Meet the Author's Author

Meet the Author's Author
Live for Jesus! That's what matters! That you see the light in me and come along! :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

When God Rode On the X51

It was cold. Very cold. And so foggy.

My fingers couldn't take being outside my coat pocket for longer than two texts. They were a shade of grey blue.

Work had been tough, tougher than usual; all I wanted to do was get home. Though to be honest, I'd be far more able to cope with the intense work pressure if my heart wasn't broken on top.

Everything I've prayed for, believed in, hoped for and struggled against so much for came crashing down again at the beginning of February, but the final blow came from the main part of my hope.

I felt trapped. Caged. Like a little bird behind bars, beating my wings frantically against them. Forced against my heart, soul and will to a choice that would affect the rest of my life if I decide the way some people want me to.

When I say I spent one month crying before it became too dreary to weep, and me too weary, just believe it.

Shaking, I pulled my blue coat close around me.

The 51 bus came down the road. I moved a little towards it.

It would take a long and tiring journey to get home. The 51 takes a longer route and time than does the X.

But it was warm. It would have seats. I'd have a longer time to sleep and rest. It would keep me safe from the bitter cold and I was so, so tired. I couldn't hang on for the X one more minute, and it was nowhere in sight.

The X51 was quicker. It sped me to my destination. But I'd have to stand up. And it was taking too long to come. And it was so very, very cold.

I made a choice then, because something stirred within me as I paralleled it to this current situation in my life. I don't know about you, but I believe that God uses the simplest things in life to teach us parables.

I let the 51 go by with one wistful glance.
And chose to wait for the X.

True, it was only me fighting me in this case, and not me AND everyone around me fighting me for what THEY think is best for me.

God never called us to be comfortable and happy. He called us to be faithful. And that means we follow His call when everything stands against it, when everyone tells us He hasn't called us to it, that you've made it up in your insecurity, and when your poor mixed up head has nothing left to cling onto but the solidity of Christ Himself.

Do you know the weirdest thing? A couple of seconds later, the X51 drove down the road.

I couldn't help smiling as I stepped onto the bus.

You know how it is when God works something and it's like He's slipping His arm around your shoulders and telling you that it's worth the wait? Yeah... like that. The hope of deliverance in a whirlpool of darkness.


I'm babysitting tonight. Curled up on my big brother's sofa currently, typing this.

It's been snowing over the past two days, though it got really severe since four pm. I got out of work and was trying to photograph it. :-P Snow makes me hyper.

Huge snowflakes covered the front of my coat, and both my brown ankle-length skirt and my jeans underneath were soaked through about two inches deep with ice cold snow, slush and mud.

I found a scarf and gloves in my bag but had forgotten my hat!

Hopping on the 997, we drove off towards my brother's house. The snow was coming down thick and heavy, and I was pretty worried about the walk up the steep hill atop the Beacon.

For most of you, I guess the walk wouldn't be much.
For me, physically weakened as well as unfit, in big heavy boots and a very heavy bag, slogging through the snow with sharp icy shards stinging my face, it was.

I stopped about two thirds of the way up as a particularly big gust of wind nearly knocked me over,  and looked behind me.

Thought I couldn't keep going.

Then I realised: going back was out of the question. It would be a waste of time and effort, and letting people down. To stay where I was and collapse on the footpath was equally undoable. There was only one thing to do.

Keep going.

It's always at the hardest part,  when so much energy is spent and you're tired, weak and feel like you cannot go on, when the battle is the worst, that you're nearest to the end.

When there's nothing left inside yourself to give, there is. Because inside you dwells the fulness of Christ, and He fills the empty and gives the strength to keep going that much further.

When we are weak, He is strong and glorified through us as we give control to Him.

What would happen if trials never came? How would we ever start to be purified into His likeness? The answer is that we wouldn't. How many of us would choose to become like Christ when we would have no idea of what it could be like?

I think the problem was that my hope was fixed on a man when it should have been fixed on God.
I'm not waiting for Mr C any more. There's no hope there. But I AM waiting for him because of the God Who called me to wait for him. I'm waiting ON God.
I will be and have been called a fool by many for wasting my life.

But I ask you.
If God has called me to wait for the rest of my life and serve Him through the now,  how is that a waste if I learn to give it to Him, let go and praise Him?

I serve a powerful God Who is able to save to the uttermost. When the night is blackest, it is then we are least able to see that the dawn is coming.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
It takes toughness to admit you can't and to keep going, leaning on strength beyond yourself.

Don't give up!

"Even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise!"

~Mademoiselle Siân

(There's some photos down yonder, just scroll down. :))

(The snow was deeper going up the hill; promise. ;) )

Saturday, March 09, 2013

My Take on Les Miserables 2012

I titled this something more interesting and then figured it would be more interesting to see how many people read it with this title. :P #randomfactover

Kinda funny; the girl who speaks on impulse has somewhat changed into the girl who has to think, consider and develop opinions on something that has affected her deeply. :P

I'm sitting here listening to Les Miserables: Highlights (sometimes I'm so thankful for Spotify!)

