Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Baking Bread: Chef [x interview]

[Image via Pinterest]

So God bakes bread these days?

Hmm, not really *Laughs* I think I like the idea that ingredients can be one of the worst things to consume ordinarily but when heat, condiments and sweeteners come in, dinner is served.

So tell us, is the fire really necessary? I mean if there is a God and he loves us so much, can't we just have a very smooth ride? How necessary is the fire?

I will take it from here, I think first a lot of very 'ordinary' things like nature, child birth, and even general processes like the way valuable things like gold are gotten are a mirror of the spiritual journey God has for every man. The process is important.

I always like to think it this way: I am the stuff that would live forever I better be well formed, I better not be half baked.

And it's not just only hard things God brings our way. He gives us room to breathe, the green pastures to lie in so our souls is refreshed for the journey. And he knows how to balance these experiences cause he knows what we need as individuals to mature. I think that's why I connect so well with the allegory of the chef. A good chef has a mastery of balance.

In your essay, you paint a picture of someone in a kitchen which he/she can't make sense of. I'm not sure if that's you. And at the end of it, you end with a prayer. I was thinking you would end with a 5 step plan to get your groove back. Why is this?
I think we live in a do-it generation and I must say cause of this, prayer has really been underrated. I mean just opening up your mouth and having a sincere conversation with God, is fast loosing its meaning. We think of how to solve our problems first then if it doesn't work out then we run to God. But God should be the first person we go to.

I also think a prayer no matter how irregular is very powerful, in fact one the most powerful arsenal we have as humans here on earth. It like a catalyst, an alignment, a trigger, it causes things to change and cause things to happen.

At the end of your essay you also mentioned, bread and feeding the multitude. Tell us more.
I think we miss one of the most inspiring tenets of life in our chasing the [insert your nationality] dream. *Laughs* And this is it: my life is not about me. Our life isn't really about us, neither is the story we are living. I mean a character doesn't play a role to sit back and watch or be entertained by it. In fact he can't do these events consecutively. We stage in God's story so that others can see his glory via our lives. 

Hmm deep thoughts. Any last words for our readers?

I would say no matter where you are as this year ends, the end of the year is not the end of you. No matter the broken dreams or what you couldn't achieve this year, bow your knees and pray and raise your head and go do whatever he tells you. Fear not. Be brave. The master chef is your kitchen. And yes Merry Christmas too.

P.S.- If you haven't, Click here to read Chef, the essay.

Monday, December 23, 2013


[Image via Pinterest]

Eating food.
Making food.
Whichever you prefer, the first we all love, in fact a necessity.

This is your salt.
These are your eggs.
This is your flour.
Now eat. Food is ready.

The ingredients are never food enough.
We need some fire. Something to hold them together and then more fire.

I stood over the edge of my life the other day and honestly it seemed like a messed up kitchen.
There was some good stuff going on.
There was my sugar.
I wanted all of it and more but I can't live on sugar. Even though that's all I want my mouth to taste of.
There were some greens. They were bitter and I had them sprawled around the kitchen floor.
This is not what I want.
You see, I couldn't make any sense of it then.

But when the chef steps into the kitchen, he will make a dish of nourishment and celebration no matter how extreme, bittersweet or bland the ingredients are.

Life throws us things we can't make sense of but when we give it to God, It's like a million dollar recipe in a chef's hand. He knows exactly what dish to make of it.

This is your butter.
This is your salt.
This is your flour.

Alone you can't have any of it for breakfast but in the hands of God, with the fires of life, he can bake the best bread.

From stone water will come. From your mess a message will ensue. From our disgrace, his grace would emerge. He adds and removes and cooks it all up like the best chef in town. The foul odored eggs we couldn't stand, the bland taste of flour and the harsh salt we couldn't munch a mouthful, he has added to the sugar we always want to have all day to make a great cake.

Now say after me if your heart is broken even as this year ends or your hope frail.

