Tag Archive | Character refinement

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.

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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.

Victory In The Making


“Made a wrong turn, once or twice. Dug my way out blood and fire. Bad decisions that’s alright, welcome to my silly life” – Perfect, Pink

Growing up I used to yearn for the day I turned twenty-five. Twenty-five for me was that age when everything in my life would make sense. I figured by then I would have lived long enough to understand the ways of the world and I would have done enough with my life to silence even my worst critics. At twenty-five I would be established in my career, I would have my own place, a beautiful car and most importantly I would be married or at the very least be engaged. At twenty-six with less than two months to go till my twenty-seventh birthday, I could not be further from all the above aspirations. I made one crucial mistake when I was sitting there planning my future, I forgot to take into account all the bad decisions I would make, all the mishaps and mistakes that would derail me from path that led to my dreams. I smile as I think back because I have no choice but to admit that it was all rather naive of me.

I had a moment of panic a month or two ago when it suddenly hit me that 2012 would be the year of my ten-year high school reunion. I am filled with so much shame and want to cower away in a little corner and not attend because quite frankly I feel like I have nothing to show for the past ten years. Well I lie, almost nothing. I do have my CA qualification, too bad I cannot take that with me and beam with pride and adoration when I introduce it to everyone. It seems to pale in comparison to the husbands, new babies, luxury cars and stunning homes that people now have. Ironic when I think about it because even in high school my intelligence and outstanding academic record was all I really had going for me. As the person who came top of my year I cannot help but feel that I have a lot to prove. In addition to proving that I have made something of my life, I also have to prove that I did not sacrifice a “real life” for academics. As I sit here I have to wonder if I did not do exactly that?

Just as I am about to sink into a new level of depression, the rational side of my brain reminds me that I have beaten a lot of odds along the way and I have come very far. Despite my upbringing, despite all the mistakes I have made, despite being a teenage mother, I am still one of the 32,000 odd qualified chartered accountants. Not only that but I have traveled further than some will ever do in their lifetimes. While admittedly I did not achieve all I had set out to achieve, I still can say I’ve lived abroad for a year and I stuck it out for a whole year even though every fibre of my being was telling me to come home after just a month. In all that I have done in the past ten years, I didn’t just cave in to my circumstances. I did not just accept the glass ceiling that was imposed on my success. I have dug myself out of more holes than I care to remember. While I may not have much to show for all I have done, all I have accomplished by way of possessions, I know I have learned a lot and am well on my way to being on my way to being the woman I want to be.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says that there is a time and place for every matter under the sun. If only I could remember this when I find myself envious of someone else’s success and blessings instead of remembering this scripture long after the tears of frustration and the shame of all I don’t have have engulfed me. Last night I lay in bed, near tears begging God to bring my husband my way. Almost immediately I could hear the response and it was a resounding NO! He said to me I was not ready yet. I wanted to launch into a full-scale argument with Him but kept still long enough to realise we had gone through this one too many times before and deep inside I knew exactly what He meant when He said I wasn’t ready. Funny though because this quiet acceptance has not stopped me from yearning over and over again today for someone to love and who will love me. The Bible reading, God believing Christian in me knows too well that He will grant me blessings according to His divine time and plan. The frustrated, impatient part of me who feels immense pressure to produce tangible success just won’t accept this and keeps begging God in the hope that He will grow tired of my pleas and just give me what I want and yet I know that won’t happen.

It’s amazing the amount of pressure that society places on us. What amazes me even further is the number of people who feel entitled to put you under pressure. While people feel obliged to give you opinions on how you should live your life and what you should and shouldn’t have, it’s quite ironic that they will not lift a finger to help you achieve these goals that they have set for you. I have been back home for two weeks now and I am already sick and tired of being asked when am I buying a car! No one’s offering to help me with installments or the deposit so why ask me like they’ve given me money to buy one and I did not do so? The very same people who have never picked up their phones to ask me how I am in the twelve months I was in Edinburgh are the ones asking for gifts from me. I struggled to even buy a plane ticket home with no one contributing a cent and now I’m selfish for not bringing anything back for anyone? I am in awe of the arrogance of some people.