Finally, I managed to download the tracks I love off YouTube and convert them to MP3 Audio last night, (One Day More, Do You Hear The People Sing, I Dreamed a Dream and On My Own), and have been listening to them on repeat most of today. :P

I first saw Les Miserables on February 24th, when my dear friend Jess Phelps suddenly invited me to go with her to the cinema in Birmingham on the spur of the moment, which we did after dropping Addison off at the train station. It's taken me this long to work out my initial reaction. :/

We missed half the trailers (YAY!) and curled up in two chairs with mobile phones and one huge Pepsi we shared by the cinema door. It was shown in a smaller screen, which surprised me, as did the viewing numbers. Jess and I shared the same favourite songs in the film, which was a surprise and delight.

The opening number instantly carried me into the film, with both the appalling conditions, the immediate set-up of conflict between Valjean and Javert, the music and lyrics of the first song.

In fact, the music and vigour of the songs throughout the film won my heart as a music lover.

Anne Hathaway's interpretation of I Dreamed a Dream has beaten any other I have seen to date. Her voice had all the emotion, passion, anger, weariness and despair I could have wanted, and her acting between the lines was fantastic to carry across the effect.

Cosette, as a silly, fluffy-headed, blonde-haired doll, has never been a liked character of mine. She exists to be Fantine's daughter, fall instantly in love with Marius and for him to fall instantly in love with her and abandons her adopted father with very little feeling because she's 'prettily' intoxicated with this new fascinating love when they're married. Amanda Seyfried did what I had hoped (as to be expected from the girl who carried off vivacious Sophie in Mamma Mia) managed to add both spice and flavour to her, so that I walked away with a far better liking of Cosette than any to date.

Both versions of the film that I have seen (the original film that was non-musical and the 2012 star-studded musical) I like far better than the book, which appeared to me to be both fragmented and a little long-winded.

The original film united the story and retold it with passion and heartache. The 2012 musical bonds it in song.

The only real complaint I have with the musical, and this is a lot coming from me who could run around singing all day, is that it's almost entirely musical. There are very few spoken lines, which is kinda hard to keep the interest after two hours, making it rely heavily on both the filmography and the intensity of the songs. It worked.

The repeated use of the same tunes in different songs was something I found good. And I loved the harmony. But I love harmony anyway. :P

I admit I wept at the end...something I didn't expect to do. I'm not a film-cryey person as a general rule. The barricade was a very good ending to offset the tender sadness with the promise of hope.

Bleh, I guess my thoughts are still rather fragmented after all. I've not said half of the emotion that this has left me with. However, I'll leave you with two major thoughts.

I believe there are two reasons Les Miserables has stood the test of time, and I believe that to be the musical that has carried the book through.

One is the variables of the characters. Most characters - all in the musical - have interest and are dynamic, not static characters.
Valjean changes from the brutalised despair that had been induced in him by the law by the kindness of the priest to live his life for God - and then was given a motive to fight beyond his rearrest (for trying to live a better life) by the trust given him from Fantine to care for Cosette.
Javert learns that the law cannot define morality, that it comes when God changes an inner man and that while the law remains static, people are dynamic.
Eponine, the daughter of two thieving abusive pub owners, is purified of the low conditioning she has been given by her love for Marius, which enables her to do and dare things she had never dreamed of.
Fantine, a girl whose weakness was in loving and trusting where there should never have been any, does all she can for the love of her daughter, even to giving up her own life.

Cosette is changed by her circumstances rather than she herself changing them - rescued by Valjean from poverty and abuse, she lives in relative comfort until a rich boy lays eyes on her - then she falls instantly in love, never to recover, he dares all for her and marries her, when she moves into the high circles of society. You kind of expect more from the daughter of Fantine and the adopted daughter of Valjean, who loves her so passionately that he's even motivated to live longer in her presence. There is no winning traits in her to make her loveable - she lives off her looks and her pretty babyish traits. She's so static, she is boring.

Marius's saving character trait was his decision not to chase after Cosette and to fight at the barricade, which shows more of a man than previously imagined. In the book, his character was wrecked for me by his attitude towards Valjean after that man's confession to him, and it was saved in the musical by his prompt action in running from the ballroom on learning the truth and taking Cosette with him.

The Thenardiers are pretty static characters.

The students of the second Revolution are full of fire, passion and hope for changing the future, which ignites the brave but failed attempt to start a rebellion.

Which leads me to my second reason:

Les Miserables is a message of love and a message of hope.

Valjean is changed by love - the love of God, the love of God shown through a priest and the love of Cosette.
Javert is influenced by the love in Valjean's life - which forces him to his choice of change - inconceivable to him - or suicide.
Fantine and Eponine are both carried by love - one for Cosette, the other for Marius - so far as to death.

The hope in the film is epitomised by the students' uprising - they wished to make a better France. Valjean tried to live it, to change things through his life. Fantine's hope was Cosette - to make a better life for her.

