From Death to life

Three years ago I traveled to the province Thüringen in Germany with my parents. During our stay we visited concentration camp Buchenwald. Buchenwald touched me in such an emotional way that it inspired me in more ways than I could ever imagine.

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Buchenwald still has a few buildings that give a vivid picture of what it must have looked like back in the days. One building houses the ovens, another shows the pictures of what happened there. Jews, gypsies, christians even that were undressed and shaved and divided amongst the camp. Pictures that brought tears to your eyes.

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Yet all the barracks are gone. One barrack was recreated by pictures.  This was a hospital barrack where sick were tended to, but it isn’t the original. On the places where the barracks used to be are stones. The stones outline the places where the barracks used to be and they are filled with gravel stones.

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As I was walking across the grounds, I noticed flowers growing between the rocks. This surprised me. A place where life seemed to be impossible, a place of rocks, housed a group of dandelions. I know that dandelions are seen as weed but to me they are flowers. And the symbolism of these pretty little flowers growing between the rocks blew me away.

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When dandelions die, they change from yellow flowers into white flowers with uncountable seeds that blow away on the wind. Kids love to pick these flowers and blow the seeds onto the wind. The seed fly away and land on other grounds where the produce a new flower. The death of a dandelion in never the end, it is a brand new beginning for uncountable new flowers.

The symbolism or message that God gave me is that death is never the end. Just like the dandelions. The People who survived the camps have been given a new life. Where Hitler tried to wipe the Jews from the face of the earth, God took the few ones left to create a brand new nations. The destruction from humankind cannot stop God from creating beautiful new beginnings. One person is one dandelion. Through our trials and struggles we become uncountable seeds that create new life all across the world.
Even if Hitler would have killed all the Jews, God only needed one to create a brand new nation just like He did with Abraham. When God called Abraham, Abraham did not have children. In fact his wife Sarah was not even able to have children. Yet God took this hopeless situation and turned it into a story of hope. Abraham became the father, the patriarch, of more children then all the stars in the sky and the sand of the ground.

The flowers growing between the rocks inspired me to write the poem ‘A Flower of Hope’. It taught me that even the most hopeless situation is the beginning of new hope, new life and new beginnings. It is a message that I still need today, every day of my life. And a message that can give the world, a world that houses so many people who lost hope, new hope, new life and a new beginning. For God death is never the end but a brand new and hopeful beginning!

Flower of Hope
(The poem in the picture, see below)

A Flower of Hope

Through the rocks,
of earthy ashes,
grows new life,
that gives us hope.
To wipe the tears,
through deep suffering,
from innocent children,
of God the Father.

Without a thought,
the rocks were broken,
leaving the pieces,
of worthy crystals,
out in the open.
Washed away,
by the cold icy rain.
Nobody saw,
too little cared,
and now it flutters,
into oblivion.

Yet God left a sign,
for the world to see,
the worthy lives,
of His loving people.
There in the rocks,
of the oblivion,
grows a flower,
to give us hope,
of a new,
and better life.

 

Blinded

As I was walking my dog one day, looking at the sun, the words simply poured into my heart. As soon as I came home, I wrote them down and called it ‘Blinded’. I hope you like it!

Blinded

If you look into the sun,
the sun will blind you.
But if you risk the chance of being blinded,
you can clearly see what the sun is made of.

If you look at God,
His light will blind you.
But if you risk the chance of being blinded,
you can clearly see who God is.

If the light makes the blind see,
then maybe we should all be blinded,
so we can finally see clearly,
and live a divine life in the light.

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

IF

IF

If I could hide inside an orchid.
If I could sleep inside a rose.
If raindrops could embrace me.
If lighting could immerse my soul.

If I could smell a field flowers.
If I could see a million stars.
If I could walk across a rainbow.
If I could hold a beating heart.

If life would not be fleeting.
If I would have no need to breath.
If miracles would be all around me.
If my eyes could clearly see.

If strength would be my helper.
If love would be my food to eat.
If hope would keep my tears from falling.
If faith would bring me to my knees.

If the days would shine a little brighter.
If time would simply disappear.
If Heaven would be here today.
Maybe then I would be free.

