However, I’m not a child-orphan but an adult. Nevertheless, when my mother died last year, I felt alone in the world. Even though I have my husband, even though I come from a large family.
I was faced with the stark reality that there would be no more mum to turn to, to share my news and notions, to share my problems and prayer requests.
Even though, if truth be told, things had not been quite the same since mum fell victim to Alzheimer’s disease; and even though towards the end of her life-span, mum was not the strong, independent woman I’d known; at least she was alive, at least I could enjoy some form of connection.
Now her death, our physical separation, left me feeling adrift in the world – without parental anchor.
Is this how mum felt when my father died unexpectedly—left alone with 7 children, in a country that was not her own, that did not really want her? Did she feel somewhat adrift without her spousal anchor, adrift upon the cruel tempestuous seas of grief and bewilderment?
Is this how the disciples felt after Jesus’s death? Adrift from He who had anchored their life to purpose, to identity?
Thank God that was not the end of the story for any of us (my Lord’s disciples, my mother, myself). Contrary to our emotions and initial perceptions, we were not left alone in this world.
Christ’s resurrection from the dead has given us hope and that hope serves as an anchor for our soul. Christ’s resurrection has given us new purpose, a new identity—Kingdom purpose, Kingdom identity. And whenever we need guidance or direction or help, or whatever, we have only to ask.
Whether orphan or not, as children of God, as purpose-driven believers, we are not alone in this world.
Ahoy there landlubbers!
I have a message for you today. I’m not hiding it away in a bottle in the hopes that one day it will be found. Oh no! I’m shouting it loud from the top of my lungs. I’m displaying it clearly from the top of Christ’s mast.
Whatever my circumstances, whatever my concerns, since Jesus is with me and has promised never to leave me—then I am not adrift!
If you have gone through the WordPress Blogging 101 training course, one of the things the tutors recommend is that you focus your blog on a particular message or theme and write for a specific person, or target readership.
With that piece of blogging wisdom in mind and, as the first quarter of this year draws rapidly to a close, perhaps now is a good time to review our blog’s message and our blog objectives. Are we achieving what we set out to do? Have our motivations changed? Have we as individuals grown since we began our blogs? If so, have our initial reasons for starting to blog in the first place now changed? Do we need to re-brand, or else go back to basics?
The following is my response to an old Daily Post prompt, which I used as a writing exercise. I’m sharing it because I think it’s in keeping with what I’m trying to say in this post.
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Daily Post Prompt: BE THE CHANGE!
I would like my blogs, Women of Warfare and A Purpose-driven achiever, to make my visitors smile, feel better about themselves, be encouraged, feel as if they have an online friend who cares about them and empathises with the things they have to deal with.
I would like my blogs to influence women to aspire to a deeper relationship with God, to be a better person, character-wise and perspective-wise.
I would like to encourage women to pursue their dreams and realise their potential. I’d like them to feel there is a place they can go, for the encouragement and motivation required to live their everyday life on a higher plane. I would like them to feel highly motivated, to seize their day, to live abundantly, instead of merely existing, letting life pass them by, feeling overwhelmed by circumstances, or overlooked by the people around them.
I would like my blogs to motivate women to make the most of every day, to see, enjoy and celebrate their lives as something special, rather than dismiss as drudgery, or as run-of-the-mill ordinary, or worse still view with utter dread, because someone or something has marred their outlook.
And just as I would like God to use me, to be that change in the lives of women who come within my circle of influence, so I desire that these women in turn would be the change in the lives of others around them.
Purpose-driven believers and dream achievers, whether blogger, Christian, colleague, parent, or whatever, I challenge you – in your household, neighbourhood, workplace, community – be the change! Be an asset in your circle of influence. Be an influence for good.
Have you felt the need to change, or expand the message of your blog, or have you maintained your original theme? Please share your response to this post in the comment box below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Valentine’s Day has come around once again and in honour of this season of lurve, I’ve dug up one of my exercises written in response to an old Daily Post word prompt.
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Daily Post Prompt: I want to know what love is
I want to know what love is!
That is the title of a song (I know that much) but it is also the title of my chosen prompt today. I want to know what love is! Thus speaks the person whose question implies that s/he does not know what this universal affection is, for which everybody craves.
