About over-texting

So apparently I am what they call an overtexter. I just cannot help it. I never leave any message unreplied, even if I don’t like you. If you send me a hello, I shall send you a hello right back. If I like you and haven’t heard from you in a while, I shall look for you. I never consciously keep a record of who looks for whom first all the time. A great facet in building great relationships with friends and family. An apparently very unattractive trait when courting. Hmm.. Who knew?!

I have always dated wrong and never realized it. I have had a couple of relationships/flings and just went on with life thinking I knew what I was doing. In my defense, no-one ever sat down with me and gave me a talk on how to date, so well.. My dating formula was simple, the less Shona you were, the better. Now by this I mean, the less you acted like a shona person, the less you spoke the language, the less cultural you were, the better. That was the starting point.

The way I was brought up was this, relationships are about you giving. I mean any relationship. Friendship is all about you giving. Family is about what you can do for them. So using this philosophy I approached my relationships, armed with two things, the less cultural the better, and the more I gave the better. Insert a head rolling cackle here! Not only is this philosophy bad! It is the perfect recipe for abuse, self hatred, self loathing and everything a relationship is not supposed to be.

Now don’t get me wrong. There is merit to giving. I have some of the best friendships anyone could ever have. I make a great friend sometimes, I do have my faults, but generally my friends know they can count on me when the need arises. Iv just been lucky I guess to have friends who give so much more to me than I could ever imagine, and also to have a family that pulls its weight and gives just as much to edify the relationship. But but but! Big but! A relationship is as much about receiving as it is about giving. It’s very annoying to try help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. One has to be in a position whereby he/she can receive the love he/she is giving out to edify the relationship. Whatever form the relationship.

I recently started rethinking about dating. This year has just been a strange year, a year whereby I have not at all thought of dating. In fact, all I had planned for my future was my two dogs, Mukudzei and Mavambo, and maybe my two adopted kids. I am a dog lover, and dogs love me back. I have rented at two different properties with dogs my adult life, and both times by the time I was a month in, the dogs would have defaulted to treating me as their defacto owner. Lol. My last adopted dog was Duchess, and she loved me fiercely. She would even sulk when I left town, and would continue to sleep on my doorstep each night till I returned. Lol, talk about devotion. And, the night I would return she would refuse to sleep anywhere else save for right next to my head, just in case you thinking of leaving me again Missy! Lol.

I mention Duchess because I think she really taught me how to receive love without having to empty so much of myself. But just to be appreciated and loved as a companion nje. Recently finished reading a book by Mike Todd on relationships, great book, and his wife wrote a chapter right at the end of the books which was meant for the guys, but tjo, that chapter jumped right out at me because it suddenly became as clear as daylight to me how it is I have always dated wrong! She says, women have certain needs, not wants, needs! That must be fulfilled in the relationship for it to work. The same way guys also have their own needs.

So apparently a woman needs security. Financial, emotional and physical security. Whoa! This blew my mind, because all along, I have dated like security was a want. Dating people who do not give me the security I need, because in my mind I was playing down all these needs as wants. I want financial security, I don’t need it. Big mistake! Because you see, when I do not receive the security I need, I cannot open up and unlock the inner me that can flourish in that relationship.

Please stay with me. I’m not saying we should be gold diggers. No. But if you are a go getter typa chic like me, then downplaying your need to feel like your man has what it takes to pay the bills and take care of you, will only lead one way, down the road of frustration. But because I put myself in this precarious position whereby my inborn God given needs, I downplayed them into carnal wants, I time and time again found myself cozing up with the wrong sort of person for me.

I mentioned earlier that to me, the less Shona the better. Very strange considering I am a shona girl. It is only recently, and I mean in the last two years of my being single, that God has really been opening up my eyes to what I shall deem self hate. Hating absolutely everything about myself, so much so that the very thing God created me as, a Shona girl, is the thing I was trying hard to wash off of me. Anything to me, was better. Why on earth honestly I have no idea. But as a person, unless you learn to love yourself, and I mean love yourself the way you are, absolutely fall in love with yourself, everything abt you, you shall never be in a position to receive love well, and hence culture and nourish good relationships.

One of my most favourite musicians of all time, Oliver Mtukudzi has a song in which he says kusvikira riini? Tichinyara mimvuri yedu, kusvikira riini? Ko zvaingori tsika nditsikewo.. Nemumvuri wacho tsika nditsikewo?? This loosely translates to for how long shall you waste energy trying to outrun your shadow?

I don’t know how to end this blog post. I have so much to say. I can say for now, I’m really glad I’m single. God is opening up my eyes to what it means to learn to love. To learn to give and receive love. To love absolutely everything about me and not feel the need to empty of myself in a bid to try and earn love. Oh, don’t worry, no cats have come knocking on my doorstep as yet, so perhaps it means not all hope is lost as yet in the dating scene, lol

God bless

The country burns


The country is burning, 
my being seems to burn along with it.

I cannot seem to remember who I used to be, 
or what I stood for before, or why I even stood for it.

Each time I’m asked where I’m from, 
I feel a part of me shrink and recoil
As I watch their faces respond to where it is I say I’m from.

