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Travel bags and curling irons

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About two weeks ago, I went on a business trip. I travelled through two cities with a small travel bag, my handbag (which ended up being a handbag, a vanity case and a make-up bag all at the same time) and my laptop bag. I was only gone for four days so I packed light. By light I mean I packed enough for the trip but not too much in case the weather got bad and I needed to buy some warmer clothes (and this happened). That was two weeks ago. Two weeks. But I still haven’t unpacked.

Here’s why; I’m not an unpacker, if that’s even a real word. I hate unpacking as much as I hate packing. I’d rather shuffle around my travel bag every other morning looking for a blouse or shoes than take time to take everything out, fold it and place it back where it should be. I mean I might need to go again. In fact, I know I’m going to need to go again and the thought of having to re-pack… I’m not an unpacker.

It’s not easy being in a relationship with someone who always seems ready to leave.

When I was 12, I made what was said to be the best decision of my life. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Thing is, I knew nothing about what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know I was getting married when I asked Jesus to come into my heart. I didn’t know I had to speak to Him everyday if I wanted things to work out between the two of us. I didn’t know. The only thing I knew was that this guy was supposed to make everything better. He was supposed to take the pain away. He was supposed to help my parents stop fighting and make my skin a couple of shades lighter so I could get a valentines date. He was supposed to fix stuff; my very own Olivia Pope.

So I set back and waited. And while I was waiting, things got worse. And when things got worse, I got disappointed, packed a light travel bag and made sure everything was just right for when I would decide to leave this union.

But I stayed.

Sometimes, I’d sit alone and read His Word and find myself completely enchanted by this love that I really don’t deserve. And sometimes, when things got tough, I’d wobble from my seat to the alter and cry my lungs out.

And other times I’d leave, mentally.

I’d imagine all the parties I’d go to and all the new friends I’d make. I’d imagine myself laughing and not really caring about anything or anyone. I’d imagine being in a relationship with that guy who believes in God because he went to a Catholic school but has questions about God’s ways because he went to a Catholic school. You know, that guy I had a crush on but ended up dating my friend. I’d make plans, but every time I had to execute those plans, I couldn’t; not because I didn’t have the courage to but because I knew that if I couldn’t be happy with God, I wouldn’t be happy anywhere.

Staying is not easy. You need to unpack to stay. You need to take out your curling irons and hairdryers and untangle them. You need to make space in your closet to fit everything back in. You need to sort things out either by colour or by category. You need to assess what needs to be washed and what doesn’t. You need to empty out the travel bag to see whether anything spilled in it.

You need to unpack to stay and that’s what I’m learning to do. I’m learning the beauty of going into my secret place with God and saying “Hey man, my heart hurts. It hurts and I know it hurts because I didn’t listen to You when You said ‘No’ and I know that Heaven is Your throne and the Earth is Your footstool so what I’m crying about may be insignificant but I need You to let it matter because my heart hurts.” I’m learning the relief of shouting “I needed You to come through for me and You didn’t. I don’t know why, but I know that You love me so I will trust You.” I’m learning the art of unpacking.

God is not a monster. He doesn’t sit around and plot silent treatments and persistent temptations. He’s not a monster. He is Love personified. He is gracious and righteous. He is full of compassion. Sometimes His ways aren’t easy to understand but then His love comes shining though and what doesn’t make sense starts to not matter much.

I’m glad that I stayed, but I’m overjoyed that He stayed with me. Through thick and thin, He’s always been there. In times of icky sobs and ineloquent prayers, He remained my person.

I don’t think I can ever make sense of having things falling apart on all sides and being fine, good even. Because that’s what happens. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at you right hand; but it shall not come near you. It won’t come near you. It is not in Gods nature to hurt us or let us down. He promised to never leave nor forsake us. We were in the dark, incapable of pleasing Him and He promised to never leave. All He wants is for us to stay and experience His love so that we may be made whole and point others in His direction.

It’s been 12 years and I’m still unpacking.

Stay. Unpack.

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Uncategorized

The war is over

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Last week Saturday was everything. Everything.

Last weekend I went camping with the youth from my church. During the day, we had the regular “be a better…” sessions. The magic, for me, started when the sun went down. After dinner, we played a game called “If you really knew me, you’d know…” At first it was very light and funny but as we rolled down the list of “you’d know” scenarios, things started getting serious.