As 2011 draws to a close and I think ahead of what lies in 2012, I am appreciative of the things I have been through in the past year that are bringing me closer to the woman I am destined to be. In as much as I made so many mistakes, shed so many tears and felt lonelier than I have ever felt in my entire life, I am starting to realise there was purpose in all that pain. I was meant to lose the people I lost this year because they were enablers; allowing me remain stagnant and mediocre. The loneliness and isolation I felt was necessary to remind me that there is nothing more important than companionship and also taught me that you cannot be a good companion to someone else till you know how to be one to yourself. My stint of separation from God was necessary to ground me, remind me that I am nothing without Him and remind me that my relationship with God should be the basis of all that I am and all that I do.

Looking back at all I set out to achieve this year and all that I thought I would have achieved by now, it is apparent that I am far from the finish line. But like Jessie J’s ‘Who you are’ reminds me: “It’s ok not to be ok. Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart but tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising, just be true to who you are.” I am at peace, even if temporarily, with where I am in my life and with all that I have and don’t have because it is simply not my time yet. I take comfort in knowing that next year will be yet another year I can try again and continue to strive towards God’s plan for my life. I have no doubt that I will stumble and fall along the way, I will not let that stop me because there is greater victory in pressing forward in the face of adversity than there is in succumbing to adversity.

Lessons From The Desert Part 2 (Importance of Friendship)


“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” ~ C.S. Lewis

The moment I read the above quote, I knew this would be the opening quote for this blog. As I prepare for my journey out of the desert, I reflect on all the lessons I have learned while stuck there and one of the most important ones is just what friendship and companionship mean to me.

Jesus is the epitome of a true friend for as John 15:13 says “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” and lay down His life He did just for me. I did not have a true appreciation for friends until I started university, far away from my family and all that was familiar to me. I quickly learned that if I was going to survive I needed to surround myself with people with the traits I admired and that I wanted to grow within me. I was blessed enough to meet my group of friends within my first month in university and today, nearly eight years later, I am still very close with a many of them. These wonderful women really shaped not only the woman, but the friend I am today.

I can still remember looking at my one friend and thinking, “how can she be so giving, so loving and so supportive?” She just seemed to be living John 15:13 as she loved, gave and supported even when she had better things to do and it seemed that those she was going out on a limb for, including myself, were not deserving. I knew looking at her that she was the kind of friend I wanted to emulate. As I started practicing to give more of myself and care less about what I received in return, I noticed the results because before I knew it I was overwhelmed with love and support and friends who’d drop everything to come to my aid when needed. Given the constant nurturing frienships require, I sometimes wonder how I managed to sustain those friendships throughout university because I was in a pretty serious relationship for pretty much my entire university career. I am sincerely grateful I did because when the chips were down and my world as I knew it shattered, they rallied around and they were there!

The most significant relationship I have built my friend template from is probably the one with my oldest and closest friend. I cannot sneeze without her saying “bless you” from the other side of the world. We were so close in high school even our mothers became friends. Sadly went our separate ways for university and pretty much did not speak or see each other for years. But man, did it hit us with a bang when we started working together a few years later! I do not feel I have developed enough as a writer to do our friendship and how much she means to me justice. I will not even try. By accepting and loving me just as I am with all my imperfections, she has really taught me how to just be me. She is truly my anchor and always pulls me back when calamity tosses me out of control. Never with grand gestures, never making me feel like I am stupid for not seeing it sooner but rather with the utmost gentleness, love and care. I once read in Rick Warren’s ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ that the most precious gift we can ever give is time. My best friend continues to give me the very best of herself, never demanding anything from me in return and it is from her than I have learned what a blessing it is to be loved unconditionally.

