The Art of Friendship



When I was seven years old, my second grade class hosted a Mother’s Day Tea. For the event, everyone wrote a brief report to tell the audience about their mom. We also made a poster to present to our classmates and mothers. I remember looking at family photos and flipping through magazines to find pictures that would somehow convey the essence of my own mother and distinguish her from all the other mothers in the room. The resulting collage consisted of a photo of my beautiful mother, another of our family posed for some Christmas card, some stats like age, place of birth, etc, as well as a smattering of angled magazine pictures with short captions. I’m pretty sure there was a cup of coffee on there, some representation of music, and I remember distinctly that I cut and pasted a picture of a woman talking on the telephone.

On the Friday before mother’s day, all the mothers were stuffed into the second grade desks of their particular child, nervously awaiting the presentations. I say nervously, because this report was written in class to surprise the moms; thus they were without the gentle parental edits that might otherwise protect these poor women from shame and humiliation. I remember one boy said during his presentation, “My mom spends a lot of time in the bathroom,” and while his mother colored pink, the others around the room snuffled and giggled sympathetically.

Now that I am a mother, I understand her embarrassment. But I also understand her love of the bathroom. Golly! It’s the only place and time in the day where you can, without guilt, legitimately close and lock a door in the faces of your children for 2 whole minutes to do your business in peace and quiet. Sure, someone will inevitably bang on the door and sure, sometimes, depending on life stage, I bring the most vulnerable child in with me to be protected from their siblings, but ultimately, even though it may be a mere two minutes, it’s “me” time!

That said, if my kid gave a presentation that communicated to a roomful of my peers that I ditch them all day to hang out in loo, I would also be a titch humiliated.

In my own little presentation, I progressed swimmingly: “My mother is beautiful. She has brown hair and brown eyes. She has olive skin. She is 39 years old. She has two sisters. She loves coffee and the piano. She loves to talk on the phone…” [Audible classroom gasp!]

I understand now why my mother flushed pink when I shared with a classroom-full of other mothers that she “likes to talk on the phone.” I think she even said, “No I don’t!” to defend herself from the inevitable mommy-judgment that comes from the watching world. But at the time, I did not understand what all the fuss was about, because all I could think was, “But you’re always on the phone…”

What I understood then to be a matter of fact, I see so much more clearly now as a matter of sacrifice. As a mother of several children of my own, there is very little free time to do anything, let alone chat with friends on the phone. When I do have a minute to myself, I run and hide with a piece of chocolate or maybe I sneak up to the terrace to sit on the porch swing and watch the birds fly by. I prefer to spend the phantom free moments in my life on myself, but my mother spent hers on the phone, reaching out to other people. My mother was modeling what it looks like to be a friend.

Even now, I struggle to maintain the true and precious friendships I already have, let alone reach out and make new ones. My friends will probably laugh after reading that sentence, because they know they do most of the maintenance in our relationship. Somehow, after college, or maybe marriage, or maybe children, I forgot how to make friends. I can’t blame my life season, though, because as I reflect on my personal history, I think I have always entered into relationships in a self-centered way: Do I like this person? Are we kindred spirits? What do I get out of this friendship? Is it life-giving? Do I enjoy it? I am also pitifully weak when it comes to navigating the waters of small talk, which is a fairly integral part of starting a friendship. I want to jump right into the good stuff—past utility, past pleasure even, and right into the deep waters of the heart.

There is something lazy about jumping right in. It avoids all the minutia, all the hard work. It avoids the intentional phone call that remembers a detail or the gracious text that recalls something particular. I want easy friendships that explode like fireworks and sear in alliance by mutual passions and connections.   And I want them to come quickly.