Surprising! Has nobody told them that love is patient and love is kind? That it does not boast, it is not proud and it keeps no record of wrongs? (Yes, you heard me right!). Love does not rejoice in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always hopes and always perseveres! This is the famous quote and reading from 1 Corinthians 13. A firm favourite at weddings.
But this love is no ordinary human love. It is not the filial love between husband and wife or parents and children. It is not the love of two friends. It is much deeper, more sacrificial, and infinitely more precious. It is a God-type of love (the Greek word for it is “agapē”). It is unconditional.
Now this kind of love is marvellous if you are on the receiving end. Not so great however, when you are being asked to demonstrate it to someone mean and ugly of character. Because this brand of love demands that you show it irrespective of whether you feel the recipient deserves it! It is a love that calls for, nay requires you to die to SELF – that self-important, sometimes egotistical and selfish person you see in the mirror! Mark my words, it’s difficult to practice and difficult to maintain—because this love is not an emotional feeling, it is a decision, a choice of one’s will.
No doubt in the above question posed, the writer was referring to fleshly love (eros), the love between a man and a woman. If we consider the question on a basic human level, does the individual really not know what love is – in the ordinary sense, or are they being sarcastic? Are they puzzled? Are they challenging the listener?
I can well understand the question being asked in the context of the enquirer being a jilted lover, a spurned partner, or someone suffering from unrequited love. Oh! If only s/he knew that true love, agapē love, is just a whisper away. A divine, sacrificial love where the lover (God the Father or Jesus His Son) looks at the world and its inhabitants with affection and goodwill for no other reason than that their very nature is LOVE and as such, they cannot help but pour it out in abundantly generous proportions, to whosoever will accept it.
If they knew, (the song’s enquirer and all those asking the same question), if they were aware of the height, depth, width of such generous and incomparable love, available to them for the asking, would they call? Would they open their hearts to this precious quality of love, or would they reject the giver, spurn the prospective lover’s charms and turn away from his love offerings?
Perhaps a white one, so I could generally find acceptance in a white man’s world. Perhaps then I could walk around life batting my blue eyes, flicking my fair locks and use these as a passport to a world of dignity.
Then again, perhaps I should swop my skin for that of a rhinoceros. They often say sensitive people need to develop a hard skin. I imagine that should be hard enough! Toughen up baby! But, is that not just semantic speak for saying you should not get upset when people don’t celebrate you, when because of your colour they doubt your ability, snub you and systematically besmirch your reputation—or (horror of horrors!) even decide their dog deserves better treatment and respect than you? (Now there’s a thought – perhaps I should just get me the skin of a lap dog!)
But if I were to develop a hard skin, such that I didn’t feel it when someone hurts me, would that mean I’d have become an unfeeling, uncaring so and so?
I suppose I could swop my skin for that of a baby’s just for the fun of it, for the sake of having that soft sweet baby smell. But I’m not sure that would work either. Loved ones wouldn’t take me seriously. They’d start conversing with me in that strange baby-speak, tickle me under my chin, and try to feed me with that yucky pureed stuff in jars. Nah!
So I guess I’ll just have to be content with my own skin. Learn to live in it comfortably. Adapt my behaviour in order to accommodate its likes and dislikes (as opposed to allowing racist rhetoric to make me feel uncomfortable within it, or pandering to anyone’s demands, fears and suspicions, as a direct response to it!).
After all these years, I should be able to shrug off the received but unwanted, unwarranted prejudices towards the colour of my skin. I should be able to – right? And, I should be able to ignore the ignoramuses who believe because my skin’s black and because my black skin is stretched over a female form, I don’t belong to the human race… I don’t have a right to speak up… I don’t have the right to be taken seriously… and I certainly don’t have the right to self-respect. Yep, under no circumstances should I show ambition or promise – no siree!
Well dear reader, I have come to a conclusion. A new skin? What good would that do? I just wouldn’t be me anymore!
Now I can’t think of any more fitting conclusion than this song, which confirms and consolidates my convictions on this subject, so I invite you to boogie along with that consummate musician—the inimitable Michael Jackson.
Hello faithful followers and lovely visiting readers!
I’m thinking it’s time I posted another one of my responses to the Daily Word prompts. This is so I can showcase my writing ability in another format and perhaps gain the interest of any prospective commissioning editor that might be roaming around my corner of cyberspace! Anyway, I’m posting the following for fun and trust you will enjoy reading.
