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.

Enough is enough!

This morning I was thinking about insecurity in life and faith because it is something that I experience at times and I know that so many others do to. So often we are looking at the great teachers, speakers and writers of today and we feel less than them. They seem to have it all figured out. Their wisdom seems incessantly and somewhere deep inside of us, we feel like they are better Christians than we are. They are smarter, know the answers we don’t know, understand things we don’t understand and so many people follow their lead, so they must be “perfect”. In our own insecurity we follow their lead, read their books and listen to what they have to say in order to be as good as them. But our insecurity does not go away. Instead we search harder, try harder and we spend more time finding what we don’t have. This does not happen to everybody of course but I know some of you will recognize themselves in this. And these people, me included, are wondering why we cannot be as good as them. How come they understand everything and I am stuck with so many questions, such doubt, such emotional struggles. When do I reach the end of my search for perfect faith, like they have seemed to reach theirs?

Our faith, as James tells us in James 1 (Holy Bible) is like the sea. One moment it is low tide and the other it is high tide but it is never in balance. The storms come and go, waves grow bigger and smaller but our faith is unstable. To many questions and doubt rush through our minds. Our search for strength, peace and stability seems to go on, while others seem so much stronger than we are.

We have become like beachcombers. We keep searching for the one gem, that one answer to all our questions. We have prayed about it, asked for help, read books, visited conferences and services, we tried worship and we listened to so many family, friends, preachers and speakers that we lost count. But the search does not come to an end. We never stop and be satisfied with what we already have. It is never enough. It can always be better. We do try to be grateful and peaceful but our eyes keep spying the beach for more new treasures.

When are we enough?

Of course it is important to keep working on your life, faith and interaction with one another, but when is it enough? We are like a desert. We drink the water we receive but before the bottle is empty we are already searching for the next because we are still thirsty. Just knowing Jesus and His love for us isn’t enough anymore. We want more…we need more.

When we keep comparing ourselves to others – Christians, speakers, teachers, writers etc. – we miss out on a great truth;

Jesus is already enough. He is all we need!

When are we going to realize that Jesus loves us the way we are? Jesus doesn’t expect us to be a certain way or act a certain way. He doesn’t want us to be like everybody else. Jesus loves us for who He created us to be. All He wants is for us to realize that His love is enough. He is enough! Jesus wants a relationship with you. A personal one where you stop worrying about what the lady in row six at church might think about you and the way you love Jesus! Jesus loves you with your flaws and perfections. He loves the beautiful person that He created you to be.

God created us all in a different way. We are all unique and beautifully made but for many of us that is not enough. We don’t feel enough. We see the way others live their faith and we get jealous. We look at ourselves and see a million mistakes and we wonder, maybe I didn’t pray enough, maybe I need to read my bible more often or maybe we didn’t lift our hands high enough in the air during worship. Maybe Jesus missed us and we just weren’t visible enough. Maybe we just have to try a little harder and be a bit more perfect. Maybe than Jesus will notice us. Maybe then we will be good enough.

So when are we going to realize that we already are enough? When are we going to stop searching on the beach for more treasures than we need. When are we going to stop, stand still and enjoy the beautiful view ahead of us? When are we going to see what is already there?

When are we going to see the view of a Savior who loves us?

All you need to focus on in life is Jesus’ love for you. His love is all that matters. It is all you need. It is important to pray, read your bible and spend time with fellow believers but don’t lose track of the most important thing that you already have; the love of Jesus! Not a soul can take His love away from you. You get it for free and there is nothing that you need to do to earn it. The love of Jesus is free and available. We don’t have to search for it because it is already there. It will help us, guide and sustain us through everything in life. The love of jesus is enough and in His love, so are we!

 I (the Apostle Paul) pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me, but he (Jesus) has told me, “My grace is all you need, because my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most happily boast about my weaknesses, so that the Messiah’s power may rest on me. That is why I take such pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for the Messiah’s sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12: 8 – 10.

