SOMEWHERE INBETWEEN: WHAT IS GOD DOING? (PART 1)

Standard

1. He is Setting the Path (Ex 13:17-18; 1 Corin 10:13 )

God knows what we are going through, where we at and what we can handle. When the Israelites left Egypt God knew that they were too close to Egypt and too weak to pass through Philistine. He knew that they still had that “slave” mentality that rendered them unable to face an enemy in battle so he took them the long way around, in order to avoid the Philistines because he knew that that confrontation would make them turn back and return to Egypt. Am sure if the Israelites had had their way they too would have wanted to take the shortcut, thankfully they didn’t know where they were going. Why am I glad that they didn’t know? Because they had no opportunity to make the mistake we so often make- hurry through the shortcut we not strong enough or ready to tackle, forgetting that we he is charting our course on a journey he initiated. So often we want to take over and behave as if the journey was our idea and not his.

2. He is protecting you, destroying your enemies completely so they can’t pursue you. (Exodus 14:5-28)

When Pharaoh realized that he had, in his grief, allowed the Israelites to pack and go he decided to go after them and bring them back. Just as it is with the enemy, when he sees that you are set free and in your way he comes after you. Like Pharoah, in an effort to bring you back into slavery he is coming after you WITH ALL HE HAS. Ever wondered why Pharoah would send the best after a bunch of slaves he had had subdued for so long. Why not just send some foot soldiers and a couple of slave drivers to bring them back? After all of all the listed items the Israelites were said to have carried I didn’t see mention of a weapons which, to me at least, means they were virtually unarmed because I know for a fact that they didn’t have any weapons while living in Egypt (what right slave owner would arm the very slave they have oppressed?). So why take the best of the best, IN LARGE NUMBERS, to pursue a bunch of untrained, weak group of slaves? The answer is simple- the Israelites had tasted freedom, even if it had just been for a little while they had tasted it and Pharoah knew, the enemy knows, that once someone has tasted the sweet nectar called freedom they will not return to oppression without a fight. Someone who was born, and grew up a slave, knows nothing else besides slavery so they just take it to be their life but someone who knows what freedom is will not walk into slavery without a fight. That fight within them has to be coaxed out of them, always win brute force- the hope of freedom and your desire for it must be forced under the fear of your “master”.

That is why God has to destroy those that will pursue you just after you have left the camp of the enemy because he knows that the enemy will come after you before you are strong enough to defend yourself and before you are armed, so you put up minimum resistance and your fear of the power of Egypt will supersede your desire for freedom. That probably explains why often when we decide to leave the pleasures of the world and walk in the Light it seems as if things get worse before they get better. You decide that you do not want to go to the club anymore, suddenly you go broke and around that time the club owner comes to offer you a job that pays you more than your allowance (this actually happened to me in the 1st year of Uni ). I mean like what. kind of coincidence is that, right???lol The temptation to return is great and if God didn’t fight for us and destroy the enemy he would surely overrun us. Just as he destroyed the entire Egyptian army so does he do to our enemies- ensuring that they are unable to come after us as we continue on our journey and assuring us that there is nothing left to fear for the oppressor has been destroyed before our very eyes.

3. He is providing for us (Ex 15:22-27, 16:1-28, 17:1-7)

While this may not seem as “obvious” to some of us as it was for the Israelites in the desert it’s still pretty obvious to me. Yes, I get it comparing waking up to daily braid and meat outside your house every day sounds pretty awesome compared to have got to get up and work to make ends meet.

Actually, let’s be honest sometimes it feels like we providing for ourselves. After all, I have to get up. I have to go to work, or school, or both. I gotta make a plan to make sure it all adds up. Really if I count all the self-help/motivational books I read and research I gotta do to make it’s crazy. Like seriously God: Don’t you see my efforts? I mean what makes everyone else around me so much more special than me? Like everyone around me out there making it- and some of them don’t even pray like I do. THIS IS HOW MOST OF US THINK, Myself included sometimes. Like where is my manna from heaven?

But when we stop to change our perception the focus shifts from is to Him. The narrative becomes. He wakes me up every morning. He gave me this job/is giving me this education I got/am getting. He blessed me enough to be able to read these books so I can perfect my hustle and get my grind on. I mean it’s crazy to think He created all these great minds that are kind enough to share the “secrets” of success- if He can use someone who is unsaved and bless them like that imagine what he can do with me? All these great things happening without their permission, it’s mind-blowing to think what He can do if we just give him total control.😆

You see the problem with manna is that as people we get bored easily and quickly. God is never changing and can never take back his word, or change his mind. So if he says he giving you manna and quail- that’s all he gonna give you and you either take it or not. I mean why settle for water when you can grow grapes and apples to make different kinds of juice? If you human like the Israelites and get fed up of the same thing that’s still what you getting. In comes the benefits and beauty of being blessed enough to do it yourself- variety is the spice of life my guy. If he blesses you with a job that earns you money then good for you, you can buy and eat whatever you want😎. All he requires is 10% as a thank you for the job or whatever your source of income (because we all know He provides whatever we got) then the other 90% you can do whatever you want with it (as an added bonus He will give us the wisdom to spend, spin and multiply).

Not to mention the provision of God goes beyond daily bread and material things. Name it He got it- better yet He Is it😍. Yep, that’s who we got with us on this journey someone between. He who is, was, will be, can be, already has been and will be- now that’s provision. Everything we need and want (whether we know it or not) right there with us. Did I mention the part where he is everlasting and inexhaustible? Yeah so we never have to worry about even after this place somewhere in between cause He got us even then

4. He is sending you wise help and council (Ex 18:1-27)

So often because the space we find ourselves in new, unchartered territory where we have never been before we find ourselves doing the best we can- and that’s great. But praise be to God who has us surrounded by older, wiser people that can teach us better ways to do things. As we move through this somewhere in between managing the best we can, just as Moses was doing God sends us Jethro to tell us a better way we can do what needs to be done. God sends us helpers who are there to show us how to lessen the burden upon ourselves and feel less pressured, less overworked. Jethro told Moses how he, Moses, could still lead the people without judging each and every issue that came up amounts to the people by teaching them what the Lord’s expectations of them were and also by setting up a less centralized judgement system. This would give Moses more time to rest and listen to what the Lord was saying (notice how after listening to his father-in-law’s advice He was able to go get time to go up Mount Sinai to fellowship with God and come back down with instructions for the people- Ex 19-31, 34-40, that resulted in the Israelites receiving the Law and instructions on how to build the Ark of the Covenant where the glory of God eventually came to settle upon).

