Sunday, October 27, 2013

Acts of Faith: Home

"Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found" - Phillip Phillips, Home.

I just got back from Baltimore with a few friends and this song played during the return trip. I have now had it on repeat for the past half hour since getting back home. It has triggered some memories and brought back the fervor to put pen to paper... etch black on white... empty out a few thoughts that have bounced behind that poker? tell-tale face of mine.

I first got these lyrics from a good friend of mine a few weeks ago... I was in the heat of preparing for my candidacy exams... and to say the least, during the whole process of exam preparation I was filled with Fear. I can't explain the feelings I had during that period... It was like attempting to pick out an item from the aisle and being so scared of reaching out to touch the item. It was like standing in front of the door to your house and not being able to go in... well, just because you were afraid. I had a few nights where I would randomly wake up and just stare... I think the reality of everything just hit me all at once... you know the saying: "Ish just got real"? Well, I suddenly saw the realness of it all. So real... like the skin on my flesh... like the ground I walk on... like the people I see.

And to be honest, I had never felt this way before. I would get my work done, and at the end of the day muse over numerous possibilities. It was like I was obsessed the idea that I wouldn't come out unscathed. I remember when my friend sent me the lyrics. I had just spent all day feeling defeated and out-of-place. I felt like I was in the wrong space and time... I can't remember the exact fearful thought that had just crossed my mind... I remembered praying and wishing away the fear all day when a text came in... the words that got me were... "I'm gonna make this place your home"...




There is no fear in a place that is your home. There is no doubt and ugly heads of failure in your home. There is only peace and love, and belonging... that warmth that emanates from security.

I can't say that the fear immediately dissipated... but I got comforted that: "[I am] not alone... and [I] would always be found."

I'm still navigating this long road on the way home.

p.s., I'm now a doctoral candidate y'all!!!

Help me praise God :D

Friday, June 21, 2013

Acts of Faith: The going has been rough, and the tough keep going.

Title says it all. It's funny, I re-read a letter I wrote to myself about 2 years ago, and it just helped me put it all into perspective all over again.
*sigh* IT IS WELL :-)

                                                                                                                        June 19, 2011
Dearest Rahilla,

            Here we are again at another overturn – five years later from when you first stepped your foot at one of the most pivotal places in your life (and where you succeeded and conquered might I add) – ready to step into the next phase of your life. You are about to embark on one of the best and worst times of your life… exciting and terrifying, engaging and isolating… rewarding, satisfactory and yet with a lot of troughs. It will be hard, I won’t lie. There will be days when you will lay in bed and cry and will want nothing else than to run, give up and go home – but don’t. Hang in there a little bit longer and you will conquer and be right where He wants you to be.
            Here we are again – drafting you a letter to keep you strong through the next five years of your life. First things first, you need to remember these things:

            *** The letter for college still applies!!!***

1.     God has brought you here for such a time as this, for a reason and to accomplish a purpose. So honor Him in all that you do. Be honest, remember to love and give of love freely, your neighbor as yourself. And remember to love yourself as well. You must remain alive to do His bidding.
2.     In all that you do, do it WELL, strive for quality. Be the best at what you do – in lab, with your colleagues, in your studies and in your friendships. No one can ever lose from you giving the best of yourself that your conscience can allow to them. Nothing can detriment from your trying your best at finding the answer.
3.     Never take anything personal. Forgive easily and let go even faster. You are flawed, people are flawed – and inspite of it all, not everything is about you. You must remember that trivialities and trifles in life exist, not everyone is out to get you and yet no everyone will like you – regardless you must still move on. Live, Laugh, Love. Remember if all else fails, He loves you inspite of you and forgives you inspite of you, and hence you must forgive and let go inspite of circumstances.
4.     Always be true to yourself. Your principles, your values, your beliefs and your instinct. The foundation and core of yourself is what keeps you going. At the end of a hard bustling day of life, you lay on the bed you make, and hence you must always live up to the notions that will leave you in peace. There is no need to please others or live out of fear of hurting others – you must remember to do what will leave you at peace with yourself at the end of the day.
5.     Above all, remember to whom you owe all of this journey to – your Maker and the architect of your destiny. He allows you your free will and the gift of enjoying the pleasure of pursing that which gives you some fulfillment. Remember where you steam from – the Word of the Almighty God, the One who smiles at you and covers you by the justification of His Son’s blood.

