Go Love a woman!

No, this is not in the sense you would normally think! I am not talking about erotic love this morning…

Let me tell it the long way round. It is my privilege to work out the material our church use in Cell group meetings.  One of the important things for me is that church need to be much more than holy words.  We need holy deeds. We need to change the world with love. Therefore it is always on my mind to look for opportunities where we can serve our community, and make society and people’s lives much better than before.

After working out 3 weeks worth of material, my eye falls on 9 August 2013- a Friday.

It is a national holiday in South Africa.  Maybe I am sounding a little bit too politically correct these days, it is not my intention to talk politics. But I am moved by certain things that I never understood before.

It is Women’s Day on 9 August in South Africa. It goes back to the days of the old South Africa. on 9 August 1956 20 000 women marched on the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the seat of government where the Prime Minister’s office then, and  Jacob Zuma’s office today is located. These ladies had children on their backs. They were marching to protest the new pass laws, that required certain people in society to move to designated areas far away from their place of work. They needed passes to enter into other areas.

This law created a situation where a mother had to leave her children in a “township”, and start very early in the morning on unreliable and dangerous public transport, to go to her place of work, carrying a pass that says she may be there.  She works a long day, and long after dark returns to her home, hoping that her children would still be ok. All this for a very small pay.

I know, these things started happening before I was born. As I look back on this history, I feel the same guilt as people should feel about making the Jews wear yellow star of Davids in Europe during Herr Hitler’s crazy party.  I am sorry that people in my country were treated like that. I am sorry that it took so long for me to realize that. So yes, I support Women’s Day in respect to those brave women who stood up against injustice. They must weep in their hands seeing what their struggle has become- all the corruption and greed nowadays…

They sang a song that day- and I wish I knew all the words- the title is: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! – If you strike a woman, you strike a rock… 

It is the women who suffer the most when men play political and power games.  It is the women who hold a community together when the men are lazy, drunken bums…  It is women who get raped and murdered in this country, mostly by men they know.  The women of South Africa have some of the hardest living conditions in the world.

I am glad there is a day to honor the courage of South African women.

My challenge to my church: In that week of Women’s Day, each cell group must identify one woman in need, and go change her life.

We have a big number of widows in our church. Some of them are getting older, and can not see- some would love somebody just to read their Bible to them once in a while. Some of them can not drive anymore, but need groceries and other supplies- just take them to town, or go buy their grocery list. Some need a handyman just to fix something in their home- how do you change a light bulb when you are 85?

We have a lot of single mothers. How would it be if the older ladies could take care of their kid/s for just an hour or two, that they can rest/ do something for themselves for a change? There are a lot of hurting women- being abused, divorced, could someone just be that shoulder to cry on for a change?

There are so many unemployed ladies in our community. We have our programs that helps to give them food. But we can only afford the most basic foodstuff. How would it be to treat one of them with a luxury chocolate, or take them to a restaurant for a meal which they could never afford?

This is my challenge to my church: Make a practical difference in one lady’s life. And pray about it- could you do more? But start with just 1, then we are already becoming a part of the solution.

My colleague has this favorite saying: How do you eat an elephant? Bite by bite… How do we change our world? One small deed of love at a time.

This is what I am working on this morning, thought I would share it with you, maybe, just maybe, you can make one woman’s life a little better today as well. Just one small deed of kindness is all it takes…

The love for a word… (Daily Prompt)

Daily Prompt: Unconventional Love

by michelle w. on May 14, 2013

Over the weekend, we explored different ways to love. Today, tell us about the most unconventional love in your life.

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I am no good doing anything with my hands. The things that I try to build, have an extremely short lifespan. When I weld, I get arc-eyes. When I grind, I get iron in my eyes.  When I do woodwork, I cut myself with the saw. When I change a lightbulb, I get shocked…  I do not love DIY like some of my friends. I build nothing that my grandkids can show their children and tell them what a genius I was…

I knew that from a very young age. My father always chased me away when I tried to help him, repairing the cars, or maintaining the house… He said he always have double the amount of work if I help- to undo what I did, and then to do the job at hand properly.

So, from a very young age, I fell in love with words… Books became my best friends. They were always there for me when I could not connect with other people.

Since the primary school, I have had this love of reading words.  I sometimes have difficulty in relating to real-life people.  Relationships with human beings still, to this day, is very hard work for me. I am the classical introvert, in a job that requires a lot of interaction with other people…

The words that stay with me came from the movie Dead Poets Society. A student was caught stealing a book. THe teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams), saw the theft, and followed the student to his room to confront him. The room was full of stolen books. And when Robin Wiliiams asked the student why- he said this immortal words, quoting his father: “We read  to know that we are not alone…

I think this defines my unusual love. The love for words. It is still extremely hard for me to actually go to someone’s house, visit them, and keep a good conversation going.  Maybe I think too slowly in situations like these. But when I read, another world opens up for me. That is why I am so hooked on blogging. In your blogs, dear readers, whatever you write about, I see a piece of your heart. Be it travelling, cooking, books, motorbikes, cars, nature, photography-  when I see somebody’s heart shining through on their blog, I click a “Follow” button really quick. I like to see what you think. I like to read your words, giving meaning to your life, in your specific set of circumstances….  I love your words!

