Swords Drawn!

Love Heart in Sand

I love how my husband explains the Scriptures!

The other day he shared something with me I’d never heard before.

He said the whipping Jesus endured- it’s very likely that no one would’ve survived it.

It was brutal.

Add the rest of the torture He went through right up until He died on the Cross…

Then my husband pointed me to something I hadn’t quite dug into before- he told me, “Jesus didn’t just die, He had to ‘give up’ His Spirit…”

As I pondered on my Guy’s words I thought of The Scripture where Jesus says,

“No one takes my life, I lay it down.”

In my study of the portion of Scripture just before Jesus dies, Luke is said to have written: “Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When He had said this, He breathed his last.” (Luke 23:46)

Some Bible translations, instead of ‘commit read: ‘entrust’ or ‘commend’.

However it was the Aramaic translation of this Scripture that made my heart skip a beat!

“And Yeshua called out in a loud voice and He said, “My Father, into your hands I lay down my spirit. He said this and He expired.” (Luke 23:46 – Aramaic Bible)

I’ve been taught that Bible answers Bible. So when I read the Aramaic translation, it seemed to echo word for word what Jesus had said,

“No one takes My Life, I lay it down…”

Could it be possible that Jesus kept Himself alive, supernaturally, throughout His torture and crucifixion to ensure that every debt we owed was paid?

Thousands of years before Jesus came, His death had been prophesied.

It was absolutely crucial that He died on the Cross.

Despite how brutal the torture was before He was nailed to the Cross, He couldn’t die before He’d hung on that tree- And that everything that happened while He was on the Cross did.

From being stripped utterly naked to His robe being fought over to His side being pierced- it all had to fulfill the Scriptures.

Each thing that happened to Jesus was a key to free a very specific aspect of our lives.

My husband once told me, “When they were whipping Jesus, His heart said: “More! Beat Me until I’ve paid it all!”

There’s an astounding scene in the movie The Passion where Jesus is being whipped. Each time He falls, His hands shaking, He gets up again. And again. And again.

And then His mom- watching her Son go through this asks, “My son, when, where, how will You choose to be delivered of this?”

If we don’t get that at any time during His suffering Jesus could’ve chosen to be delivered- that at any point He could’ve ended what He was going through- we inevitably lose a lot of the essence of what He did.

Oh how we miss the beauty! The power! The complete freedom Jesus made available for us!

How we miss His insane-mad-crazy passion for us! The utter dedication with which Jesus loved us, and still, does!

My husband shared with me that when Jesus was going through what He did, there were angels ready, swords drawn- waiting for just one Word from Him!

Angels? Swords drawn? Ready for…

Can you imagine it!

I went to the Scriptures to see if there was any place that mentioned this.

So imagine this… the time for Jesus to die has come.

All of Heaven knows this.

Jesus is in the garden- praying. He knows it’s time. He’s even told His disciples so.

The Scriptures say he was anguished.

Then armed men came to arrest Jesus.

Seeing what was about to happen, Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples tried to defend Jesus- pulled out his sword and cut off one of the ears of the men who’d come for Jesus.

Jesus restored the man’s ear and told Peter:

“Put your sword back in its place… Or do you think that I cannot call on my Father, and that He would send Me more than twelve legions of angels right now?” (Matthew 26:52-54 NET Bible).

‘Legion’ was a military term for a number of troops.

One legion was made up of six thousand soldiers!

Jesus was telling Peter that with just one word to His Father, He would have more than 72 000 angels at His side!

I thought about this Scripture: “…My Father…would send Me more than seventy-two thousand angels… right now!

I can only imagine that those angels being dispatched “right now” meant they were ready– fully armed- and as my husband put it: swords drawn- waiting for just one word from Jesus!

But that word never came.

Jesus chose to go through it all.

Please! Please, don’t ever let anyone, not even yourself, ever tell you that you are not worthy!

At anytime, Jesus could’ve simply walked away- but He went through every ounce of what He had to so that You could live absolutely free, forever.

If He deemed you worth that- then you really are that valuable to Him!

What’s concerning is many of us may read this and think it a “sermon” to non-believers but I think there are probably just as many believers who don’t get how valuable they are to God.

I’ve been a believer since I was 7 and yet for most of my life I didn’t get it!

My five year old son Luke loves a Bethel Music song that says:

May we never lose our wonder.

The other day he was in the kitchen with me and asked, “Mommy what happens when we lose our wonder?”

“Oh my boy!” I answered. “Then we miss everything Jesus did for us.”

I don’t know if my boy got what I was trying to say- but I guess I was answering his question for me too.

It was as though I was saying to myself, Hannah, don’t ever lose your wonder for what Jesus did.

