The Simple Life

Love…A Superpower


Many times when we see or read the word LOVE we think of that one person we want to spend our lives with.

We think of romantic love, the kind that ends in life long home building. We think of physical attraction and sex.

I learnt the hard way that is a very limited view.

Love is acceptance, choices, work, correction, connection, compassion, discipline, forgiveness, hope, truth, conversation, joy, strength, belief and so much more, is STABILISING.

Love is friendship, built over time, tested in the fire, peppered with pain and healing, painted in bold and brilliant colours, supported by soft tones and rich depth, is DETERMINED.

Love challenges the status quo, grows deep stable roots, builds strong foundations and walls, never stops growing, is FOUNDATIONAL.

Love speaks to the Spirit, links hearts in silence, creates understanding, joins hearts and minds, holds hope close, hears the cry of the heart, sees the hidden tears, understands without spoken words, is ILLIMITABLE.

Love transforms strangers to acquaintances, acquaintances to friends, friends to family, family to confidants and pillars, is A PROCESS.

Love recognises when things are not working, seeks out conversation, works to improve and correct, is devoted to true healing and reconciliation, is UNRELENTING

Love changes us irreversibly, strengthens, fuels our hopes, drives our dreams, lights the path, inspires, instigates, enables, GROWS DAILY.

Love is LIFE…

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And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:13 NKJV

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

The Simple Life

Seeking Strong Foundations & Quality Builders


I am thinking about our commitment to specific fellowships, churches, communities etc. yes, it is important to be part of them but who is our allegiance to? I have always had a challenge when people fight over how one congregation does something that is different from them, yet it is a matter of no major consequence.

Growing up, I was raised in a hip urban church that had the hottest youth program and best music. We had the latest gospel musicians in our midst, and we were used to choreography in our concerts and all sorts on instruments. One day, we accompanied my grandparents to their Sunday service, and I had the shock of my life. The only instruments were the Afrikan drum, tambourine, and vocals. The choir wore long robes and only swayed a little as they sang and none clapped or danced as I was used to. My young mind rejected this experience as too backward for me and I dismissed that who denomination because of that. how could they say they were serving God and be so rigid? I totally judged them.

Fast forward ten years and the tables turned. I was part of a different urban church that was affiliated with a local denomination and now we were judged to be too liberal. We had a full band, concerts galore, Friday night fellowship, loud music, and no Kiswahili service. We really had a blast, yet some of the other congregations regarded us as too edgy and lost.

The truth is; it is two different expressions of the same Father based on our world view.

What strikes me as interesting today, is the reality that we align with doctrines, denominations, specific congregations and judge those who are different from us. It happened in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and is till happening today. We call each other ‘out’ for doing things that are inconsequential to the realities of our faith. I have heard some call calmer more sedate congregations backward of other call the more vibrant and engaged congregations lost. Why do we judge each other so? We judge wat we do not understand and call it heathen.

The other thing that bothers me is how we follow individuals. I was thinking about how some independent congregations have died when the lead minister dies or have fallen apart when a key leader loses their way, has a crisis of faith, or something significant changes. We are anchored around the key people so when they go down, we go down.

Many are also anchored around the teaching that when you walk with God life is great, easy, flowing etc. which isn’t all true so when trouble finds them, their faith fails completely. Why is this?

Hebrews 12: 18-24 speaks clearly to me…

18 For you have not come [g]to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and [h]darkness and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. 20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned [i]or shot with an arrow.” 21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the [j]general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Salvation has never been about preachers, pastors, easy lives, only good rather it is all about the transformative power of God to change us as individuals to such a degree that men will be drawn by our walk to this God…the Judge and Christ the mediator. It was never about who was better that the other or who has the hotter program or raises the most money to build the biggest, most up to date meeting venue. It is not about who drives the latest car, lives in the plushest neighbourhood, has the largest church or raises the largest offering.

Rather it is about whose lives were so radically transformed that we cannot dispute the work of God in them.

Do not wait for me at the door of a particular congregation because I go where my Father says even if it is just to sit alone with Him or with one other of His children. I am so tired of the expectation that I am aligned to only one congregation or group of people. My devotion is my Father who by His grace and mercy daily restores me to Himself and forgives me of my madness. My devotion is to He who can destroy both my body and spirit. My devotion is to Him who chose to lay His life for me that I may have the ability to represent Him fully here and then live with Him in eternity.

Look for me where people are honest, are seeking him, speak the truth no matter how hard, are growing and challenging patterns that do not make room for God. Look for me in places that challenge the status quo, have the difficult conversations, keep walking in the valley of the shadow of death, hold tighter to God when things seem hard and hold even tighter when things improve.