I want to blame my life season for my small and homogenous friend group. But I don’t think that’s my problem.   I think the merging of my life-season with this memory of my mother might be the one of the greatest gifts in the shaping of my character. Because my mother had a lot of friends, and as I look to the left and look to the right and see few obvious friends at my beck and call, I realize that real friendships are not based on who you know, or where you went to school. They begin when we reach out of our own lives and extend a hand or make space for another to move in. It happens when you make an effort to take interest in a life that does not necessarily intersect our own. Like my mother used to settle us down for some quiet time in the afternoon and before clearing up the dishes from lunch or wiping down the counter, she picked up the phone and called a friend to talk about the little things, or maybe the big things. To celebrate the triumphs or mourn the defeats in their respective days. She didn’t take a coveted nap or get started on dinner so that her evening would run more smoothly. She picked up the phone and called a friend. That was how she made them – and that was how she kept them.

In a world where we are often measured by the “likes” of distant acquaintances or an arbitrary page tells us we have thousands of “friends,” friendship is something of a lost art. But I think it begins in reaching out of the never-ending busy that is life, and making the effort to start the conversation. To set aside our own felt needs in a way that feels sacrificial in the moment, but that, I am told, is well worth the investment. In this way, it returns itself to the one who begins it in the first place—it becomes a safe haven, a respite, a home for the one who lives it day by day.  Even if it’s for a few minutes, on the phone.

Photo Credit : Unsplash

Chocolate vs. Jesus


Confession: I go to any length to avoid feeling anxious. When I was in class six and all the cool girls in class were getting a lot of attention from boys, I felt left out. So, I did the most logical thing; I made up a story about a senior student who liked me. Now, I’ve stopped making up stories, but the desire to avoid feelings of anxiety remains. When I get an e-mail and I’m concerned about the content, I let my husband read it to me. During my single days, I’d let my sister read out the e-mails to me. If I visit the doctor and am told there’s a problem, I pretend like it doesn’t exist. When I have a fight with my husband, and there’s chocolate in the fridge, it’s soon gone.

As a master anxiety avoider, here’s what I’ve learnt: eating too much chocolate causes weight gain; but you probably knew that. Here’s what else I’ve learnt: avoiding anxiety stunts growth. The problem doesn’t go away, but instead runs the risk of increasing. And finally this is the most important thing I’ve learnt: anxiety stems from unbelief in God.

Matthew 6:30 says, “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith?”  This is how John Piper explains this verse:

“Jesus says the root of anxiety is lack of faith in our heavenly Father. As unbelief gets the upper hand in our hearts, one of the results is anxiety.”

Anxiety can seem like such a normal response to events that we may forget we are doubting God. What we are essentially thinking is that God won’t show up and come through for us. The fact is that we can’t exempt ourselves from feeling anxious, but we can choose our response. Ps. 91:2 “I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” The Psalmist was aware of trouble and anxiety, but he chose to trust God; we have the same option.

Often people throw around the verse, “Do not be anxious about anything…” (Phil 4:6) to encourage others not to be anxious. But why should we not be anxious? The answer lies in the previous verse. “The Lord is near (5b).” We need not be anxious because the Lord is near; we are not alone!

We can win this battle against anxiety by spending time meditating on God’s word and leaning on the Holy Spirit for help. The more familiar we are with God’s promises, the more likely we are to lean on them during trouble. Knowing that God is with us gives us the strength to face our problems and not run away from them. Back in grade six I could have been confident of my identity in Christ and not made up a fanciful story. Today I can turn to God instead of Lindt, knowing that He is an ever present help in times of trouble, and that over consumption of His Word doesn’t impact my weight (Ps. 46:1).

You probably have your own pet ways of dealing with anxiety. What are they? Are you trying to handle anxiety in your own strength or claiming God’s promises? I pray together we may be overcomers, just like Jesus Christ, our brother.

Photo Credit : Flickr 

What to Say and Do after a Hug


Do you get uncomfortable around people who have suffered a significant loss – loss of a child, a parent, husband, friend or a loved one? Or even the loss of a dream, health, job or identity? Do you avoid looking into their teary eyes and asking them how they feel, when you know the answer is obvious, do you think, “what’s the point of asking?”

Do you avoid visiting families who have suffered a loss or perhaps you did pay a group visit and fulfilled your responsibility and then you gave them their “space”? Do you think you are better off asking others about the grieving person rather than asking the person directly, just so you might not upset the person who is already grieving?

