Sunday, 28 April 2013

Dealing with pain.

"If  I say, I forget my complaint, i will change my expression, and smile,' i still dread all my sufferings."
Job 9:27-28

Friday nite started as a beautiful nite for me. The praise and worship at church was beautiful. I did not know that on that same nite, i would face serious dread.
After passion nite, it was time to go home. Usually, there is a team i walk home with. But on this particular nite, i would have to walk home with only Hamlet as my walking companion.

About 10minutes walk  from where i live, i was suddenly attacked by guys i did not even know what their motive was. I stood there in pain and I was  angry. I was angry at those boys for attacking a helpless woman with a child, i was angry at myself for standing there, i was angry at God for not protecting me from such danger.

My pain overwhelmed me for sometime that i could have easily forgotten to be thankful for God's protection. Nothing i had on me was robbed, Hamlet had not been harmed, i was not brutally injured. God had shielded me from so much. I needed to cry to Him and tell Him that as much as i was in pain, i was grateful that He had been with us. He is always there. His love never fails.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Until He has it all

Jesus will not give up until He has won us to Himself. Until he has it all.
I am seated here just listening to some beautiful songs. Songs very powerful, I feel overwhelmed just thinking of God's amazing Love. 
One in particular is by Jesus Culture 

YOU WON'T RELENT
You won't relent until You have it all, My heart is Yours 
I'll set You as a seal upon my heart as a seal upon my arm For there is love that is as strong as death Jealousy, demanding as the grave And many waters cannot quench this love
You won't relent until You, have it all My heart is Yours You won't relent until You, have it all My heart is Yours Come be the fire inside of me Come be the flame upon my heart Come be the fire inside of me Until You and I are One

I don't want to talk about You Like You're not in the room I want to look right at You I want to sing right to You 
You won't relent until You have it all, My heart is Yours 
I'll set You as a seal upon my heart as a seal upon my arm For there is love that is as strong as death Jealousy demanding as the grave And many waters cannot quench this love
Come be the fire inside of me Come be the flame upon my heart Come be the fire inside of me Until You and I are One

Sometimes we sing these beautiful melodies and that is it. But as I ponder on these words, I am brought to my knees. Jesus won’t relent until He has it all. Wow. Amazing!
A love that is stronger than death?? What more could I ever ask for?
Will I set Him as a seal upon my heart as a response to this great love that has been offered me? A love that cannot be quenched by many waters. Lord I am forever grateful that you will not relent until you have it all; My soul, My heart, My all.


Thursday, 18 April 2013

What are friends for?

As I write this I am very grateful for different friendships God has brought in my life. I have been blessed with a few good friends. The kind that will stand with me no matter what. This “no matter what” does not mean that they will not rebuke me in love when they have to.

I have learned that Friends are there to love us, to understand (sometimes they fail, but it’s okay), to laugh and cry with us. That’s what friends are for. Yesterday, I was amazed at all the Love I received from friends that believe my Birthday should be special and they made sure I felt loved and special.
My friend Sarah made me the yummiest cookies ever and even if I don’t usually express my emotions so openly, she knows that I felt loved and spoiled.

 After that, I went to teach the Kids at Joy Club International and as I got there I was surprised that they knew it was my birthday.  Emma and Annie (two of the kids there) saw me and they couldn't hide their excitement about my birthday. They almost told me what surprise had been prepared for me. I was totally amazed. That is how it feels to have friends who actually care. 

What are friends for? I can’t really answer this question  to everyone’s expectation but I believe that we need to know that it is okay to let your friends in on some aspects of your life; the good and bad. I don’t know how things in my life would be like if I was one tiny deserted island by self.

Today as I left home for work, I kept playing in my head a song by Stevie Wonder,“that’s what friends are for”. A chorus in that song,
“Keep smiling', Keep shining'. Knowing' you can always count on me for sure, that's what friends are for. In good times, And bad times I'll be on your side forever more. That's what friends are for"

I feel that I have failed in some ways as a friend and I have to sit back and ask myself; Do my friends believe that I will be on their side through the good and the bad?  Can I count on my friends to stand with me all season? Well, I know I can count on my friends. My previous post was on Oceans raging. By the time I wrote that, I was kind of caught in a stormy weather. And I did not want to share it with any one. One of my friends had to ask me why I am not letting people in. I told her, “I have my reasons”.  But my problem did not just go away because I wasn't sharing it. I had to be put in a corner first, and be broken, until I realized that I have friends that actually Love me. Yesterday I talked to a friend about what was going on and sharing that with my friend was amazing. I felt very good after that because my friend was there for me.

