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how Grandma’s God became our God

05.01.16

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Grandma always told us how silence was the best gift to give the night. How the night loves silence, and the obnoxious cricket noises from the bushes, or the birds that dared to chip and chap at night only made night angry and much much darker. That God made the stars to shine at night because night brought the kind of peace that stars need to shine, and the moon as well because the moon needed the wake of night to glow oh so bright. She constantly told us of the story of the red skinned girl who loved to wail and shout when night hit the ground, and how one day upon her cry, night was heard growling like crazy and it was the last night that the red skinned girl ever wailed at night, because on that dark dark summer night, night lost patience with her, and stole her voice for good.

You don’t want to end up like the red skinned girl, do you?,” Grandma would be heard speaking from her out door kitchen. The place where she made magic happen, and took pride in serving us that magical food that came from what seemed like a 1000 year old pot.  Night time was our enemy. The kind of enemy that knew all too well when to knock and ruin the fun that only just began. We would stop to respect the presence of night, but it was never that simple. My cousin Lulo was the jokster of us all, and it was nearly impossible to shut down all fun when cousin Lulo got creative and spat out jokes left right and center.

Lulo, you better shut up before night loses his patience with you child.” Grandma would say. “Yes, Grandma,” Lulo would always reply, but he never really did shut up. He knew all too well the kind of jokes that woke night up, and those are the very jokes he cracked all night long.

Growing up in Parazo, was like growing up in a world of dreams. Nothing ever seemed so real as to wake us up from the dream, or us to hurt us to never dream again. Everything as Grandma said, was always possible to him who believed in the power of the One above. Grandma taught us from very young, how nothing was impossible with God, and how God had healed her many broken wounds, and how He always put food in her out door kitchen and never once did they come close to hunger, even when the day started off with just a slice of bread and a jar of water. That God always turned water into wine, and multiplied the slice of bread into slices of bread enough to feed us all.

When Grandma spoke of her God, she spoke with conviction. The kind that jolts you up far far away from any doubt that dared to crawl into your heart. She always loved singing, and at the end of every song came her accolades of Praise to her God. Nuno my cousin always seemed to want to challenge Grandma’s God. “Grandma, Grandma if God is here would you ask Him to bless me with a Yogi doll,” she would say, and Grandma would always beckon her into prayer. That was her constant response to cousin Nuno, which many times made her just a tad bit angry, as she said to Grandma that she had sent all her prayers to heaven, and was now only awaiting her Yogi doll.

The day when cousin Nuno received her answered prayer, was the very same day that Lulo broke his leg jumping from a Mango tree that he had no business being around. Grandpa had warned us many times that day, to stay away from his Mango tree but cousin Lulo would not give up his chase for fun and adventure that day, and made it his mission to do everything he was told not to do. So it was that when Grandma returned back from the market, she found cousin Lulo screaming at the top of his voice, in pain after falling from atop the Mango tree.

Cousin Nuno on the other hand could not stop praising Grandma’s God for having blessed her with her very own Yogi doll. She had always believed in Grandma’s God, but it was never until this day that she truly really believed that He was indeed her God too. The very same God who healed Grandma’s broken wounds, turned water into wine, and made many the one slice of bread. “Grandma, how did He know to make her yellow?,” Nuno asked. Her favorite color was yellow, and if there was ever a good way to describe cousin Nuno, it would be with the vibrant bold color yellow. “He knows you all too well my child. He really does,” Grandma said as she attended to Lulo’s broken leg.

Many nights came and many nights we continued to laugh out loud at cousin Lulo’s crazy jokes. Only this time very mindful of night and his quick temper. Cousin Nuno continued to praise Grandma’s God who was now her very own God, as she relished every second with her Yogi doll. Grandma continued to teach us with every bit of conviction left in her, how merciful and kind our God was. How He longs to be with us in worship, and how she worships to be with Him. She taught us what she called – The Lords Prayer that summer, and by the end of summer, we were all atuned to the Holiness of the Lords Prayer. We never could tell Grandma apart from the kindness she described God to have and be. Perhaps it was because she lived her life in such a way that God lived in her, and her in Him.

