Month: September 2018

I’m on a little journey with God over the past few months on forgiveness and so I felt it might be good to share some thoughts on this topic. I must admit this has not been an easy journey, but it certainly has been a good one.

The pain caused by someone who has hurt us is debilitating. It robs us of our joy. We live in a place of resentment, sadness and bitterness. We hold onto the anger and allow it to bring forth unhealthy thought patterns. Everytime we see that persons name, we cringe, whenever we remember how they have wronged us, it hurts. If we hear a song, go to a place that holds memories of that person, it hurts. I’ve had some trauma in my life too which left me with post trauma and anxiety. It robs you from so much enjoyment in life.

Holding onto so many grudges caused me such pain and bitterness. In turn, I even steered clear from people who associated or reminded me of these people who hurt me. I guess I felt like I couldn’t trust them either, so I rather chose to avoid them in order to protect myself. The truth is, I wasn’t protecting myself I was only creating more bitterness in my heart. I was only making the list of people and places to avoid longer and it became a vicious circle that was just too overwhelming to stay in the middle of.

This year God has brought me to a place of removing the bitterness in my heart in order to make space for the things He has for me.

I learnt that the bitterness I have been holding onto is suffocating the room God needs in my heart. I learnt that there is freedom in letting go. When we can come to a place of forgiveness, we find freedom from holding onto that hurt and anger. When we choose forgiveness, we find freedom from that.

I’ve learnt three things about forgiveness:

The first is that its not always about them but more about you. It’s not about agreeing with what that person has done to you or accepting that what they have done is ok either. It’s about saying: “I forgive you”, choosing to let go of the hurt and pain it caused you and moving forward into freedom from it. Why hold onto all that pain and bitterness when all it causes you is MORE pain and bitterness? At the end of the day you are torturing yourself, doing this doesn’t make you feel any better about the situation. Holding onto unforgiveness is a sin and it torments you. Choose to let go.

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

The second thing i learnt about forgiveness is a bit more of a tough one to swallow and I pray you will open your heart to accepting it. Whether tough or not, IT’S TRUTH. Jesus died for all of our sins, everyone, the sins of the whole world. He died for the liars, the thieves, the rapists and even the murderers too. He died for that best friend that betrayed you, He died for that guy who cheated on you, He died for that imperfect parent who hurt you. He died for everyone, to save us from our sins. Who are we not to forgive those that Christ chose to forgive and sacrifice His life for? This does not mean that it makes their actions ok, it also does not mean that it frees them from the consequences of their sin either, but it does free you from your own sin in this area. You see when we hold onto grudges, we fall into sin ourselves, when we don’t obey God’s greatest commandment to love one another as He has loved us – we are sinning. Choose to forgive and let go.

Colossians 3:13
“bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Forgiving someone does not necessarily mean we now need to become “besties”, but we can choose to see them through God’s eyes and ask God to reveal that to us. We can, however, love them from a distance while guarding our hearts.

The third and most difficult thing I learnt is how important it is to forgive yourself. I am not perfect, in fact far from it. I have made many mistakes in my life and I have struggled to free myself from the guilt and shame. What we don’t realise when we hold onto guilt and shame is that we are actually holding a grudge against ourselves. We repent and ask God for forgiveness but then we don’t give ourselves the same grace that God has given us. This would seem like quite an insult to God for us not to love ourselves, when He created us in His image. God uses our mistakes and turns them into a great lesson, it’s through our mistakes that we learn the power of what Jesus has done on the cross for us and the depth of His love for us, by the grace and mercy shown to us by Him.

Mark 12:31 The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made and before we were even born, He knew all the ways that we would mess up. He also knew exactly how He would help us come back from those mistakes and turn the learning experience into something good to build His Kingdom. God forgave us, we should forgive ourselves and show ourselves the same grace He has shown us.

