Archive for the ‘Here Comes the Sun’ Category

I awoke today & lay gazing in reverie at the ray of light streaming in through the skylight in my loft, when this inspiration struck me.

Have you ever wiped a thick grey-brown layer of dust off a shelf or pile of books with your finger and looked at it in disgust? Have you also gazed, like I did, at a ray of sunshine streaming in through a window or a crack, mesmerized by its beauty as the dancing flecks glistened and gleamed?

Very often, I find that we are like dust. Dull. Dry. Dead. Dirty. Until troubles come and shake things up, cause a stir, kick up the dust… It’s then we begin to rise, resurrected, revived. And as the sun glances in from above, we forget we are dust and dance instead as sparkling specs, basking in the light of His glory.

That, I believe, is the ashes to beauty experience.


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You know how in the Flatliners, one’s past comes back to haunt them until they make amends? It was sort of like that for me yesterday, but with a twist. Whereas in the movie, the people of the past were back to take revenge, in my case there was grace, and probably more than I deserved. But the effect, if anything, was stronger and more permanent than revenge could ever achieve.

It’s like this… Once upon a time, I had laughed my butt off in the face of someone for something they didn’t quite do well. Let me simply call this person, “Ramona”. Well, Ramona and I both got caught up with life and I had quite forgotten about her altogether. But as it turned out, she went on to excel and become well-known in the very same thing I had laughed at her for. Now, all these years down the line, Ramona was actually being nice to me, even allowing me to witness and be a part of her ‘guts and glory’. I looked for the expected shades of pride and the “ummm-so-you-were-saying?” attitude, but not finding much, I had to take it as genuine.

First of all, it felt like a jab in my guts, a payback that proved I had been wrong back then. Then it made me want to slit my own throat for having been such a jerk in the first place. Most of all, it made me feel ashamed – ashamed that I had to be taught a lesson in grace from someone I had once written off as useless.

I would have liked to soothe my wounds by telling myself that perhaps my ridiculing Ramona is what first angered and thereby motivated her to prove me wrong and get where she is. But that would have been very vain, conceited and irresponsible (not to mention, supremely wretched) of me. So, I found myself actually thankful for an opportunity to set the record straight, as humbling as it was.

Ramona is just one person, but I have been wondering how many others I might have mocked in the past for whatever reason. I know I probably won’t be given an opportunity to identify and make it up to every one of them face to face. But let me take this opportunity to say how sincerely sorry I am to every “Ramona” that has ever been derided, both on behalf of myself and also on behalf of anyone else that was responsible for your hurt. And I really mean this:

I was wrong to discount you or treat you in any way less than you deserved. I should have thought of you more highly than I thought of myself. You are NOT useless or good for nothing, as my words or actions might have led you to believe. And for whatever anger, hurt, fear, disappointment or regret I may have caused you, I sincerely apologize. I assure you that I will think a million times before I ever laugh my butt off at someone else’s expense again. I just hope you can find it in you to forgive me. Thank you!

You might be thinking, big deal, this is nonsense! But for someone out there, it is a big deal. So, for all it’s worth, there, I’ve said it.

And if you’ve ever laughed your butt off at me, chill. You’re forgiven. It’s all good.

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8:30 AM, 2 July 2010

The Ecker Ranch, Watford City, North Dakota

The bird of the past still beckons,

Its call enticingly sweet

Speaking of familiar ways

First contemptuous then browbeat.

Looking back, I ask the question,

“What’s in it for me?”

“Nothing,” is the honest answer,

It should be plain to see.

Relentless it tarries,

Coaxing sympathy

I turn away, face the wind head-on,

Declare: I’m free to be me!