Love: Christine

 

 

 

Posted in Life With Christ

there is power in the name of JESUS

04.24.16

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The day begins at the sound of the alarm. Even after tossing and turning till the break of dawn, the day never truly begins until the familiar sound of her alarm clock goes tick tock tick tock. Angela is her name. A middle aged mother of four boys who calls the surburb of Walto home for nearly twenty years now. At fifty she has managed to stay away from wrinkles, the bottle and the packs of cigarrette that were once her way to calm. She has lived through much, and it is suprising to many that she has managed to hold it all together. The residue of having lived through dark years of war, as well as the grief of losing her husband in a fire rescue effort about ten blocks from where they live has also escaped her. Her husband Jack was the city’s leading fire fighter. Although he loved his wife and kids terribly, the war between work and home always seemed to echo loud in their many years of marrige. Angela felt more alone than with husband, and he felt empowered and appreciated at work. And so it was that when Peter, Jack’s boss rang the door bell on that very dark summer night, with a face more sad than she had ever known him to have, she knew without a doubt that her Jack was never to return home again.

Lately, sleep has been a struggle. Almost a tag of war of some sorts. Her dreams have also been more alive now than ever before. She dreads dreaming. Dreaming and remembering always means that dark nights, covered in layers of tormenting images would come alive in the daylight, and steal her peace. Such was the case for the past few weeks. Her boys had all gone off to college, and for the first time since Jack passed, she has had this nagging feeling of deep deep sorrow. Her headaches had also returned. Headaches meant lots and lots of pill popping, and slow to start days. She had managed to hold it all together infront of her ninety five year old dad, for fear of driving him to worry and then to deep deep never returning kind of sleep. But within her, darkness loomed. Days and nights seemed all too familiar. She cried more, than she laughed. She hated the sound of the bell, or the ringing of the phone. Only her boys made it all worth it.

Her neighbor Colleen had seen the onset of the darkness, and it’s looming power over her. With her curtains ever down, and the delivery boxes pilling on her front door, she knew her friend was in trouble. Simba the family dog had not seen daylight in weeks. Trapped in the darkness of her world, he barked constantly, and after a few hours of worthless barking, Colleen could hear the sound of defeat in his final woof, and it would just be a matter of time before one would hear him bark no more. And it went on and on. Week after week. Knock after knock, and never once breaking into the darkness of her days.

Angela’s faith had seemed to carry her through years of pain. Perhaps, her faith would break her out of this darkness, Colleen thought. There were days when sounds of praise would make themselves known through the airwaves, and on those days, Colleen’s smile and hope would resurrect. She knew if there was ever a power so great as to bring life to her friend, it was the power in the name of Jesus. More and more the airwaves seemed to be filled with praises, and it was not long after that, that the curtains slowly opened, and the boxes that crowded her front door diminished. And it was on a cold Sunday morning, that Colleen bumped into her friend, as she reached for her over crowded mailbox, for mail that had been sitting there now for months. Angela seemed in high spirits. The darkness that had loomed over her life for weeks, had turned into light, and for the first time in months Colleen had her friend back.

Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days – when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when your out of options, when the pain is great – and you turn to God alone.” Rick Warren 

It never went down hill from there again. Light had won, and Colleen had her dear friend back.  Angela was a creative genius. She loved loved reading, painting, writting and photography. Her library was like no other. She carried the most amazing brand of books, and her computer was filled with hundreds upon hundreds of poems, books and songs she had written over the years. She had tried to get herself published many occassions back, however the big break never seemed to make it’s way to her heart, until this sunny afternoon when she received a call from the world’s biggest publishing company, and there in that phone call, her world changed forever.

Angela can now be found signing autographs in leading library’s, empowering other women to fight through dark seasons, and lately she has found this great passion in helping women find a sustainable way of living, while still finding joy in the journey. She is a leader amongst many, and her message is always one that brings hope in the darkness of days, and liberty to those trapped in what is shame, what is fear and what is hopelessness.

There is power in the name of JESUS

Her husband David. Yes, my friend Angela found love. In the midst of all things dark, and upon finding light, she found love again. Her husband David is also one to be admired. Oh so ever lovingly by herside, he lifts her up when she is down, and finds great passion in empowering men live their best life. Together, they make a team worth dreaming of, a team made in heaven for such a time as this. They remind Colleen and everyone they meet, that with God ALL things are possible, and that no situation is too great for God. He who began a good work in ALL of us, is faithful to complete it.

