Friday, 31 August 2012

What to make of life.....

Yesterday was just one of those days that I wish I had stayed in bed, the world could have done better without my sour & sulking face. I had a bad toothache, had pain under my feet, couldn’t walk properly because whenever I put my foot down, it felt like I was stepping on broken glass. A pain I don’t wish on anyone. To top it off, I had to do a “road trip” with my colleagues; no I couldn’t skip it, because it was not really your conventional “nice time” road trip, it was WORK!! 

While driving through the outskirts of East London to Berlin, the beauty of nature just began to bring a stillness within me, managing to make me forget about my pain. At least the pain on my tooth, which was gently making way to my ear. As I beheld the simplicity yet grandeur of my surroundings, I was reminded of a life lesson I had discovered on a trip one day from Port Elizabeth to Jeffreys Bay. As I was driving that day many years ago, I gazed through the car window at the hills & mountains around me. I noticed that they were all different, some were clearer than others, smoother as it may. As I looked at this, a thought dropped in my head about how that was just the nature & reality of  life. Some people’s lives were smoother than others, others were rougher than rough, to say the least. I started questioning a lot of things about the fairness of God & the lopsidedness of life. I became despondent, wanted to share this “revelation” with anyone I could find to listen. Just as that crossed my mind, my focus was shifted to an even deeper reality & revelation about life, that life does not happen by mistake. Aha moment.

From that day I started seeing things differently, started realising that things are seldom as they appear. As I looked at the mountain, God taught me a lesson, that the smooth mountains were harder to climb because there was no place to hold on to. They were slippery, & one slip could lend you right at the bottom. On the other hand, with the seemingly rough & not so smooth, as much as it looked like it would take longer to get to the top, the roughness would help one to push themselves up. The bulging rock & the hole on the wall could be used as stepping stones, as a place to hold on to so as to get to the top. The contours I was so easily wanting to discard were necessary for climbing up that mountain. Never would have imagined.

I learnt during that trip a lesson I will forever hold dear, & that is a lot of things depend on how you look at them, then they are either “half empty or half fool” as philosophers would say. I then determined in my heart and mind that I will make the best of life’s experiences. That I would  use them to get me further up. 

Having, just a few minutes earlier, looked at life & God as unfair, I was so humbled to realise that things are seldom obvious and  that there is always a great opportunity to grow and become greater than what I would be if life was just smooth sailing. Does this mean we have to suffer? Not at all. But if in any case you are faced with difficulty & suffering, then don’t despair, there most likely is an underlying. There is indeed a blessing in the storm, I’m sure if you thought about your own life for a few minutes, you would discover that as well.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Uncertainty- that’s the name of the game!

The city had not seen rain in months, and it was not looking promising at all. Everyone dreaded what this was to lead to; especially farmers who stood over their dying crops daily, hoping that rain would come down and nourish their seed. The news came on the Sunday evening news “due to the lack of rain over the past three months, the dams in and around the city are running dry. As a result, we will have to enforce water restrictions. Please make sure that you use water wisely, you may not know, but the last drop you use may indeed be your last”!!

Water restrictions? Dry dams? No water reserves? What is our city coming to? Could we be facing judgment? Has the end of times come upon us? The city was in uproar, everyone was in a panic. People gathered containers, small and large, and filled them with water, for they feared that the next time they opened their taps, the only thing that would come out would be a whistle from the emptiness of the pipes. I imagine people were careful not to even break a sweat, as they would lose essential liquids from their body, thus requiring what now seemed luxury- water.

Dramatic? You may think so, but this was a reality a couple of years ago in Port Elizabeth, well, almost. At the time, I was a young student, and the same way the water reserves were drying up in the city I called home, that’s how I felt in my inner being.  The fire that once was in me had escaped. I felt a throttle that forced a restraint on me, sucking the very life out of me. The reservoir from which I sourced life seemed to have been shut off. Or had it been clogged with so much that the flow could not reach my longing soul? I don’t know. All I know is I felt like restrictions had been called on my life.

I was going through a spiritual drought.

I wondered, how many more “waterless” days would I have to live through? I had just about given up. The places and forms I once knew to be reserves were no more, with every attempt, it seemed like a pipe dream that I would get anything to quench the thirst and longing that was daily growing and burdening me.

