Five Minute Friday {Change}

I always thought of myself as a root.

These are things I like, people I love, places I feel comfortable. And I had heard it so many times. “Who likes change?” So I planted myself in a zone of complacency.

Eventually I grew unsettled. Bored. Too comfortable.

Our God never changes. That is soul comfort. But really that is the only comfort we should allow.

Because us, us he thrusts into a world that rotates and never remains still, where seasons change and tempers fly and hugs don’t last forever. A temporary world. One that is never my home.

So I must change too. Because it is then that I grow.

And I get it now, I am a flower that sways and fades and glows and bends.

And my unchanging God, his Word of life, they are my roots.

The way I change, my response and acceptance of that change is a testament to my strong, unfailing root.

 

Linking up with Five Minute Friday http://katemotaung.com/2014/08/21/five-minute-friday-change/.

A letter to my younger self

 

My lovely girl,

I see you hiding between the pages of a book. This sanctuary will become your strength and your fuel for the future.

I wish that you would stop living in fear of being invisible, of unanswered questions. I wish that I could hold you and tell you that you are beautiful, that you are more than your identity of a fair-skinned tamilian sticking out like a sore thumb. That you will grow into your big nose and they will hold up your the spectacles you have always wanted to wear.

Despite your inability to grasp math, you will gradually accept that you are intelligent and creative and slightly abstract.

I admire your resilience, your ability to keep your head up even though you are breaking inside years later. When your worst fears are realized. You know where your strength comes from and you don’t take it for granted. I hope that you never lose  this quality.

You are restless and that’s alright. You will know that it’s because you were made for more discovery, adventure and risk.

I hope that you learn to forgive yourself, that it’s important to take care of yourself and laugh deep belly laughs more often.

There’s one thing I would like you to remember and I think it’s something you are slowly learning: each day brings with it new challenges {yes, more} but with it infinitely more grace {yep, unbelievable blessings}.

So hold on, stand fast. There are great and wonderful things ahead. And everything you carry/ have carried will serve you well on this journey.

What People Say…

I recently enjoyed a fun weekend at a reunion of my mother’s classmates from many decades ago. Today, on social media, a not-so-flattering picture of mine surfaced. I stood awkward, hunched with my photo-face and straggly hair.

Around mid-afternoon, a friend of mine texted that a friend of hers called to find out “what happened to me” why I looked so old (or some equivalent of that word).

And I stared at my screen, wounded. People can take a frozen memory and cut your heart with it for no real reason. Sometimes these people are your most trusted friends.

This is just a little example, but I have heard friends and family constantly doubting themselves because of somebody’s words, opinions or actions directed toward them.

What is is with relationships these days? Women choosing to break each other down instead of working to break them free. Women constantly comparing, criticizing, name-calling, judging instead of acccepting, appreciating, encouraging, loving and uplifting?

As I prayed at my desk at work, I felt unsettled and defensive. This is why I had built walls, shielded myself from people who I thought could hurt me and thought I chose my friends carefully. And yet I was here again, hurting because of something that someone I care about said to me.

I know it isnt true and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14). That is the truth and nobody can change it, not even me.

Still it pinches the corners of my heart.

I heard in an interview, someone famous saying that sometimes the people closest to you can be the most dangerous.

How, God? How do I form mutually beneficial, rich, loving relationships without ever getting hurt?

The answer stings. You can’t.

I want to cry, but even more I want to understand.

Sin. It was born of broken trust. Resulted in shame. Marred a relationship.
But God redeemed.
Even Jesus was betrayed. By one of his own.
Still Jesus gave his life to save.

If people don’t hurt you, how can you show them the face of God? How then will you practise humility, peace, forgiveness and recieve grace?

That doesnt mean you wont feel hurt, betrayed, angry and upset.

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, it hurt him. It pained him that they questioned his love for them.
Jesus hurt too. {He wept, remember?}

Your feelings are beautiful, integral parts of who you are.

Place them first at the foot of the cross. Cast your burdens into the arms of the One who is strong enough {not to mention, One who adores you!} to comfort you.

Let your expression of these feelings reveal who you are called to reflect.

