He sees each tear that falls…

I have a Maker, He formed my heart

and before even time began, my life was in His hands

He knows my name

He knows my every thought

He sees each tear that falls and He hears me when I call”

We often sing songs of worship even without meaning it. I was in that phase too, I enjoyed it for its music, its fancy words. But as life went along and I went through my mountain and valley deep gorge experiences, I found that I could sing loudly in my joy and celebration moments. But I realized I just could not open my mouth to sing in my times of loss, hurt and pain – it felt like a million strings pulling back to keep my mouth shut. I felt alone… I questioned “Why, Lord?”

People told me “Never question God!” I wondered, “Why not!” If God is my Abba Father, as His child, why can’t I ask my Heavenly father! So I did and I poured out my heart to him, my tears, my heartache. And He listened, and I knew it, I could feel it!

Slowly, day by day, I saw His grace, mercy and love enfold me and the answers to those prayers unfolded in ways I never imagined! I got answers to prayers that I never thought needed answers!

So if you feel as though some things are just too petty or personal to take it to God, your little heartaches, tears, disappointments or frustrations, the answer is simple: Take it to the Lord in prayer. You are special to the Lord, His anointed one, the apple of His eye. Whatever concerns you is important to Him!

Now when I sing, I sing from my soul…because I know, understand and experience every word I sing. I sing even when its really hard for me sing because I know My God is way above all of my difficult and impossible situations!

Remember this, no one can complete you or make you content, except Jesus. He gives you His love, joy , strength and peace unlike any other, that you can stand strong on His Promises.

His Promises are Amen and Amen”

I leave you with this promise as I hang on to it dearly and claim it everyday. This was my New Year Promise I received on a promise card. It got reconfirmed twice on the same day through the message that day and the days that followed!

Joshua 1: 5, 9

V5.. No one  will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, So I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

V9. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Image Credit: Courtesy https://shoutingthemessage.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

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Word Focus

Just a few days into the New year and what a myriad of experiences, places and people we have encountered as a family! As I look at the past month, one word stands out ‘ mindful’.

This year instead of New year resolutions, I want to deliberately be mindful of God’s presence in my life. Guiding, steering and refining.
I want to be mindful of the many opportunities he has given me to experience his creation, his people and his love for each one of them.

As a wife I want to be mindful that my husband is God’s gift to me and that although he and I may be two completely different people, our love is all that matters.

I want to be mindful that my two children have been given to me for a short time to care for, love, teach, discipline and appreciate.
As a friend and person, I want to be mindful that I am to be like salt and light. Being a channel of blessing, comfort, strength, encouragement and love.

Finally, as I child of God I want to be mindful that all that I am and all that I have belongs to Him alone and for His glory.

Have you chosen a word or a phrase for 2019? Do share yours in the comments section below.

Faithful Friend Forever

Psalm 36:5 (NLT)- Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.

We can all learn a lesson or two on faithfulness from a dog. He is faithful to his master, the one who owns, feeds, loves, cares and cleans him. Pramila was feeling very sad after her best friend had found someone more interesting to keep her company. “Mom it isn’t fair. I always supported her through her failures and stood by her in her sad times. Now she only wants to hang out with Sherin,” Pramila shared her heavy heart with mom. First things first, a warm hug was what she needed and hugging mom brought that fuzzy happy feeling back. A bear hug worked like a charm. Prami took a deep breath and let out a sigh smiling. No hug was complete without Spot, their puppy who joined in out of nowhere to lick and love them! “Oh Spot! How loving and loyal you are. I wish God made us like you,” sighed Pramila.

Psalm 51:6 (NIV)-Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

You know what? God made us beautiful and wonderful. In His own image, He created us. To love, care and feel for others. To praise worship and obey Him. It is when we let the things of the world fill and distract us that we lose what He’s given us- a faithful heart, an eternal soul. We exchange our loyalty to our first great Master- God for things of the world which slowly rob our time and our focus from God. We become less loving and caring to people around us when we lose the love of God inside.

God is always faithful. Cling to Him and His word. Only He can show us the way. He alone can be your faithful forever friend. When friendships fail, heartaches come, you feel used, neglected or useless- God can bring that warm, fuzzy, happy feeling back. Spend time in prayer, talking with Jesus, that secret quiet place where you meet with this BFF- your best faithful friend.

1 Timothy 2 : 11-13 (NIV)

Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,

we will also live with him;

if we endure,

we will also reign with him.

If we disown him,

he will also disown us;

if we are faithless,

he remains faithful,

for he cannot disown himself.

