Can I be with you?

Claudia de Breij wrote a beautiful song some years ago ..

Can I be with you?

when the war comes

And if I have to take shelter

May I be with you?

When there is a club I don’t belong to

Can I join you?

.. A hug.. never thought I was going to miss that. With today’s measures, many people have to miss it, especially when they are alone. We need it. It can feel like comfort, warmth, encouragement, security and understanding.

Sometimes words fall short and an embrace can fill in those words. When I closed my heart at the age of 14, I no longer wanted hugs. I had suffered damage, I kept my distance with words. Big mouth, small heart. Protecting that little heart with hand and tooth. Barbed wire stretched around me, don’t come to close…so hurt by life.

In 2017 we leave with a group of women to Romania. What a warm people. Everywhere we come we receive a hug. Spontaneously my heart opened for these people and I changed from a distanced person to someone who can give and receive a hug .. At home I try to continue but I still fall back into the old pattern.

Every person is happy with a hug

What struck me was when I heard it has to do with acceptance. When we don’t get hugs, it can feel that we are not accepted. In the message of Luke it is written that the disciples of Jesus did not want the children to be brought to Him. Parents wanted to have their children blessed. “No, .. get away from Jesus .. he really has no time for that”!

they would say but look what happened ..

Mark 10: 13-16 People tried to bring children to Him [Jesus] to be touched and blessed by him, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw that, he was excited and said to them, “Let the children come to me, do not stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to who is like them. I assure you, whoever is not open to the kingdom of God as a child will certainly not enter it.” He took the children in his arms and blessed them by laying His hands on them.

Wow! He not only blessed them, He takes them in His arms! Jesus does not say … be taught well, make sure you know everything, be the best, but He says … become like a child .. I will cherish, protect and take that child (you) in my arms .. When you feel alone, left by everyone .. lack of contact .. Know that Jesus wants to embrace you .. and you can ask .. Lord Jesus may I be with you ..

Be you – tiful

The following tekst is written on my shirt: be you – tiful.

I am thinking over and over this tekst on my shirt : BE YOU

At the age of six or seven years old I came home and told my mother a story. She said: now you are talking just like your friend, now just talk! I had no idea what she meant. I thought that I told her just a story and then she said, just talk….

Or on another moment when I was 18 years old and I visited my sister in law from Zeeland, again my mother said ; you talk like a Zeeuw , that is, you speak with the dialect of someone from the province Zeeland…..

I always wanted to be like someone else, another person instead of who I was. For example; someone that could sing beautifully or that smart woman that said such good things. Or like that person with such striking beautiful hair …. And my character is not as soft as hers….

I took over some pieces of other people

“Be yourself” is what you hear over and over, a message that I thought was so shallow. It seemed so selfcentered. But God made everyone unique, each one his or her very own character, and unique face too. Everyone is made special and unique by the Creator.

For You created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depts of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be! How precious to me are Your thoughts God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand, when I awake, I am still with You

Psalm 139 : 13-18

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…..pfff…. to say this is quite a thing for me.. everything You do is miraculous, Your works are wonderful, i know that full wel…. amazing!…..If I could believe it I would not have to compare myself with others. Than I would be loved completely.

Accepted, and being capable of cheering others that God also made wonderfully and fearfully. Being able to realize how great the works of God are, we people woven and formed by the Creator.

Lord, help me to be me! To be more like You meant me to be. To be thankfull that You knew me and saw me before I had any form. That all of me was already written in Your book. Learn me to see other people like You made them wonderfull too! Woven by You, Amen.

Where your treasure is, there will also be your heart

I wanted to be miljonaire, I wanted to earn a lot of money so that I would be someone. To learn was not my thing, I couldn’t do it so I decided to earn a lot of money. Everybody would have it checked, especially the ones who said I was dumb. My husband desired a posh car, a Porsche, so that would match perfectly! We worked so hard, about 80-90 hours a week. Everything was breaking up but even then our goal was to work, and work hard. Our heart was in the company and in earning lots of money, but we really did not earn that much money. But we kept going and our heart stayed in the company.