They all died.

But it wasn't the end.

Because every single person's life leaves a mark. And hope never dies. Hope is a future - something that carries through the present - no matter how dark, because there is always something to live for. To fight for. A future.

"Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that we bring
When tomorrow comes!"

What I'd like you to leave thinking about is this last quote. It both sums up Les Miserables and what I want my life to be.

"Take my hand and lead me to salvation. Take my love, for love is everlasting. And remember the truth that once was spoken, 'To love another person is to see the face of God.'"

Love is everlasting.
And to love another person is to see the face of God.

~Mademoiselle Siân

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Outrageous Marriage Views

So I was pretty stoked to write on an issue of waiting on God recently, which was going to be today's blog post. I'm not writing very much this year. :P Oh well, there has been a lot going on! Emotionally, if nothing else.

No, you don't get an update on that. Another upcoming post will be focused on marriage to someone with a past, and on a lot of budding relationships recently that have been cut short by either "caring" parents or by the participants themselves because of something to do with the person's past. That's still developing though. :P

Tonight an issue cropped up where a friend of mine asked me what I thought on him being married to his girlfriend with a witness before God and outside of a legal wedding. My response was that I'd have to think and pray about it. Still not done on the praying issue yet, but here's some of the thinking - thanks to the 15 voters who chose this post. ;)

In an ideal world, church and state would be united under serving God. This post is based on the supposition/postulation that the church and state are separated as in today's atheistic/pagan society, and addressed at Christian marriages.

If you don't really fancy the following thought track right now, I suggest you do keep it in mind for the upcoming persecution of the church in Western society. ;)

So now I need to figure out where, according to Scripture, I stand exactly on marriage. Going right down to the nitty-gritty, and removing the fanfare, the white dress, the tuxs, the people, the sermon, the church, the minister...what exactly does the Bible say on marriage?

The simplest form of marriage was found in Genesis - Isaac took Rebecca into his tent. :P

At several points in history, Christians have conducted secret marriages when it was banned by the law.

In relation to the command not to break the law, civil partnerships and living together is permitted now, so while it wouldn't be recognised as marriage in the eyes of the state, it's not breaking the law.

And where in the Bible does the law have control over marriage?

The Biblical principle of marriage has been stated in both Genesis and Matthew - "A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

So it's obviously the law of God and not the law of the land. A covenant vow between two people and before God - and to God. If we take our faith as strongly and unquestionably as we should, then that commitment should be binding for the rest of our lives.

My personal opinion is that the legal marriage was brought in because the strictures of it are far more binding and it is so much more difficult to get out of than simply breaking a vow and walking away. While the responsibility for keeping the marriage together is still within the hands of the couple, the greater part of the responsibility is devolved onto the state.

Taking that away would put far more responsibility onto the couple, hypothetically pushing them both closer to each other and to God - but that would have to be a one hundred percent commitment through rough times (and I mean times when you think you haven't got any love left) and good times (when you're in the most romantic mood on earth :P). Most people nowadays couldn't cope with that level of responsibility because marriage is just another step in life to them.

So now to question who has the authority to marry. That role is merely a witness to the covenant and someone who reminds them of the formal lines of the vow, as much as I can see. Someone in a position of authority in the church, ie., pastor, elder or deacon? Definitely preferred, considering the union is to be representative of Christ and His bride.

To answer a couple of arguments that a friend of mine raised in discussing this:
"That would mean that we could go and sleep together as soon as we decided to be "married", and we could just formalize it later. Right?"

No. There's no exchange of committed vows before God with a witness.

"Gay marriage issue is such an issue, because the legal standard doesn't have much reason to ban it."

It doesn't have any right to legalise it either, because legally putting it at the same place as a marriage is like recognising both as the same thing. And you cannot have two gay people committing themselves to each other before God, since He condemned it.
That would be of course recognising a church-state unity, and currently, such a thing does not exist.

NOTE: I am neither homophobic nor a gay-hater. I love gay people, and the two gay friends and one bisexual friend I have can all testify to that. That is my view based on Scripture. I will not condone gay marriage, and when asked my opinion express it, but I do NOT and never will hate gay people, nor force my opinion on them.

It's too much hard work imagining all the scenarios that could come off this, but I'm willing to consider any opinions/options expressed in the comment box. :P

Also, for the record, I prefer the white wedding thing (or cream wedding, for me :P). I love fanfare. I love the idea of dressing up, and sharing our joy with family and friends. I love the flowers and the one special day to remember, and the photographs. Kind of like I love military parades, uniforms, the music, etc.

But I still hold it's not necessary, except to be legalised. And that even that isn't necessary, but preferred.

It goes against the grain of everything you've been brought up to believe, doesn't it? As I've said, I'm still thinking this through. These are just several of my formative ideas.

But breaking down the lines and barriers of conservatism, legalism and tradition? That's where I come out at.

Comments welcome; discussions loved - no arguments or haters or people who just want to have a go at me, please. ;)