Does holding on to that wonder make us sorrowful- walking around all apologetic and sorry? Flogging ourselves at every turn? No!

To hold onto our wonder is to respond to that love.

It’s to turn to Jesus and say, “I get what you did. And I thank you for thinking that much of me- for valuing me that much! For loving me that completely! For not dying until You had paid every ounce of debt I owed! I can live victorious in every aspect of my life because of what You did. Help me to never lose my wonder!”

I pray God would deliver us from the warped perception that we are just one of many to Jesus. That He was doing it for everyone and we, as individuals, just happened to ‘fall in the bunch’.

Do you really really believe that He loves You?

That He looks into a crowd and sees You.

That He didn’t call on His angels but rather chose to go through all He did for You. Very specifically You.

It is my belief that the reason most of us feel unloved or lonely even when we’re with people who truly love us is because we don’t tune into this.

That longing we have isn’t for love from fellow humans- it’s a hunger to experience, on a very intimate level, what it truly means to be loved by God.

We know it in our heads but many of us haven’t moved in it, breathed in it, allowed it to pulsate through our entire being!

For me:

Being awake to what Jesus did for me has made me feel all kinds beautiful.

While it’s nice to be complimented and praised- I no longer need validation from anyone- because what Jesus did for me is all the validation I need.

I used to walk around wounded- constantly feeling rejected- grasping at the man in my life to make me feel worthwhile and important…

It drained him and left me severely malnourished.

If you know me then you know that I adore my husband- but I no longer need him to constantly tell me he loves me or that I’m beautiful to feel loved or beautiful- because now I’m tuned into Jesus’ irreplaceable love for me.

I hold on to my wonder of what Jesus did and I know and I know and I know that I am loved. And that I am spectacularly beautiful.

I send you Love,



Shoooo! This one got me!!!!

I love how, when preaching, T.D. Jakes says, “Can I be real with you?”

I’m asking you that this morning, Can I be real with you?

As you can imagine, putting an event together is no small nor easy task.

While it’s a labour of sheer bliss and love- there have been moments through The Beautiful Series process where I’ve had times where I’d worry…
One morning as I was thinking this, I felt DaddyGod ask, “Are you doing this for me or for you?”

That question shocked me!
It was like the wind had been knocked out of me!  But the question went so deep I knew that it was God. And I knew that as always, He was speaking in Love.

I was shocked by His question because: Of course Daddy! You KNOW I’m doing this for You?!

It’s why I’d started. I’d felt that everything I was doing was for Him. I was on a mission He had sent me on!

How Daddy- how after all this, do You ask me that?!

Daddy didn’t answer. Well not right away.

I think He just let me sit on that question for a while. My own heart would reveal to me what He was asking.

I was perplexed!
Really I was.
I just sat in the clarity of that cloud.
Clarity because God’s Love never ever condemns. There’s something about His correction that remains beautiful, even when it’s not necessarily pleasant. His setting us right comes packaged in His glorious Love. And it’s wonderful!

So that morning I thought on this question.

I thought of why I’d started- my heart was in the right place.
But somehow, along the way- I’d begun to worry.

Worry, in whatever forms it comes, is a sign that our eyes are steering away from His Kingdom.

Remember the verse: “Don’t worry… seek first the Kingdom of God.”
When we’re seeking first His Kingdom, we don’t worry.
So the question I ended up asking myself was, am I building His Kingdom or mine?

Heidi Baker said it best when she said often we try to compartmentalise our lives.
Family over here. Church over there. Work here. Quiet time over there. But everything, everything about us, has to be Jesus.

Family- Jesus. Work- Jesus. Church- Jesus. Quiet time- Jesus.

I once heard of a christian business man saying his belief in Jesus had nothing to do with his business, because “business was business!”

At first I judged that man and thought- on what universe do you reside in dude! How can you operate like that?

But I believe most of us operate like that. The only time we’re truly encountering Jesus is in those moments we “reserve” for Him.
The rest is our doing- our “own thang”.

And sometimes, even when it comes to ministry- this can happen- and does.

Not just in ministry or business, but in our relationships with others, our families…
Are we raising our children for us or for Him?
In our marriages, are we operating with our spouse for us or for Him?

There is no good thing You bring to Jesus that He’s unable to multiply to bless You.
When it’s in your hand, it’s small. And often pathetic and far less than what you want. The struggle never ends. But when it’s for Him- the joy YOU will enjoy as a result is remarkable.

The broken things, He sometimes fixes, other times He makes makes brand new,  other times He replaces them completely with something else. But all of it is beautiful. 

God asks us to involve Him in everything– make Him the centre of everything- because He knows that everything in His hands becomes an inexplicable miracle.