“She doesn’t know what I have been through. How dare she feels the need to tell me how I should do things. She doesn’t understand the burden of my gift because she doesn’t have the same gift.” or “You don’t know my story so you have no right to have an opinion, walk in my shoes before you want to give me your input (which I didn’t ask for btw)” is the same as Moses having responded “Jethro, a Gentile, a priest of another faith who didn’t know about the trouble Moses had faced with these stubborn Israelires wants to just walk in and tell Mosese how to lead the people…the nerve!” Yet that’s what we do all the time we are too proud and pompous, suspicious even, to accept help for what it is because we think everyone is out to show us how “not good enough” we are. Notice that, for Moses, all it took was one piece of advice from a transient helper and the impact was magnificent. So often we are so proud, stubborn and set in our ways that we miss the power of fine-tuning the seemingly finer details in how we operate. When someone suggests something we are so quick to defend our modus operandi especially when the advice comes from someone we think couldn’t possibly like understand. Funny thing is, like Jethro, these people gain nothing from helping us. They observe, speak, pack their thing and go but we forget all this because we do not want to grow. Imagine this, Jethro’s advice moved Moses from sitting and judging petty civil issues to getting more face to face time with God and yet Jethro left having gained nothing. So often we do not grow and end up worn out because we ignore the help, the Jethro’s God would have sent our way.

Advertisements

Somewhere In Between 

Standard

Num 11:4-25, 31-34; 13:26-33; 1416:1-35, 41-47; 20:2-11; 21:4-9; 25:1-3

So often we talk about , hear about and are taught about either leaving Egypt or entering the promised land in great detail. We seem to rarely get taught about how to survive “somewhere in between”. We are simply told that it’s a transient place designed to lead us from where we were to where we are meant to be. The only advice I remember ever getting is to “focus” on my final destination and trust God. While these are obviously very important, very sound pieces of advice, I have realized that for me they just weren’t enough. To be honest the first sentence of Hosea 4:6 i.e. “My people perish from lack of knowledge” is a clear description of how I navigated my “somewhere in between”. Unaware of any pitfalls I was at risk of while I trudged through this great unknown. So “focused” on Canaan som much that I was oblivious to all the pitfalls that the enemy had set for me. Pitfalls designed to keep me in this place of bare minimum, moving just enough to look and feel like I am making progress but slow and blissful enough to neither arrive where I want nor to realize that I have a problem on my hands. All this in an effort to frustrate my journey enough to convince me to give up.

PITFALL #1- Feeling “homesick”.

As I went through the Israelite’s journey I couldn’t help but notice that from the Red Sea to the bank of the River Jordan every time things went “wrong” the Israelites always said they would rather have been in Egypt- as someone who has been studying away from home I can totally relate to this feeling of wishing things had gone wrong while I was back home instead of this unfamiliar, foreign land, where despite having been here for almost 3 years I still feel out of place. The danger of feeling “homesick” for the place God rescued you from is that we place ourselves in a prison of the heart and mind. We become prisoners of the feeling, the idea that where we are coming from is where we belong so much that we find ourselves torn. Torn, usually because we know we don’t belong there but our hearts long for the garlic and the bread of  Egypt anyway. Our minds are “focused” on the goal  but often our hearts were left where we were for so long because that is what is familiar to us and the heart loves what is most familiar. 

The danger of this is that where our hearts are our minds will always drift towards where our hearts are. So despite knowing that our heart is in the wrong place we find ourselves wondering in that same direction. Jesus said to him, “‘ Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind .’ (Matthew 22:37 NET). Why would God insist on being loved by your heart first and your mind last? It’s because the instinct of the mind is to follow your heart, that’s why how your heart feels about something or someone your mind can always justify that is why Proverbs 4:23 says “Keep thy heart more than anything that is guarded; for out of it are the issues of life.” (DARBY) As we are “somewhere in between” it is important that we continue to check our hearts an ensure that they are where they are supposed to because Jeremiah warns us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and incurable; who can know it? “(Jer 17:9) Just as the Israelites thought their hearts were set on the Promised Land yet their words (Luke 6:45) reflected that they were actually still in Egypt so also we often deceive ourselves into thinking our hearts are set on what our minds know to be true. Remembering that the battle is ultimately for our hearts not just our minds because we are saved by believing and believing happens in the heart. So how do we check where our hearts are? How do we know that it is truly on the things of God and not deceiving us?🤔  We can pray the prayer of David in Psalms 139:23-24, asking God to search us, test us and lead us to ways everlasting. Ask him to shift our desires from where we were to where we ought to be. For only He who knows our inner most being can tame this wild creature we call the heart.

Pitfall #2- Failure to recognize and break the pattern.

