You laugh, mock and scorn

At the tears of a heart so torn

You ask why give yourself

to such craziness and lifelessness,

amidst such bliss and pleasure.

You say come live life full in itself.

I start in wonder;

 

You’ve never known shame and disgrace

You’ve never felt the icy chills of loneliness

You haven’t known emptiness

nor the frustrations and hopelessness

Of slavery, bound by chains and shackles

No!……

 

You know not the pain of being forsaken

Nor the feel of guilty condemnation to death.

You lived a life perfect and free.

Sin and shame have nothing on you

The knowledge of the torment and nothingness ahead you lack;

 

To feel the joy and love divine

so shed by a savior, selfless and kind

descending from glory into the gory

Putting on the life

of a wretched and pathetic being awaiting death

Brokering the greatest exchange

A beautiful exchange indeed.

 

Giving everything for nothing

Trading his grace for disgrace

His fame for shame

His gain for pain

His liberty for captivity.

 

I cannot hold his peace,

joy and salvation with sealed lips,

folded arms, an apathetic heart

and blister less knees,

in the name of gentility and shamefacedness.

 

He regarded none when he hanged;

naked for none but me

striped for none but me

scorned for none but me

forsaken and rejected for none but me

bore a crown of thorns for none but me.

 

So I will shout till my voice is hoarse

Tell of this love I hold

About a savior who came not on a horse

to bring me into His fold.

This is the sound of freedom

The praise of a grateful heart

A heart won over by God.

 

                                        By: Clement Quaye

                                                 Sarah Kpentey

 

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EXTRAORDINARY II

we were made for so much more than ordinary lives, let’s shine bright and let darkness run and hide.

The story as mama told it….

“once there lived a nation; One feared by many kingdoms and empires. Kings shivered and emperors trembled at the thought of war ring against them for they made useless dangerous ammunition and war strategies. These people however, attributed all the credit to their mysterious God whom they so feared and revered. It must have been true because there was nothing special about these people: they were neither huge nor well trained in battle, besides they didn’t even have a king. All they could boast of was this God.

Stories have been told of how this God raised His mighty hand in wrath against one pharaoh of Egypt for mistreating His people; unleashing plague after plague until He finally killed all the firstborns in the land sparing only His people. Pharaoh had no choice than to send the nation packing. Stories of how they had walked right through the Red sea and crossed fierce Jordan on dry ground. Other great and mighty things were told of this nation.

These people however didn’t know how special they were. After they had conquered all the nations and settled in their land, they looked around them and noticed how different they were. They thought that having a king will be a great idea so they asked for one and got it. As time went on their kings vexed them greatly. Having a king turned out to be not so great in the end.

Thing is, they weren’t a nation made to have a king but they looked around, saw the ordinary and thought it better; they traded their extraordinary for the ordinary…”

“Sarah, please never trade your extraordinary for the ordinary” mama ended.

I said my night prayer, mama gave me a kiss and said good night.

Mama had mentioned I was special. I didn’t know exactly how special until a while later when I found out I was a princess. A princess? what! Unbelievable!  Was that why I had to wear these gowns?  Yes! I am from a different kingdom than here. A much higher and powerful one (no kidding) and that is the way of life of the people in that kingdom and I have to reflect that regardless of where I am.

Till today I don’t know what inspired that bed time story – whether it was the deflated look in my eyes when I saw my dress or the longing look in my eyes as I looked at Emma’s dress; or maybe both – but I’m so glad I heard it, for it gradually changed my perspective of life and how I saw myself.

Today, I don’t fret over the long dresses and ‘many rules’, I have embraced my lot. And when I look around and feel a bit weird or uneasy, I remind myself of who I am.

So, don’t let the norm of this immediate environs fool you, we hold so much more valuables than the seemly glitters of this world; for all you know, the “cool” you so much want is dross and not gold.

….on dark days when i feel frustrated, unloved, and inadequate, I remember who I am and straighten my crown. -unknown

 

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EXTRAORDINARY I

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light”

Mama, I thought held an archaic perspective to relationships and was altogether too prim and proper about everything. Times have changed and things along with it but not mama. She still held on to the colonial definition of civility – sit down right, dress like ladies, talk to your friends with ‘courtesy’ ….and the list was endless.