Please do let me have your feedback in the comment box below.
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Daily Word Prompt: Tree
The horse chestnut tree stood tall and erect, strong and silent, robed in its green summer finery.
How I hated that tree! Hated the way its leaf-covered branches hogged all the light and sunshine from my adjacent garden, starving my shrubs of light and life.
I hated the way it spread its greedy grasping roots past its fenced boundary—daring to encroach upon my property, spreading its life-sucking roots with quiet determination, caring not one iota that it robbed light and life and nourishment from plants that had a legitimate right to be there.
Its leaves, although green, are severely afflicted with rust splotches – incontrovertible evidence that although it would have you overawed by its might and height, although it would have you believe it is invincible, some blighting affliction had struck it.
Just deserts, I say, for stealing accommodation for its roots, for stifling and strangling the life of my own plants which have a legitimate right to be here!
I didn’t care that it offered a home, a sanctuary to those green parrot-like birds, year after year and I could not care less about the grey squirrels that use it as an escape route from the next door neighbour’s cat that regularly lies in wait, hoping to pounce upon the pesky rodent.
I did care about the huge amount of life and light this arboreal nightmare absorbed whilst denying my own garden the same privilege. And I did care that it dared to add insult to injury by shedding its rotten leaves in my garden, expecting me to pick them up whilst it looks on in haughty disdain, without even so much as a “thank you”!
So, next door neighbour, now you know exactly how I feel, perhaps you will kindly do something about it. And, if you won’t, then don’t be surprised if you, I and your tiresome tree are featured in the next reality series, Neighbours from Hell! Don’t say you weren’t warned.
O yes, we both have the same father. We both belong to God’s Holy Order of kings and priests. But that my friend is where the similarity ends. He is far, far superior! He has to be, for he has made me and he is self-existent—i.e. nobody made him! He existed along with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the very beginning. His name is Jesus.
Now he is in Heaven whilst I am down here on Earth. But it wasn’t always so. There was a time that he was here on this Earth and within 3 years he brought much light and love, healing and miraculous exploits to the world around him. Whereas, I have been on this earth for over 50 years and I cannot say that I’ve impacted the world about me, or the people within the circle of my influence in such a marvellous way. Nope! Much as I wish that were true, I cannot say that.
Jesus was self-assured. He was not fooled easily. He did not strike back in anger, or resentment, or any other negative attitude when he encountered opposition or violence. Imagine being the one who made man, yet allowing the creature you created to mock and jeer, choosing to stand silent, dumb as a sheep, allowing yourself to be sheared so to speak. Sheared of respect. Sheared of self-esteem.
He could have summoned a legion of angels to rescue him. He could have opened his mouth and burned his detractors to a crisp. But he didn’t. He humbled himself. He remained silent. He succumbed. Succumbed to the malicious will of those sanctimonious bigots (fellow Jews) and soldiers of the Roman Empire—who breathed lies spawned from envy… who uttered false accusations… who mocked and ridiculed and humiliated him (stripping him not only of his clothes but also of his dignity).
How meek but strong was that to not react, to not use his power and might to blast them to hell? How meek but strong was that to not retaliate? Oh no—instead, he said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”.
Now, if the power had been in my hand, I would perhaps have cursed them with my words. I would have stopped them in their tracks. Or I would levitate myself from out of my predicament. Or I would play games with them and put the ‘fear of God’ into them – disappearing and reappearing, taking on that aura of blazing fiery light so they could not look upon me but would either fall down in terror, or freeze to the spot in fear—and then I’d freeze them permanently!
But that is the difference between me and Jesus, the difference between me and the Holy Son of God. Jesus loved me and loved the entire world. He wanted to obey his Father at all costs, so that the world would have a way of escape out of spiritual darkness, and could be redeemed from the hateful hand of his arch Enemy, who also became our ultimate enemy. I speak of Satan (whom I also dub Mr Diablo)!
He is the Christ, the Messiah.
Me? I was just a doomed, rebellious sinner.