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!

Sea angels

It was in May 2016 when I stood at a beach in Normandy with my parents. The sky was grey and the wind was blowing. It was cold. Looking out across the Atlantic Ocean, something happened inside my soul. It felt as if the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. As if, for the first time in a long time, someone understood how I felt. I was not alone that day. Not only the Holy Spirit was with me, but I felt the presence of numerous angels around me. As if Heaven wanted to reassure me that I was not alone. There is someone who understands my heart and my emotions, even when I don’t understand it myself.

Although I am not fan of sunbathing at a crowded beach, or sunbathing in general, I do like to stroll across the beach. Especially on windy days when the beaches are mostly empty and you can only hear your own thoughts. I love seeing the outstretched beach and the endless ocean in front of me. No end and no beginning. It just is. Water is always moving. It never rests. Besides oceans I also love creeks and lakes. I remember as a child on summer holidays that we would spend our sundays at small creeks or lakes in Switzerland, France and Austria. The peace that these days brought to me, I will never forget. They now remain a very happy memory that I can visit whenever I want.

Water is happiness and peace but also turmoil. In the endless oceans often appear vortexes. today’s oceans are covered in plastic. So even though the ocean is a happy place full of wonder, imagine sea life, it is also a broken place. Maybe that is what connected me with the ocean that day in May. Maybe that is what the Holy Spirit tried to point out to me. Just like the sea being restless, so am I. An ongoing energy that can experience happiness and turmoil, I am broken. Restless. Not unhappy but a constant flow between the two.

That day my heart found a peaceful place where the Holy Spirit connected with me. The words He gave me still hold a special place in my heart. Every time I read it, I still feel that this is exactly how I feel. Restless. But the comfort that there is Someone who knows how I feel and understands it, it such a comfort! God knows how I feel. He understands it. When Jesus was on earth, He experienced the same feelings and emotions as every human being experiences them. So we can be assured that Jesus knows exactly how we feel. And sometimes we just have to be made aware of that. It is a good thing that we have the Holy Spirit to point it out to us once in a while. to point out that we are not alone and that our feelings and emotions in that particular moment are completely understood. life is broken, happy and in turmoil at the exact same time. But God knows how we feel. And that is an enormously gracious gift which God the Father gave us. Something to be thankful for.

These are the words that came to me that day:
Sea Angels

A letter from God the Father

Yesterday and today God the Father has given me a letter in poetry. Normally I don’t post these kind of poems/pieces because it is very personal. Today however I made the decision to share a recent one with you. I made this decision because I am fully aware that, what God the Father shared with me, can help many others as well. There are many people with hurt, grieve, questions and pain searching for comfort and love. And God the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ, can give you just that. I am merely the vessel, a messenger that wants to share God’s love with the world, the only way I know how…writing. In particular poetry.
I hope these words will help you, comfort you and surround you with God’s everlasting love. I pray they will strengthen you and bring peace.

A letter from your Father

Your heart is broken.
Like a porcelain cup,
your soul lays shattered,
on the marble floor,
of a palace that was once,
your home.

Like a child in the arms of his mother,
I want to take you in Mine,
rocking you to sleep in My love,
for your tears are hurting Me!

Have I gone too far, I wonder?
Has your image blurred in My sight?

Your thoughts are unanswered questions –
pieces of an incomplete puzzle.
Longing for the full picture,
you fire arrows at Me,
to confiscate the truth.

Unhurt is the heart of an unaware soul,
but safety will not protect you from sorrows.
In the stillness of My heart I cry for you,
counting the days until I can bring you back home.

In this maze we are running towards each other,
and with open arms I will catch you in your flight.

Do not try to find the answers My child,
but let the answers find its way to you.
Do not be sad My child,
for how can I forget My own heart?
The pain inflicted on you,
could never rob you out of My arms!

I hold you tight in the storm,
and tell you for once and for all,
that I will never let you go!

