Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New blog

Hi!

I have switched over to Wordpress and my blog will continue there from now on. These will stay here for people to read, but I will not update here anymore. If you want to receive my blogs by email, you can easily follow by going to

One of the Rivers Wordpress

In Christ, Tarja

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dance with Him

I love to watch this show called Dance (Finnish version of 'So you think you can dance'). These dancers are good and some excellent in one type of dance, but know hardly anything about others when they come into this competition. To win the prize they are willing to put themselves out there, out from their comfort zone. That's their passion and that's what they love to do and they are willing to practice and do all what it takes to win. Some dance even when they are hurting and nobody would know if they didn't tell. Nothing stops them. They use hours and hours to practice and they keep trying and doing their best. They dance in pairs and they can't pick up the one they want to dance with, but that person has been chosen for them. They are different, experts in different type of dance, yet they become as one by dancing and learning together. By getting to know each other. They learn how to support each other to make the best out of that dance. They open themselves and put themselves 100% into each dance. And it always looks like they are having fun and enjoying totally what they are doing. It doesn't look like a hard work, yet everybody knows it is that.

The more I watch the show, the more I see things I haven't thought before. Judges keep telling to some of them that the way to succeed is to open themselves to each other and trust and touch. To dance together is like a relationship. They give and they get. Good dancer doesn't forget his/her partner at any moment, but they go together and dance together in a relationship. It doesn't matter if it's jazz, hip hop or waltz.

If you really think about this, it should challenge our Christianity. Too many of us are sitting our whole lives in our comfort zones with other Christians, like minded never trying to put themselves out there. Never willing to face a real life's challenges and never willing to be challenged and confronted in their belief. Where is that passion? Where is that life in Christians' eyes? Where is that movement what was in Jesus when He was constantly moving never staying in a one place too long?

Faith will only be tested in the real life. What I really believe will come out in my daily basis, in my hard circumstances and difficult decisions. What's in me and where I am standing comes out when something hits me or life doesn't go in a way I thought or wanted. How am I going to react to that and what do I really believe when reality hits hard? Do I have my faith in Jesus? Do I turn to Him or do I try to fix everything by myself? Do I have passion to press through no matter what? Or do I sit down when something hurts me a little bit? I personally want to keep moving and I want to have passion. It's life for me.

Those dancers, if they really are good, will do good even they have to dance a new type of dance. If I really have faith, not just say I do, it doesn't matter if situation is new or familiar, good or bad, I will still stay in faith. I will still be able to keep walking in peace and joy with the Lord. And if there is passion in me, that passion will keep me moving. Passion is like a fire in our bones. It's what our heart loves. There are different ways how this passion can come out, not just one way. And there can be passion in a person even she or he is more quiet than others. But this passion keeps us moving and going forth. Passion can't let us sit still too long.

I don't believe any movement or church or denomination will represent the Body of Christ alone. None of us has that latest revelation which put rest of them aside. We better learn to dance with Christ and with each other and to learn from each other. Kingdom of God is greater than grace message or pentecostal message or charismatic message. It's not our kingdom, but His Kingdom. And in this Kingdom He, Jesus Christ, is reigning and we are with Him. We are meant to live creatively with passion in Jesus Christ and that means moving with Him. It's not anything we do, but all what He does. You see Christianity is not about me or you, it's about Jesus Christ and Him living in me and you. When I realize His love toward me, that He willingly gave His life so that I could live, my heart will answer back to His love with love. I don't have to, but I will want to. How big difference!! No duty! No pressure! When those dancers dance together, they surrender into this flow which takes both of them and they move and it seems they don't see anything else than each others. How much more it is with the Lord??

So what am I trying to say? I believe most of us have been and still are too narrow-minded and intolerant thinking that our way is the best way. But there is better way! And it surely isn't ours, but His way.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Destined To Live

From the moment I came into this ministry, into Rivers of Eden, I knew it was my path to find out who I am in Christ and to find destiny He had set before me in the beginning of the time. What caught my attention? Christ whom I saw been preached. Through preaching there was Christ in front of me, not man or woman, but Christ. I saw the open door for me to walk through and I knew He was asking "Are you willing to give yourself to find Me? Are you willing to put aside all you have to to let me live through you? You are destined to live, will you follow Me?"