Do you find yourself at loss of words when you are face to face with the person who is grieving? Have you ever asked yourself, what to say and do after a hug?

Five years ago our new born four day old daughter went to be with the Lord. She was our first born. From her name to baby clothes, from the list of guests for the baby shower to hand knitted gifts from friends were all ready. But she never made it home! My husband and I took time to grieve the loss of our baby girl. Our friends and family showered love in the form of meals, visits and prayers. As days turned into weeks, there was a unique grief that was added – my husband and I noticed a change in the behaviour of a few loved ones. We knew they loved us but something had changed. The conversations became uncomfortably short, not much eye contact and after a hug there would be a long awkward silence. A few didn’t even ask how we were doing.

Before our daughter’s death our home used to buzz with people but there came a time when weeks passed by and no one came. Short messages saying, “we’re praying for you” became frequent but no personal visits to let us know “what” they were praying for…

Please don’t get me wrong as there’s nothing wrong in sending a text message saying you’re praying for them or even giving space to people who need it  – as long as you do these with much love and wisdom and not just to avoid being uncomfortable.

A couple of years later I got the opportunity to openly ask a few close friends about their responses when our daughter died and I wasn’t surprised to hear the same answer from each one of them.  They said they didn’t know what to say and do after a hug. They loved us and wanted to help us but  they just didn’t know how. How true is that? I was like that too and I’m still learning.

Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

Sadly, we weep once or twice with the person who is grieving, and then allow the person some “space” to weep. We swing like a pendulum and go to extremes. We either give so much time and space to the grieving person that the person is literally left all alone or we make it our mission to make the person happy again as fast as we can. We make sure we don’t let the person talk about the loss or even cry and sometimes we want the person to be magically restored back to “normal”. We fast forward the grieving period with quick fixes and a get busy or get past it attitude.

Suddenly the counsellor in us gets revived and all the best positive advice, verses, stories, experiences that we know gets showered upon the grieving person expecting  a quick result. I was offered one such advice in less than a month of my loss to get busy by planning another kid. I was also given a quick formula to get over my grief. The formula was called “just” – just confess your sins, just read your Bible daily, just stay close to God, just believe…such advice flowed in abundance. It was not wrong advice – we must confess our sins, read the Bible, believe and draw closer to God. But when these are all suggested as the solution to fix all the pain, the real purpose is defeated.

The Bible says,

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

When a loved one goes through a season of weeping and mourning, allow that season to complete the course.

There’s more I can write on this topic and a LOT I need to learn but here are a few things I’ve learnt as to what to do and what not to do after a hug:

  • Allow the grieving person to cry for this is an outlet created by God. If crying, weeping or grieving was wrong the Bible wouldn’t have recorded that Jesus wept.
  • Your presence speaks more than words at times. It’s okay to be quiet; don’t push yourself to come up with a speech or encouraging words. At times words spoken at the wrong time do more damage than silence.
  • It’s good to know that grief has various stages (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). But remember that not all grieve the same way or in the same order. We’re all unique in our make. Don’t rush to cut short the grieving process. Each person takes different amount time to overcome grief. Be patient if the person is taking more time than the others.
  • It is okay to ask how he/she is doing. Even if you know they are hurting. A gentle follow-up can provide an unsaid comfort.
  • Avoid using words like “just” with your advice. Sometimes simple advice such as “just prayer”, ” just read your Bible” may sound repulsive to the grieving person even if they love God. Grief at times make people question God’s goodness. Allow them enough time to process the pain and remember it’s okay if they do question God’s goodness. Job questioned God too but after much questioning he came to a much deeper knowledge of God and experienced Him in a much closer way than before.
  • Be available when the crowd leaves. Immediately after a loss, many people come along to console but sadly all of them seem to leave at the same time. A week or 10 days later when the “new normal” begins, is when you should be available for support.

The Bible says, “But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16), the mind of the wonderful Counsellor, Prince of Peace and the One who intercedes on our behalf. He is a generous giver and we can ask for wisdom to express our love towards those who grieve.

