Mapping through The Plan

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What do you want to achieve?

I had to ask myself that question before I started writing this. I had to know what I wanted to achieve by writing this so I wouldn’t go off track. I had to make a mental mind map of where I would start and where I would end off. I had to because I don’t normally write about this; in fact this is my first time writing about it. My thoughts therefore had to be gathered. My mind had to be focused. My heart had to be open and preferably on my sleeve.

The picture above has been lingering in my phone for the past four weeks…there’s a story there, it just took me a while to get the words to tell it.

I am without a prince. And while this is my own choice, it is a decision that I have to remind myself of every day. I’m turning 23 in about 5 weeks and I should be getting married soon…well according to The Plan. The Plan. You know The Plan…the one you made when you were 10 or 13 or 16 years old…that plan. I made my plan when I was 14. The plan was to study journalism (I graduated with Business Management and Economics last Friday), become either a club DJ (though it was short lived, I thank God for taking me out of clubbing) or a radio DJ of which I am neither; I am an Auditor. I was then supposed to meet someone and get married at the age of 25 (which was later reduced to 24 then reduced to sooner rather than later) and become, and I quote, “An indispensible part of someone’s life.” Poetic.

The Plan has not unfolded the way I thought it would. I was never shaken by the school and career path change; it has always been as a means and not an end. However, I am starting to feel the pressure of being one with someone. Oddly enough, I find it very strange how we can plan such. I mean it’s not like when the opportunity presents itself, I’ll go down on one knee and ask this fairy-tale of a man to marry me. I may be 23 but I’m old school. I have to wait. If only I had written that down as part of the plan…

“The biggest block to our surrender is not our appetites and our wayward desires but our addiction to running our own lives.” Gary Thomas

Waiting wasn’t such a struggle when I was in varsity. It was easier to surrender then. It was easier because I knew that marriage was not going to happen until I finished my degree. It was an easy surrender. It was a logical surrender. But it was a surrender that had an expiry date. I now have to surrender everyday. I have to remind myself that my life is in the Lords hands and that His word promises that if I delight myself in Him, He will give me the desires of my heart. I now have to align my sight with God’s vision. It’s difficult. Sometimes I am tempted to get off the wagon and start dating and sometimes I just want to flirt.

Can I be real? Sometimes the struggle to stay single until marriage isn’t about wanting a partner; sometimes it’s about wanting to feel wanted and attractive and important to someone. It pains me to say this but sometimes knowing God loves me isn’t enough. And this is not because Gods love is not enough, it’s more than enough, but it’s because there are areas in my life that I haven’t let God be God in. That’s where I am. I am opening up every door and every window in my heart for God to enter and fill me with His complete and unending love. Everyday presents a chance for me to weigh my options…would I rather a man told me he loves me or God? God stays winning.

That is the reason behind staying single until marriage. I believe there is a level of intimacy I have to reach with God before I reach it with anyone else. So The Plan in this case may or may not come to pass but I am filled with faith and hope that even as I write this, my prince is being prepared for me just as I am being prepared for him.

Photo credit: Daniel Faro

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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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It’s complicated

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The sermon “Not By Myself” by TD Jakes takes a look into the life of Paul; specifically when he was on trial before of king Agrippa. I was struck by alot of things in this sermon and one of them was how complicated Pauls life got after experiencing God. When His name changed from Saul to Paul, a new creation was indeed formed but he was, unfortunately going to be judged as Saul as much as Paul.

Having obtained salvation, Paul was rejected by his past (Jews) but his future (Christians) was highly sceptical about accepting him which is understandable because he used to kill Christians. Have you ever been in a situation where who you were yesterday is making it difficult to transition into who you ought to be tomorrow?

One of my biggest regrets in life is not having lived up to my fullest potential in my studies. I regret allowing myself to be average. There is a brick wall of intelligence ignorance that came with the decision to be average and it is a wall that has been making my transition into being knowledgeable very complicated. So who I was is hindering with who I want to be and it’s all so complicated.