The world may be a stranger to you,
unaware of the beauty of your soul.
Darling, they don’t know you like I do!

Remember that love cannot be forced,
it can only be found in unexpected places.
Embrace the places of love,
and let go of the indifference towards you.

Open the door of your heart,
so love and light can find its way in.
Grieve is a temporary companion,
that you have hold on to for too long.
Allow Me to take its place instead.
Let Me take the pain,
to exchange it for My love.

The world cannot change who you are,
so do not fear their judgement.
Find peace in who I made you to be –
in the love I carry in My heart.

Spread your wings and fly, My child,
and find shelter in the shadows of My own wings.

My love for you is unexplainable in words,
uncountable like the stars in the universe.
Live out of My love,
let it be the food you eat,
and the air you breath,
for it is there where you will find your peace.

My child, I could go on an infinity longer,
but let this be enough.
Let this letter be the fuel to your heart,
where you will never give up.
Keep on writing for Me, My dearest child,
for the world has you for a reason.
Never lose sight of your purpose,
and live your life with love.

Always and forever,
I AM,
your Father.

Let me be

Let me be

Give me peace, Lord,
give me peace!
Let me be,
let me stay.
Love and embrace,
the creation of Your hand!

Let me be,
simply me,
both for You,
and for me.
Let me be,
Let me be Yours!

Let me be,
happy in me,
poor and free,
let me be,
me in You,
and You in me,
Let me be,
Always Yours!

Give me love, Lord,
give me love,
both for You,
and those around me,
Let me love,
Just like You,
Let me be,
Simply me,
Let me be love!

 

I wrote this poem a couple of years back and it still touches me, every time I read it. It feels like a caterpillar in a cocoon impatiently waiting to come out of his shell. I wrote it straight from the heart. And I think that every single one of us, one way or another, holds back. There are only a handful of people truly able to be who they really are for 100%. So I think it is a great message for all of us. It is time to crawl out of our own handmade cocoon and be the butterfly that God created us to be. Even when this is easier said than done. How difficult the road may be, or might have been, I believe there is always a way back to our true self. We don’t ever lose ourselves! Sometimes we just decided to step away for a while only to realize that who we really are was the best option after all. When you are at that place in your life where you feel like going back to your roots, let me encourage you! Don’t hesitate and don’t let fear stop you. And if necessary, allow someone to help you (a family member, a friend, someone from church, a team mate from your sport club or a therapist). Together you are always stronger than alone. And other people might have a view that you haven’t seen yet.

Let Love be your guidance!

A shield of faith

The poem ‘A shield of faith’ was the very first poem that I wrote after my seven year break (read the ‘About me’ section of my page!). It is based on Ephesians 6:10-20. Writing this first poem after such a long time, felt like someone breathed fresh air into my lungs. As if someone gave me back my life! Poetry is my thing. It makes me happy. It inspires me. And it is a way for me and God (the Father, Jesus & The Holy Spirit) to communicate. Poetry ended up becoming so much more than I ever thought it would be. It truly was God’s gift for me.

I hope this poem will inspire you too!

Shield of Faith

Many arrows I saw coming
Of hurt and grief and pain
A deep and evil longing
Planted deep within my vein

One mistake was all it took
One misstep so to say
An isolated broken look
at a world so far away

The only One who had compassion
Who saw the truth so deep inside
Loved me with the greatest passion
And told me not to hide

A shield was what He gave to me
to protect me from the flames
A shield of faith to set me free
from all the painful shames

The shield of faith is for protection
The helmet sets you free
The sword is His affection
He prays for you and me

A work in progress!

The other day I was visiting a friend of mine to meet her newborn baby. It is her fourth child and the sweetest little thing, as most babies are! I showed her my blog and she asked me a question. “Do you do all of the things you write about yourself”? “Yes I do”, I told her, “but I am still a work in progress though”. It is good to have a friend like her! A friend that is honest with you and not afraid to ask the right questions. I try to do everything I write about, however I am only human. Sometimes I am better at it, then other times. Especially when my fear is getting in the way.

