Grace,grace,grace

By PNG Meri Empow(h)er

Photo by Alex Shute

They say God don’t like ugly but did you know God can handle your ugly?

“Our dignity may involve our doing, but it is foremost in our very being—our tears and emotions, our bodies lying in the grass, our scabs healing. I try to remember that Eve and Adam bore the image of God before they did anything at all. This is very mysterious to me, and it must be protected.”

Cole Arthur Riley

“God loves you” is not a cliché. When no one sees you,El Roi,God sees you. The inner battle no one sees or that which you hide because of the fear that it won’t be received well by those who have access to you.God sees that too.

The God I’ve known does not dominate; he kneels and washes his enemies’ feet. God does not make himself hero; he heals and works miracles both publicly and privately.

Cole Arthur Riley

Let me give you an example I have experienced a betrayal recently and I felt angry,disgusted and dumbfounded all at once. I remember my anger stood out and the person by which I was angry was within the vicinity of the potential overflow of my anger.

But God!I could stop right there.But God !The Holy Spirit of God dismantled the pillars of my anger just like the demolition of a multi-storeyed building at that moment.It was like the limp Jacob walked off after he wrestled with God.It was also a “God loves you and there’s nothing you can do about it” moment.That He’s omnipresent enough to watch the inner brewing of anger overtime and Father enough to protect me from me.

I have heard and always thought hate is strong until the precipice of that moment when the power of the Holy Spirit overcame my anger showing me that God’s love is stronger.

And that love of God cannot be known from a “scripture slap” to bypass the reality of your emotions,God forbid, no.I think often times religion falls short in portraying the love of God.Infact,it’s religion that put Jesus on the cross.Note to self,stay away from religious people!

God created us,the full array of our emotions and the pallet of our personalities.It’s not a bad thing that we can “feel”.That’s part of our humanity.

There are so many ways you can see the expression of God’s love for you.But there is one which can be felt when you walk through an adversity and experience it,feel it and wrestle with it and see God divinely enabling you to overcome it.It’s in that moment that you know God is our kinsmen redeemer as He feels us and sees us even when no one does.Even when your spouse who shares the same bed with you is completely oblivious to your inner battle.God sees you!Even when your closest friends don’t see you,God sees you.

I chose to share this experience because May is “Mental Health Month “. It’s human to feel and suppressing our emotions won’t make them go away.I will share a few tips on how I handle my emotions and mind you,this came after a few shameful display of my emotions. But before I do,I’ll just put this disclaimer out.I am not a therapist!And where I am geographically located,(Papua New Guinea) therapy is still being shied upon because it is not part of our culture to do seek help by means of therapy.It is still quite foreign and so in sharing this,I hope it gives someone permission to exhale the notion that it’s inhumane to feel and to slowly unfasten the lid of their emotions and let it sip out safely using these tips:

  • Journaling
  • Breathing technique
  • Work it out by doing something that you love doing eg:work out,write poems,play music,go for a walk,etc
  • Talk to God about it

Journaling

There’s something therapeutic about writing your thoughts down. It transports your thoughts from your mind to the paper and will help you see your thoughts clearly.You can write in a book or type it in your phone so no one can have access to it.

Breathing

Breathing is one of the most natural thing to do yet highly taken for granted.Any woman who’s given birth will tell you how powerful breathing can be during labour.Here’s a breathing technique you can use:breath in through your nose,hold it 1,2,3,4,5 exhale through your mouth 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and repeat this sequence

Photo by Brett Jordan

Here’s an extra activity I do before I use the breathing technique.Imagine you’re at a slow flowing river,with lilies sparsely placed and blooming,with dragonflies on each one of them,a gentle breeze brushes through your face while the morning sun shines on your melanin skin.You have your emotions and every crowded thought in your mind in a big bottle filled to the brim.Unfasten the lid and let everything flow out into that river.Let it out and see the river drown the toxicity of it steaming out as the river takes them away.Keep on emptying it,pour it all out.

Now breathe using the above technique.

Photo by Georgia de Lotz

Work it out

You can also do something you love or enjoy doing,like going for a walk at the beach or mountain climbing,drawing,painting,playing an instrument or anything else that floats your boat.