I found it odd for Paul to think himself happy when he was put before king Agrippa (Acts 26:2). But I’ve come to understand that Paul was given the opportunity to give his testimony to a man who came from a family of not so Christian loving people. Paul was given an opportunity to speak the truth that was his testimony to someone who had no reason to be compassionate to him. He was given an opportunity to confront that which would have been one of his past lifes highest moments and he thinks himself happy because he may have seen who he would have been and praised God for who he was.

As a new creation, that which truly is complicated is allows an opportunity for God to come in and glory. Therefore I stand before this brick wall of regret in my life and I speak the truth that is my testimony and that truth is that God loves me, He loves me He loves He loves me He loves, He cares, He loves me He loves me He loves me…and every time I confess that a brick falls off and another and another and another…because you see it may be complicated but my God is bigger than that! Jesus Culture put it nicely when they sing “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves me.” Key word there being maintain; to cause or enable a situation to continue. Until you confess the Truth over your situation you are enabling it to continue. So when this brick wall comes and tries to stop me from being joyous and peace filled I have to stop providing for its existence and start confessing that no weapon formed against me shall prosper and that when the enemy comes like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.

Sometimes you look over your shoulder and try to explain to people where you come from but the only words that come out of your mouth are It’s Complicated. Sometimes you try to make sense of what just happened so you can pick yourself up and dust yourself off but all you can say is It’s Complicated. Know this one truth, it may be complicated but God is bigger than that!!!

Unconquered trail

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In 2013, the singles ministry at church decided to embark on a mountain hike; and while I was a year too young to be part of the ministry, I went. In fact, a number of young adults went. As I’m writing this, I’m slowly remembering the events of that day so forgive me if this turns out a little scattered. The day started at about 5am for most of us. We got ready and had to meet in a neutral area which was church. Everyone’s spirit was up and lively. Everyone was excited. No one knew what the day had in store for us except that there was a mountain we would have to conquer…

Now Zuurberg Mountains are a playlist away from Port Elizabeth. But not your regular playlist…the one that has to keep you going even when you forget where you’re going. As such, we were advised to leave before the sun came up in order to remain on schedule. However, because there were a few unexpected folks, we were delayed. There was limited transport to where we were going but we couldn’t leave anyone behind. Come to think of it, we (the young guys) almost didn’t go because of the limitation.

We eventually all made it to the hiking trail spot and we were soon on our way. Not so far from where we started, we had to choose between two trails: one was a 3 hour trail and the other was 5 hours. We all decided to take the 5 hour trail considering that the 3 hour one could be steeper. And just by the way, not a single one of us had been on this trail before. We had no one from Zuurberg to accompany us. All we had was a map. So we went. We were singing and chatting and laughing along the way, in complete bliss of this experience and the beautiful weather that came with it.

We went through shady and bushy parts and we went through open land where the sun scorched with no mercy. We stopped at two water pools to rejuvenate as well as look at the beauty surrounding this remote land. There were times when one would need a stick to hold on to while going up and there were times when knees would wobble as we walked downhill. What I consider the defining moment came hours into our hike when we found out that we were lost.

If I could, I would’ve cried but I was too tired and scorched to even try. After hearing the news, a couple of people continued walking in the hope of finding one hiking base or another. I was part of the people that decided to go back and find where we had taken the wrong turn and correct that mistake. The decision was very impulsive and it was based on the fact that we didn’t know what was ahead but we knew what was behind us. The sun grew cruel as though to spite us. There was less shade. We had less water, nevermind energy levels.

About an hour into our hike back we grew quieter and quieter. I found myself in a place I couldn’t come out of. My head was throbbing, my skin was burning, my mouth was dry, my prayers had stopped, my faith was barely hanging. I was depreciating. I remember going up one particular mountain that was so steep that if you’d miss a step, it would be the end of you. In that very mountain we decided to sit for a while and regain whatever strength our bodies had stored up. Five minutes of my life went missing on that mountain. I blacked out. I started coming to upon hearing people’s voices. Then I realised they wanted to carry me up. I pushed myself and opened my eyes, got up and we all started walking again.