When I was in my early twenties, I was diagnosed, by a psychologist, with a general anxiety disorder. After I had therapy, it died down until a year and a half ago. I had a traumatizing experience at the dentist and ever since it is back in full force. Again I am fighting a high dosis of fear every day. A fear that was almost gone. I know, with the help of God, that I can overcome this fear but it takes a lot of patience. And patience is one of my weak spots. Often I want to rush things when I should actually take it easy. I want things to happen right away, when God asks me to wait.

Fear will always be a part of my life…unfortunately. However often I have prayed for healing, it is something that I have come to terms with. After all, Jesus was afraid too when He was praying in Gethsemane garden! Right before Jesus was taken captive, He prayed to His Father if the cup could be taken from Him. Or in modern day language, if He could please be spared from what was awaiting Him. You know, many people say that Jesus was not afraid anymore after that. That after that prayer, He knew what to do and He did it without fear because He knew His journey. But you know what, I believe that He was still afraid. I don’t think the fear left Him. I believe that He simply decided to go through with it, regardless of His fear. And with the fear in His hands, He climbed on that cross. His love was bigger than His fear.

His love being bigger than His fear is something that I recognize. When I like what I have to do, it is easier than when I have to do something I don’t like. When your heart is passionate for something, fear reduces to a tiny flame, making it easier to do it. But the tiny flame becomes a huge fire when your heart is not fully in on it. Of course there is a difference between a healthy fear, like before a speaking engagement, or a fear that goes through the roof. Sometimes I can control my fear but there are also moments that I cannot.

For example, after the traumatizing experience at the dentist, I tried to ignore my fear for a long time. I went to the dentist again and even though I had a much better experience, the fear was so big that I could not control it anymore. The trick that God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit taught me is; with patience and relaxation you can overcome it. The fear never goes away overnight. This is a fact that I have to be fully aware of, but it will go away in the end. This thought gives me a lot of peace already. The second step I take is becoming rational. I tell myself to calm down. Jesus loves me and there is nothing on earth more important than that. I also skip things from my agenda when I feel in my heart that I need time for myself. To plan moments of calmth is very important. I am not superwoman. I cannot do everything and that is okay. My life is not easy and God is keeping a lot of things away from me, like a family. Just because I am not married and I don’t have children, does not mean that my life is easier. I have not been requested to do it all, but to do what I can. I focus on my talents and gifts and not on what I am not good at. But the biggest of all remains patience! With a lot of patience, and a lot of faith I overcome my fear. I cannot let it go away but I can make it smaller and that gives me room to breath.

Life remains a battle. Yet in this battle it is good to remind ourselves of one very important thing. Jesus love for us is everything! It is more important than our fear. And with that in mind we can overcome anything. Jesus’s love makes me get up every morning. Just the thought that, besides Jesus, I have a Father in Heaven who loves me so much, makes me want to try again. Of course I am not capable of doing everything. Like I said, I am not superwoman. There are some things that I am, and never will be, good at. But that is okay. God accepts me for who I am. And if I do the same; if I work hard and focus on the gifts and talents that the Father, in all His goodness, gave me, it will all work itself out in the end. Fear may be an ever present companion but at least I can shut him up whenever he talks to much!

Freedom of religion

In today’s world it is all about the self. It is something like a quest to become to ultimate person that you can be. An adventure to become the perfect version of yourself through mindfulness and spiritual living. And something about that bothers me.

Spirituality probably means something different for me than for you. For me, spirituality is the fear of naming exactly what you believe in. In other words, one believes there is something but what that something is, is a bit unclear, however, it is centered inside yourself. To me, spirituality is something vague. Something I cannot grasp. Like a thick fog that you try to materialize. And it focuses only on the self. The self is you as a person. You focus on yourself and what is inside yourself and you try to make that perfect.
Now there is a fine line between religion and spirituality to me. Where a religious person is more or less spiritual, a spiritual person is not religious. It is a confusing matter that I will most likely never truly understand.

