Posted in Passover/ Pesach, Pentecost/ Shavuot, Tekoa Manning, TM, Unleavened Bread

Blankets of Light

This morning while sitting outside with coffee, I noticed two birds flying toward me and then over my head. One was dark, resembling a raven. The other was as white as a dove. I stopped, mesmerized in disbelief. They flew side by side like friends on a journey. In swift thought, my brain asked, “Was that a white dove? No, surely not.” I gazed up again steadily, and just before they passed over my house, the birds’ wings fan out above me. They are as white as snow and as black as soot. I am awe-struck. My mind then began calculating events concerning an Ark and Noah, Elijah, and the ravens that fed him. Soon I am meditating on a Lamb and a Ruach Wind that appeared and descended like a dove on our Messiah–A dove whose white wings flapped mightily over the waters when HaShem said, “Let there be LIGHT” (Genesis 1:3). Out of thick darkness, light was born.

“In your days (Job), have you commanded the morning or assigned the dawn its place, that it might spread to the ends of the earth and shake the wicked out of it?” (Job 38:12-13, BSB).

Sometimes light stands in front of darkness. Sometimes a dove and a blackbird take flight side by side. There were two men on a cross next to Messiah–one cried out for light, and one remained in darkness.

And one of the evil-doers who were hanged was speaking evil of Him, saying, “If You are the Messiah, save Yourself and us.” But the other, responding, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear Elohim, since you are under the same judgment?”

–Luke 23:39-40, BSB

Light stands before darkness every day in multiple situations, weighing much less than my description above. We are candles. We are to shine. “But if your eye is evil, all your body shall be darkened. If, then, the light that is within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23, ISR). Evil eyes. What a concept. How we look at others through our eye gate can be with light or with darkness.  Yeshua said, “No one lights a lamp and covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he sets it on a stand, so those who enter can see the light” (Luke 8:16). A Lamb, the Light of the World, stood in the midst of darkness and did not open His Mouth.  “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7, BSB).

Picture our words as blankets of light. Every soul on this planet was created with a divine flame inside them, even those who walk with evil eyes. Have you ever heard a conversation or watched a scene play out before your eyes that was so grievous, your whole insides were weeping, but on the outside, you could not flinch or appear at all like the conversation or surroundings you found yourself in bothered you? Perhaps it was a holy day on a sacred calendar that no one close to you realized was sacred. Maybe it was a death and burial of a soul created in the image of light that no one could find words to bring that were reminiscent of describing the person’s days under the sun. The people wore black, but no one spoke of the light that once shined out of the eyes of the person who now has left this place for another.

We must bring the light on our tongues.

Maybe you weep inside over a child you failed to teach properly– harmed by divorce, abuse, lack of attention, and instruction who now stands before you broken?

We must wrap them in light and hold them in love.

Maybe your grief is a date on a calendar. “You may have six months, or a year to live.” The doctors pronounce death over you, but you stand strong for your family. Inside, you are a grieving person trying to dance with your son, daughter, or spouse until your future is revealed. You drink in smiles and words, grasping them in your heart while holding on to faith and life in Messiah. A dark report does not put out your flame.

We must stand with our wicks trimmed and our lamps full of oil.

Possibly your grief erupts over a dark world you see filled with unrest, disease, idols, death, and lusts of the flesh boiling over in a pot of filth. But what if you saw the opposite too? The smile of a child in innocence. A butterfly landing beside you to remind you of transformation. The buds on the trees. Flowers popping up in colorful hues, red birds singing and wild violets poking their heads up through a field, a sun bursting forth to welcome the day as you thank Abba for coffee, tea, a breath.

Sometimes the light and darkness mingle, and this union causes a taint. Leading up to Passover, one year, I emptied half a bottle of 100% pure maple syrup with half a bottle of cheap pancake syrup. I was busy removing hametz. The Holy One said, “Bonnie you just mixed the holy with the profane.” I was horrified, but the Father was showing me more profound things.

“Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness? And what fellowship has light with darkness? Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you and I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says יהוה the Almighty” (II Corinthians 6:14, 17-18, ISR).

What is unclean right now during the feasts of unleavened bread is bread. Why? Because the Holy One said do not eat bread for seven days. Eat matzah for seven days. These are the Father’s appointed feasts. If our earthly fathers told us not to eat bread as a child, we would do good to obey them. How much more the One who created LIGHT?

“‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast'” (Leviticus 23:4-6, BSB).

A Sacrifice is something we give up for something else. Our Messiah gave up His life for us. We give up yeast for unleavened bread.

“For when I brought your fathers out of the land of Egypt, I did not merely command them about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but this is what I commanded them: Obey Me, and I will be your God, and you will be My people. You must walk in all the ways I have commanded you, so that it may go well with you” (Jeremiah 7:22-23, BSB).

Adonai’s point was not to command them in the ways of offerings and sacrifices but to obey His Voice. Shema. Sometimes this looks strange to others.

A sacrifice is about us and not an animal. Many times we are in situations that cause us to make a sacrifice. We sacrifice a party, wedding, or event to rest in His Sabbath, or we sacrifice bread for a striped, scorched piece of matzah. In this sacrificial place of obedience, we notice that we are a peculiar people set apart to HaShem. The One who sent the darkness, palpable darkness, would also send an angel of death.

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, so that darkness may spread over the land of Egypt—a palpable darkness.”

So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and total darkness covered all the land of Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else, and for three days, no one left his place. Yet all the Israelites had light in their dwellings” (Exodus 10:21-23, BSB).

We have all found ourselves at work, a social setting, a party, a family gathering, or an event where darkness showed up. Darkness cloaked and draped in thick glee. Darkness wearing light like an angel. Darkness boasting in neon colors. Black draped words that fly and soar with edges– sharp points that stab and pierce. Words swathed in prideful mocking like Pharaohs or one of the thieves on the cross. Strange chatter where teeth bite and we chew people into pieces in one sentence and then try to mend them on sewing machines like a garment we’ve ripped in two like an offering or a dove with its head wrung off. We see the darkness in those around us as familiar and remember our own dwellings and journeys of learning the difference between the mundane and the holy. We recognize that we, too, have darkness that we battle. We realize we have far to go when compared to a Lamb that did not open its mouth.

white lamb on road

Photo-Nadia Supertino

When we are obedient and sacrifice our flesh on the altar, we are a sweet smelling fragrance unto Him.  “And this day will be a memorial for you, and you are to celebrate it as a feast to the LORD, as a permanent statute for the generations to come. For seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you are to remove the leaven from your houses. Whoever eats anything leavened from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel” (Exodus 12:14-15, BSB).

Darkness shows up during seasons and appointed times. But darkness also reveals light. Are we learning about light in the darkness? Are we bathing and cleansing our eyeballs in light? Are we able to not open our mouth in the midst of darkness, mocking and scorn, like a lamb–a lamb we ate in haste that then resided in our bellies. Did you know Adonai made darkness His covering?

“And He bowed the heavens and came down, And thick darkness was under His feet. And He rode upon a keruḇ, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His covering; Around Him His booth, Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. From the brightness before Him, His thick clouds passed, hail and coals of fire.” (Psalm 18:9-12, ISR).

Kisha Gallagher author at Grace in Torah has an anointed blog on darkness and light that I feel everyone would do well to read. I had a disturbing dream months ago depicting darkness and light. Her blog post titled What the Darkness Reveals brought healing and revelation to my soul. You can find it HERE. Before I wrap up this post on light and darkness, I want to direct you back to the two birds. Unbeknownst to me, I learned that there could be albino blackbirds from my husband. A blackbird with a pigment deficiency becomes white.

See the source image

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:19, BSB).

