Nothing can separate us from God’s love!

The thursday before easter we heard that my mother has cancer and that there was no cure for her. Hearing something as horrible as this made me feel as if the floor underneath my feet disappeared and I fell into this huge hole. Unfair is a word I have used often. I just didn’t understand why this had to happen (I still don’t). In my prayers I negotiated, asked questions, pleaded, tried to make deals, anything that would turn this situation around. The moment I realized that it didn’t work, I simply got angry.

I know that it is unfair to blame God that things like this happen. They happen to everybody so why not to someone in my family? (I got this response a lot!) Even though I know that it is true, it didn’t satisfy my soul. In my opinion God could heal my mom, He still can. What made me angry is that He just didn’t do it. My life never turned out the way it was planned and after everything that had already happened, God allowed this to happen also. After all the rejections, bullying, disappointments, loneliness and hurt, I am losing my mother to this horrible disease. It was the final straw. I never complained about my situation, always tried to do the best to my abilities and I always followed God in everything He asked of me. We didn’t deserve this!

At some point my anger intensified so much that I stopped talking to God all together. I did pray but I only spoke the absolute necessary words. “Lord bless this food and forgive my sins, amen”. Or I simply prayed the ‘Our Father’ prayer. But talking personally was out of the question. If God didn’t listen to a word I was saying anyway, if He didn’t answer my prayers, then why would I even bother?

I kept this up for a week. Then one morning, right before I wanted to say a short prayer for breakfast, I audibly heard God’s voice. He said, “Gineke, please talk to me”! He was listening after all. Just because He didn’t answer, didn’t mean that He didn’t listen. God heard every word. Initially I thought, fine, if you want me to talk, I can talk. My first prayers after that week of silence consisted of yelling. All my anger was thrown at God’s feet. My feelings of unjust, disappointment and down right rage where fired straight at God’s heart. But the funny thing is that the more I screamed at God, the calmer I became. Until the screaming became talking, and the words became tears. I admit to saying things to God that I now regret. As my anger slipped away, a feeling of remorse slowly trickled into my heart. God didn’t deserve my anger. He didn’t deserve the blame. Still He listened to every single word.

Last saturday, again before breakfast, I was sitting in the living room. Suddenly I felt the presence of God the Father, as clear as the light of day, in the room. The Father walked over to me, laid His hand on the crown of my head and kissed my head. I whispered, “I love you, I really do”. And the Father answered, “I know”. Where I doubted God’s love for me, He never doubted mine. Where I thought that God wasn’t even listening, God was doing much more. He didn’t just listen. He also looked straight into my heart. God observed every single part of me so intently because He knew exactly what I was going through.

All of this opened my eyes. Often Christians say that we have to praise God and we are not allowed to get angry at Him. We have to obey Him, honor Him and keep our mouth shut about pathetic little things. Only worship! But God wants much more than worship. He wants a personal relationship with us. This means that we have to open ourselves up completely before Him. We can praise and worship God all we like but if we still hold a grudge against Him, our praise is worthless! God rather wanted me to yell at Him than that I kept my feeling to myself. God wanted to hear how I felt because He understood, and still understands, my pain. God knows how difficult my life is. How much I long for my mother to be healed. How much I long for a future and a hope, for a life of joy and worship. He knows that I am still waiting for Him to make His promises to me come true. He knows the tears of my heart. But keeping silent is not making anything better. We have to learn to open ourselves up completely, dirt and all.

If you are angry at God, disappointed, hurt, sad and you haven’t said it to Him yet. If you feel that God is to Holy, to Almighty, to receive you anger and hurt, and therefore you remain silent. If you are hiding your real feeling towards God by a mask of praise then please hear me out. God wants to know how you really feel! God is strong enough to take your anger and your pain! God understands so much more than you think! And His love is so astoundingly big that nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, can make it go away! Not even your greatest anger. And after the anger, you find that the praise and worship is deeper than it ever was before. Open your heart up for God, yell, scream cry or laugh. Don´t hold anything back. God completely understands you! He loves you!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8: 38-39

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