I Don’t Get What I Deserve – And That’s The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

I remember growing up in a Christian family and somehow having the idea that I am supposed to be the good kid. The good example. The one who always does the right thing. And that if I succeed, I will be granted God’s favor, and that He will give me what I deserve. No one taught me this non-sense, but for some reason, I ended up believing it.

Later, as I grew up, I realized that most of the times, I wanted everyone to get what they deserve – in the most vindictive meaning of the term – but for me, my brothers whom I dearly loved, my parents and my best friends, I wanted grace. I didn’t want justice; I wanted grace.

We all do that, don’t we? We want God to be harsh with those who hurt us, and we want Him to be kind and generous with us when we make a mistake – even if our mistake hurts someone else.

Then, after a while, I realized that I rarely – if ever – got from God what I thought I deserved. I rarely got blessed when I felt as if I deserve to be compensated for something that I did (which in my eyes seemed stupendous and amazing and wonderful). But also, I felt that the things I thought were “punishments” from God came randomly and not as a consequence of what I though I should be punished for by God. I started wondering about my way of thinking, my way of measuring my sanctity and my sinfulness, and God’s way.

You see, the good things in my life – my amazing dad; my amazing husband; my loyal dog; my intellect and my studies; my portfolio – all these things somehow vanished away. My father died when I was 15. My husband died when I was 25; I had to adopt out my dog when I moved from one country to another; my highly acclaimed studies, in which I invested years and years, they are not recognized in the U.S. – it was all left behind in Europe, when I decided to move to the U.S. I longed after all these things for months, and I felt as if part of me was left behind. Being an Architect was who I was. It was really hard to accept a transition from being respected and quite known in a large city, to moving to a small rural village in the anonymous Yakima, WA, with no kind of qualifications at all. But what woke me up was my lack of trust in God. It just so happened that I realized one morning, how little I trust God and just how much I trust myself.

At the same time, God brought up to my attention other sins from my past that I have not asked to be forgiven for. I asked God to forgive me, but in spite of me asking Him to forgive my sin of lack of trust and all my other sins that were on a very long list, I asked myself: “How do I know I am forgiven?” And the words of Mark Driscoll rang in my ears: “You didn’t deserve it in the first place…”

That’s true. I didn’t deserve God’s forgiveness to begin with. When someone turns to God and feels the peace that surpasses all understanding, the peace of having been forgiven and being accepted and loved, they don’t want to loose that peace. However, in our daily business, we sin again. And again. And again.

How do we know God doesn’t get tired forgiving us?
We didn’t deserve his forgiveness in the first place. He forgave us because He loves us.

How do we know God doesn’t get tired bringing redemption in our life?
We didn’t deserve redemption in the first place. He brought redemption through Jesus Christ because He loved us.

How do we know God doesn’t get tired to bring happiness in our lives?
We didn’t deserve happiness to begin with. He gave us happiness because He loves us.

How do I know that God will fulfill my intellectual needs? I didn’t deserve to have them fulfilled to begin with. In an arid land, in a post-communist culture in Romania, God fulfilled my cultural and intellectual needs by giving me a career that brought me a professional satisfaction I didn’t deserve. He did it once, He will do it again; I didn’t deserve it in the first place.

How do I know God had put all my sins behind me and forgave me and gave a fresh start? I didn’t deserve Him to do it in the first place. Yet, in spite of me deserving to be forgotten by Him, left for damnation and cursed, He sent His Son to die for me. It has nothing to do with me, my salvation. It has to do with who He is.

How do I know that my happiness was not all gone after my husband died? God brought me a new husband, after eight years of widowhood. He didn’t have to bless me with a partner in the first place. He did it because He loved me. He didn’t have to bless me with a second marriage. He did it because He loves me. And if He wouldn’t have brought my precious Bryan along, I would have still known that He loves me, because my happiness is not conditioned by my marital status. It is conditioned by being loved by God and living a life of continuous growth and sanctification.

Whatever He decides to take away from me, I can trust Him to bring it back or to bring something better instead – because nothing that I have I deserve. I don’t deserve to see. I don’t deserve to hear. I don’t deserve to have a body and a soul and a spirit. I wouldn’t even exist, if He wouldn’t have decided to create me. I own nothing.

I am so glad He doesn’t hold back from me anything that I don’t deserve. I am so happy I don’t get what I do rightfully deserve – death due to my inherited sinful nature and due to my own sins.

Nobody deserves grace. Grace is not something that we can squeeze out of God. God being gracious with us has nothing to do with what we deserve – it is, in fact, the opposite. We deserve to live under the curse, with no way out. Whenever God is good to you and blesses you with a good partner, remember, that is a GIFT from God. It’s not what you deserve.

