THE CHRISTIAN WALK

Walking Through The Fire


Diane…Diane…please wait…Diane….

Sue followed Diane out of the restaurant into the parking. Diane was very close to tears but she stopped and turned to face Sue.

Wait? For what? So that you could insult me again? So that you could tell me how I need to focus and do better?

2013-04-20 16.28.32No!

Then what do you want?

I want to apologise…

For what?

For jumping to conclusions?

About what?

That you were not doing enough to make things work out for your family.

Really?

Yes! As you walked away it struck me that I didn’t really understand what you are going through.

Of course you didn’t understand. You have never been where we are and wouldn’t know how to relate my realities.

I’m sorry.

Why?

I never realised that people in my circle go through hardships. I always thought that those who lacked were lazy and could do better if they only tried.

I wish that was true. There are people who fall on hard times for unknown reasons and yes, maybe they could have planned better but many people find themselves in unexpected places.

What did that feel like? What would go through your mind?

It is terrifying and often robs you of your self-esteem. Just think about it, you went to good schools and did well; you worked hard on everything you touched; you gave and helped others; you supported people around you then one day your whole life comes crashing down. Your children are sent home from school and stay home because of unpaid school fees; your kitchen cupboards and fridge are empty; you bank account is empty; you have no cards to max and you have asked for all the help you can get, yet you still need so much more.

Wow….how does one make it out of there?

2013-04-14 18.07.50God! Only God! Even though He doesn’t make sense at this point, the reality is that unless He comes through for you, nothing will work or be resolved for all time.

Is it easy to hold onto the faith in God?

Initially, it isn’t.

Why?

How we were raised!

What do you mean?

We were raised believing that God is the provider of the good things and the devil interferes with bad things and hard times. So you can imagine that when the hard times hit, my first thought was that there had to be something I had done that deserved this punishment. So I checked my life and pleaded with God to show me the thing or things I needed to repent of and walk in His way. I pleaded with Him long and hard but nothing came to the surface. I spent long moments repenting for my ancestors, myself, my children and pleading the blood of Jesus but nothing came through. I begged; bargained, promised…thinking I could change His mind so He would open the doors for me to walk through…nothing happened. God left me there.

What? You mean God left you there?

Of course He did

Why?

I was looking in the wrong direction.

What do you mean?

There was something for me to learn and I was looking the other way. Let’s look through scripture. What did Abraham do to have to wait 100 years and endure the fights between Sarah and Haggai?

Nothing really!

Abraham was even situated in a well to do family living out his dream and then God ‘disrupts’ his life to tell him about a new country and many children…can you believe God’s guts? Then they get plunged into long days of travel, tents for homes, skirmishes with the neighbours, fights in the family and endless troubles and worried.

My!

What did Jeremiah, Isaiah, Hosea, Joseph, Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack, Abednego, Esther, Mordecai, Ruth, Naomi, the apostles, Paul…do to deserve the troubles they faced?

Nothing!

Finally, what did Jesus do to deserve death on the cross?

Nothing…that was just God’s plan.

2013-04-14 18.07.01So could it be that the place I find myself is simply part of God’s plan to get me to where He needs me to be and to be sure that I pay full attention to what He had to say?

Wow! It could be but why you when you had worked so hard to please Him?

I cannot answer that one, even if I tried.

Why involve your children, couldn’t He teach you the lesson in a less abrasive way?

I don’t know about that. What I know is that this period has helped my children grow and mature and I am grateful for that.

What do you mean?

On some my lowest days, my children remind me that we believe in God and He will come through and watch over us. Early on the older two would be aggravated and would act it out on me but the two little ones would take their bible story books and read or remind us using a bible story that God loves us. It isn’t all rosy and we don’t always get along but it is more common for us to discuss lessons learnt and how to enjoy what we have and not worry about what we don’t have.

How do you deal with it?

I have come to believe that God has a special plan for each of my children that requires each one to develop great resilience and He has chosen to train them for the future while they are in a safe environment.

What do you mean by safe environment?

Well, they are in my house. A place where we can talk things out, share our hopes and dreams, be angry yet safe, but most of all turn to Him at the end of the day and give thanks for whatever little we have.

Do we all get safe environments?

No! God decides where He will teach each of us and then works on it as He sees fit.