 

Garden Lessons: Legacy of Love

Growing a plant is much like rearing a child or managing a relationship. It takes effort, it’s time consuming, filled with ups and downs and, more often than not, it is unpredictable. But then, you hear playful giggles of happy children being wild and free, see the colors on beautiful blooms, pluck freshly ripened fruit or feel your little one giving you a tight squeeze to show you how much you are loved – and right there you know it was ALL so worth it because this is your legacy of love.

The first step to building a sustainable, durable, precious legacy is the foundation. Build your home, your garden or your relationship with love, laughter, forgiveness, wisdom and gentleness that comes from above. Secondly, plant the seed you want to sow with care and with much prayer. Take care of it regularly, feed it with good positive things, allow the sunshine to permeate every layer and remove the things that hold your sapling back. That growing period is the most delicate phenomenon and also the most vulnerable. This season of waiting can try your patience, it can seem futile and it may even seem a waste of time. But hold on, great things can happen when we wait!

Finally that day will come, when you will see that first bud, receive that precious spontaneous ‘thank you’ from your child, be hugged warmly by a friend or get to see your loved one shine. It is on that day that you will have a glimpse into your legacy of love.

Will you decide TODAY the kind of legacy you would like to create?

Garden Lessons: The gift of sharing

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love flowers and green spaces. Just being out in nature filled me with so much joy and awe. In comparison to the yellow sands of Dubai where I grew up, Bangalore was fresh and green and alive. That’s why I fell in love with Bangalore and I knew one day I’d create my little utopia. Well, what can I say – fast forward to 2004, I killed more plants than I expected. Every seed, every sapling – gone in seconds! I gave up trying….till about 3 years ago when my mum-in-law came visiting. To set the record straight, my mum, my mum-in-law and sister-in-law don’t just have green thumbs, they have green hands. Anything they touch blooms. I don’t exaggerate when I say I’ve seen them perform miracles on lifeless almost dying plants.

So getting back to 3 years ago, we were sitting on our verandah having tea, when my mum-in-law said she was going to teach me how to garden. Out came a barrage of excuses from me “I don’t have the time!”(2 babies = genuine excuse), “Who’ll water them? (Like I have free time!), “Are you kidding, I’m not into plants!” (Yes, I said it). And finally I whispered and said “I don’t know how.” That evening we got ourselves some pots, seeds, soil, manure, stones and cocopeat. The next morning our class began. We planted seeds, flowers and saplings and we waited. At first I just wanted to distance myself from the whole project simply because I didn’t want to be disappointed.

I waited and eventually the seeds grew and the flowers bloomed and slowly my heart opened. I’d go up every day just to witness the miracle of a new flower or bud or fruit.  3 years later, I have been able to slowly create my green utopia. It’s been a slow and steady process but so gratifying and rewarding. Gardening has taught me so many things and developed new facets to my life.

 I think the most important thing my mum-in-law taught me that day was to share. By sharing her knowledge and skill, she didn’t just teach me something, she shared her time and she shared a part of her with me that sparked something in me. It gave me confidence and it gave me something new to hope for. That is a moment in time I will cherish forever and I hope to have “shared” moments with others too.

Be the One Who “Does”

I’m reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritan. When the poor traveler was beaten black and blue, left bleeding, helpless and dying on that road that day. If the Samaritan had not taken the time to see him, pick him up, nurse his wounds, put him on his animal and take him to be cared for…he would have definitely not made it out alive!

He did not care to see if the man lying there was of any particular stature or holding. He just saw a man who needed care , attention and love. Jesus taught us how to love practically, setting himself as an example. He showed us the importance of it by making it one of the two most important commandments- “Love your neighbor as yourself”.

Who is my neighbor? Many say the people who live next door! But Jesus expanded that a whole lot more! Your neighbor is the person, animal or living thing right in front of you! (I tend to add in the animal and living part being a die hard animal and nature lover!)Do we demonstrate that kind of unconditional, non-judgmental kind of love, care and compassion?

We remember the Good Samaritan not for who he was, but for what he did! I’d like to call it “The Risks of Love”. People many a time misinterpret this phrase. What does it mean to take risks in love? Fall in love with anyone just like that ? Do anything for love even if it does not please God?

From my own personal experience, I have observed that taking a risk in love means to risk everything you have and are to love that living being. To be willing whole-heartedly. Our God gives us second chances at life when we go to him and seek His face. Similarly how many of us are willing to give others a second chance at life itself?