In my Beautiful Series Event journey I’d never felt a shift from being utterly, and totally focused on God, to being worried about this or that. Yet the shift had happened. And the worry was a clear sign it had.

Never in The Scriptures do you ever find Jesus worrying.
Even in the garden, just before He was tortured and crucified- no where, in any of the Gospels will you find: “And Jesus worried.”

Jesus had a heart.

And what a heart He had! He had feelings. He felt sad. He would mourn. He wept.

I love how John Eldridge puts it when he says, “Life affected Jesus”.
In his Beautiful Outlaw teaching, Eldridge speaks about Jesus going away, to be alone, after his cousin John is murdered.

Life affected Jesus. But He didn’t worry. Because, through disappointments, through betrayals, through solitude and times of hardships and pain none of us will ever endure- Jesus kept His eyes on His Father’s Kingdom.

And He didn’t worry.

Imagine one of your dearest friends sick and dying. You know, without a shadow of doubt, that you are able to heal him. But God tells you, Not now.

Jesus got word of Lazarus being sick.

If the condition of Lazarus wasn’t so severe, there wouldn’t have been reason to tell Jesus.
But Jesus didn’t worry. And He didn’t rush off to heal Lazarus. No. Jesus stayed where He was. And waited. For a Word from His Father. For two days!

We read these stories now and don’t allow ourselves to dwell in them.

Would I have waited two days to see to a friend who desperately needed me? Would I have stay where I was and allowed him to die while I possessed the power to heal him?

You see when we ask it like that- most of us would battle. Jesus didn’t.
Because He knew what would happen. Because His eyes were not on the situation. They were on His Father’s Kingdom.
His mind wasn’t on Lazarus (who He loved very much) or on what people would say- or even what his disciples would think of him.

Imagine what his disciples must’ve been thinking!

Dude! Your friend is dying! And you’re just going to chill here for another two days!
Jesus waited. For a Word from His Father.

Sometimes, even if the mission we’re on, is given to us by God and our intention is to do it faithfully for Him, we can pervert the process and the result if our eyes, even so much as glance away from Daddy’s Kingdom.

“Don’t worry… Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God.”

Kim Walker of Jesus Culture puts this beautifully when she sings, “How can I expect to walk without You? When every move that Jesus made was in surrender…”

May we live in absolute surrender!
Our eyes fixed on Daddy’s Kingdom.
This is the only way we live victorious, without worry.

I send You His Love,

The Wilderness

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is sharing the stories of others.

Often I come across incredible stories of people, women especially, and I’m inspired on so many levels to reach higher, do more, be more.

Over the years I’ve experienced the power of our stories. It’s no wonder that The Scriptures tell us that we overcome the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.

We must never be ashamed of what God saved us from.

Some things might remain between us and our Saviour. Others we may need to share- for they could be a life line to someone else.

Today I wanted to share with you a snippet of Jennifer Petit Maier’s story.

She’d shared with me what she’d found during her Scripture study of The Wilderness.

We all have wilderness moments. But as Jennifer writes, they should be just that: moments- not our entire existence.

The Wilderness

by Jennifer Petit Maier

Jennifer Petit Maier Cropped

The Wilderness. A place I’ve spent much time in and come to know well.

Most of us have been in the wilderness at some point in our lives.

How we’ve experienced it, is as individual as we are- yet, one thing remains the same: No one leaves the wilderness unchanged.

I suffered from depression for many years.

I’d pitched my tent in the wilderness.

That in-between place had become my home.

Imagine the natural features of a desert… barren, harsh.

A spiritual wilderness is much the same.

It’s that place where surviving from day-to-day is a struggle.

That was me. I felt as though there wasn’t much life inside of me. And the little there was, I asked God to take away.

My thirst for love led me into abusive relationships.

My hunger for acceptance resulted in foolish decisions.

At times, the feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness and loneliness became too much to bear.

I would cry out to God to take me home to Him.

I can only say that I am alive today because that was not His will for me.

I learned that He had a plan, and I was, and still am, a part of it.

It was in the isolation of the wilderness that my heart was tested and revealed.

It was here I was forced to confront my fears.

Many times we’ve been in the wilderness for so long that we no longer recognize it for what it is.

The past hurt that landed us there is forgotten or buried.

Often confronting it can be very painful.

But God never intends for us to stay in the wilderness. And the only way out of it is through- He is the one who makes the way.

It was in the wilderness that my identity as a daughter of the Most High was secured.

There, my identity shifted from ‘I am a victim- I am depressed’, to ‘I am loved by God’.

It was in that place, where I had nothing but dirt, that revelation broke in and I realized that I needed nothing but the love of God.

God’s Love is the one thing that we have abundantly. Even more than the grains of sand.

Allowing this truth into my heart took time. But as I did my wilderness slowly became a place of growth and new possibilities.

