Category Archives: christianity

Surprise!

Yes, I am still here. Still kicking. Dana and Cynthia, your last two comments made me laugh. I know I have been terribly slack and I do deserve to be fired from my blog.¬† ūüôā So…where does one begin after such a long absence? I suppose I can’t recap and fill in all those missing months but I can start with today.

Ahhh…today. Today was a crazy, up-and-down, emotional, busy day. First of all, I am hormonal.¬† That in itself should tell you a lot. Secondly, it is the second week of school and I have forgotten what a time-consuming, draining, demanding job this is. If you want to do it well, that is. And I want to accomplish so much this year.¬† I am already feeling somewhat stressed and overwhelmed.

Thirdly,¬† I have been plagued by the same weariness that has dogged me this year, spiritually speaking. (Which probably accounts a bit for the few-and-far-between blog entries. My words tend to dry up when I go through a tough time.) Oh, I have felt the presence of Jesus, and I have seen precious truths in his word, but that fresh “first-love” thing where Jesus was the adoring focus of my every thought, has faded into something more commonplace and mundane and familiar. I have to guard against “going through the motions”, like that song says. Sometimes I feel old and jaded spiritually.¬†I have seen much, and my innocence has been lost, and it is hard to maintain that child-like wonder and naivety that I once had.

Back to today. Today, in a spurt of energy after being sick for two days, I tried to bring some order into this badly neglected house. I worked hard, y’all, but at the end of the afternoon, it became clear to me that I had hardly made a dent in my list of things that need attention around here. I so wanted to keep my momentum and carry on working, but Friday nights are church nights for us. I called hubby and told him I didn’t want to go to church. I wanted to get things done around here and besides, I am weary. I am weary of being dry and jaded and…weary. I knew I had no choice but to go though, since I have the car and hubby needed me to get him from work and take him to church.

We sang this song during worship: “You stretch your arms out wide, I lift my hands up high, to my Saviour…”, when¬†Jesus met me. ¬†I took the words to heart and realized again that his arms are always outstretched to meet me. And all I need to do is reach mine up, like my little girly used to do, and let him pull me into his embrace, where all struggle and strife ceases. ¬†As I worshipped, Jesus gently chided me for spouting off fancy words about his goodness and his mercy and his heart that overflows with a desire to redeem us to the uttermost, and yet¬†not believing them for¬†my own life. (I have started writing my book, guess what the first chapter is about?)

He actually asked me: “Why all the angst? Am I your Saviour or not? Do you believe my good intentions for you or not? If you do, why not lift your arms to me and I will pick you up and carry you. Chill out a bit.” And he invited me to dance with him. So I stepped away from my microphone and got off the stage and danced with my God.

His sweet presence hasn’t left me. He sat next to me as I listened to my pastor preach, he is with me now as I type this.

I am tired of religion. I am tired of going through the motions. I am tired of trying and failing and seeing my flesh prevail too many times and of beating myself up for it.

I will never be tired of being with my Jesus, and of baring my soul before him. He is the sweetest person I know. He is life, and in his presence there is joy forevermore.

Spring

I should be in bed. It’s late and I need my beauty sleep. You can bank on that. ūüėČ

So, this will be short.

I am simply grateful tonight. I want to celebrate this gorgeously balmy spring weather, which sings out a resurrection song. It seems no small co-incidence that Easter and April happen around the same time. (In the Northern hemisphere at least). The new life budding and sprouting in the trees and expressed in the humble praise songs of the birds, is just the reflection of a deeper stirring I feel inside me.

I am grateful that our personal winter seasons don’t last forever. At some point, the cold and barrenness make us cry out to God, and true to form, he comes. He never fails to turn up when we ask him to,¬†pouring his life-giving rain on our hearts and making everything new.

This is where I am tonight. I spent a good amount of time in his presence at church this evening, and have walked away from the experience with new hope. With a new sense of his beauty, his glory, his love.

I surrendered Jenna to him again. I told him it’s OK. I am OK with her being with him. My heart is still broken, but at moments like these, all I know is the most indescribable peace. It truly defies words.

