My Beliefs

How Can I Stay Silent?

I don’t know how this post is gonna turn out, because I fully don’t have the words I want to say yet. They’re just going to come to me as I type and let my heart come spilling out, because my heart is beyond full right now and my emotions are heightened, but in the best possible way. All I know is that I can’t keep silent. How can I keep silent? Especially in this time of so much madness and sadness, hope and happiness need to be shared.

I cannot stop smiling and the happiest of tears are coming to my eyes. It really is a beautiful day and I could not thank God anymore for it. I’m trying to say all I want about Him right now, but it’s coming out in some mad jumble because I am so overwhelmed. My brain won’t stop jumping around and I can’t contain the joy I feel.

God has granted me much more than I deserve, showing me grace, favour, mercy and love, time after time after time. He’s forgiven me, been patient with me through all my transgressions, supported me through my crazy and never, ever given up on me. I’m still a work in progress, but He’s okay with that and I know He’s got my back forever.

In the stillness, I’ve been able to reflect, meditate and spend some good time in prayer, which led to me learning and figuring out a whole lot about myself. A whole lot that needed fixing and facing up to, despite how ugly and difficult it was. But I’m beyond better for it now. A weight has been lifted, shackles have been loosed and my heart is finally healing fully.

I am not my past or insecurity or stupid mistakes. I am so much more than I ever thought I was, because I am a child of God who is forever loved, blessed and favoured. And because He loves me, I am valued, validated, beautiful, cared for and good enough. Through God, I am an overcomer, more than a conqueror, strong, kind, resilient, bold and so much more. There is potential and power in me I haven’t even reached yet, but He knows and is already setting the plans in motion.

Through my reflections, I knew that one of the things I had to do was reach out and apologise to a friend I have a loaded history with, because I hadn’t done that despite the many years that had passed. I was anxious and afraid, worried that it would ruin our friendship or that he’d take the words the wrong way, but God used that apology to pave the way for a conversation we’d needed to have for so long. We were able to clear the air, be fully honest, listen to each other, forgive each other and put the building blocks in place for a stronger, better, healthier and more fulfilling relationship. I couldn’t be more thankful for that – God’s timing is always best.

So today, I’m not keeping silent, even though I may be rambling a little. There is so much more of my story to come, but for now, I’m so blessed to be living in grace and basking in the love my God has shone on me. This song says it all.

Perfect Peace

People have consistently been asking me how I’ve been since I got baptised on the 23rd March.  I say it’s just been life, because it has been, but I haven’t really gone into it in-depth.  This poem, though, says everything.

If God were to take my breath from me today, I think I’d be content.
Laid back comfortably on the bed that is nothing but a source of joy
Listening to the songs that have warmed my soul.

Having become the director of an organisation and collated a collection of poems
Facilitated creative activities and gained friends from all walks of life,
Grown as a person and performed in a spoken word show
Found purpose, discovered myself and made my way into a career I love.

Most of all, I developed a beautiful relationship with my Creator, Saviour and King
Studied His word and had amazing conversations in abundance,
Became better through Him, before giving my life wholly to Him.

I’ve also poured myself out, over and over, rarely ever re-filled
Often barely standing or getting through the day,
Dreading minutes and hours I have to be among others, smiling in their faces.

Tired of being drawn from and pulled on by countless sources, expecting free labour consistent
Drained by the state of our contaminated world, forever breaking my heart
Exhausted from trying to remain happy and positive, everyone sees me beaming
Fatigued by friends who turn out not to be friends, repeatedly out-of-place;
I feel I may have reached my peak and am giving from an empty well
Cos I’m blind to envisioning, it’s covered in black, unable to see a future for myself.

I’m ready to embrace sweet sleep where I won’t be used, stressed or hurt
No longer tired of being tired and fighting with myself,
Won’t have to wrestle with not feeling good enough or that I’m insignificant on this earth
Because I’ll finally be at perfect peace; seeing, hearing, feeling     nothing.

Shaniqua Benjamin

Don’t Tell Me

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant.
When our laws are grounded in Ten Commandments,
words engraved in stone translated into ink on paper.
Even before rules were recorded, morality was expected –
Abel’s murder forced Cain into banishment,
Dinah’s rape, the tremor of a city’s fall,
Rebekah’s lies passed from generation to generation,
lessons in dishonesty not paying off.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant.
If we calked God’s carefully laid path,
disparity between rich and poor would cease to be a national crisis.
Greed alleviated, generosity weighing heavier,
equilibrium reached through sharing at centre.
Not convinced?
Leviticus 25; Deuteronomy 15 or 24 will fill you in.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant.
Keeping Sabbath holy benefits health,
time to recharge between weeks.
Constantly grinding kills our batteries, shutting down bodies unexpectedly quick.
Powered by moments of reflection, fellowship with others,
plugged into rest away from hustle of working days.
Did you know it’s linked to Loma Linda’s famed longevity of living?

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant.
Foretold prophecies in Daniel and Revelation already come to pass;
others to be fulfilled in earth’s enduring story,
drawing near to its closing chapter.
Behaviours lined up in Matthew 24 and 2 Timothy 3 brought to life around us –
hearts gone cold, love for money verging on obsession,
disobedience to parents ramped to rebellion.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant.
Its influence glaring through film and television screens,
jumping off pages of fiction books – it has everything.
A hero tasked with saving the world,
betrayals of brothers, partners, friends.
Stories of redemption, romance, wisdom, war,
drunkenness ending in mistakes, polygamy ending in hurt.
Tales of actions supernatural, deep family bonds,
consequences of wrongs committed, mistreatment of those deemed different.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant.
Poetry and song hum from its verses,
prayer and praise run throughout.
Battle between faith and works not just for our time – religion blocking relationship.
Women showing bravery, intelligence, resilience
Men showing sacrifice, tenacity, strength –
Two wholes to become one, equally supporting the other.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant.
It’s provided comfort and hope,
Taught me right from wrong,
Advised how to live the best life,
Laid out inspiration in Jesus’ example of perfection.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant
without having read a page of it.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant
because you cannot comprehend it.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant
because you’ve chosen not to believe in it.

Shaniqua Benjamin