Personally I believe in God the Father – Creator of Heaven and earth, God of Israel – Jesus Christ – Son of God, Savior of the world – and the Holy Spirit. Because I believe in this, I call myself a christian and therefore I am religious. I believe that God is always with me and lives in my heart, so inside of me, as the Holy Spirit. Because I believe this, I am Spiritual. I believe in something inside myself. However I can name what I believe in so I am not spiritual but religious.
Spiritual people believe there is something…a God…something they call the universe, but what exactly it is remains a bit vague. It is not like they believe in the planets or the solar systems but they don’t believe in God as in Jesus either. No wait, that is not entirely true because they believe Jesus was a great teacher. But not the Son of God. This universe is inside of themselves like an energy. An energy you can influence with a bit of work. (This is what I understand so far with the information that I found!)

First of all, I have absolutely nothing against spiritual people. I believe we have all been given a choice in life and it is not op to me to judge your choice. Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2) So it is better not to judge at all. Besides Jesus also said, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 3:34-35). Jesus did not exclude certain groups of people from His love. With Jesus everyone is welcome. The same should be with us (christians), we should love regardless of who it is, standing in front of you. This is exactly what I try to do each day. And I will be honest enough to say that I do not always succeed in that.

So why bring this up?

Well the reason I start about the fine line between religious and spiritual people is, because in recent years I noticed a lot of “hate” against religious people. Every single time there was a terrorist attack, the blame was given to religious people, because somehow all religious people are bad. Read Facebook only. Just scroll down to the comment section underneath a news message and there are enough people claiming that it is the fault of religion. If religions would not exist, we would live in a world of peace, they say (at least in Holland they do). Because of this, I have noticed a shift. People are turning towards spirituality to believe in something. Spiritualism is on the rise. I cannot say with 100% confidence that this is out of fear, but the blame towards religions has something to do with it, I believe.

But why is a religion so bad? Not every person on this earth is the same! People act from the heart and every heart is sinful. There is not one person on this planet that has never made one mistake. We all do. We all screw up at times. This is not because we are religious but because we are human. It is the same with people who commit terroristic attacks. They act, not out of religion, but because their heart is evil. Religion has nothing to do with it.

So why is there such a negative outlook on religions. It is an answer I cannot give. It is a matter that I don’t understand either. But one thing I do know! I am not going to stop believing in whatever I want to believe. It is my choice to believe in Jesus as the Son of God. Just as I respect people who do not believe in Jesus, I expect the same respect back!

It is the same with Jewish people. Just look at how much they are persecuted because of being Jewish! It is outrageous! Not all Jewish people are the same! Yes some may make very poor choices in life, but many are friendly and kind. Strong people who try to live their faith/religion in peace. And yet they have to pay the price for it daily.

Why can we not accept and respect people regardless of what they believe? Why do we all have to become afraid of our religion? I believe in a freedom of religion. In a freedom to believe the way you want to believe. But that can only happen if we learn to treat people with dignity and respect. I also believe in a freedom of religion for the entire world. In Holland I am not so much bothered with being a christian but in so many other countries there are christians who have to meet in secret. If they get caught, they can either face jail or death. And the law in that country often states death.

Let us fight for peace! Let us fight for freedom of religion or spirituality or whatever it is you believe in. In order to establish peace, we first have to learn to love, because only love creates peace. Treat people with love regardless of what they look like or believe in. Everybody deserves to be loved. But that love starts with ourselves. We cannot make other people behave differently, but through our behavior and deeds we can make a difference.

Like I said, I have nothing against spirituality but I hope that in the future, we do not have to turn to spirituality in order to believe in something. I hope it will not become a mask of fear. Spirituality is a beautiful thing but so is religion. And whether we understand each other or not, let us always meet each other with love and kindness.