Hold down your Forte, He loves you deeply.
Penciled by His Leading,

P.S. So, how are you? Tell me below :-)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Re: Sweet Reminders of Easter, vs. 2013

The reminders from 2012 are still relevant... what is funny that I'm still learning to apply all of that in my life...

... Galatians 5:1(NIV): "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

I pray I learn and keep learning what that freedom is, and pray the same for you.


Mwajim Al.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter

Admist the distractions, the craziness and intertwining loops of life, I just wanted to say:

"Have a happy Easter!"

Keep pushing forward :D

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Urbana 2012 #U12 Lessons: #1

*long post alert*

As some of you know, via facebook, twitter and heavily through instagram (thank God for social media), I spent the last days of the year 2012 at the Student Missions Conference, called Urbana. This was my second time going. As opposed to the first time, I had a relatively better idea of what to expect. I knew the intense energy that would be present, the convictions that would follow, and of course the sweeping and overwhelming presence and work of God that would be at display. I think a part of me didn’t think I would have so much to learn - on a certain level, I think I felt some pride. Pride that of course I have been here before, there is probably not much more I can learn... Pride that it wouldn’t apply to me, I cannot leave my current location and go be a missionary in Mozambique or Italy etc. So, what I did pray for going in was for God to show me what he wants me to learn... I was scared of my pride blinding the room for expanding growth God could have in store for me.
As with all things associated with God, He met me in ways that were much bigger than I could have ever expected. So over the next few posts or so, I’ll be chronicling lessons learnt from this conference. I will try my best to be as articulate and open as possible. And I really pray, something speaks to you from it.

Lesson 1: Jesus comes with a life alteration (*gasp*).

“If it’s not good enough for local consumption, then it’s not good enough for export” - Calisto Odede.

The passage I’m reflecting from is Luke 4:14-30.

Before this passage and for the purposes of context, we have a series of humanly impossible and very strange events occur - a virgin conceives, an old couple conceives, an old man told of his son’s birth goes mute and only speaks at the birth of his son, shepherds and angels come to worship a baby born at a manger... Crazy events. Chapter 4 starts with the temptation of this same immaculately conceived baby now grown into a man who is tempted by the devil, and doesn’t succumb to any of the temptations. Up until now, all of these happenings have been more on a need-to-know basis. Maybe if you were close to this man and/or his family, you would have known about the mystery surrounding his birth, his cousin’s birth and the prophecies that have been said about him... or even the words he has spoken. This need-to-know ordeal comes to an end when we get to this passage.
This immaculately conceived baby that has grown into a man, officially named as Jesus, gets up to speak amongst his own people in the synagogue. Note that this was in Nazareth, where he grew up (please keep this point in mind, we’ll return to it later). He gets up, reads from the old testament - a popular passage as I’m sure to the Israelites at that time, as it was read in reference to the fulfillment of the messiah that would free them from Roman rule:

18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Luke 4 (ESV)

If he had just read that passage and ended it there, all would have been well. However, history has it that he didn’t. He spoke further:
    21 And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

He says more things to them that can be found at the end of this passage (I know you are dying to know the end of the passage, so I’ll redirect you to read Luke 4:18-30)

The first point that spoke to me from this passage was what the speaker quoted above said: “If it isn’t good enough for local consumption, it isn’t good enough for export.” Jesus didn’t start his ministry by going to Asia... He started right where he was, in his current position, at his hometown. I can’t even begin to explain how much of a blow that was to me. Several times during the week, one can catch my thoughts or vocalizations spewing on how I would like to live my life as the person I imagine in my head. It’s quite large, because in my head, I’m the girl who runs marathons to raise money for people suffering from neurodegenerative disorders, I’m the girl who gives her weekends away at soup kitchens or spends time with old people - I’m the one who gives herself away trying to save the world. In reality, I spend 60 something odd hours every week in lab (doing some mad scientist stuff - coolest job description in the world)... and on the weekends, I’m stuck in bed watching netflix or thinking of something interesting to say on social media (don’t judge me). If my life is to be modeled as Christ's life was... then what does that mean for me in the context of this passage?  In my 60 something odd hours spent in lab, can those individuals I spend time with testify of God’s fruit in my life? Can my cohort mates speak of Jesus’ work in my life? How about my roommate or the people or even my family that I talk to on almost a daily basis - do they know of God’s hand in my life? Can they see it? What is the point of trying to live up to this girl I want to be (ready to zoom off for exportation), if I can’t show anything for it in my immediate environs (not even consumable at the local level)?