“If you really knew me, you’d know that I feel like I’m failing at everything right now…”

Something in me leaped when I heard that. I never thought that I would leap to such a sad statement. I mean the first time John met Jesus was when Elizabeth and Mary were still pregnant and John leaped at the presence of the saviour. That’s the type of leaping I wanted. I wanted a magical leap. A life changing one.

Failing. I heard that word and something in me connected with it and all I could say was “That’s me, that’s me.” I leaped after having heard the sound of the word that, honestly, basically encapsulates the past 7-8 months of my life.

It’s true though. I have been failing at just about everything I’ve set myself to do. Work. I don’t have the words to clearly articulate that situation. The past 2 months have been worse than the South African economy and I’m not even trying to be shady. Friends. I don’t know how I have friends. I don’t know why there are people out there who still call me friend because if I were them, I would have walked out on myself even before I walked in. I suck completely at keeping up with people’s lives; probably because I can’t keep up with mine. I’m that friend that will think about you the whole day but not text or call but rather say a young prayer for you and keep going.

I’m the type of friend who will not talk to you for months but give you the warmest part of myself when we eventually reunite. I don’t know how other girls do it. I don’t know how to be completely involved in the lives of those you see every day and those you see once in a blue moon. I don’t know how to do that. To my friends reading this, I don’t know how to do it. This is an imperfection that cripples me. I don’t know how I can love people so much yet fail them so dismally. It’s crippling.

I’m sorry.

Relationships. A lot has happened while I was away on sabbatical. One of those things was love…the operative word there being was. It is such a beautiful thing to be part of and such an excruciating thing to walk away from. A blessing when in the hands of the Lord, a problem when in your own hands…so I took it off my hands and realised that what I forced myself to believe was written in the skies was actually never part of the plan. And so without encouraging anyone to meet me at the bridge, I took what little self I had left and walked away. The end.

Kanyisile. Over and over again I have failed myself. I have deprived myself of the right to show my emotions, whether in clutched fists with boxing gloves or coffee smells and conversation. I have surrendered to the sensitivity of people meanwhile suppressing that burning in my heart to just say “I don’t like that.” I’ve smiled when I should’ve frowned and I’ve laughed when I should’ve cried. I’ve fostered fear for so long it’s starting to look like me. I have created so many versions of myself I almost always want to sleep with my makeup on because at least I’d wake up in the morning and not have to recreate.

Last week Saturday was the day I decided to take a moment with myself. I needed time to look crazy and talk to myself while surrounded by two others. I needed to walk around with hair that hasn’t been shampooed in days and realise that I am the only one who knows that. I needed to bask in the sun and not worry about getting darker. I needed to sit at praise and worship with unshaved armpits to realise that sometimes some things have to go in order to give way to the lifting of hands.

I had to realise that I am a choice, not an option. I had to realise that not being true to every moment on this earth is not living. I had to realise that sometimes life happens. Sometimes we wake up, put our hair in a bun, drink coffee, put on some music, give the day everything and come back with nothing. Sometimes it takes constant failures to make you realise that you’re going down the wrong avenue. I had to realise that I may be failing but I am not a failure. It is not my name nor is it my identity.

So if you really knew me, you’d know that I have struggled a great deal with self and I continue to struggle but the only difference between Khanyi and Kanyi is that now when I say “Lord I need you” I follow it up with a full stop and not an “and” because I’ve realised that I need a lot of things in my life but if I don’t have Jesus, then I have nothing.

Last Saturday my heart leaped to a sentence wrapped in packaging I never would normally leap to. I didn’t want it but I owned it. I owned my failures. And now the time has come for the sun to shine again. The war is over.

Kanyi Que

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Knowing Me

The chemistry of fear

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Moving to a city that is filled with people who not only know who they are but also know what they want while you are just getting used to the sound of your name is probably not the brightest idea ever. July is coming to an end and I’m still asking God why He brought me here. Just as I start to settle in He rattles my heart with a truth so solid it cannot be ignored. I don’t understand why I have to be broken in the midst of people who are so willing to redefine me. They almost give me no choice. “This is who you are.” And I’m left searching for any speck of truth in their words.

The will of the Lord is a beautiful thing to live in when things are going good. It is by far the hardest thing to align yourself to when things are chaotic. The simple activity of saying yes to His will seems impossible when all of a sudden what was left is right and what was right is left.

