Machseh(Refuge)

As the tides rise
And my fears with it
My eyes search for the shore
Looking wildly for arms made with clay
As the waves billow
You test the limits of my trust
And ask me to come to You
With steps barely a whisper, I crawl

The ground quakes
Disintegrating into a million pieces
My mind spins frantically
Molding shoulders into existence
Discarding without a thought- precious promises
You heart speaks to mine, reminding me who You are
“Close your eyes and walk by faith” You say

You are my place of rest,
Inside of You I am secure,
Enclosed, shielded from the sun
Wrapped In the palm of Your hand
My eyes look afar off and all I see
Is men given in exchange for me
I will rest in hope
Quietly trusting in You

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HIs Heartbeat, Her Pulse.

Dear Abba,
One too many compromises later,
my life is unattractive.
I’m constantly walking in defeat,
and living below Your standards.
How can you love me still?

Dear Child,
I love you unconditionally,
My trip to Calvary covered it all.
I wish you could see yourself through my eyes,
then you would know that I see My Son when I look at you.
Perfect,
Blameless.

Dear Abba,
My hormones are raging
and everything in me is screaming gratification,
I never thought I would be on this page again,
In a different journal with yet another male specimen.
How was I to know
that time spent in the back of a car with a preacher was not a sermon.

Dear Child,
the nagging feeling at the back of your mind
was my way of telling you to wait.
You wanted to, but you were not firm
You have to learn to mean what you say
Just like I taught you to.

Dear Abba,
I’m such an emotional wreck inside
Like pieces of a porcelain doll
carefully glued together
I wear masks,
of different shapes and shades
Whatever suits my audience

Dear Child,
forgive yourself, and forgive him
Just like I forgave you,
the alternative is a downward spiral to perdition
You do not want to be the reason why people look back at Sodom
Look upon Calvary and draw your strength
You are stronger than you think

Dear Abba,
what if I fail?
What if I’m not strong enough?
What if I’m a weakling?

Dear Child,
before you were formed in your mother’s womb, I knew you
I chose you before the foundations of the world
I knew you then, and I chose to love you
Keep your heart in sync with Mine
Until you become the masterpiece I already see

Dear Abba,
sometimes I think your expectations of me are too high
Your standards too lofty to truly attain
How did Your Son do it?
How did He keep Himself unblemished from the world?
How did he resist the allure of this world?

Dear Child,
trust me to keep you from falling,
Know that my grace is sufficient for you
Abide in me, and I will abide in you
My yoke is easy and my burden is light

Dear Abba,
Your love is never-ending, overwhelming
It overflows the river banks
Its depth Is unfathomable
Its height immeasurable
I long to know it and fully understand the depths of it
Show me.

Dear Child,
I gave My Son in exchange for your life
So that you could stand before Me with confidence
Where you’ll see with perfect clarity,
The depth of My love for you.
Wait.

(c) Olamide Oti, 2015

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Hebrews 4:14-16

Dear Father,

Today I am grateful for the life that you have given me.
There are times when I feel so far away from you,
My faith wavers and I forget who I am in you.
So I slip and fall from your tight embrace.

Every so often, my life is in disarray.
Today, I am sold out to you,
Tomorrow, my faith takes a plunge,
I often wonder how you can put up with my inconsistencies.

Each time I allow sin to drag me under,
The feelings are the same; those of shame, dejection and regret.
He whispers lies into my ears,
And drops a veil over my eyes,
Blinding me to the truth that
You will never leave me nor forsake me

Day after day,
the veil becomes clouded with more doubts than my feeble heart can take,
Somehow your voice breaks through my muddled mind and unplugs my ears,
Softening a heart so unwilling to believe how a God so perfect can love me.
Through the days when I stumble and fall,
You are there waiting, willing me to take your hand.
My mind cannot comprehend a love so perfect and I resist it because I do not understand it.

Every year, I resolve to have a better relationship with you,
A more stable one, devoid of failings.
By March, the euphoria of making it into the new year gradually evaporates,
My gratitude diminishes; old habits regain their appeal,
And become more important than trusting in a God whom I cannot see,
And whose love I barely comprehend.

