I LOOKED UP (Part 2 – the story continues…)

This was my fourth trip to Nepal to serve with a ministry that buys and frees slaves. We hold women’s conferences in a church and as the speaker, I encourage the women to grow in their relationships with Jesus Christ through various topics that lend themselves to the Discipleship process already going on there.

I am very intentional in preparing a team for the ministry, opportunities and experiences we might have there. The number one way in which I insist they prepare is to, “stay in The Word“. God is writing each of our stories and as we stay in His Word, we will grow to see how it weaves into the fabric of our lives. I cannot stress enough how important it is for ALL of us to take time to “seek first the Kingdom of God…” (Matthew 6:33).

This trip would prove to be one that would challenge each of us to rely on God through the unique relationship we had cultivated with Him during that preparation.

In the hours following the initial earthquake….. (excerpt from my journal on April 25, 2015, following the Nepal earthquake).

“Fear, anxiety and emotions are running high. I think I am internalizing them now. I pray, I sing, I claim the power of God. The aftershocks continue as we sit outside the church. We are being encouraged to move to the open field behind the church to seek greater safety”.

As I walked out to the clearing I began to sing, “I’m gonna go with Jesus anywhere, no matter the roughness of the road….”, a worship song we have often sung in our church. The Holy Spirit reminded me of Psalm 91:1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

That day, I also chose to trust God with every shaking fiber of my body.

 

field for squatters and animals running wild. Lots of human and animal waste and trash littering the area.  A very rough place to walk.

field for squatters and animals running wild. Lots of human and animal waste and trash littering the area. A very rough place to walk.

Once in the field, I look up and see power lines criss-crossing the sky, which presents more danger and uncertainty if they were to fall. But before more fear can take hold, the Holy Spirit showed me what He wanted me to see instead.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip..."

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip…”

For the first time, in a few hours, I felt a twinge of peace in my soul that “everything was going to be alright”. God was truly present and He would see us through this. No matter how uncertain the circumstances were going to be, I could be certain that God would continue to be faithful in this situation. Looks like He chose to calm His child instead of calming the earth storm.

We hung out in the field for awhile and once it was “safe enough” (which was debateable), we headed back to the church site.

By now you might be thinking that “Kinita is really good at memorizing scripture”. I assure you, I am not. I can usually remember the words of a passage but not where it is found. Or I will remember that a certain book and chapter of the Bible is significant but can’t remember why.

A random white bird landed on a branch near by during this time.  Perhaps as another visual reminder of the Holy Spirit's presence.

A random white bird landed on a branch near by during this time. Perhaps as another visual reminder of the Holy Spirit’s presence.

That day, I believe the Holy Spirit gave me the help I needed by speaking those words into my ear. When I got home, I looked them up and found them in print.

Believers in Jesus…..here’s how it works. When we say, “we died and we are now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3), it means first we have died to our own desires, passions and expectations and that God is our protector, shield and guard. The Holy Spirit is our companion. Unfortunately, so many people say this and then in a crisis, run and hide behind idols. That day, something died in me for good. Even though I can’t quite put into words what died in me that day, I can say with more clarity and vigor, that God’s Words and His Presence became more alive and palpable than ever before in my life.

We have an incredible gift of His “Shadow” (Psalm 91) and yet some still choose the things of this earth.

Please understand, I haven’t arrived. God continues to refine me. My prayer is that God will use this experience in my life to give you the Hope that He wants for you.

That day as Kathmandu was lifted approximately 1 meter in the air (statement made in a report I read), I believe I was lifted onto God’s shoulders as a reminder of His care for me (Luke 15:5 was prayed over us before we left on the trip).

Although I continue to deal with some physical ailments from that day, my heart is stronger today because of how God showed Himself to me when I looked up.

“Shoulders” by King & Country …was a great inspiration and a song I held in my heart throughout this particular trip and as I prepared for going.

Thank you for journeying with me. May the LORD be gracious to you when you look up.

REFLECTION:

Where is the earth moving under your feet and causing you uncertainty?

What is the earthly storm you are going through?

Where are you looking?

How do you respond to the “aftershocks” surrounding the crisis in your own journey?

 

Anger Management

My quills are sharp and ready to fire. I need to protect myself from you, from her, from him and from them. Welcome to my wake up call.

angry porcupine 2

I was a young wife and mother and had become a porcupine, “one who rises in anger”. I had an anger problem. Notice I said, “had”? Well, some of those emotions have come up in me again. The good news is, I am not her anymore.

…let me explain…

Years ago, I had a real problem with anger. I self-classified myself as an almost-errupting-volcano often. You wouldn’t recognize me today if you knew me then. I would yell at my kids and fight with my husband and for certain, didn’t like myself very much. It was a tough road to travel for sure. One that had me trapped in fear, anxiety, mistrust and rejection. Who would want to hug a porcupine anyway? I believed I deserved the treatment I was receiving. The results of that anger soon had a ripple effect from my marriage to my parenting to my friendships that eventually lead me to counseling and even anti-depressants for a short time. The marks of my quills had scarred my children, my husband and my soul. I believed I was beyond forgiveness.

I was wrong.

With the help of some trusted friends, my counsellor, my husband and the Holy Spirit, I began to address the reasons behind my anger. As much as the feelings I experienced were justified, my choice to sin in that anger were not. I needed true forgiveness. I received it from all parties involved.

At one point, I even made a list…a very long list, of all the things and people that were making me angry. I sat before the LORD and spoke out my anger to Him. Over the following months and years He covered my quills with His healing, grace, comfort, patience, peace, restoration, sensitivity, confidence, acceptance and His value for me.

IMG_1787

It was as though I had become a sheep. He had covered all of my quills and transformed me completely.

sheep 5

So here we are now, years later with the pressures of the past year taking their toll on me. In the past few months especially, I have been wondering why I am feeling so prickly again.

Then it happens…..the LORD shows me myself. Not how He sees me – a sheep. He shows me what I am becoming again – a porcupine.

Thus my wake up call.

I am seeing my quills exposed again in some areas and I am ready to fire them if I need to. But I don’t because of the Grace of God in my life and I don’t want the enemy to win.

I know God is still protecting me but I also know that the Enemy is roaming around like a lion waiting for someone to devour. Even though I have felt the need to protect myself, I will not give in to his taunts to fail and go back to being my old self.  angry porcupine 1

I start to realize that the more I try to protect myself, the more angry I become because it isn’t working.

What am I to do?

I am to put my spiritual armor on (Ephesians 6). I am to confess my shortcomings, frustrations and feelings. I am to surround myself with people who will pray me through this. I will fight the Enemy and trust God to protect every inch of my being.

sheep 1

You see, I need Jesus!! I need Him every minute of every hour of every day. I cannot do this life without Him. He is my Covering. He is my Peace. He is my Protector. He is my Rock. He is my only Comfort in life and in death. He is my Portion. He is my Shield. I am His sheep.

Underneath, I am still the porcupine but as I remain close to Jesus, my Shepherd, He continues to see me as a sheep.

I choose to see me as a sheep as well.

I choose to submit to God with all my heart.

I choose to take every thought and feeling captive.

I choose to remember that God will never leave me or forsake me.

I choose to trust God to soften my hard spots.

I choose to stand on His Word, my Rock.

I choose to surrender.

How about you?

How do you manage your anger?

Are you a porcupine or a sheep?

How do you tend to protect yourself?

What gets your quills fired up?

Where are you seeing the covering of God in your life?

Thank you for taking this journey with me.

Blessings,

Kinita