I pray that we will be friends that define the true meaning of friendship. It is good to love and to be loved back.  We love to use fancy words like, “we are a circle of friends”. What would being in a circle of friends entail? If we are a  circle of friends,  we ought to love each other and carry one another’s burden. We should also be willing to let others invade some of our privacy. It is much safer than being alone.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

And when the oceans rage.......

This whole month, one song has been going on over and over in my heart. “Your Love never fails.” There is one particular line that was very real for me. “When the oceans rage, I don’t have to be afraid, because I know that you love me, your love never fails.”  Thinking of a raging ocean, gives me chills (not in a nice way). I remember reading as a 14 yr old of a huge ship (the Titanic) that was swallowed up in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg. I was terrified. The Oceans can do that when things get out of control. I fear being caught in the middle of a raging ocean. Kind of what we go through in life. The oceans do rage sometimes and it is often catastrophic. Some causalities may come up; Death of Trust In our God, Sickness of the soul, Wounded hearts.

One thing I have noticed as I listen to this song is that even in the midst of a raging ocean, I should not be afraid because He loves me and He will not let me sink. If He is aboard my ship, there will be no going down. When the ocean rages, no army on earth can withstand its advance, no scientific breakthrough can quell or quiet their sound. A roaring and stormy ocean is a frequent reminder of man’s frailty and helplessness in the face of such raw power. 


“More than the sounds of many waters, than the mighty breakers of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty.” As strong and powerful as the ocean waves may be, the Lord on high is infinitely more powerful. His voice is louder, His strength is stronger, His hand is firmer. While no force on Earth can quiet the waves, they cannot resist a simple word from the Lord. The Lord reigns, His will and His command is firmly established.


This week, even as I am facing raging waters, I think back to that song that we sang on Sunday. That line about when the oceans rage.  Something about feeling at peace within the storm knowing He is for me. It’s a strange peace. I am made aware that life is full of "storms" but God by nature and person is above the weather. When I think and start remembering the pain of the current raging, meditating on this song has helped me a great deal. I feel sure, loved, known and safe.  I see hope. 


“And when the oceans rage, I don’t have to be afraid because I know that you love me”.

I am now singing out loud of God’s unfailing love; yelling the word of truth passionately. “God, your love never fails!”

“The wind is strong and the water’s deep but I’m not alone here in these open seas because your love never fails”

Life can be one challenging and scary experience. We feel that we are caught and dragged in a downward spiral and though we see the world spinning around us, we need not be afraid. Our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Of late I am asking my self these questions; who is in my boat? What is going to happen when the wind starts howling and the waves toss my boat? When the world knocks me down, who will be there to save you? 


O Lord I cannot stand against the waves, but I know that the waves cannot stand against you. Thank you that you are for me and not against me. Because you are for me I can stand in hope because you control the wind and waves that crash against my life. I have no strength against them, but my God, you are the master and commander of the whole earth. My hope and my peace are in you and in you alone. 

“The floods have lifted up, O Lord; the floods have lifted up their voice; The floods lift up their pounding waves, more than the sounds of many waters, than the mighty breakers of the sea, The Lord on high is mighty.”


Saturday, 13 April 2013

A day with the Kids at Joy Club International


To begin with, i had no idea what i was getting myself into. I was seriously convinced by a friend (Diana) that this was something that i would enjoy doing. I had my own misgivings, most of which were very personal. She insisted, "Rhona, you should see those kids. It is going to be fun!" The catch words there was 'the kids'. She knows how passionate i get, when i am told any thing to do with the little ones. I was totally sold to the whole idea.

That Wednesday i travelled to the premises that would host this program. The discussions we had that day were amazing.  The program line up for Wednesday was very enticing and exciting. I could not wait to get into the real thing. But i still had to make a decision. I knew, that if i said yes, there was no looking back.
Finally, I knew that i would not want to be anywhere else on that particular day. Being with the kids, learning about Jesus was a great idea.