I am seeking a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. I am seeking to live out the reality of His kingdom come, His will be done on earth at it is heaven. I am seeking to be a full expression of brokenness and loss, translated into grace and strength for heaven.

How about you?

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The Simple Life

Insight Where Are You


I pray for insight

I pray that God hears my prayers

Give me a receptive heart

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I pray for insight

I pray that God hears my prayers

Give me a receptive mind

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Open my eyes to see

Open my ears to hear

Open my mind to understand

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Open my heart to connect

Open my spirit to Your word

Open the eyes of my understanding

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Let it be that I hear clearly

let it be that I feel correctly

let it be that I see accurately

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Teach me to discern

Teach me to perceive

Teach me to comprehend

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Teach me to apprehend

Teach me to recognise

Teach me to be wise

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Teach me not to discriminate

Teach me not to judge

Teach me not to despise

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Teach me imagination

Teach me enlightenment

Teach me sharpness

~==========~

Father and son holding a toy, family connection, teaching the next generation
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The Simple Life

Raise Your Voice.


I was always told that a lady speaks a certain way. How? Gentle, sedate, calm. She also laughs softly even shyly, walks at a steady pace, gently raises the skirt of her ankle length dress as she walks. Grace and gentleness were the key to being a great wife. Ha!!! I could only do some of those things not all. I could walk gracefully, gently lifting the gomez just right not to display my ankles, however, my laugh came from the depth of my belly and smile was 200 watts and showed all my teeth…sha!!!

There were also other things I did that weren’t ladylike. One day we had visited family in Uganda, and I was in the kitchen whistling away as I did the dishes. Auntie walked in perplexed. She walked around a bit clearly looking for something but I didn’t know what, so I asked,

Are you looking for something Auntie?

Yes.

How can I help you find it?

Who is whistling?

I smiled sheepishly but didn’t answer.

It is you?

I nodded yes.

Ah! Good girls don’t whistle. You need to stop that.

My eyes went wide in shock?

What? Why? I was so used to whistling and it had a calming effect on me so why was so bad about it? Well, apparently, it was taboo in our culture. You can imagine my confusion as the partly Kenyan girl who was so used to hanging with the boys that she had picked some of these habits and loved them. it was such a struggle to remember not to whistle when the older women were around coupled with the looks of shock when around some of the younger ones who could not understand how I could whistle.

How come I had never heard about it? Who made these rules that allowed the boys to have all the fun? Why was the life of a girl so full of rules and regulations yet the guys seemed to go around scot free? All these questions ran through my mind but I realised it wasn’t the time. I had to keep quiet for now and maybe ask the question later.

I wouldn’t dare challenge the status quo immediately but the seed was planted.

My eyes were open, my mind was alert to all the times I was asked to silence something that was part of me or change to suit social expectations. There were so many things that weren’t acceptable including my close relationships with my boys. I had always hang out with guys because of my brother. I was closer to guys and couldn’t stand girls. Many people frowned on my behaviour but as always, I followed my heart because I didn’t want to be part of a system that would tie me down.

As I look back, I have always challenged the status quo. I have always asked hard questions to the toughest people and never stopped. It got me into trouble with some people because I didn’t and still don’t live by everyone’s rules. I ask so many questions and refuse to move unless I understand the call, the path and the end game. God is gracious enough to have taught me to trust His ways and over time we have talked about the end game over and over until I know He is indeed out for my good.

When I say trust God; I know what it means to wait on His word even in trying times.

We must all be clear about who we are in Him, what our assignment is and how it will be done (even if all you know ist he next step) and keep to that path no matter what. No amount of earthly recognition can ever take the place of hearing Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” You can be assured that only gets said when it is true so if you are going in a direction contrary to His word over your life, it doesn’t matter how good your walk is or how many lives you touch, the assignment will be unfinished and He will just look at you as you go your own way.

God calls us but He no longer forces us to go one way or the other. He sends prompts, signs, nudges, clear signs to shift directions but we have the choice to go in His direction or head in our own direction. It is a choice;

  • A choice to FOLLOW Him closely;
  • A choice to LISTEN;
  • A choice to OBEY;
  • A choice so PRESS IN;
  • A choice to hold on in FAITH;
  • A choice to BELIEVE;
  • A choice to WALK;
  • A choice to GROW no matter what.

Raise your voice and make your choice made known.