Isn’t that unfair?

No! It is according to how He designed each of us.

2013-04-14 18.07.36Will it get better?

Will what get better?

Things in your house…

I believe they will…at the appointed time

Eish…what does that mean?

That’s a topic for another day, I really need to run and pick my young ones.

Can we finish the conversation soon?

Absolutely…God bless you richly

And you too Diane…you too

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Dear God,

How can she be so hopeful with all the things going on around her? Is there something I don’t know? How can you ask so much of your child? Is it even fair? I always thought that people lack because they are lazy or have sinned, what is it about Diane that you have allowed her to go through so much? Why are you so difficult to understand? I’m more lost now than before I talked to Diane…send me an answer please. Please God, send me an answer. Amen

THE CHRISTIAN WALK

Life Under Fire


2013-04-20 12.36.23Hey Diane,

What’s going on Sue?

Oh, nothing much really. I was just checking on you

I’m good

I hear you got a new job.

Yup!

How is that going?

It’s challenging

Really?

Absolutely

I find that hard to believe?

What?

The fact that your work is challenging.

Why is that so hard to believe?

You have always done well for yourself and nothing seems to faze you so I guess you should be used to a good life

What do you mean I’ve always done well for myself?

You have always had good jobs and lived large?

Lived large?

Sure…look at how put together you are and your kids too.

You have no idea how my life has been

What do you mean that I have no idea how your life has been? It can’t have been hard. Just look at how you dress and how your children interact with people. It is full of airs and poise and not you want me to believe something else?

Things aren’t always as they seem.

What do you want me to believe?

We have had a period of lack and hardship probably like you could never imagine.

Hahaha…that just isn’t possible

Why do you say that?

You are always so together and smiling

I don’t have to sulk or pout to let everyone know things are hard

That’s just it, you never show that your life is hard?

It like I said, it doesn’t have to be on my face for me to be going through hardship

2013-04-20 12.38.27I don’t believe you…our struggles show on all our faces

Trust me…the reality doesn’t have to show on our faces

Why?

Because often the world around isn’t interested or doesn’t need to know what is going on

Isn’t that hypocritical to do that?

Not really

Why?

My life and the drama in it isn’t for public consumption. This is a private walk and relationship with my Father and there will be very hard times and experiences in my life that I never talk about.

Like what?

Have you or your family ever gone hungry?

Eh no! have you?

Very nearly. Has your fridge ever been empty?

Never! Why would it be?

Because you don’t have a means to get food.

Meaning you don’t have money?

There are other means to get food.

Like what, stealing, begging…what?

Working in exchange for food.

Really?

Sure. Another question for you. Do you know the sublime terror of watching the food in the house run out and know you cannot afford more? Has your child ever asked for something to eat and there is nothing?

Never!!! Why do I work? Why do I go out every day other than to give my children the very best?

What if you didn’t have a job or a source of income to support your family? What if you are stuck in a place you can’t get out of and the debt is climbing?

And why wouldn’t I have a job or a source of income? I’m a graduate and good at what I do so I will always have a job.

2013-04-20 12.35.08What if you got retrenched?

Retrenched?

Yes…downsized?

Why would that happen?

Don’t you know that organisations are doing this?

Of course but you must exit before the axe falls

What if it happens without notice?

As in you go to work today and come home without a job? What kind of company would you be working for that would do that without notice?

Remember where I worked?

Of course, it was one of the most stable firms around

Well did you know that they cut the work force to less than half and I was one of those asked to leave?

How? You were such a great worker and being primed for management.

Well, I was indeed axed unexpectedly and my only saving grace was that we got three month’s notice.

What? Please tell me you quit and didn’t serve the notice.

Now! How could I do that? I have children I need to provide for

Are you serious? You worked for three months knowing that you would be unemployed at the end of it?

Yes.

Why? Surely you could have left and started off somewhere else.

Where?

Why didn’t you find a job?

I tried and applied for every opportunity I saw or heard about and I didn’t make much progress so I kept working.

But that is a cop-out

What do you mean?

You settled to wait for your dismissal yet you could have done something about it.

Something like what? I’ve already said I looked, applied and followed up to no avail. I prayed and got all my friends at church praying. I had my family and friends looking for positions for me and passing all information they had to me…What else could I have done?