Talk to God about it

Yes!Talk to God about it.God is big enough to handle our entirety and for the other 7.9billion people in the world as well.When we fall,people will cast rocks at us,but God will meet us right there in that ugly.So give yourself permission to talk to God.If you haven’t tried this,it may feel weird at first but do it anyway.

I hope these tips help you. Remember to be gentle with yourselves giving grace to yourself and grace for others.

April for real

By PNG Meri Empow(h)er

Photo by PNG Meri Empow(h)er

The month of April 2022 has been filled with mountain top and valley moments in a zigzag motion the sequence almost predictable yet surprising and miraculous in a way.

It was a month of breakthroughs with such magnitude that hinted the resurrecting power of Jesus.I remember holding a grudge against someone for so long that the root became pixelated I couldn’t even remember why I was angry in the first place.When meeting that person I felt the grace of God hug me.You know when they say goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,they can both run up on you and it may appear as a miracle or even as the highest version of you showing up when you least expect it.

The month of April also brought deep pain and revelation that will remain as lessons .It revealed alot that can be easily lost when the fixation is on the feelings and not the lessons to glean from the experiences.

New grief showed up unexpectedly as well.I remember saying,I thought this was that and that was this,but how wrong we can be in our perceived truth at times.Grace for myself and for others became so relevant and I had to remind myself daily of this.

The valley moments were balanced with achievements in the education sphere.A cousin of mine graduated on the same day I received the hardcopy of my masters degree.This was a double blessing for the family.

My mum turned 57 and that alone is a miracle in itself and also reveals a glimpse of the resurrecting power of Jesus.Mum’s leg was amputated last year and her journey from August 2021 to this year has been a testimony of God’s miraculous hand on her life.She now walks confidently with her artificial leg even back to work.

My husband and I stepped into our 8th anniversary as well.April is our anniversary month and I guess we were just too busy to even pause and celebrate it.During dinner with the executive team of the company he’s working with,the team surprised us with a toast to the anniversary and two identical plates of cheesecake with “Happy 8th anniversary “written on it. I felt an overflow of joy in that moment.

Photo by CRumints

All in all I am thankful for the month of April and look forward to May.Happy 1st of May,and May you lay hold of all that God has in store for you this month and May you show up as who He has called you to be.

“Dumbing down who God has called you to be is an hallelujah to the devil”

Travis Green

Youthful hubris

By PNG Meri Empow(h)er

Oh what tragedy
A life of nihilism
Foolish man’s glory

A trap that hinders
The respect of the elders,
Is youthful hubris

You can’t build on sand
A house without foundations
Grips water with hand

Pause and return from
The blind pursuit of perils
Wisdom calls you home

It’s in the elders
The priceless gift,a treasure
Serve them with respect

Humility see
Be humble, donot deceive
Love,serve and receive

Photo by Markus Spiske

Who is like you Lord

Poem by Janice Kaumi

Photo by Diana Simumpande

𝑾𝒉𝒐 𝒊𝒔 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖, 𝑳𝒐𝒓𝒅?
𝒀𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒇𝒂𝒊𝒕𝒉𝒇𝒖𝒍𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒊𝒔 𝒖𝒏𝒎𝒂𝒕𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒅.
𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒔 𝒄𝒂𝒏𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒉𝒆𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒌𝒔 o𝒇 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒎𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕𝒚 𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒔. 𝑬𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒊𝒏 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒈𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔, 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒄𝒉𝒐𝒔𝒆 𝒂 𝒘𝒓𝒆𝒕𝒄𝒉 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒎𝒆.
𝑺𝒉𝒂𝒌𝒆𝒔𝒑𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅𝒏’𝒕 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒃𝒆 𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒑𝒊𝒆𝒄𝒆 𝒕𝒐𝒈𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒔
𝑻𝒐 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒄𝒓𝒊𝒃𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒎𝒆.