The hardest part of these was the gowns -long and loose flowing dresses or skirts practically to the feet-she made us wear. We wore them everywhere except for school: where we obviously had to wear uniforms, and even with that she sewed our uniforms extra-long. I do not know about my sisters but for me this was quite frustrating and annoying.

At a point in time, all the kids at school were to go to the children’s park for a funfair and mama had promised us new clothes for the occasion. I was excited because I felt nothing in my wardrobe was good enough and also because a new dress held the promise of a much current fashion style. I should have known mama wouldn’t deviate from her usual ‘length appropriate clothes’. The clothes finally arrived and to my disappointment they were gowns.

I was so pissed. Before the promise of new clothes I had resigned myself to a selection from my woefully-limited-in-style wardrobe. The silver lining that came with mama’s promise turned out not to be silver after all: now I had to reconcile myself with my earlier decision and this was hard. I probably would have sat it out if not for the fact that I wanted to go so bad.

The day for the fair came and I dressed up with very little excitement. On the bus, I was rather melancholic in contrast to my sisters who were busily chatting away, obviously unperturbed by their clothes. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing my friends because I knew they would be better dressed than I was, and they were.

I went to say hi to avoid looking snobbish or troubled, either of which would have warranted a lot of explanation of which I wasn’t exactly in the mood for.. In course of the exchange of pleasantries, Joy, a friend of mine, said “I love the way you are so simple Sarah”. She probably meant it as a complement but I didn’t take it as one. It just set my teeth on edge. Was I so pitiful that the best she could say was “simple” in her attempt to be nice? Moreover, if she thought my clothes were that great why didn’t she get similar ones, I had worn the styles enough times.

That evening, my cousin Emma showed me a picture of a dress her mama was going to get her.

Much Later that night, mama told me a bed time story different from the popular ones.

…….

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Another year has began. Everything is looking bright and fair. It is both a new beginning and a continuation. New heights to clog and goals to reach. New expectations with renewed hope and faith.  A continuation of life and compilation of memories to look back on in later years. A revival and rekindling of waning fires and  another chapter of the life-long story we are writing.

All in all, we are reaching for much more and  trusting for greater things and times. As the year goes by; live, laugh, cry if need be, be courageous, get back up when you fall,hope, make friends, trust, love , and  ooohh…..  take photos. At the end of the year, when you look back make sure its a smile you have on your face.

And as i wish you a happy new year i cannot forget to mention God. He lightens our path so we may know the way by which we should go, because we have not passed this way before. Leave HIM out, and all  you have is a recipe for disaster.

Happy New Year !!

Mutlu Yıllar !!

Dedicated to my saviour,  Jesus Christ;  for opening my eyes

What about me?
How would people see me; what would they say about me?
How do they see me; what do they say about me?
What do I get from it; when will I have my turn?
When will I be known, be famous, be seen?

What about me?
How do I look; how do I benefit?
Why am I not the favourite; why am I not the choice?
I! Me! Myself! Self-ies; ish!
Me! Me!! Me!!!

Why not him, why not her?
Why not another?
What about others?
Where are the we’s and and us’?

The real question: why it is not me.
Greater than I could ever imagine and know.
Stooped from a throne august so low
And a crown that held much glory
To make for me a way of entry
Even after I had so actively shunned and scorned Him

A creation made after His image,
A status much undeserved yet so freely bestowed.
Tramped with force on the very creator.
Fell so hard in shame; become a debtor;
redeemed through grace with much love.
Claimed.

Placed on a pedestrian;
To proclaim the attributes of the claimer;
To reflect the light and glory of a redeemer.
Yet again, actively looking to self;
To the shame, the mayhem and clutter,
To the nothing, the emptiness and the futility of me.

Forgetting the real purpose, the real hope,
The real message and gospel that shines.
Highlighting self and living for same.
Every other person and thing forgotten and buried
Craving more and more, just for me
Then the lightning bolt strikes.

It’s not about me at all.
It’s all about Him
About one whose majesty transcends imagination.
Whose wonder deserves proclamation
About one whose understanding is infinite and unfathomable
One who is terrible in His works and mighty in power With beauty so far beyond comprehension and description

He who so wondrously and fearfully formed ME
HE whose counsel always stands; whose ways are tried and perfect
HE who created the rain I so marvel at
HE who laid the foundations of the earth that I stand on
HE who holds the very seasons and time that binds ME
HE who so freely laid down his life that I may have one

So yes it’s never my song, never my story
Never my talent, never my life
Never me
Always, always, always HIM!

