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.

Happy Easter!

This poem I wrote a couple of years ago. It is about Mary Magdalene’s story on Easter morning. I hope you like it! I wish you a wonderful Easter. May God bless you!

Mary Magdalene

Can you see her walking,
there on that lonely lane?
Can you hear the angels talking,
about her inconsolable pain?

Questions rising in her mind,
tears streaming down her face.
Where He is, she cannot find,
Her heart is searching for that place.

Then suddenly that question,
who are you looking for?
Taken with the wrong impression,
The gardener he must be for sure.

If only she could get to him,
If only He would name the place,
But through that broken pain within,
She doesn’t recognise His face!

Her name still echoes in her head,
But her heart can clearly see,
Her Lord is risen from the dead,
Just like He said that it would be!

Broken

We are just two weeks before Easter and next week the Passion week starts. The Passion week is the week where Christians remember Jesus suffering. I felt it in my heart. Today is the day to share this poem with you.
I wrote this poem when I was 25 years old. It was one of the first poems that I wrote, after God called me to start writing again after a seven year break. I was still in that period of my life where I wanted to write down everything I had been through in the past. And this poem started out the same way.
However as I started writing, a particular image formed in my mind. It was the very first time I felt as if God put me in someone else’s shoes. I felt so broken. Laying on the floor almost. The tears were heartfelt. I felt like reaching out to Jesus but at the same time feeling unable to. I wrote down everything I felt and witnessed. When I was done, I reread the poem and was blown away. Instantly the name of the person, that this poem was about, found itself a way up in my mind.

This poem is about the Apostle Peter, right after He denied Jesus. There is a particular bible verse about this poem. Matthew 26:75 which says, “Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly”. This is the moment described in my poem.

Maybe you feel overwhelmed by life yourself. Maybe you did something and you feel as if God will never forgive you. Let me tell you that Peter knows exactly how you feel. When He denied Jesus, He cried bitterly. Peter must have felt that Jesus would definitely not forgive him. But guess what? Jesus did forgive Peter. In fact Jesus reinstalled Peter as one of His disciples. Isn’t that a hopeful message. If you feel that God could never forgive you for your missteps, then let me tell you that He can and He will! God is love! And in His great love, He wants you to know that you are forgiven. He loves you and cares about you and all He wants is for you to be His beloved child!

I hope this poem may be a blessing to you and a reminder of God’s love and forgiveness in your brokenness. And I hope that when you read this poem, you will know; you are not alone! Peter knows how you feel and besides Peter there are so many more. You are not alone in your hurt and brokenness!

May the love of God be wrapped around you like a warm blanket!

Broken

I feel the rain
falling down on me
tears of pain
that I didn’t see.

I want to hide
when I look at you
It’s what I denied
that I put you through

I can’t turn back
go back in time
a weak attack
I see my crime

My tears are falling
And Yours do too
I can’t stop calling
Out to you

Now I recall
The words You had spoken
Lord, you knew it all
My heart is broken.

Read & Learn

When I was 25 years old and I just started writing again, I wrote a lot with rhyme. Most of my earlier work is also based on bible verses, because I didn’t know what to write about. I wasn’t getting that many dreams and visions and I wasn’t that well trained either. This is exactly the reason why I also want to publish my earlier work along with my latest and , in my own view, better work. It is so important to know that when God gives you a gift/talent that you develop it. I wasn’t able to write, the way I do now, over night. Through practice and repetition I became better and better.

If you have received a gift/talent from God then please don’t expect to be perfect at it right away. It will take a lot of hard work to become better. But if you do it with joy, the hard work won’t bother you that much.

The poem I want to share with you today is called ‘Read & Learn. It is based on the bible verses 2 Timothy 3: 16 – 17  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

I hope you like it!

Read & Learn

A strong voice with a tender heart,
From One who loved us more,
Than anything or anyone,
Has ever done before.

Spoke words of true compassion,
And bundled it with grace,
To show us our transgression,
and the hurt upon His face.

