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Headhunted for God’s Kingdom


“For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us”….Ephesians 1:4-8

I grew up in a church where questioning any form of authority was out of a question. I was raised to respect elders, respect traditions and respect whatever decision is made on my behalf. If my mother said I was going to spend my school holidays at a church pilgrimage then that is exactly what I would do. My life was clearly mapped out, I was born into this church and I would most certainly die in it. I never thought I would ever leave, other than through death. I believed and was raised to believe, that this was the only way to heaven and the wasn’t a holier religion or church in all the world.

Looking back I realise what I thought was respect was not respect at all but rather fear and oppression! How do you respect what you do not understand? How do you respect what you had no free will to choose to respect? I lived in constant fear of losing my family’s affections which, even as a young child, I understood were based on how well I conformed to the rules set for me. I also knew that my status in the church was dependent on how well I conformed to the rules and how well I played the role of a subservient daughter and ultimately wife and mother.

I do not believe I would have ever been set free to really discover God’s character if I had not become a mother at fifteen. According to church customs I was not allowed to come to church during my pregnancy and a few months after my baby was born. Even worse, my baby was a girl so my exile was a few months longer than it would have been if I had had a baby boy. My exile presented to me the unique opportunity to sit alone while everyone else was at church to read the Bible and really try to get to the bottom of where it said in the Bible this exile was justified. As the weeks turned into months and my self-taught Bible course intensified, I started learning how everything I had known all my life was founded on shaky theories and Bible verses taken out of context.

Once you have read something it becomes increasingly difficult to unread it and delete it from your memory. After I had finally read about who Jesus was, how He had died and risen for my sins, it became increasingly hard to accept that I had to dress differently and endure the looks of disdain from people simply for the sin of having my daughter. I was a disgrace to my family and the church for having committed this great sin and it seemed like until I got married to hide the shame of it all, I would continue to suffer. This did not reconcile to the merciful, loving God I was reading about in my Bible. I can still remember my mother asking me, “do you think you are the only person who has read the Bible” when I was asking her about these inconsistencies.

Naturally I lost faith in the church because the Bible became the only authority I was willing to follow. I started weaning myself slowly and avoided going wherever I could, because believe it or not at sixteen and seventeen my mother still forced me to do things. A part of me also still continued to go because I saw it as a way to rebuild the relationship with my family and particularly my mother. It was not until I left home after high school to go to university across the country that I really had a chance to break free.

When I first arrived at university, I tried different churches and my friends were quick to suggest churches when they heard that I was looking for one. Sadly though this quest was soon forgotten when I was consumed by the demands of my studies, a budding new romance and buzzing social life. At certain times in the first four years in university I remember trying to get back into the routine of going to church but something always came up. It did not help that during the latter part of this time period, my boyfriend became the more important priority in my life and we had a busy social calendar and there was still the little issue of a degree that I needed to obtain! Nonetheless, through all of this God faithfully pursued me.

In my fifth and final year of university, I found myself alone and scared, like I was at fifteen. Here I was repeating my honours year, my boyfriend had graduated and moved across the country, I had cheated on him with disastrous consequences and above all I was back to being the black sheep of the family. It was during this time that God called me to Him for comfort. It was in going to church every Sunday that the light slowly returned to my eyes, my hope was restored and I stopped beating myself for my multitude of sins. Sadly this independence and the freedom to pursue God as He had pursued me, had to come to an end when I graduated and returned home.

Living with my mother once more meant I had to abide by the rules of her kingdom. She attempted as much as she could to drag me to church with her and she did not care much that I often came kicking and screaming. Luckily for me working life provided an excuse to miss church now and then. I could never dream though of waking up on a Sunday morning and going to a church of my choice.

The biggest act of rebellion, and the second biggest sin I have committed in the eyes of my family was to move out just six months after arriving back home. For the two years I lived on my own, I was criticised by my aunt and grandmother at every chance they had. I was called a lot of things and accused of many things. Firstly, I apparently thought I was superior now that I worked and earned my own money. Another was that I felt I was too educated for the church where at least three generations before me had worshiped. Many curses were spoken over my life and I was told I would never make it in life because I had rejected God(funny because to this day I still get told this, which makes me wonder where I go every Sunday morning and what I do with all my Bibles). When I moved out I found a church that I quickly settled into and really loved.

I will be forever grateful to my friend who introduced me to Durban Christian Centre, which has been my home over the past few years. As I thought of her I remembered how God says in Isaiah 46:11, “From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.” That is truly what He did in this instance; He brought this friend into my life so that His purpose will be fulfilled. Shortly after I reached what I think was the pivotal point in my walk with Christ, she simply walked out of my life. Without any fight, without any identifiable reason we simply went on our lives. Her job was done, I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior, I had denounced all ties that I had to my former life.

You would think that is where the story ends. You would think this is where I declare I lived happily ever after, my faith just flourished overnight and ever since then I have lived in perfect obedience and have always felt God’s presence in my life. No! This is not where the story ends. If it did, I think I would have to change my blog title to: “God is done with me” in which case I am almost certain that I would be doing that from heaven (provided the internet connection there is fast enough)! Even if the story did end here, I do believe that it would be a great story because it would tell of how God went looking for me when I was lost and brought me home, like the shepherd in parable of the lost sheep(Matthew 18:12 – 14). It would still be an awesome love story of how He loved me so much, He sent His only son to die in my place(John 3:16). We would fade out to the sound of heaven rejoicing over this one sinner who once was lost but now is found.

The truth though, is that God has never stopped pursuing me. Being a Christian is not about being won over into the kingdom of Christ once and that’s that. It is about dedicating your life continuously and repeatedly to the Lord. It is about growing in your faith through trials and tests that we go through. Any sword that is left unsharpened soon becomes dull and rusty and what use it in fighting off danger? I have learned through my experiences that we are not called to be statues in the Kingdom, we are called to be warriors and conquerors. We can never accept any responsibility for being chosen, we had no choice in the matter. Before we were born, before He laid the foundations of the earth, He had you and I in mind and He called us then to be His children. Our places in heaven are secured through the blood of Jesus Christ and all we need to do is accept the call and start pursuing God with the love and passion with which we were pursued.

A Life Transformed


“Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31

We spend our whole lives searching for that one piece of the puzzle that completes our lives. For that one person that makes everything we’ve ever been through make sense. That affirmation that life is not just a series of senseless events, that even the seemingly senseless actions are for our greater good. We spend our whole lives searching, but do we ever find what we’re looking for?

I have had this blog partially written in my mind for some time now. I say partially because sometimes what I have stored in my vault of draft blogs is not always what ends up on my computer screen. Some blogs die before they make it to my fingertips, some make it to the screen but never get published and others evolve so much in the two hours or so it takes me to write them that they end up looking nothing like I had envisaged. What has made this blog particularly hard to write is the fear that I will make a fool out of myself. Although this fear is ever present whenever I start a new post, it is more palpible with this one because no writer ever wants to lose credibility for writing what is deemed by the world as nonsense.