They mean well, but they can’t help but wonder;
how I could be a normal human being 
and yet allow a few people to burn to the ground 
that which I claim to love so much.

The country burns,  
my self confidence burns with it.

Just the other day,
A colleague turned to me and said, 
“You’re a very quiet person aren’t you?”

Quiet person.. Me?
Words that have haunted me ever since. 
Never in my life has the word quiet reflected me.

The country burns, 
my umbilical cord buried within feels the heat, 
and seems to be transferring the heat directly onto me.

I look around and see people speak with such pride about their heritage. 
I too have much to say, but the words clog up in my throat; 
refusing to make their way out.
not because I do not have a rich heritage, 
but for now it counts for nothing.

How do I explain to my privileged friends 
why we do not vote out the current system?
That votes count for nothing where I’m from?

How do I explain that where I’m from: 
complaints of hunger are perceived as revolting.
Treason against a “constitutionally elected” government. 
Complaints result in chains and death
with no judge nor jury having presided over you.

The country burns, 
my history and memories burn along with it.

I speak fluent shona as often as I possibly can.
I speak it to myself and others to keep alive what seems to be dying.
So I hold onto the little I can to remember of my heritage, 
for surely one day it shall not be as it is now?

They say the darkest hour is just before dawn. 
It has been dark for longer than an average hour, 
with no sign of light over the horizon.

KuzalungaZvichanaka.. 
A persistent joke masquerading as an African proverb. 
Kuzalunga nini
Zvichanaka riiniko
When shall it get better?

My brain is tries to reconcile, 
my faith with the current situation. 
Poverty all around the country. 
People dying of hunger. Actual death. 
I send my neighbor a bag, 
cooking oil, sugar, peanut butter, 
Basics you say.
Yet eliciting profuse gratitude that makes me recoil and feel worse.
“I haven’t had sugar or oil or anything like that in months,” she says.

My heart languishes as the country burns 
I too am set alight alongside it. 
Careless talk comes from the head. 
How can one be so aloof? I can’t help but wonder. 
How does the head grow to hate his own limbs,
Feeling no pity or self love? 
Your own skin and bones groan.

The country burns, 
the citizens burn with it. 
Both within it and abroad, 
hearts languish in the flames, as we cry out to God. 
One day is one day,  
one day zvichanaka chete, kuzalunga
For surely God cannot be mocked!

Swiftly He shall move, swiftly rendering justice, restoring order.

And that which is mocked and rejected shall become the corner stone.

Glorified, restored to its former glory.

Aive mazambuko achave madziva!

Prejudice

The news this year has been terribly depressing. Everything about it. From rumors of war, to Corona, to the unrest in America. As a black woman, I honestly feel all of this deep within my heart, feel everything resonating with me, all the pain, all the complaints of being misunderstood, being mistreated and then, on the few occasions you master up the courage to confront people, they turn around and tell you that it is all in your head. The whole black lives matter movement with a counter movement created to silence the voices of BLM has opened deep wounds and questions I just do not have the energy to try address or understand. It’s only July, but 2020 has been a tiring year already.

I am a voracious reader, but don’t take well to being called a nerd (because I am not one, obviously, insert eye roll here, lol) and one thing I have noted is that the more things change, the more they indeed remain the same. From as far back as Martin Luther (died 1515),to Shakespeare’s time (died in 1616), through to the time of Jane Austen (died 1817), to Martin Luther King (1968) right through to modern literature being written today, the one thing human beings have and have always had in common across cultures and religions and spheres, is this tendency to put each other into classes. To find some form of system to classify each other as either my sort of class, or better (we put very few people in this class) or worse off than me. It is from this classicism lense that we then view the world and determine whom we interact with, for how long and how we are to interact. If I look at you and deem you better than me, then I am “lucky” to be in your presence when you afford me the time, and likewise if I deem you beneath me, then you should feel lucky to have me grace you with my presence.

This tendency has unfortunately not been spared even in the church. In the new testament church (1 Corinthians) we read of how the rich people were now refusing to have communion with the poor people, but not in so many words, they were a little subtle about it. Instead of waiting for everyone to gather so they could have communion together, the rich were now arriving earlier than usual, so they could eat their food on their own, before the poor people arrived, so that they did not have to share it. Paul calls them out on this superciliousness.

Again in the new testament we see the Jews separating themselves from the gentiles on several occasions. One was to do with distribution of food to the poor and widows, the Jewish widows were getting first class treatment compared to the gentile widows, and the disciples had to call out the saints out on this and set up food distribution committees. A little while later, we see Peter, not having a problem with the gentiles, hanging out with them, until his other fellow Jews arrive, and suddenly, he too starts separating himself from the gentiles, and Paul has to address this issue again. Scary stuff huh? That the exact same thing keeps happening time and time again. In the church too! Tjo!

