Monday, 9 July 2018


The title of this post is inspired by a movie called Unleashed. The protagonist, Danny, grows up with a cruel uncle who makes money out of him by raising him to be a bull fighter. The uncle put a leash around Danny’s neck who was conditioned that as soon as it was taken off he had to fight ruthlessly. From being a toddler Danny grows up as a nervous wreck possessing animal like qualities as he constantly hears that he’ll never be anything but a dog and he’ll never escape who he is. Towards the end of the movie the uncle says, “You’ll never escape what I made you!” Unbeknownst to him, Danny grew up in a warm environment with a gracious mother who loved him dearly. He fumbled upon this information by the help of a man and his daughter who took him in their home. He was completely accepted by this family, patiently taught to relate to humans and was not disgraced for what life had made him. After removing the leash from Danny’s neck, the daughter said to him, “Everything is new about you now!” Life doesn’t go as smoothly for Danny as he probably thought it would, as on a particular day he is confronted with someone from his previous life who takes him back to his uncle. There he faces a war between the programming of his mind by someone who conditioned him to believe less of himself and the new life he had begun to experience. With determination he prevails and chooses the latter. With this introduction you can already predict the message of this post: redemption.

For most human beings life has been a very cold place that hardened their hearts, deflated their hope, stolen their joy, hidden their purpose, and enslaved them in chains of addiction and stagnancy. It’s even more terrifying for the born again Christian who’s had heavenly experiences yet finds himself stagnant, addicted, purposelessness, prayerlessness due to demonic oppression. Saved from a life of sin, he finds himself only enslaved by the same things he was saved from. Do not take lightly what Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life- and have it to the full!” Just like Danny, the enemy will not rest until he has used us for his own purposes only to completely destroy us. For us the enemy of our soul is not just a fictional character but a devil who prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour(1Peter5:8).

Danny was able to resist the pressure of going back to the life he was conditioned to live because he had experienced the familiarity of being completely loved and accepted. In our original state God created us to rule and mostly fellowship with Him. When walking through the drought of uncertainty with unsaved souls, our weary and dry hearts thirsts for the quenching of the Spirit of God. We are plagued by a void that can only be filled by Jesus and He constantly offers us the gift of redemption by the truth of His sacrifice on the cross. Jesus loves us with no agenda; but because we feel so undeserving of such tremendous love we fail to receive it. All we know is that we are dogs, useless, fornicators, drunkards – we have been conditioned to normalize sin. Jesus challenges us to break free from what we have been taught and he offers us redemption by restoring us back to God by His precious blood.

We are not really thankful enough for the Blood of Jesus! Or do we not believe that His sacrifice is true? Hence we find ourselves trying to maintain God’s salvation to us by good works and externals. Hence Christianity is something we know about but fail to experience. Hence we get so discouraged and not resist the devil when he fights to remove us from our place of security. Last night I had a dream. In the dream I was tempted to watch pornography. Turning and tossing in my bed I was disturbed by the fact that I was enticed by thinking about the pleasure I could experience by indulging. Before I even opened my eyes in the morning a thought of “I’m not proud of myself” kept lingering in my mind. I noticed this was an attack to make me doubt my position in Christ so I got up and uttered, “I am proud of myself for getting up and of You Lord for always making a way for me when I am tempted.” Throughout the morning I was discouraged believing that I was meant for a life of sexual immorality regardless of the spiritual highs I might experience at some stages; my eyes still widen and my curiosity still get aroused by the thought of it. I recalled one of Derek Prince’s sermons where he said, “In order for us to experience deliverance we have to hate sin with complete hatred.” The Psalmist said in chapter 139:21-22, “Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord..” (Mind you he wasn’t talking about other human beings, well maybe the spirit in them that causes His children to sin, but we should never hate another human being) “…and abhor those who stand up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.” The antidote for fear of giving in to pornography or any kind of illicit sex is to hate it with total hatred and consider it as God’s enemy.