Like the delicate spring blossoms on the trees outside, that remind me so much of my delicate, pink-loving little girl, I too feel like there is a new life pulsing through me. One that promises great things, and fruit to follow.

Words

Somebody told me today that I have words inside me that are a blessing, that are uniquely Sumi, and that the world needs to hear.

God knows, I have been throwing up walls around myself and my heart for the past few months. In the process, my words got stifled.

It was soooooo refreshing to sit over lunch and let those words spill out. To tear down the walls and bare my heart and get that kind of clarity that only comes when you are in honest fellowship with a non-judgmental friend. Oh, how we as the body of Christ need each other. I’ve been trying to make it on my own but there is something so empowering in a journey shared. I think it has something to do with our friends being the hands and face and feet of Jesus to us, where we can see the heart of God towards us as it is reflected in the sweet face of a friend.

I have not found myself in a good place lately. My heart has been hard, cynical, bitter.¬†I acknowledged to myself yesterday that yes, I was angry at God. Angry because I am missing Jenna and I am surrounded by so many pregnant mothers – all of whom are having little girls.¬† Angry because I don’t see myself changing like I hoped I would. I am still the same old Sumi, plodding along the same old paths.

I am bone weary of the same old stale patterns in my life, and I am longing for a deluge of fresh, life giving rain to come and wash me clean and refresh this (c)old heart.

I had a moment today where I told God that I didn’t want to become a bitter and cynical old woman. I prayed a bit and opened my bible – and he met me. What a faithful God.

I was reminded again that it is in beholding his face, and seeing his preciously tender heart towards me, that I am changed. I am amazed that this mighty God of the universe stoops down in kindness Рand LOVES me, pitiful thing that I am, and makes me his treasure.  Who can help but adore a God like that?

My friend was right. I need to have an outlet. I need to write (or talk someone’s ear off). She said I must make time for it, that my words are a gift.

I might begin writing my book. I might blog more. Either way, I will be sharing my heart. And I am happy at the thought.

Stocking s(t)uffer

To¬†Jenna…

So, Christmas is officially over and I haven’t written you a note to stuff¬†into your¬†stocking¬†yet. Yes, I had a run-around day on Christmas eve. Yes, I fell into bed, exhausted,¬†at 4am. It’s been a happy, blessed, busy time. And you were missed, sweetie pie.

But something in me balked at sitting down and writing you that note. Last year I was driven to do it. This year, I just didn’t want to be reminded that it is all I have to give you this Christmas, and many more to follow.

I don’t think my house has ever looked¬†as good, or smelled¬†as lovely as it does this year. The Christmas tree is gorgeous. The boys and I lovingly decorated it with the same ornaments that you helped me hang so industriously¬†on your last Christmas with us. I remember your pudgy toddler hands, and your intense concentration as you hung them precariously low, all in one spot at your own eye level. I had to space them out a bit later on. ūüôā

The tree now sports some ornaments you never knew Рlittle mementoes of you, sent in by friends. Tom, the cat. Ballet Slippers. A handmade ornament with a robin on it. A treasured dragonfly embossed ornament that came from a mommy whose little girl left her in much the same way you left us. I pointed them all out to granny and she stood before that beautiful, fragrant tree with tears in her eyes. You still light up our world, muffiny.

I found something at Walgreens and had to buy it. It is¬†not the prettiest ornament, but its words¬†grabbed me. It says: A daughter is yesterday’s dream, today’s delight, and tomorrow’s promise. ¬†

It is the promise part I like. Somewhere in my tomorrows, you are waiting. The promise is sure. The same Jesus whose light shines so brightly in all my darkness, whose light is everywhere this Christmas season, adorning houses and making this christmas tree sparkle, is keeping you safe with him until that day. There is hope, and there is plenteous redemption. (Psalm130)

But sometimes that wait seems so long and notes like these are just a bummer to write.

Still, I have decided to stuff a little love letter to you in your stocking every year, and I like to think that one day, years from now, perhaps you and I can sit down and read them together.