So don’t get uncomfortable with what to say and do after a hug, express your love and concern with the wisdom that comes only from God.

Photo Credit : Unsplash

“Relax! It’s a Happy Ending!”


I have been drawing a blank on what to write this month. I have been asking myself and asking around on what I should be writing. Nothing seemed to weigh on my heart that compelled me to pen it down. And finally, with a day left on my submission deadline, my inspiration for today’s write up came from the most unlikely place- a Mandarin movie.

The husband and I, from time to time, indulge in foreign language movies ranging from an Arabic movie set in war torn village to a Spanish movie of a drug landlord who won it all only to lose it in the end. This time it was a Chinese martial arts movie where the hero busts an organ trafficking ring. Though I was hesitant about watching yet another action flick, as the plot thickened, I was secretly rooting for the hero and hating on the merciless evil men in sharp black suits.

Now every 20 minutes of the movie was followed by a 10 minute action sequence where the hero victoriously beats up a dozen men single handedly. For each of these action sequences he would beat all the odds and make it through to continue his mission. Even towards the end of the movie, when he loses a limb and has to fight off the enemy with nothing but his bare hands- I continued to console myself that it’s all going to end well, the good always prevails over evil in a movie.

We know most movies have a happy ending. The boy gets the girl, the bad guy is put behind bars, the city is safe again and justice is served. As much as a movie can leave you on the edge of your seat or leave you wondering how the hero can ever come back from this- at the back of your head you always have the assurance that at the end everything is going be alright.

Our life on earth as Christians has its own plots, twists and turns. Each of us have our own story lines- with it’s own peculiar cast, climaxes and love stories, each with its own picturesque setting- whether it is a humid bustling Indian city or a freezing quite suburb in Canada. Our personalities and peculiarities are already ingrained in our genes before we are casted for (literally) the role of a lifetime. And sure enough each of our stories have their own fair share of joys, challenges and tragedies- each intricately interwoven by the Orchestrator of all things. But unlike a movie star, we are not handed a script and there are no retakes. We take on our roles, are given a few guidelines and then life just happens. However we already know what the grand, big happy ending is! Ultimately we know that good will prevail over evil, the Devil is going to be put away and we will forever be united with our Saviour.

So no matter which part of your story is being played out today, don’t worry- we know it’s a happy ending.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28


Photo Credit : Unsplash 

Under the Cover of Grace


Every afternoon, on my way to pick my kids from school, I pass by a somewhat dismal, two-storey building with a bright blue roof. It has the word GRACE boldly painted across the entrance.

Now, let’s play a little game: If you had to guess, what would you say was inside the building?

Let me give you a hint: I happen to live in my city’s unofficial “Bible Belt”. Spend about five minutes in my hood and you’ll see a minimum of three matchbox-size churches, couple of worship centers where literally two or three can gather together in His name, a Miracle hair salon (because God knows we all need divine intervention in that department), a Jehovah tire repair center and an Emmanuel Pawn Broker whose tagline is “Because it’s Better to Store Your Treasure in Heaven”.

Okay, yeah, some of those descriptions are semi-fictional, but I wouldn’t be exaggerating when I say I live in church central.

Given that piece of information, you’d guess GRACE is probably a church or a worship center.


Well, not so much.

GRACE is actually a garbage collection center. I kid you not. You really cannot make this stuff up. It’s an acronym for Grass Root Action on Community Empowerment – which is official speak for “glorified dumpster for recyclable garbage.”

Through the open doors of GRACE, piles of old newspaper and dozens of glass bottles fight for space with mismatched shoes, heaps of plastic bags, broken chairs and goodness knows what else. Let’s just say it’s not somewhere you or I would want to hang and chat over a cup of coffee.

But, the more I think about it, GRACE is not an entirely incongruous name for a junkyard. Here’s why:

Grace is the Foundation

If it weren’t for the GRACE recycling centre, all our city’s junk would be clogging landfills. But GRACE offers a way out.

That’s similar to our faith as well. We bring our mounds of messes, hang-ups and our filthy rags to lay down under the awning of God’s grace. In fact, He invites us to bring our brokenness to His throne of grace. There’s no entry fee of good works or a clean track record. There’s no condemnation. And there’s no other way out.

