Clinging

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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

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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.

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

Death of a game player.

HANNAH BRENCHER

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It was two summers ago. 2013.

I would have told you, in a nonchalant tone of voice, that I was “keeping my options open.”

He and I, we weren’t official. We weren’t much of anything at all besides a few dinners and a person to report back to at the end of the night. I knew that if we talked about it then the consensus would be mutual: This won’t go too far. And it’s okay if there are other people you talk to at night.

He was sweet though. Schooled me in enchilada-eating competitions. Took my hand at the movies. Sang (out of pitch and out of tune) right along side me in the car.

You could have thought the world of him. You could have told me he was certainly “it” but my conclusions were certain and drawn already: I knew I wasn’t going to date him long-term.

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Extra Extra, Read All About it: Spring/Summer Makeup Trend Alert!

I’m new in the makeup world and I am loving it 🙂

The Girl In a Cocktail Dress

The rainbow comes and goes,

And lovely is the rose;

The moon doth with delight

Look round her when the heavens are bare;

Waters on a starry night

Are beautiful and fair;

The sunshine is a glorious birth;

But yet I know, where’er I go,

That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

 Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth 1770-1850

April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with Spring rain. 

The Waste Land by T.S Eliot 1888–1965

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,

Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare


Dear readers,

For centuries, poets and writers such as Wordsworth, Eliot, and Shakespeare have been using the…

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Salmon en Croute

This looks delicious!

TwinDays

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An elegant dish: Salmon stuffed Puff Pastry.

Sea food is so delicious plus they say that eating fish twice a week is good for your health! Fish are a lean, healthy source with high level of proteins and nutrients (B-12 and iron). The omega 3 fatty acids in fish has so much benefit for your health such as reducing the risk of heart disease,  lower blood pressure and to strengthen the immune system and so on and on.  Fatty fish such as Tuna, Salmon, Oysters, Sardines, herring and Mackerel are considered as the most healthy fish. And you can do so much with it. Salad with fish or making soup etc.

We saw so many fish recipes in one of the magazine and we love to get inspired and couldn’t wait to make/bake it our self. So a couple days ago we made a” Salmon en croute”.

Ingredients: 

Salmon
Juice…

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Slow Cooked Beef Pot Pies

Healthy Eating On A Student Budget

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It seems to be a bit odd posting this recipe for a slow cooked pie when I am inside my house right now hiding from the scorching New Zealand  sun! But I suppose I miss the chilly winter Christmassy days that I used to have in England, and food is a way of reliving those feelings. Anyway, this recipe came out of me having hardly anything in my freezer/fridge/pantry because I desperately try to avoid the supermarkets at this time of year and also after buying Christmas presents I am officially poor. I had some stewing steak (topside beef) so I got out my trusty Breville Fast/Slow cooker and created these little bad boys. They are awesome individually portioned in funky little ramekins or pie dishes. When cooked for a long period of time slowly, this cheap cut of meat transforms into rich, tasty beef that just falls apart =…

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#Wellness healthy lunch for work

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A while ago God blessed me with a job offer, about six weeks ago I started working as an audit trainee. I can’t begin to express how blessed I am with this opportunity 🙂

Anyway, shortly after I started, I realised that lunch was either going to be the birth or the death of me. For three weeks we were hosted by the company. Breakfast was a full english breakfast starting with cereal and ending with beautifully sautéed mushrooms and a very extensive cheese board. Tea break (yes we had that too) was croissant sandwiches with cookies and hot beverages. Lunch…from chicken lasagne to sushi, from Greek salad to beef stew with rice, from grilled fish to a regular burger and chips meal. Dinner was lunch on steroids. Every night had a selection of desserts. This was my life for three weeks.

I then decided to join the gym and start training for ironman and I knew things would have to change with the way I eat. One thing I had to change immediately was lunch. Canteen lunch, as good as it is, is not the healthiest nor is it the most economical. The following are great lunch ideas f for the office:

1. Leftovers
Assuming that dinner was a healthy meal, leftovers are great time savers and they’re mostly not too bad on the taste buds.

2. Salads
It’s one of the fastest meals one can make. Depending on what you like on your salad, this could easily take you five minutes to make. Add a rice cake or two and you’ve got a good filling meal.

3. Sandwiches
The healthy route for this would be gluten free bread or low gi seeded bread. There are more options but I find those two satisfying. I try to stay away from butter and use smooth cottage cheese instead. Pack it with lettuce, roast beef slices and you’ve got a winner.

4. Fruit
This would go with snacks on the side such as dry fruit, peanuts, rice cakes or a 100g cup of yoghurt. Usually one banana and two other fruit servings do me a world of good.