I’d resisted the love of God for years, mostly because of my feelings of unworthiness.

But He loves me so much that He pursued me relentlessly.

In my solitude I was not abandoned.

God is not standing on the edge of the wilderness beckoning us; instead He walks through it with us.

He was the One who held my heart together as I learned to forgive those who’d broken it.

And so… I packed up my tent.

As God transformed my heart and mind I knew I was now an alien in the wilderness.

It was hard to leave because the wilderness had become strangely comfortable.

But I could not deny that I’d been transformed- And…

this barren, harsh, place was no longer my home.

Sometimes, I still find myself going back to the wilderness- but only as a visitor, not as a resident.

When I find myself feeling lonely or unlovely, I know there is something in me that the Father wants me to confront.  And it is in this place, the wilderness, that only He can reveal the truth that heals me.

In the wilderness there is now a river of hope.


Jennifer Petit Maier is Founder and Director of Amber Utility Management a consulting and meter reading company. More here



What’s in this Rose?

A short while ago I shared about Jesus being our Lilly in the valley. I’d promised I’d share a bit more about the Scripture that says, “I am the Rose of Sharon…”

So I didn’t know this, until I did a little bit of research- but the Rose of Sharon, as some may already know 🙂 is not a rose.

It looks like this:

Still beautiful. Seemingly delicate and unassuming. But this gorgeous little flower, I found, has some tremendous healing properties.

In Song of Solomon our leading lady is wooed by a man who not only describes the beauty He sees of her- but at every turn He also tells her who He is.

When I read the book I put myself as the lady and the wooing lover is my Jesus.

It is so very interesting that a number of times the Lover in the story points to His ability to heal.

When Jesus walked this earth healing was a massive part of His ministry.

Wherever Jesus went miracles, mostly pertaining to healing and restoration, happened.

There is great significance in this.

Today, Jesus continues to place such a premium on healing.

For two reasons:

  1. Because we’re happier when we experience His healing. (The Scriptures say ask so that your joy may be full).
  2. It’s very hard to walk in the fullness of what we’ve been called to do when we’re sick and broken.

You know that saying, “Hurting people hurt?” Well sometimes a hurting person’s outbursts might not be obvious because they might not hurt others- but they hurt themselves.

Hurting people might not lash out at others, in fact, they might serve and be great to everyone around them- yet they lash out at themselves.

Then there are real physical health issues we may be struggling with- It’s so hard to operate when you’re sick. The bigger the illness the greater the inability to do.

Healing is a BIG deal to Jesus. Because HE sees how it hinders us from His more.

Jesus has already provided fully for our healing. Accessing it might be where we need some guidance and revelation.

The reality is there will be things, and sometimes even people, who hold us back from our healing.

And Jesus gets angry at these things. Because most of them are lies that keep playing in our head- keeping us back and down.

There are few places in The Scriptures where Jesus is said to have been angry.

People often site the time He whipped traders who were selling goods at the temple- but upon close inspection nowhere in that portion of Scripture does it say He was “angry”. We assume it because we think to ourselves, well, one must be pretty mad to throw over tables and whip people!

But for some reason the Holy Spirit didn’t include there that Jesus was angry.

While Holy Spirit didn’t mention anger He does tell us that what drove Jesus, in this story of overthrowing tables and whipping people, was Zeal.

The dictionary describes zeal as passion and great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.

While I’m not sure of other places where Jesus is mentioned to have been “angry”- one of the places I’ve come across was when he healed a man on the Sabbath.

“He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. 2 They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” 4 And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.” (Mark 3:1-6)

Wow! How beautiful is Jesus?

He didn’t care about “keeping up appearances” or pleasing the masses- He had a mission: Show Love- often that Love was demonstrated through His healing!

Here was a man who needed restoration. The people around him, who could see his suffering, seemed far more concerned with jumping through hoops than tending to this man’s need!

You know I’ve been guilty of this- and it’s a shameful thing in the Church today that sometimes we’re so set on keeping up appearances, at jumping through hoops- at doing what seems godly yet what people really really need from us is tending to their needs!

The Pharisees and Co thought they were doing God a massive favour by choosing to keep the Sabbath over compassion and healing a hurting soul.

That Scripture goes on to say that when Jesus healed the man’s hand… “The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him (Jesus), as to how they might destroy Him.”

Destroy Jesus. For healing? For restoring? For tending to a person’s needs? For answering a heart’s desire?

Isn’t it so bizarre. And so very sad?

That! Angered Jesus. That people’s hearts would lack so much heart that they’d rather kill Him for healing and showing God’s incredible love than watch people walk in wholeness?!

My heart today was to share on “The Rose of Sharon…”

But I’ll leave it here for now.