In the past this fear would have been enough to abandon the post altogether and never even mention it to anyone. I am tired of living in bondage, bound and paralysed by fear. Fear of rejection and judgement. Fear will always do what it was designed to do; keep you stagnant and keep you under its’ watchful eye where you will never progress. To take a stand against our fears I believe requires nothing but God’s grace. With His grace we develop faith in Him. With this faith we gather the strength and the courage to step out of the darkness and really begin to walk into His light.

When God is transforming your life, it really is amazing how He works from within you one flaw, one negative thought and one emotion at a time until you wake up one day and realise that you are no longer bound by your past hurts, disappointments and failures. You wake up one morning and you realise you hold more firmly than ever to the hopes and the dreams that God put inside of you. Over the past week I have come to realise just how much God has changed me. Not only has he transformed how I view the world but also myself. He did not do it with any form of overwhelming force. He did not manipulate me into changing or even threaten me with anything but he has transformed my heart and my life with the most gentle encouragement, care and patience that only a parent can have.

Having read the first few paragraphs I would not blame you for thinking there is some majestic, shocking revelation that I am building up to. There is no miraculous account you will read about. All you will read about is my personal testimony on how God will trasnform you if you submit to His will and power. This may come as a disappointment to some and I will probably lose some devout followers in the process. This is a risk I knew I was taking long before I started typing and it is a risk that I am completely ok with.

There have been so many times over the past few weeks when I have wondered whether I wasn’t completely losing my mind. The danger with living in faith, that no one really warns you about, is that you will sound completely crazy to the non-believers and nay-sayers who knew the “saner” you. This bothered me for a while because it was my faith that that was creating a rift with the very same people I have been very close with. When my heart was sore over losing friends I held dear to my heart, the Holy Spirit led me to 1 Corinthians 1:18 – 31. By the time I finished reading I felt an amazing sense of peace and it reminded me of the promise of Philippians 4:6 – 7 that if we let our requests be known to God through prayer and thanksgiving, then “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I now take solace in knowing that I am not crazy after all. Even if I were, I would rather be crazy for Him and be laughed at by the world then to spend one more day away from His presence.

A few years ago I was watching T.D. Jakes preaching on dreams. I listened to him talk about the opposition that you will face when you tell others your dreams. He asked those who were in his congregation to turn to their neighbour and say, “Neighbour, you don’t have to believe in my dream!” So often we seek others’ approval and affirmation and any form of opposition to our dreams and visions chips away at our faith that these are firstly instilled in us by God and secondly that they will be fulfilled. When I first heard this sermon I interpreted it as meaning that we should not share in our dreams with others because they will crush them since they don’t really need to believe in the things we believe in.

It wasn’t until recently when my dreams started becoming “a bit out there” that I really understood what he was saying; we shouldn’t just recoil and keep our dreams secret just because the next person doesn’t believe in them, it’s their right not to but that shouldn’t stop you from believing. I have been told so many times that I am crazy when I say my ultimate dream in life is to be a good wife and mother. I often get told I am wasting my education and talents when I say I have no aspiration of chasing a seven figure salary and I would rather stay at home or work the church. But you know what? I find myself blurting it out with absolute confidence everytime some one asks me what I want to do with my life!

It amazes me how many people think they can dissuade someone by bombarding them with questions. Funnily, no matter how innovative people think they are with their interrogation, they are really quite predictable. After the initial looks of disdain the question that inevitably follows is: “How do you know you are meant to get married?” While I wait for people to process my response that God told me so, I amuse myself with the looks on their faces. For the longest time I wasn’t convinced myself that this was what I was destined for. At times I was convinced that it was those pesky schizophrenic voices that had told me this. I have been praying about this for the longest time. I prayed through the frustration, through the disappointment after each failed relationship and through all the resentment. Finally, just as I was getting ready to give up He blessed me with knowledge that renewed my hope and faith in Him.

We often hear people saying, “God works in mysterious ways.” I have also said this so many times but never really fully understanding what this means. I am firm believer that there are things of the spiritual realm that we will never fully understand as mortal beings and yet our spirits do. I have cried, pleaded and bargained with the Lord for Him to reveal to me who I was destined to marry so that I do not waste time on other people or even on anyone if it is not God’s will for me to get married.

We spend our whole lives searching for that one piece of the puzzle that completes our lives. Lord help me realise that it’s time to call off the search, I have found what I have been searching for.

Defeated Foe


“He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, He disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by His victory over them on the cross…You have died with Christ, and He has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world.” ~ Colossians 2: 14 – 15,20

There comes a time in a every believer’s life where they stop for a minute, realise they have been taken for a joyride and then unleash their full fury on the enemy for trying to blind side them with meaningless lies. For me that time is today, right now! I am mad because he almost got away with it. I almost let him get away with it. I almost let him get away with my joy, my hope for the future and God’s promises for my life.

I am not writing to glorify his works in my life but rather how God has unveiled them to me and how the Lord has made me victorious just by uncovering them because as I recently read in Leighann McCoy’s “Spiritual Warfare for Women”, you cannot be deceived by someone if you know you are being deceived! In the times that I have been cheated on, what has hurt more than feeling like I was inadequate next to the woman with whom my boyfriend had cheated, was feeling duped. It was feeling stupid enough to have fallen for the lies and therefore to have wasted precious time on someone who did not even deserve it. In the same way, I am angry with myself for having listened to all the accusations, lies and torments that have been brought up against me. The energy I exerted being upset was time that should have been used furthering my Father’s kingdom and bringing glory to His name. Why was I targeted for the enemy’s attack? Why did I walk straight into the enemy’s trap? The answers are simple! I was, I am and will forever be a target because I have renounced sin, the ways of the world and have chosen to follow Christ. I walked straight into the lies simply because I took my eyes off the cross!

I was close to tears this afternoon as I listened to all the charges that were being brought up against me. This year and particularly this month I had made so many plans, I had so much I wanted to accomplish and I was finally making preparations to start rebuilding my life and walking in boldness into the next phase of my spiritual walk. I listened as I was reminded how I had fallen short in the tasks assigned to me, how I was inferior to my peers at work, how my bosses and clients probably thought I was an idiot. I listened as every goal I had made this month was called out and with excruciating emphasis, I was reminded that I had not achieved a single one. Secret fears were brought to the surface, sore points were jabbed at, basically in a space of one short afternoon I was reminded of all my shortcomings that made me unworthy of God’s grace. The devil was basically saying to me, “you have sunk so low, have messed up so much you might as well curl up and die!”

Minutes short of the torrential downpour that was threatening to erupt and flood my face, I heard a still quiet voice say to me, “I threw those sins into the sea of forgetfulness a long time ago. Does the Word not say that My mercies are anew every morning?” As I quickly realised that I had been duped not just this afternoon but for weeks now, that’s when the fury set in. Here’s what I realised this afternoon: satan is a sore loser!