On The Variations Of Architecture, By Means Of Creationism Vs. Natural Selection

As many of you know, I have studied Architecture and I have worked for 10 years as a licensed Architect in the field of Architecture Restoration back at home, in Romania. At the end of my 5th year of Architecture study at the Polytechnic University in Romania, I released a paperwork that was not very well received by the Uni leaders. The paperwork talks about how and why the architecture produced by a Christian society is different than the architecture produced by an atheist society. I tried to be as politically correct as I could, but it still was extremely disappointing to my mentors and tutors, whom I dearly loved and cherished.

Anyway, I finally have managed to translate it in English – although it is extremely difficult to translate terms that are so particular to one field! I really hope the text makes sense… I would like to thank my friend Dave Green, who helped me with the translation. It was a very daunting task for both of us.



Paperwork Frame Topic:
Final Paperwork – 5th year

Subject: Theory of Modern Architecture

During the last years of study, covering synthesis topics – such as the history of building materials technology, plastic expressivity and texture, historical architectural styles and building methods – we noticed a drastic change in the discipline of the philosophical perspective on housing, between the 1800s and the 1900s. The shift of the old paradigm of housing with the new modern housing found a substantial platform of expression due to industrial progress – and nevertheless, due to the “new man”.

So what was the trigger that led to a paradigm shift in housing? Was the man the one that changed the culture of housing or has the culture – with its dramatic industrialization and technology boom – changed the man’s perspective on housing and building technology?

The most useful unit of analysis that we found was that the prosecution of the chronological changes in the philosophy of life – as this is reflected in the way we live, so by default liked to the housing technology and method.

Our conclusion was that the root of the issue was ingrained in the way the man perceives his origin: the Creationism influenced the human habitation until the Darwinian philosophy changed our housing habits.


The present paper aims not to establish the truth valence of neither theory that explains the human apparition on Earth. Therefore, it does not deal with the Theory of Evolutionism and the Theory of Creation in terms of truth. It is an overview of the Ninth, Twentieth and Twenty-first century architecture (especially housing) and the way it was influenced by the human race self-awareness and concept of identity.  Furthermore, the paper aims to be an incursion in the context which favored the development of certain permutations of architectural language, presenting a personal view of post-modern and modern history of philosophical ideals, politics and religion.

Therefore, the three central ideas of the article are:

  • Architecture is, apart from the way of modeling the environment into providing shelter and physical protection, a reflection of the specific ideology of the time period in which it has been conceptualized.
  • Architecture is neither moral or immoral; it is amoral, being – due to its practical nature, a tool.
  • Architecture, as a means of expressing the human consciousness, is semi-permeable: in order for a philosophical concept to have the power to influence architecture, it has to be sustained either by a large group of people, either by a select few with the financial power and necessary means of mediating the respective idea.


Our work methodology is based on a parallel analysis between the Creationist and the Darwinian architecture – meaning architecture influenced by Creationism or Darwinism ideology. Using the same criteria, we followed the next analysis filter for both ideology systems:

Find and Name The Ten Philosophical Pillars of the Theory of Creationism / Darwinian Theory and their effects on Architecture:

  1. Philosophical Premises
  2. Effects on Architecture

2.1. Shaping our Self Awareness

2.2. Shaping our Behavior

2.3. Shaping our Building Concepts and our Habitation

  1. Conclusions


I.The ten basic philosophical ideas of the Theory of Creationism* and some of their consequences:

I.1. Philosophical premises:

  1. Man was created as a distinct form of life.
  2. The creation process of human was different than the one of the other living creatures.
  3. The creation of man implied the willing action of an intelligent, exterior and law-making Persona, commonly referred to as “The Creator.”
  4. The purpose of all other creation is to serve the man, him being responsible of the way he uses it.
  5. Man has creative capacities independent from the rest of the creation.
  6. Man has the knowledge of good and evil, in rapport to values that are absolute, invariable and permanent, thus possessing the power to choose (the theory of free will).
  7. The absolute, invariable, permanent values have been established by the Creator.
  8. Man is more than a mere body. (He possesses a soul and a spirit.)
  9. Man is an independent being, with self reason and the abilities to analyze the environment and adjust its coordinates (topographic and geodesic) with regards to his needs.
  10. Man is directly responsible for his actions, leaving as legacy not only a genetic baggage, but an emotional and a spiritual one as well.

I.2. Effects on Architecture:

I.2.1. Shaping our Self Awareness:

Man sees himself in close correlation with the Creator; he reacts to different religious and spiritual experiences, whatever his religious perspective might be – because he feels indebted and inferior to the Creator; at the same time, he feels superior to other species and responsible for them. The hierarchical system in rapport to the Creator and the rest of the living creatures is absolute; notions such as lie/truth, good/evil, spiritual or philosophical cleanliness/dirtiness forms the culture developed under the sign of creationism. Man is the son of the Creator.