I thought reaching the top of that mountain would be a relief until I got up there and saw absolutely nothing. There was no sign of base camp whatsoever, only a car trail. So we decided to follow it. About an hour into that walk we started seeing where we were going. All of sudden there was hope. Our voices got a little louder. Our faces lit up. We were close to home. Now at this stage we had split into two groups where one was almost a kilometre ahead of the other. I was part of the ones that were one km behind. As we walked, we saw a car coming our way to give us a ride back. The guys ahead decided to continue by foot considering that they were really close. When it got to us, I didn’t think twice about it; I hopped on. But instead of it going to the base camp, it went back to look for other people that had not returned to base. Eventually we went back and arrived at base camp at sundown.

While I learnt a lot in that experience, one thing about it has always haunted me; I didn’t finish it. Two kilometres to the finish line I took the first way to get there faster. I didn’t finish. I may have walked longer than some people did, I may have climbed more than some people did but I didn’t finish. When Christina Yang was leaving Greys Anatomy, she had a moment with Meredith where she confessed that she didn’t want to leave because it felt like she was not done; she needed to finish something.

Leaving Port Elizabeth became a difficult task because of that very reason. I wasn’t finished. I needed to finish. I didn’t finish Zuurberg, I didn’t finish serving, I didn’t finish being a friend, I didn’t finish being a daughter, a confidant, a helping hand, a loving heart…I didn’t finish. And there’s a hole in my heart that’s labelled “Not finished.” But sometimes you have to ride on the will of God even when you don’t want to. I have watched that last episode of season 10 over and over again and for a long time I too didn’t feel finished. It wasn’t until God inclined my ears to what Meredith’s response was. “You don’t feel finished because this is not the end for you.” Just that one line made leaving what I had called home for the past four years easier. “There is no finish line, there is no end point…you just have to go.”

I’ve gotten better. The hole in my heart has gotten smaller but of all the things I felt unfinished about, Zuurberg remains unsettled. I need to finish that mountain. I need to finish that one thing. I don’t know when and I don’t know with whom, but I know that I have to go back to that mountain and conquer it because though it has no end point, it does have a finish line and I owe it to myself to cross it.

Growing pains

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I’ve been quite an idiot…the younger me that is…total utter idiot. I climbed a wall once. You know…those fence walls built around a yard to separate houses…that wall. It wasn’t the highest of walls but some chair enhancement was needed to get on top of it. So I climbed the wall. The plan was to get the attention of a cute boy that had just come through the gate at home. I wanted him to see me when he walks out so he’d maybe say hi and maybe strike up a conversation about my current situation. I didn’t think I was interesting enough. That’s why I climbed the wall. I didn’t think he would notice me had I just continued with my ordinary self. I had to do something drastic, something that screamed, “You have to talk to me now!”

I once thought I was a rapper and decided to challenge some other popular rapper guy from high school. Break time came and what would decide the fate of my proposed popularity was at hand. It was raining so I can’t say I was sweating at any point but I was nervous. He started and as he was going on and on, I was trying to figure out what rhymes with what. I was trying to be part of crowd I had no business being oart of. I was trying something else because I had very little faith in what I knew I already had. I was trying other things because I didn’t know that who I was (different), was what we all wanted. I didn’t know I had everything I needed…needless to say I lost the battle because I couldn’t make out a single sentence and because somehow that day, the bell went off sooner than it usually did.

These are just fractions of the things I’ve done while in the dark. I was in the crevice of a dark stone age. I had very little self-worth but amazingly, I had very wild dreams about my future. I think I always knew that I was in the dark. It never crossed my mind that that was the life I was born to live. I knew there was something better. Having given my life to the Lord at the age of 12, I knew He was there and therefore everything would soon shape up but I didn’t know what to do with Him. I just didn’t know how to be His child. Personally I think that that is the worst kind of darkness. There’s light but there’s no light. I thought one day I’d wake up a beautiful yellow bone, nicely shaped girl with all the right things going on for me.