We have been redeemed by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His blood He shed for us. Personally as an avid reader knowledge tends to fail me, only when I meditate upon the truth of Jesus do I move from glory to glory. The devil would want me to believe that I wasn’t meant for a victorious life by continuously compelling and enticing me with memories from my old life. I don’t make it easier on myself when I allow worldly factors to influence me. This means I have to guard jealously the gift of salvation which God has entrusted me with by being extremely cautious of what I engage with my senses. It means the basis of being saved should not be what I can get out of it, but what God can as I surrender myself to His greater purpose. I have been unleashed from the chains of sin that have been keeping me from progressing in my spiritual walk with my Redeemer.

I pray that you are also challenged to live a life of repentance knowing that you have been redeemed by Jesus. It’s not always going to be a smooth ride but with the Word of God you will prevail. They pulled out His beard, bruised His face, scarred His back, and nailed Him on the cross all for your redemption. He makes all things new! The struggle to actually experience a life of victory due to the conditioning of the mind and the tendency to return to what’s familiar should be a problem of the past. We have a loving Father who teaches us a new way of life: He is not ashamed of us or embarrassed by our scars. He places us in a loving Home; His Church, so that we can learn through imitation and exposure. We are unleashed to walk into the destiny that God has purposed for us!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Three Gifts Social Media Gives to a Psychopath

I never imagined that one day I’d be at this point- reading, studying and researching on toxic people, but thanks to the toxic relationship I got myself in, I’m here. There’s something about a toxic person or situation that alters one’s life dramatically, either for good or for bad. After my own incident, I decided to inform myself as much as I could about toxic people and how to protect myself from allowing them to keep invading my life. This is not an easy process because you tend to mistrust people’s motives and question your own sanity as well. But oh well, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do: protect yourself, rely on God, and be discerning. I am currently reading a book by David Gillespie called, TAMING TOXIC PEOPLE- THE SCIENCE OF IDENTIFYING & DEALING WITH PSYCHOPATHS AT WORK & AT HOME. It is very enlightening and could be of great help to those who want to know the rationale behind psychopathy. Below is an extract which I found quite interesting and worthy of sharing: The psychopath and social media.

It might seem like social media platforms, such as twitter, snap chat, Instagram, and Face book, have been with us forever, but in reality, they have only been a part of most of our lives since 2010. Dating apps like Tinder are even more recent addition to our social lives. Social media apps are an extraordinary boon to psychopaths because they provide information about us that psychopaths would otherwise have to subtly extract in person and, because of this, they disable our automatic detection capabilities.

Most people who use social media are essentially honest about what they post. Sure it’s possibly exaggerated or shown in the most possible light, but still basically honest. Yes, the selfie is taken from above in dark light but it’s still you. Yes, the new car is leased and you will probably only be able to afford the payments for the next six months, but it is your new car (for now). Yes, your kid did win the race, but you forgot to mention there were only two children in this age group.

This is all gold for a psychopath. When they are looking for someone they can manipulate, they need information and access. A critical part of their approach is convincing you that you and they share similar interests. They mirror your hopes and desires and this is part of why you will find them fabulously charming and trustworthy. Before social media, this meant they had to find you, meet you in person, and manufacture a reason to have a lengthy conversation with you that did not make you suspicious of their motives and charm. Now all they need to do is read your social media posts. Not only do they acquire valuable information very quickly and remotely, they gain enormous insight into your insecurities.

And this is the second gift that social media gives psychopaths. Before social media, a mountain of careful observation, a significant amount of constant interaction and skillfully applied social skills would be required to get a good read on the buttons that needed to be pushed to light up your insecurities. Now all that is needed is a trawl through your posts and comments to see who you are dissing or loving and why; or a quick browse of your photos to see if you like being the center of attention or avoid the limelight; or a little click through your history of social media likes to see who you admire and what you admire about them.

The final present for psychopaths delivered by social media is secrecy. They can gather all this information without running the slightest risk that they will be detected. When we talk to people in person, we are communicating on many more channels than through the words we say. We are unconsciously watching every expression on their face. Our emotional radar is fully engaged and we will be alert to the slightest disconnects and variations in expression and vocal tone that gives us “the creeps” about psychopaths. The longer they are in conversation with us, the more risk they run and they will be detected. With the advent of social media, they can research us, strike up a relationship with us, and communicate endlessly with us without ever having to expose themselves to the risk of our psychopath alert going off. Dating apps accelerate this process even more. There, we are explicitly informing the psychopath that we want a high speed relationship, something the psychopath is all too willing and able to provide.