I am not going to write about race on this blog. My heart is too loaded and hurt to comment on that right now, because I have been on the receiving end of that spectrum, and it’s a tiring position to be in. But, I shall talk about classicism, because in all of the examples and writters I mentioned above, this thing of putting people into classes has been something that has stood out for me, and it really made me go before God and say you know what, Please show me my heart. Show me how I too am like all the characters I read about in all these books whose manner of looking down their noses upon people leaves me with such a bad taste in my mouth, for if even the early church Christians had this tendency within the church to behave in this manner, surely I too must have this tendency.

So, as faithful as God is, he has been revealing to me the state of my own heart when it comes to looking my nose down upon other folks. My tendency of thinking, you are not as educated, as well read, as refined, as cultured, as respectful… Etc etc as I am, therefore, you should count yourself lucky to be in my presence. Now it certainly may not come off in that way to most of the people I interact with on a daily basis, but I had to admit that there was a lot of that tendency in my heart, to classify people.

Ever dated someone whom it does not matter how much you bend over backwards for them it really would always never be enough? You could literally go searching for a fallen star for them at their request (this is a reference from the movie stardust) but it would still never be enough to satisfy them because according to their view point, you are not at the same level as them and never will be! I have both dated such a person, and been such a person to a few sorry boys out there. Bent over backwards, gone out of my way to please, buying gifts that put me way out of budget, doing things in a bid to try and earn their love, their affection, their respect! In order for me to be viewed as worthy! And shame, a few well Meaning boys have done the exact same thing for me. Each time thinking surely, surely she shall see that I can be the man she wants me to be. Yet meanwhile the truth is that my very shallow self would have already written off this boy based on his background. (oi be kind, God has opened up my eyes to my pettiness ok.)

I had a lengthy conversation the other day with a friend of mine who is single, fairly wealthy, and a really great guy. He said to me you know, I think I have been told one too many times that I am awesome, and any lady would be lucky to have me, that it has actually got to my head. Because now suddenly, it doesn’t matter whom I date, I am low key always thinking to myself, but I could do better! So at the end of the day I am this theoretically great guy out there, but when you get to know me, you find I am egotistical and make you feel like you should be lucky I chose you! Tjo! I was very grateful for his honesty, because it helped me also examine my own heart and take it to God to say God help me change as well, because I have a tendency to do the exact same thing. Sigh…

With all that is happening around us, with all the prejudice, all the pain that comes from that, I pray for us to receive healing from all of it, because holding onto all the anger and pain sows seeds of bitterness and hatred within us, and those seeds when fully grown will destroy the soul! But, I think it is also a good time to look within ourselves and try and see how we too are prejudicial and make other people feel as if they are less of human beings, less worthy of being died for on a cross, less worthy of receiving the same grace, mercy and forgiveness that was extended to us on that cross, and as our hearts are opened up to this by the heavenly father, may we repent and extend the same mercy, grace and love that we received from the throne of grace.

God bless.

Offensive

I look in the mirror and all I see is me

The me I have always known

The familiar face that has always looked back at me, smiling.

The familiar face that has seen my tears, my smiles, my sheepish grins, my blank expressions.

All I see and all I have known looks back at me from the mirror and I can’t help but wonder

What about me do you find so offensive?

Why does my skin colour offend you so?

What about my skin colour reminds you of a monkey or a baboon, and makes you feel entitled to label me that, and yet love the monkey/baboon more than me?

What about my hair offends you so?

What about my hair makes you feel you must dictate to me how I am to style it, to make it as straight and shiny as yours, despite the chemicals damaging both it and my scalp and the weaves damaging my hairline?

Honestly as I look in the mirror, the reflection smiling back at me fails to understand what about me you find so offensive?

What about my language hurts your ears so much so that you insist I do not speak it in your sight? Despite your being in my country, on my turf?

What about my name offends you so much so that you feel the need to replace it with one easier for you to roll off your tongue, ignoring the fact that I too struggle with your name but the thought never occurred to me to replace your name with one more convenient for me?

What about my accent hurts your ears so much so that you have to correct every single word I say, not appreciating the fact that the words sound “funny” to you because they are not natural to my native speaking tongue?

What about me offends you so much so that you feel my culture counts for nothing and it needs reshaping?

That my people’s ways of marriage you label as barbaric and you in turn enforce your tradition upon me and label it ‘the proper way to go’?

That unless I repent and marry the ‘white’ way my marriage is doomed to fail and is a sin before God? I can’t help but wonder about my grandparents and aunts and uncles who never got married ‘the right way’ but grew old together and were happily married.

What about my continent offends you so much so that you feel you can walk in and rename our sacred places we have always known as mosi o tunya, a befitting name to a smoke that thunders, and you feel entitled to rename it after a queen of a land so distant?

What about my very being offends you so? But more importantly, what about God creating me the way I am offends you so? If we were all created in the image of God, What about God’s facet portrayed in the African person offends you so?

Of expectations and longings

So recently my new way of coping with the world has been to lower my expectations. I walk into work expecting someone to shout at me, something to go wrong, and if neither of that happens, I declare it a good day. If one of the two does happen, I declare it a good day still because at least I was anticipating it. That coping mechanism seemed to be working well for me.