Let’s call this Part 1 of This wretchedly, magnificently, AWESOME, Beautiful Rose of Sharon.

In whatever you do- whether it’s cleaning the house, wiping your kids’ noses and bottoms (like me)- running your business, yearning for the loneliness in your heart to stop, shopping for groceries… know that Jesus is Your Rose of Sharon.

He gets mad at all the things that are holding you back from walking fully in the Wholeness that He paid for You to have.

His eyes- those fiery burning eyes are on You- loving You and saying over and over and over, “Thou art all fair my Love, There is NO spot in thee!”

Jesus has put SUCH a premium on Your healing!

He doesn’t want you to just be OK- He wants you absolutely whole!

I hope you’ll agree fully with His desire to utterly and completely heal you.

I send You Love,


Your man can’t fix You

Under the arch 1 looking at camera

My husband and I ten years ago!

Looking back- it’s been quite a journey! The most significant and beautiful experiences we’ve shared all begun with an inner change in ourselves.

I wrote this post a while ago- it’s as true for me today as the day I wrote it:

We put barriers up sometimes because love hurts. Doesn’t it?

I grew up in a culture where for the most part, women were treated like crap.

Most of the women I grew up around were beaten by their men, cheated on and treated more like items to be owned than human beings with hearts, souls and minds.

I think seeing all that hardened me somewhat.

It fanned a fear of men, in me, as ogres who feasted on the hearts of women.

In some part of my mind I saw men as heartless creatures who bulldozed their women without any feeling and when they had flattened them they would easily move on to obliterate their next victim.

I grew up around anxious women whose lives seemed to revolve around their men- men who so often seemed to disappoint; who so often seemed to fall short. Men who seemed determined to hurt the women that loved them.

Without knowing it I’d begun to learn that love hurt. Really bad.

By the time I’d reached my teens love had become a twisted dark foe who preyed on the weak.

And while my raging hormones sought the company of the beings I’d come to view as ruthless ogres- in my head I thought I’d secured my heart in a place where no man could hurt it.

By then I’d also learned that other women were not to be trusted- Turn your back on them and they would have nicked your man right from under your nose! Another twisted experience I’d encountered observing too many of the women I’d grown up around.

And would you believe it- my love life started out… um… really bad.

I encountered guys who’d sweep me off my feet and then soon after that would rip my heart out and chomp on it as though it were a midday snack.

I encountered some girl friends who were just as ruthless.

I was receiving from life what I expected!

On occasion I’d stumble upon a “good guy” but would sabotage the relationship before it got anywhere meaningful… I didn’t even know I was doing this.

For the most part however the guys who wandered into my life were the kind of guys most of the women I grew up around tangled with.

I thought being very clear of the high standards I held for the man I wanted would solve the problem. It didn’t.

I thought dating men who were “serious” about God would change my luck. It didn’t.

And then I met a man who seemed different from any man I’d ever encountered.

Before I knew it I loved him utterly and completely.

Finally! I’d found someone who’d take away all the hurt I’d gone through since I was a child.

He would blow away all the loneliness, rejection and abandonment I’d endured.

Finally! I’d found someone who would dedicate their life to making mine better!

He would make it all up to me.

And while he seemed like the perfect candidate to repair all that had been broken and replace all that had been taken- I constantly reminded myself that he too were a man- and he too would inevitably hurt me. Which meant, I warned myself, that I had to be prudent in hiding my heart and bracing my love for him.

I had a plan. I would let love out only in tiny smithereens. And one day, I told myself, when he had proved his worth, his loyalty, his ascension above the ways of mere mortals, then I would give my whole self entirely to him. Then I would love him with abandon.

“All men are the same.” I’d heard.

In that statement I’d heard: “Oh just pick one and make it work. Because: They’re all the same.”

In my mind the best I could hope for was to pick one that wasn’t too ruthless. I’d come to believe that hurt was part of the package and it lingered on the horizon- constantly.

And so I married this guy. After all I believed he was “the one” who would fix all that had gone wrong in my life. He was my new start…

[JAWS Music!]

Come on! Of course you know that only in the movies does this scenario end well. In real life such expectation turns out bad. Really bad.

So it’s no surprise that the first few years of my life with this man were tumultuous, raw, and full of hurt.

Whenever he did or said something that hurt me- my pain was a hundredfold. The agony of any misstep he made was a reminder of all I’d experienced since I was a child!

When he hurt me my auto-response was to hurt him back.

Walls grew between us. Barriers of thick solid iron were erected. Eventually even the small smithereens of love I’d allowed myself to let escape every now and then dried up.

I was lonelier than I’d ever been. This sick, twisted thing called love had got me tangled in a bloody knot and I was its helpless prisoner- like so many women before me.