We can often look white as a dove but be a blackbird with a skin issue—this is one topic I have written about often and more for my own good. It is the same issue that made Miriam white as snow. Lashon Hara/the evil tongue–leprosy. Words are more powerful than we know.

All the evils that men cause to each other because of certain desires, or opinions, or religious principles, are rooted in ignorance. [All hatred would come to an end] when the earth was flooded with the knowledge of God.” – Maimonides

The earth flooded with knowledge of a Holy God. A fearful Ruler and Creator of all life sent a dove with an olive branch in its mouth. What if we carried that olive in our mouth?

During the Omer count, a count that we are commanded to do by Elohim, we count up to the 49th/50th day of Pentecost or Shavuot in Hebrew. The Holy Spirit fell in the book of Acts as tongues of fire. Oh, how our tongues need to be baptized in fire. Oh, how we need sweet water and not bitter. Even when we think we are speaking life, correction, and encouragement, it is possible to speak death due to our own ignorance, pride, pain, or fears.

Sometimes light shines so brightly it hurts eyes and causes people to place their hands over their face–their fingers in their ears, or run away. Sometimes truth is so loud it is like wind that knocks us down. Sometimes we see through the lens of grief. We open our arms and hug people we see as blind, deaf, having tongues that need coals from the altar. We hold them close because we love them so, and we bathe them in all the light we have to give in that moment knowing we too deal with our own evil tongues and puffed up yeast. Perhaps the darkness senses our light and is changed in some way spiritually. Maybe we receive light from those we see bathed in yeasty darkness. Perchance we notice what is in our own hearts?

clear glass bulb on human palm

Photo Rohan Makhecha

May we see the dove this Shavuot/ Pentecost. May we be a blackbird with skin clothed in light pigments that turn us whiter–brighter. May our leprosy be cleansed as Moses cried out concerning his sister, “Heal Her!, we picture the Body of Yeshua and cry out too. May we wrap ourselves in chesed and loving-kindness that bubbles forth without our left hand knowing what our right hand is doing. May we eat unleavened bread with purpose and not rote. May we count up to the comforter, the Ruach Wind that hovers over our heads and purifies our hearts and burns the dross off our tongues which no man can tame. May we hold up two loaves of bread and shout for joy at the promise of redemption, the comforter, and the Messiah.

“My little children, I write this to you, so that you do not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Intercessor with the Father, יהושע Messiah, a righteous One.

And He Himself is an atoning offering for our sins, and not for ours only but also for all the world.

And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands.

The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked” (I John 2:1-6, ISR).

Posted in books, devotional, Tekoa Manning, TM

Bring me a Mirror

 

In the late 1970’s and 1980’s, my mother took to sewing. She used to wear lovely maxi dresses, which she hand-stitched using McCall’s patterns and added adornments. My mother, Vicky, was beautiful and always looked much younger than her years. A lady who lived in the neighborhood had been watching my mom leave for church and other engagements in her long floral maxis dresses. One day, she came over and inquired about borrowing one of my mother’s gowns for a special occasion. My mother weighed about a hundred and thirty pounds, and the woman who stood before her weighed at least three hundred. She thought she could borrow one of my mom’s dresses because she, like us at times, kept passing by the mirror and seeing what she wanted to see reflecting back at her.

There is another story about my mother that I will never forget. One day she was invited to a Tupperware party. The party was hosted by a lady whose husband worked with my dad. My mother and his wife were good friends. They were Pentecostals; we were not. I do not think they wore headscarves or Tzitzit’s, but they had their own attire. Long hair, long dresses, no makeup, and a strict unspoken rule book. My mother showed up to the party with her eyeliner, mascara, bleach blonde hair, and a pair of jeans and a T-shirt that said, “Jesus Loves You.” Many of the women soon gathered in the kitchen, away from my mom. They whispered. They snickered. They made remarks, and my mother overheard, Jezebel, harlot, and sinner. Perhaps these women had memorized 1st Peter chapter 3, but they had missed the gentle spirit and the audience it was written to at that time.

