Sparrows and Storms

I need to warn you that this is a rather long post. And because of the content, some may struggle with it – and that’s okay โค But my hope is that somewhere in here, you will be encouraged and know that you are loved too.


What a week it has been! Yet again! It would seem that the ‘weather of life’ for me has chosen to be stormy. But my boat still floats ๐Ÿ˜‰
Despite outside judgements, and raised eyebrows because ‘there is no way she could be for real’, I have decided to completely embrace and love this part of me that has blossomed the last few months – the part that still really has peace in my soul, and joy in my heart, even though my floating boat looks like it may lose a plank ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have a story in a story to share with you.. but before I do, I need to give you some background.

In my town, we all know it is risky to drink the water from our taps. Our failing infrastructure and inadequate water treatment plants makes it that way. I think the last cholera outbreak in my town was about seven years ago… but a study done in 2019 pretty much confirmed we’re heading for the next one. Sigh. Then again, maybe not. Because we are currently in a serious drought and dam levels are falling, fast. Based on current capacity, we may not have water in our taps by October. Some areas in a neighbouring town, which is a lot larger than mine, are already experiencing this.
And these are in ‘major towns and cities’. (Many rural areas have not had access to water for far too many years – but that’s a whole other story entirely!) But I digress….

SO! Three times a week, I visit a small family owned water shop, to purchase purified water. I have to go so often, because I can only carry 10 litres in each hand a time ๐Ÿ˜› (I am a water baby, as are my kids… so we drink a lot of water – my first thought about the threat of taps running dry was not showering or flushing the loo… but what on earth am I going to drink!!!)
I started going to this particular shop about three years ago now, and at first I was just a customer.
Then one Monday I walked in, and the young lady (she’s my age ๐Ÿ˜› ) named Vee, who is always there working with her dad, was all alone. The shop was busy that day, and so I got my water and went on my way. Two days later, she was alone again. This time, it was just her and I, and so I asked, ”Where’s Dad? Gone on holiday?” Tears filled her eyes, and she could barely get the words out, as she told me that he had had a heart attack and was in the ICU at a nearby hospital and it didn’t look good. This was pre-Covid, so I grabbed her and gave her a long hug. I watched her shop while she went to the bathroom to compose herself, and when I left, I gave her my number in case she needed anything.
I stopped in there the next day, with a chocolate and a little note of encouragement for her, and asked how her dad was. There was no change.
On my Friday fill up, I took her another bar of chocolate (because chocolate always helps) and I was thrilled to see a huge smile on her face, and be told that Dad was out of ICU and improving steadily!
She messaged me on the Sunday, excited to let me know that she was on her way to fetch him – he was coming home. And to thank me for my encouragement and caring.
And a friendship was born.
With the pandemic, her dad stays home these days. But every now and then, he drops something off for her and I happen to be there, and I get to say hi.
Vee and I have never gone out for coffee, or visited at each other’s homes – but there are times where filling my water means filling my tummy with a cuppa too – and I’ll end up spending a whole hour there sometimes. So we are friends – just not ”social” friends ๐Ÿ˜›

Now for the story in a story…

At the beginning of last week, she gave me this bookmark she had made for me.

The writing on it says : ”Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)”

You’ll also notice the coin randomly stuck on it next to the bird. It is a one cent piece – which stopped being minted in my country in 2002. They are a VERY rare find these days – they are not valuable, as such, but you just don’t see them anymore.

What happened was this :
Vee closed up shop on the Saturday at lunchtime and was sweeping the floor, when out from under a display counter came this small one cent coin. As she picked it up, she has no idea why, but she thought of me. She slipped it in her pocket and forgot about it. She found it again later that evening, and put it on her dressing table.
On Sunday morning, her online church sermon was based on the verse above from Matthew, about the sparrow. Again she thought of me. (I really struggle with my self esteem, sigh. It’s utterly ridiculous!)
So she set about making the bookmark for me, as a reminder to me that I truly am loved! She put the bookmark on her dressing table and happened to glance at the one cent coin. To her surprise, the picture on that particular coin was two sparrows!!!! So of course she simply HAD to attach it to my bookmark! And boy, did she have a story to tell me! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Later that evening, curiosity got the better of her, and she did some research… and it gave her ANOTHER story to tell me!