BEST POLICY

……..provide things honest in the sight of all men. Romans 12:17

Three years ago during national service,Baaba and I decided to apply for scholarships to further our education to spare our parents the extra hustle. We plunged ourselves into writing one application after the other, countless personal statements and essays. It wasn’t a walk in the park but determined we were.

One afternoon, lost in a vortex of desk formalities it took Baaba’s dropping by my office to draw my attention to our lunch break. When she came in, my personal statement was on the screen of my laptop, so she sat down to read through while waiting for me to wrap up.

“Sarah, this is really good,” she commented after reading. I was quite sure she had an equally great one so I acted all modest about her comment. She told me, her first draft was bad – per her dad and office mate – so she had written a new one – approved by same party – and would like me to read through and share my thoughts. “Of course” I promptly replied.

After eating I went ahead to skim through her new draft. Honestly, I didn’t think the write up was very good. It was okay, but nothing I would use. But I didn’t know how to tell her considering this was her second and better draft. So not to hurt her feelings, I said “it’s good” with a straight face. I justified my comment by itemising our diverse styles of writing and trying to save her some hurt by a negative response.

Baaba went home and called me later the next day and her opening statement was “eih Sarah, you told me the personal statement was good when it wasn’t”. “Errrmmm , it wasn’t bad” was all I could manage. Turns out she mistakenly opened the old draft for me and realized it later in the night when she was shutting down her machine.

Awkward! And to think that I was the one who always went on and on about how I would rather my friends told me the plain truth than give me a sugarcoated cocktail far from the truth when I asked their opinions about something.

I felt really terrible. I thought through the events and realised Baaba would have preferred the blunt truth to my forced “it’s good”. I realised how close-knit honesty and integrity were and how very vital they were to relationships. I wondered if Baaba would trust me to give my honest opinion about anything again.

Well, from then on, I promised myself to be honest no matter the price. So the next time someone ask you if they look fat in their clothes, you may want to reconsider telling that “white lie”. Because friends will much prefer the bitter pills of truth to a sweet deceptive kiss; I know I do.

Honesty is indeed the best policy!

 

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FITTING RIGHT

 

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Watching Jordan, my younger brother, trying to put together a puzzle brings fond memories of my own childhood streaming back. I have been watching him for a little while now and I know exactly when he started feeling a bit frustrated; everything isn’t fitting exactly where he thought it should and I totally sympathized with him because I remember feeling exactly the same way, even a little irate, back then especially when I wanted to move on from putting together a puzzle to something else and parallel felt obliged to close the puzzle case before anything else. I’m supposing he is getting to the point where he will attempt fitting any piece anywhere just to get the feeling of completion so he can just move on to something else [ at least that’s what I did sometime].

The scene seem to tally with a fascinating truth I learnt about the great temple king Solomon built in Jerusalem. Until quite recently I had always assumed the magnificent temple had been built like all the other building I see. I couldn’t be more wrong. I learnt the temple was simply assembled. Every material was made and worked on so that during the actual process of building, there was no need for cutting, sawing, chiseling etc, it was about fitting the cut out pieces in their respective positions. The materials were all already designed and custom made to fit a particular place. So that if something didn’t fit somewhere it wasn’t forced or patched in; it didn’t make useless the piece, it simply meant that wasn’t where it was designed to be.

How alike to this process of assembling we are. We are also custom made to fit a particular place/position/spot. We however, miss this truth often probably because we get frustrated with things we so badly want to happen for personal reasons [like Jordan] or some other reason and make do with being patched up elsewhere just to make it happen. This brings to mind the saying square peg in round hole. This doesn’t make useless the need to adapt but focuses us on the need to find where we are designed and purposed to be. A wise man once told me, ‘acknowledging our place and importance would make us more appreciative of other people’s place.’ Then there would be no need to be envious/jealous of others…. because we know we are just right for our purpose. We stand strong together when we stand in our appropriate places.

 

“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” – The Bible