I had become the hurt, anxious, woman, that as a child, I’d vowed I’d never be.

I’d been so SO careful! I’d say over and over to myself.

I couldn’t understand where I’d gone wrong!

How was it that I’d ended up making such a mess of things when I’d had so many things in place to prevent this hurt from happening!

Eventually I didn’t feel hurt. I didn’t feel love. I didn’t feel much any more. I was numb.

That state felt a lot better! Because in it the pain stopped. But I couldn’t be happy either. But at that time, not being happy was a little better than being unhappy and so, I decided this state worked from me.

After many conversations with a dear friend of mine (Let’s call her Mercy)- my conclusion was that this man I’d loved so much once had hurt me. That was never supposed to happen. And so now I’d retracted my love and that was that.

My friend listened and then asked: “What do you think of someone who’s hurt you? Do you see them as deserving of your punishment for hurting you? Or do you think that perhaps they should be forgiven?”


What I wanted to say to her was: Forgiveness! Girl are you mad! Have you heard anything I said! Why would I forgive?

The truth was for the most part I rarely gave people second chances… If a person crossed me they were dead to me. Period.

Talk about serious unforgiveness issues!

People that hurt me deserved my wrath. Was that not the order of things?

I mean, if I forgave them it meant everything they’d done to hurt me was ok.

If I forgave them I would be giving them more rope to hang me with and eventually I’d be dead. Wouldn’t I?

“I think you view forgiveness and love as weaknesses,” my friend said.

Of course they’re weaknesses! I thought.

My friend knew of my childhood. She knew of my experiences. And she could see that the barriers I’d built were all to protect me from being hurt. Yet those barriers were the main generators of my hurt.

Unforgiveness was a barrier.

Instead of being gracious to the man I’d decided to share my life with I’d chosen to be his judge and jury.

Many times he had been gracious to me… but the experience that had made me hard over the years belittled this as nothing. I allowed my hurt to be bigger than his grace toward me. In fact I allowed my hurt to be bigger than any good I saw in him.

Instead of being his wife and friend I had become his accuser and prosecutor.

Instead of building my home- I’d been ripping it down with my bare hands… because my view of love and forgiveness were twisted.

It’s a hard thing to forget the things of the past and to live in hope.

Hopeful that you don’t have to live the life you grew up around. Hopeful that your love experience can be different…

I do believe that as humans unforgiveness is our default setting. It comes easily to us.

Sometimes we say we’ve forgiven. But we haven’t really.

Because we’re still bitter about the hurt that was inflicted on us.

One of my biggest failings during the first several years of my marriage was not recognising that the dear man, I’d decided to make a home with had, also had experiences that had turned him inside out… He’d also brought hurts to our relationship and exhausting baggage that burdened him.

I’d failed to realise that every misstep I made toward him also reminded him of hurts that had been inflicted on him.

None of us comes to another without much preconception, skewed perception and misjudged conclusions.

There are some ruthless men out there. But yours might not be one of them.

Give him a chance.

I have an awesome sisterhood. Women who hold me up in different ways. Women who affirm me and help me on my journey. They are iron and sharpen me in ways only other sisters can.

Had I held onto the belief that no woman can be trusted I would have missed out on these incredible women.

I have an awesome man. Just like me he’s not perfect.

But looking at him through gracious eyes that acknowledge that his life is not about fixing mine has opened my heart to the incredible man he is.

Instead of focusing and highlighting his shortcomings – I see him as a fellow traveller who also carries numerous battle scars- and as such I magnify his strengths, his goodness, his mercy, kindness and grace toward me.

One of the prayers I pray often is that I would forget the past.

When I started praying this it seemed impossible at first.

But I can honestly say that every day I feel I’m forgetting a little more.

I’m redefining love as wonderful thing that is fully displayed by the powerful.

The strong can forgive.

Experiences do beat us into weakness. I’m not refuting that.

But loving and forgiving are not weaknesses. They are not the enemy.

True weakness is the inability to love graciously. True weakness is the inability to forgive.

Friend I’m not saying I’m there yet. I’m merely sharing with you a snippet of my journey.

You can be strong again.

The love you seek you first have to grasp in your own self.

There is no person, on this earth, who can fix you or your life or the things you’ve been through- it’s unfair to expect that from anyone.

It’s taken me years to learn that love doesn’t hurt. In fact love feels really really good.

And love doesn’t strip away. It builds you up and makes you strong.

I leave you with a word from Lisa Bevere. I stumbled upon it from Stormie Omartian’s book: The Power of a Praying Woman.

