Homecoming Part II: Courage

She knew what she had to do. Ought to do. She couldn’t continue in wonder without purpose. Far from having it all figured out, she had to dive all in.

Her body screamed at her. Rejecting everything she was to do.

Puzzled and perplexed. The faces that stared back at her when she spoke of her decision. Was she sure this was the right move?

Everything screamed no. But peace whispered a certain “yes”. Something that she found hard to describe.

It took all the courage in her to make this decision without feeling like a failure or that she was moving backwards.

And she was grateful for this courage. She didn’t know how she would make it otherwise. Going against her innate fears.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed. for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

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Homecoming Part I: Anxiety

The moment she realised her reality. The moment all her fears and anxieties flooded over her. She could barely breathe, fighting for air.

This isn’t the way she’d planned for things to turn out. This was not the plan. She felt disconnected in a world where connections were everything. Ruin was hers.

She’d be going home exactly as she’d left a decade ago. Nothing to show for herself. Nothing to her name except her name.

Was she an utter failure? Was she a disappointment to her parents? Had she let herself down?

As these insecurities gripped her in a choke hold, she had to fight the reality of her existence. She had to come to terms with living under her parents roof again.

Her story was meant to be different. Not this trajectory that was headed for oblivion. She was supposed to be somebody. Do something special. Change the world.

Her greatest fear was that the toxicity of home would corrode the little bit of hope she had left. Eating at her soul. Ridding her of every dream passion, ambition and hope she had. Leaving her listless, numb, void and despondent. Where one day she’d wake up horrified to see whom she’d become.

Anxiety. Choking, groping, kicking, screaming, drowning.

And then she hated herself. Was she so stuck up that she thought those who had stayed behind were failures? Was she so far removed? Her mother quipping “how do you think millions of us have survived all these years?”

No, she wasn’t better than them. At least she didn’t think she was. But she’d been fortunate to receive a ticket out of hustle and poverty. And what had she done with it?

Nothing.

In spite of all this, she knew this was a move she had to make. In spite of her anxiety.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1 

Keep Your Head Up

It’s that time of year again where the holidays are within reach and yet, deadlines need to be met, the year finalised and strategies set in place for the New Year. It is also that time of the year where our minds and bodies start shutting down involuntarily, pained from the year gone by and in anticipation of the rest to come.

It is always at this point in time I seek out inspiration to keep going. Whether it’s been an incredible year or one I look forward to putting a cap on, duty calls and the aim is always to end on a high.

I am a music lover of note and so today, I thought to share some of the songs that are keeping me going as I close off 2015.

  1. Beautiful | Mali Music

This was a song dedicated to me by my sister a while back. I’d been having a tough couple of weeks and this acknowledgment of her seeing my struggle whilst cheering me on was a sure-fire way to keep me going. To all ya’ll out there “with (your) heads up to the sky still” even though “life can be so real… I put my lighter in the air for you.”

  1. Emmanuel | Hillsong

Do you ever stop and wonder what on earth is happening in life? Or feel so alone? This song is my go to for it reminds me that truly “God is with us” and He will “never let me go”. No matter the circumstance or where you find yourself, hold onto that promise. “My Shepherd King, You’re watching over me… Emmanuel.”

  1. BET | Tinashe ft. Dev Hynes

This is easily my highlight mainstream song for 2015. As much as I am a fan of the beauty and talent that is Tinashe, the lyrics also hold so true for me. “Pay no mind to what the doubters all say, I’mma be around forever always… You can bet on it.” When it seems people want to see you fail, sometimes you just have to remind yourself that you believe in you and work towards achieving them dreams.

  1. Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) | Hillsong United

To conclude, I had to select my favourite worship song. This is a song about stepping out in faith. “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters… wherever you would call me.” My prayer for you all as you conclude this year and step out into 2016, you do so in faith and God to truly guide you and challenge you into His purpose for your life.

Confessions of a Church Girl

Photo Cred: Script Mag

Photo Cred: Script Mag

Another day, another church service. As she sat down in her seat for another one of the weekly Sabbath services, her mind was racing. She watched as sisters greeted each other with hugs and smiles. Once done, they were looking each other up and down doing an in-depth dissection of what others were wearing. After tearing their fellow sisters’ outfits to shreds, they sat up straight feeling good about themselves, flashing their new pair of sky-high stilettos and their new hair.

At lunchtime, the cliques set up on their marked territory. The lines were clear cut and trespassers were sure to be made to feel uncomfortable. She watched in boredom as the ladies fawned over the latest hottie on the church scene whilst he basked in the attention of these estrogen charged females on an aggressive man hunt. It didn’t matter that they were all friends. Church boys were few and time was ticking. Moms and Dads had their eyes on their clock – when would them cows come home and when would they get those grand babies?

The relationships in the church, as a result, were somewhat incestuous. When it failed between two people, someone else went in for the kill. It did not matter if they were friends. The end goal was to be the ‘it couple’ and have that wedding. It was a dog eat it dog world in the game of getting married at church.