Okay, so now I’ve been saved by God’s grace, through his unmerited kindness. Now I’ve been elevated to the position of a saint (according to God’s reckoning). Yet, as his beloved child, his sanctified saint, I am nowhere near the calibre of this awesome man, who loved and sacrificed himself for me, who lived in order to die for me. And as I read his biography and compare his noble achievements with my base life’s record, I cannot deny the fact, yeah, I cannot disguise the truth that between me and Him—there’s a stark contrast!
And, for your further reading pleasure, if you have not already done so, you may wish to read my post on a contrasting character – the aforementioned Mr Diablo (another Daily Post Word prompt). If so, please go to: Satan’s Suicidal Mission
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! (Isaiah 14:12a)
The Daily Post – Daily Word Prompt: MISTAKE
Okay Mr Diablo (aka Satan), so you made a mistake.
You had the audacity to think you could overthrow the Lord God Almighty. You not only had the audacity to consider such a move but you also had the temerity to try and act upon your foolish idea. BIG MISTAKE!
And, to compound your catastrophic error, you convinced one third of Heaven’s angels to abandon their allegiance to the God of Heaven and Earth… to the great I AM, and assist you with executing your devilish desire by mounting an unholy insurrection! BIG, BIG MISTAKE!
You failed! Utterly!
Why, oh why you ever believed such a plot would succeed, I’ll never know. Even I could see this could, and would never work!
Now I realise I’ve not been around as long as you have. I don’t have your twisted wit and cunning. But did you really think that a CREATED being could outwit his CREATOR—particularly when that Creator is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent? I suppose that’s what comes of arrogance, deception and overweening pride. Wow! You are a real textbook example of the term delusions of grandeur, don’t you think? Hush now Mr Diablo, it was a rhetorical question—I was not really wanting an answer.
Was it worth the price Mr Diablo?
Was your evil covetous desire for supremacy worth being booted out unceremoniously from heaven? Was it worth exchanging your prestigious position, as the most beautiful angel in heaven with a highly significant responsibility, for the infernal regions of a dark spiritual underworld?
Granted, your heinous activity and warped influence is fully evident around the world. But for an egomaniac such as yourself, surely it must gall to find yourself confined to exerting influence anonymously, through manipulation and subliminal subterfuge. Surely, it must irk knowing that at the end of it all, you and your cohorts (whom you inveigled), are destined for eternal damnation in God’s Lake of Fire.
Do you ever consider your end Mr Diablo? Have you ever rued the day you decided to usurp my Father God’s throne?
Mark my words Mr Diablo—the time will come when you will have plenty of time to consider your error. Yeah, the time draws near when you will have to face the consequences of your monumental mistake.
(“Dead demon walking…”)
Until then Mr Diablo, let me bid you farewell. Oops delete that—let me say: good riddance!
(For biblical evidence of events alluded to above, please read Luke 10:18; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12b-17; Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6).
“To be, or not to be. That is the question!” So asked Hamlet (the eponymous character of a Shakespearean play).
Well, my words are not enshrined within a well-renowned playwright’s script but I will utter them anyway. And my query is this: Sink or Swim? That is my question. That is my dilemma. That is the choice I must make.
Sink or Swim?
The choice is not a pleasant one. It’s not like selecting a champagne truffle from a box of Thornton’s chocolates. The choice is, do I allow myself to sink into despair, or do I swim through my troubles looking for the place where hope and resolution meet? Of course, I don’t know how long I’d have to swim before I reach this point. I could get tired. I could drown in my efforts, or I could reach the shore. I have no way of knowing.
Sink? Or Swim?
Do I sink beneath the weight of other people’s expectations and unjust opinions? Can I continue to tread water, or will the constant weight of increasing and unceasing requests—come here/go there, do this/do that, can you/will you?—engulf me within the tempestuous waters of other people’s demands? Do I swim through the morass of moral turpitude that constantly seeks to swamp my soul… that seeks to deaden my godly conscience?
Do I sink, or do I swim? Do I resolve within myself not to let troublesome circumstances overwhelm me, not let them cause me to sink beneath the flood waters of adversity? Do I choose to swim? It is a choice. A daily choice.
But what choice will I make today? Normally it depends upon how I’m feeling. Usually it depends upon whether I have spent time in the presence of my Father God to receive that injection of strength, faith and firm resolve. Will I sink today, or will I swim?
And that is the problem with choices – there’s no one else to blame. You make your choice and you suffer the consequences!