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For many people the last few days have meant hot-crossed buns, bunnies, goodies, and Easter eggs. But this Good Friday – Easter weekend has been a significant one for me. I’ve been able to think deeply about my life and make some important choices. For the handful of you I shared my thoughts with on Friday, you know the background and the place I was in when I started out. Just so you also know, there was some disappointment I faced the same day that led to the realization that all of the things I had had on my mind were simply foolish, unnecessary, and would only lead to harm. It brought me to a point where I felt ashamed, guilty and very stupid for even thinking on those lines. Where had the trust in God I had claimed gone??? Apparently, it’s much easier to just say very proudly that I trust Him but actually doing it, letting go and submitting one particular area of my life to Him is so very hard!

I ought to admit that I have been a strong-willed, stubborn mule of a girl right from childhood, always wanting my way and say in everything. Even my biggest mistakes in life seem not to have convinced me sufficiently that my way is not always the best way. I don’t always know what’s best for me. I don’t always know myself better than anybody else. I don’t always have the best plans and ideas for myself. It’s a good thing God does. I should know that well enough by now! How much more does it need to take for that to be drilled into my head and every fibre of my being???

So, Good Friday ended up being for me a day to literally put to death and nail on the cross some of my worst follies: pride, stubbornness and arrogance among the top few. Having done that, one might imagine I felt free and full of glee. No. Mere human that I am, it was followed by only sinking lower into anger, bitterness, self-pity, blame, hatred, and every abysmal emotion that it is possible for one to feel. I eventually succeeded in caving out a big tomb of self-condemnation for myself, sealed shut and left to waste away.

This Easter morning, though, I awoke with hope and a sober knowledge that I could break free of the tomb, rise from the depths and be alive again through the same power that once conquered death, sin and the grave and now lives in me. I took great comfort in knowing that irrespective of my worst sins (even my lack of trust in God and His perfect will and plans for my life, and my unwillingness to submit completely to them) I am forgiven, accepted and loved. Unconditionally. What’s more, I have the promise of life everlasting with the Almighty God Himself. And in light of eternity, all my recent concerns are nada, zilch, absolutely nothing.

I just began writing some lines in conclusion but felt they would best go in verse, so here goes:

Today I chose to trust you, Lord, to submit and obey;
Repentant come before You and earnestly pray:
Lord, not my will be done; I’d rather have Your way,
In You I’ll find my freedom and strength for every day.

I shed these weighty burdens – let them rot and decay
I break through every stronghold that has held me at bay.
As a bird emerges from its shell, where once it idly lay
In time I’ll spread my wings and to great heights fly away!

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Funny how the topic of marriage has become an increasingly popular and often discussed one among many of my friends, more so in the recent past. I suppose the older we get with our statuses unchanged, the more pressure to be married by hook or by crook, to find that clichéd Mr. Right (or Miss. Right) and live happily ever after. I can understand this well in our Indian culture, with me being in this category myself – well, not exactly, but somewhere there… Anyway, all this talk about wanting to find the love of one’s life got me thinking and I decided to blog some of my thoughts.

To most of you reading this blog post, it is no news that I have been down that road many a time only to be hurt & disappointed (and vice versa to the concerned parties, I’m sure). I am presently at a point in life where I am just content to be single & let Jesus take that place rather than face more hurt & disappointment, although that is easier said than done. However, that does not mean I have been written off the “charts” or am no longer a fish swimming in the deep, wide ocean. The difference is, I’m no longer desperate to “get hooked” or to go find “the one” because I’m pretty confident anyone worth marrying is going to come find me! Moreover, like I quoted an unknown person some time ago, I do believe “A girl’s heart must so be hidden in Christ that a man has to seek Him to find her.” That’s the only kind of man I want to marry after all of my bitter experiences, and nothing short of that will do – a man who first seeks God & the kingdom of Heaven and finds that all the rest falls in line.