 

Hannah’s courage

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the story of Hannah, the mother of Samuel. Ever since I was a child, I had this affinity with Hannah – a certain connection. She is without a doubt one of my favorite biblical women. The reason I love her so much is her courage and dedication to God.

Hannah did not have an easy life, I believe. She had to share her husband with another woman who bullied her constantly because she was childless. In those days, being childless, was more or less a curse from God. People seriously believed that you had sinned against God, so God punished you by not giving you children. Besides children were your wealth. When people looked at your riches, they didn’t look at how much money you had or the size of your house you owned. They looked at your children. If you had many children, especially a son, you were rich and blessed.

So Hannah is in a difficult spot. Hannah’s situation is continuing for years. The bullying from Peninnah is hurting Hannah so much that she stops eating.  Even the love of her husband cannot cheer her up anymore. But instead of letting her problems defeat her, Hannah gets up and goes to the Lord’s House. She takes her problems to the only place where she can get true help. She takes it to God. The most inspiring part of this story to me is Hannah’s request. She could have asked for a child and left it at that. But she does not. Hannah promises God that if He gives her a son, she will give him back. I am not a mother but I can imagine the sacrifice Hannah makes here. All she ever wanted was a child. In fact she wants it so much that she is willing to give him up. It seems to me that all Hannah wanted was to know what it feels like to be a mother. Her heartache rises high above Penninah’s bullying. Hannah truly misses something in her heart, in her life, and she is willing to go the extra mile to make it happen. Her faith in God is astonishing. Her courage inspiring.

Would I be willing to give up what I wanted most? Would I be able to say, “God if you give me this, I will give it all back to you”? Hannah’s strength is extraordinary to me. In the world where we live in today, I don’t know if I could. But Hannah can. Her heartache becomes her greatest testimony.

What is inspiring about this story also, is Hannah’s courage to ignore other people’s opinion about her. As she is praying in the Lord’s House, the priest Eli thinks that Hannah is drunk. In those days people prayed aloud. When one prayed, he prayed so everybody could hear it. But not Hannah. Hannah does not hang her dirty laundry outside so to say. She prays silently. Only God is allowed to hear her grieve. Only God is allowed inside her heart, inside her deepest sorrow. When Eli wants to send her away, she remains calm and explains him why she prayed the way she did. Hannah was not afraid to do things her way. I see her as a strong woman. Her difficult situation definitely did not define who Hannah truly was. She was a smart, strong woman, who knew God and loved Him. And because of her faith, God gave Hannah what she asked for.

This story to me is incredible. Samuel is born and as soon as he is old enough, Hannah brings him to Silo, where the Lord’s House is situated. Samuel becomes a great prophet because of his mother’s courage and sacrifice. Hannah wrote history by her courageous act of faith and love. And in my opinion she does not get enough credit for it. Most people look at Mary the mother of Jesus or Mary Magdalene, Ruth or Esther, but not many look at Hannah the mother of Samuel. Would you be able to ask God for something only to give it back? How difficult must it have been for Hannah to bring young Samuel to Silo that day. To give her own child up. In Hannah’s prayer we can read that it actually brings her joy. God gave her what she asked for and that was enough. Hannah didn’t mind about the way how God gave it.

When I compare myself to Hannah, I can clearly see the flaws within myself. If I ask for something, I often want it my way. I am not open enough to God’s way of doing things. Besides when I have to give something up, I get sad and frustrated. I honestly cannot imagine asking God for a child and giving him back to God with a happy heart. I would probably be devastated. Imagine it yourself for a moment. Maybe you just become a mother or father after a series of IVF or after a long journey of adoption. Imagine taking your child to church and leaving him or her behind, so they can serve the Lord. You have to understand that Hannah only saw her son ones a year! It was not like she brought him there, he did what he had to do, and she brought him back home. No! She gave him up. Samuel stayed in Silo and Hannah went back home. Could you do that? I believe we can all learn so much from Hannah. From her courage and her sacrifice, but mostly, from her gratitude and joy.

You can read Hannah’s story in the bible, in 1 Samuel 1 and 2.
One last thing. God, in His love and goodness, gave Hannah three sons and two daughters after Samuel. Hannah’s reward for her willingness to give Samuel back to God. It teaches me personally that through all the sorrow in our own life, God will give us so much more in return, if only we are willing to have faith in Him!