I went to church today and the very first thing the preacher man said was “Some of you have lowered your expectations of God so much so that you expect bad things to happen, and when they don’t you declare God’s goodness to you as if the only thing God is capable of doing is putting out fires in your life.” Tjo! Talk about God stepping on my toes right from the word go!

So I came home and have been mulling over this word all day. Read Matthew 15, about Jesus walking on water, and it suddenly struck me how the disciples were terrified, absolutely terrified when they saw Jesus walking on water. Not that they hadn’t seen him perform miracles before, oh no, just before he left them he had just fed five thousand men with five loaves of bread and two fish, and healed a gazillion people. This was all in a day’s work, but not a single one of the disciples thought when they saw him walking on water, “surely this must be Jesus, doing his thing again.” No. They instead thought it was a ghost and figured they were done for. They knew Jesus was good, but their expectation of him was still limited.

That’s me right now to be honest. In spite of all that the Lord has done for me to show me that he is good, kind and faithful to me! my expectation of his goodness has been reduced, depleted to me just thinking that He loves me enough to just ensure I don’t burn, but not enough to give me a good and fruitful life. Tjo! The bone of contention of coz lies with the talk of the biological clock, the one expectation that hasn’t yet been met and has no sign of being met anytime soon and it makes me forget how good God is, how everything else is aligning itself to his glory, how he is moving in my life, oh no thoko let’s go ahead and ignore all of that and concentrate on the unmet expectation of your not receiving flowers this past valentine’s day shall we? Sigh, God forgive my stubborn heart.

This past week I haven’t been able to sleep well. Or eat well. Or do anything really. Iv been paralyzed with a terrible fear of failure. It’s literally had me paralyzed that I kept breaking into a sweat each time I thought of the fast approaching exams, and had me panic studying, which we all know makes one retain even less information. I woke up last night in a cold sweat unable to study, unable to sit up, unable to do anything literally paralyzed with this fear of failure because I have lowered my expectation of God so much so that I believe he has cast me out into the sea to drown. The same way He has forgotten about my ‘need’ for flowers from a significant other is the same way He has now forgotten about my studies and exams. Sigh…

You see I love God because no matter how much I give up on him, He never ever gives up on me. I spiral out of control and just allow myself to drown in my emotions but he reaches out and grabs my hand the way he grabbed Peter’s hand when he was about to drown and said to him “oh you of little faith! Why did you doubt?” Why did I doubt? Why did I doubt? What good did doubting do me?

So here I am, once again letting go of fear, and holding onto the “have I not commanded you be strong and courageous, do not be afraid for I am with you every step of the way.” A very difficult thing to do, to raise your expectations of God, to expect a good day, to expect God to bless you when a part of you feels like He isn’t exactly fulfilling every end of the bargain on his side you know. A feeling I’m pretty sure Abraham resonated well with, considering he was told you shall be the father of many nations, only for him to grow very old, eventually have a son, yes one legit child in God’s eyes, and die. Like ummm, and then? Where is my nation God? That would have been me on my death bed had I been Abraham. Yet Hebrews then tells us that because He kept the faith, kept the hope alive, kept expecting God to fulfill his word, it was counted to him as righteousness and he became the father of the priesthood of believers. The father of nations just as God had promised him. Tjo tjo tjo. I’m still processing all of this folks, because issa lot. But what I do know for now is this, God wants me to expect good things from him and He shall reward me for diligently seeking, believing and taking his word at face value.

I don’t quite know what that looks like, taking God at face value. But maybe it means me embracing every single season of my life with Thanksgiving. Expecting God to fulfill my deepest longings whilst not missing out on that which he is already doing in my life. Such that even if ten more flower-less valentine’s days come my way, may my heart still truly believe that God is a good God and that He is good to me and fulfills absolutely all of my hearts desires as He promised to do. But in the meantime, may I rejoice, dance and smell the flowers in my garden as I enjoy the many other facets of goodness that God has bestowed upon my life.

Trust…

I recently shared with a friend of mine that at the present moment I find myself totally in love with my school books. I think the last time I ever felt this focused and in love with school was probably over 16 years ago, when I was sitting for my Ordinary level exams. Yah, I’m that old now, shriek! Anyway, my friend said something to me that struck me, she said it’s probably God showing you that you are exactly where He wants you to be right now. I definitely had not thought of it or seen it that way. Mind blowing!

Today I went for some research and methodology orientation program, and I met an old acquintance there, a classmate from college whom I last saw six years ago! What fun we had catching up and sharing stories of our journies that led us both to end up here at the same university. He said something that caught my ear, he said you know what thoko, I have been following your journey. I heard you wrote the diploma to your program a couple of years ago, and I said to myself ‘hmm, this girl is aiming to get into the registrar (masters) program, I am sure of it.’ He then ended it by saying ‘so honestly when I heard you got in I wasn’t surprised, because I saw it coming.’