In the online world, our only means of communication is our least socially tuned- the written word or the highly controlled selfie. By the time we actually meet the psychopath we have been communicating with, we are well and truly hooked on this incredibly charming persona and probably blind to (or at least willing to overlook) any disconcerting lapses. Friendship and even love will be airlifted in by false intimacy and feigned common interests rather than developed by long term exposure to the other person’s personality. At the same time, psychopaths are acutely aware that this is how social media can be used and so are highly unlikely to post much information at all about themselves. Anything they do post will be very vague and largely self-aggrandizing. Remember they need to project a highly crafted individualized image. That will be easily messed up if anything in their social media history is out of line with that image.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Loving Till it Hurts

Being a parent has always been an intense desire for me for as long as I can remember! Since I am not certain of God’s plan with regards to this aspect of my life, I chose to be fully responsible to my cousin’s son. That’s not the only reason though; I found that as the first born to his mother he had always received minimum love and attention, so I sympathized with him since as a child I was also in the same situation. I won’t go into other details, but in this blog I would love to share how parenting a child who’s not biologically mine is stretching me to “love till it hurts.”

Ever since I began reading books I had perfectionism tendencies. I would judge myself and others critically whenever mishaps happened. I became too quick to cut out loved ones who were not ideal to my perfectionism, and some friendships I’ve still lost. Having a thirteen year old child who for most of his life, learned much from the “streets” has been challenging for me since he makes mistakes almost every single day! In the beginning I used to tell him that if he won’t straighten up he’ll have to pack his bags and leave my house! That’s the easiest road to take. However, as I sought wisdom from God, He has been taking me through a process of loving till it hurts. It was so much easier for me to punish him every time he committed a mistake; since it made him feel bad for what he did, and would perhaps help change his ways. I would instantly take his privileges away without warning. One day I sent him to the shops and gave him a list of things to buy, and he decided to buy sweets for himself without asking for permission. Frustrated I told him that he won’t carry pocket money for the entire term. Later in the day he came to me asking for forgiveness. He volunteered to write chapters from the book of Proverbs before I even asked, since that’s my other way of punishing him (inspired by my pastor). Little did he know that God had been working in my heart during that space. I thought about how it would be if every time I made a mistake God wrote me off. I thought of how I always try to bargain with Him and He would “hear me out” and give me so much grace that I don’t even deserve. “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities” the Psalmist said in chapter 103:11. Since being a parent is something a child sees close to God, we have to learn to show grace and mercy to our children just as God does to us. It’s important that we experience grace for ourselves first so that we don’t distort the image of God through our perfectionism and judgmental attitude.  This statement from Dr Henry Cloud changed my parenting paradigm: “Parents need to accept failure the same way God does. He does not deny failures, nor does he beat us up for them. He convicts us- he shows us the truth- but he gives us tender love and compassion as well”. It is His kindness that leads us to repentance.

Another thing I’ve learned is that in order to raise this child it will require great patience and that can only come from God for a compulsive impatient person as me. Co-incidentally, as I write this blog, my boy just opened up to me about his relationship with His mother which explains why he has been so difficult. There was a time he wasn’t talking to me all day, but nonetheless in the evening I continued with our evening devotions. As I was explaining the scripture we had just read, I tried to get him to talk by asking him a question. He looked at me with disgust and asked “What?” I couldn’t continue explaining since that incident was a build on from many others. My heart beat with anger as I threw my bible on the couch telling him that if he won’t change his attitude he better pack his bags and leave! In our days, no one cared for our spirituality and I was angered by his inability to see that I cared. I commanded him to go to bed. See now, I was using control to try to get him to put his act together- and that never works. The following day I was discouraged to lead our devotion so I was tempted to stop altogether. But I have learned that whenever we are presented with a choice to choose between the high and low road, we should always choose the high road because that’s the significant road- the one that makes all the difference. I sat that evening reading and preaching through teary eyes in reluctance, knowing that it’s difficult for him to see the end in mind. He received the message with tenderness on his face. I believe he felt God’s love that evening. God’s love is not only changing him its changing me too. I’m learning to love when it hurts, to be very patient with people and understand that emotional, intellectual, and spiritual growth takes time.