The story she found was posted by someone named MEGAN!! And to prove I am not making it up, I will share the screenshots of the story as my way of telling it to you ๐Ÿ˜‰

I may be in the midst of really stormy weather. I might still struggle with my self esteem and find it hard to believe and feel the good things about myself.

But I am grateful that something I never have to doubt is what I KNOW, despite how I feel…
I am valuable and I am loved.
And I hope you all know that too, dear friends!
โค (Even in the times when we may not feel it!)

1 grateful person tag

I got tagged! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you toย herrychiccounselsย for the honour ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have to be entirely honest here – I am not one to post about religion or politics. These are very sensitive areas, and best not argued about on any social media platform or blog.

I have been criticised in the past for this, particularly when it comes to religion. I have been accused of being ashamed of what I believe, and that is very far from the truth.
But my own upbringing makes me a little wary of how and when I share my beliefs.

Probably one of the greatest things I have learnt in life (other than the time that I learnt that I will never be able to moonwalk like Michael Jackson ๐Ÿ˜› ) is that we are all different and should respect each others differences and embrace them. Being critical and nasty and refusing to consider that others have different views to us doesn’t benefit anyone.

I had the Bible shoved down my throat growing up. It wasn’t about relationship, it was about religion. I promised myself that I would never do that to anyone.
The religion vs. relationship thing also taught me that people don’t care to hear the words if there are no actions to support what is being said.

AND THIS IS TRUE OF LIFE IN GENERAL. Don’t just say it,ย show me that you mean it.

So if you’re averse to Christianity, you can stop reading. I’m certainly not going to hold it against you. I’m thankful that you stopped by anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

On with the tag :

The 1 Grateful Person Tag is based on Luke 19 and the account of Jesus with the 1 out ten lepers he healed who came back to thank him. Let us aspire to be like the 1 who thanked Jesus and not the 9 who did not.

The ‘Rules’:
1- Share what you are grateful to Jesus for.
2-Share a passage from the bible about gratitude that means something to you.
3- Tag whoever you wish to.
4- Please share a link to my original post.ย 1 Grateful Person
5- Use any picture in your post that expresses gratitude
6. Share the intro

1 Do we have till the end of the next year? Could any person really read for that long? ๐Ÿ˜›
Yes, that is my way of listing that there is just so very much – simple things and complicated things. A myriad of things.
But I guess I’ll share this one : I am grateful for the difficult times. No, don’t scoff. I really am. When I look back at them ๐Ÿ˜‰ When I have been in those dark and difficult places, I’ll admit that I didn’t like them, and I certainly wasn’t grateful for them. But when I look back and see how far I have come and learnt along the way that has made me a better person, I can’t help but be glad that I had them. I still experience difficult times, and I still don’t like them..even though I know that there’s going to be a rewarding change for getting through them. I don’t always tackle them gracefully, and I am definitely still inclined to complain in that dark place – even though I know the outcome will hold valuable lessons. But these days (afterย years of practice and tough times) I am more inclined to react with, “What am I supposed to be learning from this? I wish there was a better way of teaching me!”
Would you believe, it STILL sometimes takes me a ridiculous amount of time to learn the lesson!!! Sigh!

2ย ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  Proverbs 17:22

Wait, what? It’s supposed to be a verse or passage about gratitude?!?!?! Well….to me, it is. I’ll make my explanation as brief as possible. If I can somehow manage to keep happiness in my heart despite my circumstances or the bad situations I encounter, I am more inclined to express gratitude. When I sit in the dark depths, my spirit very much does feel crushed and I am more inclined to lean towards feelings of bitterness and despair – and we all know that those don’t push us towards gratitude.
That doesn’t mean that when something devastating or bad happens that I don’t feel sad or angry, that I don’t hurt. A ‘happy heart’ is not immune to bad feelings. It just has a quiet type of joyful peace that manages to draw on gratitude despite it.
(Okay, so I am not very good at explaining it ๐Ÿ˜› )

3 Hopefully there will no offense in this… I’m not tagging anyone. BUT..if you WANT to do it then you are definitely worthy of the grateful person tag. Please tag me if you do – I’d love to read your choices ๐Ÿ™‚

4 Here’s the link to the lovely lady who nominated me ๐Ÿ˜‰

5 The image I chose kind of goes with my chosen verse of scripture ๐Ÿ˜‰

images
Photo Credit : soulutionary.com

And I’ve already completed task number 6 at the top of this post.