Throughout Numbers the Israelites complained, rebelled, got punished and repented….only to do it again. In fact the complaining at the beginning of  their journey at the Red Sea. As they started their their journey God tolerated it because he understood that they neither knew him nor did they know any better. With time thought he expected them to grow to know him as he walked with them and that they would know better than to continuously complain. Instead they moved from just murmuring and complaining to building idols and rebelling. Until God realized that if he didn’t punish them they would destroy themselves in the wilderness. In fact he got so upset he told them to go on without them at some point (Ex 33:1-5). God is faithful to his word and would never not fulfill his word so there was never a risk that they would not get that which was promised to them but their actions did move them out of his presence. Sad reality is that so many of us have unknowingly  developed our own patterns that strain our relationship with God. So many of have long since left him behind somewhere and we assume that just because things that God promised us are happening it translates to us being in his presence. For the Israelites the inability to recognize and break the pattern is the reason why they had to spend 40yrs in the desert, at the edge of the promised land where so many died. You see Moses’ declaration that he would not move without the presence of the Lord put the Israelites back on the right side of God but that was the last time God tolerated their nonsense. Like any loving father he began to discipline his children and allow them to bear the consequences of their actions in an effort to teach them right from wrong. So it is with us- failure to break bad habits means we will reap the ruins of such seeds.

My questin to you today is , “What’s your pattern?” Mine? When things get tough I grab a bottle of the strong stuff to “help me forget”. At some point in my life I became a barely functioning  alcoholic. I became known in my circles as that girl that had a high alcohol tolerance. I began to avoid hose people that would point out that I had a problem. What had been my “secret coping mechanism” for years was on display for all to see. It wasn’t until I realized that this was how I “dealt” with the issues in my life that I found myself beginning to break the cycle- which was get a problem, turn to alcohol and get more problems because of the alcohol so drink more in hope that the problems would magically melt into oblivion. What I now know  is that these patterns we create wear us out and make us feel as if God has ditched us. Overcoming this pitfall is not easy true but I thank the Father that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me because breaking habits and addictions is not easy. The greatest breakthrough is recognizing that you have created a cycle and knowing what the cycle is, is a great step towards breaking it. The Israelites were unable to do this seemingly simple thing and it  cost them a lot. Truth be told a cycle is often difficult to notice unless you are not within it- it’s easier to see from the outside looking in so I  suggest you employ the help of a good friend to tell you what they see. As with the Israelires some cycles cannot be allowed to cross over into the promise so the enemy uses this to keep us in this unproductive place. May the Holy Spirit teach us to break our patterns and may we humble urselves enough to have teachable spirits.

Pitfall #3- Lack of gratitude and trust i.e.amnesia 

For every challenge the Israelites faced they forgot the previous miracle God had just done for them. At every hiccup the the children of Israel forgot that they were traveling with Jehovah Ebenezar, that God who had brought the as far as they had reached. How often do we do the same thing? Forgetting where God took us from and that it is by his grace that we are where we are now- far from where we used to be and closer to where we belong. We forget that the plan to move was never ours to begin with but his. Surely the all knowing God knew that the Israelites would find no water in the desert that he led them into or that they would run out of food and need to eat. I mean in Exodus 33:2 he even offered to send Angels ahead to drive out the  the inhabitants of the promised land that the Israelites didnt even know yet when they saw these same people they got afraid a forgot not only the offer but what God had done to the Egyptians. 

I mean if we truly believe that God knows everything then why do we speak and behave as if he didn’t know /doesn’t know that you would face/are facing a challenge. The same God we profess to know the beginning from the end, the God who has been, is and will be here, there, everywhere. A God so omnipresent that you couldn’t make  your bed in hell to hide away from his presence (Ps 139:8-9). A God with so much wisdom and life experience that nothing we face is new to him, no mistake we make can shock him, nor can any challenge be beyond him , in fact he is faithful through it all making sure each one of us faces only what we can handle and no more (1 Cor 10:13). So why then are we so quick to forget  all this when we face trails? When things get tough we begin to complain and question God , forgetting what he did, has done and is doing in our lives- forgetting who he is. By so doing we cut Him out of the equation, thereby prohibiting him from doing his thing.

The word says He inhabits the praises of his people and that when our praises go up his glory comes down. So if we seize to praise where do we expect his presence to manifest itself, how will we tap into that glory? Glory we that brings grace , grace   that is sufficient for us in times of need. Imagine how different, how much better, the Israelites’ story would have read if they had praised more and complained less? Imagine if the other 10  spies had thought and spoke like Joshua and Caleb- the Israelites would have saved  themselves 40 years, with many of those that had started the journey having been able to enjoy the promise rather than dying in the wilderness. Ask yourself…… WHAT IS YOUR ATTITUDE GAINING/COSTING YOU?

Pitfall #4- Impatience and Idol Building

This is undoubtably the most dangerous pitfall of all. It is no secret that God is a jealous God who won’t share his glory with anyone or anything. He is a jealous lover so passionate about us that he cannot, will not and should not share his place in our lives. This is amazing and great and fulfilling when you can see what he is doing, when you can hear him so clearly , when you can feel him at every moment. You know those days when you are just basking in his presence and you can tell that your season is all sunny and rosy, when he talks you through a confusing or troubling moment holding your hand and all that good stuff? Yeah it’s pretty awesome. But what happens when  you suddenly feel like you can neither hear nor feel him and you are getting tired of waiting for the next set of instructions? When you feel like you at the foot of the mountain you know he is in but he has told you stay where you are, don’t move any closer to it your instrucructons are coming… JUST WAIT. Those times when it appears as if he has gone quiet, and we feel like we have been waiting for ever for a looooong time and NOTHING- you at the bottom of the mountain and all you hear is nothing? How do we react? We begin to build idols out of what we have. We attempt to fill the void using the “gold” in our possession. What often become idols to usage not a problem or distructive within themselves until we ‘melt them and mold them’ into such. There was nothing wrong with the gold the Israelites carried- in fact they were told to carry it, the gold became a problem when they decided to use it to make an idol. So it is with us sometimes serving in church, achieving that dream or getting married become our idols-  they become more important to us than God. By definition anything or anyone we put above God and what he says is an idol. For others the pastors and prophets we follow have become our idol- we hunger for their words more than we do for the word of God himself. There is nothing wrong with learning and receiving words from these people after all their gifts are from God to teach, shepherd and encourage the church but some of us have set them up on such a high pedestal they are now our stand of living instead of Christ

“What’s your idol?” You might wanna know. Well rcently I realized that my studies had become my idol. I allowed them to consume me and my desire to do well became an obsession. My books and what I had to learn crowded my mind th so much so that I could be doing something else but my mind wouldn’t be there. Even my prayers became mindless ramblings without much though given to what I was saying. I was now too busy to sit and listen to what he had to say to me. Gone were the days I would drop whatever I was doing to listen to and write what he was telling me. I was neglecting what I knew I had to do. To be completely honest I had to fast from my studies to write this. I have to deny myself the satisfaction I feel after a good study session, I have to tame this hunger, this ambition to redirect my efforts and reorganize my priorities. It’s not easy easy no lies but it’s worth it. I have found that a lot of what was bothering and some of what almost overcame me did not have to bother or shake me but it did because I had taken my eyes off the cross. 