I didn’t know that when He made me, He looked at me and said, “This is good.” I didn’t know that when He made my grandparents He already knew me. I didn’t know that He made my path to be just the way it is, making me cross mountains just so He can show up when I have nothing left so He can be my everything. I didn’t know that I didn’t have to do drastic things because He already made me different and therefore no matter how similar I can be to someone, no one in this entire world can ever be like me. I didn’t know I was interesting, not by might or by power but by the Holy Spirit. I didn’t know.

That is why I do what I do now. That’s why I write. Because I now know. I thought this blog only had the capacity to reach people in South Africa but I’ve been constantly seeing people from other countries and other continents go through the contents of this blog. My prayer has always been that the Truth that the gospel of the Lord reaches everyone, even to the ends of the world. And as days go by, I see that it is. I don’t regret being an idiot because it not only made me realise how precious God is to me, it also gave me stories to tell. Stories that I hope will let you know that because the One that made you is Beautiful, you too are beautiful.

Just by the way

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This sandwich could be the unhealthiest sandwich in the entire world yet you wouldn’t know because you cannot clearly see what is on the inside. There are flashes of green on the sides which would elude you to think that this is a healthy meal. The leaves right next to it and the way the bread looks like homemade gluten free bread makes this picture conclude that (assuming you’re a health or fitness person) this is something to include in your diet.

But what if it’s not healthy? What if somewhere hidden in-between those two slices of bread is something potent enough to give you an instant heart attack?

Don’t be this sandwich. Don’t look like something you’re not, don’t be something you’re not. Don’t have fragments of goodness, be good. Most of all, don’t surround yourself with light and remain in the dark.

#Fashion Nike Air Max

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I’m that lady that knows when it’s time for red bottoms and when it’s time for Nike Air Max’s. This is by far one of the prettiest yet hard core sneakers I know of. It’s a great tool for a dress down day. These are a few looks I love that I found on various sites. Be inspired

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Peaceful sobs

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I wish I could’ve gotten the chance to explain my weeping. I feel like had I explained, some would not have gone home and asked God to heal me yet my tears were not the result of hurt. I’ve held this sentiment throughout the past 15 months…

I wish I could get up and not feel so drained because my tears come from a deep well. Rather, I wish I could get up and smile and have enough words to tell you how I really feel…peaceful.

If ever there was a crying quota, I know that in the year of 2014, I exceeded that quota. There were times when I’d cry every single day for a week. There were times when I’d cry myself to sleep almost every night. There were times when I would cry so much that opening my eyes would become a chore. There were times when I’d sit and sob at the altar, hoping I could just lay there for eternity and have God minister to me.

While many of these moments were as a result of being broken, having looked back, I realised that majority of them were caused by the goodness of God. I could not understand a lot of things that were happening last year, but even then, I carried an enormous amount of peace, peace that I had received from the Prince of Peace Himself.

Today at church I was reminded of these moments. I wept throughout the service and I wish I could’ve explained to the lady sitting next to me that I was ok…in fact I was more than ok. I was having a moment of overpowering gratitude.

When I look at myself today and I think of the person I was 5,6 years ago, I cannot but shed a tear. A friend of mine, upon request (workshop activities), described me as a package the other day. A Package. Everything you need in a person…a package. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that one day I would be described as a package. This is why I weep. There is absolutely nothing I have done to deserve what I have, who I am and where I am going. I still may not much material things to show, but that doesn’t bother me for my war, just like most, was not on the outside but on the inside. Pst. T.D Jakes once said that because the war is on the inside, so is the bleeding.

