coming down the mountain

my journey is up and down the mountain. different seasons and different places. highs and lows. grace and mercies. as Nora Neale Hurston said...there are years that ask questions - and years that answer. my time has come to search for answers to the questions that repeat themselves no matter where on the journey i am.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Unforgiving heart

A while back I finished reading The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness, by Simon Wiesenthal.

Briefly...Simon is in a concentration camp and a dying Nazi asks him for his forgiveness. Simon keeps silent and years later he poses the following question in his book, The Sunflower. What would you have done - and - is it possible to forgive and not forget?
The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Primo Levi and others then give their answers to Wiesenthal's question. A provocative book to read.

The answers and opinions given by all these individuals are not what concern me. What concerns me is the question: Is forgiveness possible without forgetting?

Since finishing the book [it's been a couple of months], I've been thinking about forgiveness constantly. Perhaps I'm starting to realize that forgiveness is an on-going process. Forgiveness is not something that happens over night - or at least not for most of us. It is a painstaking process that needs to be done daily. Much like confessing your sins.

Every time I am confronted with the issue of forgiveness a terrible anger rises in my heart. It's something that I just don't want to do. I fight it and turn from it. Every time I have the opportunity to forgive I choose to rather remain angry. To not allow my heart to soften. In my mind forgiveness = weakness.

In the Bible we clearly read that yesterday is in the past and tomorrow is in the future. We should live for today, our concern should be with now! Yet, I choose to hold onto the very dark past. While holding onto this past of mine I have the nerve to get upset with God for not "changing" things for me. But what do I do to change things? What do I do when the question of forgiveness comes up? I harden my heart!

On Monday night Matthew 7 was given to me by someone who does not know me, my past or anything. Well not anything...she does know God, she listens and obeys! As I started to read it, the same anger took control of me. I was immediately filled with fear. I was certain that this was God's way of screaming at me. Punishment was all I could think of. All I saw was negative, nothing good or positive! I was furious. Why should I forgive? Why must I not judge? All my life I have been judged by others, I've had to try and forgive the same things over and over. Every time I thought things would change, or that I trusted someone important in my life, my belief was shattered. I promised myself a long time ago that no one will ever hurt me again...not with my consent!
To forgive is weakness - I cannot comprehend forgiveness. Nor can I cope with the idea that I must forgive and forget. When I think of this concept I immediately start to put controls out. My sick little mind tells me that if I'm going to forget I will have to forgive for the rest of my life. I don't believe that in forgiveness there will be freedom for me. All I can imagine is the devastation of broken trust. Reminding myself of the past is my security blanket. It's what protects me. Remembering the past will keep me from slacking and making the ultimate trust.

My inability to forgive is the reason I cannot begin to understand the greatness of God's forgiveness. It's the one thing stealing all the joy from my life. What I don't understand is why I can't stop believing the lie. I try to figure out why it is that every time I try to pray two questions pops out. "Lord do you love me? Lord do you know that I'm here?" That's it. Nothing more and nothing less. Just that. Two questions.

I have allowed my identity to be rooted in an unforgiving heart. Now, as I try to correct this wrong, I struggle more than I could have imagined. A hardened heart is an ugly thing. I don't want to be a bitter or a hard person. I want to be able to forgive and forget. No matter how long it takes. I don't want to live in the past; nor fear the future.

I know now that a hardened heart = weakness.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004


The Daily Dig for today from Bruderhof...

Courage To Be Nobody
J.D. Salinger

Just because I’m so horribly conditioned to accept everybody else’s values, and just because I like applause and people to rave about me, doesn’t make it right. I’m ashamed of it. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.

The truths in these words are too much to digest just now. It's too early in the morning for me. Words of truth - spoken into the very essence of who I am. Light shining onto the places I hide from the world. Narrowed eyes, for the light is too bright. My stomach turns, my mouth is dry. Honesty and truth walking hand-in-hand through the corners of my soul. Leaving nothing undone. Leaving nothing to chance.

I need to work through this's too honest, too direct, too much me!


Friday, July 09, 2004

Gone fishing...