I.2.2. Shaping our Behavior:

There are both positive and negative consequences, because men can use most things both for good and for evil. Man adopts the position of equal towards his fellow human, recognizing in himself a valuable, individual and unequally created being – which is the positive consequence.
But when faith is used to control people, a falsely explained religious platform will permit blackmail, emotional and spiritual conditioning the average man’s access to heaven. Religion becomes a politic tool featuring the lack of consistency to be compared with the absolute values implemented by the Creator.

I.2.3. Shaping our Building Concepts and our Habitation:

(Housing concepts and environmental site colonization)

  1. Planimetric – Architecture is composed by:

a.1. places:

In the Early Judaism, The Creator was perceived as an Entity that comes forth in moments chosen by Him or when He was humbly called upon by a specific person that He had previously chosen. The presence of the Creator was celebrated by the proverbial landmark stones, water wells digging, temple building (the last one is the reason Christians to nowadays use to build new churches on sites of old ones).  Having the ability and need to create, humans build places for their own presence, for their own habitation, places for various activities that are linked to each other and linked to own and personal activities of the owners and unique styles of living. Significant for a place are the access points (the walking in and walking out of a place is a gesture rich in symbolism in every major culture) and the definition of a place itself: like the Creator Himself that blesses a place by His mere presence, so does – on a much lower scale – the human.

Man not only needs shelters; he needs places where he can associate smells and sounds and textures with different feelings, he needs to create memories and mental places where he can go back at. The traditional definition of a place with one / two doors, ascending and descending a place, is only found in Christian Patriarchal Ideologies.  In this life view, a significant place is where every door takes to a different room; is where every place is harmoniously engaged in the hierarchy of the house; is where a place is a static background, like a theatrical decor. Memories are bound to events happened in a certain place, with a certain decoration style and a very subtle ratio between the dimensions that define the space.

a.2. axis distances:

Axis distances are well defined ascending and descending directions with well predetermined patterns that can only be integrated in the kind of architecture that curdles in a creatively pre-designed world,  predefined by the radical character or absolute moral values, recently referred to as “the moral-christian values” – such as absolute truth, for instance.  Not only by hierarchy of places but also by the building system that once sewed cannot bare new openings without a major structural intervention due to the nature of the structure (structural brick walls), these axis are invariable, they are defined in a clear polar system: the main gate, the secondary access, etc. – the final destination.

Axis are created with a well awareness of what the track they open mean; how we perceive them and what surprises the spaces we access bring.

Regardless if the layouts involve only the interior or also exterior of the housing design, the axis and the distance between them dispose by such an init power that by their existence they do not admit a spontaneous reinterpretation of the space defined by them.

a.3. spaces anticipating the places:

The so-called pocket spaces, like windfangs, vestibules, entrees, open perimeter galleries, are anticipative spaces, they prepare the view and the disposition for the space one is about to access. Old access rituals in sacred places imply taking off the shoes, hands washing; at the lower scale of housing – where the owner of the place is not holly by definition, thus not sacred, these rituals are reflected by creating small places that impose actions: door-knocking, taking the coat off, in some cultures even taking shoes off.

  1. Volumetric

One of Architecture’s great features are the infinite games an architect can create playing the old bulk-gap game: everything pertains at the human being – the gap becomes a living space that he habits, a space defined by atmosphere; the bulk is the canvas on which the gap forms. There’s no possibility to invert the bulk with a gap. At most, in the specific warchitecture the idea of secret passages and secret rooms arose, but not in housing that remains as simple as possible, as clear as possible.

  1. Spatial hierarchy

There is a clear unique hierarchy instituted by the architectural language and architectural beliefs that could only be germinated in a climate where although there is no certain awareness of the nature of the Creator or his name is still debated, there is no question on the topic of his existence.  The architectural creed does not doubt the principle of spaces submission one to another thus it cannot create a layout that enables space function exchanges: the guest room would never become a secondary kitchen or a living room in such housing blueprint. The cardinal orientation of spaces, the illumination, the intimacy of a space and the axis the system is designed to lead to it are undoubted and irreplaceable.

  1. Functional

Architecture programs are clearly defined. A cohabitation of various functions may exist – and, in particular cases it is recommended by urbanism architects to adopt a mixture of functions in specific areas – but there’s no fusion in the same building among functions.

  1. Technology, building materials and ornaments

This period of time is characterized by a “cult” of building materials and an intimate knowledge of the physic characteristics and spiritual symbolism. Construction materials are considered to be noble depending on the geographical area they are brought from, extraction and processing method, geo-morphological composition and age, optic characteristics (light reflection, texture, porosity, sound when exposed to wind or rainstorms). Exquisite architecture to nowadays still cherishes the noblesse of its outside skin but the emotional involvement of the human implication in its design is severely restrained by the increasing speed of process

Ornaments have different meanings trough architecture history, guilds devastation and extinction – due to massive industrialization process – makes stone-lace facades (for instance) impossible.