On one end of the spectrum is the abusive parent and on the other is the parent who seeks validation from their child, and that was me in the beginning when my boy had just settled. I wanted to try out the many wonderful teachings that I read from books only to realize that by trying so hard I wanted him to validate my parenting. I would ask him if I’m doing well as a parent and he’d just shrug his shoulders saying, “I don’t know.” Poor boy- what would he know about parenting! One day I complained to my sister that he always prays for everyone else except me. I was encouraging him to pray for others but clearly I wanted it to be me! My sister said words that have forever changed my life: “Stop seeking validation from a child. Complete the task God has given you. You have people praying for you. We are praying for you.” From that day onward the burden of trying to perform and be a perfect parent fell off my shoulders. I knew that God would raise His child, I’m just a vessel that He’s using. And what a privilege it is because in the process I am also changed, I am learning to love unconditionally.

Taking someone in, especially a child requires you to give off yourself to another person. I am learning to be generous not only with my assets and finances, but my space, time, and heart. It’s not always easy because many times he displays a selfish and ungrateful attitude. Children are selfish because from infancy they depend upon people to care for them thus, have all the attention. It’s only when they grow through experience and through being taught that they learn to become selfless and grateful citizens. Through the grace of God, I am able to look past his immature behavior (But it didn’t just happen, it takes much prayer and counsel) and see the end in mind. He doesn’t know any better.

Through the entire experience, I am able to paraphrase the Apostle Paul’s words:

When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a woman, I put childish ways behind me and I learned the meaning of real love. If I speak the tongues of men and angels but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and If I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I AM NOTHING! If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I GAIN NOTHING. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not SELF-SEEKING, it is not easily angered, it KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always TRUSTS, always hopes, and always perseveres. LOVE NEVER FAILS.


Sunday, 6 May 2018

Festering Old Wounds- Part1

As a twelve year old little girl I went through a traumatic experience that led the course of my life throughout all my teen years up until twenty two when Jesus changed everything! Looking back at my behavior, thoughts and attitudes then, I would take a risk by diagnosing myself as one who had a narcissistic personality disorder. This is drastic I know- since it’s self-diagnosed. In fact lately I find myself sitting in a room full of people mentally diagnosing those who might have narcissism, LOL. This is what fear does to you.

There are many incidents as I recall from the past years that make me believe that something was very wrong with me in terms of my relation to other people. Let’s cancel the term narcissism okay? (I think it’s a very strong word) And just stick to “something very wrong”. During high school, I signed up into chat sites. I would sit for hours in the library and as young as I was already addicted to the virtual world. This led to discovering dating sites which were more fun because there you could see how many people viewed your profile and how most of them showed interest in you. I never posted my real picture since I wasn’t confident with how I looked. Being so young and na├»ve I would just search for a picture of a beautiful lady on the internet and post it as me, and just make up one lie after another as to why I could not post more pictures. In this virtual world everyone chased after me, everyone wanted a piece of me even if it meant buying a lot of airtime to get me to send one more pic. The way I got so addicted to this I stopped going to prayer and bible study which were held in the afternoons. To the people around me I probably seemed normal, bubbly, and energetic but I had a secret life that most people weren’t even aware of. They probably judged the fruit of my life as one who always led songs in the Church and preached at times, and seeing no correlation between my profession and behavior.(By their fruit you will recognize them- Mathew7:16).