This is my life, these are the broken pieces. Take it and do what You do best.
Make bread and feed the multitude.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

When They Leave The Room And You Didn't Know Someone Had Left.

[Image via Pinterest]

So it all starts when you're screaming at me, accusing me of things without giving time for explanations.
I believe you are awesome. . .or you could be.
There was something I saw before I moved in with you.
You weren't pretty but I saw beauty in the making.

Sometimes the problem in love isn't we aren't ready to meet our other halfway. Sometimes we arrive halfway at the said meeting time and the venue is empty. Love is about the efforts made.

I want you. The long nights we had talking junk and sipping chilled cool aid is still in the attic of my memory. 
I won't lie. I want you.
But if you keep choosing a script which reads out of focus, I would have to live even if you're still in the room. 
I would have to turn up the music, do a dance and let joy in. 
Life is short. Time is precious. I am on a mission. I will be waiting for you when you're ready for me.

The day you left, my side eye caught you packing your things. I can't deny I didn't know when you were about to leave. As I danced to the loud music, a part of me by default prayed that God would make you stay. But then you were gone.

"The day you left, my side eye caught you packing your things. I can't deny I didn't know when you were about to leave. But then you were gone.

After you were gone, someone asked after you. We searched the whole room. We looked for you everywhere imaginable. We turned upside down the couch we had sat and watched reruns of Dawson's Creek on. Your favorite mug broke as we searched the kitchen area. 5 hours later I remembered you actually had left the room sometimes earlier."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


[image via Pinterest]

I hope these days are embalmed with purpose, love, faith and the doing of good things.
I hope you look back and see it all stamped with bright colors and not drowned in moods of gray.
Cause today, you are in it and sometimes because we are in it we can't see it in its entirety.
Its beauty, opportunities and potentials.
Sometimes it's the complaints that seems to be so evident.

But friend, today is more than the pain.
Today is more than the lover who left or the job you never got.
Today is a training ground.
A classroom of sorts while on motion.
You can learn or you can criticize.

That today is beautiful is a given.
You need no scientist to prove that to you
You can start no matter the past
You can paint no matter the pain
You can laugh when it hurt so much you want to cry
Or you can laugh and cry

Cause today was made not by some cosmic coincident and you were placed in it not just randomly woke up in it.
As random as a day might seem, it was designed.

You can escape today by daydreaming of the future, but the wings you need to get you there are here.

Today is a gift, use it, don't ignore it.

I hope you don't look back from the light and wish for the darkness once more.
I hope not.
Cause those who have been given little candles and placed in a dark place know their purpose.

If today is bleak and far from its definition, you my friend have been placed in it to redefine it.

I hope you use the gift of today.

I'm also praying you don't bury it.

"Today is the oldest you have been and the youngest you are ever going to be"

P.S. - I love and chose the picture in that what sometimes freezes us in the day is the complex decisions we have to make. 'Complex' in that just like the ORANGE, GREEN and RED traffic light colors we are accustomed to, we are given more options than the simple YES and NO. [See picture above]. 

Real answers to real life questions are more than two [YES and NO] options and for us that's a great opportunity.

What do you think? I would love to hear from you @ayostephens

Saturday, October 19, 2013


[Image via Pinterest]

Sometimes when our plans seem to be falling apart, God is orchestrating it all in the direction of our dreams.

You hold your life plan in one hands and say "God, this is what I want!"
Remember, you dreamed a dream long before you knew how to write or ever knew what pens and papers were used for.
Now you want your whole life to be directed ( I actually mean 'caged' ) by a document on paper or MS Word?
The hustler was once a carefree little boy. And the independent lady was once a wide eyed girl.
Right then a dream was set in your heart.

When it's all falling apart, God is unearthing the dream.
The dream covered up by the disappointments, limitations, stereotypes and impossibilities we have set for ourselves all in the name of growing up.
We are not growing up if we have silenced the voice of the inner child.
Dear hustler, You're still that boy, you're still that girl. Your life is more than making money and you have a calling and a purpose.

