Be honest with your trauma

 

It’s ok to not be ok.

I’ve been watching a lot of Grey’s Anatomy lately (mainly because I’m trying to catch up, I’ve just started season 12, don’t judge me) and let me just say, there’s a lot happening on that show, like A LOT. Sometimes you just don’t know which crisis to focus on. And I can sort of relate that to the past three and a half years of my life. Trauma after trauma and a huge mess in between.

Trauma: emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may lead to long-term neurosis.

In 2014, I left a city I had come to recognize as my happy place. I packed up what little I had and went back home. I had fought the good fight and after a while, the time came for me to leave and so I did. Trauma 1. In 2015 I moved from home to a city I never in my wildest dreams thought I would live in. And in that city, I learnt how to be alone, not because I wanted to…I didn’t have much of a choice really. Trauma 2. 2016 came with a horrible relationship that I basically destroyed myself for just so we could be. Trauma 3. In 2017, an opportunity to go back to my happy place presented itself so beautifully and in the blink of an eye, that opportunity was taken away from me. I didn’t lose it; it was snatched out of my hands. Trauma 4.

While all of this was going on, life around me had to continue. I had to get new friends and watch them drift off. I had to find a church to learn that rejection sucks but it is definitely not worth the attention we place on it. I had to middle man the heck out of arguments because at some point I learnt that we are our parent’s keepers. I had to be an adult and take the trash out even on days when nothing in me wanted to leave my bed… The mess in between.

In normal situations, after a traumatic experience, your brain systems shift from reactive to responsive but sometimes, the shift doesn’t happen. Sometimes it just takes longer than normal. And in those times, your life as you know it, can be hijacked by changes you are not responsible for.

I’ve recently had to take stock of my life and in that process, I noticed a lot of changes that I could not account for. I cry a lot. I’m crying as I write this. I’ve always been a cryer but not this much. I sleep a lot too. And I eat. And I’m closed off. I cannot open up to anyone. Then it hit me. I’m not a normal situation. My brain didn’t shift systems. And now I have moments of not being ok.

I never thought I would say this, but I’m grateful for everything I’ve been going through, I really am. I have grown and I have learnt an insane amount. Right now, I’m learning that faith is hard. It’s hard and I wish people would stop sugar coating Christianity. Faith is hard. Believing that your mess will one day be cleaned up is not easy. Praying for a mess that has absolutely nothing to do with you but somehow you’re in it is not easy. But here I am, faithing it every day.

There’s nothing wrong with not being ok.

One of my favourite scriptures right now is Hebrews 4:15-16 (MSG) and it reads as follows,

We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

Jesus knows that sometimes we’ll be tempted. He knows that sometimes life will sucker punch us repeatedly. But you can’t let that be the death of you. At some point, you must get up and move. It doesn’t matter what your getting up looks like, just do it. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t. Most of the time, we need more help than what we think. Reach out to God. Pour your heart out to Him. Reach out to your church family. Surround yourself with people that will stand for you when you cannot stand for yourself.

If you need to see a therapist, do it. If you need to be on some medication, get on with it. Or if you just need a holiday, pack your stuff and go. There’s a better you waiting at the end of every traumatic experience. There’s a wiser you waiting at the end of your neurosis. Don’t make the better you wait longer than it should. Take the mercy, accept the help.

Advertisements

Lessons in the bags we carry

luggage

 

I’ve been meaning to post something for the past three weeks but I could not find anything deep enough. I couldn’t think of the any words big enough…because that’s how I sometimes validate my gift; big words and deep phrases. When really all I needed to do was ask God what He wanted me to learn at this point in my life. So my first lesson is to stop basing whatever gift God has given me on how good I can make it look. It’s not about looks. It’s not about me.

Second lesson.

Friday morning, I left my place for work a little later than usual. Because of this not so wise decision, I had to park quite far from my work building. So I hopped out of my car and tried to be positive about this journey I was about to embark. “Yes it’s cold but that’s why you bought coffee right? So smile girl, you made it through the week.”

