Prepare without timeframes!

The year is almost over. One more day and a new year starts with new chances and new possibilities. Interesting thought though, we don’t need a new year for new chances and new possibilities. For some reason we need that ourselves. We need a timeframe that gives us hardship and a new timeframe that brings us blessings, however long that timeframe may be.

For years I would decide, on December 31st, that the new year would be a better year. Every year had some form of hardship in it, so I would decide that the new year would be better. After a couple of years, we, my mother and I, would make a ritual of this. On December 31st we would tell each other, “Next year will be better.” But years came and went and nothing improved. About two years ago I stopped this ritual because it didn’t work anyway. I simply couldn’t timeframe my life. I couldn’t decide for myself that things would get better.

Through the years I have always had the feeling that God directed my life more than I did. For as long as I can remember I have felt that I have zero control over my own life. I made plans and I dreamed dreams but things always turned out so much different.

In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps.
Proverbs 16:9

It felt as if, whatever I decided, God had His own plan for me and His plan would come to completion regardless of what I said or did. I couldn’t predict the future in any way. Exactly a year ago I had no idea that 2018 would turn out the way it did. If I would have known, I would have gone into hibernation, that much is certain. 2018 was a year that shook the foundations of my life and tore everything apart that I was certain of. It was a year where I wrestled with God just like Jacob did,

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
Genesis 32:28

The two big differences between me and Jacob are that I wrestled with God in prayer, and not face-to-face, and second, I don’t have the feeling like I have overcome anything. I have felt angry, hurt, defeated, empty, sad and confused, and not necessarily in that order. I tried to change and negotiate the plan God had but without success.

Was the year only bad? Is my life one huge failure? No! In the last year only, God also answered me. He said, “Honey if  I would explain it to you now, you wouldn’t understand it. But one day I will explain it to you, I promise.” God also taught me to be open and honest with Him about how I feel inside. And there were blessings like meeting Lynn Austin, who told me not to quit writing (something I was highly thinking about). God brought blessings and people in my life when I needed it most.

That’s the thing about life. Blessings and hardships go hand in hand. God is near to the broken-hearted but still feels so far away in times of grieve. God cries with us, gets angry with us and laughs with us but still we so often feel as if He doesn’t care. God is too great for our minds to comprehend and still we try every single day to grasp an inch of Him.
It is not a lack of faith or trust, it is a simple desire to be as close to Him as we possibly can because we know, that He, Jesus Christ, is the only place where we can truly heal and find peace. Someone once said, “You get the angriest at the one you love most”. And in my own case, there is a big truth to that.

We cannot timeframe life. We cannot timeframe a year. We cannot predict the future or change the past. We can only live today. We can only prepare for the future. Just like the ten virgins in Jesus’ parable (Matthew 25), we can only make sure that we have enough oil for our lamps. Read your bible, pray, worship God, use the gifts and talents God gave you and treat everyone with love. That is the only thing we can control. That is the only way we can prepare. We cannot control the year to come, we can only prepare for it. Without any timeframes!

May the Lord bless you and keep you in the new year to come! Have a blessed 2019!

Inside the box

In my life I have always felt that I was different. I felt as if things were never the same for me as they were for others. As a child I tried to blend in and as a teenager even more so. I never had the courage to stand out because I was afraid. Afraid that people would get angry at me. Especially as a teenager I was often excluded, laughed at and at times intimidated. Not just by my peers by also by adults. Trust me when I say, there are certain things that you will never forget.

So out of fear of being excluded, laughed at or hated, I would simply try to blend in. Even when this was not in line with what God would ask from me. God asked me to be a writer – a poet –  but for a long time, I would refuse. Even today I still have moments where I want to give up. These moments are often when people talk behind my back in a negative way and I hear all about it, or when people question me face-to-face. People can be quite convincing. And often I understand their point of view. But then there is God asking something different from me and I get confused about what to do. I remember this one time, when I told my mom: “Life is a battle where it is me and God against the world”. Luckily my mother often listened to me and she would support me in every way that she could. I could really tell her everything because I knew she loved me and I trusted her.

Yet many people are not like my mom. Many people talk behind my back and it is not positive. The prejudices and opinions they have about me are based upon their own insecurity. But still it hurts. Life for me is like living between two fires. The fire of God and the fire of evil. And it is a tough battle.