Looking back on the past few weeks, the victories I can recall are fewer than the accusations brought against me. I ask for the Lord’s forgiveness in this because I know that there victories I am not even acknowledging on my list. I praise God though for each and every one of them. I have satan and his minions all worked up, roaming to and fro trying to confuse, stress and overwhelm me over a few decisions and over few victories, some that I did not even stop to think about and realise that they were victories.

When charges were being brought up against me, no spirit ever mentioned that I was being persecuted because for the first time in my life my primary goal is to live my life in obedience to the Word. I performed one of the biggest spring cleaning exercises on my life that I have done to date earlier this year. I let go of friends I knew were not helping me grow in my walk with God, I gave up social habits that provided only momentary entertainment with no spiritual fulfilment and I decided to give my life completely and unreservedly to Christ. I have basically reached a point in my relationship with God where there is no turning back! Praise God because a few months on I am still living in obedience and have not gone back to any of the things I renounced at the beginning of the year.

It is funny how many mercies and victories we discount as being small and yet we can accumulate shortcomings and shortfalls. Two weeks ago I slammed a car door on my thumb with such force that all who were watching were shocked when I did not cry or even scream in pain. I couldn’t help but stop typing, look at my thumb, flex it a little and smile because there is absolutely nothing wrong and there has never been anything wrong with it since the time the door was opened in order to release it. There was never any pain, swelling or even redness. Sadly, that miracle is all but forgotten. About a month ago I prayed a prayer that I did not understand at the time, that I nearly did not pray because I was exhausted and sleepy but I prayed nonetheless and then fell asleep. Less than ten minutes later when my brother woke me up to tell me how he had just escaped an attempted mugging at gunpoint, I realised it was that very prayer that saved his life. Without me even knowing it, the Holy Spirit moved me to intercede for him and pray for his safety. Sadly, that miracle too is all but forgotten! If only I could forget all my failures that easily!

How much more joyful I would be if I would turn away from the pain, frustration and shame of not having a car and focus on the fact that not once have I ever been stranded anywhere without any means of getting home. My heart would be filled with more gratitude if I would shift the focus away from the pangs of longing that I feel every time I am reminded that I am still alone, I am without what I desire most for my life, and focus on the work I can accomplish in and for the kingdom of God as 1 Corinthians 7:34 advises. If only I would divert my attention away from what I don’t have, what I have not accomplished and what I am missing then I would realise the truth that all these are simply momentary afflictions and like Romans 8:18 says, “what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” Sadly I, like many believers listen to the lie that our troubles are unique only to us, that we are suffering because God does not love us or care for us and that the pain we are in will surely kill us.

I could write for days on all the things the devil has tried and succeeded in stealing from me. I could tell of all the lies that he has told, the pain he has put me through. Nothing that I write will change this one solid truth: HE WAS AND REMAINS DEFEATED! Why does he bother putting up such a huge fight? Because he is a sore loser! I would be fighting a mindless battle if I even tried to defeat him because I need only look at the Word to remember that he was defeated a long time ago! He was kicked out of heaven so fast, he fell like lightning(Luke 10:18) and was disarmed and shamed publicly by the Son’s victory on the cross(Colossians 2:15).

Tonight I rest in the confident knowledge that God “cancelled the record of all the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” So today he gave it his best shot, he even had me fooled for a moment but because of what Jesus so lovingly and selflessly did for me on the cross, I am victorious. Tomorrow I will wake up ready to fight the good fight because I know I didn’t exhaust God’s mercy fighting today’s battles but that instead it begins afresh every morning(Lamentations 3:23).

Molded By His Discipline


“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.” ~ Deuteronomy 8: 2 – 5

I have never hidden the fact that I am naturally very disobedient. It is not that I am proud of this trait because I am not. I admit my short-coming and confess it out loud because I want to acknowledge that there is a need in my life, a part of me that I am trusting God to heal, to perfect and at His appointed time to make whole. I am trusting the Potter to take the lump of clay that I am, and mold me into something beautiful and unrecognisable even to myself. While I am not a finished product, I will admit how remarkable it is to witness my own transformation, even in the past two months alone. I am beginning to see a new me and this process is blessing me with a personal testimony on Ephesians 4: 22 – 24.

I have been on one of the greatest adventures of my life in the time I have been back home, perhaps even greater than the time I spent abroad. God has brought me such clarity about the things He wants for me, the person He wants me to grow into and the company I need to keep for those things to come into fruition. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean everything in my life makes sense all of a sudden and that I’m now living a doubt-free, carefree life because I’m not!

Like Kirk Franklin says in Blessing in the Storm, “some of you would never pray if you didn’t go through something.” Lord knows I probably would have stopped seeking Him if He’d given me all the answers I need all in one go. What’s been wonderful though is just feeling the bond between God and I growing with every “ok I hear you Lord but what do You want me to do with this knowledge” and with every “no I don’t understand why it must be so, please help me understand.”

I’ll admit that in my walk with God I have thrown a lot of tantrums along the way and sometimes plonked myself ceremoniously on the side of the road and refused to carry on until He caved into my demands. Temper tantrums, screaming sessions, spells of defiance, passive aggressive pouts name it and I’ve done it. What did I get from God as a result of these? Absolutely nothing! He has sat and ignored me, as any good parent would and refused to give into my terrorist ways. I do not think anyone likes discipline, I know I don’t but as Proverbs 3: 11 – 12 says: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” God knew my heart and He knew I needed to be go through a period of rebuke for me to learn some truths, not only about Him but about myself as well. As painful as it was for me to learn this lesson, I now understand how a lot of what I went through, particularly in the past year, was God’s way of disciplining me.

I spent the most of 2011 living in a spiritual wilderness, somewhere I would not have gone voluntarily had I been told that’s what it would be. For months I stumbled around, convinced He had forsaken me until I eventually realised that I was the one that had turned my back on Him. My heart physically hurt every time I thought of Psalm 42:4 because I, like the psalmist, could “Remember as I pour out my soul, how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.” And boy was I mad! I felt so betrayed by God! How could He yank me out of my comfort zone and out of a place where I was so comfortable with His presence and protection only for Him to go dump me all the way across the globe? Why was I now being excluded from the protection of Psalm 91? And what of Romans 8: 38 – 39, why was I the only one that it did not apply to? What would become of the promise He made to me with Jeremiah 29:11? Was my destiny for Him to set the table before my enemies just so they can witness my demise? I praise God though because through all my moments of insanity, through my disobedience and through my period of shunning the Word, I still desired nothing more than to return to His presence. In my heart I still knew that if I just dragged myself back to the altar and lay myself there, He would pick me up battered and broken as I was and make me whole once more.