With my laptop bag hanging over my left shoulder, handbag and phone in one hand and coffee in the other, I started my long walk to the place that pays me every month. (Please believe that I am more enthusiastic about my workplace than I sound). It couldn’t have been a more normal process. I was walking. Minding my own business, trying to motivate myself for the day that was about to unfold.

While in the moment, I noticed a young lady walking in front of me. She was about a short jog away from. Like me, she had a couple of bags she was carrying. But she looked like she was struggling. Actually I think she was. She had three big bags, two on one shoulder, and one on the other. We’ll call her bag lady. Seeing how much of a hard time bag lady was having, I decided to offer some assistance.

“Do you need help?”

I think my voice was a little shaky and it didn’t carry through enough for her to hear me. And just as I was about to ask again, I took a moment. I looked at myself and started questioning how on earth I was going to help her. I mean my hands were just as full!

So I let her go.

That moment had me thinking. How many times do we offer to help when we ourselves could use a hand or two? And why? Why do we do that? I’ve struggled with this for a while and for the past few months, the Holy Spirit has been drilling into my head the two most important commandments.

Matthew 22:37-39

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’

I want to talk about the second one. Love your neighbour as yourself. In other words, the measure of love you extend to your neighbour should be equal to the one you give to yourself. My problem with that scripture used to be that it implies loving yourself first. I struggled with that. The biggest lie the devil dealt me with was that I was not as important as I thought I was therefore deeming loving myself as useless and unfortunately, continuous rejection coupled with me just being a weird person made me believe that lie. And for the longest of times, I thought loving people and helping and showing compassion would lead me to eventually love myself. I don’t know where I got that logic you guys but man was it wrong…

Sadly I realized it was wrong when I had nothing in me to give to anyone. I was proper empty. The only cup that was overflowing was the one responsible for my hair growth but even that started to not so much overflow as it did just flow (but God restored that can I get a HALLELUJAH!!).

The day I gladly lent a helping hand and expected a thank you at the end was the day I knew I needed to check myself. And I’m glad I followed that hunch because I was dry. I was dry while in the presence of God; not because God had stopped being God but because I had stopped being a vessel. I had gone through so much disappointment and so much heartache that the love of God was more head knowledge than it was life. Once God opened up my eyes to that, we began the process of healing.

We have a good, reliable, self sufficient source. His love never runs out, like ever. It is for us to ask Him to fill us up so that we may overflow with Him. We need to stop allowing ourselves to walk around lifeless. There is Life. We need to stop making other people thieves by giving them things we don’t really have. Love yourself enough to see when stretching yourself is going to do more harm than good. Love yourself enough to love your neighbour.

I really hope bag lady made it to her destination in good shape. My prayer now is God may fill me up so I can be ready to help when I meet another bag lady.

 

Clinging

40283-beauty_800w_tn.jpg

 

I woke up one morning and after looking at myself in the mirror, I realised that my face had changed. So I walked away carrying that new image and it really bugged me…’cause it was different. I mean I still had the same face from the day before but that particular day, it looked different. It looked more discoloured and less selfie worthy. How?? How did I manage to go from a hundred to minus one in a couple of hours? So in disbelief, I drag myself back to the same mirror just to make sure that I wasn’t going crazy. I wasn’t. My face had changed. So I took a bath and slapped some makeup on my face and made myself look a little more recognizable to the part of me that has a screwed definition of beauty.

How many times do you have to convince yourself that you’re beautiful?

How many times do you have to amp yourself up before leaving the house? How many times do you have to sing scars to your beautiful in order to start feeling like your regular self? How many times do you ask God to just be the makeup on top of your makeup just so you can go through an entire day not feeling like an ugly duckling?

Needless to say, that day was not my best. I carried that image of myself everywhere and even though I was made up and looked “acceptable” (it really was a bad day) I could not shake feeling like people saw me the way I saw myself.