This is not a call to abandon your day job and go to the mountain and cry out "GOD! Where is my calling"
This is a call to swim the tide of life. To know that every heartbreak, "We don't need your services anymore", contract loss, disappointments and deal loss has a great potential to pull you closer to the heart of God.
And in finding his heart, hustler you are finding yours.

Before money existed you lived happily somewhere you can't remember now. After money is destroyed, you will live on in a place.
This place determines that place. Use money don't let it use you. You're still that boy.
You're still that girl.
Say amen and embrace the hustle.

P.S. - "Before money existed you lived happily somewhere you can't remember now. After money is destroyed, you will live on in a place." Money is important, very important. But have you ever thought of a world were money isn't needed? What would it be like?

I would like to hear from you. Bounce your thoughts off me on Twitter @ayostephens.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


[Image via Pinterest]

Some looked the same but were not actually the same.

As we sat in the big experimental  lab, white coats on, various bottles and colors, liquids and crystals, the new teacher spoke up for the first time after staring at the back wall for 5 minutes.

"Some can never mix" he said to me breaking my gaze from the bottle of Ether.

Somehow those words got the attention of the whole class.
Were they looking at the bottle or me? I wondered
The teacher strode to the front of the room like a giant, not one about to fall but one who just won a battle.

Bouncing with a smile on his face, he said
"Some would never mix no matter what you do
Some need some extra external force to begin the reaction
Some would cause an explosion if they mix
And some are perfect for each other
They happen before they meet"

I put up my hand and asked the chemistry teacher amidst the smile forming on my face. 'do you believe in chemistry?'

'You mean do I believe in love?' He answered and smiled back

'If love is a reaction' he began taking the pose of a fourth grader reciting Yeats or Shakespeare ' who knows the right constituents?'

Camilla and James exchanged quick smiles and locked hands beneath the lab table.

'If love is a reaction" he continued "who knows what would explode if mixed '

If love is a reaction who knows each individual's 'chemical' properties.

Who knows?

Camila and James exchanged frowns, quickly unlocked hands beneath the table and looked looked away.

The bell rang
The class was dismissed.
A bottle broke as one student tried scrambling to the door not to miss her next class.
That day they didn't hold hands into the hall as usual.
I sat like a stone at my desk pondering these questions.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Make Up [It Poured. It Poured.]

[Image via Pinterest]

She walked into the waiting area five minutes after I arrived and we all turned but I was staring long after others  turned back their heads.

Something happened in that moment cause somehow I disappeared right next to pretty doll. And I gulped and said 'your hair. . .' . I gulped again and said 'your face. . .'. I gulped again and said 'your. . .' But then came the rain and we all scampered.

But she made no effort to leave the rain. The shades were full and for the first time I saw a streak of heartbreak on her face.

Is this the first day of the rest of your life?
Are trying to start over again?
She stood right there as it poured down

It poured. It poured.
The water from her face seemed a bit colored.
It poured. It poured.
The face I saw some minutes ago was coming off.
It poured. It poured.
I looked at her again but she tried to hide.
It poured. It poured.
It was then I asked myself, can you truly love without the presence of the rain?

Cause you see my friend, you don't know anyone if you haven't been in the rain with them.
We can choose to look pretty anywhere but there's an undoing that comes with the rain.

So when you're stuck at a bus station with your best dress on. New shoes and your life seems almost perfect and the rain comes down on you.

Hold on and be still. Let the rain wash away your makeup and in that moment embrace the real you be it ugly or beautiful. 

Let the rain remind you of who you really are. Let it humble you. 

And don't forget to give a sheepish smile to the guy who's been checking you out all along cause if he can still love you right in the rain without make up, chase you and come for you after the rain stops, he's something like the real deal.

P.S. - I once saw a lady get angry the other day cause a guy said make-up was unnecessary. What do you think? Was her anger justifiable? Was the guy rather rash in his reasoning? Are there people you really think can't live everyday life without make-up because of very valid reasons?