…..Until the next Tuesday, when Zingi came rushing through our second floor res room waking us up, drenched from head to toe & to the very last layer of clothing she had on.
IT WAS RAINING!!! Just at the time when everyone was ready to give up; the rain came & eased the tensions in the city.

As I stared through the window that morning beholding the beauty of His faithfulness, I looked at the trees through different eyes. I heard Him speak to me through nature, through the things I saw daily & thought nothing of. He assured me that as much as the rain had come, a flood of refreshing was at hand for me. I learnt a few lessons that morning, that the trees & grass, though they were not getting any rain, dry & thirsty, they remained where they were planted, waiting for the day the rain would come, the day the Master would come & cultivate them. God reminded me that true worship came from those things He made-through nature. I realised that my biggest frustration was not the rainlesness my life was experiencing, but what I couldn’t stand was the uncertainty. I hated not knowing what would happen next, not being in control. This was my lesson to learn, & had I hardened my heart, this would have cost me the greatness that was to follow.

Looking back, I have come to appreciate that “uncertainty is the name of the game” and during those uncertain times, God is at work and He will come through on time. I know that without shadow of doubt. Uncertainty-that’s what I thrive on now; the mystery of this life I live is what now keeps me close to God!!! If you are feeling like giving up, dont, keep trusting that the God who has kept you and planted you will surely sustain you and see you through.


Monday, 27 August 2012

It's a choice

In 2004 my father passed on. He was a man I never knew, but he was a man who was always dear to me and close to my heart. I had always hoped that we would somehow find our way to each other and have the ideal father-daughter relationship as I imagined it in my head. Upon realising that this dream would never materialise, I was devastated, heartbroken and I started asking God the infamous question…… “WHY?”.

Many told me that time would heal the wound and the void in my heart; that I would recover from the loss; and so I waited for time to do his part…but he never did. 

“Time will heal”! I have heard these words so many times, uttered as a form of comforting one who has experienced a tragedy or an unexpected turn of events that has left them searching for answers and something to hold on to. I believe I have also said these words to a friend, a colleague, a stranger I bumped into on the street and was so burdened with the lump on his/her chest that s/he poured out to the first person who came by. I have told people time will heal……what was I basing this analogy on though?

In my experiences in life, time has never been a healer. There are numerous people who can attest to this. In the bible, I’ve so many times heard of the woman who was plagued by the issue of blood. It is recorded that this woman had been in that state for 37 years. She had also probably been told time and again that she must hang in there cause time would heal. As she waited and tried all she could to help time do what it was supposed to, she must have been despondent. I know if I’d have to wait for 37 years for anything……I wouldn’t really wait. Another story is recorded of a man who could not walk and was waiting by a healing pond to receive his healing, but he couldn’t get helped, regardless of how much time passed while he sat there. Every time the angel would come and stir the water, someone would jump in infront of him……and bam……he would miss out on another opportunity to be healed.

The lives of these two people both changed when Jesus came into contact with them. All their lives they had known they had problems, and probably shared their problems with anyone who dared come near them, but people would just tell them “time heals”. I can just picture the woman whose life had been marred by the issue of blood for 37 years, jumping up and looking at all those around her asking “How come no one ever told me that Jesus heals?”.  She must have wished that somebody would have objected to the fabrication about time being able to heal, then her life would not have been left such a mess for so long.

What am I saying? Time is not a healer…yes, I said it and I will say it again, TIME DOES NOT HEAL. How can time heal what God has not healed? And how can God heal if you have not come to Him and asked Him to? In both stories as recorder in the bible, we see those who needed healing making an effort to get God to heal them. This was no different for me as well, I had to make a choice to allow God to heal me. I’ll be honest though, allowing God to heal me was not as glamorous as you would imagine. As soon as I opened up and let Him do His “thing”, things did not, by no means start looking up, and that’s because Gods healing is a process, and there are no stages you can be exempted from in this process. When God started removing the scabs from the wounds that had been left unattended and waiting for time to heal……it HURT!! Another thing I wasn’t really impressed with about God healing those broken places was what most of us fear……stopping to blame things on others and finally accepting responsibility. Before this process, I could always attribute any failure in my life to my father or this and the other problem; there was always something else, it was never me. All these wounds and bruises had become a crutch, they were an excuse for me never to be held accountable for my actions……but God, and not time, had come to rob me off my crutch. 