It has taken me two months of no longer meditating on God’s word, a month of short rushed prayers, four Hannah Brencher blog entries, two “I need to drink myself to a stupor” attacks (that never prevailed) and a sermon about Ruth to get me to realise that I am slowly but surely sinking in the battle between God and culture. It has taken all of that to get me to realise that God has been quiet because I’m officially being tested and so far, I’ve just about failed every section. It has taken me all of that to get me to realise the truth in Philippians 1:21. Truly, for me to live is Christ.

Normally I describe myself as an adapter…I’ve always found it easy to gel into a new environment. But this time… When I unpacked my bags in the middle of February, I assessed the environment. I caught sight of parts of the ecosystem that could easily be avoided. I also however saw parts that posed a great threat to my spiritual life and those parts could not be avoided. Naturally, my body had to make a fight or flight decision. Without realising, I had gone on flight. Autopilot.

I have been running away from who I am in this city. I have been running away from fixing parts of me that would help me survive the unsurvivable. I’ve been running away from conversations that would force me to be fully present. I’ve been running away from the present straight into the more attractive arms of the future.

The problem with running away from the present is that your life gets put on hold. The truth of the matter is that we will forever exist in the present. If we are continuously running after tomorrow, we’ll never win because there’s always a tomorrow. The race would never end.

Singleness is one of the realities I have been running away from. When everyone around you is either promised marriage, working towards marriage or finalising preparations for marriage, the fact that you are only 23 years old fades into the pressure of having a pimped out left hand. Culture. Whenever my age comes into question, it is followed by a remark that is leaning towards marriage. It is an ideology that has been drilled into my head for as long as I can remember. Don’t get me wrong, I want to get married, I really do. But I have come to the realisation that life doesn’t start upon the commencement of Holy matrimony…it continues.

It was my mother who, not so long ago said, “Know that in every aspect of your life, you are a single woman. Own it. Live in it. Marriage will come but for now, embrace being single.” I had so many questions. I still do. But right now, those questions could go unanswered and I’d still be fine. I have missed so many chances by being in flight. I have missed chances of being a friend, a sister, a church member…I’ve missed chances of being the stranger that God used to speak life into a dying situation.

I have missed chances of being a vessel all because the married me seemed more attractive and more useful than the single me; the married me has greater purpose, says deeper and more meaningful prayers, but most importantly, she’s a size 6 woman who is as in love with the gym as she is with her husband, who eats all she wants without putting on weight, whose job is incredibly great and has all the money in the world. She is everything I should start working on being now but am too caught up in the clouds to pick myself up and push. Million dollar dreams with a minimum wage work ethic…

The thing about the response to fear is that we don’t consciously trigger it or even know what’s going on until it has run its full course. My fear of spiritual disability or even death due to my present status triggered the longest marathon I have ever run. My geographical location is part of Gods plan. My marital status in this particular city at this particular time in my life is all part of Gods plan. Tomorrow still seems more appealing but knowing that there will never be a moment like now again keeps me present. There will never be a moment like this. Never will there be a breeze so gentle. Never will there be sun rays so poetic. It takes being present. It takes showing up. It takes fighting to stay present and stay aligned to the will of God. After all, the will of God existed before the chemistry of fear did.

***This was written about 2 months but I was going through a phase of crippling fear to post anything. Now I’m back 🙂 and I pray that the Lord may continue to use me to touch your hearts. Be blessed.***

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Knowing Me

#Truth

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#Feature

#SpokenWord Isaac Wimberly

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If there are words for Him then I don’t have them
You see my brain has not yet reached a point
Where it could form a thought
That could adequately describe the greatness of my God
And my lungs have not yet developed the ability
To release a breath with enough agility
To breathe out the greatness of His love
And my voice, my voice is so inhibited
Restrained by human limits
That it’s hard to even send a praise up
If there are words for Him then I don’t have them

My God
His grace is remarkable
Mercies are innumerable
Strength is impenetrable
He is honorable, accountable, and
favorable
Unsearchable yet knowable
Indefinable yet approachable
Indescribable yet personal
He is beyond comprehension
Further than imagination
Constant through generations
King of every nation
But
If there are words for Him then I don’t have them

You see my words are few
And to try and capture the one TRUE God
Using my vocabulary will never do
But I use my words as an expression
An expression of worship to a Savior
A Savior who is both worthy and deserving of my praise
So I use words
My heart extols the Lord
Blesses His name forever
He has won my heart, captured my mind
And has bound them both together
He has defeated me in my rebellion
Conquered me in my sin
He has welcomed me into His presence
Completely invited me in
He has made Himself the object of my sight
Flooding me with mercies in the morning
Drowning me with grace in the night
But
If there are words for Him then I don’t have them