𝒀𝒐𝒖 𝒉𝒐𝒍𝒅 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚 𝒑𝒂𝒓𝒕 𝒐𝒇 𝒎𝒚 𝒃𝒆𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒊𝒏 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒄𝒆.
𝑰 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒃𝒆 𝒑𝒖𝒇𝒇𝒆𝒅 𝒖𝒑 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒑𝒓𝒊𝒅𝒆
𝑨𝒔 𝑰 𝒓𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒎𝒃𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉 𝑰 𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒓𝒐𝒍,
𝒊𝒕 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒕𝒆𝒄𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒎𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉 𝒎𝒚 𝒅𝒂𝒓𝒌𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆𝒔
𝑨𝒏𝒅 𝒉𝒆𝒍𝒅 𝒎𝒆 𝒖𝒑 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝑰 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒇𝒂𝒍𝒍.

𝑴𝒚 𝒑𝒓𝒂𝒚𝒆𝒓 𝑳𝒐𝒓𝒅 𝒊𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒃𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒃𝒂𝒍𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒕𝒘𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝒎𝒚 𝒇𝒂𝒊𝒕𝒉, 𝒎𝒚 𝒔𝒂𝒍𝒗𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏, 𝒎𝒚 𝒅𝒓𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒚 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒇𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆.
𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒈𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒇𝒆𝒄𝒕 𝒑𝒆𝒂𝒄𝒆, 𝒉𝒐𝒍𝒅 𝒎𝒚 𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒅
𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒅

E-mobility in Papua New Guinea?

By PNG Meri Empow(h)er

Photo by Michael Marais

My earliest recollection of a vehicle dates back to 1994 in a cold terrifying and confusing night.My siblings and I were rudely awakened by the emergency of the moment and were squashed in between our belongings at the back of our car as my parents drove us out of a volcanic eruption and right out of the chapter where we lost our home to the 1994 volcanic eruption in Rabaul.The next thing I knew, I was in the village getting to know my maternal cousins and playing with a ‘kar na palatin’. A ‘kar na palatin’ which is somewhat a toy car made up of two cans filled and compacted with soil to use as wheels and connected to a long wooden stick which was crossed with a short stick to use as the tinned car’s steering wheels. Fast forward to almost two decades later I read about emobility to be introduced to Papua New Guinea.

What is e-mobility?

Electromobility or e-mobility refers to vehicles,boats and aircraft that are fully or partially powered by electricity.The same way other electric appliances rely on electricity.

Photo by Chuttersnap

E-mobility roots back to 1881 according to Volcker Christian Manz where an electric tricycle was invented by Frenchman Gustave Trouvé.In 1893 a company founded by Frenchman Charles Jeantaud built electric vehicles .The quest for electrified vehicles continued from the 1890s to 1930 so as its trend slowly became popular in America as well. The first fleet of taxis were established in New York.However,the growth of emobility decreased in the early 1930s due to

The demand for electric vehicles eventually ceased in 1935 until the concerns over carbon emissions from gasoline vehicles paved a way for the re-emergence of electric vehicles in the 1960s and its prominence and relevance further solidified by climate change goals to this day.

One of the declarations for climate change from COP 26 is to achieve zero emissions of carbon by 2040 or no later than 2035. This needed and climate change-validated,possibly disruptive innovation may mean the dooming exit for gasoline cars globally.

The main advantage of electric vehicles lies in the fact that it is more environmental friendly compared to fuel powered vehicles because of its minimal or zero emissions of carbon. Another advantage is that electricity is cheaper than gasoline.EVs also requires mininum need for car repair services and are less noisy.

On the other hand, the disadvantages of EVs includes short ranges meaning there’s a certain amount of distance EVs can travel before the need for recharge comes up and recharging an EV can take time (4 hours or more).Electric vehicles are also expensive compared gasoline cars.Furthermore the lack of availability of charging stations are also a concern in countries that have adopted the usage of EVs .The lack of range in aesthatics of vehicles to choose from is also another disadvantage but this may change overtime because of the growing need for decarbonising transportation.

E-mobility in Papua New Guinea

The first thing that came into my mind when I heard about its introduction to PNG was a curiosity of the implementation plan of emobility.The bulk of the population live in the rural areas with little to zero access to electricity.In country’s city capital,Port Moresby,the main electricity producer has an undefeated track record of regular power failures.So it will be interesting to see how the implementation plan is rolled out.

The next thing that came to mind was the social and economical impacts that would arise from these transition and how exactly will this be addressed.