Before I ever heard about this ministry God spoke to me in prayer and through some prophecies that He had the path for me which wouldn't always be easy. He kindly asked me several times on the cross roads if I was willing to turn on the path others weren't going. We left the Church, left the place where we could success in the eyes of man. We walked out from something man said "How can you do that? You will back slide." But we knew it was Christ saying "Follow Me" and because following Him was the first priority in our lives we couldn't stay when it was time to move.

When God lead me into this ministry, I really didn't know myself at all. I had walked out from religion, but there was still religion in me. There was a fear of man in me. But God didn't give up with me. He saw my heart being willing to follow Him where ever He wanted me to go. Yes, sometimes and too many often I was afraid to jump and I was a little bit slow, but again He didn't give up. When I was ready to give up with myself, He never was. Why? Because He already saw me as I would be. He knew me, He knew who He created me to be. I didn't always see that. I didn't believe it even when He told it to me. But He was patient and kept the work He started going on in me.

Now I am looking back the path I have walked and I know I am not finished yet, but I can see great work of Creator in my life. And I keep walking. I keep discovering more every day. What a great journey!

On the way I have done so many mistakes, as we all do as a human. But today in the prayer again like so many times before He said "My Grace is enough." It's not about my mistakes and fails, it's about Christ and His Finished work. He died for me, for everyone of us, and it's all finished. I can't make it better nor worse. It's finished. He keeps doing His work in me and Spirit changes me to be like Him, I can't. Only thing I can do is to spend time with Him, to walk, to live, to talk with Him and in Him. In Him that change will happen, not outside of Him. It's not something I do, but what He does.

More I am looking this more I see people simply don't forgive nor forget. When I meet with some people, I feel they try to put me back into the place I was years back. But I am not there anymore. I have moved on, changed, and so should them. Life is a journey where we grow and mature. People, situations, circumstances impact us. But more than that Christ in us changes us. It's not anymore me who live, but Christ in me, says Paul. There is that place to hear by the spirit, not by the flesh, and to see by the spirit, not by the flesh. In that place forgiveness covers all, because all of us are forgiven by God and if He doesn't hold sins and fails against us, why would we do that.

If you let your past fears, past fails and mistakes, unforgiveness or hurts keep you away from the destiny God has made for you, you better think if it's worthy it!! The greatest place to be is in the center of His will even when it brings you out from your confort zone and you don't always understand but only thing you can do is trust Him. I wouldn't want it in any other way. This is the only way for me to go. Sometimes it's hard to believe people don't want to Live, but they choose to stay under fear and unfer addiction and under depression, when there is freedom available. We are destined to live!! Not to be bound.

There are many things I don't understand today, but I feel free and perfectly placed in Him. I am thankful and grateful He has never given up with me. His Word says He will never forsake me. Well, He wouldn't forsake me even if I never moved on from the place I was, BUT in Him there are greater things to come and I want to fulfill my destiny, I want to LIVE. I am not satisfied by sitting, but being whom He has made me to be. I want to be creative expression of Him on the earth. We are destined to live and move and have our being in Him, in Jesus Christ!

I am back and will keep writing. Thank you for all of you who has been reading during last months!!!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Uniqueness flows in creativity

Awhile back I was teaching art in the class full of 12-years old kids. I decided to give them a very simple task. Instruction was:

- Fill your paper with lines, curves, forms and shapes. Use only black color and make it black and white. Don't leave empty spots but all white is part of the drawing. Start from one place and just keep filling the paper. Let your pen flow. You can tell a story or you can just fill a paper with different forms and shapes and connect them together. Bring out what this instruction brings into your mind.

As you know all drawings come out from lines, curves, forms and shapes. So basically task gave them possibility to be as creative as they wanted or just make it as simple as possible. I showed them only one example (which you can see here) but also told them they can do whatever they want as long as they stay with the instruction.

What came out surprised me. There was 25 kids in the class. At least 3 of them said they can't do it. They don't know what to do or how to do it. They needed more help to get started and even then it was almost impossible for them to finish it.

Most of these kids tried to copy my example and asked again and again to put it up for them to see. Their mind said this was the only way to do this work and they didn't think out of the box.

Then there was few, only 3, who thought out of the box and did what was in them. (Here I have only one example and guy who drew this gave me a permission to use it and show it.) It wasn't about being perfect but about stepping out and bringing out something unique, letting thoughts just flow and pen just bring lines, curves and forms forth. When you compare these drawings you see there are same elements but they don't look alike at all. By watching them you get a totally different feeling out from them.