Big whoop you may think, but this ‘confidence’ in me if you may call it that, surprised me. He of cause was spot on. I have always wanted to do a masters in anaesthetics, and I remember that exactly seven years ago, I read somewhere an article that said ‘begin with the end in mind’ and I remember saying to myself I would love to get a chance to study my masters in South Africa. So I went to the south African College of medicines website, and looked up the requirements. I remember two were listed as “absolute essentials”, one of which was the diploma. So I wrote down a list of steps I would need to take to get the diploma, and then get the other requirement, and I consciously began to work through these steps in order for me to qualify for the program.

So why was I so surprised (pleasantly so) when I got a post one would ask? To be honest I think it is for a number of reasons,but the biggest one probably being my lack of trust in God. Robbie Williams has a song in which he says, “I sit and talk to God and He just laughs at my plans.” It is easy to say honestly Robbie how can you even dare say such a thing, but yet as I have examined my own heart I have come to the conclusion that this is truly how I feel sometimes. Afraid that my biggest plans are exactly what God laughs at. That my most intimate desires if I were to be honest with God, He would just scoff and laugh at them. How sad.

As I was writing down my prayer list for 2020 I wrote down everything else, but one thing I failed to pen down on the prayer request was marriage. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t desire a good marriage anymore, on the contrary, it’s because it has been appearing on all my prayer lists since I started Journaling which was exactly 10 years ago! So this year I just felt I couldn’t pen it down again. I actually laughed at myself and said “come on, who are you kidding now?” Exactly Robbie William’s lyrics. So many years have gone past that that request hasn’t been answered, that it really just feels like a ‘who are you kidding’ vibe. If anything this new year marked a full one year anniversary with being absolutely single. By absolutely I mean no fling, noone I like even remotely so, Noone who likes me back, Noone I’m even in comms with, nada! So this “chronic disappointment” (I have that in quotes because in as much as marriage is something I desire, my life is truly full at the moment and I am thoroughly enjoying the single life, yet I still would desire a best friend for life typa thing, makes sense?), anyway so this “chronic disappointment” has had a part of my heart hardened to believe that God is good to other people in this area except to me. That my composition makes me just a little too awkward and difficult to love enough to want to have and to hold for life.. How sad.

How sad that my view of God is this skewed. How sad that the most trustworthy being in existance is the one I cast so much shadow of doubt upon. How heartbreaking it must be for Him, knowing that He means exactly what He says when He says “I have plans to give you an expected end, plans to prosper and not harm you. Delight yourself in me, and I will grant you the desires of your heart.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and hidden things that you do not know. Trust in the Lord your God and He will establish your path.” etc etc. So many promises He speaks over me again and again and again. He even says in his word that he sings over me. Sings! Wow! So many times He has proven himself faithful again and again, and yet my heart still cannot hold him true to his word. How sad it must be for Him, and how sad for me that I am missing out on such peace and such joy that could be mine.

This is something I’m still processing so it’s still a thought in process, But one thing I have realized to be fact is that God is with me in everything! That which makes me desire the big things, those big dreams, that which I sit in my bed and think you know what, if only I could achieve this in my lifetime.. All those desires are God given, and instead of me getting surprised each time one comes to pass, I ought to realize that God is my biggest cheerleader and is cheering me right on every step of the way.

First sermon I listened to this year was on dreaming small. Writing down to the T that which I need to do in order to achieve the big dream. Had forgotten I actually did that before I got the training post I’m currently enrolled in, and had forgotten that nothing I did back then was wasted. Every effort God rewarded. So as we start the year, my encouragement to you I guess is this, dream big, then dream small. Translated, write down to the t that which you need done, and start working on it. Baby steps. Wake up early each morning, spend time with God, and keep moving. When you do that, one day you will wake up five or six or ten years from now, and you will be shocked just how many pieces of the big puzzle you have actually assembled together. Finally, trust God, in everything acknowledge Him, and He shall establish your path.

to be continued

Loneliness..

Have you ever felt alienated? Completely alone and disconnected from everything and everyone around you? Like no matter how hard you try you just can’t quite seem to fit in and find your own people, your own space where you feel at home? Well, that’s been me the past couple of months. Like I said in my last blog, I recently moved, new country, new job, new space. Three months in now, I no longer feel new. I know the ropes generally now, I know my way around and I can safely say I have found my feet, yet I still feel alone. Totally disconnected. Lonely even though I will be in a room full of people who know my name. Sigh…

Now before anyone panics, I’m not suicidal. Far from it. I’m just terribly lonely. A place I haven’t been in in a very long time. But thank God for his mercy, because I’m staying with my sister, and that makes everything so much easier. At least I have someone to have honest conversations with after work, and someone to talk to during the weekends, so its not all bad, but maybe let me explain my personality. I thrive around people. I have close friends from high school, yes a good fifteen years of friendship that has been very easily available to me through the different seasons of life. I moved to a different city many years ago soon after college, and guess what? I moved with my friends! Now isn’t that freaking awesome! We had money because we were working now, and we had each other, and we had the freedom of adulthood. It was an awesome two years of internship.