The road back to my rightful place at my Father’s side has been anything but easy but I am grateful for the journey I have travelled. I remember the peace and joy I felt the moment I walked into church. This was it…this was what I had been yearning for…I was finally home! First few services were an emotional time for me and all I could really do was cry which was a huge deal for me because I’m not much of a crier and especially not a public one. He has done great things in my life, revealed great plans to me and none of this would have been possible without first appreciating Deuteronomy 8:3. I had to be humbled enough to know that I couldn’t live on my own, I couldn’t survive without Him and without His Word.

We all know the story of Job and we pray that after God has put us through some form of suffering that He will not only restore what we had but that He will also bless us far more than before. Part of the reason I was mad at Him for taking me away from His presence was because before I had left He had blessed me with the a direct line of communication with Him through the Bible. I knew that if I asked Him a question or needed guidance on a particular matter, if I opened a Bible the scripture I first lay my eyes on would be His response to me. In my time in my spiritual desert I longed for this more than anything. I eventually gave up on reading the Bible because it seemed every scripture I flipped through was irrelevant. Looking back now I realise that I needed this so I could be blessed with greater spiritual blessings.

I needed time away so that I would be able to recognise His voice when He talks to me. He has shown me what He has destined for me and what a beautiful future this is. None of this would have been possible without Him killing off parts of the old me, breaking down all that was hindering me and showing me what the new me is going to be like and then leading me step by step towards that goal. I wear the scars of the fire and cast of His disclipline with pride because I know, not only am I divinely favoured and loved, but I am being transformed into a better creation.

Questions of Faith


For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. ~ Ephesians 6:15

Life is never what we expect it to be. We float through life never realising the danger that lurked around the corner that we just missed, never thinking as we leave the house in the morning that we might never make it home again. Yet, so many leave their homes and never make it to where they were going let alone make it back home. A routine checkup turns into an indefinite hospital stay for others. Some sleep with clothes ironed and laid out for the next morning, to-do-lists and appointments set for the next day and then, with no forewarning whatsoever, just never wake up.

One of the sad realities of being separated from your family and those you love is the constant fear of that call you are about to answer being bad news. Without even realising just how tense you were, you breathe a hectic sigh of relief when you are greeted by a lively, warm voice on the other end that reassures you that everything is ok. Yes you trust in the Lord and you pray to Him to keep your loved ones safe but then sometimes you wonder if that is enough. Did that fragile young child who has just become an orphan because her parents got killed in a random act of violence just didn’t pray enough?  Did the twenty-two year old who’s just died of cancer, never experiencing the joy of independence and the fulfilment of a life well lived die because they did not believe in God’s promises? So many questions pop into mind and if you were to try answer them all you would surely get nowhere.

My life has been filled with so much sadness and tragedy lately leaving me pondering so many questions of faith. To be clear, I do not question my faith, my hope remains firmly implanted in the Lord. I do not ask, “where is God” but rather, “what have we done Lord? What have we done to make you so angry that You allow us to continue to live in this barren wasteland?” My heart breaks when I think of all the pain, the hatred and the sheer evil that seems to consuming this world one heart at a time. What makes a man molest a vulnerable little girl over and over and over again, in school no less? What gives people the heart and the courage to plot and kill church leaders? Why are so many walking amongst us declaring to be Christians, declaring to be godly and yet unleash hatred and cruelty at every chance they get? Is this the life we are destined to live?

In as much as we live in discouraging times  I do not believe it is time to lose hope in humanity and in life. If God, knowing all He knows about each and every one of us, knowing our hearts’ desires, the evil and sin that lurks in us still has faith in us and undying love for us, why should we despair? I believe the Bible when it says, “His compassions never fail, they are new every morning.” I believe in the promise that “those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Which is why I get almost furious with the things that happen in my life. I find myself asking Him, “how it is that I dwell in Your house and yet still I find myself uneasy, surrounded darkness and serpents?” This is where the questions just multiply and then, without warning yet almost always on que, the battle of scriptures ensues in my mind. First witness for the prosecution is Exodus 20:5 which reminds me of God’s stern warning that “(He) will lay the sins of the parents upon their children; entire family is affected, even children in the third and fourth generations.” To which, almost callously I ask, “wait a minute Lord, what happened to nothing can ever separate us from Christ’s love?” Then of course, in an effort to prove that I did not just make this up and to point it out to Him and say, “see, see, You did say it!”  I storm to fetch my Bible, flip to Romans 8:35 and as I read it I feel the rays of God’s smile on me. I feel Him laughing at me saying, “Gotcha!”

As much as I would like to believe that Paul put his pen down at that point and declared us inseparable from God’s love and thus never having to suffer anything(which admittedly is how I read it). There are still four and half verses left in the chapter. Seven chapters till the end of the book of Romans. Twenty-one books till the end of the Bible. So sheepishly I go on to read, “Can trouble do it, or hardship or persecution or hunger or poverty or danger or death? As the scripture says, For your sake we are in danger of death at all times; we are treated like sheep that are going to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we have complete victory through Him who loved us!”

After allowing these words to simmer in my mind a while, the words of my favourite Psalms start coming into focus like a train appearing in the distance, just a flicker at first before full brightness and clarity. Psalm 42 is very dear to my heart because so many times I, like the psalmist, feel exiled to the land of the forgotten. The land where you have only your tears, heartache and longing for days gone past to keep you company. I too, feel like God has turned His face from me. As if refuses to look my way let alone smile His favour upon me. The psalmist puts so eloquently what I find myself grappling with far too many times; the longing to be with God and be in His presence instead of what feels like exile in a corrupt, rotten land, the heartbreak and tears that come with remembering the good times and most of all the enemy taunting you and adding to the feelings of abandonment.  I love this Psalm because even in the midst of all that depression, he says, “Yet I will praise Him, my Saviour and God.” This always gives me courage because it reminds me that because His mercies are new every morning, He will once again bring back the happiness I once knew.

It has taken me a while to learn that not all questions of faith mean you are questioning your faith. It has taken a lot of training to learn scriptures that will enable me to answer my questions when they do arise. I did not absorb from reading Ephesians 6:15 once just how much the Bible prepares you for. In as much as I get extremely frustrated that I cannot recall scriptures verbatim, I have come to realise what a blessing that is. It is because my memory fails me that I find myself constantly referring to my Bible and whenever I open it I never just read one verse, I find myself reading others as well which bring fresh and also renewed knowledge and understanding.

It is only now I realise and understand yes, Romans 8:35 is right. Trouble, hardship, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger and death cannot and should not separate us from the love of God. In these tough times, when everything seems sombre, we ask Him questions and to find answers we turn to His Word and there we find the truth and the peace that keeps us going because, “He chose to give birth to us by giving us His true word. And we, out of all creation, became His prized possession.”

Unpaid Dues


Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~ 2 Corinthians 4: 16 – 18

For the past few weeks I have been struggling to write, I have worked on two posts and abandoned them halfway because they just didn’t feel right or I just didn’t know what to say anymore. I have spent more time reflecting on my life these past two months than I have possibly in my entire life and it all boils down to me asking God, “Have I not paid my dues yet? I thought Edinburgh was about me getting a well deserved fresh start, one that is debt free?” For weeks I have gone back and forth with differing versions of these questions and I have not found a satisfactory answer. Well, until now that is.

