Thursday, 23 August 2012


For all the babies whose lives have been ended prematurely by the choice of their parents.

Unwanted they come, unwanted they go,
Their tiny heartbeats are not treasured
Nor their precious lives cherished; no
Instead they are seen as a problem
That needs to be destroyed, although
The heart of God is forever breaking

They grow in a dark and unseen place
That is meant to be safe, but instead
Is a hole of coming pain and un-grace.
Unloved, they leave the leave the world with hardly
A catch of light nor a glimpse of another’s face,
Their cries unheard and their tears unseen.

The ending of their heart’s tiny beat
Is accepted and justified as right by many,
Who feel not the fear nor the complete
Pain of the unseen ones who suffer in silence,
Their heartbeats ignored and their lives discreet
By the choice of those who carry them.

In this world, there is no resting place; none
At all for those who shall never have
The chance to live, laugh nor run
Nor to love, sing, speak or behold beauty,
But shall pass on as an unwanted one,
Their hearts stopped before their lungs’ first breath.

There is One who loves them still,
Whose heart is breaking in two over each stilled life.
He shall gather them to His Kingdom’s hill,
And cherish and love and delight in them there;
With all of His Fatherly heart, He will
Protect each heartbeat that others had cast aside.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Part 2- A Daughter's Strength

Tirzah fetched the girls and then entered the house and began making preparations to head for the hills for two months. Her closest friend, Miriam, and five other girls, Rachel, Ester, Ruth, Tamar and Sara, attended her, tears pouring down their cheeks the whole time. She bid her parents goodbye and walked through Tob, where she had lived her whole life. Keeping her head held high, though her lips quivered, she walked passed her people, as some stared silently, while others cried out their goodbyes. Once she and her friends reached the hills, Tirzah breathed a sigh of relief.  The peacefulness the tall trees and the fresh streams offered her in these hills gave her peace, though also a feeling of loneliness.

For the next two months, Tirzah felt as if she drifted in a dream; in a nightmare that didn’t want to end. She and the girls roamed the hills, mourning and weeping that she would never marry, that her life would be ended prematurely. But mostly, Tirzah mourned for Asher and her parents, and all the pain they were going through. Her parents visited her often and villagers from Tob brought her gifts and kind words. Yet Asher stayed away and Tirzah understood why. The days drifted by in agony, her inevitable fate lying forever before her. Yet she knew that she was doing the right thing; God had given victory to her family and her people, and Jephthah had sworn to give back to Him.

At last the fateful day came and Tirzah had come to terms with it. The girls attended her as she bathed in sweet scented water and slipped into the beautiful dress her mother had made for her; white to symbolise her purity and virginity. Miriam put flowers in her dark hair, which hung loosely around her shoulders. She was ready and looked beautiful, yet her usually bright eyes were shadowed with sadness. As she was about to leave the hills, Tirzah told the girls to go ahead. There in the cool, quiet air, Tirzah sought help from the Lord. She beseeched Him for courage and strength. She took a deep breath, opened her eyes and was about to leave when a dark figure caught her eye.

She gasped. Asher. He came slowly towards her and silently offered her his arm. “You will need all the strength you can get.” He whispered as they walked towards town. “You look beautiful.  You don’t deserve to die. ” He said, looking down at her, evidently fighting emotion. Tirzah stopped and looked up at him. “Thank you.” She said. “I’m so sorry, Asher.” Tears slipped down her cheeks. “I love you, Tirzah.” He answered, then leaned down and kissed her. Then he took her hand and they continued to walk towards the coming doom. Tirzah saw a large crowd gathered around a  fire where her father and mother stood. Her father held a sword in his hand and wore a look of intense pain. Tonight he would have to kill his only, beloved child.

At the sight, Tirzah clung tightly on to Asher’s hand. He gave her squeeze and a final kiss, then whispered, “Be strong, beloved.” He then led her into the centre of the crowd, dropped her hand reluctantly and moved to the side. Tirzah stood in front of her father, feeling exposed as hundreds of eyes stared at her. Yet she could only stare into the eyes of her father and see the pain and hopelessness that loitered there. “I’m so sorry, my daughter.” Jephthah said. Tirzah suddenly stopped crying. She gave her mother and friends a final hug, looked into Asher sad eyes one last time and then again stood before her father who held the drawn sword in his hand.

Tirzah looked him in the eyes with a slight smile on her face, and said, “My father, you are only doing what you must. I don’t blame you at all and love you dearly.” Tirzah kneeled, moved her hair away from her neck and bowed her head. A peculiar peace flooded her and she felt God’s presence with her. Complete silence engulfed them. Then Jephthah closed his eyes, as tears streamed down his face before opening them again, lifting his sword and completing his vow with one motion, while his daughter remained strong until her final breath.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Part 1- A Daughter's Strength

Based on Judges 11:30-40, when Jephthah had to sacrifice his (nameless) daughter because of a vow to the Lord.

Tirzah impatiently kneaded bread by her mother’s side, looking out the window nearly every minute. Surely her father would be coming home by now. If they had been victorious.... Fear and worry stabbed her heart. She stopped what she was doing and ran to pear out the door. “Tirzah!” Her mother, Zipporah, reprimanded. “Your father will come home in the Lord’s timing. Now come help me!” Tirzah obediently left the doorway and did as she was told. However, her mother could not keep her mind in check, which had soared to her father’s side once again. The last few weeks had been exciting ones for her family and all who followed her father, Jephthah, who was a godly man and a mighty warrior. Her father was a Gileadite, but had been driven away from home because his mother was a prostitute. Yet, now that his homeland was in trouble from the Ammonites, the elders of Gilead had begged Jephthah to help them, and then they had made him leader over them.