Having said all this though I just want to remind us that this place, this “somewhere in between” is not all bad and riddled with pitfalls. It a her that God trains us, molds us and changes us into the versions of ourselves that can better handle the challenges that await us in the promised land. It is here threat hat our minds are shifted and renewed. Here we learn to stop thinking like, stop living like, stop speaking like the slaves we were,  tand o rather start thinking like, start living like, start speaking like the heirs we now know ourselves to be. Actually “somewhere in between” is not necessarily just about the wilderness, the hunger and the journey from Egypt to the promised land. There are other middle grounds that we find ourselves in in our walk with Christ and in the weeks to follow I hope  to be able to explore these with you. Next time we will look at what is God really doing while we walk through the wilderness ,trying to overcome the challenges the journey brings our way and attempting to mind all the afore mentioned pitfalls.

The Jonah in Me

Standard

I haven’t written in so long and, to be honest, part of me wasn’t sure if I was going to pen anything new anytime soon. When I started this blog it was simply to share my “Of a Woman” series (hence the name of webpage)- collection of fascinating findings of different characteristics of women and what the bible says about them. An easy enough task. But God obviously had other plans. As the weeks progressed I found myself opening my “Journey to me” series where I found myself led to open up to you my readers about some very personal feelings and thoughts I harbored.  I won’t lie and pretend that it was easy- it is probably the most difficult thing I had to do in the last 3-5 years. Some people closest to me actually learnt about these feelings from reading the articles because I had never shared them before. Opening up like that left me feeling drained, vulnerable and highly exposed. For one I didn’t know how you, the readers, would take it- as a cry for attention or, as I was praying, as lesson and encouragement for some other young lady out there who was dealing with the same challenges. I also did not enjoy digging up the pain and bad memories because part of me knew that I had not completely dealt with them but had simply decided to ignore and bury them, hoping they would eventually disappear on their own.

So faced with the realization that should I continue to write, that hiding myself was no longer an option I did what I am good at- I ran. I packed all my notebooks, logged out of this blog, it’s associated social media, and stopped writing all together. Then in order to find an excuse NOT to do what God was telling me to do I started putting my efforts towards other things that, yes I had been feeling I  should do but, I knew it wasn’t my “main agenda”. Like Jonah, I went to Tarshish instead of Ninevah. And like Jonah, I stepped out from under the protective covering of God as I walked away from my mission and went AWOL. Again I learnt, the hard way, that is always easier to give advice than to take your own advice. I have learnt that while the process of obedience may not always be the most comfortable, the fruits are always so much more beneficial, and pleasurable than the fruits of disobedience- which is short term “feel good” and bears really bad fruit.

I had become so used to everything becoming a fight that it’s almost reflex for me to put up a struggle with EVERYTHING and to fight off EVERYONE. Jonah may have run from his instructions because he thought THEY didn’t deserve the love of God  but I run because I feel that I don’t deserve it. The love of God surrounds and overwhelms me so much that I just wanna run from Him. It’s amazing I wrote Tangled in Guilt, convinced that I was done with it only to realize that I have been entertaining her older brother Condemnation. Sure my heart knew and knows the popular scripture Romans 8:1 (There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit KJV) but my mind was struggling to process it, to accept it so I decided to bolt from the very person I was meant to run to.

But the grace and patience of God is amazing. He followed me wherever I went and continued to give me routes to return back to MY path but some of us are more stubborn than is necessary. I hardened my heart, closed my eyes and tried to shut out His voice, determined to retreat into the cocoon of lies and deceit that the enemy had talked me into because it felt “more like me” than what God is calling me to. I have learnt that there is a big difference between just having some bible verses stored in your memory that you can recite when it seems “appropriate” (RELIGIOUSNESS) and allowing the Holy Spirit to minister these words to your inner most parts so your mind is renewed and your life is changed (CHRISTIANITY). Of course to know what the bible says is important but what’s more important is for us to allow the Word to search our hearts, our thoughts and to change them where they are not right (Psalms 139:23-24).

And so this year my goal has been set before me- To subdue this Jonah in me, to conquer condemnation and to kill the spirit of religiousness that seems to be plaguing me. I pray some of you will join me on this journey to becoming the person God intends each one of us to be. I am not expecting it to be easy but I know that it is worth it because true and complete freedom awaits at the end of this journey- not only freedom for myself but the freedom of those that will hear my testimonies.

#2018theyearof #breakingdownwalls #diggingdeeperfoundations and #growingdeeperroots so we will finally #beholdhisglory

A broken Heart?

Standard
There is nothing wrong with a broken heart. So often we go to church, talk to our friends and even go before God trying to hide our broken hearts, I mean after all “we are healed” so the idea of not being is “unacceptable” and on most occasions, if you try to bring it up there always seems to be someone “who has gone through worse and yet they survived and healed” or whatever broke your heart will be referred to a something “small, nonsensical and childish”.
 