One more question if you are a lady reading this, Has your make up ever come off in public before? Did you feel humbled?

My twitter handle is @ayostephens I'd like to hear from you.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


[Image via Pinterest]

The parlor is usually our best place in our houses or rather where we try to make look the best. It's like a museum of sorts and memories we want to remember are locked up in various objects and pictures.

No one places their underwear in their parlor. No one puts the picture of the murderer who destroyed everything amidst the memorabilia. We love to keep it neat and tidy so that the visitors can come in, relax and ask lesser questions.

But the parlor would always tell a story whether we want it to or not.

And in the moment of instant confusion and delusion that leaves us wondering "what exactly am I doing with my life?" the parlor we try so hard to make into an utopia of sorts can become the hospital we need in such moments.

Cause sometimes it's a glimpse of the beautiful things and memories we made in the past on our shelves that remind us how far we've come.
Sometimes it's the fragments of the picture that was shattered as we begged them to stay that reminds us we indeed have the gift of perseverance and are fighters.
Sometimes whatever is on the shelf reminds us of the love we've invested, the grace we've shown and the many we've loved though our parlors might be presently empty. 

So don't box it in. Don;t throw away beautiful things simply because they remind you of the lover that left. On your way to the bin, make a U-turn and place them all back on the shelf and let your healing begin.

P.S.- Something in me argued "NO! it's the toilet" with the first line of this essay. LOL! What part of your house do you try to make look the best? I would love to hear from you :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Exorcism. [Close Your Eyes]

[Image via Pinterest]

As she screamed out and did a dance, the old man told us to take a step back. He sprinkled some water on her and she reacted like fire touched her skin.
“The sixth one just left her”
“The sixth?”  I asked. I had not seen the first one leaving. “How do you know these things?” I asked with my eyes wide as my gaping jaw.
“Two more to go.” The old man said just as if I had not said anything. “CLOSE YOUR EYES” He suddenly shriek so they don’t come into you”

So unlike Mary there were 8 demons in Susanna and water has done the trick in this case.
Sometimes we obey the exorcist, sometimes we say “who are you to tell me to CLOSE MY EYES?” and somehow both feels wrong.

Cause this is scientifically unexplainable.
Cause this is biblically unexplainable too, as a friend who goes to one of the modern churches once told me.
How do we explain the exorcism?
How do we explain the spiritual?
How do we explain animals becoming humans and humans becoming animals?
What is the explanation for the darkness and the supernatural?
We could act like nothing lies beyond the curtains of the dawn but we know we are trying hard at creating a utopia.
The darkness exists even if we try to dream it out.
The exorcism can occur and the old man can demand we close our eyes.
Then what will our reaction be?

I believe the supernatural is real
I believe the darkness is true

But when your neighbors are performing an exorcism, your level of peace is proportional to the level of truth you believe in. Some things are truer. Some things are realer.

You must know where you stand before you despise the darkness.
That some things happen in your neighborhood and not within your fence doesn't discard them as reality. Water flows from higher grounds to lower grounds.
You must know whose you are before you curse the exorcist who tells you to CLOSE YOUR EYES.

P.S. – 

This is extremely allegorical (names and events don’t mean exactly what they seem to mean. I’m tempted to leave it just like that and let every reader take away what they see but I guess I’m a partial artist so I will give some explanation.

We have a generation of people who despise the supernatural and sacred simply because they don’t understand it. This is not wise.

I love a thought by A.J. Jacobs (Editor at Esquire) after trying to live every nuance and direction in the Jewish old testament for a whole year (yes he tried to live the bible literally for a year). Paraphrasing him;

 Imagine if aliens came from space and saw us blowing off candles on a birthday cake, they will think we are nuts. That you can’t understand it doesn't mean it isn't beneficial. That you can’t comprehend it doesn't mean you shouldn't regard it”

I’m not sure A.J. Jacobs is a person of faith and he has something this profound to say of people and belief.

