They were unpromising
Words grated like cheese.
Words reduced to small shreds.
Words strung like pasta.
Tossed like a salad
Thrown together with a pinch of thyme
The other morsels were small.
Tomatoes, garlic, and onions
Barely noticeable to the tall ones
Their necks stretched out in the clouds.
They see the aged with grey hair as mere babies.
Standing in need of correction.
Their wisdom is tossed in the air like pizza dough.
Nothing tastes decent until it’s heated up.
They baked her in the oven with egg wash on her face.
My Father took a cloth and removed their lipstick.
It was bruised plum number 240
She barely noticed any longer.
She was singing songs in her head while their lips moved.
Dodi li va-ani lo, ha-roeh
Thinking of her husband’s mouth splattered in paint
Paintball guns blasting colors at different ones
With our tongues
Sweetened by the juice of a pomegranate
What if our hearts were exposed in our ribcage?
What if they glowed red with rage when angered?
And the whole world knew?
Or turned black when we had hate
And the whole room prayed
Where would we hide from our colors?
Of green with envy
What if they turned pink like the sun setting when we felt loved
And loved our neighbors as ourselves.
What if we all leaped over the hills
Dancing among the lilies
With our Beloved
Who washes our bruised plums?
Our hearts are glowing amber.
I’m not a country girl, so you can understand my shock when I learned from a good friend of mine who raises hens, that chickens will peck a newcomer to death. As my friend began to explain to me how she had purchased four new hens to add to her group, she said, “Tekoa I wouldn’t dare just try and add one.” I sat there confused.
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because they will peck them to death” she stated, emphatically. “They’ll get up to the new ones and start pecking their beaks and eyeballs, and once they get some blood coming forth, the rest join in a frenzy. There is a pecking order,” she said.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I started realizing how difficult it is to be the new person at school, a new job, in a new family, and other places of social activity. During my research on this topic, I also discovered that rejection and bullying can cause multiple health issues, neurological disorders, and a host of fears.
Rejection is a word that comes from Latin and means to be “thrown backward.” You’ve heard the cliché, “two steps forward and three steps back.” It’s the same thing. You can be rejected due to a weight issue, a birth defect, your race, or even success. You can also be rejected because you are beautiful, intelligent, or unique. Sometimes rejection is due to fear or jealousy. One of the worst rejections to experience is one from your very own family or a family you marry into. Guess who else was rejected by the ones He loved?
“He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.” John 1:11 NLT.
Jesus/Yeshua was rejected by the twelve when he needed them the most. He had to walk people out of his own hometown because He (The Son of Yahweh) was not able to heal many due to their unbelief. He was rejected by men who said they would die for Him (Peter) only to deny they ever knew Him.
Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a well-known trauma researcher, explains; “Research has shown that, under ordinary conditions, many traumatized people, including rape victims, battered women, and abused children, have a fairly good psychosocial adjustment. However, they do not respond to stress the way other people do. Under pressure, they may feel (or act) as if they were traumatized all over again.”
Here is the problem: They are thrown backward!
But what is happening to our systematic nervous system when we feel threatened, rejected, and shunned? Or even worse, what happens when you are being hen pecked to death? The systematic nervous system or what one site refers to as SNS is worth learning about.
Jurriaan Plesman BA (Psych writes this, “…An overactive SNS is likely to open up blood vessels and flood your face, neck, and ears in blushing. Other possible symptoms are: dizziness, shaking, trembling, (as when giving a talk in front of people), digestive disorders, swallowing problems, nausea, vomiting, or fear of vomiting or diarrhea, irregular heartbeats, ticks and restless legs, excessive sweating, depersonalization, incontinence, impotence, repetitive thoughts… on and on it goes. It is obvious that these mental and bodily reactions help to prepare the body for strenuous and quick actions in the face of danger.”
Wow! A lot is going on in our bodies when we are surrounded by a group of hens fighting for their order.