For almost two years I pretended to have been healed from a heartbreak of having lost my first love. After all, he was “just a boy and there are plenty more of them in the world”. Fair and fine that is true but the problem was I didn’t want ANOTHER guy, I wanted him. But because we simply don’t “cry over boys”, let alone cry heartbreak and heart ache at 19/20 I shut the pain down and tried to pretend as if I was fine. I didn’t even want to talk to my pastor about it lest I be told I need deliverance because I knew that it wasn’t deliverance I needed but permission to hurt, to grieve and finally to move on. So I was stuck in my pain for the longest time, keeping up appearances- because I couldn’t afford to have someone even suspect that I was still in “yesterday’s pain” (which wasn’t really yesterday’s but MINE, my pain that I was carrying around).
 
My sister, I want to tell you today that there is nothing wrong with having a broken heart. What is wrong is trying to pretend that it is well when it is not. That pain, that anger will suffocate your heart, blind you and the enemy the foothold he needs to build a stronghold in your life. While I was in my state of broken heart I moved from relationship to relationship, afterall what says “I have moved on just fine.” louder than a new Bae? The enemy kept in confusion because I knew that I wasn’t in a state to have a healthy relationship but I still went in and found myself with a good man but I was unable to receive or give him anything good because I was so afraid of Love, afraid that if I loved him I could lose him and get hurt AGAIN so in order to protect myself I would “jump ship” as soon as I felt that he was getting close- better I leave first than him.
 
If someone had told me what I know today, what I am telling you now I would have made better decisions, hurt fewer people and my heart would have been healed much earlier on, Psalms 51:17 says “The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit, a BROKEN AND CONTRITE HEART [broken down with sorrow], such O God, you will not despise [reject]”. When your heart is broken and you go before God he will not, he cannot reject it, if it wasn’t true the Word wouldn’t say it. I do not care what broke your heart- a tragedy beyond your control, or a bad decision you made. God is not calling you so he can judge and condemn you, no he is calling you so he can heal you and make you whole- he is waiting for you to become tired of the pretense, become tired of the pain and come running into his presence mess and all in tow. I may never understand, your best friend, your siblings, your parent and even your significant other may never understand, or care for that matter but I know some one who does. Christ cares, he understands and he is willing to take the burden away from you if you would just give him the go ahead.
 
Go before God today, tomorrow, every day and take that broken heart with you, he isn’t expecting you to be perfect and he will not say that just because you are a church elder, a counselor. a mother. a professional, a wife, a grown woman, or whatever you must mature enough or old deal with it yourself. Before him, our most important identity is CHILDREN, His children, and a Father ALWAYS wants to ensure that his daughters, his princesses are feeling good. There is no shame in a broken heart before God, just freedom from the pain, mending of the heart and love that sees beyond what you have done, or could possibly do, wrong.

Tangled in Guilt

Standard

A few weeks ago I wrote about Insecurity. As I was writing I realized that of all the “side effects” of the life I lived as a result of living a life blinded by her, the one that I struggled with the most after I had overcome Insecurity was Guilt. I know many, if not most, believers struggle with it. Guilt is just downright ugly. Why? He settles in after one becomes saved but he also shadows the heart of those who are even exposed to The Word, making you feel as if you do not deserve the love and grace being offered so freely.

I personally think that of all the battles God has set before me through this is the toughest, I won’t lie. It is the toughest for a a whole lot of reasons. The feeling Guilt gives is more than just being chained or trapped- it is both and more. It is being caught up with, identifying with and even personalizing him. You do it on so many different levels, for so many different reasons and, if you are like me, you meditate upon him as well. All these form a twisted web around your mind, heart and soul that can literally choke Joy and Peace out of you. For the longest time I didn’t know what to do about Guilt, in fact I actually thought that maybe I had to live with him, I figured he would help me stay on the “straight and narrow”. How terribly wrong I was, Guilt has no part to play in keeping me “in line”, in fact he is a burden from the enemy meant to weigh me down and delay progress.

Guilt operates by putting you in an emotional and spiritual vacuum of sorts. In this vacuum you cannot hear anything above your Guilt nor can you feel much else besides guilt. When you wrong someone and you feel guilty about it being around them makes you VERY uncomfortable and you will avoid being in their presence, forget talking to them. Every time you think of the person you can’t help but remember what you did to them, and so you try to avoid thinking about them as well. Eventually anything and everything to do with the person just intensifies that feeling of guilt until that is all you can associate with them. It is especially worse when you love the person.

When you love someone, when you care about someone wronging them, disappointing them HURTS. It doesn’t just hurt them but it hurts you too. Actually I am now convinced that Guilt is a very selfish trait. Guilt is mainly centered in how we feel about what we did and less about the one we wronged. It’s based on how we think about ourselves and disregards how the offended party may feel, especially if they have forgiven us. It’s based almost entirely in how we view a certain action, if anything it is a reflection of our ability to forgive and how we see ourselves. Holding on to Guilt is us just saying not only aren’t we worthy but it’s a mockery of the next person’s act of love and understanding by choosing to forgive us.

My dance with Guilt began long before I had decided to give my life to Christ, it actually began when I started drifting away from all that I had been raised to know was good and right. The further I drifted the worse I got entangled. I felt guilty about the lies I was telling, the double life I was living. The more I turned my back on the Truth, the more I convinced myself that I wasn’t “saveable” and the more I tried to convince myself this the guiltier I felt for letting myself believe this and disappointing those that saw the me that I thought could be saved.

To feel guilty about “spiritual” things seemed to make sense as I continued to make decisions that were obviously questionable. Just as Insecurity had managed to move from my physical to my spiritual. Guilt decided to move, swiftly, from my spiritual to my mental. It’s one thing to feel guilty about being wrong in the eyes of “the church” but to feel guilty about being below the “worlds” moral standards is a whole different kind low. When you just know that you are a terrible person, when you don’t need to be told and you just know. Guilt likes to take you to that point where you become your own greatest judge.

For me Guilt usually stems from the idea that I am/was a good person and as such I shouldn’t have done what I did because good people, good girls, good CHRISTIAN girls do not do that. It is tough when you become like the people you used to judge and look down upon. Simply put the source of Guilt is Self-Righteousness, where you feel that on your own you should be Perfect, Spotless, Flawless- forgetting that it is Christ who cleanses and perfects you in his blood.