For where your treasure is , there your heart will be also

‘Do not store up treasurs for yourselves on earth where mot and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in to steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in or steal, so I say, do remember: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ Matt 6:19-21.

Last week I was thinking: the moment you set your heart on something, in our case money, then in fact you give your heart away. Focusing on the things on earth capture your heart to do everything to reach the goal you have set on earthly things. When your heart is not in your body anymore, but in things, in fact you are dead.

Matt 6:33 ‘But seek first His Kingdom and His righteouness and all these things will be given to you as well.’

One day we had enough! We had worked so much and it had not given the result we wanted, we were so tired and we had lost ourselves. We decided we had to change and we gave our possessions and our company back to God and changed our goals. Our goal wasn’t money anymore, but living our life with Christ.

‘The world and its desires pass away; but whoever does the will of God lives forever.’ 1 John 2:17

Jesus gives life!

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Colossians 3 : 1-2

Giving away everything gives freedom; and be fully aware to set your heart on the things of heaven above.

A childrens song I learned when I was young is saying:

‘I have a purse that is never getting old.

I have a treasure that never runs out.

I have a treasure in heaven,

I have Jesus in my heart.

He is the King, He is the King.

He is the One who sets us free.

He is the King, He is the King.

He is King forever.

Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth

and He became a man just like you and me

To lead us to His Father

I am the way, He says.

Do not look for treasures on earth.

Their value shall not stay.

I give you a treasure in the Kingdom.

Follow me, you will be rich like a king.

Jesus says to you: I know all your sorrows

because I became a man like you.

So come to me, do not wait until tomorrow

come and I make you free.

I am the light of the world

and shine in the darkest night.

This is the day that your life begins.

Follow me and you will be as happy as a child.

I have a lamp that will never go out.

I have a way that goes up high.

I have a home in heaven

and I have Jesus in my heart.

He is King, He is my King!’

To give and to take? ….or to recieve

Since my childhood I am being told about life: it is giving and taking. You give and that gives you the right to take something in return. We give and take! I do something for you and you do something in return for me, some sort of forced scoring-system. You drive the car when we go on a trip, I will drive next time. Somebody comes to help you with a job, you’ll help the other one in return. I come to visit you and next time you bring me flowers in return…. exhausting and purely based on ratio.

I personally didn’t dare to ask for help. If someone once would ask me to come over and help me I said : “NO”. I had my own theories: you should never ask anyone if they needed help, but just do it, help them. But by doing so you bumped into their boundaries so that didn’t work either. Again I just said NO if somebody offered me a helping hand. Imagine that they expected me to help them in return….running my own job was enough for me and that cup was already always running over, so you could state: I already had enough on my plate.

Giving was not the problem and something I was good at. Doing good to others. Helping someone or giving something to someone, in fact I started to give even larger gifts every time.

Actually this was the result of a kind of arrogance. A great feeling of being independent. I was very scared of being dependent on someone else, I needed nobody and I arranged my own affairs.

Give from youre heart.. Receive with youre heart

Until…

Until my husband and I came to an all time low moment. I, who often said to other people; ”I pay the bill”, I couldn’t even do that anymore.

One night I wanted to meet up with someone. But, who was waiting for me to show up ? I couldn’t say; “let us meet here or there…and I invite you and the bill is on my behalf” …because I had almost no money and had to count every penny. I felt so small, but anyway I send a message to my niece and asked; “can we have a drink somewhere?” Not in a restaurant please because I have no money to go there.” She said; ”you can come to me, I’ll pay for you!” I said; “ Really? Do you really want to pay for me?” I, who was always so generous could not believe she said that and to recieve…… One day, we would go out for dinner with my tennisteam but I signed out. I told them; “I am so sorry girls, I cannot afford this now, Iam so low in cash.” But the answer I recieved was: ”come on, you have to join us, and we join togheter to pay your bill as well” Seriously, I felt sooo small about this but also very thankfull.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, i twill be measured to you. Luke 6:38

To give and recieve Love

The moment that you give and cannot recieve, a form of resentment can rise in your heart. A bitterness that an other person can easily recieve while hardly giving anything. No time, no gifts or flowers, not helping others or anything that I found difficult to manage. In fact, then you give more than you recieve! I discovered that I could not give without recieving back but only to give. It was all about to BE someone, it was part of my desire to be known and seen.