 Chatting with people online was all fun and games until I got out of high school to tertiary in Jo’burg (UJ) and discovered that these are real people who actually wanted to meet. Knowing very well that I had a fake picture I would just rock up to meet them and expect them to be okay with the fact that I deceived them. Some would just drive off the moment they saw me, some would shake their heads in disbelief, and some would try to be nice but put me at arm’s length. The rejection I felt drew me deeper into the virtual world where I would steal pictures of my room-mate whom I so envied and post them as me  because she was beautiful, Zulu, slender, long hair, chilled and every guy wanted her. There were seldom nice guys online who didn’t tolerate my games, with one exception whom I still remember to this day. And narc…oops…those people who have “something very wrong” with them take advantage of such nice people. They mistake their kindness with weakness and that’s what I did with this guy. He had a life outside of the chatting world which he often shared with me and I envied that. I would want him to cling on to me and beg me for pictures so I had to find more creative ways to steal my room-mates pictures to keep him on the leech. When I ran out of pictures I would access my room-mates email address and steal the pictures that she had there. It got to a point where I had used up every pic that I personally confessed the truth yet still expected her to understand that I needed more pictures! She was so perplexed…like how do you steal someone’s identity and expect them to just be okay with it?  What’s funny is how I still remember how she made me feel during that time. She rebuked me in such a gracious and loving manner and continued to show me love. My chats with the guy went on for months and months until I finally decided to tell him the truth since we had developed a connection through days and nights of communicating. Him being nice insisted that we meet nonetheless. We met and only now can I imagine the disappointment and hurt that he felt. Even after the meeting he wasn’t rude towards me but obviously it wasn’t like how it was online. After our meeting I don’t know what I told my sister but if I remember correctly she angrily said something to him that showed that I had bad-mouthed him. Like- I was expecting to deceive someone and expect him to just be okay with it?! I felt proud for what my sister did by “standing up for me” though she didn’t know the entire story. I was the hurt victim, and that guy was the villain! All he did was send a message asking what had I said to my sister. I don’t know what my response was but probably a psychotic one and he just left it at that.

Because I was so used to chatting with him and getting all his attention, I added him on Facebook which was now my real identity. He accepted and never said anything. All I just remember from him was an encouraging comment on one of the notes I had written which said, “You should be an author!” Not only did this guy not condemn me for deceiving him but he encouraged me greatly by making me realize that someone out there saw some potential in me. His attitude was a reflection of who he was inside. He was genuinely a good person. Looking back now I wonder how he must have dealt with what I had put him through. Was this also a lesson for him, did it help him in anyway, how did he manage to control his attitude and emotions…because truth be told, there’s nothing that scars a human being than heart issues that involve deception and betrayal. And for many online, all this is just a game.

Festering Old Wounds-Part2

Only in 2014, two years after getting saved did I ponder and reflect upon the effects that my behavior did to this guy and many more. Some made it easy for me not to feel bad as I recalled their comments that “I should go find my father”, “I stink”, “and No one would ever want such an ugly person as me”. But the eyes of my understanding were opened up clearly when I recalled how this guy handled the situation. He understood that I was a human being and I was not my behavior. I carried a wound behind those destructive habits and pathological lies. My heart was hardened by the negating comments not only from people online, in the streets, but by my own family. So the only thing I could give to people was my hurt. I was a human being underneath all that; deprived of love yet still having a chance to experience it. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke s easy and my burden is light”, said Jesus in Mathew11:27-28.

The reason why I decided to wipe of the term narcissism in describing the old me is that many people say narcissism is a permanent mental disorder that can’t be cured but only worsens as one gets older. This is a fact for many friends, partners and more especially families who’ve endured many painful years caused by the abusive narcissist. Or, it could be true that indeed I was a narcissist since I was not only incapable of empathizing with other’s hurt but causing it myself and God’s Word proving to be true that, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come (2Corinthians5:17), and “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” (Mark10:27). I don’t know really whether I was a narcissist or not, but these two verses show that we must not limit God despite what the DSM’s and experience say. This is extremely difficult even for me as I have just gone through an experience that prompted such doubts.

Festering Old Wounds- Part3

I wrote about a guy I was in a toxic relationship with in my previous blogs. Now I’m not really sure if it’s the nature of the relationship, or it’s him, or me! As one person put it, “Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m in a dysfunctional relationship or if I’m dysfunctional in this relationship!” After nearly four months of no contact I decided to add his number on whatsapp only to discover his status which said, “Rest in Peace dad.” At that moment I felt such sympathy for him especially since he once mentioned briefly how he and his father never had a relationship. It took me quite a long time to decide if I should contact him or just continue trying to forget about him and the little memories we created. In those four months we weren’t really communicating, there was seldom a day that went by without me thinking of him. This guy came on very strongly on me at first, yet left very abruptly. It was just hard to process. I always felt that there were new ways we could express the love we claimed to have for each other despite the conflicts and differences. This is the guy whom at first preached the Word to me, prayed with me every morning on video calling, took me to his friends’, called and texted all the time, reminded me always of how he wants me to be the first person he sees every morning when he wakes, got really worried when I didn’t answer my phone and begged me to answer it, called me  his "life", always ready to drive a 2hour distance to come and see me.  The pictures below give a glimpse of what I'm saying. And all of a sudden all that stopped…

