Wednesday 28 July 2021

Finally, a New Home!

 Seven years ago, I started praying for a new home. The crazy thing is, we don't often think much about timing when it comes to moving or finding a home, as much as we consider timing when it comes to many other things, like our purpose or calling. But somehow, God never released us into a new home until this month. All these many years later. If there's one thing I know, it's that sometimes the things our Father decides to do, defies logic and understanding. But that's the beauty of faith. It suspends meaning. And as people of faith, we forfeit control by allowing there to be no understanding in situations which call for it. Or we risk attaching the wrong meaning to our situations.

Moving has been a deep journey. Ten years of living in one home almost placed us in a comfort zone, which wasn't very comfortable at all. We lived in a close complex, sadly one of the needs within South Africa, is the need to be safe. So we are often found living in security villages, which put you in close contact with your neighbours and if your neigbours aren't very nice, well, you are basically in hell. Our story. We had a restraining order against our downstairs neighbours (thankfully they moved away eventually), we were physically attacked by another neighbour and basically routinely victimised because lawlessness, selfish and evil heartedness prevailed within our security village and we refused to bow our knee to it.

Fast forward..

As I sit in the quiet solitude of a large home, with its high ceilings, in a beautiful suburb in a neighbourhood where the neighbours greet, and help one another, where the birds never stop chirping and the cool breeze blows from the sea, I feel released, and blessed. The years of living in that home, have taken its toll on my soul. Of that I have become aware. Yet in the 4 weeks of finally settling in to a new home, a new space and a new rhythm, I've learnt a lot. And I have truly come home. We moved back to the neighbourhood I grew up in, with the beautiful familiar sights and sounds. Our beloved Table Mountain can be seen from our home and it never fails to mesmerise me. 

Ive learnt about yearning and pulling. The reality of feeling a pull towards "coming back home." We always knew this was where we would be, we felt it spiritually. And God made it happen. When you feel a deep spiritual something indescribable pulling you towards something, it's because there's destiny written all over it. The invisible string that connected us towards this pulling, brought us home.

God can do in 1 day, what could take you many years. Eighteen months ago, we drove around in this very suburb (and it's a small suburb), almost like spies looking at the houses. In this very suburb we prayed, "Father release a home to us right here." We had complete belief in the Goodness of His Heart. The absolute conviction that He is a good Father. In March, we received a call from a family member who never knew we wanted to move. They were moving, thought of us, and offered us the opportunity to rent the home they were vacating. Where? In the neighbourhood we prayed in. There are no coincidences.

 A comfort zone is fear based. Even though we were desperate for the move, we were afraid at times. And almost risked giving up the blessings that waited for us on the other side. When we defaulted in to seeing things with our natural eyes, we risked almost giving up what was intended for us. This is such a HUGE lesson! One I am still pondering deeply. Thankfully, Yahweh knew our humanness and never let us slip, going ahead and doing wonders. His peace guided us like a very strong light, it never moved or failed, never left us, or let us down. We are here, because He was guiding the whole process. 

When we are blessed, others are blessed. Friends have been joining with us in prayer for many years. We had shared with a small number of friends about our hardships and our desire to move. They were our prayer warriors, and our voices of encouragement. Because of their love and prayers, we are here as well. And now our home, is their home too. Our blessings, help them know God is still good and they can trust Him for their own dreams. Deeper still, we've shared meals and conversations around our dining room table with more friends and family in a single month then we usually have before. That's because this space is a home. And we want to share it with the ones we love. A few months back, someone I know was praying for us and saw a picture of people coming in to our home who needed a touch of love and peace. She told me she saw many people refreshed as we welcomed them in. These words are unfolding. Naturally and without hesitation.

It's a journey. We look around and feel the gratitude, it's deep because we know what we went through to get here. Yet, for me personally I also know how my body has held the score of the years of trauma we lived through in an environment which felt unsafe emotionally, and mentally. No, we weren't living in a dangerous neighbourhood, in fact it's one of the most upmarket neighbourhoods in the Cape. But it is oppressed and depraved, and the richer people are, the more they demand licentious right, to everything and anything. I'm taking the time to heal, knowing that everything - light, sound, environment, and people all effect our cells. Since moving, there are mornings and afternoons I've felt the Holy Spirit beckon  me to lean in deeply, in to the silence that charaterises the environment where we live. Leaning in to this silence, has meant realising I am safe. As a child, my home was never silent, there was always fighting. My brain was always scanning for danger. It was the same where we used to live, people were always gossiping, or complaining, arguing or intimidating others. Your brain scans for clues of fear. Now, God is showing me that's no longer the reality, there is a silence that is calming. I am safe. Of this, I am still learning.

So we are settling. And it's beautiful.

Friday 29 January 2021

A Multi - Faceted Design

 Writing with Five Minute Friday this week! GO!

Everyone has their own unique design.

A way of living, a way of being, our personalities and giftings shaping our purposes and destiny. Some of those ways and some of our giftings come to us slowly slowly. They awaken at certain times, like a long stretching and a smiling after a good nights sleep. I used to think, I'd always know my purpose and my clear path ahead, if I knew my giftings. There's truth in this to be sure. My writing gene was etched in to me and began awakening when I was just 5 years old. My speaking gift and my calling to be a radio presenter and public speaker, well that was a gift I don't think I ever had, until I had to have it.