I remembered how Jesus touched the lepers without any hesitation. Just pure love and compassion. Having watched a few videos and documentaries on people and animals being abandoned and tortured and left to die by their own people, I could see it in their eyes, the pain, hopelessness, the desperation, the dire need to die as they had had enough and could take no more. Then out of nowhere come these people and all it takes is a look and their hearts reach out to them. No matter how dirty, how terminally ill, they lovingly pick them up, carry them and take them to be cared for.

I noticed the emotions of shock, sadness and relief as they were being attended to. It broke my heart to watch them. They knew something better was happening but it had still not sunk in. I watched as they were cleaned and nursed and cuddled and hugged and spoken to lovingly. Something they had not had in a very long time – a feeling of belonging. Not abandoned anymore!

After a few days or months for some, a new lease of life was seen. I noticed the sparkle in their eyes, the sheer joy of being someone again! To be loved and cared for by people around you without any questions as to who you are and what you have done. My heart was full to see those who came in ready to die in a few moments but found the fighting instinct to survive, to live!

Jesus said” I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly“. I love the parable of the Good Shepherd, how he leaves all the ninety nine sheep safely in a pen and goes to look for that one sheep. Why? Because even that one was precious to Him! We are precious to God, we are made in His image. We have inherited his traits and characteristics. Then shouldn’t we be taking Risks in Love and showing care and compassion for those around us?

There are many, many in this world that need that kind of love and care- a second chance. To give Hope to the hopeless and Love to those who have been abandoned and left to die. Try to do what you can. We hesitate, until it’s too late sometimes. Life does not wait, it gives us a few chances to give others chances.

Don’t think it’s going to knock on your door and say “Hey, I need your help?” It might be right there in front of you. You might even pass them everyday. Are you willing to take that Risk for Love? To take time to see and listen? To be there for someone? Are you willing to be one of those who “Do” and make a difference?

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Remote Controlling my Life

I love to be in control.  I love control, not manipulation. Most often I love to be in-charge and especially when I can achieve a state where things fall into place and work perfectly in sync. And this extends to various aspects of my life. I dislike sudden change because I feel out of control. I dislike failure because that means I didn’t control the situation well enough. Sure, this aspect of my personality does get me into trouble in the area of my relationships – because who likes to be controlled, really? I’m working on that, and that’s a story for another time 🙂

But until very recently, I’d been feeling very powerless and out of control. We’ve had a series of changes one after the other in our lives as a family – change of homes, schools for the kids, a new job for my husband, new routines etc. But with my lists and organization hacks, I’ve kind of had it in control and yet this feeling of powerlessness wouldn’t leave. In fact, it kept growing and growing. Till finally, I figured it out.

It’s startling to me, but I “the controller” had subtly allowed myself to give up control over my thoughts, my time and, in bits and pieces, my life. And the controller was this crazy mix of videos, thoughts, images and words that people felt I needed to see/read. Not friends, sometimes not even friends of friends, sometimes absolute strangers, sometimes insidiously circulated “trending” videos/posts – on Facebook, Whatsapp, any social media. And this is way it would go: “Take a look at this video/post, everyone is watching it.”…. so it must be important/true/entertaining.  I had been assaulted day and night with messages, “You need to read this…”, “You need to use this”, “You need to stop this…” It was driving me insane and I realised why. Because bit by bit, my life (in the words of W.H. Auden) was leaking, not in headaches and in worry, but in minutes of watching this content being thrown at me, all through the day,  screaming at me in bold, “THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’LL EVER READ”.

And was it important or true or entertaining? Sometimes none of the above. But more important than that was the fact that I was not controlling my time anymore, something else was, someone else was and I didn’t even know it!

Then one day I thought of a wonderful solution. Since removing Whatsapp is not an option because of my work, I removed the auto download option for my WhatsApp video and images. And it has been a liberating experience. Now I don’t need to see or hear or read about anything that I don’t want to and until I have the time to. I spend my evenings reading, writing, listening to TED Talks on subjects that matter to me, reading the news from online newspapers I trust and it feels incredible. I have literally felt the tension melt away and that uneasy sense of “Am I missing something” slowly leaving my body and I feel free.

See, it wasn’t like this with TV except for the adverts on TV.  Most often we chose our movies, our sitcoms, even our news channels and  we muted the ads. When it all got too much, we turned it off. And we didn’t keep getting updates about the  “x” number of shows waiting to be watched which would remain highlighted till we watched them. With the remote, we controlled the TV.

So I turned Whatsapp Off.  And with it the pictures, the videos, the forwards, the controllers of my time, my minutes, my precious life leaking away into this fruitlessness and this wasteland of information that didn’t even matter. And now I’m back in control.

