19 December 2008

None but yours

“Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours, no feet but yours.
yours are the eyes through which he is to look out,
Christ’s compassion to the world.
yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.
yours the hands with which he is to bless now.”

- mother teresa

I cannot help but quote from Kathy Escobar's blog again. She simply puts it so well in words. I am storing it up here to remind myself :)

"When people think of Jesus, their responses usually land in this area: loving, kind, merciful, compassionate."

How I wish to be those things. I have also come to realise that being loving, kind merciful and compassionate doesn't mean I have to be a people pleaser and accept everything.

"Unfortunately we tend to not be known for our love, mercy & compassion. why? because so many have become entangled in contemporary culture that tends to focus on self, independence, survival of the fittest, and a “let’s-not-get-our-hands-too-dirty” mentality."

"it’s the people who matter; doctrine, rules, the outside of our cups mean nothing. focus on people, on hearts. go out of your way to extend your heart and help and care and concern to those who need it, whatever that looks like. sacrifice yourself. lose your life. stop and help. shore up wounds. offer healing touches. look the outcasts in the eyes and remind them of their worth. this is what we as individuals, as a body, should be about."


per te

Ahh <3

17 December 2008


Into-me-see. Someone has said "Intimacy comes through committment".

I typed in intimacy on google and it gave this page in Wikipedia! (What's not in there!
quite interesting to even FIND anything on it in Wikipedia..hehh)) Wiki puts it like this:

Intimacy is both the ability and the choice to be close, loving, and vulnerable. Intimacy requires identity development. You have to know yourself and your inner self in order to share your self with another. Knowing yourself makes it possible to stand for yourself in an intimate relationship without taking over the other or losing yourself to the other. This ability to be separate and together in an intimate relationship and being okay with that is called
self-differentiation. Lacking the ability to differentiate one self from the other is a form of symbiosis. This too is different from intimacy though to some that kind of dependent closeness may feel the same.

Dependancy is not the same as intimacy! Intimacy comes through freedom. And I think intimacy in any relationship comes through time. With some it's longer, with others it's shorter perhaps. But you can't force it. To have intimacy you need to have not just committment I think, you need to have trust. (Maybe trust comes through committment, but committment and trust both are built through time)

Our dear Wiki continues (haha, don't discredit me but read on!:))

"Poor development of intimacy can lead to getting too close too quickly; struggling to find the boundary and to sustain connection; being poorly skilled as a friend, rejecting self-disclosure or even rejecting friendships and those who have them."

I do think getting too close too quickly can lead to burns.

Intimacy can also be identified as knowing someone in depth, knowing many different aspects of a person or knowing how they would respond in different situations, because of the many experiences you've shared with them.

There is freedom and there is choice. True intimacy only comes through freedom. If you force it - it's not really there. It's not really built on rock either if you force it, but it will be built on sand. Easily washed away as the storms come.

I love Kathy Escobar's blog. It's becoming one of my favourites now. The topic of intimacy involves safety. Ho and low, she just wrote about it! I think it goes well with this topic of mine on intimacy to add a few things from her earlier post (Safe doesn't come cheap or easy).

Unsafe people (and communities):

  • think they ”have it all together” instead of admitting their weaknesses
  • are defensive instead of open to feedback
  • are self-righteous instead of humble
  • only apologize instead of changing their behavior
  • avoid working on their problems instead of dealing with them
  • demand trust instead of earning it
  • blame others instead of take responsibility lie instead of tell the truth
  • remain stagnant instead of growing
  • resist freedom instead of encouraging it (can’t take no for an answer)
  • flatter us instead of confronting us
  • condemn us instead of forgiving us
  • stay in parent/child roles instead of relating to us as equals
  • unstable over time instead of being consistent

safe people (and communities) on the other hand:

  • accept us just like we are
  • love us no matter how we are being or what we do
  • influence us to develop our ability to love and be responsible
  • create love and good works within us
  • give us an opportunity to grow & stretch & practice
  • help us feel comfortable being “ourselves”, to be on the outside what we are on the inside
  • allow us to become the us that God intended
  • use their lives to touch ours and leave us better for it
  • help us be more like Christ help us to like & love others more
  • make the relationship more important than opinions
  • receive instead of just give
  • are humble & willing to say what they need
  • are honest, kind & don’t pretend
  • work through resistances instead of giving up

And this was said amazingly by her in that post as well:

"So many of these statements imply change, transformation. This is why we don’t have to be afraid of the word “safe”: a really safe relationship will cultivate movement, it just will. a really safe community will cultivate spiritual transformation, it just will. in the groups & friendships i am currently in & have been in over the years, the safety that was created never allowed me to stay stuck. in fact, it has always been just the opposite. the container of relationship gave me a place to see–up close and personal–my character flaws & pain and motivated me to want to change. they push me and pull me but it’s never out of “i’m up here and you’re down there and you better pull it off quickly or else i’m out.” instead, it’s always out of “yeah, we’re all in this together but let’s not stay here for too long.” every single person i am in relationship with (including myself), no matter how messed up, really doesn’t want to stay where they are. we just need people who will love us where we are but be willing to hang in there long haul as we learn and grow and try to notice & feel & experience God in the midst. that’s incarnational relationship."