It stopped when I thought that “we had both fallen into sexual sin” and I called out such behavior. Even before that, because of the strong physical attraction that I felt whenever I was with him I would constantly remind him of where I stand regarding sexual intimacy before marriage. I remember once in the car after I had sent him a message about my concerns since the flirting had gotten way too serious, he drove to my place to see me. He told me how he understands and how nothing sex is to him. I reckoned that he’s a strong man of God and also of his word so I let my guard off. In subsequent days, he portrayed a different character than the one he initially portrayed through his words and actions. I recall when I was perplexed after the whole fornication that I dumped him and he kept calling convincing me to take him back. Even though I felt that he was the deceiver and mostly put me in that state, he’d say things like “I can’t believe that it’s you doing this!” I would feel so bad for feeling that way and asked him to pray for me. He’d say that he is praying for me- making it seem as if I was the one who needed help. This man came to me as a man of God (Pastor) and that's how he lured me in. I find that I constantly ask myself- could he really be a child of God going through a spiritual attack, humble and needing help? Or is he bluntly evil in a quest to use women? It just doesn't make sense how someone can make you feel at some point that you are everything to them and then suddenly treat you as disposable waste. Maybe it’s a question I’m curious about but one I’ll never find answers to in this lifetime. As 1Corinthians 13:12 says, “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I’m fully known.”

When I called him we took off from where we had left off, it's as if there weren't any hard feelings between us. He asked where I was I told him I was home but leaving soon to my place as soon as water comes out so that I can bath. He said I could go bath at his place. With so much excitement I packed my toiletry bag and waited for him to come, truth be told- I had been longing to bump into him anyway. And what better excuse to use! When I looked into his eyes- no spark, no smile, and it was understandable because he had just lost his father. I felt pity for him and wanted to comfort him but as usual it wasn't going to be possible since there's no emotional bonding between us. When we got to his place I thought we'll have this bonding you know? Where he just expresses his feelings and I comfort him or something and it ends happily ever after...but that's only a pipe dream. So we reverted to kissing which was so electrical, one I wished I could experience all my life! Like, we could have this everyday. 

I think I'm seeking the feeling I had in the beginning of our short-lived relationship. We texted a lot and it felt like we were bonding maybe? But what exactly did we bond about? Oh, wooshy washy stuff about how he wishes he could sneak into my bed, or how I wish I was in his arms, or declaring how we so loved each other---bleh. As you grow older true love moves from feel-good text messaging to service, sacrifice, and laying down one's life for another. In really life we could hardly keep a conversation going. In fact there were times when we'd sit  in agonizing silence and when I tried to express myself he'd look away and only respond to the messages that got in phone. Back in the days when I couldn't relate to people in the real world endless messages would beep through my phone, at least that's where I could hide my real, wounded self and keep a false image without having to deal with my real emotions.

Festering Old Wounds- Part 4

I changed my mind about bathing and he suddenly wanted us to leave! One of those people who have a way of pulling you in and pushing you away. So we left. I asked him to pass by the grocery store. As he was parking, a lady in the parking lot opposite him was also parking and they both exchanged huge smiles. It's like there was a meaning to the parking only understood by them. Everything had vanished to him; his focus was getting the lady's attention. I didn't read much into it so I asked him if he was getting off with me. He said, "No hurry, be quick!" "Come on.", I tried convincing him. He insisted on his reply. He urged me to hurry up though so I playfully said that I'll take my sweet time. As I got out the store a few minutes later, he was right in front of me stating that he felt guilty. I laughed and thought, "oh...". I thought he felt guilty for not going in the store with me but then he said, "I opened the door for you!" And he went into the store. As I sat in the car waiting for him I said under my breathe, "Lord give me wisdom to handle this." Maybe putting myself in that situation in the first place was not in accordance with God's will but the Word still invites us to ask for wisdom when we need it: "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all WITHOUT FINDING FAULT, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

When he got into the car he said sorry and was about to start a new different topic about what he bought! I laughed, and thought how stupid can one seem though? I knew that the reason he did all that was either he was embarrassed to be seen with me or he was following the lady from the parking lot. As I was expressing myself he interrupted, "Oh so I'm not supposed to smile with people!" Gas-lighting. It was not even about the smile, it was how he made me feel. How can you one moment kiss me and the next you make it seem like I'm a non-existing figure? I wanted to get everything out my chest and wanted to make him see that love was staring right at him, why wont he accept it...but try loving a broken person...