Lisa’s word is a powerful truth that sums up very simply what I have attempted to share in this post:

“For centuries women have wrestled and waged war with the sons of Adam in an attempt to get them to bless us and affirm our value. But this struggle has left us frustrated at best…. In the end, it is all a senseless and exhausting process in which both parties lose.

“It is not the fault of the sons of Adam; they cannot give us the blessings we seek, and we have frightened them by giving them so much power over our souls.

“We must learn that the blessings we truly need come only from God.”



Your Lily

Lillies in the valley Yan L

For the longest time I just looked at this image of lilies in a valley.

I’d been reading Song of Solomon.

On this day I read just one verse:

“I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.”

Just that one line was a feast for me.

I am yet to share with you about that Rose… It’s amazing!

But what struck me was ‘lily of the valleys’.

We all have our valley moments don’t we?

Those plunges when we’re not sure of ourselves or what we’re doing.

You know that feeling of being “on top of the mountain”? Well the valley is the complete opposite.

Nobody celebrates being in the valley.

As I read ‘I am… the lily of the valley’- I was instantly reminded of David singing, “…though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…” 

When I saw this stunning pic of Yan L, I felt, right there in the Valley- even if the valley experience itself is not beautiful, Jesus is there and He is the Beauty in it. He is our Lily in the valley. And because He is there we can:1. Walk  2. Fear no evil.

I love how He says, I am the lily of the valleys… Plural. Because in life we’ll have more than one. And we don’t have to fear because Jesus told us that He’d overcome the world- which includes all the valleys in it.

Right there were you are- if you’re going through a valley- dare to believe that you can get through it without fear and filled with remarkable joy.

Remember this prophetic image and remember always that you are not alone.

I send You Love,


Image Credit: Landscape photograher, Yan L

Starting over

It was a REMARKABLE moment when I realised what my problem was and why I was STUCK in my business!

I graduated from High School when I was 16. Went off to college for a year but couldn’t afford to go back to continue with my studies.

For four years after that I did odd jobs- mostly waiting tables.

At 21 I had the opportunity to go back to college.

I had to start over. From the beginning.

I was desperate to get out of the poverty and a hopeless future.

Grateful for another opportunity to study, I worked hard at college. Harder than I’d ever worked at anything in my life.

When I started working as a journalist, I continued to graft hard.

I pushed. Because I valued, so highly, the opportunity to be working a job I had always dreamed of having.

I did well. Built a name for myself.

I’d done it! And I was super proud of me.

Years after that achievement I began my own business. Which for the most part struggled.

At one point I’d hit a rock bottom so low that I shut the doors of my operation, crawled into bed and honestly wished I could die.

I had failed and I was void of any hope that things could turn around.

When, eventually, I picked myself up again and decided to give business another bash- I found myself in the same cycle of failure I’d experienced before.

That sinking, crippling feeling begun to return.

I could feel failure hounding me- I was terrified because I didn’t think I could survive another rock bottom.

The turnaround in my business begun when I started to realise that my main downfall was pride.

I was so proud of my achievements and the success I’d experienced in my career that I’d thought that success would simply carry on into my new venture in business.

But it didn’t work that way. It couldn’t.

It was hard to accept that, in a sense, I was, at this stage of my life, in a very similar place I was in at 21 and having to start college from scratch.

A huge part of me was ashamed. To be starting over. To be starting small. So late in my life!

But I believed in what I was doing.

I could’ve gone back to a job- that would’ve been far easier. I knew the work. I’d done it for so long I could do it with my eyes shut. But business… this was a new arena. A terrifying place that I’d never been trained to navigate.

Every rejection I received I took personally. It hurt. Bad.

But then I had to make another choice: I could roll over and die- or I could take very seriously the mission of my life.

If I chose the latter it meant accepting starting over.

It meant learning how to handle the rejection and keeping at it.

It meant knocking on countless doors telling my story and marketing my vision and product like crazy!

It meant working harder than I’d ever worked because this is what it’d take! That. Or watch my dreams shrivel and die a cruel and lonely death.

The thing is, one of the main reasons businesses fail is because us owners aren’t willing to do what it really takes!

In one of the projects we’re doing- I’d begun to feel I wasn’t cut out for this.

One business executive who’d been advising us told me: “You’re going to have to grow a spine! Ask anyone who’s made it doing what you’re doing now- ask them if they got it first time they knocked on a door! NONE of them will tell you that that’s how it happened. For some it took years! You CAN’T get despondent! You’ve got to keep on going! Keep on knocking on those doors until your dream comes true!”

Working at achieving my dream has been anything but glamorous.

There’ve been days when I’d look at my operation and cringing, my soul would yell: “We really are pathetic!”

But still, I carried on.

While I Love what I do, and labour ferociously at serving others through my work, do you know that I still carried that sense of frustration and a tinge of shame for being at a place of starting over?

