22 May 2017

Fifth out of Eleven???

I know what you might be thinking...something big must have happened for me to actually be posting again. The truth is that I really miss the blogging world with so much of my heart, I miss the community here, I miss sharing with you all and listening to you all and making more friends- but life refuses to be perfect (I know I've been over the whole perfect thing before, but bear with me) and I'm never going to be perfect and I think I'll just have to see where this goes. If I continue posting, or if I don't, or if I land up in the in between somewhere. I'll roll with it.

BUT. Right now, I have something I really do want to tell you all about. Or rather, someone. And this surely is big news.

His name is Moses, and he is beautiful.


My heart aches with love for this tiny being! So, yes. Something huge did happen. Look at his smile! I am proud to introduce my new baby brother to you all. Moses Bennett Joseph, born two months premature on the 8th of May (fun fact: that happened to be my twelve-year-old brother's birthday and Moses decided to gatecrash it) and weighing 2.1 kilograms with a full head of hair and ten siblings that already adore him. He came home from the hospital yesterday. 

People, God is so GOOD. He has answered our prayers, continues to answer them and is taking good care of Moses and my mom. 

I CANNOT explain the way I feel now, how my heart bursts with emotions that wrestle and tangle together and yet are all beautiful, but I'll try. Having a new little brother, someone so small, so innocent, so pure, so precious, so promising...it's incredible. I really am trying here, but it's hard. Hard to explain how it makes me feel and how joyful I am when I look at his face, when I kiss his head and smell the sweetness of baby. Hard to tell you just how phenomenal a thing it is for me when I hold him in my arms and slip my finger into his own mini fingers and feel them squeeze.

And I'm sorry, but there are no words that will do it justice, so I won't try. For now.

That being said...my blog name may need an update sooner or later, because there has been another (unforgettable) addition to our family. How does Fifth out of Eleven sound?


PS: Proper and professional photos of this miracle baby are coming soon. 

5 Mar 2017

I AM HIS



BOOM. I’M POSTING FOR THE FIRST TIME IN WHAT FEELS LIKE YEARS. LET’S START THIS OFF REAL AND RAW. CONFESSION TIME.

So, I sat at my desk, fingers hovering over the keyboard of my laptop. I’ll be sixteen, I thought to myself. Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m turning sixteen.
And then what?
Or maybe the question I was asking myself is this, instead: what do I have to show for the sixteen years I have been alive?

I started thinking over all the things that want to be thought about whenever a birthday comes around. The first one sucker punched me right in the gut to guarantee that it was at the front of the line.

MY PAST. (A DISTRACTION FROM HERE AND NOW)

It only just hit me now that I have, at times (including in the past few days), been more concerned with my past than my future.
That’s not the way it should be. Why? Because Jesus Christ made me new, and then told me to forget about my past. AND then he promised me that He has a plan and that He will make a way.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. / 2 Corinthians 5:17

Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. / Isaiah 43:18-19

My past has some dark chapters in it, but there’s undoubtedly a lot of good to it as well. I have great memories. I have awful memories. There are tons of embarrassing stories I could tell you, but perhaps I should save them for another post. I’ve grown, I’ve learned, I’ve changed.
But the past is not what we should focus on when we turn a year older, or at anytime, for that matter. And what should be? The answer is beautifully simple and simply beautiful: Jesus.

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. / Hebrews 12:2

The next thing that wouldn’t stop nagging me is an issue I’ve been fighting for a while, not only recently. It’s absurd and something that could never be a reality because I am a human being, and yet, I still have to stop myself from running after it all the time.

MY IDOL. (CHASING PERFECT)

I don’t feel perfect. I feel so far from perfect that I have been down in the dumps lately, mulling over how many other sixteen year olds out there ‘have their lives together’ and here I am, about to turn sixteen, and who am I anyways? What can I do? I’m not special. I’m not extremely talented, or super smart, or very beautiful. Sometimes it feels my life is just a tornado of doubt, loose ends and failures.

I don't know if you noticed what is wrong with that attitude, but God brought it to my attention. I’m writing this all down because He helped me realize, in His ever patient way, how vain, how self-centred and how self-obsessed I have been being. I have been wasting my time- adding up my triumphs, my goals, my first impressions on other people, my appearance, my worth and my story, and then still deciding that I fall short in every area. I've been idolizing the idea of perfection, when perfect isn’t even a thing that we as humans can manage anyways.

Basically, all I've been thinking about is me, and that's wrong. Me, myself, I, moi, mine, I deserve, I want, that’s mine. You get the idea. Because, reflecting on these thoughts that have recently been drifting aimlessly around in my head, I could not stand here (or sit here, if we’re being literal) and deny their nature to be purely egocentric and inward looking. And the bible does not agree with that kind of thinking.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. / Philippians 2:3

I have been holding up the days I’ve spent in this world in my mind, turning them over, inspecting them, trying to extract what is good about me so that I can feel that I am going to qualify as ‘the perfect sixteen-year-old’. Yeah, I was gently reminded by the Lord that there’s no such thing as ‘the perfect sixteen-year-old’. God called me out on that pretty fast, and I’m so grateful. It took a huge weight off my chest. It’s funny how easily we let the devil lie to us and convince us that he knows or we know who we are and what we’re worth, and it’s amazing how Jesus comes to our rescue again and again.