One of my friends recently asked me, “What do you girls expect? Jesus?!?” I thought about it, and the truth is, yes! :o) Well, at least for me… I sometimes wonder what a hot dude Jesus must have been while He lived on earth – son of a carpenter and carpenter Himself… I don’t think He ever needed a workout because the natural must have been gazillion times better. 😛 What??? Call it blasphemy, burn me at the stake if you like, but I’m pretty sure Jesus was HOT, in fact way HOTTER than any currently existing piece of male flesh for sure! He totally burned it up, and He still does for me, for real. No, I’m not kidding. I really mean that. I am completely in love with Jesus, and if anyone wants to win my heart, they’re gonna have to beat Him. So there! Ha! 🙂

That said, let’s be practical… marrying Jesus ain’t gonna happen as long as I’m on this earth, so here’s the next best option: a dash of Jeremy Camp, a pinch of Lincoln Brewster, a whole lot of Jesus on the inside, and I’m good to go. Wishful thinking? Maybe… but what am I going to lose by thinking?

So… to tie the knot or not? That is the question… As I pondered this, God showed me a fruit tree with a ripe red fruit hanging on it. I felt like that fruit myself, ready to be plucked. Now, let’s not allow our imaginations wander away & border on disgusting here… but a ripe fruit is good for several things: to be eaten as is, or to be made into a jam or juice or jelly or some other edible product. And with that, a ripe fruit would have served its purpose. But what if… what if… nobody actually plucked that ripe fruit? Would it have failed and not served a purpose? Over time it would fall to the ground, begin to shrivel, rot, and gradually become nothing but dirt. Sad.

I think the analogy is pretty clear, the plucked fruit resonating with the much-desired, fanciful married life while the rotted one represents the unmarried life of misery. But wait… what’s that I see? Several months, maybe even years, down the line I see a shoot springing up from the dirt. Tiny, green, easily mistaken for a weed, but a shoot nevertheless… In a few more months or years, I see that shoot grow into a large tree itself, bearing flowers, fruit & being a home to many a bird… much more than it could ever have achieved, had it been plucked and eaten or made into some other fancy foodstuff. Did the uneaten fruit not serve a purpose? Indeed not! I believe both the eaten & the rotten served their purposes just as had been destined even before the world began.

So here’s my conclusion: to be married some day remains a great desire. However, let not anyone who might not ever get married assume that his or her life is meaningless and has failed its purpose. In fact, God may be able to achieve greater, mightier things in and through your singleness than He could have ever achieved through your marriage. And for the married or marrying, I’m not done yet… eaten fruits must also have their seeds or cores discarded, which at some point reach the dirt too… and we all know what happens after. Therefore, eaten or rotten, you serve a purpose; serve it well! To tie the knot or not, it matters not.

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This was supposed to just be a short post on a couple of things God taught me during this week, but as it turns out, is not. 😉

1. Faith:

I finally learned what it means that Jesus is the author and “finisher” of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). It’s a term my Dad used a lot in his prayers and sermons, but I don’t think I ever quite understood it too well until this week. I’ve been learning a lot about faith lately, and I clearly understand that “without faith it is impossible to please God”. I also understand that God has made it easy for us to have that faith because He Himself is the “author” of our faith. He Himself puts faith in us when we accept Him into our lives, which itself is a step of faith.

The Bible talks about us having faith as tiny as a mustard seed, and even that little faith being enough to move mountains. So I went with that thought. I imagined a tall transparent glass with just one tiny mustard seed in it – pitifully tiny, insignificant and incapable of anything big in that large glass. That’s how my faith is more often than not. However, this is what I learned… that no matter how small, insignificant or incapable of anything our faith is, God completes it for us, in other words, he is the “finisher” of our faith. It’s as if He fills that tall glass with Himself and thereby makes all things possible. I imagine the glass being filled up with water (symbolic of the Holy Spirit). Try it practically and see what happens… you will see that the mustard seed no longer remains at the bottom of the glass, but rises up bit by bit to the very top and floats there. So it is with our faith… no matter how small, when we realize that Jesus Himself completes it, our faith rises to meet the challenge. We are emboldened with courage just knowing that He completes our faith and we are not in the struggle alone… and suddenly ALL things become possible for us.