  1. Philosophical

The most eloquent example of space designed according to the principles mentioned above (in its beautiful complexity) is probably a temple.  The most eloquent example regarding the site colonization, site interpretation, site understanding and site referral are revealed in the way old builders used to design the worship-places entrance apparatus: ascending in the worship place, the man that is a sinner is not allowed to touch the ground that is considered to be holly. Man is seeking the Creator’s blessing and acceptance, but he must enter the narrow gates of the Law and be aware of the great impact of the presence of the Holly One in that place.

In the Christian Rite Traditional Churches, the carpet is placed centrally and leads straight to the altar. The seats of the Wise are placed on one side and the chairs are designed to be as high as needed that while sitting, the legs of the wise are suspended in the air – not reaching the ground; Mosaic religions and Oriental religions involve either barefoot walking or foot washing or standing on a rug large enough that not even the shadow of a praying body would touch the ground.

The existence of carpets in traditional housing is merely a projection of the image of the Creator, a reflection of Him trough His most important creation – the man, the son of the Creator. If the presence of the Creator demands feet washing and taking off shoes, as well it should be done in the presence of his sons.

As long as there is a Creator, a Redeemer, a being on whose benevolence man entirely depend on to be able to continue its existence  after death, man tunes  his system of belief to what the deity loves; he tries to meet the spiritual authority desires. The existence of a Creator is the existence of a fixed point of philosophical reference, moral reference and ethical reference. The scale of absolute values exists because there is a reference point.

I.3. Conclusions

The Creationist Theory affirms that humans are firstly tributary to their spiritual needs and suffer when apart from a daily connection to their Creator. Physical needs are secondary issues but they are also met by the Creator, as stated in Luke, chapter 12 – The Famous Sermon in the Mount:  „And he said unto his disciples, „Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.””

  1. The ten basic philosophical ideas of the Theory of Evolution and some of their consequences:

II.I. Philosophical premises:

  1. Species are extremely fertile. Not all born beings reach maturity.
    2. Species keep their dimensions, with small variations.
    3. Food supplies are limited, but relatively stable in time.
    4. The apparition of a fight for survival is implicit.
    5. In species which reproduce sexually, there are no two individuals alike.
    6. Some variations will directly affect an individual’s capacity to survive in that environment.
    7. A great part of the variations operated in humans by adapting to a different environment is inheritable.
    8. Individuals that are less adapted to the environment are less susceptible to survive and less likely to reproduce, while adapted individuals have more chances to survive and reproduce.
    9. Individuals that survive are the ones that pass on their genes to future generations.
    10. This slow process consequently provides a population adapted to the environment in time; after several generations, these variations add up to form, eventually, new species.

II.2. Effects on Architecture:

II.2.1. Shaping our Self Awareness:

The non-existence of a spiritually superior force places the man in the position in which there is no need for him to explain or justify his actions; as long as his actions work towards reaching his goals (which are self-centered or beneficial for his family, in the restrained sense of the word), they are defined as being ‘correct’, ‘good’, ‘true’.

The previously existing comparison terms between individuals – based especially on moral, intellectual, ethnic attribute -, become secondary; the new terms of comparison are the racial, genealogical, material, physical ones. Even if some of these new terms had been in existence before, their importance was relatively diminished in comparison to the intangible ones – because the intangible Creator was more important that the tangible man. Man loses his identity, previously related exclusively to the Creator – a mass, individual and collective crisis results and manifests itself through the Armed Civil Conflicts from 1860 – 1912 previously mentioned.

Once the man’s power of decision and acting capacity according to his own personal interests became practically unlimited – and benefiting since 1970 by the political landscape that facilitated the sociological applications of the Theory of Evolution – the eugenics have been born  through Francis Galton (primary cousin of Charles Darwin). Claiming that the human civilization was subject to natural selection and that which ‘is less fit’ to survive has been declassified and became extinct from that which better adapted to the environment’s conditions, it literally changed the value of human life. As an immediate application, Germany starts a ‘purifying’ policy of the race that he, the self-god, considers superior. This is the real intentional “natural” selection or the rapid acceleration of a natural process which would have anyway – according to this philosophy – take place over a longer period of time, or the compression of a process by the quick implementation of the predictable result on the basis of scientific demonstrations.

II.2.2. Shaping our Behavior:

Sociology turns its attention towards group sociology and group behavior – and it compares it to the behavior of other species; according to this philosophy, the understanding, prediction and manipulation of actions of a group of mammals can reflect and predict the reactions of a group of humans. Studies reflect the fact that as the group grows, the exterior action must be smaller in order to guide it in the desired direction, the propagation of the redirecting gesture being similar to the propagation of a wave in water. The social outcome is that the political discourses developed a commercial taste, easy to sell and superficial, appealing to the group of individuals, rather to the individual as unique identity.