Back to the point I was trying to make. I was spending my energy on trying to put together a picture of myself that I would actually like. I couldn’t. In fact, I failed miserably. Do you know why? It’s not only because I’m sinner who makes many, many mistakes and also someone who has to constantly fight their very insistent, self-seeking, self-pleasing side. I am that, exactly that, whether I choose to ignore it or not- IF I leave God out of the picture. You see, I was trying to be something admirable all on my own. Counting on my fingers the good works I’ve done, the adventures I’ve had, the people I’ve impacted.

But that ISN’T WHAT MATTERS. I am not what matters. I am not who matters. I want to let perfect go and feel the joy that comes with knowing that it's irrelevant when I look to my awesome and mighty God. Which leads me to the next thing that He happened to talk to me about today.

MY WORTH. (WHO I AM)

I don’t want to let those letters in bold confuse you. I put ‘WHO I AM’ there so that I could tear them down. It isn’t about who I am. Bam. For me, that is a revelation that I need to awaken to over and over again. Selfish person over here, if you haven't noticed. But the good news? The good news is that, as I already mentioned, I am made NEW in Jesus.

Another major problem with the path my mindset has been traveling down lately is something that I hadn't taken to heart as deeply as I needed to until this week. WHO AM I TO DECIDE MY OWN WORTH? JESUS decided my worth when HE died on the cross for me. My worth is in HIM. Not in anything I can do or say.

Guys. I’m baring my soul to you…are you starting to understand how very, very, very self-obsessed I am, naturally? It makes me feel dirty. But I have Jesus. I have JESUS. He washes my sins away and makes me His child. And amidst all of this, me weighing myself on some dishonest scale that this world thrust at me, me trying to chase after my own desire to feel like I mean something, me yearning for acknowledgement from people and the internet instead of from a God who loves me with an insane amount of love, I somehow forgot that.

I never want to forget that.

I am ready now. Ready for waking up as a sixteen-year-old tomorrow. I am thankful and grateful to my Heavenly Father for showing me that it’s not who I am, it’s not what I do. It is who He is and what He does, and He has done so much for me in the years I've been alive and even before. HE is what I want everyone to see when they look at my life. Not my achievements, or the way I use words, or my physical attributes, or my followers on Instagram. I want all that to fade, to crumble, to fall away like the weak and incongruous foundation it is when they become aware of the glory of my God. I want it to be about Him.

As for me, as for who I am- I am His. It is more than I could ever ask for. It is more than I deserve. It is a gift that Jesus has offered me, and whether I accept it or not is most important. So, I do. I do accept it, and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt in my heart, in my mind, in my soul- it is more fulfilling than anything else. 

It is what I want to lie in my bed thinking about when the morning greets me tomorrow. I am His, I am His, I am His. And it is a truth that can be yours too, that is yours too. If you don’t know that, my prayer is that it will be revealed to you now. If you already have that truth instilled inside of you, let this be a reminder of how precious it is. Let God tell you, with that small, still voice that is so powerful and reverberates in me even now: YOU ARE MINE.

I can’t know what it is you will choose or what it is you have chosen. But as for me, I want to be His in return. And in being His...I can testify that it truly does fill that chasm inside that nothing and no one else can heal.

That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. / Ephesians 3:17-19

- - -

I am a flower quickly fading,
here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean.
A vapor in the wind.
Still You hear me when I'm calling,
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling,
And You've told me who I am.

I am Yours, I am Yours, I am Yours.

-  Casting Crowns

9 Jan 2017

Monday Musings [5] - You Win



well done, you win
you got yourself
underneath my skin
and now, now
something is happening
so what are you going to do
about this thing
that's steadily growing?

I fought it
but the thing is, I'm only so strong
and now here it is
and now here I am
surprised to feel it's right, not wrong.

it punctured my heart
in the way I know you meant it to
right from the very start
and now the red is soaking through
staining me like art.

hook, line and sinker
hell, I think I capsized your boat too
I've always been a thinker
but now I'm always thinking of you.

maybe we can go for a walk together upon the sand and
you can tell me your secrets, 
ones you normally keep to yourself and 
I will pretend like I don't like holding your hand
but that's one of my secrets, 
I normally keep it only for myself
the fact that I don't want you to let go of my hand,
as my footprints follow yours in the sand.

and you, you've got me deep in this rut
and I, I'm not even looking for a way out.

somehow I don't mind that I feel weak against this tide
and you of all people know that I've got all this pride
but alright, I'll be the first to say you win
'cause I can't concentrate
when that smile makes my head spin
and I'm not even afraid
'cause maybe 
you were supposed to win.

-t.h.
written: 09/01/2017

6 Dec 2016

The Accomplished & Unaccomplished Goals of 2016


If you’re anything like me, the title of this post fills you with a kind of sick feeling. Your mind starts spinning, whizzing back to the beginning of the year when you made all these goals that you were sure you would accomplish this year. Because this year was going to be different. You were going to do everything better, your life was going to become healthier, the people around you were going to notice the massive change in you, you were going to get smarter, fitter, kinder, more useful. You were going to put your procrastinating behind you. You were going to work hard. You were going to accomplish.