Jephthah had marched to war a few days ago and Tirzah, his only child, had been overjoyed for the father she adored. Now she eagerly awaited his return, which was expected daily. However, someone else was also on her mind; someone who was returning with her father. Once all her chores were done, Tirzah put on her best dress, did up her hair and ran outside the house. As she waited, she thought of Asher, the young, handsome warrior in her father’s army. Suddenly, her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of shouting, cheering and tambourines.

Gathering her dress, Tirzah nimbly climbed upon the roof to see what all the noise was about. Not too far away, she saw a victorious army led by her father and Asher was at his side. Her heart swelling with joy and pride, Tirzah climbed off the roof and ran inside to tell her mother the good news. People with tambourines had gathered around her house, clapping and shouting. Tirzah was a beautiful girl of sixteen, and the people of Tob asked her to dance. She began laughing and spinning in the crowd with joy. Seeing her father coming closer, she broke away from the crowd and danced out alone to meet him, wanting to be the first to welcome him home. Her long, dark brown hair swirled over her shoulders, her brown eyes were bright and her small, slender body moved gracefully.

Tirzah stopped in front of her father, expecting his face to be full of pleasure at the sight of her, Jephthah’s Jewel. Instead his face had gone pale and was suddenly overshadowed with despair. The men had become strangely quiet and Asher looked as if a knife had been thrust in his heart. “What’s wrong, Jephthah?” Zipporah’s voice asked quietly from behind Tirzah. Jephthah didn’t answer but instead silenced the crowd with his hand, dismounted from his horse and stood before Tirzah, who now wore a worried frown. Putting his hands on her shoulders, tears began pouring down his cheeks as he said, “Oh! My daughter!  You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the Lord which I cannot break.” Tirzah looked into her father’s eyes and somehow realised that she was going to die. The realisation shocked her speechless and fear struck her heart. Her father brokenly continued. “I made a vow to the Lord that if he gave the Ammonites into my hands, I would sacrifice the first thing that came out of my house to greet me as a burnt offering.”

The crowd behind them gasped and Zipporah began wailing and shouting, “You can’t do this Jephthah! She’s my only child! Please, no!” Tirzah’s eyes filled with tears and she still could not speak, but she somehow remained strong. She knew that a vow made to the Lord could not be broken. She could not beg her father to let her live, otherwise he might die by not honouring his word. “Oh Lord, give me strength.” She prayed silently. As Tirzah began to speak, a strange peace settled over her. “My father,” She replied, her voice surprisingly firm. “You have given your word to the Lord. Do to me as you have promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. But grant me this one request. Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.” Her eyes fell on Asher.

“No!” Asher shouted. He dismounted and strode towards her, his powerful body shaking slightly and his brown eyes intense. As he stood over her, Tirzah looked small and fragile next to this tall, strong man, especially now that her fate had been decided. “Don’t let this happen, Tirzah.” He said softly so that only she and her parents could hear. Tirzah looked down miserably and saw her father dismiss the crowd and the army from the corner of her eye. When they were gone, she whispered, “I have to, Asher.” Her voice shook now and her chin began to quiver, but she knew she had to be brave. Asher reached out as if to comfort her but stopped in time, knowing it was inappropriate in their culture.

Instead he whispered, “But I love you. Tonight, I was going to ask your father for your hand in marriage.” Tirzah shut her eyes tightly, tears slipping down her cheeks. Opening them, she looked up at Asher. “And I love you. But I must do the right thing and honour my father’s vow. I am... I am sorry, Asher.” Stepping away from him, Tirzah looked questioningly at her father, who was holding her weeping mother. He nodded. “You may go.” Her father kissed her on the cheek, his eyes full of pain, and led Zipporah into the house. Not one person remained except Asher and his presence broke her heart. He stared at her and, seeming to no longer care for propriety, took her in his arms and held her tightly. “I don’t want to let you go, my Tirzah.” He said. “But if you can be strong, then so can I.” He kissed her on top of the head and then released her. “As you spend your last two months, remember that I love you and always will.” With that, he turned around and disappeared from sight.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Ink Stains

I love different types of art mediums, but I must say that one of my favourites is ink. Ink suits my style as it’s just right for mixed media pictures (which I enjoy) and doesn’t have to be perfectly detailed. It is lots of fun. I either first mix it with water or put the water on the page and then add the ink (which makes a really cool effect). When I use ink, I usually add either charcoal or grey pencil to the picture to give it more detail as I did to the ones below:

A Cloudy Day- Ink and charcoal

Abigail-Ink and Charcoal

The Wrecked Voyager- Ink and pencil

Joel- Ink and charcoal

Walking in the rain- Ink and pencil

I love doing black and white portraits in ink, as I did with Abigail and Joel (I have no idea what their real names are, by the way, I just sometimes give my portraits names. Weird, I know). Ink is also nice because it’s quick, messy (I like getting ink on my hands for some reason), and the results are usually rewarding.