But then I met a woman. Who, for me, epitomises the concept of starting over.

And how glorious it can be if we allow it.

She’d been married 18 years. In those 18 years she’d suffered incredible abuse from her husband.

Eventually she left him.

As she was picking up the pieces of her life (after the divorce) and getting to the place of restoration and strength- she met a man, who at first had swept her off her feet, but then, turned out to be a horror!

He’d beaten her so badly that years later she still suffers from the effects of the injuries he inflicted on her.

Today she says she’s in the best place she’s ever been! Because, finally, she knows who she is. And she’s living life on her terms!

Her name is Ashika Ramparsad and she is a profound individual.

Many things struck me about Ashika’s story. They inspired and challenged me. Among them, how hard she works.

She told me that as long she’s able, she will do. And nothing will stop her from achieving her goals!

As I listened to Ashika speak I thought to myself: Hannah! How dare you despise small beginnings! How dare you feel any kind of shame for starting over? How dare you feel entitled to success just because you felt you’d paid your dues!

For many of us the journey of achieving our goals will require that we start over.

It’s hard. And it’s difficult. And it’s FAR from glamorous!

But if we’re to truly answer the call on our lives then this process is necessary. And unavoidable.

I consider the emails that I receive on what my work has meant for some people- and as hard as it has been to start over, if asked, Was it worth it?

I’d answer: “Look at the lives that are changing as a result. I’d have to say, Yes, it has been, and continues to be, worth it.”

*Ashika Ramparsad will be speaking at our ‘The Beautiful Series Event’ on October 1. More details about the event here


Failures and mistakes- do NOT define who You are

Hannah on Yellow Couch 2 cropped for product pic

Oh My!

What an overwhelming time I had last week.

I cried a lot.

Some of it from sheer joy as I’ve heard of what God is doing in the lives of people.

Some of it from utter heart break as I’ve received emails, and calls from people who feel they’re coming undone.

To help people understand The Beautiful Series Event I’ve been sharing a lot of my own story.

I can’t share some of what people have written to me in response as it’s been deeply personal struggles they’ve revealed.

However here’s a response I sent to one of those emails- While I was sharing with them I felt that it may reach someone else too:

Here it is:

Often what happens is while we’re hurting on the inside, we carry on.
We try to keep going on with life as normal but there’s something going on and that something needs to be dealt with.

It’s different things for different people- the causes are different, yet the results are often the same: Depression, despondency, loss of hope, loss of interest in the things we once enjoyed and believed in- Eventually we begin to feel numb to life, to joy, to the goodness around us and the emptiness seems to widen with each passing day.

I’ve learned something by watching my husband minister to people- and it’s that we don’t always have to know the absolute details of what’s going on in someone’s life- because the answer is always the same: Jesus.

Above anything else, it has been an intimacy with Jesus that has brought me tremendous healing and wholeness.

There were times when, honestly, the only thing that kept me going was my love for my children and not wanting them to have to grow up without their mom.

One of the things I’ve learned in my journey and watching the journeys of others is that despite what you’ve gone through you have to believe that God has a tremendous and beautiful purpose for you.

You have to see how valuable you are.

And that failures and mistakes- do NOT define who you are.

You are far more than the sum of your mishaps.

You are talented and gifted.
You are valued and needed.

You have to change the conversations you have with yourself.

See yourself as able to do the things you may feel you can’t do.

It doesn’t matter why you believe you can’t do them- it only matters that you begin to change the conversation (as my friend Tertia Butler says) from victim to victor, from failure to success.

Even in those things you felt God let you down- it is so important for you to believe He didn’t let you down.
It is vital that you get how intimately and passionately He loves You.

It doesn’t matter who’s rejected you- in your personal life, spiritual walk with God or even in business and work- God accepts you fully and absolutely.

I didn’t know the power of this until I begun to experience it.

For the longest time I looked to people- my husband, other family and friends to help me feel better, more accepted- all those important emotions that make us feel connected to others and thus make life worthwhile.

But, everything only begun to change when I began to realise how much God loved me. So very very intimately.
I threw myself into that!

Now, my identity is wrapped up, not in how others treat me- or my achievements but in the unshakable truth and fact that Jesus loves me.

It’s vital that we seek out teaching and ministry that tells us about how much God loves us.

May we allow Him to show us Scriptures He wants us to get lost in because He knows what our hearts need and He will bring that healing through His Word.

Despite the hurt, the disappointment, the loss, there is a new, beautiful, glorious, chapter waiting for You!

Know that you are loved and so very very wanted by a God who can have anything yet chooses to have you.

Don’t let the lies of the enemy win over your life.
Far Greater is He that is in You!


For more on The Beautiful Series Event, click here