2. It’s not about us and our capabilities; it’s about Him and His infinite abilities:

This sort of goes hand in hand with what I learned on faith, and I’ve seen this happening through this last week as I’ve ministered to people with various needs, most of them beyond me and my own understanding. I’ve seen God use me despite my inability in certain situations, and give me the right words at the right time for people that He brought my way in His perfect time. I know that none of those were co-incidences or mistakes, but divine appointments. In one particular situation I didn’t feel very “knowledgeable” regarding the situation, but God gave me His wisdom to deal with it. All it took was for me to say, “Here I am, Lord. I’m available. Use me. If you can use anything, Lord, you can use me!”

I was moved by a dialogue towards the end of the film, Prince Caspian (yes, I am a HUGE Narnia fan, in case you don’t already know that). After the war is won, when Aslan meets with the children, he tells Prince Caspian that the time has come for him to be King and rule over the land. Prince Caspian is overwhelmed and says something like, “But I don’t think I am ready yet”, to which Aslan’s reply is, “It is for that very reason I think you are.”

God is not looking for people who think they have it all together and are content in their self-sufficiency. God is looking for people who know they are not capable in and of themselves, but He is able. We need to always remind ourselves that it is never about us and our capabilities, but about Him and His infinite abilities! And be available for Him to use.

3. Obedience:

1 Samuel 15:22 says, “Obedience is better than sacrifice”. Along with faith, knowing that it’s all about God and being available for Him to use, goes obedience. We have often heard people say, “Delayed obedience is disobedience”. So true! I have been learning that too this week. It is better to obey God no matter how crazy it might seem.

Last night I heard God tell me something that sounded like He was out of His mind. I was like, “What??? No, no, no… there’s nothing I can do about it. Thank you for telling me, but I don’t see how I can help with that.” But I couldn’t bring myself to ignore God’s voice and eventually found myself doing the outlandish thing He told me to. Now, this involved another person too, and even if I had done my part in obedience, the buck stopped with her if she thought I was out of my mind. To my surprise, she not only took me seriously, but was also obedient to what she said was the Holy Spirit telling her not to just brush it aside as some nonsense like she would have normally done, but to act on it. What our obedience achieved, I am yet to find out, and I sincerely hope it saved a life. However, the point is not what we achieved, but that we were both obedient to God and his voice. John 10: 27 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” What is God saying to you today? Are you one of His sheep? Are you following Him?

4. Look Inside Yourself!

The fourth thing I learned this week is something very personal, but I want to share it all the same, knowing that many struggle with this question. We often wonder why God doesn’t “show” Himself to us and reveal Himself visibly. Why is it that God shows Himself to some stranger who has never even heard of Him, ever, but won’t show Himself to me??? I remember reading once that God, more often than not, needs to show Himself to those that don’t believe and those who would find it hard to believe if He didn’t. However, for those of us that have a strong faith and believe in Him even without having seen him, it is not necessary for us to see Him. I made myself content for a while thinking, “Oh, I must have great faith that God doesn’t need to show Himself for me. Cool!” And that was cool… but there came a time not too long ago, when I asked the Lord to show Himself to me and He did in a very strange way, so much so that it freaked me out for a bit, wondering what the strange Presence in my room was. His Presence remained in my room several days, and I would see it every night. But after a while I stopped seeing it. Then the other night I asked the Lord to show Himself to me again, and this is what He answered, “Why are you looking here for me? Look inside yourself!” Whoa! That was pretty amazing to me, and a necessary reminder that He is inside of me, working in and through me. When others see me, I sincerely hope they see Jesus inside of me.

Now, I’d like to make it clear that God is very capable of showing Himself to anyone, and in different ways to different people. For me at this point in time, this is what He chose specifically for me. The only reason I am sharing it is because I know many people have the same question on their minds, and I hope to encourage you not to stop seeking after Him, but to wait patiently, spend time in His presence, and in His time, He will reveal Himself in His own way.

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This is a list of my favourite free social networking applications and recommendations for those who have a Mac and a Blackberry, and primarily use Facebook and Twitter (and possibly Tumblr) for social networking.