Most of those kids, come from the slums where they have not had any conversations that are God-Centered All they know is something else but Jesus. I wanted so much to be a part of a ministry that meant that we would facilitate in bringing up a young generation for Jesus. If the slums were set ablaze with a passion for Jesus, the whole city would not escape catching on. This was beautiful. Something I desire most is that the little ones are set a part for Jesus. This led me to think of myself. As a little girl, if I had been introduced to Jesus sooner, i am sure i would have made certain choices differently.

So, last week we got to real action. By 4:00pm, the gates to the premises were open and the kids were coming in slowly. I waited to receive the kids i was going to teach (the youngest group, 3-4 year olds).
Receiving the kids

Then we got them seated and  the topic of the day was introduced to them after some music and dancing. Everything was looking good.

 

Hamlet was in my class and that was interesting. It was fun (he kept calling me,each time I asked for an answer. He raised his hand, "mummy, ......")
Hamlet was in my class
 Our theme was on friendship; with God, and with others. The study was on Jesus and the relationship with Martha and Mary. One of the things the little ones had to know was that Jesus was very much interested in a relationship with them. A close relationship with Jesus was more important than anything else they did.I think they got it.








Game time. They played Mingle, mingle. It was fun

It was a great day, with nice games , crafts  and music. I had not planned on jumping that much during the time music was played, but i loved it.

My friend Diana and her Class
One of the other teachers(Vester) with his group

Craft time

Snack time. I helped


 I am glad that God is using different ministries and people to reach out. It was a great first day and I am praying for more wonderful Wednesdays there.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Life as a Single mom

My life as a single mum has been quite busy, joyful but crazy too. I have had my share of lows and highs. I became a mum July 19 2008 to my precious Hamlet. A true Blessing. And raising him as a single parent has been quite interesting.
 

To begin with, in my culture, being un-married and with a kid is not without its hiccups. It was hard at first. I cared so much how people were going to perceive me. In my family, I was a shame. I had humiliated my family.  

I was also very mad at myself for getting into this predicament. That is not how I had pictured myself. As a teenager, I had dreamed of meeting a good young man and getting married; big fat wedding and having kids. Living happily ever after :) Just like in all the books with "perfect love stories" I had read. Nope! That was not how it had happened. I had skipped a few steps and landed where I had not imagined.
 

Everyone pitied my mom. They kept murmuring and going about in whispers, "poor woman, her daughter is pregnant". I was sorry for me too. I practically hid from people. Once Hamlet was born, the first few months were not bearable. Everyone wanted to know where my son's dad was. I sometimes was not so nice in my responses to them.
 

The other cost of me being a single parent was the fact that I was now totally responsible for someone. I did not know what i was going to do. It was really hard. Aside from all the prejudice around me, it was difficult for me especially logistically taking on all responsibility single-handed.
Even as i think about these things, I have to state that having Hamlet was the most beautiful thing that had happened to me. He is a Joy.
 

Coming back to the cultural perspective, as a single mum there is so much I have had to deal with. My dad asked me why i did not take my son to the grand mom so that I could increase my chances of finding a mate. Apparently to him, Hamlet is the reason I never get time to meet possible suitors or the reason guys are afraid to approach me. My uncle made even a more ridiculous suggestion. That I should leave Hamlet with the grandma and when I meet a good guy willing to marry me, I do not disclose that I have a kid until we are married and then I tell him. Where do people get such thoughts??? My son is a Blessing. He is not a hindrance to me in any way. I had to tell both my dad and Uncle that whatever they thought was crazy.
 

But that is the world we live in. As a single mum, there is always going to be someone that thinks less of you. I just had to accept who I am. It is not easy but God has shown me daily that I matter to him even now as a single mom. 

A friend (who is a Christian) told me that he could never marry a woman with a kid. That he wouldn't take on another person's responsibility. Even in the church, there is prejudice!

When all is said and done, being a single mum is truly a learning journey for me. God has taught me a lot. I have learned to rely and depend on him. Through sleepless nights, through scarcity, frustrations, I have learned to depend on him. I have also learned that if God picks a good man for me, it won’t matter to him that I have a kid. 


The challenges are still present, but it is easier now that I gave my life to Christ (4 months after Hamlet was born). It keeps getting easier.