II.2.3. Shaping our Building Concepts and our Habitation:

(Housing concepts and environmental site colonization)

  1. Planimetric – the blue print is no longer composed by places, axes, anticipation rooms:

a.1. places:

Successors of static places / sites that were the natural expression of a stable Philosophical System are dynamic routes (flows) that accommodates human “herds” migrating with high speed; man becomes a vehicle and a possessor of various assets that can be exploited, while it is kept numb by being satisfied at different levels: primary and secondary level, according to Maslow’s pyramid; there also exist higher levels of satisfaction – but these can only be achieved by ambitious individuals, their price increasing exponentially with each step.

Architecture means no place so it doesn’t create memories – the new architecture, designed for the new man, it’s a trail that creates commotions. Architecture in itself cannot be labeled as moral or immoral, as good or bad – as memory cannot be compared with commotion; the two notions do not have common grounds, thus they cannot be compared. A new architecture cannot be wrong only if it fails its porpoise.

a.2. axes:

Axes and housing entail routes, and pathways involve places. Space can be reinterpreted at any time – multiple access points, various possibilities of space penetration, the unfolding of vertical circulation areas in relational spaces rather than one-way / one-possible route – these all make impossible to define firm boundaries or absolute statements about the house anatomy. Ground floor level  multiplies, opening like a fan between building levels.

a.3. spaces anticipating the places:

Routes do not any longer lead to places but at new routes that are fed from the first ones; the metaphysical characteristic of architecture that is reflected in the net-to-net architecture is led by the ideology that we cannot talk about a remembrance place, but about moving in a direction; in the physical world, this is measured in the time required to reach one route from another one.

  1. Volumetric

The concept of positive – negative contrast is reduced to reinterpretation. Man can be the negative space of the route or the route can be the negative space of the man; the exterior of a space can be its interior, if the interior is great enough to be exterior (and by “great”, we don’t necessarily assume a physical dimension). All these games can only be orchestrated by an architect that masters the new architectural language luggage that allows the expression of such unpredictable architectures – the old architectural language is limited and unable to meet the demands of the new architecture. Thus, the new architecture operates with incisions, folding, wrinkling, groundfloor knotting; these are new operations in the built volume, like a delicate surgery intervention, in the robust body of volumes.

  1. Space hierarchy

On a virtual site, molded by a set of virtual criteria – such as abundance of streams on a specific path, crossing frequency, span, duration, etcetera, “space hierarchy” comes to be defined by the metamorphose of local peaks of activity and dynamics in regional and global ones. The interpretation criteria underlying the importance and relevance of a leading virtual criteria in a project are determined by the project development team, based on their analysis and philosophy, not according to predetermined rules, patterns or matrix.

  1. Functional

The undoing of the function of a space in the sense of “part of the room” in this new architecture theory assigns quality ranking to architecture by the speed of response to the local needs of the group of individuals that use that building; for instance, an airport – the architecture program is already dedicated to this new type of architecture, being only a higher gate through which hundreds of thousands of people pass every day; it’s quality is defined by the way it accommodates the following flows:

– the flow of travelers coming / leaving / waiting

– the flow of vehicles – from cars / minibuses / trains to planes

– the flow of security and protection

– the flow of intervention (rescue, firefighters)

– the flow of maintenance personnel

– the flow of personnel in direct contact with travelers

– the flow of staff not in direct contact with travelers

– the flow of food with different products / services, etc.

  1. Technology, building materials and ornaments

Modern architecture is one of the main engines that generate chemical industry development, the extraction and processing of different resources. In most cases, the post-modern architecture completely misses ornaments, in the noble allure of the building the pre-existing built territory landscaped setting itself a decor.

  1. Philosophical:

Modern architecture responds to the demands of a new kind of man, born under the sign of evolution and political correctness, which inherited a polluted Terra, with basic life sustaining resources insufficient in the medium run. “The recent man”, as he is named by Horia-Roman Patapievici, is still trapped in the quest to define himself, because he is missing the main comparison term – an absolute scale. He couldn’t keep building places, since a place cannot be a place by itself, but rather in respect to something else – something which must be invariable. Obviously, at the individual housing level, this new building philosophy is yet to be discovered and explored, as it still is somehow unfit while the man still possesses the conscience of a creator. The principles, however, have been successfully applied on the large scale architecture programs, and worked because the new man was taught to think in new terms, terms which cannot be expressed by an old-school architecture.

II.3. Conclusions:

The possible non-existence of a God that is, eventually, the catalyst of the community, invariably throws the society into a delayed adolescence with no possible predictions on its finality at the present moment. What is certain is that at the end of each civilization, there existed a significant event and that humanity is rapidly approaching the end of contemporary civilization. On the other hand, the theory of evolution extended through the theory of relativity can pose the question: are we projecting buildings for that which is a large flux towards what? What comparison term do we have in mind when we say a group / flux is ‘large’?

Most likely, time will tell – independently of any religious affiliation – if the Theory of Evolution is true or it’s nothing more than a semantic space, fabulous by its unpredictable effects which extended enough to make it possible to have already modified the ‘face’ of architecture forever.