Perhaps you’ve experienced being the new chicken in the chicken yard a time or two. I can honestly say it’s not fun. You can get henpecked to death, and yes, once the blood comes, it seems the other chickens do join in. That’s why parents hate bullies. No one wants to watch their child get hurt at a new school or neighborhood. No spouse wants to watch their husband or wife be rejected by their friends or family members. No young teenager or college student wants to feel like an outcast in the room. Being a new stepmother or father can be difficult. Being a new teacher, a new student, a new employee can sure stir up the chicken yard.
Remember how the word rejection meant “thrown back?” Well, that’s important because it has been shown time and again that the more free throws a player misses, the worse he or she will do at the line. Why? Because he is so worried about making the shot, so nervous and on edge about the score, team pressure, and so forth, that he/she misses it again. It’s like trying to fit in at a new school, or in a new family, a new job, a new leadership spot, if each time you try and reach out for acceptance, you get shunned, eventually it looks too hard to keep trying. We give up. Why? Because we get thrown backward.
Webster defines rejection as to refuse to accept, consider, submit to, take for some purpose, or use. It goes on to say, to refuse to hear, receive, or admit.” Rejection is one of the worst feelings a person can feel.
“Psychologist Jessica Witt at Purdue University found that after a series of missed field goal kicks, players perceived the field post to be taller and narrower than before. However, after a series of successful kicks, athletes reported the post to appear larger than before.” It is easy to witness the power of rejection. The more we encounter rejection, the more we view our efforts as pointless, the less we try, the farther away our goal seems. It’s like the four chickens my friend tried to add to the bunch; they just weren’t fitting in.
So I wanted to go farther with this devotional and get to the root as to why people reject others.
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Genesis 37:3 NIV. Jealousy…
David said this, “Those who hate me without cause outnumber the hairs on my head. Many enemies try to destroy me with lies, demanding that I give back what I didn’t steal.” Psalm 69:4 NLT. Jesus/Yeshua said the same thing in John 15:24-25, “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. “But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated me “without a cause.” NASB.
Do people hate you without cause? Do they try and peck you to death? You’re in good company.
David said, “Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about.” Psalm 35:11 NIV.
The prophet Isaiah said this about Jesus. “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Isaiah 53:3 ESV.
Perhaps you are in a new chicken coop, and the players are pecking you to pieces. Remember, they did it to Jesus/Yeshua and Joseph. Perhaps you are tired of trying to fit in the chicken yard and tired of being thrown backward?
I know a man who also had a chicken problem, and now he is famously known worldwide. Harland David Sanders: Better known as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken was thrown backward a time or two. The Colonel had a hard time selling his chicken at first. In fact, his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it. Don’t let the chickens peck you to death–chances are you don’t belong in the yard with them. Birds of a feather flock together, but the mighty eagle, he soars alone.
If you’d like to purchase this devotional for yourself or a friend click here
It seemed like it only took months for my sickness to progress into a total meltdown. I felt depleted of every ounce of strength, like wafting wet paper I floated along drained. It was a weekday in winter, and the chill was all around me. I could smell death and taste it. I had become a snag embedded in stagnant waters. A dormant, dead tree that just laid there, unmovable. My stale morning breath was merely a disdainful reminder that I was just existing and awakening brought only more dread.
My eyes opened and fixed upon the jagged line that seemed to be forming one large crack in the ceiling, pulling and even bowing down one side of the room. The plaster hung there like a distant reminder of how a structure can crumble and how my own body felt as weighted down. I had been watching it bow more every day as I laid in one position.
I was 38 years old, but my body felt ancient. The taupe couch had become my home for about a year now. The view from this position was a picture window draped and covered, a blue chair, plaid with hints of mauve and mint green, a coffee table lined with medicine bottles, water bottles, and a box of Kleenex.
In the silence, I heard a voice say, “Go check your e-mail.”