That said, I have seen some kick a beehive of the supernatural that in the first place had nothing to do with them and got into big trouble. This is not a warning. I am a writer and a lover and share things that come to mind. This is where I am for now. I write some things and it speaks to me too in a profound way and like a reader, I use a knife and fork to make my way through the plate of words too. Please do the same.

As a generation that seeks and is for change, we need to know that every battle brewing in the ‘ neighborhood’ isn't ‘your’ battle. Sometimes we need to close our windows and pray for the trouble to pass and times we need to stand at our door like giants and speak to the darkness.

“The blood of Christ is over this door. And You shall pass this one. I live on a higher ground. The higher determines where the water goes. Go away!”

As I end this I leave you with the words of Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil (a Professor of Cultural Reconciliation Studies @ SPU)

“Our name is not on every problem. We’re not supposed to engage everything. Every place where there is hurt and division and brokenness is not supposed to be my assignment. My job when I come into a community is one, to listen to the people who are there but internally to say to God, God you are at work. You're always working. Help me not to make a move until I discern what you are doing?”

The darkness is real.
But what is God doing?
He’s shining his light.
Calling you and I to be channels.

The darkness is real.
But what are we doing?
For now we need to let go of the urge to argue with the exorcist.
For now we need to surrender to what God is doing.
He's calling us
Do you hear Him?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


[Image via Pinterest]

I was before the world began
Precious and for a purpose.

Somehow, I didn't get to know how I came and how I was
Definitions, forms, labels I picked up some
Now I am
But I was
I was

As l looked into the mirror, I saw who I was before the world began, who I was before I was born. I was a treasure but what happened to me?
How often we complain of the fire without looking into the mirror.
For what I saw in the mirror, I will go through the fire.
Antiques are kept for a certain time, treasures refined. These we are. These we were. This I am.
As I looked into the mirror, I saw who I was before the world began, who I was before I was born.
The Word was before the world began.


357 days later.

"Are you trying to stop the fire or allowing the fire bring forth the real you?"

I think you have a name beyond your twitter bio. I think you are so much more to be reduced to the labels handed out for a behavior, performance, lifestyle or addiction.

But can you hope and remain faithful? Can you reason stupidly that this fire, the one before you, the one you've been avoiding all your life would't leave you in ashes but turn into gold?

Today, I'm not settling for labels. I don't know if you're okay with them. Cause even the good ones tend to fade. "He is a rich man", what is he when he's gone? "She's curvy .  . . and that's sexy", what is she when she's old and grey?

Labels come in all shapes and sizes. Bad, good, straight, gay, trans, black, white but we are so much more. We are antique. We were before the world began.

I dare you to take a plunge into the fire.

Like the guy in the photo.

Stop trying to stop the fire.

Go through the fire.

I dare you.

I dare you because of the real you on the other side of the fire.

Monday, July 22, 2013

This Is Your Moment. [Don't Break Glass]

[Image via Pinterest]

When there's blood and pain and ache and tears. 
When it doesn't just seem hard but it's hard. 
When you're shouting at your wall and almost breaking glass. Hiding and telling your friends 'sorry I can't make it to that party' cause your eyes are red and swollen and NO, it can't be mistaken for make-up or a new colored  tattoo. 
When you scream 'why me?' to no one in particular, muttering 'this can't be happening to me' every nano second. Now that's the moment.

That's the moment you were born for cause it amplifies your true purpose, potential and super "giftedness".

If fighters never had a fight, how will they be named?
If soldiers never had a war, what will they be called?
Cause in the darkest places is when we can be light best.

In the toughest places is when we can show forth what we're made of.
And it's in the fire is when we can be the miracle baby and say after the day 'today, I walked through fire and did not get burnt'

Cause friend, you are a warrior, don't you know. You are more than a fighter didn't you realize. You were put on this battle ground because He believes in you.
You can, you can, it's no motivation, it's the truth. The truth about you.