I remember moments when I would be so hurt that I would go into the bathroom (the only private room at home) and I would cry that very silent and very painful cry. Five minutes later I’d walk out of there as if nothing happened; smiling and cracking jokes. I used to know of very little peace. I remember a season when at home cell meetings, the only thing I would talk about and pray about was peace. I knew it was attainable, I knew of people who had it and I wanted it with every fibre in my body. That’s the life that I used to live. But God saw me…He saw me and a love in His heart got stirred up and He remembered me and He redeemed me.

I now know peace. I now know what it’s like to sleep peacefully. I now know what it’s like to laugh wholeheartedly. I now know what it means to be anchored in His goodness; that even when things are not going your way, they will surely work together for good. I know because He showed up while I was in a desert and where there was nothing now flows a river, where there was darkness now exudes light, where there was bareness now there is plenty of life.

If this can encourage even one soul I will bless God for it. Tests aren’t meant to kill us, they’re meant to make us wiser. There is no pit God cannot reach down and get you out of. There is no storm that God cannot silence. He is a good God. He is a good God. Put your trust in Him and anchor yourself in His goodness. He is a good God.

#Spoken_word I am

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Before blogging, many years ago, I wrote poetry. For a long time I used that as my way of venting. Time went by and I kind of ourtgrew it but it’s always been an art that’s quite close to my heart. I wrote this about three years ago when God was starting to open up my eyes to see what a blessing it is to be called Woman…enjoy 🙂

I am proper,
I come with terms and conditions,
copyright laws,
standard.

I am a different kind of sophistication,
a fly sister,
with lips that run like water from a burst pipe,
charisma brighter than the sun on the hottest day,
mind deep
thoughts rich
more eyes than the natural set.
Don’t let my ghetto vocabulary phase you,
I am more than what I say.
I touch with intention
move with liberty
kiss with inspiration.
Golden,
an aura of grace
presence of humility.

I am spirit.
Faith like an evergreen tree,
I look not at the world,
but at the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
His love is pure,
His love is forever.
The same God that heals, delivers, sanctifies and is
glorified fathers me.
He is arms to hold
heart to love
feet to follow
and voice to hear.
I am my own specie.
I appreciate,
I celebrate.
My love is simple yet full
yes I love.
I love passionately
I laugh tremendously
and I have fun gracefully.

Colour me Woman
for I am.

#FitnessWisdom Focus

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While doing a treadmill warm-up this week, I got an “a-ha” moment. For a while I had been trying to train myself on focusing on one thing while running. I found that this helped me run more. So on this particular day, I looked across the gym and I fixed my eyes on two gentlemen who were lifting weights. Now, before we think I’m a perv, I’m not lol. They doing really interesting things and I just decided to turn their way for a little while…Anyway they then became the object of my focus.

Focus (verb): to adjust one’s vision or an optical device so as to render a clear, distinct image; pay particular attention to; to concentrate attention or energy

Unfortunately I have a short attention span and so it wasn’t long ‘til I got bored and started thinking about wondering off and looking elsewhere. Before the decision was even finalised in my head, my eyes were already on something else. Almost instantly I started gasping for air and I could feel myself grow tired. I tried to refocus on the former but I wondered off again. A few seconds later I slowed the machine down. I could not believe it!

Then it hit me. It is extremely important to stay focused, in anything. Let me hasten to say that every level of life requires one to refocus, change gears, change perspective, shift focus. However, if you are running track, you cannot, or rather you should not compare yourself to someone who is on the back of a horse. That’s what I mean when I talk about shifting focus. Shifting your focus leads you to see everything that is out of your spectrum. It allows you to see what other people are doing, how far they are, how much ground they’ve gained…Mostly, shifting focus leaves very little room for you to celebrate your own progress.

I could have run longer had I not sunk in into the temptation of looking for something else. Something else didn’t give me new energy nor did it inspire me; instead it slowed me down and threw me off my goal. Stay focused. Be it in your new job, last semester of your second year with your junior degree, your marriage, your faith in God…refuse to be distracted. Stay focused.