Can I stand up and live out God’s good news in my local environment?

And what of the crazy promises that this bold Man speaks to these people, that He claims is fulfilled in their lives on that very day???
“To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor...” … Sight to the blind, freedom to the captives, good news to the poor, the end of oppression? A lot of times, I’ve read this passage, as some story that happened long ago that can just possibly never happen again. But isn’t it happening now... and when it does, don't we chose to ascribe to chance or luck? Isn’t God still healing broken hearts? Isn’t He still setting the captives free? Are the poor in heart not still the getting good news?

Or has God stopped working amongst us?
It seems that the year of the Lord’s favor comes with an alteration. A covert operation from Christ that echos till this day, that His good news still rings sound and sure - He is our only hope, He is our total satisfaction, He is our God... our everything.

Our acceptance of Him turns everything upside down, with a demand to trust that He is good and only wants our good!

What does this mean for me?
A whole lot of processing and a reassessment of my life. In what ways have I limited God’s work in my life? In what ways have I limited the power of the Holy Spirit in my life? God’s power is the same today as it was thousands of years ago... and all these disciples I read of in the Bible were human as I was - same flaws, same frailty, same fears... What’s different?
I think it’s my unwillingness to to give everything to Him, my unwillingness to lay everything down... to trust that He is who He says He is. He is not just a carpenter’s son that stood up to read a passage and went away at the wrath of His people. He is not just some figment of an imagination or some conjured conspiracy passed down through the centuries by some select old people that wanted to control the masses. He is real. As real as I am. As real as my typing fingers on this keyboard... As real as the light falling on your retina being transduced to neural signals and relayed to the rest of your brain.
And for me to accept His reality is for me to stop giving Him the boundaries that I think He ought to stay within in my life. He is a life-changer... a life-alterer... and I must continue to let Him be that... To continue to heal this broken heart... to continue to give good news to this poverty-stricken soul... to continue to free this oppressed life... and continue to give sight to these blind eyes...

What does this mean for you?
I pray that the Holy Spirit reveals Himself to you, that God becomes more real to you than He is now. I pray that you give Him an inch... all He needs is a willingness and the rest is a done-deal. I pray that you experience the year of the Lord’s favor :)

Have a magnificent week filled with beautiful wanderings!

Mwajim Al.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

the ones who know what good is.

determined to be the ones who don’t cave in...
the ones who defy the status quo...

determined to be the ones with change in our eyes,
fire in our chest...

the elders, they got it wrong!

the old ones, they settled for less...
letting the dream die...
letting their dreams die.

we are the ones with dreams we say,
we are the ones who can make a difference we chant.
Change starts with us.

No more of that old nay says and hay says and no action!
No more of that absolute power corrupts nonsense!
We are the generation that wants to see what good you are.
We are the generation that knows what good it all is.

we forgot that they were once young too...
and like us with dreams in their eyes,
and fire in their chest...
they swore they would be different.

we forget they were once young too
but breaches of sand and bamboo
came knocking at their door one day
until they could not ignore
the clarion call...

One day they will come knocking at our door too.
Question is, would we still be the ones who
could cause change amidst change?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Epiphanies from Urbana 2012

I ended 2012 with a bang, the best way I could have ever done so, in the presence of Jesus, with fellow believers. I was at Intervarsity's Student Mission conference, Urbana, usually held every three years at St. Louis, MO. I spent the past couple of days, being convicted, learning, being challenged and encouraged about my current position and how I can view my faith and what I've been called into from this position :) I also got a few books, and a plethora of recommendation of books (it's almost impossible to go to a conference and not get books to read lol), lots of exchange of ideas, and fresh vision. I am sooooo soooo excited about the next level in living out my faith, being authentic about it, and just loving people more, loving God more... Whhhoooohooooo!!!

I just wanted to share some pages of my journal from the first two days at the conference... It's in my "chicken-stratch" handwriting. So please bare with me :)

Thanks, for reading! And happy new year!!!

p.s., I don't make new year resolutions... For me, 365 days just seem too short or long - take your pick, to work on change... change should be over the course of a lifetime :) (Or maybe i'm just lazy, who knows).

Stay beautiful people. I'll be back with more tid-bits soon enough.

Mwajim Al.