Shalom

The Simple Life

Let Me Be Clear


Let me be clear:

I want only all of you

I like you in your truth

I appreciate your desire to grow

I adore every part of you

I will work to ensure you are whole

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Let me be clear:

I see the truth of your heart

I see the light in your eyes

I see the gentleness in your spirit

I see the glory of your complexion

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Let me be clear:

I see the beauty of your shape

I see the delicate curve of your spine

I see the gentle dip of your waist

I see the subtle sway of your hips

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Let me be clear:

I saw you long before you saw me

I marked you for connection then

I followed you for a while

I knew you would be mine

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Let me be clear:

I will not walk away

I will not lose heart

I will not delay my move

I will not give up on you

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The Simple Life

These children of Rachel:


The sons of Jacob hated their brother Joseph and they planned to kill him but they opted to sell him. Fast forward to the day they sat in front of Joseph even if they didn’t know him when they met him. He was do different.

I can imagine the sons of Jacob rolling their eyes inwardly watching Benjamin in Egypt.

You see, they had systematically hated their half brother Joseph the son of Racheal. He was their father’s favourite, the snitch of the group and the one dreaming of being the leader. He was definitely smoking something free because as the second youngest and definitely not the born leader in the family.

They sell him off and tell the old man that he must have been killed by a wild animal. The old man’s heart breaks with grief and he holds tightly onto the last born. Benjie now cannot leave camp or be out of his line of sight. The older boys all have children and begin to understand what they did to their father and it settles that they were not fair.

The time comes when they need to go back to Egypt to get more food and they cannot go without Benjie which breaks their father’s heart but alas…can you imagine being in the presence of a foreign king and seated in order of your age. Then you look down the table and little Benjie has five times the food they have on their plates. Can you see it now? I can imagine one or two of them saying, ‘These children of Racheal!’

Can you imagine how their hearts beat?

Who are the “children of Racheal” in your life? Those people who always seem to attract favour and goodness. Those people who life seems to make easy and take care of. Could it be that they are more than just lucky? Could it be that someone higher was orchestrating things that are beyond our understanding? Could it be that they are just in their zone and their provision is at work?

As I was thinking about the “children of Rachel” I realised that they are people who have entered their place in God and are willing to remain focused even in the hardest times. They are people in position for their provision to arrive. They are those who know who they are in God. In that case…

Do you know any “children of Rachel”?

How do you know them? They see more, hear more, know more. They have provision, they seem favoured. They work on things and succeed. Doors open for them and even in the hardest of times they thrive. They face adversity but overcome each time. They meet roadblocks and find ways through them. They never lack in any way and thrive wherever you plan them.

They know who their God is and follow Him diligently. They are committed to His plan, path, desires and follow relentlessly. They are unshaken by the adversity they find in their way. They are faithful, hopeful, joyful, and graceful even in the most challenging times. Nothing and no one stops them because they know their God and they do exploits for His names sake.

I am a child of Rachel.

I am growing deeper in Him. I have provision, I have wisdom, I have knowledge beyond my years. It is clear to me that even in hard times there are pathways that open and allow me to remain on the path. It isn’t always easy but room is always made for me.

Every day I step deeper into His arms and every day I understand more. Join me on the journey to be His Children.

African mother a child, happy afrikan woman, afrikan child, smile, colourful
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The Simple Life

Desperate to see


It feels like I am in the dark

Like the sun never rises

Like the rain always falls

Like very little changes

Like the weight never lifts

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It feels like I am in the rain

Like the drizzle has turned to a thunderstorm

Like it has shifted to hail

Like the wind is blowing the roof off

Like the weight never lifts

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It feels like I am all along

Like no can see me

Like no one hears my cries

Like I am in a dark dungeon alone

Like the weight never lifts

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It feels like the walk is too long

Like we are walking up an hill

Like there are no breaks an stops

Like my feet are numb from walking

Life the weight never lifts

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How do I move from here?

How do I make headway?

Where do I get the strength?

Who do I turn to for help?

What do I hold onto?

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Oh to know the way forward

To have a path to follow

To have a plan to execute

To have a place to call home

To have a people call my team

What do I hold onto?

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The Simple Life

Be Truly You…No Hoops


You do not have to jump through hoops to be loved or accepted…that my friends is the truth.

It is common today to say,

  • If he loves me, he will prove it by….
  • If she loves you, she will…
  • If they are part of this life, they should….

The list is as endless as the wind is invisible.

I have grappled for a long time with how I expected people who loved me to behave. I expected constant communication, deep conversation, time spent together, warm hugs, hangouts, etc… but alas. Less than one percent of the people around me could fully deliver on that expectation and I was devastated for a long time.

The thing that devastated me the most, was how clueless many were about what it takes to keep relationships alive. Many seemed to think that as long as we call ourselves friends and hang in the same circles that all was well. They assumed that going to school together or having mutual friends was enough to say we were close. Not a chance in my books!! Why? Simple! It takes work to really get to know and support people.  It takes trust to walk together. It takes hope, faith, and love to stay the full course, and therein lies the challenge.