My computer was set up in a bedroom down the hallway and to the left. I stared at the distance that was only a few feet away with dread. My body was racked with tormenting pain, and moving any part of it was like a bolt of electricity. When I walked, my legs were equivalent to colossal elephant soles that had become plunged into quicksand, only to be forced out again. I did not want to move!
Again the whisper, “Go check your e-mail.”
I had come to know this soft voice a little louder while lying flat on my back in the silence.
The reprise to check my mail pressed into my spirit.
I reached for my cane and made the excruciating journey from the couch to the bedroom, falling into a wall on the way and holding the same wall up to gather strength. As soon as my feet stepped past the living room into the hall area, I heard it, an almost thunderous roar. It was the sound of my ceiling collapsing completely! I stood there in the moment, a cloud of smoky surrealism.
We’re not talking ordinary drywall; this ceiling was heavily plastered sheetrock and an electrical mess of wires that ran my heating system in this older home. I stood on wobbly legs and surveyed the spot on the couch where moments before I had laid and argued with that voice.
“But I’m so fatigued and tired, why do I need to check my mail?” “Father, if someone sent me a letter, I’ll read it later. If someone is going to send me money, thank you for helping me, but again, I can read it later.” I argued with the voice as if my intellectual mind was filled with more wisdom than the one who created it.
I gauged the couch where my body laid just minutes before again in disbelief.
Now the entire structure of pillowed taupe was covered by a massive mountainous pile of debris. I should have been dead or unconscious! I let out a slowly scattered sigh and thought about how many times I had ignored that voice, that soft, still voice.
It was at that moment that I realized once again, I was in boot camp, and my trainer was trying to teach me some things. The more logical my mind thought or sure of my faith I became, the more He explained that I knew nothing about Him.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD ADONAI.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:8-9.
I stood in the hallway and gazed up at the rafters; empty A-framed timbers held bits of insulation, and I held myself and leaned into the wall.
Abruptly, I became aware of the gift of life and how, when I was well and my body was whole, I had taken it for granted. I had been requesting to die because of the pain, the loss, and a host of sorrows, but now suddenly, despite feeling like death, I wanted to live.
No, I said aloud, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.” Psalm118:17.
As my eyes traveled over the room wrecked with rubbish, I knew that I had just witnessed one of the WORKS of the Lord Adonai! I did not realize that it would be one of much more to come, nor did I know that His voice would become louder in my ear.
Anxious to lie down again, I shuffled to my son’s bedroom and waited for him to arrive home from school. I felt barricaded in, and my medicine laid somewhere beneath the wreckage. Even though I had just witnessed a miracle, my mind was already wondering how I would pay my homeowner’s insurance. I was now several house payments behind. I slowly pondered all the losses that had come upon me; my health, my job, my career, the people I thought were my friends, and now possibly my home. I feel like Jeremiah when he said,
“I don’t understand why my pain has no end. I don’t understand why my injury is not cured or healed.” Jeremiah 15:18.
“Oh, Father, why do you keep me here?” I asked.
“When I wake up, I feel like I haven’t slept. When I want to speak, my words are jumbled. My mind is so bad I don’t remember my name at times. “Why, G-d?”
My soul felt the tug of something bigger than me. It was a subtle knowing that He had work for me to do. He has a task for all of us.
My heart began to meditate on what I feared was true. The fear of how I would ever become Holy enough, or good enough, or physically well enough to do it frightened me. Also, just what exactly does He have planned, and what if I let Him down? I knew He was speaking to me and that He had just spared me from disaster. He had spoken, and I had heard Him. How many times had He spoke, and I didn’t even recognize His voice?
The echo of His whisper-haunted me in a good way now. I could still faintly hear Him say,
“Go check your e-mail.”
There are no words to describe the sound of eternity. His voice, His most Holy Voice, it can roar like the sound of many waters, as potent as the thunderous ceiling crashing into me, or it can be as gentle as a feather on the cheek.