 

When the world turns upside down

At the moment the ground behind our house is a construction sight where new houses are being build. Somehow this is exactly how I feel my life is at the moment. A construction sight where someone is working very hard to establish something and I  don´t know whether or not I am happy with it. Somehow I feel like my whole life comes together at this particular moment. Things are about to change and I am not happy with it.

Thursday before Easter we heard that my mother has cancer. A week later we heard that it had already spread throughout her body and she only has a couple more months to live. It felt as if the ground underneath me opened up and I was swallowed into the deep earth. As if a massive earthquake turned my entire life upside down. Even today I find it difficult to deal with. My mother is the sweetest soul that ever lived (according to my humble opinion), and that this had to happen to her seemed unfair to me. I know that a lot of people are in similar situations, so why would my mother be an exception to the rule? When it is your own family, I believe that we are all biased in some ways.
But it’s not just my mother’s good heart. She is also my best friend. Since making friends was never an easy for me, I spend a lot of my time with my mother. We made trips together to Vienna and London, we always go shopping together or drink coffee/tea at a cafe. She is the first person I go to when I am struggling with something. I tell her literally everything. She is my greatest support and always encourages me to keep pursuing my dreams. She was the first to believe in my dreams/visions and my conversations with God. She was the first to accept and support my calling. As you can see, my mother means so much to me and sooner or later, it will all be gone.

Maybe I should feel happy that she is going to Jesus, to Heaven. But right now I just feel selfish and I want to keep her close to me. I am simply not ready to lose her. I am not ready to go through this change. In the last weeks I have yelled at God, screamed at Him, cried out to Him. My emotions are twirling like a wild tornado and I feel, like I will never be joyful again. Anger has slipped into my heart, a feeling of unfairness. God can heal her and He is not doing it. People say that God has His reasons but if you see others being healed over and over again, it feels slightly unfair that your loved one has to pay the price.

Looking back at photos from a year back, I see that the tumor we noticed last December, has been there for a long time. It made me wonder why God didn’t open our eyes sooner? Why didn’t we get a chance to save her? I talk to God on a daily basis in many literal ways (which is unique I know) but this makes no sense to me.  So many questions went through my mind. When the bible tells us to pray, believe that you have received it and it will be given to you, why doesn’t God answer the prayer when we do exactly that? I prayed, I believed and it was not given to me. Why doesn’t God intervene, when He clearly has the power to do so?

The only answer that comes up inside my heart, right at this moment, is because He loves us! God will not let us be tested above our abilities. Maybe, just maybe, God loves my mother so much that He wants to prevent her from getting hurt. Maybe bringing my mother Home (to Heaven) is the only right answer. And maybe, even though I do not feel it right now, God will help me through this. I will get through this. One day I will get up and smile again.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

God loves me. And it is that love that will guide me through this. The interesting thing is that as I was angry at God, I refused to talk to Him for a while. But God talked to me and said, “Gineke, talk to me”! You see, God rather wants us to yell at Him in anger as we tell Him exactly what is inside our hearts than hide and ignore Him. God the Father once told me, “When you cry, I cry. When you are angry, I am angry. When you laugh, I laugh”. God is one with our emotions. He feels what is inside our hearts. He understands all the emotions that are within us. When someone hurts us, God gets hurt too. So if there is one who we can confide in, it is God. And that is what I ended up doing. I told God exactly how I feel and it made me feel a whole lot better. I cannot grow by my own strength, I need the light of God to lift me up. Only with God I can get through this. Only with God there is hope even when I don’t see it yet.

The Weaver and the tapestry

Our place in this world is unique. Each and every single one us has his own place in this world. There is not a person to many or too little. Everyone is exactly where he/she is supposed to be. It is like a tapestry. Each wire has its own place and function but the tapestry could not exist without each and every single threat.

