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Archive for the ‘daisies’ Category

Before I start this blog, I feel like I owe a quick apology to some of you, in regard to the way I have presented some things. I don’t want anyone to worry about my safety here. I have definitely been on a huge learning curve since I have been here and several of you have told me that you are glad that I have decided not to take that trip up to Kakuma.

The thing with Kakuma, is that many muzungus do go there all the time, (ie international aid agencies, etc.). You just have to go with the right group. Of course, even then, nothing is guaranteed. Diane wanted me to go with a group that she knew would be safe, and David and the SILA group are as safe as they come.  However, it might be that if I was with them, they could be at a greater risk.

Even so, as I said earlier, I don’t think I am going to do it (this time at least) because God has given me a different assignment—to focus on the children and SILA. Every time I go out to the home, I have the greatest measure of joy and peace that I have experienced since being here. I know that is where I am supposed to be, and where the greatest blessing is.

Part of my adventurous spirit comes from living in Mexico as a kid, and while in college. During that time, our family, and later myself, did many things off the beaten track. Even as a child, I found myself embarrassed by the other Americans travelling there—their loud voices, their clueless attitude, their fear to touch anything on the street. I suppose a resolve was born in my heart way back then to never be like that. I enjoyed the “real Mexico,” or at least as much of it as I could get my hands on. I travelled by myself down there when I was in college, stayed in many homes with Mexican people, and though I had a few scrapes (a few of which were genuinely frightening), I felt mostly very safe.

I was entering Kenya with the same frame of mind, but have since been awakened to the fact that the culture here is totally different than Mexico…I cannot think just in terms of Kenya alone, but the whole region. So anyway, please rest assured that I will be focused on what I was sent here to do and will not do any side trips at all, unless I really know that the Lord is leading me to do so.  Thanks sooo much for your prayers!!

After hearing many stories about the sadder side of life here, the violence, the shams and corruption, etc., I went to bed the other night feeling really stupid about the title of my blog, “ordinary daisy.” I felt like the quintessential naieve little…daisy…and I felt I should have chosen a stronger, more appropriate sounding title or theme…Something like “God’s glory manifested in Africa” or “flaming sword” (spiritually speaking of course!), or something that had a little more muscle to it!

Honestly, what good is a daisy in a region of the world where it is not uncommon for emaciated babies to be discarded into pit latrines by their own mothers? (One of Moira’s sons, and many of the orphans at Testimony Homes were found that way). So, I was feeling stupid and telling the Lord about it. And then, He reminded me (again) that HE had called me daisy—it was not something that I had chosen for myself. And He reminded me (again) that to just be who He made me to be is the most powerful thing I can do…And that it is through the seemingly “weak and foolish” things of this world that He displays His glory.

Most of all, He reminded me of the necessity of keeping my Eye (the eyes of my heart) focused on the sun (on Him) at all times, like the daisy. More than ever, I needed to be reminded that He wants my eyes to be continually filled with light, and to focus on the light, even as I behold works that were wrought in darkness. He reminded that those who keep their heart open to Him and their eyes on Him at all times, are the ones through whom He will change the world…And in fact, the only way that the world will ever be changed. Jesus demonstrated this perfectly, leaning on the Father and doing only what He SAW the Father doing and speaking only what He HEARD the Father saying.

I think of Jesus beginning His public ministry at a time in Israel’s history that was filled with religious confusion, corruption, and violence simmering just under the surface. He could have started out with so many more “powerful sounding” messages, but instead He delivered the most powerful message of all; one that still sounds strange to our ears today: “blessed are the poor in spirit…blessed are the meek…blessed are the peacemakers…don’t worry about tomorrow…rejoice when you are persecuted….turn the other cheek…forgive everyone…don’t fear man, but fear God alone…you are worth more than many sparrows….don’t do things for the outward show or praise of man…seek first the Kingdom of Heaven…be TRUE in the secret place of your heart…”

Jesus knew that this is what we needed to hear. Either this message is true everywhere and anywhere, at any time, or it is not true at all. But if it is true, then it is what Kenya needs, the United States needs, and I need.

I have been drawn deeply into prayer the past few days; in fact it seems like I cannot stop praying and singing. I am probably going to wear a circle in the grass of Diane’s front yard! (It is quite nice to pray out in the sunshine).

Once again, I’ll just say that I am sooooooo glad to have my guitar. I learned a few Swahili worship songs yesterday, which I have already sung with the children. (This was after my first lesson in Swahili yesterday morning…Jina langu ni Mercy! Jina lako ni nani? Mimi nina upendo Yesu).  (My name is Mercy!  What is your name?  I love Jesus).

We spent some time at Dominion Orphanage and school yesterday. I went into all the classes and met all the kids (many more in the surrounding community attend the school). The rooms are tiny cement rooms without doors—still under construction. Big clouds of dust blow in sometimes. The kids are all dusty, in dusty little blue school uniforms. The “school house” is actually on loan from Kweli, and in the future it will be a dormitory. But for right now, it functions as a school house.