God has brought me back to this class many times after it was over. I myself have learned so much of it and I am still learning. To be who I am, not who people think I am or who I think I suppose to be. I am a very special and unique person created by God. The more I know who I am in Christ more I can bring out who He is in me.

When God speaks to us rather than immediately to run with it we should stop and wait a moment. We should let that word resonate in our spirit and let it bring out something which is in us, not something we assume should come out.

Like these kids. Most of them brought out a copy of example and they didn't really listen what I said and what was instruction. They assumed I wanted them to copy what I had on the screen rather than draw something unique and different. A reason some of them felt task was hard to do wasn't because of drawing but because of copying. They felt they won't success in copying the original one and it didn't help them when I said they don't need to. In their own mind they failed before they ever started. Can you get a picture?

How many times we stop before we even try because in our own mind we have already failed?? Been there, done that!! We set up limits and boundaries which has never been said. We assume and presume things which are not existing. We put up so high standard that it stops us trying. And yet the Word says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  (Fil 4:13) So who then puts up standard I can't do something? Me by myself do that.

These kids. How could they copy something which flowed from the person's heart who drew the original? They didn't know this person. Even she by herself wasn't able to copy original one because there was a flow. Rather than trying to copy she would make a new one which would be totally different, yet with same instructions.

As Christians we tend to look back what our forefathers did and the revelation they got we try to copy and redo rather than focusing on God trusting that He brings out something new in us, everyday. God Himself didn't copy but created the universe full of uniquenesses and originalities. Even with details we don't see any difference. Everyone of us is different and unique. We are not copies of our parents, but individuals. There is a different way how Christ flows through me than He flows through you. And both are right and good. If we look back and try to copy something which Big Names did on the last century, it's not me now. Jesus didn't use just one method and one way to heal sicks, but He changed methodes all the time. When disciples assumed they kind of knew Him, He changed something. I believe there is greater creativity coming out in the every day life of Christianity than we have seen yet. You see creativity is not just art, music, literature or dance. It's a way flow through moments and days. It's a way to see things differently and to be able to take the other path, when Spirit leads. It's to be tuned with the Lord to follow Him through everyday life and to be obedient when He speaks. It's to draw curve when everybody else is drawing straight line. It's to become a person God created you to be and me to be in Christ. That all comes from relationship with the Lord. Not from the structure or from head knowledge. Creativity flows in the greatest when we are free to be who we are created to be. As long as I try to be someone else I also try to act like this person and do things as she/he does. And to do that my main focus is on this person, not on God. But when I turn to the Lord and I have relationship with Him, He will talk and lead and give ideas beyond my own ideas or anyone else's. And that brings life into me.

When I am comparing myself to someone else who writes blogs, I won't get mine done. There is always something to fix and rewrite and say in the other way. But when I just sit by my laptop and let things flow through me, it's much easier and much more fun. There is joy in writing rather than pressure. It's fun to let fingers to move on the keyboard bringing out words, thoughts and sentences. And when it's done, it's done. It's something what is in me.

There is so much more in us but so many times we let fear to stop us. Let this simple example remind you to step out and to do things differently. Try out with a little things and push yourself a little bit further. Don't be satisfied until you have taken extra step and you have gone further than last time. Too many times we live our daily life without thinking and living, but just existing and following others. So much to say about this, but I will leave this here and leave this one thought for you until the next blog...

Someone has said

"The man doesn't know his boundaries before he has gone beyond them."  


Monday, February 27, 2012

Created To Stand Out



In all of us there is something that makes us different. We are not created to be the same, but to be different. God didn't create clones or robots. He gave us free will, but He also created all of us to be unique. I think this has been preached and said so many times, that you may say "I have heard this thousand times, tell me something new." Well, do you live in it? Or do you just have a knowledge? 

We still try to fit in, to fade into the crowd and to be invisible rather than stand out. But truth is that we can only make impact to people around us by being ourselves. 

If I am like everyone else how would someone even remember me? If I fit in, what causes someone to notice me? Nothing. 

I remember one picture which was taken 20 years ago in Saint Petersburg in Russian. My friend had a pink winter jacket and I took a picture of her on the street by the stairs to the metro. It looks very funny. It's like those pictures where everything else is black and white except one detail. She was the only one having anything with the bright color. Everybody else around her had black, grey, brown or white and it looked like she didn't belong to that picture. I know it has changed a lot in there, but sometimes I feel it hasn't here in Finland. 