For Blackberry:
1. Facebook for Blackberry
facebook-logoFor now you can update status, see your friends’ latest status updates and comment on them right from the app, view latest highlights, receive real time notifications, upload photos directly from your Blackberry, sync your Facebook friends list, their profile pictures and contact info with your Blackberry address book, add friends, post on friends’ walls, send messages to friends, view friends’ profiles and their photo albums right in the app…!!! New features expected soon – can’t wait!

2. UberTwitter
_berTwitter_logoHaving tried Twitter Berry and reviewed several other similar apps, I settled for UberTwitter which totally rocks! Most other Twitter Beta apps for Blackberry take up a lot of space and slow your mobile down. They also take forever to load updates. UberTwitter does none of that. It is clean, easily installed, does not hang, does not slow down your system, has lots of preference settings that make it more user friendly, and you get notified every time you get a reply, direct message or are retweeted. You can also use multiple accounts using the same application.

3. Viigo
75X75_Viigo_LogoViigo is part of the Blackberry World application, but can also be installed separately. I must say that Viigo is rather slow and can take ages to load stuff. However, what I like about it is that you can receive all kinds of News & RSS feeds straight to your Blackberry and tweet them straight out of the Viigo app. Some of the standard services you can receive are News & RSS, Weather, Audio & Podcasts, Social Networks, Flights & Travel. Depending on your needs you can add services like WES 2009, CFL, Sports, Business & Finance, Local Interest, Shopping, Deals, Entertainment, Politics… and a whole lot of individual channels within each of these. For Social Networking, the sites that are supported are Twitter, FriendFeed, Jaiku and Laconi.ca.

For Mac:
1. Seesmic Desktop
SeesmicDesktopThis is my personal reccommedation for anyone who needs a desktop app that allows simultaneous posts to both Facebook and Twitter. Any review will suggest TweeDeck and Seesmic to you. Both of these use Adobe Air. I’ve tried TweetDeck and still have it installed, but prefer Seesmic for its simplicity. Besides, TweetDeck can only receive a certain number of updates per hour, while Seesmic doesn’t seem to have any such issues. I also like the single column capability of Seesmic, which receives feed from both Facebook and Twitter. The menu can also be adjusted to a slimmer width using just icons, and that works perfectly for me. Connectivity to both Facebook and Twitter is good, and the adding of accounts simple. It has all the regular features of adding URL and short URL, adding image and shrinking text. The only features Seesmic does not have compared to TweetDeck are probably TweetDeck Recommends, TwitScoop, 12Seconds and StockTwits – none of which I personally require. Seesmic Desktop’s brighter gray colour is also somewhat more appealing to me than TweetDeck’s harsh black.

2. Facebook Notifications
Desktop NotificationsThis new desktop application was rolled out only last week, and is still in its experimental stages, but is still a cool one. The application sits in your Mac toolbar and notifies you of updates using Growl. As of now, you can update your status directly from the application, and all other features open the respective window in your browser for you to proceed. These features include news feed, your profile, compose message, notifications and inbox. Used in tandem with Seesmic, I think it’s the perfect way to keep track of updates on Facebook without actually being online in Facebook.

3. Posty
postyIf you use both Twitter (or Jaiku or FriendFeed) and Tumblr, Posty is a desktop app that allows you to post to both. I haven’t used it much, having discontinued my use of Tumblr, but from what I’ve seen, it’s pretty cool.

4. Tumblenote Dashboard Widget
30415This dashboard widget works way better than Posty or any other desktop app for Tumblr and does not take up space. With it, you can post Text, Quote, Link, Chat, Video and Photo directly to your Tumblelog without having to open a browser window.

Twitterrific and Tweetie are probably the other two desktop applications for Twitter alone that I would recommend. I am aware that there are many, many more applications for different kinds of phones and computers. The best advice I can offer is to read reviews online, try what seems most suitable to you and then choose for yourself. One man’s food could very well be another man’s poison, so these are just my favourites. All the best finding what works for you. I just hope my suggestions have been somewhat helpful in that process.

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