 “Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (I Peter 3:3-4).

Finally, my mother stood in front of them as the Tupperware presentation was coming to a close, and she said, “If you really think I’m a Jezebel headed for hell, shouldn’t you have shown me love and told me about your God—my God—our God? Is not love the greatest gift? Won’t the world know we are Christian’s by our love?” The woman who had invited my mother came to console her, but you could have heard a pin drop in the room. It was a Harper Valley P.T. A- moment. If you’re not familiar with the Harper Valley P.T.A., pull up the old song on YouTube and listen. My mother, in tears, made her way home feeling like an outcast and judged wrongly. I remember this moment for she had taken me with her to the party. Walking home, with mascara running down her face, she told me that the Father looks on the heart. Men always judge the outward appearance. 

woman surrounded with bamboo sticks

 In both these stories, lessons were learned through mirrors being held up. This, too, is a process of transformation. Caterpillars go through transformation before becoming beautiful butterflies. We are to go from glory to glory. This process may last a long season, but when the butterfly burst forth in all its beauty and begins to fly, what a joyful day that is. The butterfly is no longer hidden in the dark cocoon–the developing room.

 “Butterflies are known for having the widest visual range of all wildlife. With a larger visual field than humans and excellent perception of fast-moving objects, their keen sight could be why the species is so abundant. All butterflies have the ability to distinguish ultraviolet and polarized light through their photoreceptors, the light detecting cells in color vision.” for more, click HERE.

Sometimes we learn the most hidden in the darkness and wrapped in the Father’s Wings. “The LORD has said that he would dwell in the thick darkness” (II Chronicles 6:1).

” And the people stood at a distance as Moses approached the thick darkness where God was” (Exodus 20:21). 

Sometimes joy arrives in the strangest of circumstances. It comes from those deemed outcasts. It takes a conversation with a homeless veteran to remind us that we have heat blowing through vents in our homes. It takes our car breaking down for us to realize the joy of transportation. At other times, it takes a person in a room that we do not want to be labeled as being seen with, like the woman with the alabaster box. The Pharisees rebuke Yeshua. “If this man (Yeshua) were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39, NASB). All the eyes in the room were on one woman who they deemed unworthy. The elites were so blind they could not see that the greatest prophet who ever lived was in their midst, but this woman had eyes to see.

person putting his feet on water

One night, years ago, before a conference with a pastor, a small group of us in ministry had gathered outside the sanctuary. We were all talking on couches when several others came and sat with us. Some of them had issues with mental health. One was convinced he was the anti-Christ. Many, like him, were coming to these meetings for prayer– and healing from mental disorders. One night, a woman, who made the ministry team uncomfortable due to her beady eyes, strange sense of humor, and continuous mirth at all the wrong moments, sat across the way from me. We’ll call her Brenda. Brenda began to talk, tease, and chatter to the persons next to her. Brenda rode a public transit bus there and had some form of disability.

I glanced at her backpack on wheels with its Jesus stickers and hearts and pondered her idiosyncrasies. She had never married or had children. One by one, I watched people scurry away. Suddenly, they were in need of using the restroom or began to gather into another area by the coffee machine, but Abba whispered to me at that moment—”see her.” “Look at her.” Tekoa, do you want to be with the so-called elite, or do you want to love my sheep? Will you isolate her too? Can you love My sheep with all the love and even more than you have for these you are looking up to—these who are impressed by Biblical knowledge—these who have asked you to speak on Thursday night– because, Tekoa, I am not impressed.” 