When one comes face to face with an approaching death within the family, life somehow becomes much clearer. As my mom is battling cancer (a battle she is going to lose according to the doctors), I start to reflect on my life more than usual. Questions like; what is important to me and what do I really need, are going around in my mind. Looking back on life I can clearly see God’s hand in everything. Every moment in my life was carefully coordinated by His mighty hand. Before I was born, my life was painted into great detail. Not a single color or brushstroke was left out. Every word was written down. When life happens, it is very difficult to see that you are a part of a great tapestry. Your life really matters! It is the moment when life comes to a halt that you start to see the full picture (or after something bad happened).

We have these moments in life when we look back over our shoulder and suddenly see the full picture. As if we have always been looking at the bottom of this tapestry. All we could see was the knots and chaos in the threads. Nothing seemed to make sense. But suddenly you get a small glimpse at what the other side looks like. You can see the Weaver create every detail in this enormous tapestry. Every color and every thread is handpicked.

To me it is very comforting to know that Someone is in control. God is the Great Weaver who has put all His blood, sweat and tears into this masterpiece. Sometimes the knots hurt. Sometimes we believe that the threads are supposed to be at a different place or preferably not there at all. Sometimes we believe that we could do a better job, if we had a say in it. But looking at the tapestry of my own life, I personally disagree. I could not have done a better job at my tapestry than God. Even though I have been hurt, I can clearly see how much God loves me. God the Father has never allowed a single knot or thread at the wrong place or the wrong time. I can clearly see moments where evil tried to destroy or put the wrong thread in the tapestry and God stopped it.

Looking at the tapestry of life, all I can say is, God the Father did an amazing job. I can feel His love in every thread of my life, in every fiber of my being. Life isn’t easy and sometimes it seems unfair, but I believe that God sees the bigger picture. A picture I can not yet see. Sometimes I get a glimpse but I can never see the full tapestry. Still I only trust God with my life. I only trust God with my tapestry because I know that He does see the full picture. He knows where I came from and where I will go. He has created me and wove me into a unique masterpiece. Whenever life gets difficult and all I can see is chaos, God shows me His love in numerous ways. I can always talk to Him and He always listens to me. His hand holds mine and He never let’s go. His hands hold me up when I cannot stand anymore and His wisdom guides me along the way.

Even though I cannot see the full tapestry, I can see the Weaver.
Even though I do not understand all the knots and threads,
I do know that the end result will be breathtaking!

When the future is inescapable

Sometimes I take poems or pieces of wisdom that come up in my mind and I turn them into pictures by using textgram. I wish that I could use my own pictures but I am not a brilliant photographer, even though I absolutely love it (so all credit goes to textgram!).
Anyway, today I wrote a poem called ‘When the future is inescapable’ and I really want to share it with you. I turned it into a picture which you can also find at my instagram and Facebook. I hope you like it and I hope it inspires you, gives you hope and fills you with love.

When the future is inescapable

The first-born view

The first-born view

 In front of the south gate,
the platform shows a change –
nature made room for a city.

I miss the green grass smile at me,
and my heart longs for the first-born view.

Sitting on the edge my feet swing,
on the angelic melody that soothes my soul.

Discomfort is born out of fear,
preventing my heart to settle down,
for this view is more than I ever saw before.

Searching for stability in this dizzying sight,
Your eyes interlock with mine,
and Your smile sends a heartwarming invitation.

Standing at the top of the stairway,
I wonder if I can let go,
of everything I ever knew.

Born in the first-born view,
is the request for change.

The only sense of true reality

The only sense of true reality

In the deafening silence,
when all time stands still,
the world stops turning,
around its own axis,
and the image freezes in the snow.

Breaking through dimensions,
Your voice pierces through time,
like a bolt of light,
breaking through the earth.
But only I can hear You.

Gentleness is a strength,
in a size unable to measure.
How can a mountain fit in a box?
How can a house fit in a purse?
The inability to hold reality,
confuses the mind,
until it meets the inability,
to understand.

But when I hear Your voice,
Your vision is the only reality,
that I truly understand.
Your gentleness is the only coat,
that seems to fit.

Nobody wants to hear me.
Nobody seems to understand,
the truth of this reality.
They hold on to the bricks,
in a fear to fall down the cliff.
I wish they could see,
that the ground is only one feet,
underneath their own reality.

Love is guidance,
where you learn to let go.
Kicking the dust of my feet,
my focus shifts back to You,
the only sense of true reality.