I could not show up for myself that day. And the thing is, life had to continue. So I had to fake it ‘til the end. Texts came, phone calls came, conversations beckoned. I wanted nothing but to curl up in a ball of self-pity and wallow. Sometimes we don’t ignore people because we don’t care. Sometimes we seem unavailable to the world because we are equally unavailable to ourselves.

The mental battle of being present when you can’t even show up for your own beauty is not small. As females we are trained to always look good; hair, nails, face…ALWAYS. Yet we’re almost never encouraged to look good for ourselves. Not until recently.

One of the deepest struggles we go through as females is that of recognising our own beauty. It’s there, we know it, but because it doesn’t match the “standard” we down play it. I’m a dark girl so I speak for the fully melanised girls when I say that it is one thing for society to not recognise your beauty, it’s another when society itself looks exactly like you.

There are so many girls walking around with an obscured perspective of beauty and instead of correcting that, society seems to be making matters worse. It’s like girls are raised up being told they’re pretty but at some point all of that stops. Then you’re left with fading voices that remind you of your true image. You’re in trouble when the words from those voices don’t match the world built standard of beauty.

It has taken me years to understand that no two voices matter more than the voice of God and my voice. God will always tell you the truth. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are made in His image. You are more precious than rubies. Truth. Our voices are then supposed to be aligned to God’s voice; echo His words.

That day was one of my worst days this year because the devil caught me off guard. I was looking too fly prior to the day to even think that I might wake up and feel ugly. But I’m glad it happened. Because now I know that even when my voice isn’t aligned to Gods voice, God always has the last say. And that day He taught me never to use the world’s standards for anything concerning my life. I am not of the world, I merely exist here. And beyond that, He taught me that when the truth in my eyes starts to fade, the truth in His takes over. No amount of discolouration or acne can make you ugly. No amount of ugly can make you ugly.

It’s a paradigm shift. It takes a lot of renewing of the mind but every hurdle is worth it. I fully understand the pain of not feeling enough. I get it. I lived with it and sometimes it comes knocking, talking about “let me in”. So as I’m writing this I really hope you hear me when I say that you are beautiful. But more importantly, that you hear God when He says you are far more precious than jewels. And when you cannot see it in the morning, cling onto the Word of God, cling onto the truth.

 

Travel bags and curling irons

64454-Vintage-Pink-Bicycle.png

 

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.

The war is over

bonfire-e

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

The chemistry of fear

image

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.***

Look at the sun

image

“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. 

John and Matthew

image

My head is full. There are about a million thoughts that I am processing every second. It is so full that I think I might just throw up…or maybe that’s the result of having seconds for dinner tonight. Oddly enough, I cannot find the right words to use to describe the storm that is brewing in my head. Bear with me…

“Until now you have asked for anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” John 16:24

I woke up to that verse a couple of days ago. I was surprised and overjoyed. Surprised because I had been asking God for a very particular thing quite religiously. Happy because I had hope that He wanted to give me what I was asking Him for. So I sat up that morning and started asking God. I asked Him for things that are so personal to me, typing them would seem like shouting them out on a rooftop. You know when you’re in church and everyone is praying out loud and shouting out how awesome God is but when they get to personal things the volume goes down drastically…this was that type of prayer. I received it and I thanked God for it in advance and I got ready for work.

“Ye know not what ye ask” Matthew 20:17-23

Standing next to my kitchen counter, I read that verse and I froze. It’s from TD Jakes sermon…I know this because I read the verse from a photo he shared on Instagram. I froze. If you know anything about the battle between Instagram and data usage you would know that I or anyone cannot afford to freeze while on Instagram. I froze. Having gathered myself I decided to move my post dinner body from the kitchen to my bedroom. I tried not to think about what I had just read but it kept flying across my mind…making me really want to throw up. What does He mean I don’t know what I ask??? Seriously Dad? Seriously? I couldn’t have been more precise if I wanted to. I stated what I needed and the reasons why I needed it. Can I please receive it so that my joy may be made full!?