The aim is to fill up on a healthy meal and not to starve yourself so don’t restrict yourself too much. But I don’t mean get a take away after your fruity lunch haha. Usually a smoothie helps to keep the hunger pangs away plus they’re really good. Be healthy, be a better you 🙂

Once upon a time

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Once upon a time I hated silence. The stillness of it was very uneasy. The eeriness that surrounded it was highly unnerving. I couldn’t stand the inexistence of vibrations that caused audible mechanical waves. No doof doof, chitter chatter or tweets…nothing.  I couldn’t deal with how deafening it was. My sanity was often tested in moments of complete and utter silence; where the sound of a pin dropping feels magnified.  But most of all, I could not (and I did not want to) cope with the truth that lingered in the midst of it. It’s a piercing kind of truth that makes you focus into it whether you like it or not.

God being God, led me to countless moments of such silence. Last year September, I was separated from my daily routine, my ordinary surroundings, my comfort people. After completing my degree in June, I lingered in Port Elizabeth trying to find employment opportunities. I was rushed, would’ve accepted anything really. In moments of great panic, I’d be cluttered with familiar noise; the voices of everyone besides the one that matters. Beginning August, God rocked me ‘til I was still and it was in that stillness when I found the overwhelming peace of what was to happen. When the time came for me to leave, there were no tears, only a smile that I could not understand.

When I got home, God was amazing enough to confirm words that He had given me. I felt a sense of relief but somehow, I knew that there was very little chance of me going back to PE. With each passing day, that thought started becoming more and more of a reality.  All of a sudden, I had to start over again. Even though home was the same, everything else was different. People who, when I left, were proper rebels had found the redemptive fingerprint of God and were new creatures. While this was awesome, it meant compounded change that I had to adjust to. The noise started again.

“Your friends in PE aren’t lost without you. After a week everything will resume as normal.”

“You don’t really belong anywhere here…no one understands the language you’ve taken time to learn.”

“You won’t find what you’re looking for. Why are you still with this God? If He loved you, wouldn’t He have given you a job in PE already?”

I developed frustration, waking up every morning and having to think about how I’m going to spend my day. The noise got louder and louder. Everyday seemed to go by very fast but I had very little to show for them. But because God is a God that cares for us, the noise stopped escalating and started to mellow down. It was then when I would find myself looking forward to go to Wednesday prayers and Thursday cell meetings and Sunday church services. All I wanted was to be in His presence. And it was in His presence where I found answers to my life’s essay questions. It was in His presence where I found the truth about myself. It was in His presence where I was moulded; reshaped, redefined, refreshed. It was in His presence where I found understanding. I was led into silence. I was led into stillness.

I praise God for being an ever present help in times of trouble. There is nothing in and about our lives that He doesn’t see. When the devil was trying to cloud my faith with his lies those months ago, God was there, watching. He allowed it to happen so I can also stand and proclaim Him as a God who hears our cries; you know those cries in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep and He is your only source of comfort. I bless God for those moments. I love the silence now.

#Review Bethel We Will Not Be Shaken

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“Bethel music exists to carry the culture of heaven to the nation through song.”

That is exactly what they’ve accomplished. Throughout the world, Bethel is known not only as a community of people that live to worship the Lord, but also people that carry the anointing to minister through song. They’re new album, We Will Not Be Shaken is one that carries songs of deliverance, praise, faith filled declarations and intense worship. It comes with a DVD that portrays the beauty in and amongst them as they worship God into the night. Recording on a mountaintop setting, this Redding, California based ensemble has truly reached another level of faith that is seen in their worship.

One thing that remains constant throughout the album is the presence of powerful, emotional, personal and prayerful lyrics. The opening song, we will not be shaken, starts us off with declaring that through God’s unfailing love, we will not be shaken. This is a song of truth over facts; stating that no matter what is going on around us and in our lives, His unfailing love establishes us on solid ground. No longer slaves has a similar theme. It is a declaration and a confession of no longer being slaves of fear because we are Gods own children. Led by Jonathan and Melissa Helser, this song brings raw emotion as it is also a song of deliverance.

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Jesus we love you stands out as an anthem of worship and gratitude for all that God has done, breathing in life to things that we thought were dead. It’s an intimate song that seeks to praise God for personal triumph as well as those of others. Amanda Cook leads a beautiful two part song titled You don’t miss a thing. The first part of this poetic song captures the essence of Gods beauty while the second part acknowledges God as an omnipresent God. Seas of crimson, You are my one thing and Who can compare to You carry the same anthem spirit of highlighting the glory and beauty of God that cannot be taken away from Him.  Home is a song that captures ones spirit to sing and worship along with the gifted vocalist Hunter Thompson.

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The closing song, In over my head (crash over me) by Jenn Johnson, is one that reminds me of Oceans by Hillsong. It is a song that comes from a place of deep conviction. The words give life to the melody that it carries. It brings a beautiful ending to this session of worship.

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