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» Christine

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

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

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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how a day in the woods by the river returns back joy and hope

05.10.15

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it’s morning now, and the sun is still rising. it’s good to see the rising of the sun, the birds chipping away at the very aged, and almost barren tree, and the brisk of an early morning, come mounting up on earth. everyday, until this morning has seemed to be nothing different from the other. the darkness of winter, lingered longer than nights, and days were left covered in utter darkness, as the sun rose and set behind the curtain of darkness. today however, feels like a whole new day. could it be that darkness has at last been defeated by the powerful, yet radiant rays of the sun? or better still, could it be that darkness finally found its rightful place, and decided after months of stealing and tormenting day, that it would alas rest where it thrives the best?

 she woke up that morning, feeling the difference in day. covered in her favorite fur coat, she made her way into the deepest parts of the woods, that made company of her huge estate. it had been months, since she took a liking to the beautiful ever green woods, that so often seemed to call and even shout out her name. tucked in the heart of her gorgeous dark brown log cabin, she found comfort in hiding in doors, and wondering when He would visit her once again. sometimes she got lonely, and in those days, the sparkling eyes of her little Yorkie, brought company back into the room.

her little shop in town was well known for it’s magnificent scent of whatever she had cooking that day. the shop was where the locals gathered daily, to unwind from a long day, and catch up on what was taking place around them. Grace loved her shop. and more than that, she loved cooking. cooking was art. cooking was music. when she cooked, music played and art was then displayed in her grandmas white china plates, which she used  to serve all her guests. the months leading up to this moment, had been difficult for Grace. the severe winter storm, had taken down most of the town, and locals were scrambling for every bit of food they could find, and businesses were at their all time low. many days, she ached for Middle Town. the town she had called home all her life. she knew each and every person by name, and they knew her too. they were family, and when family hurt, she hurt as well.

over the years, Gracie had seen blessings like never before.  dreams coming alive, and hope being lifted way up, bringing with it so much joy. He had blessed her oh so much. and on this particular year when darkness, stole day she found herself in and out of joy. joy came, however never to stay. it visited her more than it found home within her heart. she had hoped to go even further this year. perhaps, should would be able to do more for the orphan children, and those around the world that seemed to be breaking her heart. her log cabin had seen so many better years, and she had hoped to restore it back to it’s beautiful state. but more than that, her heart ached to do more. not so much more for her, but rather more for Him.

where are you,” she often cried.

do you see me?,” she often asked.

how will i bless them, if you don’t continue to increase me?,”

business seems to be failing. the people are suffering. and i can barely do a thing.”

everything seems uncertain.”

we trusted You, and now it seems like You have departed.”

we need you Lord.”

“I need you Lord”

“You have done so much, so much please don’t stop now.” she often said.

i will go and not fear. i will trust, and not waver.”

and on this one day, resting in the comfort of the peace He had supplied all this while. without a shout to the heavens, or a cry into His ears. He whispered an answer to her.

oh but my child, Am I not the One who brought you this far?

“if I being the One who brought you this far, Am I not the only one that can sustain what I have blessed you with?”

“why do you find security, in the things of this world?”

“things that never last?”

“why do you hope in man’s provision?”

“do you not see, what I have done, and will continue to do?”

“I am never gone. I am always here.”

“though the days might seem oh so difficult, and the nights not peaceful enough for a sleep, will you trust, that I will continue to sustain what I have blessed you with, and that there is nothing that I have promised you, that will not come to pass.”

“will you trust me child?”

and it was this very moment, when things truly began to change. joy seemed to have finally made it’s way home, and this time around, joy was staying. and as she continued deeper into the woods, she got the sense that He too continued deeper into the woods with her. she finally made entrance into the shores of the river that divided her estate, with that of her grandma and grandpa. in her early years, she and her cousins often met up by the river, and splashed water all day long, as the brutal summers found home in Middle Town. coming down to the river again, brought back all those beautiful memories, and as if to give her a big hug and kiss, He stretched out His arms, and said again to her, “will you trust me.” and this time around, she stretched out her arms and said to Him, “yes, Lord I will.”

perhaps, the Lord all this while had been preparing her for such a time as this. perhaps, now her faith having grown much more than it had a few years back, was now ready for a more deeper walk in the thick boisterous woods. perhaps, there are seasons that would come, and go and never make sense then. but perhaps, those very seasons would one day make sense, in another season.

she found herself splashing the river water that day. if ever you walked past the river on that day, you would wonder what tickled her so very hard, that she would splash water back and forth, and giggle words of praise, as she shouted with joy. am sure she would invite you to join fun. “He loves to play silly games as well,” she might say. “He loves those peaceful, serene moments by the river. those moments when it’s just you and Him. He loves and treasures those moments,” she would tell you. and maybe seeing how much joy filled her heart, in the midst of a dark barren looking town, you would dare yourself to trust in the moment, to trust in Him and join the fun.

she headed back home that day, filled with hope for tomorrow. knowing that even though, times might be difficult, or seem uncertain, that with Him by her side, there is nothing she could not do. and as for the uncertain financial times, she knew without a doubt, that her tomorrow is in His hands, and that what He had blessed her with, He alone could sustain. and those children she hoped to care for? well, let’s just say that that dream came to pass, and she now has more children, than she can count, and He is once again sustaining the blessings He has provided her with.

it is easy to surrender, when we know that we don’t have to do it all by our self. that what He blesses us with, only He can sustain, and when we try to do it all by our self, or think we have the power to sustain it all, that’s when we realize how powerless we truly are.

until next time, have a blessed surrender filled week :)

love: christine

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