I am writing a summary of the book When Helping Hurts. The author tells us that God created humanity in these four primary relationships: relationship with God, with self, with our neighbor and with creation. When these relationships are working properly, people can fulfill their God-given mandate to glorify Him through their labor.
Serving is an act of Love from a relationship with God, not a way to be loved by others or a way to control others. Too often we give material items and do things for people that they can do for themselves and walk away without cultivating a relationship. Cultivating a relationship is not superficial and mushy, it runs deep and shares in our common relationship with God. We see each other through God’s Grace.
When we see other through God’s Grace, we are on the same level, and serving is reciprocal. I wanted to help Pastor Ephantus to purchase this water tank to irrigate his garden. However as I prayed, I found God saying, wait. I waited. The desire for him to have the water tank for his garden was heavy on my heart. Because when we love our neighbor we want the best for them.
The pastor’s garden is beautiful and the work he did is good labor. Pastor Ephantus sold tomatoes and saved the money and purchased the tank. He gives thanks to God for His faithfullness. I think, what if I had worked ahead of God and helped to purchase the water tank…perhaps, I would receive the Glory rather than God and out of good intentions I would hurt myself and Pastor Ephantus. Sometimes God asks us to give and sometimes God asks us to wait.
In is His desire to be in relationship with us, He knows what we need. We spoil the four foundational relationships when we go ahead and do the work without God. We affirm God’s Glory when we labor together with our hopes and dreams in prayer and love through the power of the Spirit. Thank you, Pastor Ephantus for sharing testimony of God’s Faithfulness.
A village boy from Watamu slid his feet into the washing bin and I washed his feet. When I looked at the bottom of one foot then the other I saw that his toes were black and infested by jiggers. I called to Rebecca (a nurse from Australia) to look at his feet. When she inspected his feet, she saw he was in danger of losing his toes.
A woman from the village began to remove the jiggers from the boy’s feet. We called him Dennis. Rebecca had Dennis on her heart all week and Leslie made arrangements to visit him in the village on Saturday after our Sensible Shoe ministry.
When we arrived, we found out that his name is not Dennis but his name is Gift. During the week, the village woman had already removed 50 more jiggers from Gift’s feet and there was more work to do. A teacher from the community accompanied Rebecca and Leslie as the village woman removed more jiggers.
Children pushed to watch and I pulled a ball out of my bag and walked toward the dirt road. The children followed and we played ball for a few hours, while more jiggers were removed from the boy’s beautiful feet. Gift has a few holes in feet, one all the way through his toe, and the jiggers are gone. Yeah!!! Jiggers are very painful and this boy is very happy child.
A village, a missionary, a nurse from Australia, a teacher and a person from America encouraged one another to walk in love. Gift is a gift to us and the people in village, his feet showed us the way to Love beyond words into action.
This is the way, Love… as it is written in Ephesians 5:1-2, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Images that to speak to us are powerful. When we stop to pay attention to these images, it is like coming home. Images that speak to us whether a piece of music, a special place, a person or picture are powerful reminders that we are on the path of wholeness. Mandalas are images, patterns of art arranged within a circle.
The Mandala is a symbol of the self and a movement toward a goal. Teresa of Avila imagined an image of a crystal castle with many rooms where the soul enters as it draws near to God. The image of a dwelling place has a focus on the center. It is a vision of a large picture toward a goal.
The pilgrimage begins in the beauty of God’s Creation. Flowers, fields, and hills. We know that He is God when we notice His work. The powerful image of God’s love is in the creative work that surrounds His people. God created a home for those He loves. What things do you create? Who is it that receives what you are you creating?
Mountains and a red sky. Perhaps, the crossing of the red sea. The Israelites racing to run from the Egyptians, they faced the obstacle of the read sea, surely they would perish. God saved them. How has God saved you when you have passed through uncertainty? Did you take His hand?
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls,” (Matthew 13:45-46 New International Version) Seeking the Kingdom of Heaven is looking for the richness of the indwelling Spirit in humanity. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7) Have you requested the intimacy of the Kingdom? Are you seeking for the fine pearls, communion with God and the saints in God’s Kingdom?
The mandala’s center is the goal, the primary focus of the journey, the movement toward the center is involved in all our decision making. The place where the human and divine meet. What images are in your center? Where is the place where you make all your decisions?
The world was created through the word, a sign of home, which are images of communication, a concert of music, all for the inner journey toward our Maker. Reflect on your journey and create a mandala.
Creating a Mandala
The most important thing in creating a mandala is that it is spontaneous and that you do not stop to analyze your work. And do not try and make a beautiful picture or force the outcome.
- Find a quiet place, perhaps play some music and ask God to join you in your creating.
- What colors are important to you? Choose 2 or 3
- Begin in the Center or on the outer edge and follow your intuitive impulses and allow the drawing to begin. No planning, just draw, or paint or paste.
- When you have finished step back and look at your mandala and journal your journey.
- Write five or six descriptions names for each color and reflect on the associations with the colors. What are your insights, feelings, memories?
- Describe the patterns, lines and shapes, and spaces? What road blocks or forbidden zones, or other experiences have you encountered?
- Is there a central theme that is coming to surface. Write the idea from the thoughts you have journaled.
“And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” Revelation 21:21
The pines, under the umbrella of two large pines, are a blanket hiding place. A favorite, natural castle surrounded by the art of the Master Creator is a place of quiet rest.
“What are you going to do with that door?” My husband replied.
“I don’t know yet.” I shrugged.
Twelve years or more ago I was given a 10-glass panel 1920’s door. The door was salvaged from a cottage on Three Rivers in Michigan and leaned up against the wall in my room.
I remembered when I picked up ferry glass on the beach of Lake Michigan. I collected the broken glass smoothed by the waves and sand of Lake Michigan. The cobalt blue is my favorite.
Broken colored glass is amazing when the light brightens the color in a soft glow. On a trip to England, I am attracted to the Cathedral’s glass windows. Each piece of glass is cut to fit precisely.
With broken stained glass and glass glue, I took the door and laid on our kitchen table and began to fix the glass to the windows on the door. I call this my art, my favorite way of praying in a contemplative movement of worship. The glass did not exactly fit, and I used crushed glass filled the crevices just as the lead separated the glass on the stain glass masterpieces in the England Cathedral
I entered the door in an art contest, Art Fest, and the won a place in the top ten.
“Now, what are you going to do with that door?” My husband replied.
“I am going to build a sacred space in the backyard, and this is my front door,” I said.
I collected the windows through various stops in Habitat for Humanity Restore.
In two weekends I measured and purchased wood and lay out my foundation, set on cement blocks.