Grace Changes Us

Like the GRACE recycling hub, God’s grace is a transforming grace. But of much, much grander proportions. He transforms us from the inside out.  It’s a messed-up to marvelous grace. It’s a guilt-ridden to gloriously-free grace. God takes hurt and brings healing. He takes the broken and makes them beautiful.

To quote Max Lucado, “God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way.”

Grace is a Daily Thing

I live in a big city where the junk that’s generated is beyond ginormous. Huge piles of trash come through the gates of GRACE every single day. That’s how it should work for us too. We need to come before His throne of Grace daily.

It’s way more productive than trying to shove our junk under the carpet, or trying to hide it behind closed doors. Sooner or later, there’s going to be a stench. Or it’s all going to come tumbling out like Tupperware from an overstuffed kitchen cabinet. Might as well come clean and take it to the One who already knows – and always loves.

Grace Ignored is Life Under Pressure

I pass by the GRACE recycling every day. The dailyness of it makes me ignore it. It’s nothing special. It’s just part of the not-so-pleasant scenery between kid drop offs and grocery store runs.

Sadly enough, that is similar to how we sometimes view the grace we have in Jesus, doesn’t it? When we first encounter it, it’s an “amazing grace… that saved a wretch like me.” But then we grow accustomed to it. It becomes routine. It becomes ignorable.

When we ignore God’s scandalous, stunning grace, we become performance driven. We want to prove ourselves worthy, we strive and we stress, we believe we can earn our way to eternity.

But God reminds us that it is “by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

The very foundation of our faith is grace. Grace that is willing to take all the junk, all the messes, all the shame and guilt and every single sin. Grace covers it all.


Whom Shall I Fear?


I moved to Bombay (Mumbai) in 2013. On the last Sunday I spent in Delhi before moving we sang a song which remains close to my heart – “Whom Shall I Fear” by Chris Tomlin. The words that struck by me were this –

“I know who goes before me

I know who stands behind

The God of angel armies

Is always by my side”

So as I left my closest friends whom I held near my heart as family, with fear I moved to the big bad city of Bombay.

When I moved to Bombay – I was scared. My decision to move was rejected by my parents, so, raw with hurt, I arrived in Bombay to a new community. When I moved to a new city, I came with my own baggage and hurt. I came ready to reject, just how I had been rejected. It was the response I knew best.

I was used to people accepting my rejection and moving on – without me. But what I was not ready for and what was going to refine my thinking and life – was people confronting me for rejecting them.

Two women in the new city, on different occasions, sat me down, with tears in their eyes, and told me how I had hurt them. I, who was used to playing the the victim, began to see how I had become the perpetrator of offences.

In any other situation, I would have cowered in disgrace and shame, and run away, and avoided the people who confronted me. But here is what shocked me more than their ability to confront my behaviour – their ability to forgive me.

I struggle to forgive people. One because I don’t have the courage to admit to them that they hurt me and two because I silently hope that they’ll read my mind and apologize for exactly how they hurt me. So when someone forgives me for hurting them, it blows my mind – because the experience of being forgiven by those whom I have hurt, teaches me to forgive those who’ve hurt me.

It’s not as easy as saying a prayer and being done with it. Real forgiveness, real repentance, and a real community – is messy.

Real forgiveness in a community means being honest when you’ve been hurt, and being ready to admit the painful truth that you have also hurt someone. In my case, it meant seeing how much I had been hurting the women who had been trying to love me.

But, you know what – they didn’t give up. They took breaks from pursuing me but they never stopped pursuing a relationship with me. It hasn’t been easy for them, because it meant a lot of tears, and it meant them choosing not to hold the hurt I had caused them against me. Who does that?

In today’s day and age, being a strong and free woman is lauded while being vulnerable is seen as a character flaw. But, I have seen more strength in women who have chosen to be vulnerable by opening up their lives, instead of hiding their struggles in an attempt to appear strong.