Then life happened. We had to go our separate ways because well, you know, life, them getting married, new jobs, life nje. I stayed behind in the beautiful city of kings, and I will admit that those days I was lonely. Terribly much. I had no family, no long term friends to lean on, and a girl in those shoes is a dangerous creature. Instead of turning to God and leaning on Him, I chose the much safer option of leaning on a boy instead. Lol! I hope my sarcasm is ringing very loudly in your ears as you read this. Poor boy, because shame, I gave to him a burden that was never meant to be his to carry anyway, and no wonder that crashed and burned! And when that happened, I was forced to turn to God who came through and gave me more of himself, and good friendships, friends who became family, and six years later I left the city of Bulawayo with a very full heart.

Now fast forward to today, three months in the city of Durban, and it’s a very tough space to be in because like I said, loneliness is not something that I have had to deal with in a very long time. And this type of lonely is a worse type. Different culture, different language. Nothing familiar, everything is new. It’s the small things you miss, like a ‘tirikudini ne weekend’ translated to “whats our weekend plan” message from random friends. Small things like having someone knock on your door because they have come over for a glass of wine, or tea, or just to chill. The first month it really used to break my heart that when I lock the door to the apartment, it would literally remain locked until I unlocked it to leave the house to go to church or shopping or something. I was used to having visitors over all the time, and now suddenly you have Noone even inviting you over for tea. The temptation I have faced is to default to my previous setting. Find a boy, because of cause, at least a boy will dull the pain. Which is true, initially! Initially it will be great won’t it, having that ‘good morning babe’ message everyday. Having someone to just offload to. Someone to chat with. And I will be honest, I was so tempted. I even started knocking on doors God had clearly shut in my face a long time ago, but I was like ah, what would it hurt, just a little hi message surely won’t kill.

Then church today happened and I felt very clearly God saying to me my identity is in Him. In Him and Him alone. No boy, no friend, no amount of money can ever fulfill me, or give me the sense of belonging I so desperately am seeking to feel. Only He can do that. I wish I could tell you all that that made me feel so much better, and I came home feeling like I belonged and was no longer lonely or whatever, but well, no. I still feel alone. But good thing is this, it’s really not about my feelings. I’m very grateful to God for his word of encouragement to my spirit today, because that is the strength I required to just keep moving. To learn to turn to him in all seasons, especially through this difficult season of trying to find ‘my tribe’. I desperately want to find friends who like me for me, who like the same things I like, who laugh at my jokes and appreciate my crazy, basically to reproduce that which I had before, but at the same time I must learn to appreciate the season I’m in. A season of learning to lean on God for company, on Him for fulfillment, for the sense of belonging because only He can fill that void within me. I am praying for friends definitely, and I believe God shall provide me with ‘my tribe’ sort of people, but truth is I don’t know how long this season of being alone shall last, but I do know this, He will teach me to rest in the shadow of his wings, to know that He is always with me, and that I truly belong to him and only him. That even though I may feel alone and at times feel lonely, I am truly never alone simply because He is always with me, and that is fact regardless of my feelings. Hope my season helps someone.

Destiny

I’m not an extrovert. I’m not an introvert either to be honest, I believe I am what they call a bubbly introvert, which is a fancy way of saying I like people, and will chat with them excessively when around them, but I have a limit, and once that limit is reached I need my own space so I can regroup and re-energize. What I do admit I am though, is a control freak. I like, hmm, OK scratch that, I love being in control. I like order, I do not like unpleasant, unplanned twists and plots to my day therefore I like to plan everything to the T! But alas! I’m in a new season whereby I have zero control! Yikes!

New job, new career path means I have bosses now, as in actual people senior to me whom I report to and who plan my day for me, plan my week, my month and are able to just suddenly ask me to drop what was on the planned calender to go assist elsewhere because a sudden thing came up and the person covering that unit can no longer do so. Shriek! Did I mention before that I do not like unplanned, unpleasant surprises?! Had to leave most of my convenient possessions back home because I just couldn’t afford to carry them all with me, which leaves me dependent on lots of other factors for transport, day to day living etc which I do not like because like I said, I love to be in control. The other day I had to miss church because the Uber driver was late, he got lost and therefore arrived late, by which it was already too late for me to even bother to go ahead with the church plan anyway, sigh!

So you are probably reading this and shaking your head in judgment, thinking gosh child you are a total control freak! And you know what? You are spot on. Lol. Now please don’t think this is something God hasn’t highlighted to me before, and this is why I always say God has an amazing sense of humour, and also He is quite the disciplinarian, He will put you in a fiery furnace to purify you, to mould you, to teach you certain things that are only teachable whilst in the furnace. Certain parts of you can only be moulded whilst you are in the fire, and here I am, smack in the deep end having lost control of absolutely everything.

I was chatting with a friend of mine just now about how it’s funny that destiny doesn’t quite look like we think it would. She said to me imagine Abraham’s horror when he realized phase one of stepping out into his destiny meant getting circumsized. Yikes! And truth be told destiny, is often like this. If anyone had asked me earlier this year if I truly believed that moving to where I am now was God’s plan for my life I would have responded with a vigorous yes! I was certain this was God’s plan for my life and at this point in time in my life. But now that I have moved, I have found myself questioning everything. Questioning if I truly heard from God, if I chose the correct country or province. If I even really need to study or work. I have even found myself longing for the past season where I was just waiting on God whilst at my parents house, and the truth is the major reason I feel this way is because at least in most past seasons of my life I have retained control.