I was content with the write life, and earnestly wanting to grow as a writer. Until, I was nudged forward by God to speak. I had a fear of public speaking and prayed I would never have to speak in public. Yet, it was where God wanted me to be. He weaned me, nurtured me and helped me forward. It's not about the sound of our voice, or even the words we speak - it's the sheer belief I needed. The belief to know this was where I was called to be. This gift and calling, gradually awakening. Possibly there in childhood, but very dormant and unawakened. It's the Most High who nurtures our giftings, and teaches us what they are - giving us gifts incrementally throughout our lives. And who knows - what gift we will find within ourselves tomorrow? Or which gift we may discover we have even now, they might be the ones we grapple with, or don't think we have...! 


Linking Up with Five Minute Friday

Friday 15 January 2021

FMF - View From the Porch

 Joining with Five minute Friday, for a therapeutic 5 minutes of free writing from the heart...

I remember reading the posts, humorous as they were. Tread in to 2021 lightly, look around, and don't touch anything because who knows what we will get. Now two weeks in, our humour has turned into prophecy, almost. 

 While driving home from the store today, I was thinking about the way we usually enter a new year.

By this time, people are hustling and setting those goals, working hard, planning for their dreams. It's a time to think fresh thoughts and dream new dreams and yet so much of what we face looks so much like yesteryear. I paused to pray with my weary heart, the same things tumbling over one another. My concerns for my friends, my family, concerned for my self. Always praying for safety and health. And turning to God with all these thoughts, what of today and tomorrow and these fears. The weariness of it all.

There is no voice booming down from heaven, no scripture or phone call. There's just a simple sense of Abba drawing near. Just sitting in the now beside me. Bigger than me, so I am comforted in the arms of a Giant. This discomfort remains somewhat, but these questions are safe, extended in the arms of a Giant God. Just here. With me. Looking out on to my horizon, to understand the view from my inner porch. Just here,with me....


Linking with Five Minute Friday

Wednesday 13 January 2021

Eep was the Heroine I needed to See

If I followed a timeline of new release films, I'd say I came late to the party when it came to watching The Croods when it first released back in 2013.

Looking back, I don't think I came late at all, I don't think I would have been able to comprehend the message I needed to understand, all those year ago. So I watched The Croods just this month, the first one and than the second one. I was struck with an important message about womanhood and matriarchy as I followed the journey of this family. If you haven't yet watched the film, sorry for the spoilers, but maybe you need some of this insight before watching these films.

The Croods family is the last "cave" family left in the known world and the way they survive the truly prehistoric, dangerous world they live in, is to stay in their dark, empty black cave. The family has survived for the most part, because of Grug the very strong caveman father whose sole mission on earth is to take care of his family. Undoubtedly Grug's strength is so necessary in this world they inhabit, but his strength is completely born out of fear. His wife Ugga is strong, so is Gran, and Sandy the baby of the family. Thunk the son is a actually very much a modern day teenage boy, who complies with his father, is lazy, and will eventually (in the second film), become addicted to the window (something we'd understand to be an ancient TV). And then there's Eep! 

She's the oldest sibling, with her fiery red hair and tiger skin halter dress, she's filled with the wonder and desire to step out of the cave, in to the unknown. Her father calls it curiosity, in essence it's independence and wonder outside of fear. 

Everyone of us have experienced the pull of independence within our teenage years. Those years felt full of pushing and pulling, as our parents still tried to reign us in but we yearned to fly. But For Eep there's more. It's not just the pull of teenage years, Eep is the foil for her father Grug. In fact, Eeps curiosity saves the family as the continents shift and the world as they known it changes. Eep pushes her family to think differently, and eventually she leads them to a boy she meets named Guy. He's advanced in thought, and ideas, he's very much a modern guy (excuse the pun). But in opposition, Eep is filled with both inner and outward strength. 

She's the heroine I needed to see when I was young, the one millennial girls never grew up seeing. 

She saves the day and saves the guy, in this poignant scene I cannot get enough of. Her holding Guy with her one hand and a rope in her other as they dangle across a bottomless hole about to be murdered by a monster. 

While the patriarch has dominated the scene, it is not another male who will become the protagonist of survival, it's a woman, it's Eep. She is the future, and she is the rightful leader. Everything points to this, her father has to learn to see it.

In the second Croods film, the wives and daughters led by Gran - who loves talking about the tribe of warrior women she used to lead, ultimately save all the men. This is not a way of saying women do not need men, it's a way of saying, we have to be who we were created to be. 

Some women are born to be leaders in various capacities, and some men are needed as leaders as well. It's about learning to work together, and being humble enough to accept that female leadership is Divinely Ordained and historically rejected. And perhaps the bigger narrative in the Croods is the one beneath the surface in the first film but glaringly obvious in the second, matriarchy is needed within this world. When it is not given space, it will grow regardless, and when it grows it will be a holy force for Life. The empowerment of women to be who and what they were created to be, should be coupled with teaching men how to live with that empowerment and to see it as a force for the goodness of this earth.

With fresh heroines like Eep, our daughters are witnessing what it means to be fully yourself, (I love how happy she is when Guy calls her heavy - a truth we need to internalize that beauty standards are shaped by culture and exposure). These were not the kinds of heroines I saw growing up, and perhaps it shaped my generation's thinking of what it meant to date, and what kind of guy we were all looking for. This is changing (yes please!) and it needs to. The world is changing, our generation is changing and the divine calling for the next generation will be a different one. God is trusting us to model; equality, togetherness and co - rulership on this earth. Grugg is needed, but so too  more than ever, is Epp...