As the ladies desperately hoped to meet their future husbands, the men took their sweet time playing the field. Boys just wanna have fun right? And fun was definitely being had. They would lead on a couple of ladies in the church whilst they got the perks of a non-devout Adventist girlfriend outside of the church who met their ‘needs’.

Then there was church politics. Different people vying for leadership positions in the church and wanting their will to be done. This led to small factions and manipulative behaviour as they sought to get that coveted position. Once in the role, performing was secondary. The title was paramount. Making a difference was not necessarily a part of the plan.

Church. The place that growing up, she sought as a place of refuge. A safe space in which to get in touch with her Creator and to lay it all at His feet. A place where she sang hymns to God in acknowledgement of His supremacy and saving grace. A place of fellowship and upliftment.

With age comes the realisation that everything isn’t as it seems. As she grew older, she realised the intentions of her fellow brothers and sisters in Christ weren’t always noble. A shock to the system for a trusting and genuine girl initially, but when the scales fell from her eyes, she acknowledged that there is a lot more than what meets the eye.

There were those seemingly on a power trip to those on a popularity campaign. Some seeking attention to feed their starving spirits and those simply on a Cassanova cruise. This was by no means a conclusive statement about all churches or churchgoers she’d met, but was merely the confessions of a church girl & her view of the world.

She found herself in great wonder. How could we claim to serve the same God and yet, the amount of hurt, pain, selfishness, game playing and insincerity in the Church seems to beat that of the so-called secular world? How could it be? The God she had come to know, love and serve was about compassion, love, honesty, generosity, kindness, mercy and grace. Did she get the memo wrong?

It broke her to see Christianity misrepresented on the very pews where lessons from Christ were taught. “Could we all be so far gone? How do we wake up from this stupor and realise that we are called to do better, be better and be a beacon of light?” she wondered. “How do we move away from self-seeking behaviour and move towards a selfless nature? When will we wake up from seeking our own interests to seeking the best for all?” she asked.

Some might ask, ‘Well, why does she stay?’ Something her Mama always used to say was ‘You don’t go to church for the people’. A lot of people had left church because of the way in which they were treated. Sadly so, but what her mom meant was that she needed to seek a higher purpose when she went to church. She sought to be better and do better. She sought an intimate relationship with God and a true connection with Him. She sought not to let the happenings at church divert her from the truth and her salvation.

A passage that was often shared at church and resonated so deeply with her was what Christ Himself said when He was on earth:

“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”

Matthew 18:11

She was by no means perfect. Far from it. Her heart bled for her faith. Her prayers were for her brothers and sisters in Christ. Her prayer was for herself too.

That in her awareness, she would do better and be better with God’s hand in her life. That she would not run and hide, or point fingers or shake heads. That she would get on her knees and pray for God’s guidance and that the Holy Spirit would prevail in all their lives.

 

 

Religion, you have failed us.

False prophets. False teachings. False manifestations. Truth breaching. Preaching self over God, me over us. Talking about wealth, forgetting spiritual health. Talking about shine, forgetting Jesus in thine heart.

Religion has failed us! Time and time again. Leaders telling us what to believe in. Not Holy Spirit led but selfish spirit fed. Factions and fans fanning the ego. No Spirit to lead where we should go.

Religion has failed us! You have failed us in so many ways. Infidels have multiplied because of the way you have been. Oppressing, suppressing, digressing over and over again.

Religion, you have failed us. It breaks me within. What kind of religion teaches violence, hatred and prosperity at any expense. At the expense of love, life and truth. While many go hungry, leaders wallow in gold filth.

No wonder they run. No wonder they shout. No wonder they don’t care what we’re all about. Religion, you have failed us and continue to do so. When will you come back to truth? When will you come home?

I See God

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

Most of us have heard this being said time and time again. It is especially powerful when the question of why we believe in God arises and it is true – faith cannot be attested to anything physical. That would make the whole notion of faith null and void.

In light of this thought, I also do believe that we see God in different ways, places and things in our lives. “Some find it in the eyes of their children, some find it in their lover’s eyes… You’ll find it in the deepest friendships, the kind you’ll cherish all your life.” Westlife said it and this song rings so true for the places which we see & experience God in our lives.

For some, they see God in the relationships they have and in the people around them; others see it in the sunrise; some find God in the little moments of each day that get them through; others see God in nature. God can be seen and experienced in almost anything and everything. I was thinking of some of the moments where I encounter God and noticed that most of the pics I take and love to take are either of the sunset or when I’m by the water.

There is just something so peaceful about the sunset. It reminds me that in spite of what will have happened that day, God saw me through. Like the dusk of another day, all things do come to an end and I can hold onto His promises that everything will be alright in the end. There is the hope of a new day to follow.

The sky is God’s canvas and at sunset, He paints some of the most beautiful pictures. A beautiful love note to me.

By the sea, I gain perspective. I am reminded that God is so much bigger than everything. When I am consumed by something, it allows me to get out of my head and know that there is no problem too great for my God. It is also a gentle reminder that though I am important and treasured, I am but mortal – a small piece in the bigger, universal picture that is God’s plan.

Whatever challenges I face – big or small – I know that there is someone greater than all looking out for me.

Where do you see God?