Forgiveness is a choice, it starts with choosing to live in forgiveness and choosing it everyday. When you choose to live in forgiveness, you are choosing freedom. Freedom from the bondage this hurt and pain or guilt and shame has held us captive in. I’ve started practicing this choice as and when incidences happen and I must say the freedom from new pain and bitterness entering my life is such a release. Old experiences will take some layers to peel off as and when God reveals this to me but just so glad I am on this journey and feeling the healing daily. It’s not always easy, but as the saying goes:- practice makes perfect. It’s a process of choosing to constantly change your mindset and choosing to love the way He loves, but it’s easier as you get deeper into having an attitude of forgiveness, grace and love.

Ephesians 4:32
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Choose to let go!

The topic of conversations with some of my friends lately have been around how important it is to be real! We tend to get so caught up with impressing people or social media, trying to fit in and at the end of the day we lose ourselves.

God decided the world needed YOU in it, so be you, without fear!

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” Colossians 3:23

There’s no place or person I’d rather be right now than where and who I am right now! The things I am learning through various experiences are laid out on a map for me by God, to take me to the places and people He is leading me to! The deeper I go with God this year the more excited I get as I see myself unfold into who He has called me to be! That is not something that can be rushed along or wished further ahead, everything happening where I am right now is moulding and shaping me!

Everything both positive and negative in our lives God can use for His greater good, even the mistakes we make. We learn through every experience in our lives and we can’t be disqualified for being imperfect. He knows we are not perfect and will make mistakes but we have been made alive again through Christ and He loves us anyway! He created us in His image, He perfectly knit us together in our mothers womb, we are fearfully and wonderfully made! He has a perfect plan for our lives and every experience in our lives will equip us for that plan.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” Ephesians 2:4-5

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

If we think of every person on earth as puzzle pieces of a big puzzle. Each person / puzzle piece has a unique purpose to fit into the picture that the puzzle will create at the end result. If you decided to be someone else’s puzzle piece – there would be a piece missing in the big puzzle and the puzzle would be incomplete, there would be a hole in the picture. You have been created for a specific purpose in God’s plan.

Stand firm in the knowledge that God created you – to be you!

When we’re going through the storms of life we tend to complain alot and overlook the many things we have to be grateful for.

Over the past two years I have been on a self reflecting, healing journey with God. It have had many tough realisations, moments that broke me gracefully into realising I needed to change!

One of those moments was that I have spent all my time complaining and stressing over things that really aren’t that bad. I complained about everything, literally everything. I spent most of my time fretting over what I don’t have, comparing my life to others. I would scroll through Facebook or Instagram looking at other people’s lifestyles, seeing all the dinners, weekends away, fun happy moments. At one point I even thought about taking myself off social media because it was just too difficult to see, given what we were going through.

While everyone else was gaining things in their lives and building memories, we were losing things and becoming bitter about it. I felt so depressed, I didn’t even want to get out bed but I had to force myself some days to put on that prideful happy face to make sure others didn’t realise we weren’t ok.

There are two things that brought major breakthrough for me in this area of my life:

Breakthrough One:

At church in the past few months, we have been busy with a series called “Milk and Honey”. One of my breakthrough moments came through this series, when the Pastor said to us: “The Promised Land is not a place it’s a person..you can be in the promised land in your one bedroom apartment, in your double story house or in your mansion”. This is so true! I realised in that moment that what I was chasing after shouldn’t be a better lifestyle – but rather living life God’s way, seeking to better myself His way. My happiness did not need to depend on whether we had things or not, where we lived or fancy dinners or weekends away. I have met people along my journey who have much less than I do, but yet they are so happy and content, on fire for God and when you walk into their space you can really feel the presence of God there! They didn’t live their lives worrying about what they didn’t have but they were grateful for every small thing they received that would make their lives just that little bit better. It was about where they were at in their relationship with God, how much of their lives they had surrendered to Him and how grateful they were for what He had already given them.