Of course, we all fall short. Lucky for us, God is generous in granting grace.

What to live for

So, there is this advertisement. With a tagline that makes me and my closest friends cringe.

“Live for likes”

This is how the world has turned.

This is what is fed to our generation and the ones after us.

It makes my soul ache and my blood boil.

Whom do we blame? The company that propagates this pursuit for self-glorification?
Or the consumers that lap it up eager?

How did we get so delusional?

How did we slip back into the sin of crafting idols for ourselves?

When did we think it good and pure and holy to seek worth in affirmation from peers, family and lovers?

It all boils down to this.

We use a toothpick to measure the limitless God that is ours.

It will never be enough.

Living for likes is living in exhaustion.

Why settle for human ‘likes’ when you are LOVED by an omnipotent, magnificent, all-encompassing God?

Do not spend your energy on gaining approval or admiration from the world. For it will rise and set like the sun and the moon.

Instead, start being saved in the heart of God.

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You were never meant to live a life of confinement, God sent Jesus to set you free.

And that means free from the approval of others, social media butterfly status and “living for likes”

Amen.

A while ago, I struggled with people thrusting their judgement of me in my face. I was constantly told hurtful things ; that I was selfish then too giving, had too much of an attitude, was a pushover, was not enough, too independent.

At the time, I allowed these words to pierce me. I should have trusted that my identity was secure in Christ.

Then I read this lovely, God-given blessing. (Review later this week)

This book found its way into my life at exactly the right time and I can guarantee it will enrich your life and redefine a healthy sense of self-esteem.

Linking up with God’s wonderful daughters here.

Running Away

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I have spent the past two weeks laying low. Gathering courage, time and trying to find a voice amid the shock. God called home two that I have known in the past few days. The first, an aunt, who passed away in the lofty Himalayas while enjoying a vacation. The second, a devoted father to one of my oldest friends. She was a fabulous dancer, he was a barbecue pro. She was stylish, he always wore a broad, gentle smile. She worked to rehabilitate the mentally ill, devoting all her time to caring and encouraging those less privileged than her. He was fulfilling a heavenly calling by serving in Liberia, assisting with strengthening hospital systems.

And I sit here. Groaning. Discontent. Worried.

Dreading the drudgery of the next day. Of a few hours spent sitting at a computer. Can I curl up and go to sleep, God?

I am ashamed to even type this out. But I mutter under my breath all day. Wait for the ticking clock to send me back home. Wishing hours away, waiting for the next *BIG* thing.

Then, I read these lovely words today.

I want to really live.

I want an intentional, purpose- fueled life.

And I realize that a full life isn’t measured in how many years you have lived, how loud you have been or how your treasures stack up on earth.

I want to stop running away. From feelings, challenges and the fear of the unknown.

I may have lost two people I knew, but their lives have caused so many to gain.

When I fold my hands in prayer, I will refrain from asking why He took them, and instead be thankful that He sent them to us.
To serve in a fallen world.
To echo his love and bring Him glory.

I want to live like my Messiah. Like they did.

I want to live by these holy words: For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Phil 1:21

Off the grid

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I am resting in these verses today;

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139: 7-10)

You can never go off the grid. God is always, always right there.

It is such a blessing to have the hand of a father that holds you wherever go {even if you have the tendency to wander like me}, to have his heart as your eternal home and his love that wraps around you like a warm blanket. In every season of your life, whatever you might do or have done, He loves you and nothing will change that. He walks right by you every step of the way.

Dwell in the comfort of this verse, it has brightened my day and infused me with happiness and a thirst for living a fuller, happy life.

Join us for a cup of Coffee for your Heart

Currently {Volume 2}

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Thinking about:

Nothing really. I have been feeling pretty blue all week for a variety of reasons. I don’t adapt very well to change and a number of changes are being thrust on me and there are some I must make myself. I am praying for strength from above to get me through it.

