Monthly Archives: November 2011

Being bought back and brought back

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This past weekend I was touched by a story that a pastor shared with our congregation. It’s a story that’s available to us all to read, but the manner in which he told it made it hit home in a bigger way than if I’d simply read it myself.

The story was that of Hosea – a prophet who’d been told to take a prostitute as a wife. The idea may have seemed absurd – a prophet of God…a holy man….take a prostitute as a wife?! For those times, that seemed rather outrageous, but Hosea obeyed. (Why? Because God’s plan is bigger, ultimately…and we can’t see the bigger picture most of the time).

So Hosea took Gomer as his wife and all seemed to be working out in the early stages of marriage. But soon, Gomer returned to her former way of life and left Hosea and their children behind in the process. To cut a long story short, after some time, Hosea comes across a crowd of people who are gathering to buy slaves. One of the slaves on sale turns out to be Gomer. And this is the point at which my heart skips a beat and tears threaten to fill my eyes – Hosea remains steadfast in the knowledge that the person being sold off is not a slave, and is not a prostitute – but rather, she is his wife and the mother of his children. So he ‘buys her back’, and returns her to their home; washes her, places clean clothing on her, and seats her at the dinner table. He then tells his children that this is their mother, and his wife, and they shall not speak of the past and any wrongdoing that’s taken place, but rather, will move forward in love and grace.

I’ve given a very watered-down version of the story really, but what struck me was Hosea’s love for, and commitment to, Gomer (and God, essentially). His protection of her – regardless of anything she did, or even, of anything she could possibly still do.

Unfortunately, I feel that in this day and age, that sort of protection, love, guidance and commitment is very rare. When I heard the pastor speak about this on Sunday, it brought tears to my eyes – the compassion of Hosea towards someone who others would easily have cast aside really touched me. And my heart broke for all those who somehow don’t feel worthy enough to demand this sort of compassion and commitment from others.

And ultimately, we all have the right to demand this because Jesus himself ‘bought us back’, washed us, clothed us with clean clothing, and seated us at the dinner table – telling us that the past is no longer relevant, and we need to move forward into the future with love and grace. This is a concept that I struggle with at times, but it’s one that pounds at the door of my heart.

We have the right to be treated as royalty by others, and ourselves, because that is how He treats us. Our stains and blemishes aren’t supposed to be remembered – not now, not tomorrow, not ever…

Amen to that!! 🙂

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What’s next?!

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My posts have been somewhat dark lately, I know, but I’m not going to apologise for it. If you’re one of those people who’s always in a good mood – then good for you. But I’m certainly not, and my blog really is a reflection of things I’m experiencing and feelings I’m feeling. However, I do know that my previous posts were far more upbeat, and since I’m feeling better lately, I’m better able to bring in the ‘lighter side’ of life again.

So with that, comes a ‘lighter’ post – about automatic flushing toilets. Yes.

Look – technology is great. Just the other day I was thinking back to when CDs were first the ‘in thing’ – I was so excited about it that I rushed out (like 90% of the world’s population) and purchased one of these ‘CD thingies’. (I don’t think 90% of the population chose the CD I did though….Los del Rio’s ‘Macarena’…I’m ashamed to admit it…and I’m even more ashamed to admit that to this day, I still know how to do the Macarena dance…). Then after CDs, it was DVDs, and then Facebook happened somewhere in between, and mobile phones got smaller, and then bigger again, and touch screens became the in-thing…and it’s all just been a flurry of technological advances. But automatic flushing toilets…no, surely not.

I can understand that the idea of a toilet that flushes automatically would be good – especially for lazy people who don’t want to waste energy turning around and pulling the flush lever (because really, it uses so much energy…not) – but I have proof, in the form of first-hand experience, that this novel idea isn’t so novel after all. Let me explain…I happened to be in a shopping mall this past weekend, and after spending 7 hours in a hairdresser’s chair, trying to sort my disastrous hair out (and after 5 cups of coffee), I needed a loo break. And it was whilst I was perched on the bathroom throne, enjoying the solace that only a bathroom can provide, that I realized the loo was flushing automatically. At first, I thought it impossible – that I was somehow imagining things. But then it happened a second time. And it left me speechless, feeling robbed of my right to flush a loo when I feel I’m ready to! And as I sat there in the cubicle, with my mouth hanging open – feeling completely stupefied, I just thought – what has the world come to? Now we have to fear toilets that tell US when THEY think we’re done? No, surely not?!

As I left the bathroom (after washing my hands using an automatic soap dispenser!), I heard two ladies laughing…in a shocked sort of way…and talking about the fact that they’d gotten the fright of their lives when their toilets flushed automatically…twice…

This experience has made me wonder…what’s next?!

An oasis in the midst of a desert

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A part of me is hesitant to write this new post, because what I’m going to write about may change in a few days’ time…or it may not. Let’s just move forward pretending it won’t change 🙂

It’s been a week to the day that I really started coming out of my self-imposed (and very confusing) desert. And let me tell you, it feels…well, ‘good’ doesn’t really do the feeling any justice…it feels amazing! It feels as if I’ve been given some release from a dead weight that was tied around my neck. At times, I really didn’t know if I’d pull through – remain strong enough to hold my head high, even in the moments when I seemed to be crumpling down to the floor in a shameful heap. But I’ve started to feel like myself again and this week has brought more laughs than tears – something I’ve missed!