Another concern is the road system,not in the urban areas but in peripheral areas where the bulk of the population live.The existing road systems are barely maintained regularly and are an emergency in itself. Unless the vulnerable state of our existing road systems are addressed ,we fall prey to pleasing global agendas at the cost of our people.

People friendly roads

Instead of jumping straight into emobility, how about making the streets safer for our people first by creating bicycle lanes.Bicycles have zero carbon emissions and its inclusion will have a ripple effect on the health and well being of people. At the moment,our roads in PNG are more car-centric than people friendly.

Photo by Markus Spiske

Our road systems also need to accommodate and be more inclusive of people with disabilities.

Thorns have roses

Poem by PNG Meri Empow(h)er

Photo by Lombe Kapayap

Thorns have roses
Indescribable losses
Spindle prick causes
Deep enduring forces
Closet never closes
Still the poses
Camera masking process
Blotted red ink sources

Lava dries
But smoke rises
Never waste a crisis
An oasis,healing well of advices
Wisdom flowing from advisors
Add this to your devices
Impactful tools from survivors

Extract the lesson
Never lose the passion
Strength and dignity in your fashion
With the eyes of satisfaction
Arrows your way miss a reaction
Intentional moves and actions
Stands tall in a nation
You beautifully crafted creation

Walked through the fire and still you
Show up like the dew
Rejuvenated morning new
If only they knew
The weight of what you went through
God’s glory still stands true
Oh how much He loves you

The lines society drew

Poem by PNG Meri Empow(h)er

Photo by Jelilah Kum

Election time is around the corner and in this part of the world,Papua New Guinea to be specific,there is zero…zero women in the parliament.This poem is a plea,for women to be voted into parliament.

An onlooker’s view
It’s like stepping out from a shell,
Very few have conquered,phew!
Stepped off the edge and flew
Way beyond patriarchy’s grip
Our lone sisters grew

And women still do
Except this is new
An heavily biased realm
It’s lime,buai,daka you chew
It flows naturally,a spam!
The lines society drew

No we are not a myth
Women do exist
Parliament has many seats
How unbalanced the scales be,yet still we submit
The unspoken reluctance,see!
A woman shouldn’t lead
From the pulpit to the streets
Parliament seats echo this belief

The tears of a woman
Waters this independent land
We call ourselves as free
Yet you don’t give her a seat
You benefit from her defeat
Her absence speaks the voters pick
It’s unspoken but it’s there
Stepping out it’s such a dare
Give her a vote and step beyond
The lines society drew

It’s an old mother’s tale
There you go with the stale
Blaming Eve for the fall
It’s the same excuse for all
We talk gender,propaganda
Oh what political,hypocritical madness
A house without a woman
Where’s the balance in conversation

PNG Meri did you know
The power lies within
Beyond society’s grip
God said have dominion
You’re not a minion,you are free,
You’re the answer
Society needs

So vote for her
Vote for us
For future generations,a must
Turn this whole narrative around
Change the course of this flow
The future isn’t female
That’s the same game you know
I say the future is balance
Vote her now,here’s your chance.

Carry the vision,not worship it

By PNG Meri Empow(h)er

Photo by Edwin Andrade

I was in a virtual leadership conference (The Called to Pioneer) and one of the speakers,Pastor Devon Franklin mentioned something that hit me hard,I had to pause my work,concentration and if I’m honest,…my addiction to goals.

“Carry the vision,not worship it”

Devon Franklin

The last few months had been crazy,I was tired of waiting so I decided to step out in faith and do what “my hand findeth to do ” And I perceived it was what God wanted me to do however I had been too engrossed in the whole set up and production that I had been ignoring a small tug within me that was saying,I hadn’t prayed. Normally my night routine involved bedtime stories and worship with my babies but over the last few weeks and months it had changed.

Alot happens in the wait.It’s not really a comfortable place to be in.It is the place that exists between where you are and your vision.There is a tension that happens in this “in-between” place.

In this place ,’giving up’ shows up to discourage you from hope,’comparison’ calls you to distract your focus from your vision.That place of transition may also bring about its own challenges that may potentially break you.So there’s this pull for your mind,focus and even identity.