Monday, 8 April 2013

How then shall we live

That is going to be our running theme for this month at church.
Our pastor introduced us to this theme yesterday and it was pretty challenging for me. “How then shall I live?”, I couldn't help asking myself that question. He mentioned a couple of statements. He said that we need to go beyond man-made barriers and in my mind, I am thinking, “ohhh boy, this is going to be interesting!!!”  We ought to be passionate for things beyond us (man-made barriers!).  Lack of passion for the things of God has caused a lot of us to have no natural affection for Jesus. This causes us to shift allegiance according to comfort, happiness and whatever makes us feel good.

He cautioned us to always be aware that we are at War fighting for our own soul. And that we need to be honest about the battles inside of us.  “ Living for Jesus is real war”. There will be tensions caused because of our service and association with Him. We should therefore stop living with a peace-time mentality because that will not work.  There is war for my heart, war for my soul, war for the souls of others, battle against sin (which causes us to exchange the glory of God for the glory of self), battle against strongholds of human reasoning and false arguments.

How then shall we live??? I thought about this question once more.  We ought to be Kingdom-focused.  Mt 6:19- 20 , "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal . But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

I was driven to think deeply on how much value has been attached to things that are not of value. Our pastor illustrated with a currency note and he asked us, “why is this paper, worth the amount on it?” I had never thought about that before. It was because of the value that was given to it (value added to the paper by the government). What things  have I given so much significance/ value? Where have I attached inner hope and contentment? Am I treasuring things of eternal Value? How am I living? So many questions, I know. But this will help me determine so many dynamics of my life. What I treasure, will affect every other aspect of my life. It will command my desires, shape my life.  My walk with Jesus will be propelled or victimized by what I treasure.

We must then live for the Glory of God. The Passover prayer celebration was great. One of speakers said that we should live for the kingdom and righteousness and all other things will fall in place. I will not forget that statement because he was really passionate about this. He kept saying, “as you walk in life, move with one foot toward righteousness, and the other toward Kingdom.”

If you ask me now, how then shall we live? The answer is Live for Righteousness, and for the Kingdom.

Friday, 5 April 2013

When the tears fall.

Love this song. The message, is like coming from my heart.
these are the Lyrics.

When the tears fall....Tim Hughes I've had questions without answers
I've known sorrow, I have known pain
But there's one thing that I cling to
You are faithful, Jesus You're true

When hope is lost
I call You Saviour
When pain surrounds
I call You Healer
When silence falls
You'll be the song within my heart

In the lone hour of my sorrow
Through the darkest night of my soul
You surround me, You sustain me
My defender for ever more

When hope is lost
I call You Saviour
When pain surrounds
I call You Healer
When silence falls
You'll be the song within my heart

And I will praise You
I will Praise You
When the tears fall
Still I will sing to You
I will praise You
Jesus praise You
Through the suffering
Still I will sing to You

When hope is lost
I call You Saviour
When pain surrounds
I call You Healer
When silence falls
You'll be the song within my heart

I will praise You
I will praise You
When the tears fall
Still I will sing to you
I will praise You
Jesus I will praise You
Through the suffering
Still I will sing to you

When the laughter fails to comfort
When my heart aches, Lord You'll be there
When confusion is all around me
And the darkness is my closest friend
Still I'll praise You
Jesus praise You

Thursday, 4 April 2013

He is the Center of everything

It’s all about Jesus. EVERYTHING is.
I often ask my self (when things are not adding up according to how I planned) over and over the same question, WHY????
There are so many whys. But, like I have come to know and to ask my self, “why not?”
Why do I have to think that everything should be fine, work to my advantage and nothing should go wrong with me?  Is everything about me??? My asking why is often triggered by the fact that I think everything should be about me. But it is not. He did not create this universe for my own personal enjoyment. It is all about Jesus. He is the center. Everything revolves around Him including me. Not the other way around.
My prayer is that Jesus would be the Center ( not that He isn't already), That He will be my Hope, my song, My fire in my heart, the reason I live, my friend,  my guide,  my Source, and my life.

He is the Center after all, I just need to remember that and not think that everything is about me. So, when something happens, I want so much to desire to ask (God, what is my role in this, or what do you want me to do?) instead of why me?, why is this happening  (I am not promising that I will not ask those questions) but it is my desire.