Love: Christine

Posted in Life With Christ

if tomorrow never comes

04.17.16

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There are days when you must ask yourself, “If tomorrow never comes, what would I rather do with the last of days?.” The crack to dawn never seemed more harsh as I struggle to get a hold of the new life breathed inside of me. “Another day, another miracle.” I say it with much conviction, because a miracle indeed it is. And without a pity in sight, the sun creeps in and forces the blinds that have kept the sleep oh so nourishing for the past seven to eight hours to flip open to the new realities of a new day, and whatever, absolutely whatever comes along with it. Don’t get me wrong, I am over joyed to have this new life breathed inside of me, and as I pace to the kitchen this gratitude for my miracle translates itself to the declaration of the day, that indeed it is a miracle.

The streets are filled with life as usual. “Are they ever not filled with life?” I wondered to myself. Saturday mornings are not the Saturday mornings I remember. The hands that stretch out so loud, seem much more louder than years past, and the drums beating to the sounds of coins, seem to have also increased the life within the streets. I struggle to force my way through the busy streets, and struggle to close my eyes to the hands that stretch, drums that beat to the sounds of coins, and the mother that holds a cardboard sign up for help because the one she loves, has barely opened her mouth for lack of strength to hold a bite. A bite for which has been beyond reachable.

The King will reply, “Truly I tell you whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sitters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

There is only so far my eyes can travel before my heart stops to the life within the streets, and my feet and arms His love to give. Perhaps, this is how best to spend the last of days. Engulfed in the bitter cold & harsh realities that now identifies itself as life in the streets.

And just like that, I stop.

I stop because the pain thumbs deeply within my heart, and the resounding noise within the streets grows louder & louder. And unless one opts to close his eyes, and lock shut his ears, like many who walk past these streets do, one is apt to stop and stretch. Stretch because the arm is weak & the heart oh so frail from all the lack that comes with the street. And life there in itself begins. Begins & multiplies into this beauty of creation. This life of grace, hope & much much love. “We have the power to multiply the life within us” I say to myself. To awaken the inner being, and silence all the voices that call for defeat & instead replace that with the kind of love only found in Jesus Christ.

They smile & I smile. We smile in hope & confidence that He who began a good work in all of us, is faithful to complete it. Love multiplied is much like new life breathed inside of us each and every day. And the life within, can breath new life to the deadness of the streets. Perhaps, if we start seeing life as multiplied, then we will stop and breathe new life to the arms that stretch, the drums that beat to the sound of coins, & the mother that holds her breathe for love.

Love you: Christine

Posted in Life With Christ

how love wastes in the sea of fear

05.17.15

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you are blessed, if your feet stop moving to the beat of your desires, and for a few hours or so you are even more blessed, to move to His beats. when the flat tire happens in the middle of moving to your beats, and the towing company arrives six hours later, your feet becomes His to do with as He pleases, and your heart wrestles with the idea of stopped feet, and the mountains of errands awaiting your return. and in the midst of all that is His, you still hope to make it to your friends child’s birthday party, but the clock ticking away, soon makes it clear that the celebrations will be made while walking to the beats of His desires.

 from time to time, you can hear the birds chipping away, and the swirl of the wind wrapping itself around your stiff body. your are stiff because hunger is also fighting you, and the children are growing restless, as hours go by. and perhaps, in this moment, the one whom we call the enemy of our mind, or of this world, makes it his duty to parade all over your unstable thoughts, and take you to places so dark and defeating, that you almost crawl deep into the furthest parts of your car, as you wait for the clock to tick to the hour and minute when the tow truck driver finally arrives to save the day.

it is scary to know that other feet keep moving to the beats of their liking, walking and driving past you like you are invisible, and they not so much. you wonder when one will stop to sprinkle some love, and to the sadness of your heart, not one stops to dance if only for a moment to your beat. and as you continue to cling to that little hope, and that little desire to be seen and helped, you realize that such moments are those moments when love aches to be seen, and fear drowns it all.

perhaps today, your bubbles have been cracked wide opened, and the reality of this world has made it’s way to your heart. the girls have returned from the Apple store, where they went to ask for a charger to bring back life, to the only phone we had that served us well, and shut it’s eyes after numerous attempts to reach love. at one point, we spotted a police car, and there in that moment, we saw a glimpse of love, only to then see love drive up past us, without a blink of an eye. another one passed us by, and our hope sparked up again. and another one. and another one. never to stop they drove on by, and we waited and walked to His beats.