Too many people wants to fit in rather than stand out. Too many wants to be invisible rather than visible. Too many go day by day without changing anything from yesterday. That makes us just existing through life rather than really living. 

I have been thinking this in my own life. It's quite easy but boring to do things always the same way. It's safe and it's easy. It doesn't require any thinking and sometimes it's also fastest way to do it. It's comfortable and there is hardly any risk to fail. But also the end of the day you don't feel you accomplished a lot. You did what you were supposed to do, but what was the impact of it to people around you? Not much, hardly anything. 

I was taught to play safe. I was taught not to rock the boat. I was taught to fit in and be invisible. And I am still on my way to learn to have more impact and to be more visible, to be me. But this is not just me. As I have been traveling, many times people have asked if I am from Sweden or Germany, but hardly ever from Finland. And it's not just because they don't know where Finland is. Mostly because the picture they have about Finns is so different that I haven't fit into that picture. They are used to that Finns don't talk. If you don't talk or face others, there is no way you will impact them any positive way. Only impact you will leave is the wall between you and other person.

I have been substituting a lot during this last year. It's not always easy to be in a different class every day. New kids, new class, different age. I have learned that they will remember my name if I have some kind of impact on that day. And it works. It also works on the other way. I will remember those names who steps out from the class. Those who are active or have opinion or does something else which others won't. The more I have done this, the more I have learned to be myself and to bring out what is in me. I don't want to be one of those many substitutes, but I want to be me. I am not trying to imitate or copy their teacher, which I don't always even know. The best way to go through the day is to be me. :) 

So what am I saying by all this? I think there is life to live for all of us. God has given talents for all of us but no talent is greater than other. They are all specials and have been given for us to use, not to hide. We have in us something which others will need. I see too many people downplaying their gifts. Rather than seeing value of their gift, they say they are not good enough or not good at all. Where is that measure saying which is good enough or not good at all? Are we really able and qualified to say those things when creator is God, not you or I? Are we really able to tell someone if she or he can use his or hers gifts to manifest God's greatness in the person's life? Do we have rights to put this person down because outcome is not what we think it should be? Or is it better to encourage this person to go forth with what is in him or her and encourage this person to grow in it? I believe so. So many things were taken away from me because of religion, it being sin or because I wasn't good enough. Too many times we say negative opinions so loud that it stays in person's mind through her whole life and it almost impossible to erase. 


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Impact -- Don't Just Update

On the other day I was driving with my daughter and we talked about relationships and friendships and being with people. We talked about this one girl and she turned to me saying, "Every time we meet I feel she just comes to update her software about me". It sounded funny and it was accurate way to describe this person, but it got me to thinking. It wasn't just about this one girl, but it describes so many people.

Often one is more concern either to get all information about a person or to give all information to person, than really face them. Either way it's about oneself, not about walking, talking, sharing, being with other person. 

We want to know everything about everything and about everybody. When we gather we don't gossip, but we so called share information. Result is still many times the same. We talk about third person as we know everything when we really don't know anything if we haven't walked and talked and really shared. 

But Jesus never did that. He walked among people, ordinary people, among children, among drunks and sinners. He wasn't curious what had happened in their lives for the sake of information. He met people in places they were at and there was fruit from that encounter. His life met man's life. When scribes and pharisees had all information about a woman caught in adultery, Jesus met her as a person. And that encounter changed her life. When woman having a flow of blood touched Jesus, Peter gave all information about situation and crowd, but that wasn't enough for Jesus. He knew someone touched Him in a way which was more than just a touch. That touch changed a woman's life and there was encounter in that moment. Jesus didn't overlook those who were sincere. But He saw hidden agenda in others and responded to that straight, but not as they looked for. He revealed their hearts, mostly for themselves.

Jesus had real relationship with Father and He did what He saw Father doing. That was purpose of His life. His walk on the earth flew through the relationship He had with his Father. It didn't flow by assumption or presumption or speculation, but by knowing what Father spoke.


Our Christian life should be based on the relationship with Jesus Christ. Not assumption or presumption what we should or shouldn't do. Christianity is not knowing about the Lord, but knowing Him as a Person. It's not about updating our software about Him, adding more head knowledge, but walking and talking with Him in daily basis. This relationship changes me and impacts me. And from that relationship flows our life among other people. Not vice versa.

Just reading someone's timeline in Facebook doesn't get me to know her as a person. I know about her and what she has done and what has happened to her, but only what is on timeline and what she wants me to know. Yet even what I can read won't tell me impact of the moment, but just give me information. To really meet with people we need to face them face to face, not in the cyber space only. 