As I was about to say one more word he shut me out by asking where he should drop me off? Deafening silence. I had to come to terms with the truth: he had lost his father. He was driving a better car. He was living in a different apartment. But his character had not changed. It reminded me of Sherry Argov's words, "Always look at what you're dealing with; what you see is what you get. His character won't change. His career might change, his clothing might change, his priorities might change, his residence might change. But his character will stay the same.

Bad feelings were now projected onto me. Why am I so mean when someone is still in the early stages of grief? Why am I just not grateful that he offered that I go bathe at his place- heck he even came all the way to get me! Why am I showing him that I am aware of his false self? Why am I fighting so much when all he wants is compliance…and a booty call? When I had just gotten out of high school still living in the virtual world I went on a date with a guy I met online to one fancy restaurant. The guy just wanted to know me I assume and there were several times he came to see me and never wanted sex. I got impatient because sex was the only way I knew how to communicate. I would giggle and be silent as he tried to communicate and get so disappointed when he dropped me off at my place without wanting sex. The guy was nice to me even though I had lied about my online profile picture, probably just attracted to the imaginary world I had portrayed through typing, or he just felt pity for me. Henry Cloud said, “Many sex addicts are looking for sexual experiences, but what they really desire is love and affection.” This guy was nice but the hurt I carried played a major role in pushing him away with my behavior that he finally told me to go find my father. Emotionally, I was still stuck at twelve years not having dealt with the trauma I faced, so I refused great opportunities when they stared right st me. Settling for a low life was all I knew. I needed love but  didn’t even know how to ask for it because I felt like I didn’t deserve it. “No man would want a fat girl anyway”, echoed the voice of my loved ones. So the only way I knew how to lure people in was through being pretentious and pathological lying. Trust me I went to church, I spoke in tongues. I delivered sermons, but I was still broken. Externally I seemed well but inside I was falling apart. 

The Word says, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”- (Isaiah55:1) It was only when I became vulnerable bringing my weaknesses to Christ that He began the process of healing. I had to stop fighting the fact that I was wounded, yes by my own actions and more so the actions of people close to me. I had to stop putting on a mask of ‘strength’ and just admit that I was in need of someone or something greater than any accolade in this world. I had to face the truth of this appeal from Revelations3:17-18, “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing’. But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.”

Maybe I took a detour by going back to the guy when I knew exactly what kind of a person he is. But I truly believe in the power of God to heal hurt, hurtful people. I think I’m expecting to change him, to make him realize that there’s love and life to experience out here! But I recall that guy who never condemned me for lying to him about my room-mates pictures; he didn’t try to interrogate me or try to find closure. He just let it be. Who knows he was praying for me? And I only realized my blunders five years later. He didn’t need to be part of my life for my healing to come, he never had to force me or try by all means to make me see I needed help. Something I could learn from him.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Celebrating my birth in Christ (Six Years)

Celebrating six years in the Lord today…what significance does this hold?  I had a chat about this with my friend the other day and she said that she doesn’t publicize her new birth in Christ because perhaps her years in the Lord does not represent spiritual maturity. Her opinion is highly respected and it prompted me to examine my motives for celebrating this day. Is it about the cake? Pride perhaps? Attention from social media? The need to get approval from the number of likes on Facebook? As I went through self-examination I knew that it was more of a childlike joy- of giving thanks to Our Savior for changing my legacy and that of my children. There are often no words to express or actions to take that  shows  the gratitude in my heart for all that God has done and continues to do for me. My life started out as a joke, as something to be played and experimented with but Jesus took me seriously! So even though I make cakes and seem childish, this day holds a greater significance than one could ever imagine.