Now here you are, freaking out because you aren’t ready for 2017, and can you even think of one goal you properly followed through with?

But then again, that’s only if you’re anything like me. If you aren’t, fair enough. And if you are, here’s a little bit of advice. From me to you and me.

One of the problems I have when I start thinking about all I haven’t done and all there is that needs my attention is that I tend to lose sight of the fact that there’s a bigger picture. I’m too busy obsessing over the intricate details to realize that although it’s far from perfect, there’s beauty to the huge mess that is my life, if I just take a step back. There’s purpose.

Sometimes I simply forget that my messy room or my messy hair or my inactive blog or the to-do list that grows bigger every day or the run I didn’t go on or the journal entries I didn’t write or my bed that I still haven’t made are not what defines an accomplisher’s life. I just forget sometimes.

The truth is, the accomplishments that matter the most are to do with the heart. When you woke up this morning, did you feel a little lighter than you did yesterday? Do you feel you’ve been growing, that you’ve been changing and maturing and learning? Do you see people in a different light, the more you get older? Are you more understanding, more quick to help than you are to judge?
Can you say with confidence that you are following in the footsteps of the One who has shown us the way?

People, all of the above is what really counts. And there’s no way anyone of us can become those things without help.

In the bible, it says ‘yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.’ Romans 8:37.
So, let’s scratch the ‘accomplisher’ part.
Ladies and perhaps gentlemen, although I suspect my readers are mostly of the female race- we are CONQUERORS. No, wait, there’s more. Literally, more. We are MORE than conquerors.
And it’s only through Him and Him alone. It’s Him in us, it’s Him with us, it’s Him keeping His promise, that He will never leave or forsake us.

You are not doing this alone.

It also says in the bible, in that very same chapter: ‘what then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?’ Romans 8:31.
Man, I love that chapter. WHAT shall we say to these things? These ‘unaccomplished’ goals, ‘unticked’ boxes on our lists?

We tell them this: that they are NOT more important than our God. That we will NOT allow them to consume us, turning us into worriers instead of warriors. That they surely do NOT define us, because our identity is found in Christ alone. That God willing and with His love and help that we all so desperately need, we’ll try again next year. We’ll work hard, yes, but we’ll be doing everything to His glory, not our own.

Don’t waste sleepless nights over the bad moments, days, weeks, or even months of this year. Don’t waste your tears over them. Redirect your energy to what you were really made for.

You were made for Christ.

‘For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.’ Colossians 1:16.

Ask Him how He would have You live, what He wants you to conquer for Him. Only then will you truly feel a sense of accomplishment. Take this from someone who constantly slips up by trying to find that elsewhere. Sometimes I feel I’m like a stupid sheep. (oh wait, that’s actually exactly what I am without Christ)
When will I learn that I only find that strength, that fuel and that purpose in my God?

But that’s the thing, right there. I’m learning. You are too. Life is full of learning, and we’re all learning constantly. It isn’t life that teaches us, though, as some like to say. It’s our sovereign God that has ordained and planned every little part of your life, of my life. His plan is greater, His plan is better. Remember that there’s no one else you ever need to turn to, that if you’re looking for someone to teach you how to do life, look no further than Jesus Christ.

And you guys. Best. Teacher. Ever.

He’s also a sculptor, by the way. Yeah, calling Him talented would be an understatement. I mean, where do you think all the talents we have as humans came from? I like to think He shared a little with us.
But back to the sculptor thing I was getting to. He is shaping you, moulding you into what you were always meant to be. He is growing you into His image. The catch is, there’s no catch. If you put Him first and put yourself under His care, you will flourish. You will find you’ve never been better. That doesn’t mean it will always be easy, but it means that it will be worth it.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18.

See? How amazing is that? IN HIS IMAGE? Do you know the massive truth of how stunning, how beautiful He really is? Nope, neither do I. Not entirely, not yet. But I’m looking forward to the day when the magnificence and awesome wonder of His full beauty is right in front of me. Until then, I kind of have an idea, and even that is mind BLOWING.

If you feel you’ve take nothing else away from this year, take this and be comforted: He hasn’t left your side and never will.

If you take nothing else away from this blog post, take this and be comforted: whatever happens in 2017, He’s got you.

10 Oct 2016

Monday Musings [4] - My Song



It was You who set the earth spinning
You nurture every tree that is growing
You alone are mighty and all knowing
Of all Your wonder I will keep on singing

Oh, You crafted these bones
You made my heart a home
And knowledge within my soul
Tells me I don't have to be alone
You are my King, my Lord
And this, this is my song

You put this melody inside of me
Gave me strong feet and these wide eyes
So in Your grace I'll stand and see
And this fire that burns for You will never die

Oh, how good and how safe it feels
To know, know I belong to Someone
A thought that makes my head reel

To know that to You, I belong
You are my Savior, my first love

And this, this is my song.

-t.h.
written: 10/10/16