Words elude me tonight, they have been doing it a lot lately.¬† I’d love to write you something eloquent and poetic. But all I can say to you my little precious girly, is that I miss you, I love you, and you will always be in my heart.

Until that day,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Your mommy.

All I want

I have had a rough week. Or two. I cannot quite put my finger on one single reason why, but I reckon it has something to do with back-to-school craziness and adjusting to teaching again. There are lots of changes around here but I don’t feel like writing about them now. They are nothing serious, but it always takes time to get used to doing new things in new ways. Add a good dose of the old hormones to the mix, and you get a pretty emotional Sumi.

I am not typically given to mood swings, but my emotions have certainly been running the gamut here. Loneliness. Anger. Melancholy. Frustration. Depression. Missing Jenna. Being weepy for no discernable reason at all. I do think that as I approach my mid forties those hormones are stepping up a bit. So I am not taking my current state of mind seriously. I realise it is transcient and I will be myself again very soon.

I found it hard to enter into worship at church tonight though. I have made several faux pas this week, blurted out something that I shouldn’t have, lost my cool with a rude driver in a really over-the-top way (with my kids as witnesses), nursed anger towards my hubby for not being here more, struggled to find my stride in a new class I am teaching at school. My house is a wreck, our family is in desperate need for a better routine, I am not getting around to everything that demands my time. To top it all, I have not been yoked with Jesus and drawing on my relationship with God to see me through. I have been (moodily) going it alone. And failing desperately.

I arrived too late at church to secure my regular spot on the worship team. We have been missing a microphone ever since a concert we had at the church two weeks ago, and there are only three mics for four singers. Until we can get the situation rectified, the one who arrives last misses out, or has to share a mic with another singer. I decided not to share tonight, but to worship off the stage where I could fling my arms out wide and sing freely without the constraints of being a part of the team.

As always, I could feel Jesus tugging at my heart and wooing me to enter into that place of intimate worship with him. But I felt too sullied, too broken, too useless to give in to that tender call. What could Jesus possibly want from miserable old me? Someone who keeps failing at the same old things, over and over and over again? I told him such. I told him that all I could give him was this pitifully weak and unfaithful heart of mine.

He whispered back:

It’s all I want.

She talks with her eyebrows

She does. Like her mama.

I used to be so enamoured with Jenna’s eyebrows. They were the perfect frame for those big blue eyes, and I loved staring at their exquisite¬†shape¬†when she was asleep next to me. But most of all, I loved them because they could talk. Those eyebrows said a lot. On the video that a sweet friend took of Jenna and I at a park day a few months before she left us, I noticed that my eyebrows talk too. Go figure.

I like to think that Jesus is just as enamoured with little Jenna, including her eyebrows, as he spends time with her up in heaven.¬† Perhaps she tells him things that he already knows, just like any child tells his/her parents, but because he loves her and loves being with her, he arches his eyebrows and says: “Wow! That is so cool! Tell me more.” I can’t imagine what heaven is like, but I know that there are relationships there and I am sure Jenna and Jesus are enjoying theirs.

I sat next to Sarah at the back of church yesterday and watched her ‘talking’ with baby Zoey. Here was Sarah,¬†in her grown-up fullness, totally capable of having scintillating and eloquent conversation with her peers (when she isn’t making fart jokes, that is ūüôā ), taking the time to¬†reciprocate the adoring gaze and precious coos of that helplessly dependent little¬†girl on her lap. It was such a picture to me of our great and glorious and mighty God who steps down from that lofty place to meet us face to face and who takes the time to whisper sweet words in our hearing. And he delights when we return that gaze, and smile up at him.

So I did just that. Right there in church, sitting next to my Sarah friend, I turned the mental gaze of my heart to Jesus and smiled at him.¬† I could feel his pleasure in that simple act of worship, as he smiled back at me.¬†Oh, sometimes¬†I get so complicated and think I need to do this or do that to win God’s approval. But at times like these, I realise that his eyes are on me, his little sparrow, and he¬†simply longs for me to have a relationship with him in spirit and in truth.¬†And he knows every quirk about me, and (gasp) even likes me for it. He is probably enamoured with my eyebrows too. ūüôā

What a precious God we serve.