So before you break glass, un-clench your fist and break fear. The moment you want to run from is the moment you were made for. So don't run. Stand and fight. Be here. Be totally here. Don't medicate.Like the heroes in our movies, conflict is climax. We are at the edge of our seats for that moment they get to face the bad guy. It's usually towards the end and everything that happened at the beginning points to this very point. 

Hero, yes you, do you feel like a Hero at all? But what if your reality was a dream and your dream is your true reality? What if? What if you woke strong and brought to life all that's been placed within you? What if you start now? Don't break glass, break fear.
Warrior, winner, fighter, overcomer, conqueror, those names aren't just fashion labels, they are who you are. The stage is set, climb. We are clapping cause we know you already won.
Yes this is your moment. 

Remind yourself you're a winner when you feel like a loser.
Don't break glass, break fear.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sea. [When You Love Your Reflection]

[Image via Pinterest]

I'm currently standing at the sea and I can't see the end. Is this a mirror of something?
Cause in the first place the sea is like a mirror, I look down I see myself, I look up I can't see the end.

You see, we see ourselves a lot and that we are comfortable with but we are like ships finding our way and what we really want is to see the end, the destination, where we are going. 

I want to see the end. I'm told to look down and see myself but my reflection is not enough for me. I need something more. We are cajoled and told to believe in ourselves, to tap into some inner power, to find the best in ourselves without looking up . . . but it's like looking down, just looking down. We want to see the end of the sea but we sometimes deceive ourselves that the end of the sea is our reflection.

The end is definitely not our reflection. The threshold living power we need to live above what we've termed as normal cannot be found in our own archives. In fact, it's scientifically unbelievable and the equation isn't balanced. There is power and always less emphasis placed on looking up and I wonder.

This is a journey and we can't keep looking down. It's okay to look down sometimes to see who we are becoming as we look up. Its okay to look down to see if there's blood in the waters. But our eyes are for the end even though we can't see the end.

The sea is a mirror but it is also a road.
Look up, look on. 
We want a mirror but sometimes all we need is a road cause what we really are is yet to be revealed.

Look up, look on. 
Boats turn over when sailors look down.
The sea you are on would tempt you to make a mirror out of it but please be strong and let it be the road it is.
Please. Look up and look on.
I have to go now, the rain is coming.

When you love your reflection, you struggle with criticism and discernment. When you fix your eyes on Christ, you become loving and wise. - Michael DiMarco

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Visiting.

[Image via Pinterest]

There is something about the visiting, the continual showing up and meeting together as friends even when you have nothing to discuss. It is the secret tip on how the secrets slip out. It is how bonds are formed and how you know the real nakedness.

I was once a bad friend. I was once a friend who wanted to know all the details in one day and we humans were never made that way, to open all at once. To try to know a friend at the first meeting is like telling them "Hey you, you are simpler than college maths. That took me four years to understand, you will take me just one day". We can't know the details in one day. We humans are like an erratic flame that needs to be fanned, like a barren ground that should be watered continuously because of the hope that one day it would yield. We never know the day so we keep pouring in water, we keep showing up, we stay faithful to the visiting.

The visiting can reveal a lot of things, terrible and beautiful ones. I know a girl who discovered her lover was not who he claimed to be in the visiting and called off the wedding that was near. I know another who discovered the brokenness of a said to be "perfect" friend and this made the bond so much stronger, all in the visiting.

You can't know a human in a day, it takes time and the visiting is a way of investing time. It happens in the small talks, little chit chats, suddenly you hear without asking where they were before they got here and how hard it was, the pain and how they almost collapsed and let go. All of a sudden, you witness the weirdness and idiosyncrasies they've successfully covered up with poise, make-up and learned PR skills.