I’m not angry…not in the least. I’m lost. I’m lost somewhere between Gods will and mine. I’m lost and I don’t know where I got lost. “God will never give you something that will take you away from Him.” My friend said that years ago but it’s like I can almost hear her voice utter those words right now. I didn’t know what I asked would take me away from Him…I actually thought it would bring me closer. I’m lost and the worst part is that my GPS (bible) is right next to me but I don’t know which coordinates to punch in…I don’t know where I am.

Outside the sky is pitch black, perfect for me to write on with some chalk. If it’s the words that come out of my mouth that made You say I don’t know I ask for then let me write it down because sometimes there’s a disconnect between my head and my mouth.

Dear Jesus

I’m not sure what You want from me anymore. I keep giving and giving but it never feels enough. I’m not tired yet, I’ll still give. I’ll give. But I need you to give me too. I need You to search my heart and let me know if what I’m asking for won’t glorify Your name. Everything under the sky belongs to You. I don’t doubt Your ability to give, I don’t. I’m asking with a heart that has no other option. I’m asking with a heart that knows that this can only come from You. I’m asking with a heart that is willing to receive correction if it be that my request is not Your will. I’m asking with a heart that’s lost but knows that You are good enough to come looking for me. Please Lord, hear my prayer. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

#Guest_blogger Nande – I bid you farewell

image

What if I tell you to let go of the very thing you think you have to hold? Will you trust me?

This question from one of the songs by Donnie McClurkin keeps ringing in my ear. I’m here trying to make sense of this sudden turn around that is my life. I’m an adjuster, I adjust easily but what’s happening now….why am I not getting used to this change? 

I had to say goodbye to my beloved P.E, my beloved church,my beloved friends,my beloved sisters and brothers, my parents…my people; what I’d come to call home. I was never ready for such a switch in what I’ve grown to know so well. It indeed feels as Kanyi  put it, “I am not finished, not yet.” It feels like I’ve been stripped of the most sacred of gifts. Everyday I wake up and I want to take off to my home,P.E…..yet with the stern knowledge that going back is not an option. Some days I hear the voice of my Pastor echoing the words that brought me to my knees before my  Potter when I finally realised what I’d have to carry; “WORLD CHANGERS CARRY A BURDEN” and I’m consistently reminded why I had to come back to this foreign land called home.

I will admit, my acceptance of my sudden fate had been prolonged possibly due to the fact that I’ve been running away a lot. It could be that deep down I’ve been hoping God will uncall me from my burden. But why would I rather God make stones do the work of my hands which through trial and tribulation, being chiseled and sharpened through fire, God made me the message the lost needs to hear. Lord knows how this is crushing me at my core. The silent sobs my heart cries that no one knows anything of in the midnight.

I’m not yearning to get my way anymore but rather yearning to be at peace with this my cup and cross. One day, maybe, someday,I’ll tell of how I left the people who were home to me, how I’d wake up yearning for their smiles and laughs and hugs because above anything, for the first time…I felt I belonged somewhere. But now, now I am stripped of that belonging back to finding my feet again, back to finding my muse, my place of belonging….yet even so, maybe contradictory to everything, I’m discovering me in the midst of the sobs and yearning for what I know I can’t have.

Discovering my tenacity, my anchor, my untapped reservoir of dreams and visions ’cause in the thick almost tangible silence that is my life…I face my inadequacies, my thorns and chaff and even though I find my imperfections I’m amazed how from an ordinary ragged and broken piece of cloth, God saw it fit that He turn this rag into a beautiful gown for nations to behold its beauty.

Though I sob, I’m submitting to His will for His will brings fullness of joy…so yes, I will trust in Him as I begin to let go of the very thing that was…is to me…my place of comfort. I thought I would cling to P.E till death but great are the plans which my heart had planned…It’s the Lord’s will that always prevails. Farewell P.E. Till we meet again my love 🙂

9am Sun

image

It’s 09:57 on a Monday morning and I’m still in bed. Freedom Day. That’s what today is. Today in South Africa we are celebrating 21 years of democracy.