Heart conditions:

Me, out of everyone there, should have understood. I was the child who was forcefully pulled down the hallway by my sister and the principal in the first year of my schooling. Crying, gagging, and kicking as I went. I was the last one picked for sporting events in P.E. I was the shy pigeon-toed girl who sat at lunch in elementary school alone at times. Children were holding their noses at my smelly paper sack lunch with hard-boiled eggs that stunk. Young children, and later on, teenagers, were often making fun of me. I learned to throw my food away on the way to elementary school. I was ganged in Middle school by a group of girls who beat my head into an aluminum fence post so badly I couldn’t wash my hair for a week. I learned to disappear in a room. Now, I was watching adults do what was done to me. They were treating her as if she were a ghost, invisible, and without worth. I had done the same at times.

But that evening, I walked over and sat next to this woman created by my Father and began to make small talk. I eased into the chair and complimented her colorful stickers adorning her travel case. I began to ask her things and smile even though she made me uncomfortable. I looked deeper into her tiny eyes and imagined His eyes shining back at me. I tried to ignore that it was summer, and she was wearing thick tights the color of a 1990’s hunter green kitchen countertop or that her paisley mauve dress looked dated from 1950, or how she cracked 3rd-grade jokes, laughing hysterically. And then I began to ask her about her life—dreams—aspirations. Mostly, what I remember is this woman in her 40’s crying buckets of tears and her telling me about her pain—her heavenly Father (personal), her earthly father who died, and her tragic upbringing. And underneath the strange mirth used to mask fears and awkward spaces was a soul that needed to be loved. Oh, friends, this is what the Body Needs.

And at that moment, my mother, misunderstood at a Tupperware party, attired in pink lipstick and eyeliner, could have been sitting next to me in a room full of religious spirits. If we think it does not exist in our newfound Torah fellowship, our smiling Joel stadium, our small rural congregation, our shul, our synagogue—, we might need to find a mirror. Cliques happen. Outcast happen. The lady with the piercing blue eyes and the hunter green stockings unfolded the sad details of her life articulately. Oh, how much childlike love she had for Abba. I felt smaller than small. I tried to imagine all the ones He created and shaped on his Potter’s wheel that we ignore—angels unaware.

We hurt—we judge—or we think we know what could come forth from their heart and parted lips—the ones who fade into the background of our lives. The lepers are crying out in this season. Can you hear them? They scream, “Son of David have mercy on me!” while the crowd tries to shut their mouths. Have mercy they roar– as we hurry to the other side of the street—the room, or worse, we pretend we do not hear them or see them.

person holding eyeglasses with black frames

There was a Canaanite woman whose daughter was vexed with demons, and she was in great need, but what did his chosen men say at that time? “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us. She keeps laughing too loudly. She has dirty laundry. She wears too much make-up. She’s embarrassing. She lacks knowledge. She’s a Canaanite. I’m too tired.” The healthy, chosen disciples, who one day would ponder which side—the right or the left– they could sit on in His kingdom, had no compassion or empathy for a Canaanite woman with a daughter who was demon-possessed. It was not their problem. Who cares if her daughter screams all night—hisses—put holes in the walls—wears green stockings–not our problem? Send her away, we scream! Can you hear my voice echoing from amongst His talmidim (disciples?) Can you hear yours? We, like them, wait to do what’s right—what we know is right. We wait like Moses until our wives have to circumcise our sons to spare us from death. We wait until it’s dark to get an appointment with the King of All Kings. We wait until it’s the Day of Atonement to get on our faces and weep over our condition.

