showed the heart being restored, red, and healthy, and it was resting in Jesus’ hand.

The verse given to me? “Trust in the Lord. and lean not on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5.

I had prayed for conversion, for change in certain behaviours, confessed my sins. There is, according to the lady ministering to me, a part that is hidden from everybody, that I put on a front but do not show the side which REALLY needs affirmation, healing and love.

Maybe I should just ask Father to heal me. Whatever it is, rather than pinpoint what my mind tells me I am doing wrong.

I cried. And felt a HUGE relief/ release.

Then the group proceeded to the second part of the retreat – The River of Experience. In short, I was told to let my imagination run wild, that God speaks to people through us letting go, trusting in Him, reading into His visions given to us.

Instructions were given for participants to think about the throne of God – there is a river. We were asked – what do you see?

I saw darkness. I was drowning. It was cold. Then a red and white float/ buoy came towards me. I clung onto for life. Somehow, I pulled myself up and rested on the float. My legs dangled out of that float. I felt warm. The sun was out. Sitting on the float, I was carried along rapids, and I enjoyed the ride. 
Weird. 

After a while there was a session where we learnt/learned about Lectio Divina: Divine Reading.

How one should Read, Reflect, Respond and Rest. We were to take a card with a bible verse on it and practise.

I actually FELL ASLEEP during the Rest bit. Looking back I have had trouble sleeping. AND I FELL ASLEEP.

I don’t know whether to feel ashamed, laugh or thank God.

We then shared all our experiences for the day. And there was the affirmation again.

I had sinned. I am forgiven. My gentle Father will heal me. I have to just trust Him.

And I will.

 

On abstinence and obedience

From http://www.biblegateway.com:

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority,14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate,but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called,because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”[a]

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,”[b]but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

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On abstinence

Strangely (actually I no longer believe in this term – everything happens in His time), my mother made this comment to me yesterday, about how she feels I should cut off contacts with my friends as they aren’t loyal to me.

I don’t think they aren’t loyal – I get tempted to do stuff I shouldn’t do, and my circle of friends does provide that source of temptation.

I am trying to practise what I blogged about yesterday – to think about what I am thinking. It’s hard, really to cut off ties with my friends – they have been an integral part of my life, supporting me through my mistakes, never judging me, never abandoning me.

So now I am to give them up? How?

I have two very, very close friends whom I love with a passion – one is a Catholic, while the other is a divorced mother of two, and who is seeing another married man.

Can I, in my capacity as a changing person, help to change the latter? Do I really have to give her up?

I hate to have a stock take and see who I am to strike off from my contact list – is that being too extreme?

On obedience and being an example of Christ

I am aware that people judge Christians based on the way we behave, speak and act. In fact, when I was not back in church, I was very critical of the Sunday Christians, who share about their cell group activities, but act and behave totally contrary to His words.

Thinking back, who am I to judge? But my takeaway from this was that as I judged others, others are judging me as well.

And I had also been a bad example.

It’s really hard to be obedient; wrath has always been one of my stumbling blocks. The ex today messaged me to ask if my mother (who went back to our apartment to bring some of my things back) had taken his shampoo.

And he also said that he was very worried that she (or even me) would take other valuables.

I bit back a retort. And felt better about it. I kept thinking this would not be what Father wanted. I mean, I know what would a harsh word do except stir up wrath (in others)?

There are a lot of things I still have to work on. My heart has been hardened over the years, and I have strayed from the path of obedience. It’s very hard not to retort, to retaliate when confronted by aggression or sarcasm. Really hard.

I am heartened by 1 Cor 10: 13:

13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

- This was a verse my pastor had shared and preached on. God does not allow bad things to happen to you or me. The temptations, the hardships, the tests, the pain – these are ways of testing and strengthening the spiritual muscles.

My obedience WILL grow. I know it will, with His Love, Mercy and Blessings.

Thank you Father, for never ever giving up on me.

New struggles

So the ex is talking to all my friends, trying to dig as much dirt as possible on me now.

Trying hard to keep cool – I am accountable only to Father and I know that He will provide for me.

There is a lot of bitterness and anger – of the seven sins I am most guilty of wrath. I remember being angry all the time even from the time I was a child and this carried on all the way to my teens – I was rebellious and felt singled out, even in school.

At that time divorce was kind of considered taboo – and coming from a mission school my well-meaning teacher, with whom I was really mad at for telling the whole class about my family’s problems (which, in hindsight, was done in the hope of helping me).

I was really angry with the world. I could not forgive my father’s infidelity, and how he turned around and told the rest of our relatives that it was my mother’s fault that the family broke down.

Perhaps that formed me – that it was better to be the man in the relationship – after all, it was better to hurt than be hurt.

I got married at a relatively young age. When we were at the registry, five minutes before we were due to sign the papers, I ran to the washroom and broke down in tears, and called my best friend.

Was it last-minute jitters? I think it was more than that. I remember sobbing into the phone, telling her about me having second thoughts, and that I had no choice but to go through with the ceremony, given that both families had assembled right outside.

I could not be a runaway bride. So I went ahead with it.

The ex and I actually decided to get registered as he had to move out of his brother’s home, and  his father had advised us to get married to set up our own family, given that we had been dating for eight years.

Did I love him? Honestly, even as we signed the papers, I couldn’t stop laughing – a sign that I was panicking (I tend to do that when I am freaking out.) I knew deep down that the marriage will not work, as I did not love him the way I should.

Prior to us getting married, I had broken up with him twice, and got pregnant with another man’s child. I killed that child, and the guilt has never left me.

The ex had wept when I told him about this, but after a while he said he could accept it, which was part of the reason why I decided to go ahead with the registration. He was a rebound. And I married my rebound.

Anyway this is all in the past.

I am back in His loving arms. He has forgiven my sins and I am now starting on a clean slate.

But when things like this happen, I can’t help but feel angry.

Father, I pray for mercy. I pray for Your Grace, that I will be like you. For I know that the wine you serve at first will taste bitter and acrid, but over time, I will find consolation in You, and be filled with conviction.

It’s hard to stop thinking negative thoughts. But I am trying. Hard.