I want to sing and dance...clap my hands and wiggle my hips! I'm on my way for a weekend of fishing! Yeh-yeh-yeh! A whole weekend of fishing!

I love fishing!

Sitting in the stillness of the night with only the sound of the waves breaking on the beach, invigorates me. Waiting for the big one! Mind you any fish will do! I just love the whole experience, even when I go home empty handed. Empty handed is one thing...but I never go home empty. My soul is always filled to the brim. At the moment I need some filling I'm going to the one place where silence is my friend. Where the stillness is what I want. The place that turns silence into a wonderful experience. The one place where I never run from silence; rather I embrace it, I am spellbound by that silence. When I smell the salt in the air and taste it on my lips there is a stirring in my soul. It is time for me to return to the place where [for me] silence was born.

I'm off to the beach! Let the healing begin.


Setting it right

Confucius said...

To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order;
To put the nation in order, we must put the family in order;
To put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life;
And to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.

As I read all the different blogs - meeting the hearts of so many people whom I might never meet in person - I realize but one thing! Slowly but surely people are coming forward and in their boldness they are doing one thing...they are setting their hearts right.

To have a heart that is right!


Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Questions in my heart

I think I have laryngitis of the heart. A wonderful excuse not to deal with the truth!

Since the last post I have been dealing with the proverbial can of worms and it seems as though the worms are turning into venomous snakes.

I didn't realize that I have so many issues and questions regarding God and church. It feels as though something terrible has happened to me - question after question is popping up in my mind. Perhaps it has something to do with growing up in an environment where I was not to question things. I had to accept what the adults said, decided, told... Their truth was to be my truth.

Now all of a sudden I am bursting with frustration. I want answers. Part of me wants to demand answers.

All I have is my brokenness. Out of my brokenness comes the fear; fear that stops me dead in my tracks.

A rebellious streak refusing to allow myself time with God. No silence, no stillness. Always on the move - never a destination...only an origin!

Anger is my enemy, feeding on my lust for revenge of those who hurt me. A cycle that only I can stop.

For I want to fight the flesh and deal with the past on my own; yet I don't have the strength nor the endurance. Only when I seek God will I get the needed strength and endurance. Only He can help me to heal the past.

As I sit here I realize that I am too scared to take all of this to God out of fear that He might turn me away! Fear that He too might reject me and what I have to bring to the altar.


Wednesday, June 30, 2004

I can't

Writing my own Psalm 23 seems to be impossible. I can't do it. Over the past couple of days I've tried to write it - but I've given up on it for now.

I spend many hours a day in my car and my car seems to be the place where Truth gives me glimpses into my own heart and reasons for some of my struggles.

The reason why I can't write my own Psalm 23 is simply because I have never [consciously] permitted God to be anything or anyone for me. I cannot relate to God. I don't trust Him. I suppose this might sound a bit harsh - but it's true. I don't. As a matter of fact I doubt I've trusted any man.

When my dad past away in February I realized that his voice will be quiet forever! He will never again have the opportunity to be my dad - to a great extend he never was. I try to remember my childhood with him. I try to justify all the wrongs that he brought into my life. I make excuses for my dad not being able to demonstrate his love for me. Now, he's dead. My chance of ever asking him whether he really loved me - gone forever.

I don't want God to be my Restorer, Refiner, Jeweller or Cornerstone. I want Him to be my DAD! I want Him to pick me up onto his lap and rock me to sleep. I want to whisper into His ear and I want him to stroke my cheek. For once in my life I want to be someone's little girl. I want that someone to be God. I want to be His little girl.

I don't want Him to send me to the furnace. I don't want Him to make me stronger. I want Him to let me be five years old. I want Him to be gentle with me. I want to be small.

I want Him to take care of me, to love me and to look out for me. I don't want to belief all these things just because my adult mind tells me that He does. I want to experience it. I want him to tell me.

So I can't write my own Psalm 23. I don't have a Psalm in my heart.


Monday, June 28, 2004

What to say?

This past weekend was busy, busy, busy.

I'm writing my own Psalm 23 - thanks to Idelette.