Today I’m overcome with abundant joy as I reflect upon the past year. God taught me to fight. Through hardships and failure I learned not to give up in my pursuit of seeking God’s call for my life; constantly striving to pull away from what I’ve always known. I recall the days when I exposed my weaknesses and fear had a tight grip on me. I’ve had to fight through many doubtful days…uncertainties…failure. At some point we have to get to a point where we are given an ultimatum just as Joshua did the Israelite's, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15). I have made my choice as Joshua did- “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord!” It’s easy to say this as my spirits are high at the moment, but I am prepared for those hard days of uncertainty where faith is tested because I know they’re coming. And I’ll hold fast to my confession.

I’ve come too far to give up now, to give up on the call of God on my life. I am still trying to figure it out, all I know is that a golden legacy lies on the other side of total surrender to the Lord. I am aware that it might not be a comfortable lifestyle, it might be hard work and suffering but I’ve resolved to do the will of God whatever it takes.  Joel 3:9 encourages us to fight for what we stand for, “Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.” Living for Jesus is a battleground and we are going to have to fight resisting the enemy and not settling for mediocrity. Hardships and temptations don’t typically go away because we wish them to; we have to fight with all tenacity in prayer and in choosing to do God’s will over our desires. This is the narrow path that makes all the difference.

Today is also an appropriate day to speak of God’s mercy and grace for us all. We often get off-track but we keep coming back. Our hope lies not in our shortcomings but in the vision God has for us collectively and individually. By His mercy we are able to get up and try again. We do not yield, we do not quit. We give way for God’s purposes to be established and for the generation that will benefit from the fruit of our obedience to the Lord. I do not know what the future holds, but I am hopeful and extremely optimistic because I know the One who holds my future.

Thank You so much Jesus for saving me! What I am You made me.What I have, You gave me. Where I am You brought me! What I know You taught me! May I never lose my wonder.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Christian faith and its cover up of sexual abuse, by Boz Tchividjian

To be a shepherd in the body of Christ and blind to the knowledge that your sheep are being abused by wolves in your midst is to be an inattentive shepherd.

To be told that wolves are devouring our lambs and fail to protect those lambs is to be a shepherd who sides with the wolves who hinder those same little ones from coming to Jesus.

To judge merely by outward appearances is a failure of righteousness.

To fail to obey the laws of the land as Scripture commands by declining to report and expose abuse is to be a disobedient shepherd.

To fail to grasp the massive web of deception entangling an abuser and set him or her loose among the sheep is to be naive about the very nature and power of sin.

To be told a child is being or has been abused and to make excuses for failing to act is a diabolical misrepresentation of God.

To know a woman is being raped or battered in hidden places and silence her or send her back is to align with those who live as enemies of our God.

Protecting an institution or organization rather than a living, breathing lamb is to love ministry more than God and to value a human name or institution more than the peerless name of Jesus.

“If someone reports that he or she has been sexually abused, call authorities: police, child protection services, and other trusted adults in the community. Gather names of recommended therapists, and begin the hunt for the advice you need to nurture, comfort, and support this person. A gospel-centered response to child sexual abuse and the sexual violation of anyone at any age begins with understanding that silence is not an option.”- Mary Ellen Mann

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Personal Bill of Rights, by Mary Ellen Mann

I have the right to ask for what I want.

I have the right to say “no” to requests or demands.

I have the right to state my feelings and needs.

I have the right to change my mind.

I have the right to make mistakes and learn from them.

I have the right to follow my own values and standards.

I have the right to say “no” to anything when I feel I am not ready, or its unsafe, or it violates my values.

I have the right to determine my own priorities.

I have the right not to be responsible for others’ behavior, choices, feelings, or problems.

I have the right to expect honesty from others.

I have the right to be angry at someone I love.

I have the right to be uniquely myself.

I have the right to feel scared and to say “I’m afraid.”

I have the right to say, “I don’t know.”

I have the right to not give excuses or reasons for my choices.

I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings.

I have the right to my own needs for personal space and time.

I have the right to be playful and lighthearted.

I have the right to be healthier than those around me.

I have the right to be in a non-abusive environment.

I have the right to make friends and be comfortable around people.

I have the right to change and grow.

I have the right to have my needs and wants accepted by others.

I have the right to be treated with dignity and honor.

I have the right to be happy.

I have the right to be loved and supported.