As I think of my friends who have come into my life quite unexpectedly, I cannot help but smile. Their friendship was so unexpected that unlike the friends I’ve discussed above, I cannot recall the point we became friends but I’m mighty grateful that we did. One day we were classmates, colleagues or strangers in church and the next they had carved very special places in my heart. They have added such a beautiful, enriched dimension to my life. Starting my working life I had often been warned to treat colleagues as such because ultimately they are there to look after themselves. It was quite a delightful lesson to learn that friendship does transcend age gaps, heirachies and most importantly the barriers supposedly imposed by work.

It is with absolute fondness that I reflect on each of the friends I left at home. My friends had done for me what a safe, nurturing environment does for a child; made me confident in my abilities and made me feel I was ready to take on the challange of moving abroad alone. If I had moved across the country and was able to building friendships that have survived years of separation, what would stop me now? If I was able to turn colleagues into friends why couldn’t I do it here? Looking back I realise that maybe I was somewhat arrogant in my thinking. Perhaps I was even more arrogant to think I would be able to survive without the glue that has held me together through my adult life thus far!

In Lessons From The Desert Part 1, I spoke about how making life-long friends was one of my goals when I arrived here. I was quite happy that I had landed up in Edinburgh because I had often heard how friendly the Scots were compared to say Londoners(which had been one of my possibilities). Having spent a few weeks trying to break into existing friendship circles in the office, I quickly realised that I was banging my head against a brick wall. We did not share similar interests and most importantly I just did not feel that sense of security that they understood me and that I belonged. So my next strategy was to align myself with the other South Africans who were pretty much in the same boat. Since most of the ones I would be working with were male, I planned to get to know their significant others that they’d moved here with and hopeful satisfy that longing I had for female companionship. Sadly, things did not quite work out.

It is not for the lack of trying that I will leave with no sense of accomplishment in this area. In my heart I really do believe that I did and tried all I could but always careful not too push too hard and trust in the process enough to take of the rest. Even with all that, I still have the deepest pain in my heart with all the hurt I have endured along the way. It reminds me of how I felt when I was little and I did not have any friends at school and felt like an outcast. I feel an even bigger outcast now than I did then.

The South African boys in the office have each other and their partners to go home to. Their partners have built a tight network and now have each other to lean on. And me? I have no one but myself. It is quite painful to sit and listen to the people you thought you would become friends with make dinner plans around you as if you are not even there. It’s even worse hearing about the parties that you were never invited to but would have loved to have been at. Thanks to social media it gets rubbed in your face over and over again when pictures are splashed all over feeds the following day. But don’t get me wrong, I am not looking for sympathy votes! As Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “for everything there is a season, a time for every matter under the heavens” and this I believe has been my season of loneliness.

With each season in our lives we are to learn something; in spring the promise of blessings to come, in summer the joy of giving, in autumn the wisdom of preparation and in winter we must learn patience and the blessing in growing in seclusion.

I have learned a lot from this past year and I hope that I do not hold onto the pain and bitterness that lingers in my heart. For the past few days I have repeatedly prayed that the Lord grants me a forgiving heart, a heart that lets go and doesn’t hold onto the hurt and pain it feels. This experience has, if nothing else, humbled me. It has also opened my eyes to just how much I love and value the friends I left at home. It is with newfound clarity that I reflect on and appreciate all they have taught me and just how much they have shaped my life. The most important lesson was the one my bestie reminded me of when she said, “Babe,don’t let them change who you are. It is in your very nature to be loving and giving. It is their loss if they do not appreciate all you do for them.”

Whilst the intellectual in me knows that you cannot force friendship and you cannot build one when the other person is not invested in doing so, it still saddens me to think of the longing left unfilled in my heart. And whilst my survival through the year has proven that friendship is unnecessary, like C.S. Lewis realised during his time, this survival means way less in the absence of friends to share war stories with.

Unworthy Entanglements


“I would do anything for you, I would go through all this pain, take a bullet straight to my brain. Yes I would die for you, but you won’t do the same!”  ~  Grenade by Bruno Mars

I fell in love with this song almost instantly. From the moment I heard the first verse I knew it was going to be one of my favourite songs. Quite like everything I have professed to love, in a matter of days I had worked myself up into a frenzy and my love had morphed into obsession. It became the subject of almost all my status updates on both Facebook and Blackberry messenger, it was playing on my mind all day everyday. I’ve come to realise that there’s a pattern in how I love…I’m an obsessive, compulsive lover!