Sometimes people with titles who are well known get better treatment, and we make sure to respond to them quickly. Sometimes cliques happen, and the people in them do not even know that they have formed a group of elites—big dogs. We can walk in a room and feel loved, cherished, and wanted, or we can walk in a room and feel like a square peg amongst a group of circles. We can walk in a room with new eyesight and compassion, but we usually do not acquire this without being crushed, rejected, slandered, and unheard. When we recognize ourselves as the woman in hunter green stockings, blue eyeliner, crying out for our children to be delivered from their vexing’s, or as the man lying in the street who was beaten and bloody, we won’t receive what the Father has for our hands to do. The place that lacks—the place lacking an ounce of joy comes from our self-seeking, arrogance, and knowledge without humility. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Great joy comes from anointing the sick, listening to the outcast, and having empathy for those who suffer in silence. May we not be like the men who pointed at the woman with the alabaster oil who was anointing Yeshua. They proclaimed He was indeed not a prophet, for if He were, he would see just what kind of woman she was. Oh, friends, may we bow lowly at His Feet regardless of what those in the room are saying. May we minister to a broken world, and His broken Body for a King is coming. 

If this blog blessed you, you may like my devotional called Thirsting for Water. Click HERE.

Photos–my mother in black and white

Unsplash–glasses Nonsap Visuals

feet–Zee Zoran

Mirror-Kal Visuas

 

Posted in devotional, Inspirational, Tekoa Manning, TM, torah, Uncategorized

Wholly Illuminated

This week while scrolling through social media I read a meme (below) that described my week or parts of my whole existence.

survive

The meme, along with the raw words written by a friend, pierced me. Her vulnerability at that moment ministered to me. It went to a place in my soul that needed a bandage. It helped me cry. I believe there is rainwater from heaven in every droplet of our tears. Feelings are meant to be felt.
When I started this blog last week, I had no idea that I would add a portion exposing my vulnerability, but here I am.
I am a person that’s dealt with trauma in my lifetime. None of us are getting out alive.
When my husband and I go for short walks at night, he knows that if a dog barks, I will jump two feet. A loud horn blares. I squeeze his hand until my nails leave indentions. Earlier in the day, he walks behind me unannounced in the bathroom, and I scream bloody murder, my arms flaring and my heart pounding. Later, he wants to look at a property for sale in the country, secluded– and my first thought is a book written by Truman Capote called “In Cold Blood.” It would be funny if it weren’t true. Perhaps this is what helps me write fiction? I’ve lived a thousand lives under the sun. He briefly touches on the topic of my fears, and I blurt out,
“I am fearful of everything and nothing!”
“What?”
“I’m scared of people hurting me, dogs, going for walks, evil men, living in the middle of nowhere—living in the city. I’m petrified of hospitals, doctors, and the whole time we lived with my father I never once went on a walk with you for fear of a dog, a bobcat, a snake, or some ferocious animal attacking me.”
He’s listening, and I wonder what he is thinking, but I continue talking this through.
“At the age of 9 or 10, my brother had a paper route. If he missed a couple of houses, my father would toss me in the back of the truck. He would pull in the drive, and I’d place the paper on the porch and hop back in the bed. One particular house stands out. Before I could reach the porch, a large German shepherd lept over the fence and landed on top of me, gnashing his teeth. Luckily my dad got it off of me. I went on to babysit for our neighbor at 13, who had the most massive, loudest, German shepherd on the block. The fear started after a dream of hungry wolves surrounding me. I was 30, and they were there.
“I’m scared of everything and nothing, I say again.”
“I’m not scared of sickness, death, demons, or losing all my material possessions and becoming homeless.”
He looks confused.
“Honey, “Do you know how crazy that sounded? Do you even understand what you just said? You just named things most people in the world are scared to death of. Even death.”
“Maybe it’s because I have faced those things, I think to myself?”
Some of us have a point on a map, a calendar, a datebook locked in our brain, and we can tell you the exact moment of the car wreck, the diagnosis, or our child that died before it ever learned to talk or even before it exited the womb. There is a moment in time where we look back at the shattered glass, the addiction, the iron bars, the chemo, the foreclosure, the divorce papers, the bruises, the rape, the welfare department, the mental break down, or the charade of pretending to be put together when we were one button shy of EXPLODING!
Yes, we all have our moments, and some of us have another type of trauma. In World War II, with gunfire and bullets whipping around his head, my uncle, wading in freezing waters, stopped and threw his hands in the air and cried, “The war is over!” Of course, it wasn’t. He just had wishful thinking. He had seen too many bodies stacked in piles– stripped of all dignity— He had seen and smelled enough death.
But, some of us don’t have one memory or one vivid scar—it’s not one childhood adventure filled with nightmares, but more of a series of unfortunate events—sometimes it is an everyday battle just to get through.
Sometimes we wonder how we can take another step—breathe– trust again–go back out into the world and try and be a candle burning for someone else. We, too, cry and throw our arms to heaven, exclaiming, “The war is over!” I’m exhausted, Abba. Take the pain, sorrow, shame, guilt, confusion, debt, unbelief, sickness, and trauma and take my weapons of fear. Take the bars I have built to protect me. Take the suffering.