We will have friendships we might never know their purposes till sometimes in the future. Some have lost these vital relationships all in the name of "defining the relationships" even when its still forming like a fetus in the womb but I beg to differ. I am faithful to the visiting. I will show up with love and a big heart. Even if it seems messy I will hold your hand and say  "one day we will know where this is going but for now let's know each other." It only happens in the visiting.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Leah. [Weak Eyes]

[Image via Pinterest]

On the morning after the night Jacob paid the price for the beautiful Rachel he woke up with Leah in the marriage bed.
She couldn't resist the command to fake Rachel by Laban her father. 

Who would? We all need love by the way. So we try to act as who we aren't to get it.

This is the story of Leah.

A woman put in love but left unloved.
A woman in the bible times we hardly mention in our bible studies. She was Jacob's first wive, Rachel's sister and Laban's daughter and was said to have 'weak eyes'.
I don't know if it was the anger of deception, or that there was no chemistry, or that Leah wasn't beautiful that made him make babies and not love with Leah.

This is the story of Leah.
But do you love those that don't love you even when you put in all you can?
I do.

I have discovered that love must dwell in some places even if its unwelcome. 

A few weeks ago I held the hands of an estranged friend and said ' I love you even if you don't love me. I choose to'
Love is the possibility of joy and pain, of rejection and acceptance. We try to exhibit love only in places we know we will get it back but that is 'safe'. And this 'safe' love isn't love. Cause to be safe isn't an inherent characteristic of love. 

For family we must. We are joined by God and not by circumstances. We were born in and didn't walk in. You never had the luxury to choose your family. God must be saying something.

This is the story of Leah, a story of us. For when we find our selves in love beds we think is ours and the owners of these beds look right into our face and say with disgust  'GET OUT!' because our eyes are 'weak' and we are not 'beautiful' GET OUT! I DON'T WANT YOU! I WANT MY RACHEL!'.This is our story.

So what exactly do we do when we give love and are left unloved? stay with me on this.

Leah had four babies for Jacob, the story of their names might just shock you.

For the first she said Reuben: this is a sign that God has seen my misery; and a sign that now my husband will love me.

Sounds familiar? Maybe the next.

For the second she said Simeon: God heard that I was unloved and so he gave me this son

Sounds close? Maybe the next

For the third she said Levi: now maybe my husband will connect with me- I've given him three sons.

Now pause.

How often do we let a relationship that never worked determine our story. How often do we freeze our lives because God never brought back that parent, friend or lover that walked out on us back home.

Now maybe my husband will connect with me

Sometimes we apply all the relationship principles and it never happens. We work so hard and 'birth children' doing all we can just to satisfy the one we want to love us back.
But realize friend, to be unloved is not a sin, I think making it the barometer of our lives is the sin.

Then Leah became pregnant for the fourth time and I think she had an epiphany of sort, cause when she gave birth to the next one she said Judah: this time I'll praise  God.
Does that name sound familiar to you? The lion of the tribe of Judah? That was the lineage the Savior of the world came from.

I have heard so many theories of how pain is for gain and read quotes of how 'those that left were not worth your love', but please again I repeat please, if someone left and it hurt so bad cause they were important in your life and you felt unloved; mourn their absence. See and acknowledge the space they left and don't use the band aid of pop culture - chewing gum - wise sayings to cover up a wound that needs to heal. It's the pain we take to God that yields a gain. A wound looked over or ignored becomes an infested ulcer, an addiction, a dysfunction of sorts.

Leah became pregnant the fourth time and when she birthed this one she said Judah: this time I'll praise  GodDoes that name sound familiar to you? The lion of the tribe of Judah. It was from this son of Leah, the point where she changed her perspective of what it means to be unloved that Jesus was birthed from.

To be unloved doesn't mean we are unlovely even if they say we have 'weak eyes' and aren't Rachel. To be unloved is to realize God loves us. To be unloved is to let Him come in and fill the space of those who walked out on us.

To be unloved isn't rejection 
in the long run If we aren't passive about it. It is an invitation for God to come in and be enthroned so that we can say in that moment of disappointment: This time I will praise God.

I think it is then we realize that even if they didn't love us, we can and are able to love them because God loves us.