Breakthrough Two:

I am partnered with a really great company, who gives us mentors in building our own online business. Part of the mentorship programme is mindset, alot of the advice and training I apply biblically. Another part of the mentorship programme is daily accountability and they encourage us to mention 5 things daily that we are grateful for. This was a challenge for me, as I didn’t feel grateful about anything in my life besides God. I felt like such a failure and everyday felt like a failure. I did this task anyway, so I searched high and low throughout each day looking back to find things to be grateful for no matter how big or small they were or insignificant they seemed.

One day, I couldn’t find anything significant that had happened in my day. I must admit I freaked out a little bit, how was I going to post my accountability with no gratitude! So I had to think how is my life different to others on this given day. I realised – it’s so cold and it’s raining. I may not have a big fancy home with beautiful furniture in it, but I sure do have a warm bed to sleep in and I’m sheltered from the rain. I sure did have a meal to fill my tummy, in fact I had 2 that day. I sure did have a warm cup of coffee to warm me up! I sure do have children, a husband and family. I sure am on a journey with God! Suddenly I felt happier about my day because I did have so much to be grateful for and having those things felt like more to be grateful for than any other success that could happen in a day. This is my life everyday – I have more than what some others have.

It made me sad to remember all of those who have so much less. There are some who have no shelter, who sleep on wet pavements in the rain, with a wet blanket and wet clothes. There are some who don’t have access to the kind of warmth we do on these cold days. There are some who cannot have children, some who are longing for a husband, some who have lost their families.

It all got me thinking, even those that have more, some of those I might be following on social media might not be happy with what they have either. When we seek after a certain lifestyle I guess nothing is enough.

The world always has something new to offer. We have a great phone, but then a new one comes out and we need that. We have a great car but then a new one comes out and we need that. Nothing we have just becomes enough. It’s never enough, there’s always something we going to wish we had.

I’ve learnt to become grateful for what I have even though it’s not a lot. I’ve learnt to stop seeking after what everyone else has that I don’t have. I have enough, I have my personal growth journey, the love of God, a family, a roof over my head, food, clothing and warmth. That’s enough! Anything that comes after that is a blessing stemmed from gratitude for what I do have.

We should live our lives with an attitude of gratitude, being grateful for our jobs, salaries, homes, people in our lives. We all have so much to be grateful for. Every one of us is more privileged than someone else we may or may not know. Blessing does not only come in the form of wealth, it can come in such small little things that we tend to overlook.

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18

I would encourage anyone to do this daily exercise of listing 5 things you are grateful for every night before you go to sleep, and taking the time to thank God for those blessings! Doing this daily has taken me from a place of being bitter about my life to finding happiness and being content with my life and where it’s going. God deserves all the glory, thanks and praise!

“Enter his gates with Thanksgiving, enter His courts with praise, give thanks to Him and praise His name” – Psalm 100:4

We all want to fit in, but why not stand out?

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart” Jeremiah 1:5

Throughout my life I struggled to find a place to really fit in. At school, I had a difficult time fitting in. I wasn’t really great at anything except poetry. My grades were average, I wasn’t super talented. I was a middle class girl in an upper class school. If I look back now on all the activities I tried, I realise the reason I didn’t finish well was because I felt out of place. I didn’t really keep friends long. I tried hard to make friends but eventually because of my own insecurities and everything else I was dealing with, i rather made enemies at school. I became a rebel, whatever rule there was to be broken I would break it. I was teased alot at school, i was also the one teasing and being mean to others. My mom took us to church every Sunday and youth on a Friday night, these were my greatest memories of my childhood. If I look back now, I see a broken, out of control young girl that others struggled to watch make ongoing mistakes. Due to traumas I had no sense of self worth, I hated myself and it reflected into all my relationships at school. At 17, I fell pregnant in the middle of Std 9. Now I had a new struggle, fitting into motherhood at such a young age. I didn’t fit in and I rejected my daughter.

The workplace wasn’t much better. I am an extremely hard worker, a very driven person. I was also a very broken person looking for a sense of belonging, somewhere to fit in. I didn’t really fit in anywhere even in the workplace. The place where I felt I fit in the most were the dark places of substance abuse and love in all the wrong places. I actually believed my life was doomed for disaster and I became ok with it. I went through more traumatic experiences in my adult years and fell deeper into making bad choices.