pottery job

Job took broken pottery, and he scraped his sores. He came to a place where he was okay with death. As a matter of fact, he welcomed death. He said the thing he feared the most had come upon him, but what was that thing?
He starts at the beginning of chapter three, cursing the day of his birth. He wishes that he had never been born because his pain is so deep. He explains how those in the grave are at rest. Job 3:16-17.
One morning, in the midst of some of the worst pain I have ever felt, I awoke to this pain in terror that I was going to have to get through another day of suffering. I prayed to die. I quoted Job verbatim. Then I heard an echo, “Do you not value the life I’ve given you? Do you not hope for better days?”
Job goes on to explain his fear.
“Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come,” (Job 3:20-21).
And that is what he feared. A death that does not come. He feared he wasn’t going to get to escape such misery. He had lost children, cattle, oxen, servants, and he was suffering so severely. He wasn’t a man steeped in fear. He was a righteous man who wanted to go rest. I remember relating to such words. “Just take me Abba! I’m finished here. What good am I to anyone laying here suffering? I have nothing left here to do!” But I was much mistaken. I hadn’t even tasted what He had in store for me.
What does it look like when we use all our experiences and healing to help another heal? What does it look like when we embody Him and are a light? A candle. A burning flame that can’t be hidden because His light outshines all the darkness we’ve been through?

lightttttttt

What if The Father of Glory wanted to come to spend an evening with you? What would that look like? What did Shavuot and the tongues of fire sound like?
We often imagine what it would have been like to walk with Yeshua/ Jesus. To intently listen to Him tell parables, but what about as we go through our repetitious life? A typical workday or weekend. What would that look like to meet the risen Savior face to face? I’m talking about something fragrant. Something memorable. Something hard to even articulate.
You may have gathered from my previous blog that I don’t like to be at the hospital without my husband. Our first night back at the hospital, he slept on a couch next to me. By the second evening, between his back and his hip, he was ready to go home and get some much-needed rest. Before he left, he came over and said a simple prayer asking The Father to watch over me and protect me while we were apart. He also prayed for the Father to send compassionate people to care for me. What a very precious husband I have.
After he left, I was exhausted and a tad anxious, but I was prepared to try and rest until he returned. If you’ve ever spent much time in a hospital, you know it’s challenging to get any rest with pain, nurses coming in and out, beeping IV’s, as well as bathroom help, and so forth. On my second return to this hospital, I had some of the best nurses I’ve ever come in contact with. However, there was one that seemed explicitly handcrafted for me. I’ll call her Daffodil.