I came to Edinburgh eager to learn, eager to gain valuable experience that would catapult my career when I eventually returned home. My stay here was supposed to be about building my relationship with God, serving Him and furthering His kingdom. Edinburgh was supposed to be the city where I finally found my happiness, where I was settled in my career, love life and finances. I didn’t care that I was forgoing a third of the salary I was worth at home. I didn’t care that I was giving up the title that I had earned after paying my dues through my five years of university, three years of training and two qualifying board exams to my name. I’d paid my dues and was ready for the next level. I’d worked hard to get to that point in my life and went through so much, had my decisions questioned by friends, colleagues and sadly family. Scotland was supposed to be the answer to my prayers, I was on the verge of my breakthrough. Life was about to get a whole lot better, easier and happier. So I thought.

It’s been three months, seven days and nine hours since I left the comfort of South African soil. It will be a month and ten days till I set foot on that soil again. I wonder though, do I have the strength and heart to get back on a plane and leave my home and come back here? Can I move on from the three months and particularly the last two? Will I able to see past the pain, the frustration, the self-doubt and the heartbreak that I have felt in the past two months? To be honest the answer to that question, which I ask myself more than twenty times in any given day, is probably not. Undoubtedly this  could be the answer to the question why I haven’t booked my flights home. Put simply, I still do not know with unwavering certainty whether I am buying a return or a one way ticket.

So what’s changed while I have been here? What is driving me away from the beauty of Edinburgh, with its picture-perfect old buildings, cobblestone streets, breathtaking views of the castle and city’s travel connectivity to Europe? It isn’t the strangeness of celebrating my birthday in the dead of winter when twenty-five of my past birthdays were in the glorious summer sun. It isn’t the bitter cold that had me wearing thermals, at least three layers of clothes, a scarf, thermal gloves and ear-muffs when I first arrived because in about a month that had been stripped down to just three layers when outside and two for indoors. It hasn’t been the loneliness and pain of being away from my family and my closest friends because firstly, I lived 1300km away from my family for five years and secondly thanks to BBM, Facebook, Skype and other technology, I speak to my at least two of my closest family members and friends every single day.  What has broken my spirit is this feeling that I am not supposed to be going through what I’m going through because I have already paid my dues.

Plans I made, expectations I had and visions of my life here, couldn’t be further from what I am experiencing now.  My heart really cannot understand why God, in all His mercy and love, would demand that I continue to pay a debt that I think I settled a long time ago. Surely after two major heart breaks and investing eight years in relationships that left me in devastation, I had earned more than the deafening silence that I come home to and the anguish of loneliness and longing for a companion? Surely with a total of eight years of training I had earned the right to not be made to feel like I don’t know what I am doing and not to be treated in a manner reminiscent of my second year of articles? It would certainly bother me less if I’d been put back a year, but two? Really? Does being part of one of approximately 26 000 professionals in South Africa with my title really buy me the ridiculous hours, the numerous nights crying out of sheer frustration of what I still needed to get through? Seeing as how hard I work for my money, how hard I worked in school and university so that I can get the scholarship to see me through university so that I can study and pass and become the professional I am today, do I now owe a debt to everyone else around me? Is it not enough that I am still paying off my debts incurred when I was still earning barely enough to get by? When will God look at me and say that I have paid my dues, I have endured enough it is time to lighten the load? I do not even ask that it be removed completely. I just ask for it to be a little lighter.

Today as I was entered my flat, it finally hit me….you can never say you have fully paid your dues and have earned the right to not go through a particular problem. Suffering in whatever way or form is part of the human experience and I don’t think it will end while we are on this earth. I am always in awe when I think of what Jesus was going through the last few hours before the crucifixion. What greater pain can there be than knowing you are about to die, a very painful and humiliating death? I cannot even start to comprehend what it must have taken for Him to finally say in Matthew 26:38, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death…” What I find completely humbling and very admirable is that minutes later in Matthew 26:39 He says to God, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” In as much as Jesus had the authority and ability to not go through the crucifixion and to be raised to heaven to be with His Father, He submitted Himself to His Father’s will and endured through and paid the ultimate debt for all of us.

I often have to remind myself that the Bible is not a multiple choice book, where you can pick and choose what to believe and what not to believe and more importantly what to obey and what not to obey.  Therefore I need to obey 2 Corinthians 4:17 and realise that not only are my problems light and momentary but they are doing the very important job of “achieving eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” I have often said in my posts that I would love to be like the two servants in the Parable of Talents in Matthew 25: 14-28 who pleased their master and used what they had been entrusted with wisely. To one day go home and have God say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness” would be the ultimate eternal glory.

I now realise that I am very far from paying my dues and that I need to submit to God’s will as painful, hard and confusing as it might be at times. I never made the decision to come here alone. I consulted heavily with God and in my heart, when I wade past the confusion and frustration I still know that I am where He wants me to be. For that reason, though my vision may be blurred by tears and my heart riddled with many confusing emotions, I am going to focus my gaze on Him and being His good and faithful servant. That is a debt that is due, not to Him but to myself and will remain unpaid till the day I appear before Him to give an account of my life.

Beyond A Shadow Of Doubt


Birthdays. The days you’re supposed to demonstrate you’ve gained a whole year’s wisdom so that you can be allowed to advance to the next level. Nothing quite invokes extended periods of contemplation quite like a looming birthday and with my twenty-sixth merely days away I have a lot of burning questions on my mind, questions I need answered to prove that I actually learned something from being twenty-five and I am now ready for level twenty-six.

 I’ve always had this feeling that I cannot shake that I will not be around for a very long time. My grand time line for my life does not extend anywhere past mid-forties and not because I’m incapable of seeing that far ahead but because at that age my life just goes black  in my mind.  Thinking about it now, I can’t help but wonder if I have been using this ‘premonition’ as an excuse to get things done and get them done right now!  I do however acknowledge that this might be legitimate, but how can I know for sure? Is it even possible to know for sure?

I am a woman of many convictions and I absolutely cannot cope with doubt. Doubt tends to cause some of my very unbecoming character flaws to rear their ugly heads for all to see. So quite naturally I do not appreciate it very much when I have to spend time, least of all weeks doubting and doubting my own beliefs no less.

There are three things I am certain of in my life:

1) God is the author and finisher of my fate  and He knew exactly how every second of my life would play out before I even took my first breath,

2) God is merciful, loving and compassionate and He is the definition of the word good, and

3) I have a flair for the finer things in life and therefore was never destined to be poor. Yep it’s true! I make no apologies for it!