So here I am now, in a season of my life where God in his kindness and great mercy has decided it is time my child I taught you to relinquish control over to Me. I won’t lie, it sucks. I have found myself over the past few weeks frustrated, tired, unable to re-energize and re-stratergize, questioning everything and just wishing for another kind of reality. Then today, God reminded me that to start of with, I am not alone. I am never alone, because He is right there with me every step of the way. He has already gone ahead of me and prepared a way, and now is walking with me along the path He has prepared. Secondly, He never gives me more than I can bear. And lastly, relinquishing control is a major part of the deal when you give your life over to Christ. It’s right there in the contract, giving your life over to Jesus, meaning your life is literally no longer your own. Tjo!

It’s a tough season for me, yet it is a very necessary one, that I would learn to focus my eyes on the author and perfector of our faith, that as Hebrews says in several places, that I would fix my eyes on Jesus and get strength from Him to get through the day, one day at a time remembering that His mercies are new every morning. Destiny is often not quite what we pictured it to be because more often than not we picture a paradise, yet as is said, we forget the award for passing calculus 1, is calculus 2! So I shall keep my head down and do the work in front of me, keeping my thoughts fixed on Jesus, my strength, my peace, my calm through the storm. I highly recommend the song Even if by MercyMe if anyone out there can relate with this jumbled post.

Letting go..

I have realized that one of the hardest things for a person to do is to walk away from a bad relationship. Whatever form that relationship may come in, be it romantic, or a friendship, or even a very abusive family member, it is very difficult to reach the conclusion that you know what, I think I have had enough and I need some time away from this for the sake of my own sanity!

I speak from my own experience, and cutting the cord has been something I have struggled to do. I would rather bleed and hurt and bruise over and over again whilst I hold on with all my might and wear that pain as a badge of honour, than to step back and realize that that which is hurting me so badly has no place in my life to start off with. Letting go of a bad relationship is something I have struggled with for years.

I remember back when I was young and in love, and then I realized that no, this was not going to work out well for me, it took me a full year from making the mental decision of I need to walk away to me actually walking away. A whole full year. One would have thought that after I finally cut the cord and moved on and felt free, I would have learnt my lesson from that, and realized that holding on only wastes my time right? Well, wrong! The next bad relationship I found myself in it took me another full year to walk away after I had mentally made the decision that this again, was not working for me. Smh!

But even then one would think OK, surely by now this girl has learnt her lesson right, that holding on does more harm than good right? Erh… Cough cough, nope! Letting go of bad relationships for me is just something I seriously struggle with. Especially if the relationship was really good initially. Which is almost always the case. We start off really well, things are going great and I’m so grateful for this person. Then, I start noticing a few things that are a little off, and I’m like meh, whatever. I can live with that. But then, it starts getting worse. I find myself zoning out when the quirks I dislike pop up. I zone out to avoid an argument because I am afraid we both could say stuff we will end up regretting, stuff which will force my eyes open to make me realize that this is simply not going to work. So I continue with this facade of everything being OK on the surface, that it is well with my soul, when really, it isn’t.

Ok so I suppose this is where being Christian really always does it for me, because trust God to see right through the facade. Trust God to stir the supposedly calm waters, to rip off the bandaid that has been beautifully placed on top of a dirty, rotting wound and trust God to want to deal with the wound, to expose it, clean it and make it whole before he can stitch it up. Yikes!! But that has been my experience. Whenever I’m in a bad relationship (mind you I’m not only talking romantic relationships here, I mean even bad friendships, any form of bad relationship) I find I start to struggle with my quiet times. Each time I go before God in the morning, He wishes to talk to me about the very thing I’m avoiding to talk or think about so I start avoiding spending time alone with God. Anything, including disobedience, for the sake of my holding onto something that is familiar, that which is comfortable, than letting go and risk facing the unknown.

In my last romantic relationship, I completely shut God out when I heard him whisper it was time to let go. How silly of me, because when God says where can you go that my love will not reach you, he means it, literally! So I started experiencing restless nights. I would wake up in a cold sweat, my heart racing because I had dreamt that I was now married to this particular chap and I was miserable! This happened for months on end, and yet still I held on, smh, I am amazed at how stubborn I was!

The issue for me you see was two-fold. 1. I did not trust God. I did not trust that when God says I know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you a hope and a future, an expected end, or that no good thing will I withold from those who love me, he means exactly that. He literally means what he says! So because I did not trust God I felt I had to make a plan, get things moving in case God doesn’t come through. And 2. I was scared the heck of being alone. My mind thought if I let go of this “beautiful” relationship, then what shall become of me? If I let go of this boyfriend, will I find someone else? Am I really in a position whereby I am ready to be alone? What if this translates to me being single for life? Yikes! Isn’t it uncultured to be single?!