I laid on that bed and pondered the event. I touched the pillowcase and rubbed my fingers across the ridge. I stared at nothing, in shock and disbelief.
“Did my ceiling just implode?” I asked the silence? I laid there for a fraction of minutes and continued to just bask in awe of the glory of the Father.
But I couldn’t be still. I reached for my cane in wonder. I had to go again and look a second time at what He had spared me from. I leaned into the hallway and slid my hand along the wall to balance me. Then the view of the avalanche hits me. The surrealism becomes very real at that moment. My eyes traveled across all the red and blue electrical wires I see dangling throughout until finally, they rested upon the place where I should have been buried. I exhale the breath that I have been holding in.
“Thank you, Father, thank you!”
I stand and soak it all in one more time before making my way back down the hallway.
In my heart, amid my fatigue, my pain, my loss, and my inability to even clean up the mess, I know one thing. . . Yes, one thing is true. I know Abba Father is good, and He is with me
Running Busy Bustling life Traffic, smog, Corporate strife The air is thick The clocks that tick The cars race to work The deadlines and coffee stains Star Bucks and Starstruck Sitting the evenings away Watching the square box that lights up the room Outside The stars they tap-dance The moon sits back, illuminating the plants The breath of creation breathing Animals scurrying Running A busy owl building a nest Ants marching carrying fruit Badgers burrowing downtown Cocoons hanging from limbs Caterpillars waiting to burst forth Explode Beautiful Monarchs all aglow Inhaling spirit Exhaling glory They know what they were created to do The delicate nectar of a flower in bloom Feeding a bee A tiny field mouse nibbling a plant A white-tailed fawn leaping A nightingale singing Omio Babbino Caro A Red-tailed hawk soaring Circling Yes, all creation sings A spider weaving a silky golden web A tiny colt, a newborn calf A tranquil stream A rushing river filled with salmon Feeding a black bear Feeding a king And here we sit staring at a cell phone that holds no breath Inside the four walls of a cubicle counting down to death 401k’s and taxes galore A bloody election.’ A bloody war Research papers and multiple tests Waiting for an advancement Waiting for fame But look at the animals They will teach us not to complain
Fling the stress aside Stretch out your wings, oh daughter, and fly Run Jump Splash in a puddle Kiss in the rain Throw out your planner Take a picnic for lunch And seek out a tree Eat a baguette with brie Prickly pears and sesame seeds Read poetry for a week Dr. Seuss and Mother Goose Laying golden eggs Climb a beanstalk Sip some tea Eat a biscuit Quiet things Live in the moment Drink in each day Fold your hands and fold your knees Unfold your smiles and face your dreams Look up at the Creator whose hands measured All the seas And breathe Just breathe And dance Just dance In Awe Of all His Glory Photo by Andrew Mushekov.
My mother was urging me. “Go stand in the line, Bonnie, hurry!” I turned and looked back at the many people, young and old, waiting.
It was the late 1970’s, and I was wearing a long maxi dress. The brightly colored flowers were bursting forth at the seams, and my sandals had large buckled squares that draped across my ankles. My hair was sapling bark brown, straight, and hanging down my back mid-way. In the summer, it was glossy satin but come winter, a stringy static mess. I was a young girl, preteen or just above that, and utterly naïve of my own beauty or worth. I was self-conscious, scared, and a tad pigeon-toed.
The line was now draped around the church’s outer wall, lingering on towards the back doors of the sanctuary.
The excitement in my mother’s voice was charged.
“Bonnie, go get in line and see what he tells you! ‘He’ being the prophetic evangelist that was visiting our church. ‘He’ who apparently had a direct line to the Creator of all.
Again my mother exclaimed, “Go on. He is very gifted and just told me many things only God would have known. I want to see what he tells you.”
I never liked being in the spotlight and shied away from the front of the sanctuary. Certain people had a habit of frightening me as a young child. They sang in languages I had never heard of and spoke in unknown tongues. No one had educated me on the tongues of angels and men.