Will consequences be too dire if I were to allow myself to sink within the mire of other people’s opinions—that I’m not good enough, intelligent enough, or successful enough? Does anybody even care that I’m being pulled ever downwards towards the murky depths of low self-esteem?
Surely, to swim is a better choice than to sink? To sink is to give up. To sink is to perhaps invite waiting predators to take a bite out of me, worse still – even swallow me! To sink is to maybe reach rock bottom and never find my way back up again to the surface of possibilities. I suspect there are people who would prefer I sank into oblivion, into obscurity but I shall not give them that satisfaction. Yes, I am weary, but I’m making the choice to swim today. I’m making the choice to swim away, swim forward, swim tirelessly, until I reach that shore.
Many of you will be familiar with the Daily Post prompts. I do not choose to participate every day, or even within the same time-frame that the prompt was posted.
This is a new feature to my blog simply because as a purpose-driven achiever, I would like to improve my creative writing ability and this WordPress feature allows me to do so without feeling the pressure to produce something every day.
I hope you will all enjoy and would appreciate your feedback on these posts.
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The Daily Post – Daily Word Prompt: LONGING
It’s a word that has the very sense of yearning and earnest desire about it—don’t you think? I have lots of longings. I’ve had longings that have been fulfilled and I have longings yet to come to pass.
Take the time I was walking on Finchley Road in London with my friends. There was a posh travel agents that we passed and in the display window I could see an open brochure or poster, showing what looked to be the most beautiful place on earth. I learned that it was the Seychelles.
I did not know that it was a place that people considered to be a dream holiday destination. I just knew that as I looked at this seemingly idyllic place, the blue, blue sky and turquoise waters, the palm trees and powder-white sandy beach, I wanted to go there. No. I longed to go there.
I decided there and then that if I ever got married that was where I wanted to go for my honeymoon. Well afterwards when I checked into the costs of going to such a place and saw that it would cost about a million times more than a holiday to say Spain, I held onto the dream in my heart but felt it was unrealistic. I believed it was a longing that would not be fulfilled.
Years later, when my fiancé asked me where I wanted to go for our honeymoon, I mentioned my longstanding dream but quickly added: “I know it’s impossible, it’s very expensive.” Well dear reader, I could not have been more surprised by his generous response! He agreed, we planned and we went. And it was beautiful and even better than I had imagined.
Long held dreams.
The Seychelles was a longing that became fulfilled. And later, when I think about my other ‘impossible’ dreams, I thank God. Because I know he is in the business of making dreams come true. Particularly, if he has placed those dreams in our heart in the first place.
And so it encourages me when I think about my other dreams, which requires a miracle for them to happen. Although I might not be able to see how that dream, how that longing could come to pass, I need not worry. I just need to leave it in the hands of my loving Father God and leave the logistics, leave the actualisation of those dreams, leave my longings in his most capable hands—the hands upon which I am inscribed (so my Bible tells me – see Isaiah 49:16)—inscribed so that he never forgets me and because he celebrates me!
It can be a beautiful thing but it can also be a destructive thing. Like longing for something unfeasible. I think of the protagonist in Toni Morrison’s book: The Bluest Eye. This child is a poor, black girl who has noticed she is not favoured by her school teacher and class peers. She observes however, that a white girl with blond hair and blue eyes is popular and very much the favourite.
And because she is not loved at home (she is verbally and physically abused), and because she is not accepted or celebrated at school, she longs to have blue eyes. She believes if she has blue eyes, she will be favoured. She will be loved. She will be acceptable. She will be a person. She will no longer suffer the pain and shame of ill-treatment, or mockery, or rejection, or ridicule.
And so this girl prays to God whom she believes is able to do anything. She prays and whilst she waits for her miracle, she longs and longs and longs until it becomes an obsession. But her prayer is not answered, frustrating her longing and disappointing her desire.
To the reader, her longing is foolish and sad and painful. And we feel for her and feel her longing and feel the pain she undergoes, as she obsesses over this unrealistic desire.
LONGING. It can be a thing of joy, or a source of deep pain.
Purpose-driven believers and dream achievers, what are your longings? Have you had a long-held desire fulfilled? Please share with the PDA community in the comment box below – you never know who needs that encouragement!