But what I do have…Is Good News
For my God knew that man-made words would never do
For words are just tools that we use
To point to the Truth
So He sent his son Jesus Christ as THE WORD
Living proof
He is the image of the invisible God
The firstborn of all creation
For by Him all things were created
Giving nothingness formation
And by His word He sustains, in the power of His name
For He is before all things and over all things He reigns
HOLY IS HIS NAME!!
Praise Him for His life
The way He persevered in strife
The humble Son of God becoming the perfect sacrifice
Praise Him for His death
That He willingly stood in our place
That He lovingly endured the grave
That He battled our enemy
And on the third day rose in victory
Praise Him because He rose!!
Hallelujah He rose!!
He is everything that was promised
Praise Him as the risen King
Lift your voice and sing
For one day He will return for us and we will finally be
United with our Savior for eternity
So it’s not just words that I proclaim
For my words point to the WORD
And the WORD has a name
Hope has a name
Joy as a name
Peace has a name
Love has a name
And that name is Jesus Christ
Praise His name FOREVER!

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Knowing Me

#Truth

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Knowing Me

Look at the sun

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“Oh do you need me to move honey?”

That moment felt so real. His eyes were smiling at me when he called me honey. In a matter of minutes I had moved from friend to honey. Not knowing how to answer, I turned away from his luminous gaze and shifted to make space for people I was sure were my FRIENDS.

An hour into that moment I realised he was only being sweet and playful. If only I could explain that to my hormones which were having a rager. I wasn’t upset with him for doing that, for setting off alarms that would take hours to silence. I wasn’t upset because I realised that I too did that every now and then. I too find myself having blurted out the words “babe” or “honey” to the opposite sex. I’ve never thought ill of it until it was done to me. I was tugged without cause. I was forced into a real moment then later told it wasn’t real.

I walked out of that lunch break wishing for all sorts of things. One simple word changed the way I looked at him, the way I spoke to him. It was weird. It was all still the same but all so different. With much hesitation, I decided to pull myself towards myself and live in the reality that is our friendship; nothing more and nothing less. I struggled to maintain this decision, mostly because my mind had already drawn up a perfect picture of what wasn’t but could be. Feeling rather pathetic I stuck my head in a stack of work and tried not to look back but even that was difficult. Sometimes I think my eyes control me more than I control them. You know how you look away from something either disgusting or distasteful but always seem to take a few peaks as if to ensure truth. So I kept looking back, figuratively, at what had just happened.

After unmentionable seconds I came to a place of realisation. There aren’t a lot of people that see me and I don’t mean see with the natural eye. I mean beyond the natural eye. Not many people see beyond what they see when they look at me and so when someone does see me, my background song changes. It is a feeling that I struggle to put in words. It’s like when you bump your funny bone; you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’s like (and only women will get this) taking off your tummy tuck tights after a full day of being tucked. Being seen is an art. It’s abstract in a literal way. So when I’m seen, when someone takes the time to actually squint their eyes and try to focus in, when they look at the sky and I happen to be the star they fix their eyes on, I naturally feel the need to love. I feel the need to open up and give all the love I have.

It took a very long time for me to see myself. It took even longer to notice that God sees me. There is a level of vulnerability that comes with being seen. It’s almost as though you’re standing naked; so uncovered that nothing you say or do comes as a surprise. I don’t want to lie, it is one of the most beautiful and poignant moments that life has to offer. So beautiful that it makes the world around you more colourful. It tattoos a smile on your face. It makes the butterflies that so often float around your tummy feel like eagles. 

So instead of allowing myself to have these waterfall/spring water like moments, I think I’m choosing to veil myself until the one who is supposed to see me sees me. I pray that I have enough wisdom and discernment to know when he comes along. Being compared to something as celestial as the sun is amazing but it sucks when it comes from those that hover in the space of not yet. 

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#Fitness

#Fitness Weights

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I’ve always associated weight lifting with men…until I saw women that make it look good. I normally, like most women, use dumbbells up to 5 and sometimes 10kgs but that’s not enough. There is a space in our minds between what we do and what we could do. I’m ready to explore that space. I am challenging myself. I need to step out of the treadmill comfort zone and go beyond my imagination. I’m turning 23 this coming Friday and I’ve decided to make it my best year yet (by the grace of God). I’ve lived in “What If” avenue for too long. And this goes beyond the gym. I’ve been just surviving, now I think it’s time to live 🙂

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