This time, I’m willingly relinquishing it to Someone who never takes it by subterfuge, deceit or force. Someone who stands and knocks and waits. I’m handing it back to the One who really can bring all the pieces together and make them fit and work perfectly – just the way it should be.

 

Can Home Cooking Change the World?

I forgot to plan the meals this weekend. I usually sit on Sunday night making my shopping list and meal plan for the week. When I miss it, dinner time is always very stressful. As it was tonight. I was trying to put together a meal with minimum effort but nutritious none the less and it was very stressful. After the kids were in bed, I found myself browsing through TED looking for something uplifting. And yes, “home cooking can change the world.” I’m amazed that a person with vision can be a leader even in the kitchen. Thank you, Gastón Acurio, for the big picture.

When Gastón Acurio started his now world-famous restaurant Astrid & Gastón in the 1990s, no one suspected that he would elevate the Peruvian home-cooking he grew up with to haute cuisine. Nearly thirty years and a storied career later, the chef wants the rest of us to embrace our culinary roots and transform the world with the meals we prepare each day. (In Spanish with English subtitles)

The Hardest Thing To Do

Today was my first day of physiotherapy for a disc compression in my neck that has troubled me for a couple of months now. The physiotherapy session was great and I felt a lot better after it. The first treatment was something called TENS in which they basically stimulate your nerves by sending electrical impulses through the skin. As the physiotherapist explained to me what they were going to do, she said, “You need to sit here with your hands on this pillow while we treat you. The treatment lasts for 15 minutes.” I thought, “Oh no! 15 minutes of doing nothing! What a waste of time!”

Because that’s what my life is like and that’s how I operate. There is no downtime except sleep and the times when I am absolutely exhausted. If not, every little minute is filled with activity. There’s a lot to do when you freelance, have two kids, run a home and want to pursue your passion. So there’s eating with a book in my hand, catching up with emails and texts while waiting for a cab, trying to read emails while attending to long phone calls, and I don’t multi-task well, so it’s double the effort for me. My first thought was, “Can I get to my phone and make a call on speaker?” I looked at my bag longingly, it was a couple of feet away and they were already attaching various things to my neck and shoulders. Too late.

I spent the first few minutes resenting the waste of time. And then I started relaxing and that’s when it dawned on me. The hardest thing for me to do is to just be. When I eat alone, I turn on the TV or read or listen to music or make calls. I can’t seem to be. When I sit down, I start to read something or make a call or catch up with texts. I don’t know if I was always this way, but I certainly have become this way. And I’m so tired ALL the time. Reminds me of my favourite lyrics:

“And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking,

Racing around to come up behind you again.”

TIME – Does it have to be filled all the time? What is a waste of time? Wasting water is letting it run without using it. Does time have to be used to do something? Why is it a waste when we don’t do anything? It’s still time. Yes, you can’t get it back. But that goes both ways. I can never get those moments back when I could’ve rested more or enjoyed that meal without my phone, or waited for a cab with a cup of tea, or lay in bed without a book, or stood in a queue without texting, or sat in a cab and looked out of the window…

Time is wasted whenever it is not used well. And that can mean different things to different people in different seasons of their life. I don’t want to waste the time I have on earth but I want to use it wisely – not by filling it with a hundred tasks but by savouring it  bit by bit, moment by moment and by being present in it. By knowing I held the seconds as they passed through my fingers, I looked at them, I felt them, I enjoyed them, I lived in them.

 

A No-Confidence Motion

In Philippians, Paul encourages the believers to have confidence in what Christ has done and to rejoice in Him. He goes on to describe the new person as one who worships God in Spirit, rejoices in Christ Jesus, and has no confidence in the flesh. Though Paul himself has many a reason to be confident in his flesh, he chose to have:

no confidence in his Jewish heritage (Circumcised on the eighth day)

no confidence in his lineage (Of the tribe of Benjamin)

no confidence in his religiosity (A Hebrew of Hebrews)

no confidence in his law-keeping nature (concerning the law a Pharisee)

no confidence in his zeal or passion (concerning zeal, persecuting the church)

no confidence in his own righteousness (as in the law, blameless)

But he counted all these gains as a loss to him for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ.

“that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith…”

It’s hard to keep your eyes on Jesus, when we are constantly surrounded by the world and its standards from outside and besieged from the voices within. Often our own conscience accuses us, when God Himself is directing us to turn our eyes from our own failings and imperfections to His perfection.

Place your confidence in Christ and you’ll find Him and be found in Him. Faith is confidence. Where is your confidence today?

She who walks with wise women will be wise

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