This is what God does, He will remove from you anything that you have held onto that you shouldn’t, He will not let you go until you have shifted all focus and control unto Him.
So, stop waiting for time to heal you……only God can heal.
I now no longer say “Time will heal you” but I rather say “your CHOICE to allow God in will heal you”.

Friday, 24 August 2012

It’s a conspiracy

"Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me."
Those are the words she uttered daily, just to convince herself more than anyone else, that your words did not cut straight to her core, breaking way more than her bones,  but her sole. She couldn’t admit it, but it sure hurt like brand new shoes.

Every time u told him he was useless, the more he became what you called out of him. Do you ever wonder why he says he doesn’t know when you ask him a question? Well, you have told him he’s stupid over and over and over again, and each time, he believed it more and more, until that….he became. He had to take his life, because it was meaningless… your words said.

We wonder why she always covers herself in layers and layers of makeup that make her down and take away her identity, but it’s our words that broke her mirror. 
Now each time she looks at herself it’s through the broken mirror of your words that told her she was nothing and she would never get anywhere in life. 
She sees herself differently now, she’s even allowed men to have their way with her, cause she was trash anyway, cause that’s what you and I told her…. And all because of our words, we crushed her….until trash indeed she became.

You call him a fagat, isitabane, adding to the wound of worthlessness you have already bore through him with your words that deformed him and made him that. How could he see any value and admiration in a woman when his own mother never admired him, never embraced him. Daily he would seat cocooned in his little shell wishing daddy was still alive, because at least he would hold him, made him feel he counted, not doubted. You don’t know the cost of his choices, so don’t judge him no, he’s not an alien, he’s not a psycho, he misses his daddy, he just wants to know he’s loved, he just longs to be embraced and belong.
Now all he has to take away the stigma is the smoke he blows through his nostrils, the sting of the needle that puts him off and makes him forget the blade of your words that seers through his heart daily.

Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me, a FAT LIE. Sticks hurt, stones bruise, but from them you can quickly recover and soon forget their sting. But words, they don’t just disfigure from inside out, they cripple your being and there’s no cure for them.
With your words, love and encourage her and with the look in your eye, show him you care, tell him he matters. If with your lips you can do nothing else but curse him, zip them, for maybe then, with your lips you will build him. If your lips long to be open to give her a piece of your mind…you will be surprised if you just kept them sealed..and spread them out, they would turn into a smile.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The not to be known

There are generally a lot of things we do not see that other people see, or rather things that people see differently to how we see them. Well, for the past couple of months I’ve been struggling with a lot of internal conflicts & battles, that just lead to me wanting to run away from myself, away from the ongoing struggle that I imagined would lead to my insanity. I even considered skipping the country (I know you are thinking that wouldn’t have helped because the same issues would follow me wherever I would go, but hey, it felt the easiest thing to do, however insensible).

Then I met someone who referred me to a Personal Growth course; and I’m now glad I didn’t get the name of the course before I signed up, because I would not have gone, not willingly anyway. But I now realise that going to this course has been the best thing for my sanity, for my dealing with the issues that have been pulling at me and stretching me in all sorts of different directions. This course has allowed me the opportunity to look at myself with eyes that actually see, eyes that forced me to stop trying to protect myself from facing realities. Realities I would have loved to act as though did not exist.

Every Tuesday for the past 6 weeks I have opened myself up to exploring the possibility to DEAL, and I must say, it’s been doing me a world of good. I have gained the ability to let people into the "not to be known" of my life, which has been strangling me from within. The highlight of it all has been seeing a change in me, I have now become the bundle of joy that I once knew, with a "can’t get me down" approach towards life and all it throws my way.

So many times, we put so much effort into people not knowing that we are not as together as we ought to be and that we have things we struggle to face, let alone deal with. We find that in that process of putting on that facade for the masses, we forget to take it off when we now with only one person in the audience-SELF!! We put on "permanent make-up'' that will not only hide the blemishes we hate to see; but the makeup goes so deep that we convince ourselves that those blemishes and bruises are non-existent. That’s the worst place to be, the place where you suppress who you are for the sake of appearances. That’s the place that robs you of learning and growing  from your experiences. 

                  Take off the masks, wash off the makeup & claim your "FREENESS"!!!!!