2013-04-20 12.36.39I believe that when you have done all you can, go an extra step.

What else could I have done?

You could have started a business

I have never been inclined that way so where would I start? What would I do? How would I grow it? I was stranded.

You could have called me.

Really? I tried but your number was no longer in service, your email was bouncing and your family wouldn’t give me your number. Let’s be real girl, there are things you aren’t telling me that were going on and you are using my period of challenge to make me feel bad about myself…that’s not right and I won’t sit here and be made to feel less than acceptable for that. If you have something to say come clean and get it off your chest or walk away but I won’t be treated like I haven’t done enough just because you think you have done so well.

Mmmmhhh…I don’t know what you mean.

In that case, let me not waste more of your time. It was great seeing you and have a great day.

Diane stood up and walked away leaving Sue seated at the table alone.

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Father, we agreed that I draw the line when people start to judge me for choices I have made in You. I know the way I walk is different from most but I had hoped you would protect me from having to slug it out with people. Clearly the game plan has changed. To be honest,  I want to throttle Sue right now but I know I can’t because she doesn’t understand where I am and where we are going together. How can I be a better example of You and Your love even as today I have responded with a hot head and walked away? It hurts Lord, but I need Your help to make things work to Your honour and glory. Help me Lord, because I know that You are all I need and You are the one who will make it all right. Help me too Father because I am clueless, angry and scared yet I thought we had covered and overcome these bases last time…help me because I don’t know what to do and I am in over my head. I know I can always trust you. It is all done in You.

****************

Diane…Diane…please wait…

 

THE CHRISTIAN WALK

Shaken Up & Reconnecting – 4


2013-04-14 18.07.36

Dear Father,

Please don’t be angry with me. I am sorry for doubting that You care. I am sorry for wondering if You had forgotten me. I am sorry that I said You are not reliable, and calling You a liar and a hoax. In all truth I was on a tangent waiting for You to respond to me like I wanted You to respond to me. I simply wanted the answers I wanted and not the answers You had in place for me. I am sorry for that.

I am humbled like the men of old that You would remember and choose me worthy to 2013-04-14 18.07.01receive Your goodness. I am reminded how Mordecai challenged Esther that maybe she was created for such a time as this but she had to take her rightful position and accept the mantle You were placing on her shoulder. You always say Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light but when I think of Esther I really wonder what it means to have a heavy burden. If Your burden is light then how come my life feels so heavy sometimes and I feel so weighed down? Have I missed something? Oh Lord I wonder what it would be like to have all the madness that You have shielded me from on my back and no one to support me in the process. Then there are days like today when I wonder if You couldn’t have taken all the drama out of my life and just provided for me without much ado.

Father, I am humbled and blessed that You choose to remind me of Your goodness and don’t strike me down as You did Dothan and his family when they sinned against You at Jericho. Maybe I haven’t stolen or disobeyed yet so You have no reason yet most likely I know that it is just You having mercy on me. I know we live in the days of grace and You are gentler with us yet sometimes I think the things I do warrant being struck down. Thank You for Your grace and deep love that shields me from total disaster.

I am beginning to understand that as long as I walk with You and I trust in You things will work out some way, somehow. I am also beginning to understand that I need to hear You clearly and know Your voice so that I don’t doubt what I am hearing and whether I am hearing clearly. I have also begun to understand that You speak in many ways and if I wait 2013-04-14 18.07.50for You to speak the same way every time, I will miss out on Your word and therefore miss out on my next direction.

You Lord, have cut me down to size often and You have challenged me to be different and I don’t always know what that looks like. You have made demands on my life that I have felt are unfair in the past but now I know You are challenging me to walk with You only. You have allowed the little I have to be lost that I may look to You and find You. You have allowed the joy I have to be challenged that I may find deeper peace in You. What am I that You would be mindful of me? Yet in Your mercy You keep reminding me that You haven’t forgotten me and You are all I need.