  1. The Bible, translated by „Dumitru Cornilescu”, 1928
  2. Darwin, Charles – „On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection”, 1859
  3. Djuvara, Neagu – „Civilizations and historical patterns. A comparative study of civilizations.” (Original title in Romanian,
    “Civilizaţii şi tipare istorice. Un studiu comparat al civilizaţiilor”, 1975
  4. Chevalier, Jean; Gheerbrant, Alain –  „Dictionnaire of Symbols” (Original tile in Romanian,  „Dicţionar de simboluri”, 1969
  5. Taschen – „Architectural Theory from Renaissance to the Present”, 2006


Why do I read the Bible?

There is a wide-spread misconception that belief, faith and especially Christianity are for the weak. For those who fear life and need somebody stronger than them, to keep them safe. I sometimes wonder how do all these myths start, because whenever I ask someone to quote me a verse where it’s written that those who love God will not go through hardship or troubles, no one can quote any verse. That’s because there isn’t any.

But there are plenty of verses that say that those who fear God will be killed; we are compared with sheep sent among wolves; we are told that we will have troubles but we need to be bold, because Christ has conquered the world.

The Bible is not a comfortable book to read, in the terms that humanity defines the word “comfort”. The Bible says that we are sinful; that we are born in a sinful world, and that there is nothing that we can do to please God; it says that whenever we try to do good deeds, in the eyes of God our good deeds are like rags that are filthy with menstrual blood. That’s grouse. The Bible makes a point in presenting how great and unplayable our debt towards God is. The more we sin, the greater the debt, the greater the gap between us and God. The Bible is uncomfortable because it does not change its content according to us; sin will forever be sin, pain will forever be pain, God is forever holly. We are forever sinful.

Actually, I need a lot of courage to open the Bible and read and learn all the things above about me. The Bible is like a perfect mirror, that hides nothing. A person who leaves the house without looking in the mirror is not a brave person. It’s a person who doesn’t care about itself. A person who does look in the mirror, is not a weak person who forgot what humans look like. It is a person who cares how it presents itself.

I need a lot of courage to open my Bible daily because daily, I will learn that there is something that is not quite okay in my life. Just like looking in the mirror daily will show me if I still have sleepy eyes or if my messy bird-nest bun looks acceptable or not.

The part that is comforting about reading the Bible, is that after I have learned what is wrong in my heart, it gives me a solution. It doesn’t leave me in a place of despair and fear. Truth never leaves despair behind; but people are rejecting the truth now because they want to skip the reality that challenges. Comfort comes only after the realization that I am a sinner and that regardless how much I try to fulfill God’s words, I cannot do it. It’s a futile effort to try to please God. In fact, throughout the pages of the Bible, person after person after person, they all try to please God and they all fall in the steps of Adam – they all end up sinning. Because we are born in sin, it is impossible not to sin. The proof that we cannot sin is all around us; the Bible is the proof that there is forgiveness for sinners. None of the people in the Bible were able to satisfy God’s anger; it was Jesus alone who did not sin, and because He allowed His blood to be shed, we have a second chance. The Bible is the fruit of the Sacrifice of Jesus. Without Jesus, the Bible would be a book that explains how great God is and how sinful we are. It would be a book that explains why we cannot stand in the presence of God. Because of the work of Jesus, the Bible is a book that explains why, in spite of our sinful nature and the greatness of our sins, we can stand in the presence of the Holy God.

But you cannot see the road until you open the door. You need courage to open the door, because you don’t know what’s behind it. Likewise, you need courage to open the Bible because the Bible confronts us with the worst of our thoughts – not only with the worst of our deeds. God knows our every thought – and there is comfort in that, but only if you love Him. If you don’t, there’s fear. And none of us love God the first time we open the Bible. We all have to go through the fear of realizing just how bad we are, before we learn that God actually loves giving life to the bad people.

This is why many don’t read the Bible. The Bible shows us how bad we are; it is only wen we believe and understand that we are sinful, that God can make us his friends. There are no shortcuts to that. And sadly, people don’t want to believe they are bad; people want to believe they are good. The truth is, the Truth is not changeable according to what we want to believe or not. The truth is one, and it is absolute.

That is one of the reasons why I read the Bible. I want to know the truth, the truth that is objective to my feelings and to my desires. The truth is a steady and firm ground under my feet; it’s the rock I can build on. Humans do not hold the Truth. The Truth cannot be contained and it is not a possession. We do not hold the Truth. The truth is outside us, and the price for learning the Truth is always great. It requires complete, utter honesty.

Truth tastes bitter in my mouth, but by the time I have swallowed it, it brings peace. Lies taste sweet in my mouth; by the time I have swallowed them, they are poison. But tasting the truth requires courage, because of that bitter disappointment of self that it brings. Nobody wants to admit to their failures. But ironically, nobody can overcome their failures without admitting to them.