OK, I am seriously musing now. My intention was simply to post a happy birthday greeting to Jenna. And to tell her that I miss her eyebrows. I miss her.

I cuddled the two younger boys in my big king sized bed this morning. As we lay there, the youngest piped up and expressed something a friend told him at church this weekend. He thought it was weird to celebrate the birthday of a little girl who is not getting older here on earth. I told him that we are not celebrating how old she is, we are celebrating that she WAS born, she WAS here, we were blessed to have her.¬† (We celebrate Christmas, don’t we?) I went on to tell the boy that just about everything is weird about losing a little girl so young. Her things are here, she is not. Her friends are growing up before our eyes, she is conspicuously absent. There is nothing normal about that.

I suspect there are people who think we are making too much of a fuss on Jenna’s birthday. Whatever. We would be remembering her today anyway. I’d rather do it with laughter and ice cream and friends, than alone in sackcloth and ashes.

So, we celebrate. We praise God for a little girl who danced into our lives and sprinkled laughter and love and plenty of pink into our home. We miss her, but we are glad that she came.

Happy birthday, my sweet little Jenna girl.

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When you’re weary…

My dad always tells the story of the guy who got a flat tire¬†on a lonely highway. Far in the distance, he could make out the lights of a farm house. He set off across the fields to go and borrow a jack from the farmer, and as he¬†plodded on¬†he rehearsed in his head¬†how he would ask the farmer for this. He realised it was quite late in the evening. The farmer probably wouldn’t take kindly to being¬†disturbed. ¬†These farm folk are quite set in their ways and the farmer probably wouldn’t even open the door to him, never mind lend him a jack.¬†By the time the man reached the front door of the farm house, he was fuming. When the farmer opened the door the stranded man shouted one sentence to him: “You can just take your jack and shove it, then!” and stormed off.

LOL! I can so be like that man! I have always had this propensity for painting scenarios in my head before anything actually comes to pass. I did not get stranded on a lonely road, nor did I need to ask anyone for help, but the last week or so I had tried to figure out the next valley that I thought God was bringing me to, and tried to see the good in it.

I had, what I thought, (and a nurse friend agreed) were swollen lymph glands. Then, last week I noticed an unmistakeable lump in my side. ¬†I’ve been feeling tired lately. Full of tiny, unexplainable aches and pains.¬† OKKKK…I thought, so my next test would be a real battle for my health. I envisioned myself losing my hair…getting painfully thin…watching my kids and my hubby worry about me…blah blah blah. I know that God doesn’t delight in afflicting his children and that everything he does is redemptive,¬†so I was trying really hard to keep my chin up and trust him, in whatever he does and wherever he leads me. I know everything works together for those who love him and who are called according to his purposes.

But I was scared. I was in a mental battle.  And in the midst of this niggling worry, I hit a real low emotionally.

I went to the doctor today. The “swollen lymph glands” are actually just knots in the muscles around my spine. The lump is a simple fatty deposit thingy. The aches and pains are probably just the beginnings of¬† arthritis, and I am really very well.¬† Talk about getting myself worked up over nothing!

The emotional low lingers though. As I left the doctor’s office, mentally exhausted and deep in thought, a lamp post jumped into the parking lot right in front of me and ding-ed my car badly. Sigh.

I am just a bit out of sorts and find myself missing Jenna and bursting into tears at odd moments.¬† I guess I should take the advice I wrote to a bloggy friend yesterday: We all get weary and feel tapped dry sometimes. Even Jesus got weary and had to sit down to rest. When he did though, he sat on a well. I need to go and sit on the well of God’s living water and allow¬†his sweet presence¬†to wash over me and restore my vision. Everything I need is in Jesus.

In his presence is fullness of joy.

Isa 41:17-18When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none; their tongue fails for thirst, I Jehovah will hear them, I the God of Israel will not leave them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.