The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” — Matthew 25:40

 and as the hours drew on closer to night, he showered up. his blue shirt looking all rugged and oily. his face a little rough around the edges, and a mouth that never stopped talking. our hearts were frail indeed. perhaps, he also saw the look of hunger come pouncing through our eyes, and the weariness of the day almost come tumbling down in tears. he pulled out a bag of Popeye’s, and insisted on sharing his meal with us. and the countless times i said to my girls, “don’t talk or take food from strangers,” faded away as we all stretched inside this bag, stuffed our mouths with spicy chicken, shredding it into tiny little pieces.

and in that moment, we saw love.

love in the eyes of a stranger, whose mission it was to save our day.

we saw love.

and after helplessly clinging to the many vessels of love that walked and drove past us, it sure was good to finally embrace this rugged and oily looking stranger, who carried in him the vessels of love that the many strangers who walked and drove past us, might have shared with us, if only they dared enough to dance to the beat of our life.

i wonder if we all claim to love, but only a few of us really do love.

we dropped off Gracie our car at our dealership. they closed the day at 4pm, and Gracie is left out in the lot until Monday, when they come back to the hustle and bustle of life. excited we were to head on out to the rental store, only to find that they too closed early for the day. “could this day get any worse?,” we thought. the phone had been charged to 12%, but by this time, it’s life had vanished from within, and what was left was a beautiful golden Apple phone, without a spark of energy to make a call. “not to worry,” we said. we spotted a car dealership still opened, and walked inside not to buy a car, which they hoped was the case, but rather to ask for help. and once again, we met love, and this gentleman whose name i don’t know, googled a taxi company for us, and helped dial us through to them. we sighed with a big relief, as home then seemed so much nearer.

thirty minutes or so went by, and this yellow taxi came driving in. excited we were to finally be heading home, but that excitement was soon met with a cold, unfriendly and very scary driver. he refused to help with the car door, and we then refused to accept his ride. as if that never happened, we slowly made our way to the closest shopping center, and asked an employee of a nail store if we could use their phone to call another taxi. and it was there, that we once again encountered the cruel hand of hopelessness, as she smiled and said,”No.” i asked again, not believing her answer. perhaps, “I heard wrong,” I thought. and again she smiled, and said, “No.”

 we headed out to find love again. perhaps love had not all together departed from us, and perhaps like Carlos our tow truck driver, love would once again meet us with open arms, if we didn’t give up. and that is what kept as walking to His beats, and into this opticians store asking if we could use their phone to call a taxi. the three of them seemed busy taking inventory, or something. one lady willingly took the phone, and dialed the taxi company for us. we thanked her greatly, and walked out the door to once again, wait for love. after almost an hour, he finally pulled into the driveway, and we started our journey back home. his driving left alot to be desired, and on our way home, we prayed to Love to have mercy, and get us home safe.

 as the pressure from the water rushed fiercely through my shower head and onto my body, my thoughts raced up and down, taking inventory of all that had happened that day. i wondered why it was that many who are vessels of love, failed to pour out love to us that day.

i wondered if fear was one of those reasons.

and as my mind wondered, i couldn’t help but draw a canvas of the world I saw that day – a world drowning in a sea of fear.

could it be that fear, has on countless other occasions, stopped love from parading it’s beautiful glow, in a world that is otherwise dark, and hopeless? is it why our neighbors die of hunger. die helpless. while in fact, we are the answers to their prayers?

A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, Go and do likewise.” — Luke 10: 30-37

 i also wondered if love failed to show up multiple times, because the world is too busy moving to their beats, that the troubles of another are inconveniences to them.

i also wondered if prejudice had anything to do with why love failed to show up, on the many occasions that Love ached to show up.

whatever the reason might have been. fear, inconvenience or prejudice, love still remains in the hearts of millions, and awaits patiently to show up through them.

i ended the night in tears for the world we live in, however thanking God, for stopping my feet, so that i could get a glimpse of what breaks His heart.

until next week, live in boldness of love, and allow Him to stop your beats, and cause you to move to His beats. and as you move in His beats, you will get a glimpse of life like you have never before

love: christine

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