Guilt likes to come from all angles, and he loves to magnify Insecurity. That’s how he wraps himself about you and entangles you. Each seed of guilt loves to grow and wrap around your heart, your mind, and reaches over to connect with another seed until you cannot tell one seed from another. You will not be sure where what starts and where it ends so you don’t know what exactly you feel guilty about- what you did or what you didn’t do or say. Should you be guilty about who you are or who you aren’t? What about those you hurt intentionally or unintentionally? Should I feel guilty about what I have o what I lack? Short questions yet the answer is so complex up until today I cannot answer them, I suppose it is a little bit of everything to be honest. Whatever it is the answers rope around you, weaving themselves around you as skillfully as a spider spins her web until you cannot tell where it begins and where it ends. Eventually what you feel guilty about is what you feel insecure about. Or does what you feel insecure about become what you feel guilty for? On some days I cannot day, on other days I cannot but one thing is clear- they love to stay connected and when they connect they solidify and consolidate the tangles of Guilt while highlighting Insecurity.

Where Insecurity is mostly a battle of the past, Guilt is an ongoing battle.  Everyday is different, some days I feel Guilt less and others at feel him more. No two days are the same because different things trigger different strings. Whatever it is though I am learning to face the trigger, and the triggered string. I have come to learn that if I want to hide from, or smother them they will continue to have a hold on me. The most powerful revelation for me was the one I mentioned earlier- the fact that me feeling guilty is selfish especially when the offended person has forgiven me. So I usually ask myself why I cannot forgive myself and why I cannot accept God’s, or anyone else’s, forgiveness.

The best gift you can give someone you have wronged and who has decided to forgive you is to accept their forgiveness and forgive yourself. Guilt will just destroy your relationship with that person and make things awkward because you get into the habit of bringing up whatever you feel guilty about. Sometimes your guilt becomes your obsession to the point that that’s all you can talk about. For 2 years I allowed myself to be stuck in a place because of Guilt, he kept me in one place and that’s all I can talk about and on the worst days sometimes it comes up again and again. I allowed Guilt to consume me to a point that it became all I could think about, but I have learnt that if all the offended parties have forgiven me I have no right to throw a pity party especially not one in the name of Guilt. Even they hadn’t I should not play the victim but I should take responsibility for my actions and face the consequences.

Just as Insecurity had her verses and playlist Guilt has his own as well (they are almost the same though lol). This playlist keeps me grounded especially on days when Guilt is trying to rip me from the anchor of my faith. These song remind me that it’s not for me to focus on Guilt but on Christ- He gave His life to free me from the Entanglement of Guilt, who am I to hold on to them? Instead I face the chains, the pain, the guilt in His name because that is where my freedom comes from. Guilt should not, and cannot, be allowed to keep me bound when freedom has called my name so clearly. The beauty of Christ is he doesn’t tell me to fix myself and come. No, he tells me to come and then he will fix me. What that means is if I turn it out to be “un-fixable” it’s on him and that leaves me with nothing to feel guilty about. Which simply can’t be cause we all know that “nothing I impossible with God”.:)😍

So I am teaching the voice of God to be louder than the voice of Guilt because with one makes me worthy, loves me, and frees me while the other burdens me, condemns me and entangles me.
My verses and song list: 

John 8:36- So if the son sets you free you will be free indeed.

2 Corinthians 5:17- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the old things have passed away, behold all things become new.

MercyME- GREATER (reminder)

MercyME- FLAWLESS (reminder)

MercyME- DEAR YOUNGER ME (note to self)

For King and Country- PRICELESS (identity)

Matthew West- HELLO, MY NAME IS (decleration)

Hillsong Young and Free- GRACIOUS TEMPEST (not all storms are bad;))

Elevation Worship- O’ COME TO THE ALTER (where you.belong)

Big Daddy Weave- REDEEMED (its not about what you have done.but about who he is)

Lauren  Daigle- HOW CAN IT BE (amazing grace)

Matthew West- MENDED

Credits:

ART: Fadzai❤, Chisha❤, Aisha❤

LETTER TO MY FATHER

Standard

Hi Dad,

The last time I spoke to you was 16 years ago. I was just 7 years old and totally clueless of anything. Today, 16 years later, I am still clueless about many things but I know a lot more today than I did then. I have so much I am upset that you missed, stuff that I am glad you were not here to watch me do and others I am on the border about. 

I remember that the last thing I ever told you was something like, “Don’t forget my doll.” because it had never occured to me that that was the last time I would speak to you. How I wish I had known, that day, what turned out to have been the very last lesson you would ever teach me. The lesson that: every moment, any moment can be our last. 

I fell asleep on the couch waiting for you that night. When I woke up everthing was different. I had.no idea what, or who, death was so when they told me you were dead it didn’t mean much to me. That night I cried because mum was crying. In my efforts to get her to stop crying, to stop hurting and the confusion of been thrown in the middle of some people telling me to leave her be and whatever else others were saying I found myself crying. I crawled onto her lap and just cried. The rest of your funeral is a pretty much a blur. I was in a constant confusion. I remember the first time I saw you lying in the coffin though, I just wanted you to wake up but you never did.

It was only when I went back to school that it began to sink in that I was now Fatherless. I asked God so many time to let me join you but He never let me. My nightmares involved you going away and leaving me calling after you, runing after you, crying. Some days even at this age I have that nightmare but they have become few and far between.

5 years after you had left, I was 12, I got my grade 7 results and they were great. That is probably the 1st day I truly started to mourn your loss. I felt as if I had taken the first step to achieving OUR plan to get me to Medical School…but you were not there. 3 years later, at 15, I missed a bunch of school and, to be honest, I was angry with you for not being there and making sure that I had everything I needed. Eventually I finished high school and I suppose I did OK but still I needed you there at every step but you were not. All the hard work I did, and do, in school is to make you and mum proud but….you are not here to tell me if it does.

