Broken – Hope for my Selfishness

Yesterday felt like Friday in my world and so I waited all day for Lisa-Jo to post her Five Minute Friday Word…. but it didn’t happen :)… so I prayed for her and for me and then I wrote what Father had on my heart…. and I think you’ll agree even though I wrote it a day early it fits beautifully with her word today: BROKEN….

I am the kind of person who has always had to apologize for saying too much, being too opinionated, over-stepping the line. Even from 6 or 7 years old I remember having to go to grandparents, family or friends to apologize for saying the wrong thing or speaking out truth when “good polite girls” stay quiet…  At nearly 50 you think I’d learn…. but no, I just did it again… a massive “over-speak”! Once again forcing me to confront my worst self and the poverty that results from attempting to live by the flesh!!

How glorious that just prior to Easter, due to my own disappointing mess-up, I am reminded that I am in painful need of healing and that the only way I can live this life is by trusting Him moment by moment and by depending endlessly on His Life in me.2013-03-16 08.11.39

Perhaps I needed the graphic humiliation of failure to underscore what Abba has been showing me in this season of my life….

…to love better… reminding me that I was born for something more.

He has been gently allowing me to see my prideful, arrogant flesh – where I express an opinion without kindness or where I am operating according to my selfish flesh so that I side-step a situation that would require a detour to love well.

 The temptation to “go it alone” and live just as I please is strong……but the haunting of what He died for is forever written on my heart and so, no matter how alluring it seems to follow my own self-interest, deep down I want more…

I want His way of Love….and I am empty, oh so empty to do it myself…

This Easter I give thanks for the fact that He is encouraging me to abide and depend on His Life, so that the desire of my heart – to sacrificially love and to extend mercy and grace – can be revealed in and through me.

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Joining Lisa-Jo Baker and writers here for five minutes of unedited free writing, based on the word: Broken

Five Minute Friday

Dealing with the Unexpected

4. 2013 February - Unexpected - Walking in Rain 1Life is really never completely what one expects, is it? Today we had plans for an outing that needed sun….. instead it’s wet, windy and cold. One chooses an optimistic outlook, another sees the day ahead through the grey mist of disappointment!

It has me thinking: to be thankful for outcomes that turn in our favour is easy. It is far less comfortable to embrace an unanticipated change for the worse.

The one I love has always said “life is all about expectations”! Does that mean, in order to avoid pain and irritation, we are supposed to have bland plans and thoughts? Or is there some other way to look forward to this gloriously-messy life?

Is the problem in the expectation or in the way we handle the unexpected?

Are we even able to control how we react to circumstances and encounters or is it already predetermined by our personality and the circumstances of our lives?

How can one stay hopeful in the face of an inordinate number of challenges?

So this morning I am wondering, how do we live life with the joy of one who embraces the unexpected? How does a person give thanks in all circumstances in a deeply real way that is not just the mask of putting on a ‘brave-face’?

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Remembering Home

One of the themes behind my blog’s inception was being content to “Live Home Free” – both on a temporal level as I accept my current transient lifestyle and on a spiritual level as l continually move towards embracing the truth that “this world is not our home”.

For the last 3 weeks I have been hooking up with Lisa-John Baker’s Five Minute Fridays. It wasn’t what I planned to do but her words have inspired me. It has put me “out there” and that scares me; it also has me writing every week and enjoying it. Today’s word is a timely one for me – HOME. Not only because it ties back to one of the reasons I started blogging but because this Friday I am writing while visiting the city of my birth: Johannesburg.

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From outside the country and places across the ocean there are many who wonder if I am crazy to return to a country who hasn’t been getting very good press recently and whose statistics of crime, violence and xenophobia support that view. From people within her own borders, this trip is the first in a long time that I have not encountered normal South African optimism. So in many different ways this trip has been clouded by layers of negativity.

But…
The city skyline, far from beautiful or favoured in the country, evokes in me a deep response of affection. There are friendships and relationships here that shaped my life. Much of the fabric of my story was woven in this place and so I come back eager to feel and remember.

This city is a vibrant one, full of colliding African cultures; businesses and people always pushing to be seen as “world class”; with progress and promise alongside poverty and hopelessness; here the depressing is humorous and the ordinary courageous. This is not a city where people live small… it’s life on the edge …exciting and exhausting at the same time. The smell of a Highveld early morning, the dust laden sky, the faces, the languages and accents all comfortingly familiar.

It is not only the physical that confronts me here me but also my spiritual Life. This is where my eternal Life began. In this city, I took my first small steps of faith and had my first experience of community/ family within the church. Here in Gauteng, I developed the courage to stand for what I believed in: my faith against my non-Christian family and for justice against the then apartheid regime.

The memories run deep as does the nostalgia of the physical…In coming back, I am reminded again of the complexity and the roots of who I am!
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Ordinary

Today I am linking up again with Lisa-Jo Baker’s: Five Minute Fridays

The challenge, for me, seems to be not to make sweeping statements or view situations, days, people or objects in one uniform way. When I do I miss the opportunity to enjoy Life in its abundance. This world was too fearfully and wonderfully made for there to be any ordinary thing.

Each ordinary snowflake magnificent different in its design.
An ordinary hand so complex in its construction that it defies imitation.
Every ordinary orange, individual in form and flavour.
Ordinary lives, extraordinary in their detail and story.
No ordinary day, each one remarkable in time and space offering unique opportunities to know the bitter with the sweet.

The problem is not with this world and its appearances of sameness but my inability to look deeper and notice the glory. Everything is beautifully different – even that which I assume is neither noteworthy or distinguished enough to warrant my attention. As I slow down and pay attention to the detail, as I look deeper into the common I find myself full of awe and gratitude and my eyes move heavenward in wonder and worship.

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