Whatever you do, work at it wit all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will recieve an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colosians 3:23-24

In that difficult stage in my life I learned to recieve. Up to this day I find it hard to recieve and to say…”thank you, so sweet that you had me in mind”. “So nice that you take time for me” –or- “great that you choose this present for me that fits so perfectly, or thank you for the compliment on my behalf!” and that I can recieve these words and compliments without having 3 critical points passing my mind.

Giving and recieving

Giving with love right from your heart. And recieving from someone else who is giving from a kind and loving heart. For me, it is a real present when somebody can recieve what I have to give.

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work 2 Cor 9:8

Prayer: Thank you Lord that I recieve enough to share with others. Learn me to give with love more and more and to recieve in thankfullness. Amen.

Bitter or Better ..

Matthew 18:21 ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive?

When something was done to me, I wanted to make that person pay for it. To let the other person experience my pain, just by having an attitude of rejection and exclude that person from my heart, by sneering and accusing the other one repeatedly. But it never helped. The pain didn’t disappear. Somehow I felt justified to do that, but I also felt guilty. Once in a while the other person said sorry, but I thought that was not enough. I refused to forgive and kept my stubbornness. Forgiveness felt like the approval of the other’s behavior. As if I had to let go the pain I experienced over what occured to me.

When I made a mistake by myself, I hoped for a quick act of forgiveness

In Matthew 18 the story continues where Jesus gives an example: A servant was brought to a King, a servant who had made many debts. The servant owed the King millions of money. The King decided to claim it all back. The servant could not repay that amount. The King then wanted to sell the servant, his wife and children as slaves. The man pleaded with the King to not do this. He begged the King: “Please be patient with me, I will pay you everything back “. The King took pity on him and cancelled his debt. Wow! That is not normal …it is like you would be told to pay off your mortgage today. It is actually quit normal to let you work to make money until the debt is paid, right? You beg the bank for mercy and they tell you that you are free of debts. It would feel like you won the lottery and exclaim: “I am totally free of debt!”

But then you take a walk outside and meet a friend. Instead of waive this friend, who owes you some money, you only ask your money back. You demand him this money back, no matter how you do it.

There were people who heard about the servant that was released from his very large debt, and they saw that the same servant demanded the small amount another servant owed him. That first servants debt was out of proportion in comparison to the small debt the other servant owed him. The king heard about it and is furious. The servant is arrested and put in the torture room until his large debt is paid.

Matthew 18:35 ‘So my heavenly Father will treat you the same unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’

The moment I do not forgive my brother or sister, I put him or her in a prison of guilt. I put myself in captivity of bitterness, anger and rejection. It is like in a tortureroom. I hope that the other person will be tortured, but in the end I am tortured myself.

What you sow will you reap is a saying. Or who does well, meets well. Sow forgiveness and you will be forgiven.

“Lord, how often do I have to forgive?” Jesus says: “70 to 7 times. Again and again.” But you don’t know what someone has done to me …” That is true, but Jesus knows. He said: “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” And that is the truth. Most of the time one really doesn’t know what he or she is doing. Sometimes somebody acts on purpose, so that can be the reason that I really don’t want to forgive! But God wants to set you free from every burden. He wants to set you and the other person free.

Do you experience that it is very difficult to forgive, but you want to forgive and recieve freedom?

I want to invite you to pray along with this prayer:

‘Lord, I don’t know how to forgive. I have so much pain in my heart. I would rather see that the other person pays for my pain the rest of his/her life. But Lord, I want to let it go. I bring it all to you, my pain and sorrow, anger and bitterness. And Father, please forgive them. Because they don’t know what they do. I want to be free and let it go, and bring it all before you. Amen.’