School aside even in my social life I needed you there. Every little girl needs her daddy. I know I am strong and whatever but I could have been stronger standing on your shoulders. I miss and crave that sense of security and being cherished you gave me. I remember that then I was the Apple of Your Eye and the little poem you used to say as I was sitting on your lap- sometimes I wonder if you would still see me in the same light or if we would have been torn apart as I got older, but that is another thing I will never know. To tell you the truth I just wonder what it would have been like growing up with a father. Does it make you a better person, or does having an extra parent to clash with make you more rebellious? What are the things mum, as a woman, could not teach me that only you, as my dad, could? Overall how different would my world be had you been in it, even for just a year, or two, more?I know these are questions only God can answer but I want you to know how I feel and what I think.

I have met some amazing people. I even met a guy (I know not every father wants to hear this but I want you to know, I want to be open with you), I wonder how you would have felt about him. I know many people will think me crazy for telling you this or for even mentioning it- each person for their own reasons. I mention this guy because even when I was determined to give up and lose myself he wouldn’t let me. For a time I had a protector of sorts, someone who saw good in me when I was not being the best version of myself enough to motivate me to actually become that better person. I have friends like Adelaide amd Kristabel that pick me up on the darkest days, Agnes to feed me when I am  down to eat and Fafa to encourage me. I am sure you still remember Thandi, I havent seen.her in a while but I miss her so much because I have not seen her in years. Valentine is always fighting for me and with so I stay on the right path, making sure that I allow myself to go through the motions but not to go back to where I was. If you feel like sending some blessings this way please do send to these amazing people, if possible send them double of my allocated portion because they deserve.it, and more.

Mum misses you. And I know she misses you more than us kids. It hasn’t been easy for her without you here. But I will tell you this, you married a remarkable woman. She morphed it everything, to the best of her abilities and she has better than some households that have both parents. We all made it to uni. I made it to medical school, mostly because she refused to allow me to give up even when I fought her about it. Maybe one day I will be a super woman like her and be a great addition to people’s lives like she is to every life she touches

You might be wondering why it has taken me 16 years to write to you. Well at first the thought never crossed my then I was not sure what to write to you and angry.with you, still, for leaving me. The more recent reason was I was not sure you would want to hear from me. For the longest time I had lived in shame and guilt but I know for a fact that if you love me like I imagine a father can love a daughter then you will accept this. Whether or not you know everything I have done I hope you still accept me and love me even a bit more maybe it will help me heal a little quicker. I promise to write a little more often and wait patiently for you to write back. I just pray I do not have to wait too long.

Her Name Was Insecurity

Standard

For years I secretly struggled with Insecurity. If I saw myself through the eyes of Goldilocks then I would always be Mama Bear, or Papa Bear, never Baby Bear- always too much or too little but never-ever just right. In my younger years, I tried to talk to people about it but it seemed futile because it felt as if no one understood, or cared. So eventually I stopped speaking out, and sharing how I felt, I just internalized everything.

Every flaw and lack I have/had (real or imagined) I was hyper-aware of it. Secretly I obsessed over Insecurity and everything she pointed out to be “wrong” with me. But I had a ‘public face’that told a completely different story. When high school started I hid Insecurity behind an “I don’t care attitude” and then, and then well I met a boy lol… Then my “I don’t care attitude” had to adapt to my new social status. I turned into “vanity”. So I went from seeming not to care about how I look, or what people thought about it to being consumed by it. I had to prove that I deserved his attention. I slowly started to change myself to “better suit his taste” (or more honestly, what I thought his taste was) even though he had never said he thought I was lacking in any way. I used his attention as a salve to soothe the hurt and turmoil Insecurity was causing within me. For about 2-3 years this strategy seemed to be working, I almost forgot about Insecurity. But Insecurity can never stay ‘hid’ for too long, she demands attention and does not take lightly being ignored and buried under superficial distractions. So Insecurity began to claw her way out from beneath everything  I had attempted to bury her with. She came back with a vengeance and this time, no one and nothing could hide her or tame her. In my younger years, I had made sure that I not had much (mainly by social isolation and avoiding being noticed as much as possible), if anything, to lose because of “my flaws and lacks” but this time I felt as if I had a lot to loose (my ‘new’ friends, social status and, yes my boyfriend). Insecurity was back and she brought with her back-up in the form of Loneliness; and together they eventually bred the ultimate monster: Self-Hate.

My final year of high school and the proceeding year were tough years. I allowed Insecurity to morphe me into something else. All the ‘secret flaws’ I thought I had hidden so well came pouring out over those two years. Everything I thought I didn’t deserve I started to dismantle and destroy- with my own hands. Every time I destroyed or lost, one thing Self-Hate grew a little me in me, until it was all I could feel. But feeling that the world, and sometimes family too, neither had the time nor the patience to deal my personal issues I carefully wrapped up this ugly trait in a cast shell, out of sight. During that stage of my life what everyone thought was bothering me was not the real issue. The family assumed it was school related, and my friends thought it was my failed/failing relationship. While both of these were things I was struggling with the real problem was more central and deep rooted than this- my education and my relationship were the two things that I had allowed to define me and having them go downhill meant that I was getting lost, fast. I had chosen these to define me because I sort of felt they made me worth something. What I know today is no one and nothing can make me worth anything more than I am without them. The problem was neither my relationship status, nor my educational achievements. My problem was I didn’t value myself and I was trying to use these two things to fill a void they were never meant to. None of the two could ever love me the way I have to love myself….before I can truly love someone else, or anything else, in a way that is pure and healthy- a way that truly allows me to give and build, rather than to receive and (in my case) destroy the very.things that I care about.