I am absolutely convinced that all three of the above are true. Number three I have known all my life and have held onto through the darkest times in my family’s life. Even as I slept on floor, didn’t eat meat for sometimes weeks on end, only received new clothes once a year, I still knew that I was not destined to live like that and I knew it was going to end. I remember when I was ten years old my father said to me, quite prophetically, I would never amount to anything in life and I would forever be poor because I am too extravagant. Weirdly I did not believe him even though I believed him when he said I was stupid and wouldn’t get very far in life. Through my parents divorce  when I was twelve when we had to start from scratch, the conviction was there. I think it is therefore safe to say it’s one of those knowing beyond a shadow of doubt situations. But where did such an unshakable belief come from?

I still remember having to scrape my bottom lip off the floor when I heard a pastor say, “Not all good things and not all good thoughts are from God.”  I thought he’d lost his mind but as I sat and listened, it all began to make more sense. You see, the devil’s been a scam artist for ages now and has evolved in his trickery. He knows that he is more likely to fool us with a lie that appears good and feels good and right rather than one that feels wrong. I don’t think I am the only person to have been in a relationship that was ultimately wrong and I even knew it was wrong but was still in it because it felt to right! This revelation of course opened the brimming box of questions that led to me doubting my intentions, decisions and beliefs.

About two months ago a close friend asked me how you know if you’re destined for something and whether it is possible that some of us are destined to not of have our heart’s desires fulfilled. Almost immediately, I told her that that was ludicrous. I was of the belief that God doesn’t put desires in our hearts that He would leave unfilled, this belief I had picked up from a sermon I had heard a while back. Rather than being laid to rest at that point her question haunted me, two months later it is still haunting me! It is not that I necessarily think my original response was wrong, I do however think there are multiple options that I had not considered.

The first being; if satan was capable of deluding us with seemingly good things what would stop him from trying to lead us astray with good desires? Mine for example is to be married and be a good wife and mother. I can honestly say that that is my heart’s biggest desire. One day I started thinking, what if the enemy is using my desire to drive a wedge between God and I? Could he be somehow standing in the way so that I can discouraged and start doubting  the truth of scriptures like Jeremiah 29:11?  Within days my thoughts jumped to the other end of the spectrum…why was I so convinced that it was supposed to be? Could I not tell from all my failed relationships that God was trying to tell me something?  I soon realised that I was caught in the depths of doubt!

After weeks of contemplation, presenting arguments back and forth in my head, I think I am finally ready to deliver a verdict. There a millions of things that we were predestined to do all of which we will do. Then there are things we believe we were destined to do, these may or may not happen. Sound like I am still stuck sinking in the sea of doubt? Let me clarify further. As humans we have a finite view of the world, God does not! What we do not understand is that we are eternal beings and part of what we were predestined for was never meant to unfold on this earth. Whilst things that we predestined for WILL happen, there is no certainty for the desires of our hearts, they will however fulfil their purpose in our lives. I’m a firm believer that every experience and non-experience(if I can call it that) serves a very specific purpose in our lives some purposes we will never get to grasp simply because we are human.

Some things are just not for the human mind to comprehend and I think at some point we need to reach the point where we are willing to stop trying. God is the only one who knows things ‘beyond a shadow of doubt’, we just don’t have it in us to comprehend the space that exists beyond a shadow. Whilst I remain convinced that I was never destined to be poor, I think it would be quite arrogant to think my beliefs will alter what I have been predestined for so spare a thought and a penny should it one day turn out I was wrong.

It Was Not Commissioned By God


” “No weapon forged against you will prevail,  and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.  This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.”         ~ Isaiah 54 : 17 (NIV)

Friday November 13, 2009. For some this was just another day, others cannot even recall what they did on this day. For me, this is a day etched in my memory and a day when God showed me and left no doubt in my mind and heart that He, and only He, can take away my life and that He is indeed the author and finisher of my fate.  This blog is not dedicated to the works of the devil, so I refuse to make that the centre of this blog. I will describe what happened in as much detail as is absolutely necessary to understand what happened and what I was going through that day.

It started off as most of the days in that week had started. As with most mornings in my life, I was filled with grand, ambitious plans of things to do. On this particular morning plans centred around how I would  catch up with the study time I had lost from being in hospital for a week barely two weeks before. I was five days away from my second and final qualifying board exam. I had woken up early, made breakfast , was clad in my favorite study pajamas, was suitably drugged with newly prescribed antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication and was just getting ready to settle into my normal study routine. I cannot recall how it began or why it began but all I know is that by 8am things had begun their downward spiral.

I had often heard stories of how people know when they are about to die. A few years ago, I overheard my mother tell the story of a family friend who had sorted out all her affairs, cleaned out her house, packed up her belongings neatly in boxes, said her goodbyes to her family and friends and a few days later died in her sleep. I had somehow thought the same would happen for me. I thought maybe I would receive some form of signal from God to tell me that this was it. In the few days leading up to the 13th I had lived in fear for my life, and things had gotten to a point where I either slept with my Bible against my chest or with it on my pillow.The thought of the inscription on my tombstone  reading, “Nqobile Nokulunga Khumalo, Born: 18 February 1985, Died: 13 November 2009” just did not sound right to me. Yet somewhere in the world it had been determined that this was to be.

I have never believed in witchcraft and still don’t! I sadly live in a society where people think jealousy, hatred for someone who has never done anything to you are valid reasons to pay someone to have them killed. It had come to my attention earlier that week that such a plan for my life was and had been in force for a while. As much as I did not believe in spells and witchcraft, I could not ignore the feeling of being surrounded by darkness when I was in my flat and especially the blanket of blackness that suddenly fell all around me, even though a few minutes earlier it had been a perfectly sunny morning. Even harder to ignore was the memory of live maggots that swarmed my whole kitchen floor one morning, the dead flies that appeared out of nowhere after not having seen a single live one and mostly the cockroaches that had tormented me for months on end. I cannot even remember anything I did not try to rid myself of those cockroaches, they were everywhere! In my shower as I showered and some nights I would be woken up by the feeling of something crawling all over me and when I jumped out of bed and switch on the lights, I’d be traumatised by sight of my bed filled with roaches of all sizes. I have never believed in witchcraft and I say I again, I still don’t believe in it but I do know that it exists.

One of the last things I had done just before I slept the night before was say a prayer, that a friend of mine had given me, to cleanse myself and my flat of evil spirits . I believed that it would work even though back then I was not yet familiar with Luke 10:19, which gives us authority over ALL the works of the enemy. I remember being hot and very unsettled as I crawled into my bed, which is why that was one of the nights I had clasped onto my Bible as I fell asleep. I remember the sense of relief I felt when I woke up the following morning and tried to focus my eyes on the light that was peering through the blinds. I thought I was over the worst…I thought wrong.