I still had something else to add on my mind, but now I've forgotten it. Maybe if it comes back I'll add it later. Blame my lack of sleep last night! Early wake up. Though nothing's better than to wake up to a call from Finland! :D And to hear that a 6-year old thought that the best Christmas present for me from him would be for me to come and look after him again/babysit. Hehe! I loved that!! See he thought because I love him&his siblings, it would be the perfect present. In fact, he is right. I do love them and cannot wait to see them!!! It won't be long now - am going home in six days :)

16 December 2008

More on the theme of building

Third bit that caught my eye about building in the last little while (first bit wasn't in this blog, but it's still continuation from the last post:)) The verse in Nehemiah 2:20 I think whatever each one of us is "building" may that encourage us!

I actually liked the Finnish translation more. For those of you who can Finnish: "Taivaan Jumala auttaa meitä. Olemme hänen palvelijoitaan ja ryhdymme rakennustöihin."

In Finnish it gives you the sound of more like God is with us and will help us in our process.

It just sounds very affirming: God will help us.

I think this message translation of it is pretty cool too though:

I shot back, "The God-of-Heaven will make sure we succeed. We're his servants and we're going to work, rebuilding. You can keep your nose out of it. You get no say in this—Jerusalem's none of your business!"

Hehe talk about attitude, confidence! :)
Actually the whole story is quite nice, so I'll put it up here. It has many interesting things in it...

Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem's Walls

I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on.

By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King's Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through; so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate. The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work.

Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace." I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, "Let us start rebuilding." So they began this good work.

But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. "What is this you are doing?" they asked. "Are you rebelling against the king?"

I answered them by saying, "The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it."

- Nehemiah 2:11-20
Picture: inner yard in Kamppi, Helsinki

04 December 2008

rebuilding the ruins

the "Monastery" at the ancient ruins of Petra, Jordan.

There is a personal reason why this jumped up from my Bible today, though not elaborating on it any fruther than that, I just felt like posting it here. It's Isaiah 61 verse 4. I think the New Living Translation gets close to where I'm getting at:

They will rebuild the ancient ruins,
repairing cities destroyed long ago.
They will revive them,
though they have been deserted for many generations.

The NIV version isn't bad either. Here's a link. The whole Isaiah 61 is worth a read..

02 December 2008

Love & Pain welcomed

Today I am posting first of all nearly the whole post of "All or No one" from Nakedpastor David Hayward. He is first writing about their daughter, then about himself and his wife.

"She is 16 and loves depth in relationships. She isn’t into superficiality, but appreciates relationships that are deep and meaningful. She’s experienced pain as a result of this because it means she invests in relationships, only to have them sometimes get broken. It’s like a piece of your heart gets amputated. It means saying goodbye. It means losing someone you love. It means going through a kind of grieving process. Love hurts.

...We knew it would be a more painful way to live because we already knew that some relationships aren’t forever. But we also suspected that it would be a more fulfilling and happy life because we would experience what it meant to truly love and be loved.

So the...strategy of distance ..... It is not a positive method for positive results but a coping and defense mechanism against pain which is guaranteed in this line of work. To close your heart to love and being loved is a way to live a protected life. But life in this kind of bubble is soul-killing. And you can’t be discriminate. Either your heart loves or it doesn’t. ...I will either love and be loved completely or I won’t at all.

Jesus didn’t love cautiously. And he died for it."

It was just so good I have nearly re-posted most of it. It really is all or nothing. That last sentence made me think of something else also - the fact that Jesus came down from all glory and splendour, from Heaven to us.. You can imagine someone who is the richest of rich, the King, imagine Buckingham Palace, the Swedish Royal Family, Monaco.. (ok, well, none of them really reach it but you get the image!) and yet He chose to come down here, this messy and dirty place and into our messy lives to dine with us. He stepped down from Heaven..to be with us. Not to quick-fix us. I mean of course - He did do miracles and heal people on an instant. But I'm sure He wanted to give all those people a lot more. I think the emphasis is much more on the Journey He did with the Disciples, how He spent those years with them. He was with them. And any man or person He met He was there, present. Which made me also think of another great post I very recently read, by Kathy Escobar:

What could be: pain welcomed.

Read it - it's one of the best reads you will do for awhile!! I think if we weren't so scared of pain, we'd enter and be present in other people's painful situations as well. But like in everything - it starts within ourselves. But I do think Jesus isn't scared of our messy situations or for it being messy around us - at all. Because the fact is - without Him I can't even do the clean up.

On a final note, since I've been speaking about pain and messyness and entering into other people's pain I have to hail my mum this week! She has been helping out a friend, who's had a really difficult time for over a year. (She is a lovely lovely person by the way - this friend of my mum's) My mum's been there for her a lot throughout the whole year. This week she is helping her by cleaning her house with her, and baking and other preparations needed for this friend's daughter's graduation party. (way to go mum.. i think she's giving me good example :)) Another story is of a time when someone who is dear to me was going through a separation, and a good friend of her's just came round one time and said: "I have come to do your ironing for you". This dear person has quite a few children, and it was of huge help at the time. (And they were close enough for this friend to come over to do this kind of thing that was needed.)

Like in the cartoon post recently, I just think being involved in people's (friends') life like this makes our lives richer. Close and deep relationships. Helping out when it's needed. And it goes the other way round too. Living together and sharing life. For better for worse...