The classes are “Baby Class—3 and 4 year olds)” “Top Class—5 year olds” and Standard 1st through Standard 3rd, with the oldest kids being 10. (There are only three kids in standard 3rd; Standard 1st is probably the biggest). I had fun just getting to know them all. They were so polite and all took turns shaking my hand and introducing themselves. I practiced my Swahili with them and we counted to 100 in Swahili and sang the ABCs in English, and played many other games. The teachers were also very polite and warm. I am really going to enjoy working with them. Afterwards we went back to the Home and helped the kids with their homework and hung out and played.

 Today, I am going to meet all of Moira’s orphans. She is bringing them into town (she has about 11 kids living in an orphanage outside of town, and several more living in the house here in Eldoret). We are going to have a fun day of songs, games, lessons, and so on. Diane and I are making a big batch of chocolate chip cookies for them–an unusual treat in Kenya!

I can see that part of the reason I am here is for the Word to go a deeper place in my heart.  Now is the time to see the reality and truth about all the things we talk about behind the cozy walls of our churches in the sheltered United States.  Here is the place of the touchstone for me; for God to test, refine and approve me.  Back home, I threw myself into prayer and worship, believing with all my heart in the power of “sowing to the heavens” and letting the Lord sow back into the earth through the vapor (prayers and worship) that we release from our mouths.  One of my friends had a dream of me playing my guitar and just singing and singing and singing…singing the word of the Lord over this whole region and over the children…Declaring the answer, and not the problem.

And so, I am keeping my single eye on the Light of Life—on HIM—and singing for the grain, new wine, and oil to spring up from this land. Like Elijah, praying until the cloud comes, and the heavens open and the rain comes down.  For He has fashioned us in Christ to be like a cloud, dropping down water from the midst of the bottomless well of Himself within us, moving in heavenly places by the winds of His Spirit; even the quickening breath of His mouth. 

“You who bring good tidings, get up into the HIGH MOUNTAIN…You who bring good tidings, LIFT UP YOUR VOICE WITH STRENGTH!  Lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, “BEHOLD YOUR GOD!”

I have been rather stuck in Isaiah 40 for the past few days. I recently discovered that there are only three places in the Bible where the phrase “the mouth of the Lord has spoken” is used following a prophecy, and they are all in Isaiah. 

“Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:4-5).

The mouth of the Lord has spoken—and all flesh shall see it together….This is His word, and has become mine as well.  The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.  Blessed be His name!

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Isn’t everything I see and hear and taste and smell and touch just the appearance of the world in front of the world?

I suppose at the very beginning of my blog, I should share the story behind why I named my blog, “Ordinary Daisy;” and why daisies are so special to me.

The story begins in January of 1999, when I was attending a large prophetic conference in Colorado Springs with some friends. Part of the conference included turning to the person behind us and praying for a moment and then sharing what the Lord told us about the other person.  While I was grateful at how my “word” seemed to impact the lady I was praying with, I was disappointed with what was spoken to me.  It was something to this effect: “Every time I look at you, I see a daisy. God wants you to know that you are like a daisy to Him.” 

I was immediately irritated.  A daisy?  Come on!  Why could people not see past my exterior?  Couldn’t they see that I had so much more in me?  I had graduated from college a few years earlier and since that time, had been working for a web-based ministry in hiddenness, in lonliness; deep in the boondocks of Arizona.  It was my choice, but sometimes I had the distinct feeling that I was watching my life go up in smoke. (I don’t mean that in a negative way. In the midst of the smoke, He awakened worship in my heart and turned everything into incense. It was a time I wouldn’t trade for anything).

Even so, deep in my heart, I was hoping for someone to recognize me; to tell me: “You are doing a great thing.  In laying down your life there is a great reward. There is a mighty call of God on your life.”  Granted, the Lord had whispered plenty of encouragement to my heart and I knew that I was where I was supposed to be. But in my immaturity, I wanted to hear more than “daisy.”

When I got back together with my group, I was so embarrassed about my “daisy” word that I couldn’t even tell them.  I only said, “Oh, they told me that God sees me like a flower.”

Later, everyone who attended the conference experienced a time of personal prophetic ministry with some of the staff.  I don’t remember all that was spoken to me, but there was one word that went like an arrow to my heart:  “God says that He sees you just like a beautiful flower, just like a daisy…and there is something so special to Him about a daisy heart.” 

What?! Again? A daisy heart?! What was that even supposed to mean? I blinked back tears, got my coat and headed for the door.  If I was going to be compared to a plant, why couldn’t I at least be called an oak tree or something powerful with roots that went down deep and bore much fruit? Why did I have to be compared to a dumb flower? As I was walking back across the massive, snowy parking lot to join my friends, the internal, audible voice of the Lord came clearly to me.

“Mercy, why do you like daisies so much?”

I stopped in my tracks, stunned. 

Up to that moment, I had completely forgotten that I love daisies.  As unbelievable as it may sound, I had totally forgotten that daisies are in fact, one of my favorite flowers! Immediately, all the emotions that daisies had ever stirred within me came flooding into my heart.