I am struggling Lord because of all the pain and uncertainty that has been in and around me. I have struggled Lord because the answers aren’t always as forthcoming as I would want them to be. I have nothing right now except Your word but there are times it seems inadequate for me to keep walking. It makes me feel like I cannot see or reach the mark set out for me…I’m struggling Papa…

Help me Father to hold onto Your word over me as the only truth to operate under. I choose this day to walk in You and hear Your voice and follow Your leading. In a limited way I am beginning to understand that when David said in Ps 23 “Yea though I walk 2013-04-14 18.07.57through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no ill for thy rod and staff they comfort me.” Surely, he didn’t mean that it was only the physical death. There is also the death of my desires, my hopes and dreams and Your rod and staff comfort me as I move forward to connect to Your desires, hopes and dreams for me.

Father, I chose You today, not because I understand where I am or where we are going; or because You have tangibly provided all I need for now but because You are God and Lord over everything. Surely I can trust the Creator of heaven and earth to keep His word. So I make the choice to hear Your word, accept it, believe it and stand on it as it is the only sure foundation I have now.

It is done

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What is the promise that God has spoken and confirmed to you about your life?

Are you standing solid and firm on the promises of God?

THE CHRISTIAN WALK

Shaken up – 3


safari walk 31.08.11 001Good morning!

Good morning, is this Diane?

Yes, it is.

My name is Daisy and I am calling from Betty Jean

Ok…how can I help you?

We got your name from Peter of Kibarani

Ok…

Do you have a moment to chat?

Sure. What can I assist with?

We are a freight company and are looking to expand into the region and we are looking for a team that can drive the process.

Ok…

I met Peter and he mentioned that you were exceptional in the last few months you worked for them even knowing that you didn’t have a job and he thought that if you weren’t already working elsewhere you could be a good fit for our team.

Really?

Yes…why do you sound so shocked?

Well, I didn’t think I did anything out of the ordinary at that point.

Why don’t you talk to him and hear what he thinks about your work.

I think I’ll do that.

I wonder if you would be open to meet tomorrow for a chat about the position we are offering you?

Sure! Can we meet at 11am?

Are you available earlier?

No, I have a meeting with my daughter’s class teacher that I cannot reschedule at 9am.

Alright, I will send you directions and we can meet at 11am tomorrow.

********************************************************

20150919_144116Hello,

Hi Diane, how are you?

Good…you?

I’m well.

How is the business?

I am no longer there?

What happened?

I figured it was time and left.

Oh! Ok!

What’s going on?

I just got a call from Daisy

I hope you are taking the job…

I don’t know yet, we are discussing the details tomorrow.

Good. I think that will be a great place for you to work.

Why did you recommend me?

Easy…you kept up your work ethic even when you knew that it would all end in a matter of days.

I didn’t realise you noticed. Everyone was so uptight and preoccupied it was all I could to keep my focus together.

I know.

And you were so hard on me when I made small mistakes I thought you really hated me.

Oh, I’m sorry. We were all dealing with a very hard situation and it was easier to snap at people than to show concern and compassion.

So my work wasn’t bad?

Nope!

Then why was I selected for retrenchment?

I really have no idea; the list came from HR when everything had been finalised.

You weren’t consulted?

None of the managers were or we would have kept most of those retrenched and sent the ones left home.

DSC09894Couldn’t have you fought for us?

We did and it wasn’t pleasant.

What happened?

I’m sorry that isn’t something I can discuss but suffice it to say, I left as a result of the fallout.

Were you ready to leave?

In terms of planning to…no, but God has been good and I have found things to do that are more fulfilling.

Did you just say God has been good?

Yes, I did.

Were you always a Christian?

Yes.

So how come we never knew?

It was easier to leave it that way than to have my thoughts and life plans questioned endlessly.

What do you mean?

Some of the accounts we worked with were against everything I believed in but I needed to feed my family and cater to my lifestyle so I just ignored those issues and ensured I avoided the accounts I didn’t like and kept my head down.

What changed?

When the retrenchment started I was secure that my position was being retained but God allowed it to become increasingly messy and uncomfortable for me so I had to make a choice of remain and die or leave and live the plan that God had put in my heart.

What gave you the courage to quit?

IMG_20130428_102434First, it was my wife. She told me that God didn’t send me to places to be ineffective so I had to either get with the program or get with the program.

Really?

Yup!

She must be tough

Oh, she is…

And the other thing that made you move?

I remembered how the three musketeers, James, Kimmy and you, worked diligently to the end and showed true charity and I realised that I had to live my life as authentically as I could or God would call me to account in a way I didn’t want to be called to account.