The great sweet reward for the courage to bow down and swallow the bitterness of who I really am is that Truth is solid; I can build my life on It. I cannot even imagine a life in which I am not sure how solid the ground under my feet is and I need to build on sand.

How Much Should I Trust God?

One of my greatest challenges has always been to be able to pin-point what FAITH is. Does faith work? And if faith does work, does MY faith work? Is there a genuine faith vs. a false faith? Is it possible that other’s people’s faith does work, but mine doesn’t? Is faith as hard to have as the Holly Grail? As an INTJ, who is interested primarily in facts, of course faith seems a vapor-like tale, which I will probably never have. I am not very emotional, although I am not afraid to be vulnerable; because even when I am vulnerable, I calculate how vulnerable I can afford to be. So… when it came to faith, especially as a widow, I started questioning everything I knew so far – because everything I knew so far has changed without me having any control on it.

I discovered something extremely interesting. And it shouldn’t have surprised me, because the Bible clearly states it. But for some reason, I understood what the Bible was teaching about faith only after I went through circumstances in which I had to have faith.

Faith always works; what does not work is wishful thinking and misinterpretation of the Scripture or misinterpretation of the character of God.

God’s purpose is always the same: to bring everything under the lordship of Jesus. Everything He does, He does in order to bring everything back under the lordship of Jesus – the Epistle to Romans speaks clearly about this. In order to bring everything under the lordship of Jesus, He purifies everything. He needs to clean us by our sins. All faith that aligns with this ultimate plan that He has, all desires that are along the same lines as His desires, will be fulfilled. All faith or desire that is not according to His desires, will not be granted. Because everything that wants anything that He doesn’t, it’s not for our good, although we might well think it is.

God can – and will, sometimes – put our lives on a long HOLD. Until we finally figure out what we need to let go of. Every growth brings with it new challenges. The mere things that previously have been given to us by God might need to be left behind sometimes. We never reach a point in our lives when we need to stop learning how to let go. Nothing that we have we own – not even our breath. My first husband has been my greatest blessing up to that point. I had to let go. I had to let go of so many things; whenever I thought that I have left behind everything that one could possibly leave behind, God has kindly shown me how much I still had, and how much I could still loose. After all, isn’t life more than clothing?

The longest HOLD that I have had my life put on was for one and a half year. I remember feeling so cornered, so option-less. And the only thing that I knew to do was to sit and wait. It was so dark. I thought I was waiting on God, I doubted my faith, I doubted myself. I doubted God’s love for me and His faithfulness in keeping His promises. And the more I sat down and waited, the darker it got and it just didn’t make sense, because God is Light and there’s no shadow of darkness in Him. Yet, there was darkness around me.

It was then that it hit me: sin is not only doing something that you shouldn’t, it is also not doing what you should. I have fallen in the trap of believing that God promised me something He actually never did. I was holding Him responsible for not fulfilling something that I thought He promised. He gave me grace and time to realize myself the tiny – but nevertheless game-changing – difference was between the promises I thought He made me personally and what He actually said. Whenever you think God promises you something that is not entirely according to the Scripture – in other words, whenever you think you are the exception to the rule – you are in a very dangerous place because the core of your faith will be attacked; it’s a matter of “when”, not “if”.

The enemy LOVES a discouraged Christian; a discouraged Christian is not only easy to put down completely, but it is a person who hurts terribly; pain pleases the enemy.

When the enemy can convince us that God failed at keeping His promise, and when he can convince us to hang on to some promise that we think God made (when in fact, He didn’t), the enemy can and will exploit our pain and our confused state of mind. When “what we have faith for” does not happen, that is when confusion and even desperation can come in place. That is the darkness that was surrounding me: desperation that God has forgotten about me; a fear based on the real danger of being very very far from God – but not because God moved, but because I moved. The enemy loves the “spiritual kidnapping” game. The further we are from God, the harder to hear His words; the further we are from God, the easier to be prayed on. When we believe something that God didn’t say, and we keep looking at that thing; and because we try to help God, we start walking towards the thing that we think He promised, we do end up wandering away and alone into the unknown. The sin is not commission – is omission. Omission to look at God. You cannot look at something else before you take your eyes off of God. If you are looking at something else, it is because you have first stopped looking at God.

What is it that God never promised?

He never promised there will be no pain or suffering on Earth. He never promised our children will not die earlier than they should or that we would spend the last days of our old-age together with our first partners. He never promised anything else but His presence, his unconditional love and His faithfulness. He never said we will not cry. He never said we will not have unmet longings. He never said we will not mourn. He never said we will not go through the madness of this earth, and never promised to give us special powers. But He promised Himself. God did not promise us happiness – he promised us sanctification.

God does not break any promise to us when a person dies young. He never promised we will not loose partners. It is by faith that we trust that He is in control when we are not.

God does not break any promise when He asks us to let go of something that we most utterly love. God does not break a promise when the worst things on earth happen. It is us who break our promises to Him and to each other when we make those things happen.