Finally God had my attention one unsuspecting day during worship in church, and He said to me Thoko listen! Either I’m Lord of everything, or I am not Lord at all. You and I both cannot sit on the throne of your heart! That caught my attention real quick, and led to my repentance and a reluctant letting go of the relationship.

I shan’t lie, the first few days of being single sucked! I was so used to always having someone,was used to waking up to a good morning message, etc that I was not sure of myself, not sure if I could do this single life. But I cannot explain the peace that flooded my heart amidst all the pain. There was no doubt in my heart as to whether or not I had made the right decision. I truly was experiencing that peace that surpasses all understanding.

So these are my thoughts, that we sometimes hold on ever so dearly onto something we are meant to have long let go of, because we are afraid of being alone, afraid of leaving our comfort zone, and also because we lack trust. We do not take God at face value, we do not trust Him to fulfill his word. Both realities are extremely sad, because what peace we often forfeit, how quickly we settle for a life that’s not even half of what God had in store for us, all because we fail to trust God.

I have been single for the past year and a half, and truly I marvel at just how great a season it has been. I have formed great friendships, rekindled connections with family, I have read a ridiculous number of books, traveled, changed jobs, changed cities, changed countries, gosh, it really has been an amazing season. But most importantly I have learnt to rely 100% on the King of kings. In the lonely moments I have learnt to lean on Him and draw companionship from Him. I will not lie and say all my insecurities and doubts and fears have forever disappeared, but I can truthfully say that God has walked with me all this way, and strengthened me, and made me understand what David must have meant when he wrote the psalm I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord than dwell in the tent of wickedness. It is a work in progress, some days are fantastic, others not so much, but I have zero regrets! God has always come through for me, and He will forever be with me and continue to come through. So if God is asking you to let go of something, please do! I realize now that I would rather be alone in my bed, than lonely with a stranger next to me.

God bless

What a friend we have in Jesus..

“When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions!” This is a quote from William Shakespeare, and how true this proves in life. Just when you feel like you can’t take anymore, life sometimes has a way of throwing curve balls that will just leave you feeling like you are barely able to keep your head above the water. There have been times in life whereby I have felt like I am just drifting by, just surviving, literally feeling like the only bit of my brain working is the bit that remembers how to continue to push air into and out of my lungs.

This week has been one of those weeks. Whereby curve ball after curve ball has been thrown my way and it has felt like I am sinking further and further into the abyss. I am currently in transit, temporarily moved back home with my parents so that I can start the new adventure God is about to take me on. And just on time too. What I expected to be a quiet two to three week break has turned out to be a most trying season yet.

My uncle is not well, so he moved in with my folks as well, and then only a few days later, my mother also fell acutely ill and has been bed ridden for the past couple of days. My aunt, who is a constant source of support was unfortunately stabbed by a thief, and was in hospital two days after mum fell sick. When trouble comes, it comes not single spies, but in battalions. I was telling a friend of mine that I wake up early in the morning and spend a literal hour in bed, savouring my blankets, the peace, the rest, dreading to start the day because I know the minute I roll out of bed I shall be on my feet the entire time until late at night when I literally crawl back into bed, only to remember that tomorrow I am to start everything all over again. Sigh.

I was reading the book of Mark recently, and there is a scripture there that surprised me, although I do not know why I would say it surprised me, considering Jesus said it over and over again in the book of John, but anyway, he says, “I tell you the truth, Noone who has left home, or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age… And with them persecutions, and in the age to come.” In John 16 Jesus says,” In this world you will have trouble.. ”

Jesus promised us trouble, not once, but several times throughout the gospels he tells us that listen, trouble is a part and parcel of this life. I already spoke of this in an earlier blog, and I honestly believe God has taken time to prepare me for the trouble I have recently found myself dealing with. Which is just what I want to say in this post. God is faithful. Listen folks, big time trouble shall come your way. I guarantee it because Jesus guaranteed it! There shall be times you just feel like you are barely getting by, barely getting through the day, but that’s OK. Because you see Jesus promises to never leave nor forsake us, to always walk with us every step of the way, and best still, he prepares us for oncoming trouble before we even know what lies ahead of us.

Trouble is not something meant for us to complain and be bitter about, no. Instead indeed we are to count it all joy brethren when we face various trials, because we know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance, and perseverance must finish its work so that we may be complete and mature, lacking nothing! When trouble comes we are to turn our faces to God, to make him our refuge and find peace in him because only He can give us that peace. It’s been a hectic couple of days for me, my entire body is crying for some rest. But I can truly say this, my mind has been at such peace, the joy in my heart has left even my parents and uncle marveling at how it is I could be this happy at such a time as this. And truly the only source of my joy has been in knowing that Jesus is sovereign, He is still in control and he is right here with me in everything.

I shall conclude with the lyrics to the hymn, what a friend we have in Jesus, because oh what truth the lyrics speak! Please take time to read them, and let them sink in. For our only hope when trouble comes is in the cross.

  1. What a friend we have in Jesus,
    All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
    Oh, what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
  2. Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful,
    Who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness;
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
  3. Are we weak and heavy-laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
    Take it to the Lord in prayer!
    In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
    Thou wilt find a solace there.