My blog also gives me great joy. This is the one medium in which I can express myself as I am, as I enjoy life, as I look at the things and happening around me. And some people actually dare to read it… that amazes me!  I think the greatest show of respect is when somebody hear your words! When they actually listen, and get the meaning of what you are trying to say. So yes- my blog has an unconventional place of love in my life. It is more than just a piece of writing, it is a part of me. .

I also became a pastor, out of love of God’s Word.  It is my experience that God loves us, that He told us that we are precious to Him. His word tells me that life does have meaning. His word gives me hope. The second most beautiful word in my life is the word “Grace”.  In spite of all my weaknesses and pain, God keeps on loving me, healing me. That is Grace!  I am always welcome in His presence- that is Grace. Why does He do it? The most beautiful word in the Bible- the word Love. That is the most important concept in my life. The true meaning of the word Love, more than just a fleeting moment of emotion. Love that conquers every obstacle in it’s way. Love that wants to give every person life in abundance (John 10:10) .  Love that fills us with Joy (John 15:11). Love that leads to peace.

So there you have a small glimpse into my unconventional love- the love for words. The Word of God, telling me about love and peace. The words of others in their blogs, showing me more of the wonder of life in different place and points of view. The love to express my words, which sometimes touches other people’s hearts.

Words are a vehicle for love. Thank you for your words in my life!

Love is a beautiful song… and more… (Daily Prompt)

Daily Prompt: I Want to Know What Love Is

by michelle w. on May 11, 2013

We each have many types of love relationships — parents, children, spouses, friends. And they’re not always with people; you may love an animal, or a place. Is there a single idea or definition that runs through all the varieties of “love”?

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Foreigner asked this question when I was much younger… : “I want to know what love is…”   And since then, this question is still bugging me, and keeping me busy in my thoughts.  For I am a wedding official in our country.  Our Department of Home Affairs licenced me to perform weddings, that is binding by law…

As a marriage official, I have seen so much couples over the past two decades. And each of them had a song in their heart, with which they opened the dance floor after the wedding.  Some sing to each other the words of Josh Groban: “You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains…”   They sing to each other with Savage Garden: “Truly, madly deeply…” They look deep into each other’s eyes later in the evening and sing with Queen: “ You’re my best friend”  or Joe Cocker crones for them: “You are so beautiful…”   As the evening progresses the Boyz II Men promise: “I’ll make love to you...”  and one of my favourite songs… Eric Clapton, the master- “Beautiful Tonight…”  

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But how can a late night at the wedding reception not have Barry White, in that deep voice, singing: “My first, my last, my everything…”   or Elvis, the King, sings “ Love me tender…”   How could a wedding feast not have the Righteous Brothers singing: “Unchained Melody…”  or Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross with ” Endless LOve

The beginning of love is a beautiful song…

But I, as a pastor, also see the other end of the journey in so many lives…

Even here are some songs applicable: U2- “With or without you…”   Sometimes doubt sets in… Tina Turner asks: “What’s love, but a secondhand emotion?

When there are no change of direction, Def Leppard cries: “Love hurts…”  The BeeGees begins to aslk: How deep is your love? 

It’s a sad day when Air Supply begins to say: “I’m all out of love”   And Joe Cocker cries: “Unbreak my heart…”   Like Heart, you can feel so “Alone” 

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Then the whole Country genre of music kicks in- your horse dies,, your dog bites you, all goes South…  “You piiiicked a fine time to leave me Lucille…” (Kenny Rogers)   And Shania Twain asks “Whose bed have your boots been under?”  Bummer.

Over a drink you cry with R.E.M “Everybody hurts...”  Till Roy Orbison declares: “It’s over…”   You go with Elvis to the “Heartbreak Hotel”.  Your “significant other is now, in your eyes, as Pat Benatar declares, a “Heartbreaker…”  You wish for just “ONe more night” with Phil Collins, but you had your chance…  And Linda Ronstadt says “It hurts so bad…”  Later all you can think about is: “Yesterday” (the Beatles). Yip, Bob MArley- “No woman no cry”

I have seen love’s beginning, and I have seen love’s end. Love does not have to end!  But it takes hard work to keep it alive and growing…

How to save your love?

  1.  Boston has it right. Love is “More than a feeling!”
  2.  Treasure each other- Shania Twain: “You’re still the one…
  3.  “Don’t you forget about me” – Simple Minds- Make the other one feel special.
  4. Nothing compares to you“- Sinead o’ Connor- wise words! Don’t Compare!
  5. You are always on my mind” Elvis- Think about how to be a good companion for life’s journey!
  6. In the arms of the angel” Sarah Maclachlin-  Give each other hugs, celebrate each other’s bodies…
  7.  “The first time, I ever saw your face” Roberta Flack – Remember, and celebrate your journey together!
  8.  “To where you are” Josh Groban- time spent together is important, make it count!
  9.  “I believe I can Fly” by R Kelly- Believe when you can’t see…
  10.  “The Greatest Love of all”– Whitney Housten- BE that to your lover!

But in the end- Foreigner still have the best answer to the question: “I want to know what Love is…” And that is… “I want you to show me…

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