Often, I found myself having to change who I am to suit the conversations around me or remain friends. I found myself dumbing down my responses so I would not hurt people. I found myself measuring my words and walking on eggshells or having to defend myself over things that do not need it. There was so much pressure to be a certain way that belied who I actually am that did not sit well with me. It made me ask myself,

Why isn’t who I am enough?

The biggest challenge I have saw is how we must jump through hoops to fit in. How certain kinds of behaviour was ascribed to denote a cultured person and impacted acceptance, yet I am the most randomly different person many have met. I remember stares when I walked into spaces a little dusty because I used public transport and had to walk the last kilometre. I remember stares from guards when I get off a motorbike outside a prime location and walk in, I think they preferred cab drop-offs. I have looked up and found people staring at me because I comfortably sit on the floor in public spaces, take the most random photos of plants and things in mid stride or even smile at people I catch watching me.

I remember stares, whispers, and chuckles when I walked across a 5-star hotel lobby, barefoot because my feet were too swollen to fit into my shoes from long hours standing at an event setup. I remember sniggers when I declined to attend a dinner with friends because the cost way high and another time when a friend declined to have more than a drink at a night out because her pocket was light. I remember shudders of disbelief when I said I would not be part of a project because it did not resonate with me.

Is there another way?

Over time, I realise that my path has to be true to who I am so I must be comfortable walking to or away depending on how things resonate. I am learning to speak my truth however unpopular because I will no longer knowingly put myself into situations that will destroy me. Do not get me wrong. I still take on challenges, I still work to climb and overcome the mountain. I still walk on paths unknown and chart ways in unexplored places. I just do not do it for the praise of people or on the pushing of those who do not understand my path and calling.

I no longer jump through hoops to be loved and accepted. If who I am, warts and all, is not enough for you, so be it; our paths will diverge. If the relationship or friendship is not building us up, we do not need to walk together. If my presence in your life does not help both of us grow, our time together is up. I will call you out if our walk needs to align and listen when you call me out to recalibrate, yet I will always remain true to who God has told me I am, no matter how many people walk away.

I will stand and defend what I know is my assignment and pray for the rest from afar. No more hoops…just walking, trusting, believing, connecting, relating, and growing.

Shalom

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The Simple Life

Imbalance


Always strong now weak

Always stable now broken

Always smiling now sad

Always bubbly now silent

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Always clear now confused

Always a pillar now a stump

Always on point now off track

Always

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The imbalance is too much

It is hard to keep up

This weakness is hard to deal with

It is too messy for us

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Who will reach out?

Who will understand?

Who will connect?

Who will stand alongside?

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Why are you so imbalanced?

Why are you so out of whack?

Why are you so off track?

Why are you so lost?

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Why are you so fearful?

Why are you so broken?

Why are you so different?

Why are you so shakeable?

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Where is your faith?

Where is your hope?

Where is your strength?

Where is your power?

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Where is your ready plan?

Where is your balance?

Where is your strength?

Where is your God?

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The Simple Life

Authentic Conversations


How many conversations can you have a day?

I thought it would be few, but the last few weeks have really taught me that I can handle more than I ever thought especially when they are about things, I am passionate about. Recently I spent six hours in conversation between meetings and phone calls and in person conversations. It got me thinking of how important what we say is.

Every conversation was distinct but had a common thread. Each one was as unique as the individual on the other end but there was a common thread. The one thing they all had was the push to become better, learn more and move forward. It was so interesting.

Conversations are life…big life.

The conversations brought insight into situations that at the start looked dreary. They drew the curtains back on the real reasons behind the way things are and allowed us to see the truth previously hidden. There is something about open curtains and the ability to see again. It gives clarity and hope when you know what you are working with.

One thing that really caught my attention was that when the curtains were open the thing on the other side of the curtain was dirty windows. Our view is hindered when the window is dirty. Our view is obscured so we cannot see the beauty or the challenges on the other side. It gives us a false sense of safety because we cannot see it but trouble could easily sneak up on us.

Conversations are all about quality not quantity.

Quality conversations are about depth and honesty, truth, and reliability. They bring people together and help us understand our foundations, what drives us and where we are going. It is all about learning new things about each other and understanding that we are all growing so we can give each other room and support to do so.  

As I think of conversations, I remember many conversations that we could not have as we grew up. There were so many topics that were not kosher because the adults around us were not willing to indulge and our young mouths would ask all the same, only to be shut down. That is why conversations are so important to me.

So, I am wondering how more of us can learn to have more authentic conversations. Do you have any ideas you would like to share?

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