Upfront stood the pastor, the elders, and the catchers. I knew what the catcher’s job entailed. Catchers were the people that stood behind you in case you fell under the power of the Ruach Holy Spirit. They draped cloths over the women’s dresses after they had floated backward–just in case anything might be exposed that shouldn’t be.
My mother always fell.
She said, “They just barely have to touch me Bonnie, and I go down.” As if this signified some level of holiness. She assured me that it didn’t hurt and felt as if she had landed on cotton. “Honest Bonnie, it doesn’t hurt at all. It’s the most wonderful experience!” Her eyes twinkled with excitement. I nodded–still unsure of my quest for significance. Did I really want to feel this Holy Set-Apart Spirit, and was this really what they were feeling? I knew what I personally felt but wasn’t quite sure it was the same. Unknowingly, this, along with many other quizzical moments, would one day cause me to study doctrine with binocular vision.
I headed to the back of the line that was becoming shorter and nervously sighed. I secretly hoped I wouldn’t fall on the floor to be draped in a black cloth while onlookers gawked. What if I became stuck there crying uncontrollably and couldn’t move like some I had seen in the past?
I was doing this for my mother. I wanted to please her, and I wanted to get a pleasant word–one that would mesmerize my mother. I longed to hear how I would do something great for The Father of lights one day. In my underdeveloped brain, I thought that if this man told me something spiritually creative about myself, my mother would be very proud of me, and I wanted so desperately to please her. This, too, would one day cause me great pain.
As I moved forward, I looked at the balding dark-headed man of large stature and wondered what he would prophesy over me.
There are moments in life that stick with you, like a piece of putty stuck in your conscious mind. This man is one of those plasters that have lingered with me forever.
He placed his large hand on my head and began to pray in the spirit. Then he looked into my eyes and said, “Daughter, the Lord says, He will cause you to serve Him!” He repeated it even louder and with more force, I said, “He will cause you to serve Him!” I stared at him, frozen with fear. Then he motioned for me to go on back to my seat. I was stunned. The women behind me made faces at one another and then looked at me very strangely. This prophet had spoken words of encouragement to many. Meanwhile, I get a peculiar look and a stern word. Not only that, but he looked as shocked as me that it had come out of his mouth.
My mother was anxious to hear what this holy man of God had spoken to me. Her ears were standing at attention like a Chihuahua as I made my way down the aisle.
“Well, what did he say?”
I must have looked funny. I’m sure my cheeks were rosy, and my mouth was tight.
“Bonnie, what’s wrong?”
I struggled to state the one sentence but finally got it out.
The echo, “He will cause you to serve Him!” Only mine was a whisper.
“He said what? I repeated it hoarsely.
“God will cause me to serve Him.”
“Well, that sure was different. Goodness, what do you think he meant?” Her eyes had lost the glitter and were now wide open. I felt the scrutiny of her eyes upon my soul for a moment. She looked up and down.
“Gosh Bonnie, I don’t know what I would think if he would have said that to me?”
She then stared at me again intently–like the women behind me in line, who had heard his voice boom.
I shrugged my shoulders and sat down, but in my mind, I was asking God a question, “Do I not serve you already?” I had been ‘saved’ at a very young age and loved God. I already felt invisible at home, and I didn’t seem to fit in at school. Now, I was hearing from this man that I was not serving God? He was supposed to hear from the Father. My mother called him anointed.
I went to every church service, and I learned multiple scriptures. I won awards for memorizing the most verses. I prayed, and I secretly wanted to do some work for God. Why was this happening to me?
I hung my head down. I felt funny inside.
I never forgot this man’s prophecy, and some twenty years later, in the midst of one of my most turbulent lifestyles, He did cause me to serve him. Yes, the man who had laid hands on me years before had heard the voice of Yahweh clearly in his ear.