So in everything you do today,
Just take that book and read,
learn what He has done for you,
and simply let Him lead.

Something to remember with Christmas!

It is December and Christmas is right around the corner. Christmas is my favorite time of year. All the lights are just mesmerizing, great food and there is a scent of joy that fills the entire world. Christmas is pure joy to me. It is the only time of year when I don’t mind to spend a whole three days in the kitchen. Then there are christmas songs. I love christmas songs since they are always so cheerful. I play flute, as a hobby, and I can’t wait until November arrives and it is allowed to play christmas music again. This time of year makes me happy and I just want to enjoy it.

The joy of Christmas is undeniable. Not just to me but to many in the whole world. And yet there are two things important to remember.

The first thing to remember is loneliness. Loneliness? Yes, loneliness! There are so many people in the world that are alone with Christmas. Whatever reason there is, some people spend Christmas all by themselves. And that just makes me sad. Christmas is about togetherness. Of course, we want to spend Christmas with our family and loved ones, but what about those who have no loved ones? Or elderly people? We live in a fast-paced world, where we are so focused on ourselves that we can sometimes forget others. Maybe you know someone in your own surroundings, who is alone with Christmas. Is it an idea to invite them and give them a Christmas they will always remember?

There is also another loneliness. Christmas is usually spend with children. The joy of children when they get to open their gifts on christmas morning and stay up late to watch christmas movies and eating together with the family. Christmas is a magical time of year for children and it is a true joy for parents to watch that. But for people without children, who really want kids but never got them, it is a very painful time of year. Like I told you before, I have no children or a boyfriend/husband. Jesus does not want that in my life. And even though I am okay with that, it is also very difficult sometimes. You know, I don’t know if I would make such a good girlfriend/wife, but I would have been such a great mom. And I do miss it at times. With Christmas and New Year’s Eve I watch my three brothers and their families and I get choked up. If only life would have been a little different. As much as I love Christmas, not having children or someone to spend my life with is not always easy. But there are so many people like me. Moms who never became a mom. Dads who never became a dad. Wives who never became a wife. Husbands who never became a husband. It doesn’t matter how much family and how many friends you have, it is an absence that no one can fill. An absence that fills you with a loneliness at certain occasions like Christmas.Please do not forget the lonely hearted this holiday season!

The second thing that I think is important to remember this holiday season, is Jesus Christ. Presents, great food, Christmas trees and decorations, yes it is all a part of christmas but it is not the most important part of it. Christmas is about togetherness and giving and joy. But most of all it is about Jesus. Jesus who came to this world for us. A little baby in a manger, with shepherds in a field, angels singing about the coming of the Messiah and three wise men bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh. It is about God the Father who loved the world so much that He gave is only Son, so we may have eternal life (John 3:16 in the bible). Let’s not forget that during Christmas.

And for the record, a Christmas tree, presents, great food and such things aren’t bad. Enjoy these things! I do to. Like I said, I love the lights, music and food. (We don’t do presents but I would have loved that too if we did!) All I am trying to say is not to forget what Christmas in the end is all about. Jesus is what makes Christmas…Christ-mas

A few years ago I wrote the next poem for Christmas. I hope you enjoy it!

The reality of Christmas

In advent weeks,
we buy a tree,
cover it with lights,
the decorations,
and candle light,
are a joyous fascination.
Many gifts,
in every size,
pile up underneath the tree,
with pretty bows,
and candy sticks,
it is our expectation.

Christmas is,
a feast of light,
but somehow more important,
is a table,
packed with food,
than a savior in a stable.
How can it be,
that our greatest gift,
is something bought in stores,
and not a Son,
who gave His life,
to open Heaven’s doors.

During Christmas,
every year,
my goal is to remember,
that Christmas is,
togetherness,
not just in December,
Love and peace,
for near and far,
given us,
that Christmas day.
A feast of light,
through Jesus Christ,
a baby born in hay.

 

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