The truth is this. I was afraid of being hurt that I ended up hurting people to protect myself. I was and still am afraid of being perceived as weak and so I end up doing things that may make me seem strong – like bullying someone else; but that is actually a sign of weakness.

Being vulnerable to one another is what build real community. But the fear of being exposed for what we are – can stop us.

Fear is a silly thing when you think about it. It cloaks itself by deceiving us into believing that fear is only of tangible objects – ghosts, lizards and the dark. But true fear – fear that can control a person’s soul – has to do with the intangible – where no one can see what we’re really afraid of.

Fear teaches us to be afraid, keep a watch out, protect yourself, and most importantly – fear teaches us not to trust anyone – it teaches us to treat people as enemies.

These two women chose to be vulnerable to me – by being honest with me when I had hurt them, but also by being willing to choose to overlook that hurt and pursue a relationship with me. To me it meant putting aside my fears, and instead of viewing others as a threat – viewing them as part of the angel army that God is the commander in chief of.

I have a good relationship with them now. But, more than my relationship with them, they helped me move to a deeper and more real understanding of forgiveness. I understand God’s forgiveness today because these two women were willing to forgive me for hurting them.

I understand fear and how the fear of being hurt can often lead me to hurt others. This is where I need to believe what Chris Tomlin sang more than what I perceive – that I have nothing to fear – that I am shielded by a God who was willing to let His son pass through the most vulnerable situation on the cross.

Whatever hurt I have experienced diminishes when I view it in light of how much hurt I have caused God and the people around me.

In 2005 Steve Jobs gave the commencement address at Stanford where he shares 3 stories from his life. The first stories he shares is about connecting the dots. He said something about this story which I wanted to share –

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

I can’t look forward and connect the dots, but looking back, I can see how the women God placed around me taught me to face my fears and loved me without any fear.


Photo Credit: Unsplash

Moving, Thunderstorms, Chikungunya and a Recipe for Pumpkin Cake


Initially, this post started out as a well manicured little note on community. I had lofty ideas on writing about the Israelites as a community during their time in the wilderness and how we can apply some life lessons learnt from them. But then I was struck by the infamous Chikungunya virus that’s going around in Delhi this season and all my lofty ideas flew out of the window. That coupled with shifting during a thunderstorm, mothering three littles and trying to be a pastor’s wife completely drained me of any little ability I had to think, research and write. So this post gives you a little peek into my vulnerable heart – my aches and rants, my joys and of course, the recipe for some scrumptious pumpkin cake.

August started off so well. I was training along with my daughter for the September Pinkathon (an all women’s run). We had a few houses short listed for our move and we had everything planned and going as per schedule. But during the early part of August I came down with Chikungunya, a virus which not only causes the usual fever and such, but also causes extreme joint pain as an aftermath. While we trusted God through that phase we realised that we were going to have to trust Him a lot more. I had no idea that the killer joint pain would be constant, crippling and paralysing, not allowing me to be of any use during our big move.

That is when God decided to step in, in a God awesome way…he sent us help from our community! Friends from our church and bible study group came and helped us with packing. My brother and his family came in from Chennai so I would have all the help I needed not just with packing but the kids, setting up the new place and everything.

The day of the move itself was a nightmare – we shifted during a thunderstorm! We had moved all the cardboard cartons to the car park waiting for the truck which was delayed by two hours. During this time the car park flooded leaving our boxes a soggy mess. By the time the guys could move the boxes to a higher ground, our apartment on the third floor flooded, soaking our mattresses and clothes. We had a plague of cockroaches getting into our boxes and bags all of a sudden. Oh boy! It was downhill after that. But then again God sent help and provided for us. He even helped us smile through the chaos.

I realised that God always comes through to help when we call on him. He shows it to us through tangible ways, like friends from our community. God places us in certain communities for a certain reason. He uses us to be his hands and feet. Sometimes we have the ability to help and sometimes he puts us on the receiving end, but it is all cushioned within the community. He did not create us to live alone. The Trinity sets the precedent for us. I have been thinking on all these things while massaging my aching joints. I know for sure that I am extremely grateful this month for the community that I live in. The community which made this time bearable. The community  which helped, fed, washed, and laughed with us.