Why do I love daisies?  Let me count the ways!  They are so bright and clean, so happy, so pure, so fresh and simple—and yet somehow hinting of a complex beauty and truth beyond what was apparent to the eye. I could never look at a daisy without my heart being somehow lifted. Indeed, when had I ever been able to look at daisy—really look at it—without my heart turning soft within me?  One of the things that I loved most about daisies is that their simple beauty is so available to everyone. While some flowers may be reserved and untouchable in their beauty, the humble daisy seems to welcome all; profoundly revealing the charm of the commonplace.

Immediately, all that daises were associated with in my mind came flooding to my thoughts: wooden floors, mandolins, front porches, stars, creeks, climbing in trees, sunshine, home-made pie cooling on a windowsill, quilts, canyon wrens, picnics in meadows, bare feet, clean windows with light shining through them, china teacups, and so on.

In one moment, God’s little question to my heart began to melt away my self-striving. I realized that in the same unexplicable way that I was drawn to daisies, God was telling me that He was drawn to me. Just the way I am—right now!  I didn’t have to be some great thing to catch His eye. All I had to be was myself, the true ME that He made me to be! So what if there are billions of daisies in the world? Each one possesses its own unique daisy-power to inspire.

Many a man has stopped at the daisy—an indeed, every other created thing—and fumbled to read its ancient language; with a faded knowledge that still resonates somewhere deep within the soul. We carry within us a knowing that is not entirely forgotten, though most would feign to attempt to express what those vague feelings might mean.

Some of the meanings that have been associated with daisies through the centuries include: unfettered love, loyal love, innocence, purity, new beginnings and inner sanctity.

Because a daisy’s petals close over its center once the sun disappears, one website says that “a daisy hints at a wrapped up secret and even points at keeping it hidden. Thus, daisy symbolizes truth… It stands for the concealed truth, away from everyone else’s notice. When a daisy was given in public, it meant a transfer of secret from the giver to the receiver.” 

As I look back on that day, I see that God was handing me a daisy as a mystery for me to unlock—the mystery of myself.  Even more, He was giving me the mystery of Himself; the “concealed truths” of His person, which, since that time, have been the most amazing and wonderful discoveries of my life.

As I recently began to research more about daisies for this blog, I was amazed at what else I uncovered.  The name itself comes from the Anglo Saxon words ‘daes eage’ meaning “day’s eye;” because they open at dawn and remain open as long as the sun is shining; softly closing their petals over their sun-heart when the light goes away. With a bright yellow sun in the center, and petals like the white rays of a star, daisies are from the Aster (star) family of flowers (along with sunflowers and many others).

“If your eye is good– full of light–your whole body will be full of light” said Jesus.  Maybe He was thinking of a “Day’s Eye” when He said it; the daisy being the first to open its eye to the Light and “awaken the dawn.” Maybe He was thinking of me…of us.  

What I realized that day in one profound moment is that if I could see myself the way God sees me, I would understand that He has already placed inside of me the things that I am naturally attracted to.  If everything was clear, I would fully understand that “the works of His hands are wonderful, that my soul knows right well.”  God has placed the key to that enjoyment deep inside us. The things that we are drawn to are clues not only of who we are, but aspects of God Himself that we carry within us.  Amazing!

If it takes humility and simplicity to see things as they really are, then one of my primary goals is for the “eyes of my heart to be enlightened” and washed of all cynicism.  I want to see the world through God’s eyes; through His lens of love and truth that pierces every shadow and brings meaning to every symbol, however obscured it might initially appear to be.  I want to see everything for the truth it represented in the heart of God when He drew it out of Himself and spoke it into being.

After all, everything that He made prophesies of a deeper truth, giving shape and form to concepts, emotions and ideas.  The Bible itself plainly reveals that God thinks in symbols. 

Of course, nothing that He makes is truly ordinary, in the ordinary sense of the word!  Every daisy is unique, just like every snowflake. But in an era where we strain past the boundaries of nature in order to stand out, there is something so refreshing and pure about not trying to re-create ourselves but instead, simply discovering who we were created to be in the beginning. If we could awaken our hearts afresh to the wonder of existence, we would revel in the fact that ordinary things are themselves so…extraordinary.

I love how the Bible says that “Elijah was a man just like us…”  Of Jesus, Isaiah prophesied, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him.”  The wonder of the Shulamite in the Song of Songs is that she is just a shepherdess out in the fields—not a “high” lady of the courts.  Before David was anointed King, he was least among his brothers, and the last of his family to be considered for greatness.  Queen Esther was also an “Aster”—a Star of the heavens; and the flower-family to which daisies belong.

Ordinary daisies are earth’s counterpart to the blazing stars of heaven; they are angels in disguise, humbly growing at our feet.

And so, while I have created this blog to document my adventures in Africa for the next 6 months, it is really dedicated to the never-ending discovery of the heart of God.  My desire is to discover Him more fully in every place I can, because He is the most fascinating Person that I know.  I fix my Eye on Him! May it ever open more and more to the fullness of the Day.

I look forward to seeing what He uncovers, and I hope that some of you will enjoy taking this journey with me…to Africa and beyond!  ~Mercy Aiken

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