But the experience has taugh me is teaching me many things. I’m being forced to hold on to God and be completely reliant on Him – something I’ve never completely done before, because I always tried to maintain control. The experience is also teaching me a lot about myself – it’s teaching me that I’ve lived too long with a very wrong (and imprisoning) kind of thinking; I’m quick to react before I stop to think; I dream up situations and circumstances in my head that never really come to pass (and they’re generally more negative than positive)…

Those are just a few things I’m learning and the process isn’t over – there’s still a lot more I need to learn. But hopefully I’ve reached the oasis in the middle of my desert – and I can stop, kneel down and take a drink of refreshing water before resuming my journey.

Nothing will be in vain 🙂

Superpower that’s not so super

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Right so, I may get overly anxious and freak out about things that should not be freaked out about (is that even grammatically correct?!), but I have to accept myself for who I am, and try to work with myself and not against myself. And what I am, at the moment, is Anxiety Girl, yeah!!!! I have the superpower to freak out! Hahahahahaha! Ok, I’ll explain by letting you see the picture my awesome friend Lauren sent to me…

Yip – Anxiety Girl! Hey, it’s good to find the humour in things and when I saw the picture I couldn’t help but laugh. And this morning I was reminded about why this is, in fact, me…I’d received some work a few weeks back and the type of work it was, was something I hadn’t done in aaaaaaages. So what did I do? I put my Anxiety Girl cape on and freaked out about it. “I can’t do this…I haven’t written something like this in ages…this is going to be difficult…I just want to give up…why me….why me…” I’d wake up every morning, not wanting to face the work; I’d sit at my desk wondering how on earth I’d “get through this” – but I did. Before commencing the work, I prayed and asked God just to direct me and calm me. He directed me, but I ‘un-calmed’ myself…

However – I completed the work in record time and it seemed to be ok. When I handed it in, I had the “Ok, well…whatever…I did what I could” attitude. But because I still had my Anxiety Girl cape on, I was already expecting to receive comments from my editors on my work, saying “This is AWFUL…please just rewrite this, and this time, do a good job”. But I was proven wrong twice! Firstly, the editor thought the work was so good, she didn’t have to ask me to implement edits.  I was overjoyed – but then my negativity interjected my positivity and said, “Yeah ok sure…but wait until it gets edited further, but other people…they’ll find fault with it and you’ll have to redo everything, HA!”. But then…I received the work back from the other editors, and got a positive response – so much so I was told that I’d “done a good job” – and in my field of work, that happens very rarely.

So, the lesson I have to learn, I think, is to start packing away that Anxiety Girl cape. I have to resist the urge to jump to the most negative, ridiculous conclusions, and rather, let things just unfold as they’re meant to…

Anxiety Girl, over and out!

An upside-down frown

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I’m currently reading three books, (1) Battlefield of the Mind – Joyce Meyer, (2) Living Beyond Your Feelings – Joyce Meyer, and (3) Splashes of Joy in the Cesspools of Life – Barbara Johnson. (Notice a pattern?)

Anyway, I’m reading these books in an attempt to be proactive…because…the best thing to do when you hit a pothole in life is to remain proactive and attempt to move out of the pothole in first gear (and then subsequently increase your gear change as you continue down the road…but I’m still in the pothole – though closer to getting out than I was before…but I digress!)

These books are extremely helpful and I’d be the first to recommend them to anyone. A main theme that runs through all three books is the theme of attitude and choice and how we need to choose how we feel, react, think, etc. Easier said than done, I know – but it works (even though it’s a slow process – reprogramming the mind isn’t something that happens in the blink of an eye – if only!) Now with choosing your attitude and reactions and thoughts, comes the act of choosing to smile. This is something I’ve known about for a long time – before reading these books – and it’s something that really does work as well. I’m not sure what it is about the act of smiling that makes it so effective, but it really does help. In fact, there are some interesting facts about the effect of a smile.

It is a challenge and it’s not easy. As humans, we prefer to frown or give a half-hearted smile, but once we realise the power of the upside-down frown, things really can get a little lighter. (Though here I’d ask my friends and family please not to hold this blog post again me when next I frown…).

So the next time someone gives you a smile and you think they’re completely crazy because there’s really nothing to smile about…just think – they may be feeling completely differently on the inside, but choosing to overcome that…

A smile is like tight underwear – it makes your cheeks go up.  ~Author Unknown

But it’s all about me…right?

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There’s something innately selfish about human beings. It’s a trait I’ve recently come to realize exists automatically and it’s something I don’t like very much – even though I fall victim to it quite often.

If this one factor were to be removed from our words, our actions, our decisions…I’m sure we’d find things to be so much easier – not that its removal is the solution to all our problems…no, not at all, but it sure would go a long way to making our stay on earth a little nicer! Selfishness seems to be the root of so many bad things – envy, jealousy, anger, annoyance, harsh words, harsh actions…to list just a few. I guess it’s ‘comfortable’ for us to function from a place of selfishness, where it’s all about ‘me and my situation…what I want’ – but it’s not really ideal I don’t think.

My challenge for myself this week (as if I really need another one?!), is to attempt to function outside of my selfishness – to pack it in a sealed box and place it on the shelf. (Will I succeed with my challenge…urm, I don’t know! We’ll see what the results are at the end of the week!)