And how would that be?

He would pull the rug out from under my feet and hang me out to dry. I chose to go his way and it has worked out just fine.

I am glad.

I hope you are still living your life as outrageously as you did when you worked with us?

Well, I am now getting back to it.

What do you mean getting back to it?

I got angry with God after I left because I had decreed and declared, prayed and fasted and I was sure that God would turn my retrenchment letter into another position in the company or a larger company. When that didn’t happen, I took my dues and sat at home waiting for the letter but all my family did was gloat and remind me how this God I served had played me. He was silent for so long I had started to believe he had played me then Daisy called this morning.

IMG_20130428_102030Diane, God isn’t like man, He doesn’t work on man’s time plan so don’t expect him to show up when you want him to. He will show up at the right time and not a moment earlier or later and he will ensure that you needs are supplied. Trust him to do his thing and lead you in his way everlasting. Trust him to understand what you need in advance and provide it through the most incredible and sometimes unbelievable ways. Know who you are in him and hold onto that no matter what it looks like on the outside and he will lead you to victory.

Thanks…I’ll remember that

Now go and ace the interview tomorrow…that job is created just for you.

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Shaken Up – 2


Hey gal

Hi Jean

How is work?

What work?

Come on Diane…how is work?

IMG_20151209_063556I am not working. Remember we were being retrenched?

Of course I remember

So the day came and we left so I am not working.

Wow…it’s already three months since we last spoke?

More like five.

How were your final days at work?

Do you really want to go there?

Of course…would I ask if I didn’t want to know?

You never cease to amaze me. I said that God was in control and He wanted me to be His vessel there but all I ever faced was resistance. You just wanted to gloat right?

Gloat? About what? How can I gloat about something I didn’t even start in the first place?

Didn’t you petition God to give me trouble?

Why would I do that?

I don’t know…maybe you are like everyone else who just calls to remind me how I have fallen from favour.

I would never do that and you know it.

Do I?

In your heart of hearts you do but the pain of things right now is too much. I am sorry that I bothered you…have a nice day.

Jean….jean…

 

Silence…the gall of that girl…she actually hang up on me. What is wrong with her that she hang up on me? I really needed to talk to her and she just left me high and dry. She is just like everyone else who wants to gloat and remind me how I have fallen. What did I do to deserve this? Why did it have to be me? How come less qualified and productive people were retained? Don’t I have a father who says he will never fail me? Well right now I feel like my father has failed me and I don’t know how to deal with that.

IMG_20151207_093606Child, who would you rather was in this position? Why shouldn’t it be you going through this? Who told you that walking with me would mean that I spare you all the hardships? Do I stop hard times totally? Absolutely not!

If I know that a certain road will produce what I need for you to become the right kind of ambassador for me I will allow it to happen. Like Job, I will allow you to lose some things so that we clarify what is of greater importance for you. However like Job you have a choice to turn away from me or remain true to what you know about me. I am certain that I have your best interests at heart but I don’t do it like you would expect me to do it. I will do it my way and hope that you align and learn the needed lessons at the appointed time.

Suffice it to say that I have allowed you to go through this space for a reason that will be revealed in my time. You have a choice to make today to fully trust me or to do things your way. I will send people and give you thoughts that won’t always be the full picture but if you share what I lead you to share and act on the thoughts I need you to act on it will be well with you and your family. If you insist on doing it the way your family wants you to do it, things won’t go far and you will find that it would have been better to know you are in my will than in my wrath. At the end of the day, the choice is yours and you will reap the benefits of your choices.

My child, I would love it if you choose my way because though it seems harder in the interim it has greater fruit in the end. The process I am taking you through is for your good after my glory is established. I need you to trust that my plans for you are for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope just as I used Hosea’s life to bring my word to his people even as he was married to a prostitute. His life was abominable in the scheme of things for that day but I used it to tell the children of Israel the story of their behaviour and how they related to me.

Allow me to use your life to change the way people see life and salvation and walking with me. Allow me to use you are my showpiece that I may glorify myself. In the end, the choice is yours and yours alone. Trust me and let me lead you.

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Do you fully trust your Lord and Father to lead you and guide you in all truth to the very best of His plans for you?