What unsettled me the most was the full knowledge that both were headed down the gutter because of some stupid, questionable decisions I had made. So I began to see myself as someone, something, completely useless. I mean, who destroys everything, including the two most important things to you? What cut me deepest, more than anything was the amount of pain and confusion I caused some people during this time. Even today I struggle with the guilt of having once been that person, that girl,  that was capable of such. Truth be told I can handle and get over disappointing myself, getting hurt by someone or whatever- provided it is directed at me. I will hurt, release, forgive and heal over time. But flip the script and let me make a mistake,  a decision that will negatively impact someone….. I fall apart. Maybe it was/is because  I think one of my better qualities is my ability to put those I care about before myself. It is a good quality but if wielded without wisdom, like I did at that age. It can destroy you. They say you cannot pour out of an empty cup and so often it is what I tried to do. What I have learnt though is that you could pour from an empty cup but all the sedimentation, that dirt, that nasty sludge at the bottom is what comes out because that is all that the cup will have inside.

Sometimes it just seems easier to hide Insecurity and Pain, pretend as if they are not there, but I now know that this is the best way nurture them. If self-love and high self-esteem were flowers that bloom best in the spotlight, then Insecurity and Pain would be photophobic weeds, weeds that grow best in the dark. If you bury them and do not confront them, fight them, conquer them then their roots will dig deeper. The deeper the roots, the greater the void and the greater the turmoil. I know more often than not people are either the cause of your insecurities, or they do not understand them. It is OK, they are human, you are human and mistakes have been, are being and will be made because it is in our imperfect nature. Remember they too have their own battles that they are fighting. I would just suggest you take it to the one who’s only battle in life is to love you and make sure that you are OK- take it all to Christ and leave it at the foot of the cross. I promise it is the best place to talk about and dump these. I speak from experience here.

I know sometimes some mantras, sometimes even Bible verses may seem futile if you constantly repeat them. For a while, I did not see the difference they made but then I realized that it was because I was still refusing to face the problem head on. It was important for me to be aware of Insecurity, understand  and acknowledge the fact that that I had a problem with her (pretending she does not exsist helps no one, it just draws out the journey to freedom) only then could I tell myself she was a lie, from the pit of hell and how irrational I was being by listening whatever she had to say, because I knew EXACTLY what I was fighting (sometimes we fight signs of the real problem, it is important to dig deep and  find the cause, like for me I intitally thought I was fighting depression but I was actually depressed because of Insecurity and until I conquered her Depression was always hanging over me like a dark cloud but once I had coquered her, the Depression packed and booked out). Truth be told I had a lot to work out.during this time but I realized that what worked best for me is I had to face everything one by one- as I overcame one it encouraged me to try another, then the next until one by one each was shed. For every negative, I could come up with I tried to come up with a solution for it and at least two positives that I thought I had that would help me get the results I wanted. If I had a bad day and I wanted to cry, I would then pick myself up and try again.

I never would have made it without the Word of God though. I learnt, and am still learning to see myself through it. They say His Word is a mirror in which you see the true you. Honestly speaking, for a while I felt like it was the firing squad, I felt as if every good thing I read my mind would constantly tell me “That’s not you.” or “You are too far gone from that.” It felt as if just how deep my depravity went was being highlighted. For a season I felt as if I had a whole new set of things to be insecure about- deep, spiritual things not my seemingly shallow physical and emotional ones I was trying to conquer. I was an Israelite in the desert who was longing to return to Egypt but I knew that knowing what I now knew about God, about Christ, I could not get back. I did not wake up fully into it, I must admit, it was a struggle.

For almost a year I held on to portions, just portions (not the whole thing just a few words, that I was not even sure where exactly in the Bible you could find them) of two Bible verses and one chapter that I repeated over, and over and over and over again. I think they were also my prayer because I wanted them, no NEEDED them to become a reality to me. I had already lost everything and I needed something, anything, to hold on to for sanity and life’s sake. When I say these few scriptures saved my life I mean it literally- I am here,  writing this, still breathing because of them. I will not pretend that I am there, or that every insecurity is dead and gone. No I am still struggling but the difference between then and now is how I see them, this may very well be the thorn in my side that may never go away that God will allow to stay in his shadow and forever humbled because it reminds me how much worse it could be without Him. Insecurity may singe me and hurt a little but she will no longer run my life, she no longer has a right to put a price tag on my self-worth and her sidekick Self-hate is long dead and gone. Yes, Self-hate left her children Guilt and Shame but they too are packing their bags to book out because every day I embrace a little more of Who I Am Called To Be and discover more and more Who I Am, in Christ Jesus gives them less and less room to occupy. Calling them out; calling out sin or anything you struggle with, out into the light like this gives them less power because they are Children of Darkness and they cannot stand in the Light. For when Light appears Darkness must vacate, it has no choice.

Looking back I realize that indeed “..in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) because had Insecurity and all the mess I made not happened I do not think I would have ever found a reason to harken the call of God, I never would have found myself on my knees. That which was meant to destroy me built me gave me life. I know that had the Enemy known that his attempt to break me would send me running into the arms of the Father he would have made sure that I was very comfortable and content but he pushed me onto my knees and I now refuse to stand up. Every season brings its own issues and problems but I ow know that every burden is easier to bear when you are kneeling- it increases stamina.


MY 2 ‘VERSES’ AND 1 CHAPTER:

THE 10 SONGS THAT LIGHT UP MY DARK DAYS (esp when Insecurity tries to vist)

  1. for KING & COUNTRY- SHOULDERS (eye opener)
  2. Lauren Daigle- HOW CAN IT BE (declaration)
  3. Lauren Daigle- O’LORD (declaration)
  4. Big Daddy Weave- REDEEMED (identity)
  5. Zach Williams- CHAIN BREAKER (remember him)
  6. Casting Crowns- JUST BE HELD (special instructions to you❤)
  7. MercyME- DEAR YOUNGER ME (no guilt or shame)
  8. Natalie Grant- CLEAN (great reminder)
  9. Steffany Gretzinger- STEADY HEART (trust him)
  10. for King and Country- PRICELESS (my personal favourite right now)