You know how your mind gets super busy in the morning… Like I think of one thing and then another comes up and it links itself to another ‘til I don’t know where I started. That’s me right now. I’m trying to figure out where I started; I’m trying to figure out how I got here…

I’m sitting in an awkward yoga position on my bed (which is now starting to cramp my right leg) facing the window letting whatever sun ray gets to me hit me on the face. I figure that’s enough of a distraction to make me not focus on this hollow space in my heart. It’s been there for a while and I’ve been trying to get it filled with something or someone but I keep getting distracted and I keep letting myself get distracted because somehow I know that figuring out how it got to be so empty and hollow will hurt. I don’t want to hurt. I’ve been hurt a lot in my short life and today I really don’t want to be hurt. Not at 9am.

I used to be a dreamer. I used to dream that I’d be rich in my early 20’s and that I’d live a life filled with adventure and that I wouldn’t need anything but I’d be a giver of everything. And then I grew up and realised that though it doesn’t cost you to dream, disappointment will come knocking at your door once in a while. I don’t like disappointment. I don’t . So for a long time I stopped dreaming and just started living. Until I realised that I had to dream again in order to live with purpose.

There is so much that I want to accomplish but sometimes I just don’t know where to start and sometimes I’m just plain scared. Scared of starting and not finishing. Scared of starting and failing and not getting the courage to continue. Scared of starting and being rejected. I’m scared of being rejected. I’m scared of putting myself out there and not being good enough. I’m scared of exposing myself only to be turned down. I’m scared. Heck I’m petrified!

Last year September I packed my bags and moved out of a city that had become so dear to me. I fought countless battles in that city. Some I lost but some I was victorious in and having won the last battle (by the grace of God), God saw it good for me to move. I didn’t want to go. Moving meant starting over. I didn’t want to start over. Ironically, a few months before I moved I asked God to let me start over. I shared that with a friend of mine. I wanted to move and go somewhere where nobody knows me so I can start over. I wanted to run away from a can of worms that I had opened and couldn’t deal with any longer. I wanted to escape. I forgot about that request. And when the time came for me to move I didn’t want to go.

“Whatever you run away from will always be around to chase after you.”

I can attest to that. Though the last battle was won in Port Elizabeth, not all of them were. And the ones that were not conquered are now sticking their heads out trying to signal their existence.

There was a boy. There’s always a boy. Handsome young man full of zeal and potential. There’s something about potential that makes me go weak in the knees. I buckle at the sight of potential (help me Lord). We never dated, never even tried to even though there was something there. His nature was very broad; very loving yet stern, very childish yet manly, full of intent yet soft. Reading him was never easy. But in my heart I knew that there was something there. I couldn’t put my finger on it but there was something there. But because there was no way we could date, I never made it obvious that his presence made my stomach have a million knots.

I never made it obvious that his mere existence gave me hope. And because I knew the type of woman he goes for, I made it my mission to disqualify myself. I made it a point to look in another direction when he would come running my way. I made it a point to not allow myself to be disappointed. Sadly that is one of the battles that I am yet to conquer because as much as he didn’t exist 100% in my space, he had shares to my mind and my heart. So while running away from him physically was successful, mentally and in my heart he is running towards me and I don’t always have the strength to take my eyes off him and look in another direction.

My dreams have changed. I’m no longer focused on just being a billionaire. Things changed. Things happened and made my dreams change. Now I dream about freedom. I dream of the day when I will look back and think “Thank God for grace and mercy.” I now dream about listening to other girls speak and my heart smiling because I not only know what they’re talking about, but I also know that it can be conquered. I dream of the words “I used to”. I dream of a flourishing heart, a prospering mind and the purest of spaces behind closed doors. I dream. And that’s a good thing; that I’m dreaming again.