Reading:

You’re going to be Okay by Holley Gerth. I have read the book once through already but I am aching for it again. {Yes. It is THAT good}. I am also still working my way through ‘A fault in our stars’. I have heard that it can be quite emotional so I am considering putting it off for a bit. I have also discovered some lovely fashion blogs {see HardtShapedBox and TheBowTie if you like as well}

Listening to:

A really loud generator in the distance {quite annoying} and chicken sizzing on a pan {Yummm}

Watching:

The wind blow my curtains, my sleeping puppy curled up on the carpet and old interviews

Thankful for:

The lunch I am about to have, days off from work {which means more time to blog! Yay}, my closest friends who are the best girls in the whole world and I am so lucky to have them.

Goals for the week

1. DO that big scary thing I really want to do {big, scary life-changing decision}
2. Take a nice long bath
3. Go for a nice long walk
4. Yoga 5 hours + 3 hours of cardio
5. Spend more time in prayer and soul rest

A Mama Collective

Five Minute Friday {Bloom}

Most of us are familiar with the parable of the sower (Matthew 13). One of the things it teaches us is that the soil is critical to a good, abundant crop.

Bloom

Our hearts are often closed off to relationships, growth and happiness due to something that has happened in the past or a fear of the future. In order to bloom, which is God’s will for your life, no matter where you are, it is very important to tend to your heart soil.

If past circumstances have caused you to build walls, tear them down with prayers to God ,the treasure of his Word and the support of people you trust.

The absence of these walls guarantee an entry of fresh oxygen and refreshing ventilation.

If people have hurt you in the past by their words and actions, release the weight into the arms of God, forgive them and respectfully detach from them if you feel reconciliation is not what God desires for you.

The absence of past hurts leaves your heart free of weeds.

Fear is incredibly common (I feel it myself, several times a day}. The remedy for fear is truth. And this: Perfect love drives out all fear (1 John 4:18). God loves you. Inside and Out. Old and New. Nothing you have done can stop Him. Let go of the fear.

The absence of fear allows the seeds to take root.

Take care of yourself. Cultivate the tender soil in your heart.

Laugh as many times as you can throughout the day.
Dance/Exercise at least once a day. Take care of the body that God gave you.
Read, believe, soak in the rays of hope.

Then unfurl your petals to the beauty of the sky.

Bloom.

Five Minute Friday

Finding Spiritual Whitespace: A Review

Plenty of books will tell you to look ahead or look within to motivate you to move forward in life. Bonnie Gray encourages you to look back, to face your fears, unresolved feelings and restlessness head-on.

Bonnie’s book narrates her intensely personal journey, focusing on her difficult early years and the repercussions of suppressing her hurts. In every instance, she points out God’s hand on her life and her realization that His call on her life is to experience the beauty of resting in him. As is.

The story is beautiful, relatable {to me, definitely}, the honesty is breathtaking and the underlying theme of whitespace in art weaved cleverly into the narrative is impressive.

The prompts at the end of each chapter are thought-provoking and her general faith is audible in nearly every sentence.

I enjoyed the book immensely, racing through the text, savoring the truth in her words while at the same time aching for the little girl she once was, wishing I could hold her and tell her she is loved, special and unique.

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I would recommend the book to women who are working their souls and bodies weary in order to feel significance or mask the scars of their past. To women who are exhausted, violated, battered or uninspired. To women who feel less like themselves, consumed by/ crumbling under workloads, laundry, approval or pain.

I can guarantee that you will feel lighter and lovelier.

Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Still Saturday: Surrender

I don’t know how many of you thrive when you feel like you are ‘in control’. Perhaps that’s the only time you feel you can thrive. The only way you feel ‘strong’. So you add as many items as you can to your lists, take on more responsibilities and feed into the misconception that the faster you run, the better you feel. Unfortunately, the overwhelming feeling you are left with (and I have been there myself) is exhaustion.

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The truth is that being still is much harder and requires more strength. But it’s not physical strength you require or one that you can display.

It is quiet, mental strength that is born of surrender. Surrender to the one who calms storms (Matt 8: 23-37) and encourages us to be still to foster communion with Him (Ps 46:10).

Embrace stillness.

Rest.

Linking up with Sandra and Bonnie, two wonderful daughters of God who have helped me understand the power and necessity of sacred stillness

Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday
Faith Barista