It was a summer night in 2005. I had gotten married two years prior at the little white chapel in Las Vegas but never finalized it. There was nothing white or pure about the union. So after drinking and having sex with a man, I called my husband, but like the woman at the well, only lived with, I heard the sound of all the water in the ocean come crashing into me.
The voice spoke only five words, “Get your house in order!”
I catapulted up in the bed and looked out my window at the moon that, for the first time in my life, looked different. For the first time in my life, I knew that the same voice that just spoke to me had also hung that moon in the sky, along with the whole host of heaven. “God is that you?” I couldn’t breathe.
My heart was beating faster than it ever had, and waves of the vibration from His voice were still plummeting into my soul. “Get your house in order!” It ricocheted through me. I remember thinking, “Could God be trying to talk to me?” Is this voice I just heard that caused me to jump, really God, or am I going crazy? I couldn’t get the sudden fear of God out of my mind. My whole body was vibrating. I cannot tell you how I knew this, but suddenly I knew that this voice was THE ANCIENT OF DAYS. This voice was The Great, I AM! Every bit of the blood pumping through my veins was confirming it. I don’t know how, but I knew the VOICE I had heard knew all about me and everyone else, for that matter. It was an all-consuming voice, but why was He speaking to me? Out of all the sinners in the universe, why did He want me to get my house in order? Was it due to my parent’s prayers? Was he taking me home? Did He have an assignment for me? I didn’t have the answers yet, but I knew something bigger than me was happening.
I did a quick mental sweep of my spiritual house and my natural home, and then my heart sank.
I knew where those scriptures fell in the Bible because even in my backslidden state, I read His Word daily and wanted to change. One was a king. Hezekiah was his name.
“Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amos, went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: PUT YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
Was I going to die? I knew Hezekiah pleaded with the Father and reminded him of all the righteous things he had done. Therefore, HaShem gave him fifteen more years, but I had nothing to plead with.
I laid there for what seemed like hours meditating on the state of my conscious mind and what had just transpired. Finally, I drifted off to sleep, and in my dream-like state, I began to hear the book of Genesis. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”
This reading of the Word was being narrated to my spirit man in a way the Bible had never been deposited before, and it continued. “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Then I began to hear The Voice again, only this time it was different. It was more of a narrator in my spirit man speaking to me. “Bonnie, do you think that I gave you life so you can fulfill it on the lust of your flesh? Do you think I gave you life so you can aimlessly throw it away? Do you not see how I had an order to my creation? Do you not know that I am a God of order?
“Get your house in order.”
I continued to hear scriptures throughout the night and into the wee morning hours.
Something happened the next day that I cannot explain. I awoke with an incredible terror of God. For the first time in my life, I knew what the scripture meant, which said, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
I spent two days staring. I didn’t speak much. I sat and relived the voice. I could still hear it inside my soul. I didn’t share this experience with anyone but pondered it in my heart.
I had a fear now of a God I had heard about all my life but never knew in this manner. I knew the Sunday school teachings I had learned. The countless services and tent revivals I had been drug to since birth. I knew all the Bible stories, and I talked to this God often. I told my children about the God of the Bible, and I hid as much of my sin as I could from them. I talked to God as if He were my friend, and I often told Him I was sorry. I cried and read the Bible and pleaded for Him to forgive me over and over again, but I kept doing what I didn’t want to do. It was just as Paul said in Romans, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” 7:15.
Now, I feared the sound of many waters. He was Holy—kadosh—set apart. He was omnipotent. I was grass.
“Get your house in order!”
Yes, His voice had penetrated my heart and my soul. He was causing me to serve Him. He was causing me to sit up and take notice of a God that was engulfing the universe and hovering over the waters—the same molecules He breathed into existence. He was all-encompassing. He did not just have a title; He had a Name. His name was Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh (YHVH), and it meant ‘Behold the hand—behold the nail.’ His Son’s hands had held those nails for lil ole me and also for the whole cosmos.