I believe fear keeps us rather 'updating' than facing people. Reasons for this fear are numerable and sometimes we don't even see reality. We think we meet people, when we really don't. There can be an impact in the short moment with someone we don't even know. Or we may meet someone daily and there is no impact at all. Our life is meant to be full in Christ, not just walking through. 







Thursday, February 9, 2012

Playing By the Rules -- I Don't

It was so beautiful day today and we went to shoot one video with Debra, Marvin and Jenna. In to city center of Helsinki. While we were doing that, I started to really think and see things differently. I have seen it, but more and more I am getting free from these things which I am going to write about today.

Somehow someway we as Finns got into this trap called "rules". I believe religion has helped a lot in this. But it seems there are rules in everywhere. And it's not just about Finns, but I believe it's everywhere. I just see it clearly here as I am living in Finland. Those rules, unwritten many times, gives guidelines and if you want to go outside of those, there is always someone saying "you can't really do that". My question is "Why can't I?"

My question is also "Can you really be creative playing by rules?" Think a minute, or two, before you answer. If you create something by the rules which man has set, is that really being creative or is it more copying and following other's ideas? I myself was bound by those rules which brought me into the place where I thought there is no creativity in me. If someone asked me to create something, my answer was always "I can't do that for I am not a creative person." I couldn't paint as others. I couldn't sing as a solo vocalist. And singing, writing, painting, dancing were my definition to be creative.

But if that was the only idea of creativity, God made some more according His likeness than others. He is Creator and He created us in His image. Therefore there is creativity in all of us. But not all of us are authors, singers, musicians, painters, dancers, yet all of us has creativity in our innermost.

As long as I was under religion, I was playing by the rules with everything. Being under religion means being under law. And law gives us rules, demands and requirements. These are like fences on both sides of us keeping us safe. And walking on this path where all those are guiding us we think we are so creative, but we don't really flow as God has created us to flow in Him, but we flow on the path man has set up. And we may even be creative in some people's eyes.

But what a great moment when I finally realized it's all done on the cross. Jesus paid it all for me and by grace I am free, totally free, totally accepted and totally loved by God. This revelation brought me into Him and into freedom I have never felt before. In this freedom I realized that there is not really rules for creativity. And creativity is beyond I am thinking. It's a way to think and solve problems and situations. It's a way to move through daily life with Him. It's a way to live my life every day enjoying it more than walking just through. You can be creative in a ways you take care of family. You can be creative in your studying. You can be creative in so many ways, but idea of man has set up rules and definition for that and blocked rest of us out of this place called creativity.

One thing I have always known is that I can write. I loved writing when I was young. I dreamed being the author and I wrote several stories in my young age. Yet I lost my belief of my gift being in the religion environment. They said I couldn't write or reason things deep enough. Or I was all over. Or I didn't use proper language to make my point. When God told me to start this blog, first in Finnish, it was a big step for me. I had to step over all those words which became fences for me and blocked me to go the way I liked to write. I thought it wasn't good enough and it wasn't right and I stopped. To start this blog I had to overcome my fear and other's opinions about my writing. I had to keep my eyes in Him and only Him. And I did it and I found how much I liked it.

But that wasn't all. :) I love that statement. It says God has greater plan for me and for everyone. So what was the next step? God said "write in English"!! WOW! You really don't know how big that was. He has brought me a long way. I failed my English baccalaureate in the high school. And that test on that time was THE final test and when you failed, you just failed. On that moment it felt there was no life after that moment. It put shame on me and I felt myself total failure. But God didn't. He still had a same plan for my life as He had in the beginning; to be a part of the English speaking ministry!! This story is an another story and perhaps I will tell it in the other time, but back to writing in English. Because of all that failing in the past and knowing I wasn't and am not excellent in English it was an another huge step for me to start in English. But I made a choice to follow Him and trust Him in me. Not myself.

The more I am getting free from those rules which say I can't do it and the more I am finding myself in Him through whom I can do all things,  the more I am enjoying my life and living in the fullness of Jesus Christ. Life is more exciting and more full of life. And I have to say that I just love writing in English. Things I was worried about before I started don't bother me anymore. I am writing and I am thankful of everyone of you who are reading. Thank you for following and hopefully you will through reading get a glimpse of this freedom I have and wanting it more for yourself.

But this is not all ... so more is coming. :)