Still the fire of God is greater. My passion to do God’s will still exceeds everything else. For as long as I can remember I had only one ambition in life; to bring a smile to my Fathers face. And with my Father, I mean God the Father. If I could just put a smile on His face, I would have done the best job that I could possible do. In one of my dreams God said: “the only way that leads to eternity is the small way”. So even if it is difficult to do what God asks you to do, don’t give up. With God everything is possible and God will never leave what He once started. It is better to have faith in God than in people!

Today I wrote a poem about this. It is a poem about my story. I have a huge passion for God the Father, for Jesus and for the Holy Spirit. My love for God makes my heart burst, but so many have tried to stop me through the years. I may be a woman, I may have never been to a prominent bible school or theological study, I may not life up to people’s expectations but I know – with a 100% certainty – that God is greater than my circumstances. God loves me and He will make a way where there is no way. And if you are in the same situation as me? If you feel the same way? Than please know that God is almighty! He loves you! He can and will do amazing things in your life, that may seem impossible. Do not give up! Never! Think outside the box!

Inside the box

Inside the box,
the noose around my neck tightens.
Trying to settle in,
the small nook is too cramped,
and all I want to do,
is to leave this small space.

All eyes tell a different story,
but when they look at me,
all their stories are the same.
Stuck in prejudices and opinions,
war is either neglect,
or fight back.
Who will love me as I am?

Traditions are for keeping,
but not if they suffocate the soul.
When everything is the same,
we are in desperate need of change.
Evolving is teaching yourself to be better,
learning is allowing yourself to grow,
for growth is a never-ending story.

Inside the box,
where I am unable to grow,
I look out into infinity,
where God asks me to live,
in His divine library,
where His great wisdom,
will lead me to eternity.

The rose blooms

The rose blooms

Tears bring forth joy.
Through the ashes of pain,
a rainbow colors the horizon –
hope is a glimmering in the sky.

When pain scars the heart,
screams whisper in silence,
until the earth breaks into an earthquake –
relief is the essence of tears.

An ocean of tears fills one heart,
but only through the sunshine,
the rain falls down like shimmering stars,
and the rose blooms in full bloom.

*When my mother passed away last Friday, I never thought that I would ever be able to write again. For how do you find the words in such times of grieve? How do you find the words when the woman who was your greatest love and support has gone to Jesus?
You don’t. God gives them to show you His presence and everlasting love. I am not alone! And there is a golden light at the horizon!

Between the lines

For the past seven years, I have dedicated my life to writing poetry (and every other word that God gives me). Though I write mostly for myself, I have always had my focus on the reader. What would the reader need most? What would God want the reader to know? And even though this is not a bad concept, I have learned something more valuable over the years.

Over the years I have written over 250 English-languaged poems (and a handful of Dutch ones), give or take. Poems that contain a piece of God and a piece of myself. Whether God quoted it or I wrote it. It has always been a partnership where God receives all the credit. And for me, it works! For me it is the most functional way of working and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

During the years I have been through a lot. Not just the past seven years but ever since childhood. All of these struggles have found a way into my poetry. Don’t misinterpret these words though, because my poetry is not a summery of misery. With the struggles, God always handed me the solutions whether I was ready for it or not. I know the solution can sometimes overwhelm you and make you feel as if you will never be able to accomplish it. Therefore God often gives long-term solutions. Solution you can grow into as time passes by. Every day is a learning process. We are not expected to succeed in a day, week or year. God knows how long we need and that is the exact time he gives us.

Since my poetry has always treasured the solutions, they have always been my greatest comfort in times of need. Whenever I felt sad, lonely, frustrated or confused, the Holy Spirit would most often lead me to my own poetry. Between the lines I fely comfort, answers, peace and the love of my Heavenly Father. Reading these poems and feeling the great comfort they bring me, even though I wrote them myself, installed a greater understanding deep within my soul.

‘When the work you do for God heals you more than others, you’ve done something right!’

Isn’t it true that when God calls us to work in His Kingdom, we are so extremely focused on others. We need to save the world, heal mankind and bring them safe and sound into the arms of Jesus. But what if Jesus has a greater message for us than for others through the work we do? Aren’t we missing out on something?

I see so many of us make that mistake. We are so focussed on teaching that we forget to be taught. We are so focused on helping that we forget to be helped. We are so focussed on loving that we forvet to be loved. We so easily forget ourselves. How wonderful it is to know that even though we forget ourselves, God does not. He sees us and loves us. And through His everlasting love He wants to teach us every day, face to face, in the most personal way. And sometimes we don’t need to cross oceans to find it. The greatest lessons we learn are in our own handwriting. All we need is to be reminded of it.