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I’m fast asleep, and around 8 pm, I hear my door open. I turn, sleepy-eyed, and look up at this woman who has just entered my room. She is tall– with a smile that made her eyes twinkle like stars in the night. She did not walk but seemed to sashay around the room in ballet slippers, softly checking this and that.
“I’m sorry Mrs. Manning; I’ll make a note that you’re an early sleeper so that I won’t disturb your rest.”
“Oh, I’m not an early sleeper. In fact, I’m a night owl. I was dozing from the medicine.”
We began to talk, and before we knew it, we were knee-deep in cooking shows. The Great British Bake-off! Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood were our first topic.
“Did you know that Mary contracted polio at the tender age of 13 and had a weaker arm due to it?
“No, I did not know that.”
“And did you know Paul would help her roll out her dough and prepare items?”
“Really,” I said, trying to sit up more.
“I think Paul looks like the guy from American Idol.”
“Oh, Simon!” Yes! Ha-ha!”
She laughed heartily, and then we were off to our next cooking adventure. Daffodil expressed her aspirations to create fabulous food. Her stories of family and grandparents who loved to bake were sprinkled throughout. I discussed my mom’s homemade carrot cake, and she described a delicate Italian cream cake made by her grandmother. The conversation was light but personal. We left baking and then traveled to World War II episodes on Netflix. Soon, we were reliving Foyle’s War, Land Girls, and Call the Midwives. Before I knew it, we were sailing on to authors and our all-time favorite books.
When Daffodil smiled, her light lit up the room. She exclaimed, “I love books! I love the smell of books!” I responded with an unquestionable, “YES!” Like fresh crayons in kindergarten! We giggled like school girls. Her phone buzzed, and she had to scurry off to another room. Suddenly, I felt revived. She was one of my people, and I was going to be blessed with her light for the next three days.
We discovered we lived very close to one another, right down the road from Barnes and Noble bookstore—a landmark. I mentioned my new grandson.
“Oh, I bet you just want to eat him up!”
She began to tell me about her nephew, who had high jacked her heart.
“Even if I have worked all night, need to clean, do laundry and catch up on things, one call from him “Aunt Daffodil can we go out?” and I am like “Baby, yes, we can!”
Suddenly, we laughed, and I had to hold my side, which was still very sore, to release the joy I felt. She caused me to forget my pain—my fear, and that my husband wasn’t coming back until morning.
Since the surgery, I have met two stoma nurses, both kind and good at what they do. Their profession is to try and prepare people to change a colostomy bag and empty it. For me, it was overwhelming and quite frightening to take in. It was humbling. You notice things and smells and the level of care. Since I had been back in the hospital with my wound, no one had helped me one on one yet, but Daffodil did. She took me in the bathroom and equipped me with gloves, tips for spraying, cleaning, and deodorizing the room, and she did it with the most compassion I’ve ever felt from any human. I wasn’t embarrassed, humiliated, or even scared to allow her to help me, help myself. This woman snuck into my room over and over again. She learned I was a writer of fiction and Torah teachings and wanted to know how to order my books.
She never told me about her religious beliefs. She never preached to me. She never quoted scriptures. No politics. No pushing or pulling, but her words held LIFE—her tongue FRUIT.

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Daffodil walked into my room like a candlelit burning brightly–like a flower pouring out fragrance. She bowed lowly. My husband witnessed her in her other patient’s chambers as he walked down the hall, and he said: “She is that bright no matter where she goes.” That BRIGHT. Like a candle on a lampstand. Oh, Saints, we can be those candles! We can be the hope of glory!”
When we are crucified with Messiah Yeshua/ Jesus, we no longer live, but He lives in us.
The Zohar states, “When a Jew utters one word of Torah, the light [in his soul] is kindled…and he sways to and fro like the flame of a candle.”
CCR, Credence Clearwater Revival, has a song called “Long as I can see the light.” John Fogerty bellows for us to put a candle in the window.
“If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.” Luke 11:36.
What does Yeshua tell us before this? “No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.”
Thank you, Daffodil, for being a light to me, and thank you, Abba, for hearing my husband’s prayer and bringing light into my room.
We can heal from all the trauma by shining our lights on those in need. By listening. By praying. By giving sound counsel. By measuring our words. Even at our darkest moments in our most profound misery, we have LIGHT.
My husband’s picture below seemed to shine with extra light, and I wanted to personally thank him for being a bright light in my life for seven years now. Blessings friends. SHINE!

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