With thanks to Stephanie, I asked the Lord to show me what jewel I am, I am a ruby!

I didn't really get any further with anything for I have a crisis. A faith crisis!

A friend was diagnosed with cancer [for the second time] a month ago. It's in her bones. She’s 29 years old! Three years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer and after 8 months of chemotherapy and radiation she was declared "clean" by her doctor. Every three months she went for her check-ups and every time she was told that all was fine. What she didn't know, was that the doctor never checked her bones – he checked her blood and her organs but never her bones. It is well known that breast cancer have a tendency to spread to any of the mentioned three areas. The doctor made a mistake.

Our friend lives far from us and she just spent the past two weeks here in Paarl. She flew back home on Friday morning. Not once during the two weeks did she cry or talk to us about her illness. When asked how she was feeling her standard answer was: Good. So, on Thursday night the girls took her out. We sat around that table and laughed until our faces ached. We shared stories as only women can. It was magical. Yet our friend refused to talk about her pain.

Close to midnight I asked her how she felt about going home the next day. The walls came down. The next thing we knew – our friend dropped her façade. There sat a broken woman. A grieving woman. An incredibly sad woman. A woman in denial. She feels deserted by God. She’s so angry at Him for letting this happen to her again. She has no fighting left in her. She wants to give up on life, she has no hope. Once the walls came down we all sat there crying our hearts out. There is something about crying on each others shoulders. We all cried for different reasons - yet our pain are all the same. She started sharing her fear, her disappointment and her anger. She cried for what seemed like a lifetime. No one went home...we sat there with her..allowing her pain to become ours.

What do I [or any of us, for that matter] say to her? How do we comfort her when every time anyone tries to say something to her she reminds us that we have never been where she is right now? When she refuses to accept any comfort from us or anyone.

I told her all about writing her own Psalm 23. The Lord is my Healer. I shall not fear illness. She loved the idea, but her eyes told a different story. At the moment she cannot write Psalm 23 – she is too angry at her Healer. In her mind the Healer has forgotten all about her. So I will write it for her. I will pray healing into every bone in her body!

Still I ask, what does one say to someone in her position?
How do I get her to understand that God did not forsake her?
How do I make her understand that she must not give up hope; that she must press forward. Do I have the right to ask this of her? How do I help her in this time, when I can’t even help myself? Here is someone who really needs help and I have no idea how to help her.

I am confused and have no idea how to deal with this situation. I have never been confronted with anything like this. I don’t know how to help my friend. I don’t know if praying is enough. I doubt God. My faith is going through a crisis and I’m not even the one with cancer. How can I expect her to push through?

Does anyone have any idea how I can help her or what she needs right now?


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Melting point

The thoughts of being in the furnace and being refined are eating into my heart today. Since this morning I've been unable to ignore it. The whole idea/concept is growing by the minute.

For Jesus is the Refiner, the ultimate Jeweller. He knows what is best. He is the One who can see the end result. I am His silver charm bracelet. A lot of time is needed to fit each little charm. Charms of hope, joy, forgiveness and kindness. A special charm for love.

I am the reluctant charm bracelet.

As this day progressed, my melting point came closer and closer. I need to melt. I want to be His charm bracelet. I want to bring joy to all who wear me. The jingling of my charms must spread though all the nations.

I will melt. As I move forward joy, hope, forgiveness, kindness, love and many more will come forth with me from this furnace.

The Lord is my Jeweller.


The heat is on

When it's cold and raining I have this habit of putting the heater in my car on full blast and turning down the window. Ask not why! Anyhow, this morning I did it again and a car passed and splashed water through my window - bang into my face! I was laughing so much I had to pull over to the side of the road. As I drove off, I was thinking that my face was so hot from the heater that it's rather surprising that there was no sizzling noise as the water splashed onto my face.

It got me thinking...

Being refined in the fire as silver. All of a sudden it hit me - I've been in the furnace for the past ten months. Reluctant, but definitely in the furnace. Not interested in being refined. I realized this morning that it's not about me and what I want. It's about what the Jeweller wants for me, He knows what He wants for me and He knows what He can use me for. The sooner I accept the furnace, the sooner I will be led out of it by Him. My reluctance to be refined is the reason I am not growing into the person I am supposed to be. The longer I fight the furnace the warmer it's going to get in here.