"... in my dream, I seemed to see a woman
both young and fair; along a plain she gathered
flowers, and even as she sang, she said:
Whoever asks my name, know that I'm Leah,
and I apply my lovely hands to fashion
a garland of the flowers I have gathered." – Dante Alighieri (Purgatorio) 

To return good for evil is divine. Good for good is human. Evil for evil is barbaric. Evil for good is satanic. - Lecrae

Then Leah gave birth to another son. She name him Judah, because she said, "Now I will praise the LORD." Then Leah stopped having children. - Genesis 29:35

P.S. - The biblical account of Leah can be found in Genesis 29:16-35, 49:31. Biblical scholars believe that the term 'weak eyes' or 'Tender eyes' meant Leah wasn't beautiful.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

[The Boy] Next Door.

[Image via Pinterest]

Next door always fits one description, our expectation.
We always want what we want next door no matter what's happening indoors.
Sometimes I think it's all about appearances as our Neighborhood is more important than the state of our latrines.

In my Neighborhood is a house that looks like the Eiffel as long as I live next door I can famz* and really it's okay, that's okay.
I once caught myself telling a girl "I live next to that house, yes that house that looks like the Eiffel." I also caught myself grinning from ear to ear.

What is wrong with us that we cant stand alone and exude uniqueness?
Why do we have to always lean?
I know it's better as houses than a house but community is for an entirely different purpose.

What's wrong with being a lighthouse and saying "come, come I am for safety too"
Or being the tree instead of the bird on the tree and choosing to grow till every branch is a refuge.

For whatever is going to be situated next door is a definition, a criteria if not met then is discarded as weird. And we do this with people too. in case you haven't figured it out, we are the houses.

I wanna be the light house. I wanna be unique not just to show off but to serve the ones who are asking God big unique questions, bent on not entering in until they have answers. I wanna be that answer.

And I believe individually we are too.

I wanna be that tree thriving on the healthy symbiosis experience discarding the parasitic nightmare, growing branches through the strong wind blowing across the forest. I won't be knocked down.

I believe you won't too.

For trees are to bear fruits some peaches, some mangoes, others apples. The vineyard keeper loves them all but WE have preferences.

Next door is a phrase we came up with in the twentieth century cause every generation has its expectations but not too fast every generation has its needs too, and these aren't usually the same.

I stand for the need. Cause expectations are desires and fantasies sometimes necessary but most times plastic.

I stand for the need cause when the chips are down, the need is the core

You should too.

So a note to my Neighbor and your neighbors too: whatever you want built next to your house isn't necessarily what The estate owner wants to build next to your house. You could do yourself a favor and take care of the interiors so you wouldn't be wanting words when the owner arrives.

So to my Neighbor and to yours I say again: whatever you built next to your house isn't necessarily what God wants built next to yours (cause he's more particular about the needful things).

So look up and stand alone, be strong for you and for the guests coming.
We want many things next door, like the girl with the perfect hair and body or the boy ready to 'play'.
I'm leaving those definitions, criteria and labels because I'm seeing them as restrictions.
So I beg to differ, I'm not the guy next door.

I think you should too.

“Do you think I'm wonderful? she asked him one day as they leaned against the trunk of a petrified maple. No, he said. Why? Because so many girls are wonderful. I imagine hundreds of men have called their loves wonderful today, and it's only noon. You couldn't be something that hundreds of others are.” 

 Jonathan Safran Foer, from the book Everything Is Illuminated

“You are the only you God made... God made you and broke the mold.” 

Max Lucado, from the book Cure for the Common Life: Living in Your Sweet Spot

P.S- a little bit about the writing. If you told me I would use the word latrine in any of my writings a day before I wrote this, I would say 'NEVER, no way". Don't like the word much, I prefer 'toilet' (which means the same in this context) but Latrine works well for this piece.

*'Famz' is a word used in my community for trying to take on the reputation of another. It's not in the English dictionary, at least not yet. :)


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