I had barely been at my desk for an hour when I started feeling very hot, agitated and nauseous. I had this feeling that I could not shake that something was going horribly wrong. When I started getting a very strong feeling that I should throw myself out the window, I knew it was time to step away from the desk which was right against the window and crawl into bed. As I lay in bed I was bombarded with more thoughts of killing myself using various objects in the flat. I was quickly losing strength and grasp of what was happening. I phoned one of my friends and tried to tell her what was happening and almost immediately she said to me it was some form of evil spirit in my flat and should get out, go to the nearest church and get a pastor to pray for me. As she was talking to me I could feel my strength slipping away, I told her I could not even feel my legs anymore and my whole body felt like dead weight. All I could do was just start crying. I am grateful that she immediately got into her car and started making then fifteen minute drive to my house after collecting another friend. 

By the time they arrived, my quiet sobs had turned into full on hysteria. It was a fight to even get to the door. I had to slide on the floor with my back against the wall for me to get from my bedroom to go open the door. I was a complete mess, my Bible still clutched against me, I refused to let it go. I instinctively knew it was protecting me. Though I could not put it into words I knew that one of two things would happen for me to let it go. Either I was going to die holding firmly onto it and all God’s promises inscribed therein or God was somehow going to deliver me from this. My friends’ arrival started one of the longest  3 hours of my life.

They say your life flashes in front of you when you are about to die, mine didn’t! All I could feel and see was darkness. As much as I knew I had two friends with me, I could not really feel their presence. I was partial conscious of their presence and their attempts to hold onto me. At some points I would hear them praying, they would take turns holding me because I was tossing and squirming on the floor. From what they told me afterwards, the more they prayed the more I would fight them and want to either hurl myself against the wall or thrash myself against the floor. I was in sheer, undiluted pain! What was worse is I could not pinpoint the source of the pain. It started deep in spine and while they tried massaging my back, the pain would suddenly shoot up one of my arms and when they tried focusing on that arm it would suddenly be on a leg.  It seemed like my body was turning against itself and against me.

I remember one of them fetching a glass of water, praying for it and trying to get me to drink it. A drop had barely hit my lips when I screamed in agony as it felt like boiling lava was being forced down my throat. They held me down and tried to get me to drink a little more. I cannot even describe the pain that followed for what felt like eternity after that. While I lay on the floor, resting my head on one of them, I remember things suddenly calming down. I felt my heart slow down so much it felt like it would surely stop altogether. One by one it felt like my organs were shutting down. I could suddenly feel organs in my body that I had only seen on a biology chart in school. I was convinced that that was it, that was the end of my life on this earth. When we talked with my friends they admitted that at that point they had not known what to do and as I had started calming down they thought I was slipping away, that I was dying in their arms. But it was not to be! It was not commissioned by God!

In the still of it all, the light started returning. I could feel the air filling my lungs once more. The first thing I said when I opened my eyes was, “I can see the light again”.  I looked at the watch, I had been “out” for over three hours. Despite all the commotion my Bible was still snugly in my one arm and in the other a rosary that one of my friends had placed there after she’d arrived. I looked at both of them and they had been crying. Even to this day, I have never seen the fear that I saw in their eyes but somehow they had remained strong for me and had not left me. I sometimes wonder, if roles were reversed would I have done the same? Would I have walked straight into a battlefield knowing I was fighting the unseen? 

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” These words from Ephesians 6:12 became very real to all three of us on this day.

I remain so grateful for being blessed with these wonderful women. Were it not for their presence, their prayers and strength I would not be here recalling the events of that day. It was a year ago yesterday but even as I think about it now I am in awe. Not at the works of the devil but at the works of my Lord, my God. He said no. He refused to let me go. As much as it sounds weird but I am grateful for that day. That was the day the devil was defeated once and for all. That’s the day he was unequivocally taught that my life is not his for the taking. Nothing will ever happen so long as it is not commissioned by God and God alone.

As I was writing this I couldn’t help but smile as I thought of a Bishop TD Jakes sermon that I heard a few weeks ago. He was talking about how we should never run away from the mess that God creates in our lives because out of our biggest messes are our greatest blessings born.  As much as I did not have the luxury of time that most of my colleagues that I was writing that board exam did, I had one thing on my side….The ruler of heaven and earth. God turned what was supposed to be a disaster into something tremendous. Friendships were cemented on the 13th of November 2009, faith renewed, lives rebirthed. Because my Father is a show off, I passed my exam. He could have taken me around the red sea, but he took me right through it!

For My Own Good


“…We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. For God knew His people in advance and He chose them to become like his Son.”  ~ Romans 8: 28 -29

This has been my home since my arrival on this earth. These have been my people, we have challenged each other, shared some difficult times and in the end celebrated together. I have known no other home except for this one. Yet, a warm smile crosses my face as I think of the path I will take when I pick up my suitcase, hug my family and friends goodbye and head off to start a whole new chapter in my life.  I am not afraid, I am not anxious because I know the Lord has prepared me well. He has been preparing me for this since before I could even speak and even more so in the past few months. He has really taught me who He is in my life and what He can accomplish within me if I just let him. Even though in my plan I was supposed to have left over a month ago, I now understand why things had to be the way they are.

 I can still remember the night I was in tears, hysterical and angry with the world and most of all God when I had discovered that my plan had crumbled.  I was so angry with Him and I remember how I had laid my case before Him and asked Him how he thought this was all fair. How was it fair that the one time I had decided to be completely obedient and step outside of my comfort zone and accept a job in a whole new country, giving up everything that had mattered to me, He then decided I should not leave? I thought it was completely cruel of Him to build up this longing in my heart and leave it completely unquenched. I felt like He had put on a huge production and invited all my enemies to come be witnesses to my downfall. Oh I was so angry with Him! When I was not shouting at Him, I was giving Him the silent treatment. I was convinced that nothing good was going to come out of this. Absolutely nothing! I was even more convinced that I would never last the extra three months that I was now supposed to sit with shattered dreams and hopes and in the midst of what I saw as a completely disintegrated world.

That night as I relayed the story to one of my close friends, she listened very patiently to the barely coherent banter that I spewed out in between the sobs. When I was finally quiet she began to lovingly explain to me that God probably kept me here because He was not done with me yet. There were still things I needed to learn, people I needed to learn from and there were lives that I needed to touch. At the time, as much as I was hearing her I don’t think I was listening at all. My mind was barricaded tighter than the barricades that protect presidents! One thing that I have learned about myself is that I cannot be comforted when I do not want to be. I am not afraid to say that I am the most stubborn person I know. I have however accepted that there is a very good reason that God made me that way. God is a strategist and I do not believe that He left anything to chance when He created me and planned out my life. He knew very well how He would teach me what I needed to learn given my stubborn nature and wow what an excellent teacher He is.

I have learned things in the past five weeks of my ‘detention’ that I doubt I would have otherwise learned or even if I ever did I doubt I would have learned them as fast. My head is filled with so many scriptures and as much as I often cannot recite them word for word or even quote their exact location, I know that they are there. I have realised however that for them to become truly engraved in my heart I need to have a personal circumstance or memory as a subtext. I unfortunately do not have blind faith, that is the ability to just believe simply because it is so. I learn by experiencing and not simply by hearing from someone else’s account and knowing this about me God had a very specific lesson plan for me, one that I know is far from over.