My brother, planted seeds in my life, seeds that maybe I was worth more. He took me to church, I loved it there and so I kept going. I found God and tried to live my life for Him. I made friends, but I had so many issues and insecurities I think it was just so difficult for anyone to relate to me. My friendships were like roller coasters. I was living with so much guilt and shame, and all of these feelings were starting to surface. Ì don’t think at that point I was ready to deal with them and so I chose to self destruct and ended up back in the partying scene.

I fell pregnant again at age 21, I tried a second chance at fitting into motherhood but again I was just so broken. I hated myself even more at this point in my life and I ran away from it all, even God, leaving my daughter and son behind.

In my family, I even felt like the “black sheep”, not because they made me feel that way but because I had so much hatred towards myself. In my adult years I even found another family to call my family instead. The truth is my own family just had a few imperfections and I needed someone to blame so I blamed them. My parents picked up all the pieces I dropped, although imperfect, they were always there for me and my children. It must of been difficult for them to watch me self destruct the way I did.

I met my husband 8 years ago, I felt I didn’t even fit into this but I realised I wanted a change in my life and the way I felt about myself. I wanted to find a place where I belonged. This is the point where all the major self reflecting started. I had a man in my life who loved me unconditionally, through all my brokenness and strange ways. Suddenly I found God again and started growing – slowly self reflecting and ending one bad habit after the next. As I grew closer to God, I started believing more and more of my worth. I started recognising things within myself layer by layer that needed healing, fixing, removing.

The journey of becoming more and more who I was always meant to be, happens by self reflecting, with God. Surrendering these spaces to God and allowing Him to bring Healing and restoration, where it was never possible before. I am still picking up the pieces of my life of struggling to fit in and I am still on that healing journey! While I pick up the pieces, I have learnt that striving for fitting in / gathering material things is not what I need. What I have needed was wholeness in Christ. I am thankful for courage (not out of my own strength, but Christ) to share my story in hopes that others might be encouraged and strive for finding their identity in Christ.

As I get further on my Healing journey I realise I was called to stand out and not fit in. I am very aware that so many people have followed my life journey, and many feelings have come over them, sadness, anger, hurt, disappointment, worry, confusion, judgement etc. It is comforting to know that people who are following me have enjoyed watching my growth process, my Healing journey and have found some inspiration through it.

I am not perfect though, I am also human. Some days on this journey are more difficult than others. It takes constant training your mind, self reflecting and surrender to God to keep your feet firm on the ground where Jesus walked, reminding yourself of what He has to say about you. What I’ve noticed is that the road gets that little bit easier as you go along it and keep on that path. When I mess up now I don’t beat myself up about it anymore, I remember whose I am, that His grace is sufficient for me and then I learn from the experience and allow God to move in it.

You will notice there were 3 key people in planting the seeds of my true Identity – my mom, my brother and my husband. The past two years have been the most accelerated growth years of my life. I may have at times gone astray but the seeds they planted turned into roots. For most of my life I allowed the wrong seeds to grow, I gave them water and food. I’ve realised we need to chose our seeds, water and feed the right seeds and allow them to turn into roots and flourish from there.

Daily I make a choice to believe that I am who God says I am. Daily I make a choice to renew my mind. Daily I choose to find my identity in Christ and not be defined by my past, present or future mistakes. God called me for meaningful conversations with Him and others about Him! I am grateful for my journey through life, traumas, heartaches, mistakes, I am grateful for it all. I have been through everything I have, so that I can tell my story. God has turned all of this into a work for His glory and I look forward to seeing this unfold. It’s been an equipping process for my true purpose. I’ve found where I belong!

We have a choice in this life here on earth, we can choose to lose ourselves by trying to fit in where we dont belong or find ourselves by standing out where we do belong! What’s your choice?