Monday, June 21, 2004

Saying no

My husband and I spend the weekend in the mountains and it almost ended in disaster, all because of that little word - NO! I can't say no and I don't seem to have boundaries. It drives me crazy, but it really aggravates Juan. He just cannot understand why I find it so difficult to say no or to make a choice. He’s this very balanced person who can say no without the blink of an eye. At first, when I didn’t realize that I was the one with the problem, I thought he was selfish for saying no so easily! I thought he was rather rude and that he didn’t care about peoples feelings. Now I know that I’m just envious of his abbility to make a stand, to choose, to say no!

When confronted with this inability to say no I become bewildered and nervous all at the same time. For some or other reason my husband decided that this past weekend was going to be the one where I was going to “confess” my fear of that little word…no! My immediate reaction was panic. Then I became furious with him and eventually I just gave up. I was going to have to start dealing with this.

I think it has a lot to do with my fear of rejection. In my mind I have said no often. I’m rather confident when I do role play and pretend to say no. But the minute I’m confronted with the real thing my no becomes a shaky yes or OK. To me that is terrifying. On the odd occasion that I do say no, I become mortified by guilt and I change my mind to a yes or whatever I think the other person might want to hear. I’m so uncomfortable with saying no that I’d rather do something I hate than take a stand.

I have blamed my parents for my lack of boundaries on countless occasions, but truth is I’ve had more than ample time to do something about it. I have chosen to play the blaming game and to feel sorry for myself. It made me feel safe. Now my husband wants to know what I’m going to do about it! That makes me feel alarmed.

All of Saturday I told him that there’s nothing I can do about it. I have tried to read Boundaries by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend a hundred times and I never get past chapter two. Secondly I said that I was so used to not saying no that I just cannot imagine the energy it will take to break the habit/style/whatever! But that wasn’t good enough either. There I was, high up in the mountains, 250 km’s from home with a husband who refused to allow me to detach myself from this problem.

Eventually I gave in and started to actually think and talk about this problem of mine. You see, I’m so scared that I’d be rejected when I say no or disagree with someone that I choose to rather deal with the emotional turmoil of not saying no. And turmoil it is. Every time I don’t say no it seems as though I have let myself down. The shame eats at the heart of me. I feel betrayed by myself. But I just don’t stop.

It's like a survival game. All my life I tried to read into other peoples facial expressions, there tone of voice, there body language. Then I’d react accordingly. I can become whoever and whatever you want me to be. I can say the right things and make you feel important. Whatever I imagine it is that you want from me, I'll try to give just that - no matter the cost to me. I will not think of my needs, but I’ll carry your needs on my shoulders. I will bury my dreams, my hopes and beliefs. I will betray myself just to make sure that no one will reject me. At the end of the day I reject myself. I live with a yearning to be loved and accepted by others, yet I don’t love or cherish myself.

I choose to not say no. I grief for me, yet I abandoned myself long ago.

This weekend I prayed and wept. At first I was overwhelmed by the whole exercise. I just couldn’t see a way out. We started to play a game. A silly little game of questions with only two answers – yes or no! As I became absorbed in the game and choosing an answer came more naturally, I started to realize how many things I do and accept in order to keep others happy. I also realized that being able to say no or to make choices no matter what others might say or think is quite empowering.

I never knew that my lack of boundaries had so much to do with my lack of self respect. I don’t love myself. I don’t think I’m worthy of love nor do I see myself as a whole person. I am scattered. Playing this game and saying no – a definite no – I was filled with pride. I started to feel safe in my choices and ended up all giddy and pleased. Make no mistake; the proof is in the pudding. We’ll see how I handle saying no this week – but I’m confidant that, in the not so far future, I will have a good set of boundaries and a definite “no” when needed.

Eventually by Sunday morning my crying turned into laughter as hope settled in my heart. I am not alone on this journey. I have a loving husband who only wants the best for me and I have a Father who really cares for me.