I am not a model child, in fact I am far from it. Far too many times I think I drive myself crazy trying to be. Nothing is however more comforting than discovering that despite your flaws, be it physical, spiritual or mental flaws, God knows and knew about them all long before they ever surfaced. It is so wonderful knowing that He loves you through it all and knows exactly how to work everything for your own good. I must admit that Romans 8:28 is one of my favourite scriptures in the Bible but it was not until I had to sit in detention that I truly grasped what it means. I feel like God has made me sit here for five weeks and write it out over and over again so that it truly sunk in. 

Romans 8:29 has a newfound space in my heart which overflows with warmth when I think of its message. He knew ME, God did not just vaguely know of me but out of the billions of people who walk this earth, He knew me personally. Not only does He know me, but He chose me. Quite frankly if I were choosing people to be on my team, sometimes I do not think I would choose myself. Knowing me and knowing everything He knows about me, He still chose me.  What I find so incredibly awesome is that He chose me for a very special purpose, I am to become like Christ and for me to start realising this purpose, I had to sit in detention, all nine weeks of it.

My friend’s words have turned out into a prophecy, one that I am watching play out bit my bit. Isaiah 64:8 describes God as being the potter, and we the clay that is formed by His hand. I now understand that five weeks ago I was still a lump of clay that could not be released into the world. He has lovingly molded me, even though I know I am not a finished product yet, I know that I have a better hope of succeeding in finding my purpose and living according to that purpose than I did a few weeks ago. I can finally see the light again. I can finally feel that all of this really was for my own good.  This has been my destiny. I was chosen by the potter, as much as I have kicked and screamed, His plan for my life has remained the same. He has molded me and refined my shape through flames. In as much as I hated those very flames and thought I would surely die from the pain, I have not and for that I feel truly grateful and blessed.

Winning…One Battle At A Time


“In weakness or trial or pain, there is a faith proved of more worth than gold so refine me Lord through the flames”   ~ The Desert Song, Hillsong

It never ceases to amaze me how easily swayed I am. How much I take things to heart and how easily discouraged I am. I can go to bed with all sorts of great plans in my mind that just never materialise when I wake up the following day. When I speak to my friends, they’re always supportive and always tell me not to be so hard on myself and to be patient and kind with myself. I often question the reasons behind these ‘daily failures’. As much as I question I think it has a lot to do with my disobedience and not doing what I have been instructed to do.

Two scriptures pop into my mind when I reflect on this issue. First comes Psalm 37:5 – Commit your way to the Lord, trust Him and He will act. This is followed closely by thoughts of Proverbs 3:5 – Trust the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. Over the past few months I have been working on trusting God and I got some encouragement from Joyce Meyer’s “Battlefield of the Mind” when she discusses in one of her chapters that we do not win battles all at once, God moves us forward through the battlefield one small battle at a time. So I can say through God’s grace I trust him a lot more than I did before I started my intimate walk with him. And wow has He shown me what happens when I trust Him over the past few weeks.

As a short aside, in ‘Send me to the nations’ I talked very briefly about how I had reached a stumbling block in my emigration process. This was one I could not just let be and hope it works itself out. I was faced with having to raise the equivalent of three months’ salary in guess how long? Three months! If there’s one thing I have learnt is that the world does not stop while I have problems. In that time one of my very close friends was going through a very stressful time financially. While I was contemplating how I could help her I remembered one of the sermons our pastor, Pastor Llewellyn Roberts, had preached about a few weeks ago. He preached about the spiritual blessings that flow from sowing into God’s kingdom. I remember him saying, “If we are to receive the wealth from His kingdom we need to be prepared to give to other members of the kingdom. We cannot make grand gestures to strangers when those closest to us are suffering and we stand by and watch.” So with the message of this sermon renewed in my heart and my own pain that came from seeing her struggle sorely fresh on my mind, I decided to give her some money out of what little savings I had. I was humbled by the completely unexpected results!

The following morning, I met with her and she told me that she had told her mom about what I had done for her. Her mom offered to donate her December bonus to help pay for a substantial portion of my relocation expenses. I was so shocked and moved by her generosity, had it not been for the fact that we were in public, I would have cried. That evening I received a call from someone in the office that I am relocating to. They were phoning to tell me that they would be personally paying for my plane tickets, my visa and would try help with whatever other initial costs I needed help with. And just like that, my financial crisis was over. Just like that, the Lord showed me that I could fully trust him and gave me my personal testimony on Matthew 6:33. Now I can also testify that God knows my needs and will give me what I need and more if I seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness. He gave me thirty-fold what I had originally given!

Now back to the first half of Psalm 37:5, the half that I still struggle with. Although on a whole I have learnt to commit my life to the Lord and I try as hard as I can to continuously assess my progress and to try bring myself back in line with His purpose where I feel I’ve deviated off the path, I still struggle to commit each individual day to Him. One of the lessons I’ve taken from reading Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life” is that we are a living sacrifice and the problem with a living sacrifice is that it crawls off the altar and you need to drag it back and rededicate it again. Here’s where I think the source of my ‘daily failures’ lies; I do not pray in the morning! My mornings consist of me tossing and turning for an hour after my alarm goes off, rushing to leave at least thirty minutes late. Yep, I have given up the quest to leave home on time. Although I talk to God throughout the time from when I get up to when I eventually reach work, I do not explicitly pray and drag myself back to the altar and offer myself as a sacrifice afresh.

This brings me to the second half of Proverbs 3:5, far too often I lean on my own understanding. When faced with challenges, painful situations and roadblocks in my life, I automatically revert to my own understanding even though I am well aware how flawed my understanding is. All ant hills are mountains in my understanding! All opposition to my dreams are a personal attack on my character! Most importantly…all problems last for all eternity! It’s not hard to see then why I am so easily discouraged and why I am so sensitive to the actions of others.

Sadly this makes me realise that I am very far from being in the same league David, Moses, and Job to name but a few. I would also like to be known as, ‘God’s faithful servant’. To be faithful I need to be trusting all the time and not sometimes. To be faithful I need to have my feet firmly planted in the Word and not to be swayed by any circumstance. To be faithful I need to above all else be obedient! There is great benefit in being faithful. It is written in Proverbs 28:20, “A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished”

Interestingly, I learnt in ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ that half obedience and delayed obedience are tantamount to disobedience. Ever thought that’s what you are doing when you obey some scriptures and not others? That you are being disobedient when you receive instruction from God to stop doing something and you say you will do so someday? The ruler of heaven and earth will not be mocked!

So I have crawled back to the altar and I have confessed my shortcomings before the Lord. Interestingly I feel lighter than I did when I started writing. I feel the kind of joy that only comes from being in His presence. I have moved one step forward on God’s chess board. Through His grace I have one less ‘daily failure’ today and for now that’s enough.

I pray that God will help you with your ‘daily failures’ and will grant you the strength to also overcome them, one battle and one win at a time.