So if you are new to a place, find a community or small group and plug in, because that’s the best part of being in God’s family.

And now for that cake recipe which I promised.

Delhi is just starting to get a little cooler and the nice orange pumpkins are starting to come out on the vegetable carts. I decided that after the strenuous move a little comfort food was in order, so pumpkin cake it was. I baked it for my son’s birthday as well and dressed it up with some cinnamon cream cheese frosting and had everyone in church scrambling for more!

Pumpkin Cake Recipe


Maida or all purpose flour – 1 3/4 cup
Freshly cooked and puréed pumpkin – 1 cup
Eggs – 2
Powdered sugar – 1 cup
Vegetable oil – 1/2 cup
Cinnamon powder –  1 tsp
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp


In a pressure cooker, cook 1/2 kg (1 lb) of pumpkin with enough water so that the pumpkin is completely covered in it. You can cut it into large chunks with the skin on it. I let it cook for 3 whistles, which is about 10 minutes on medium flame. Once the pumpkin cools down, scoop it out of the skin and put it in a blender/mixie, do not add any water to this. Blend till it is completely puréed. This should make about one cup.

Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Whisk together all the wet ingredients in a large bowl.

Add the dry mixture a little at a time to the wet ingredients and mix by hand ( I have found that it affects the softness of the cake if I use an electric mixer).

Once the cake is completely mixed, grease the cake pan and pour in the batter until the pan is 1/2 full.

Bake at 180 C (350 F) for 20 – 30 minutes depending on your oven, or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.

This is quite a versatile recipe and can be used  for muffins or bread as well.

Enjoy it for breakfast or evening tea or dress it up with some frosting and enjoy it for dessert!


Photo Credit: Unsplash

Lessons from Community


I am an avid follower of social media and have many friends across the world. Many I know personally. A few I’ve never met, but they are friends, none-the-less. I don’t know how, but it works in today’s age. Facebook has redefined the meaning of community to us.

This has impacted our way of thinking about the community that we live in. We can live in a community and yet can isolate ourselves from it. But this passage gives me a sense of joy and celebration.

Act 2:46-47 “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved”.

And as much as community can be messy, it also energises me. It is the real celebration of who we are in Christ.

Every time I see things going wrong in our community, every cell in my body wants to fix it, but I know that’s not my role. Even though I live in a young, vibrant and Gospel-centered community, when troubles arise, it takes time for God to work things out. I have been doing life with this community for the past three years with a mixture of  both highs and lows.

Once my friend asked how I managed work, a church plant, and a young family? My answer was very simple. My church community is God’s grace to help me persevere in my calling in every season of my life. Our community helps in shaping our calling.

Philippians 2:4-7: “ Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of servant, being made in human likeness”.

Someone told me, Christians are like fertiliser. Fertiliser helps plants to grow stronger. As Christians we are called to nourish and encourage each other to walk with God in a deeper way. As I look back at my three years in this community, I have learnt many things that have helped me grow. I will never forget these three things God taught me through my many trials and mistakes:

  1. God shapes me through all that happens in my community through the process of discipleship.
  2. Community actually shows who I am (my strength, weakness, heart’s posture) and will bring out the best and worst in me.
  3. Finally, community without a purpose will die a slow death.

I also am free to live a vulnerable life alongside the people with whom God has placed me. The Gospel gives me that real freedom to be vulnerable because it tells me I am already accepted and affirmed by the Father. I don’t have to strive to be more loved, more affirmed or accepted in the community. The Gospel sets me free from striving to be someone I am not.

The Trinity is a community, complete and fulfilled in themselves. I am reminded how the first ever perfect community of God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Son and the Holy Spirit was once broken on that cross so that I could be included into the family of God. The community of people I live in is not perfect; neither am I. But imperfect me can live joyfully in an imperfect community in the hope that one day, I will inherit the perfect community where there are no heartbreaks, no misunderstandings, no tears, no sadness, and no shame.


Photo Credit: Unsplash


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