By July, the void in my heart desires to be filled,
And so I try everything else but you,
Until there is nothing left but you
Then slowly but surely, I decide that the day has come to give you my life.
For a while, I can feel the change coursing through me.
They told me that singular act was the beginning of a new life.

Then the days turned into weeks,
And with the wind, the euphoria disappeared.
Now I realise that my walk with you is a journey of a lifetime.
Father, like Moses I thirst for an encounter with you.
One that will give me a clearer understanding of who You are.
Amidst the uncertainties that life brings, only one thing is sure,
Your perfect, immeasurable love for me.

Day by day, the world is turning against you,
And I struggle against the tides that threaten to drown me.
Teach me Your will and help me to receive your love;
Help me to serve you with all of my heart,
Hold me in your hands Father and never let me go.

Daddy’s Little Girl

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My earliest memory as a human was the day that I was born. I vividly recall my last night behind the walls that protected me and held me captive; smooth, firm, unyielding yet safe. The stranger whose uterus had imprisoned me had been restless all day. I had been tossed and turned in a million directions, swirling and bathing in the pool which was my home. I realized that the time had come to exit my cocoon. Then it happened, and I finally met the stranger whose body had been my home for months, and I knew she was my mother and the dark-skinned man  beside her who was grinning from ear to ear had to be my father.

I miss my childhood, the best memories of my life lie therein. I long for the innocence and resilience only a child can have and the reckless abandon with which we lived. One minute I was a zygote and the next, I’m all grown up and old enough to vote. I am no longer the young, charming innocent who could get away with the worst things. I have allowed the cruelty and bitterness in this world to taint and change me, and so I evolved into a cynical twenty-something year old who wants to be a child again.

My earliest memory of my family dates back to a different age. It was my fourth birthday, and my father had decided to take us all out. I remember my grandmother dressing us up in dungarees  and my mom weaving my hair into pigtails. We got into our sturdy and faithful yellow Mercedes Benz and off we went. He took us to the beach and we had the most terrifying horse riding experiences ever.

Then tragedy struck and things changed. We had to move, leaving behind our home, our friends and family. I received my first culture shock that year and grew up fast. Things were different, my father who was once so loving and playful had become a shadow which I barely recognized. I remember a conversation we had when I was six years old. I said to him, “Daddy should I call you Major, Sergeant, or Father?” and in his gruff and emotion-laden voice he replied, “Call me daddy”. I was ecstatic! My father hadn’t changed because he loved me less, he had changed because he felt inadequate as a father and a provider.

He taught me to ride the bicycle and caught me each time I fell. He taught me to play chess and made those tough years blissful. He always did say “Tough times never last, but tough people do”. I could not have picked a better father or family. He is the furthest thing from perfect. I would know, I inherited his feet, his dogged determination, his temper and his wit. Although, we are not the most expressive people in the world, but I’ll never forget the day my dad kissed my cheek. It was my first year in Med school and I had come home for the weekend and that’s when I knew for sure that he loved me and was proud of me.I miss being a child but I cannot wait to grow up and make him even prouder to be my dad, and in my heart of hearts I know that no matter how old I get, I will always be daddy’s little girl and he will always be my hero.

Dear Child,

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I love you.
I just wish you believed me.

Day after day, my heart breaks as you deny me.
Thoughts of me make you cringe as you question my existence,
I call to you, but you do not answer,
Your ears are shut to the sound of my voice,
Your heart cold as ice, unyielding as ever.

I knew you before you were formed,
I beamed at your conception,
I rejoiced at your birth.
I believed in you when no one else would,
Tended to your bruises,
Soothed your pain.

Everything that has happened to you,
Every blight in your past,
Every drought in your present,
Has happened for a reason only I can see,
Listen close, for my heart beats for you,
Your name is tattooed on the palm of my hand,
Your face etched forever in my memory.
I will not give up on you my child,
For no one can love you as much as I do.

I just need you to look past your hurt, and see what can still be.
I never promised that your life would be perfect,
Roses have thorns too, you see.
If you would just trust me and test me,
Only then will you see,
That I can give you peace.

I am your Father, and I love you like no one else can.