Being single is, without any doubt, a sad and lonely time and it chips away at your self-esteem one piece at a time. As much as you know you have  friends and family that love you, you still feel like you’re undesirable and unloveable. This feeling is especially heightened when it seems like everywhere you go you’re bombarded  with couples including events and activities exclusively for them that are designed to specifically alienate you, the lone single person. It feels like a cruel, undue  reminder that you have scarcely had time to forget because the feeling of emptiness just never leaves you. Every time you are catching up with old friends and relatives you hear of all the people getting engaged, the upcoming weddings and the freshly announced pregnancies.  What deals the biggest blow however is undeniably the moment you find out your ex is now engaged!

No matter how much we protest and how many volunteer hours we spend to prove we are not, we ARE inherently selfish! I for one do not love my ex, do not want him back and I strongly believe I am better off without him but do I want him engaged? No! Especially not when I am single and I consider myself to be the more decent one of us both! What makes it so painful is you start thinking, “Well there must be something wrong with me if he spent six years with me and didn’t marry me and before I even have time to fetch my stuff from his place I hear he’s with someone else and less than two years later they’re engaged!” When the bitterness creeps in I just smile to myself and start singing, “I pity the fool who falls in love with you, oh shit she’s a gold digger, I just thought you should know…” and yes I go on to sing, “although there’s pain in my chest I still wish you the best” which I’d be lying if I said I meant it, I just sing it because I love the medley.

I have to wonder though, will I meet somebody or will I die of a broken heart, a non-scientifically proven yet still very real cause of death? Of late I have started thinking a very scary possibility; God will not bring me my life partner until I get over my addiction.

I am known as a person who loves others and showers those I love with immeasurable amounts of love. I used to think that this was a great quality to have but now I have come to realise it is also my Achilles heel. I have come to realise that the reason I love Grenade so much, is that it is about me. I have spent many, if not all, of my romantic entanglements catching grenades for people who would not do the same for me! As much as it is as a sad realisation, it is also a liberating one because it makes you realise that you deserve so much more than what you were getting and it’s ok to let go because you will not get anything worthwhile from that relationship anyway.

I might be wiser beyond my years in some areas of life, when it comes to relationships though, my growth is severely stunted. I do not think I will progress much until I learn to overcome all my weaknesses that feed into me being the way I am now. I always find it amazing how all my failures in life are always linked to me disobeying God. We all assign different names and different sources to that ever-present, still, small voice we converse with everyday. Pinocchio’s was Jiminy Cricket, who can forget the legendary, “And always let your conscience be your guide?” My small, still voice? Well that’s God of course. I am ashamed to say that He speaks and oftentimes I do not listen and I wonder why when I get hurt and have to crawl back to Him with shattered pieces of a violated heart.

I have had two serious relationships in the past eight years and in the interests of complete honesty, I was never meant to be in either one of them. I knew they were bad going in. I knew both guys were not ready to give me the relationship that I wanted and I still entered into relationships anyway. Not only that but I gave them both(not simultaneously of course), all that I had to offer and they became the very core of my life and that is my greatest sin.

First two commandments, notice how it’s two and not one and also how it is number one and two and not nine and ten, are about worshipping no one other than God. Exodus 20:4 commands us to “not make an idol of any kind…not bow down to them or worship them.” One of the dictionary meanings for the word “idol” is, “One that is adored, often blindly or excessively.”  Just like that, I have been repeatedly breaking two commandments in the way I conduct myself in romantic relationships.

I would be lying if I said I had stopped, though I do pray for the grace to stop. I do understand a bit more now that it is for my own protection that I remain single up until I can love someone in a constructive healthy way. It is time to accept God’s call to rehab and stay there till I am healed. Up until then I am ducking all grenades that I spot flying my way and I am certainly not about to go catching any for anyone who would not do the same.

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.