Now I know changes have to be embraced as we live in a world that is constantly changing and the reluctance to change produces inevitable obsolescence.

But is a change worth it if it draws us away from God?Is it really worth it? Devon’s words echoed the reminders I was getting in me lately. I have misplaced my priorities from my God to the vision he gave me.

I longed for God’s presence and voice but He’s still the same yesterday, today and forever. He’s omnipotent and omnipresent.Which can only mean God didn’t move away,I did with my crave to fulfill God’s purpose and plan for my life.

I thought I’d just share this today to help somebody else too who may be going through the same thing. God gives us a vision to fulfill not worship.

Better… not backward

Photo by PNG Meri Empow(h)er using Canva

By PNG Meri Empow(h)er

What is better? Better is defined as more desirable, effective or satisfactory . When it comes to expressing “better” the definition and translation of better may vary from one person to another.

A better “me” for someone who overspends can be that version of them that writes a budget and sticks to it. For a messy person,it can be a version of them that is tidy and starts of the day by fixing their beds.For “yes” mans,better can be the courage to say “no”.For someone who’s overweight,it could mean starting a healthy lifestyle.

The pursuit of better may also mean material acquisition, the transition from home renting to home ownership, from an old shoe to a trending shoe,from an old outfit to a new outfit and so on so forth.

In terms of status in organisations this can mean the promotion from a junior role in an organization to a senior role.

The definition of “better” as it relates to this post focuses entirely on internal work necessary to getting to a “better or higher version of you that requires your willingness to reach for it.

Better for me right now is a “me” that sets boundaries to protect my peace and is determined to speak up even before these boundaries have been overstepped.

“Boundaries are the gateway to healthy relationships “

Nedra Tawwab

I am making an assumption here but I believe everyone has a fair idea of their limits or their point of no return.The place where they tip and all rationality dissipates and all hell breaks loose.

Let me put it this way,the point of no return can be likened to a red zone.As much as possible your boundaries have to be set within the borderline of green to yellow zone.Green meaning safe ,yellow meaning,”my friend,it is wise for you to stop here because you don’t want to go beyond here to the red zone”.To protect you and the relationship you’re in,speak up at the borderline between green and yellow.

From my own experiences,I have been guilty of not speaking up until it’s too late and the red zone alarm comes on as the fire trucks arrive, so as the ambulance and the cops and before I know it,I’m out in the deep waiting for someone to throw me a floaty.

What does better looks like for you? Are you making any attempt to be that version of you?

Getting to better requires a level of commitment from yourself.It prepares you to meet a version of you that you’ve never ever met before.

I am curious to meet the new and better versions of me that I’ve never met before. I say versions because there a levels or layers to you and the best is always ahead of you.

The journey and process is far from perfect,infact it’s messy. Messy in a sense that you may not always get it right and that’s just part of our humanity.

There is no perfect person,if there was,there would have been no need for Christ to come and save us. So be gentle with yourself,when you fall,get back up,and keep hitting at it until mediocrity will have no choice but to back off you.

She feels

Poem by PNG Meri Empow(h)er

Photo by Samuel Aboh

I know it’s hard ,
The kids,
The chores at home,
The noise,
The hourly cleanups
The cycle of mess
The inability to say no
Little beings need you,
It’s hard,adults demand equal
Your toddler clinging
Perfectly working feet
God blessed him/her with
That hug your waist tight
And refuse to walk
The sun
The heat
The rythm of your breath panting
The pain your back screams
Shush!No you can’t say no
You keep walking
You keep waking
Middle of the night,
The needs call you
Half asleep,half angry
Yet silently walking
Keep talking
All worth it
Responsible mum
You be it
Wife to the caller
A call you missed
Too busy you were
Settling tantrums
And petty fights
Why didn’t you answer
The attention it calls
And yet you keep
Showing up when you’re bleeding
Internally battling
You are enough
You have enough
Take ownership of that
And flip the script
I am enough
I have enough
Little feet needs me
Generational eyes watch me
Today I fight it,crush it,slay it
One less  battle for thee
The shero they need
Womb days to now