But He is with us. In the darkest, most painful moments of our lives, He is with us. He promised to never leave; He promised to make everything work for the good of those who trust Him.

What would your day look like today, if you lived in the full awareness of the fact that He will never leave you Would you still try to hang on to the things of the past? Would you step forward bolder? Would you find new reasons to trust Him? If you actually believed God – the God of the Bible, just as the Bible describes Him – is with you, how would that affect your life?

Pulling Your Heart When You Can Barely Drag Your Legs

The New Year started a few days back. It’s a celebration outside, but on the inside, who knows what it is in everyone’s soul?

This New Year’s Eve and the first day of the year have been great for me. I have spent them with my husband and our dogs. We are building a manufacturing shop, so we made plans and reviewed the progress that we made in the previous year. I had cinnamon tea and we watched movies. It was a peaceful holiday, and my soul was satisfied in God. He gave me all these; He gave me a second time to experience what I call “heaven on earth”.

Not all new years started like this. In fact, only three years ago, I dreaded having to wake up to a new year. It was yet another very bad new beginning of a yet another bad year, like the previous 6 years.

My first husband died 9 years ago on Christmas Eve, and the mourning and pain cast thick shadows on all the holiday celebrations; it felt like the celebrations were part of a reality that was parallel with my reality. My reality was that I was crushed. And celebrations only reminded me how crushed I was and how deeply I have been wounded.

I remember looking in the Psalms so many times; looking ad David and wondering about his praises. Wondering how or why was he praising God from the caves that he was hiding in; his father in law was trying to kill him but David was praising God. I heard so many interpretations of the psalms. So many bad sermons about how you need to smack yourself into happiness. And the truth is, sometimes it really doesn’t work to “decide” to be happy. When you are barely dragging your legs out of the bed in the morning, hating that you are alive and your lifetime partner is not; when you ask yourself “why him and not me?” – you cannot drag yourself into happiness. And quite frankly, I doubt David had any super-capacity to drag himself into happiness; I don’t think he was dragging himself into positive thinking and into positive feelings. I think he was commanding his soul what to do. He was not dragging his heart – he was pulling it.

The difference between dragging and puling? The direction. When you drag yourself around, you have no direction. When you pull yourself, you do have a direction.

You see, David was not dragging his soul into happiness. We don’t know what happiness is. We might think we do, but we were created to be holly, and true happiness is only to be found in the presence of God, as we reflect Him. But nobody’s heart defines happiness as holiness, although that is the only happiness that is real – and not barely a mirage. David was not telling his heart to praise God so that his heart would be dragged into happiness. David was telling his heart to praise God because his heart was wounded and he needed a doctor. God lives in the middle of the praises of His people. When we praise God, we open the door to the doctor. God doesn’t need to be praised. We need to praise Him. And when we are the most hurt and the most wounded, e need the doctor the most. That is what David was doing.

The way people picture David is either forgetting his humanity – that pat of him that was scared, hungry and confused – or forgetting his spiritual being that cannot be dragged into happiness, just like ours can’t. Hence, David becomes either this forever young, curly-blond, blue eyed baby-faced model who pets baby lambs, or this self-denying ruthless worship leader who is a religious fanatic.

I think David was just like me. I think he felt the way I do; he felt the fear, he felt God’s promises slipping away from him, he experienced doubt and has been wounded. He was just as sinful as I am and he lived in a world just as filled with sins as I do. My heart is not forever blissful and undisturbed; dragging my heart doesn’t work. And it definitely doesn’t work for those who fight with depressions. We need something greater than we are to take us out of the state of sin and death that we are born in. We need Someone grater than our sins. We need Someone greater than the sins of those around us. We need Someone greater than the consequences of our sins and the consequences of the sins of those around us. We need Someone greater than our pain, because the pain of widowhood can be greater than we are.

What works – and what David did – is to tell our hearts where to go. We cannot stop our hearts from hurting or for crying; but we can tell our hearts where to go and cry. We can tell our hearts Who to go to and cry.

If 2018 started with sadness, don’t waste the tears. Chase the days – if not with laughter, with directed cry. Direct your cry to Jesus. He knows what to do with it, even when you don’t know what to do with it. Regardless how great your pain is, Christ is greater.

David is not encouraging his heart to praise. He is not encouraging his heart to be happy for the sake of being happy or thinking positive thoughts. David is encouraging his heart to praise GOD. In other words, he is telling his own heart, just like he would tell someone else: “You are hurt. We’re going to the doctor NOW. ” He is not saying: “Pretend to be happy, even if you are not happy and even if you hate it.” Every single praise out of our mouth is a recognition of the fact that we need Him. It is a kind submission to Him, a willful sacrifice.

Sometimes, praising God does not mean laughter, but tears. Cried praise is just as valuable as laughter praise. When you can’t drag your legs, pull your heart towards Jesus.