The past 6 weeks have been completely exhausting for me. Work has been a non-stop rollercoaster, the start of the new school year for our kids have been hectic and getting our business set up for the new year has also been extremely demanding. It’s definitely taken a physical and mental toll on me. I’ve been feeling fragile, emotional, my body aches everywhere and I just feel so overwhelmed. But God is good.
This morning as my husband drove me to work; we were listening to worship music in the car.
The lyrics are so simple yet so powerful. It speaks not of what God does for us but it glorifies Him simply because He is God. I found myself lifting my hands up in worship during the car ride, singing along and I felt God’s Spirit strengthen me. I felt so happy and joyful and strong when I got out of the car. Despite my physical self not being in line with my spirit; I still felt like I can tackle another day of work and get through it because the joy of the Lord strengthens me.
I want to encourage you today; if you are feeling broken, exhausted, if you are struggling mentally and emotionally and you feel like you have nowhere to turn, turn to Jesus. He is ever present, He is always available to you. You don’t need to make an appointment; pray where you are. Seek Him where you are. I feel so much joy that I can’t keep it to myself.
Joshua 1 v 9
“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
I want to leave you with a few scriptures that encourage me and help me to remember that I am never alone and when I feel hopeless, helpless and just worn down, that God will lift me up.
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.”
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
“Haggai encourages those who have just returned from exile to remain faithful, obedient, and hopeful for God’s promise of a new Jerusalem. Haggai challenges returned exiles to remain faithful and rebuild the temple.” – The Bible Project
The other night when I was ready to get into bed, I felt the Holy Spirit move me to open my Bible. I’ve been wanting to start reading the stories about all the women in the Bible and I was looking for the book of Ruth but instead I was led to the book of Haggai.
I have never read the book of Haggai, in fact I probably missed it before because its only one page in my Bible.
At the top of the page, it gives some context of the book of Haggai. I’ll summarise it but the very first sentence read as follows:
“Do you have trouble finishing the projects you start? “
Already, I felt convicted by that one sentence. If you have been following me and my blog, you know I want to become a published author. I just haven’t come as far as actually finishing any of the multiple stories I’ve started, over twenty stories to be exact.
Anyway, back to Haggai.
Haggai lived in Jerusalem after many Jews returned from exile in Babylonia. Those who returned started rebuilding the temple but eventually they just stopped and the temple was left half finished.
Haggai, who is a prophet, begins a campaign with Zechariah to continue to work and finish the temple and this is where the story begins.
HAGGAI 1 VS 3-6
‘Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai, “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes’
The above verse to me speaks about society today. We are always wanting more; more money, more clothes, more possessions and even when we get what we want, we still want more. We look around us, comparing ourselves to everyone we come across. Feelings of jealousy, envy and sometimes even rage rear its ugly head and we end up losing sight of who we are and what we have.
Our focus is on us and what we want and what we can get. We end up forgetting that God placed us here for a reason, that we are part of God’s plan and purpose for this earth. As children of God, we are on a mission that is greater than anything we could ever want or think we need. Our mission is to save souls and serve and build the house of the Lord.
HAGGAI 1 VS 8
‘Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house’
A clear command given by God. He gives direction, he provides resources and gives clear instructions on what needs to be done. All we have to do is listen and obey.
HAGGAI 1 VS 9-11
‘You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord. While all of you are busy building your own fine houses. It’s because of you that the heavens withhold the dew and the earth produces no crops. I have called you for a drought on your fields and hills – a drought to wither the grain and grapes and olive trees and all your other crops, a drought to starve you and your livestock and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get. ‘
Wow, that verse is so hard to read and, in many ways, very convicting. It forces you to take a very hard look at yourself and where your priorities lie.
The first part that really stands out for me, ‘I blew it away’. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away (Job 1 vs 21) It is in the Lord’s authority and power to give and take away as He sees fit and we need to remember that we can do nothing without Him. It is both a blessing and also something to be respected.
The above scripture then goes on to say, the Lord’s house lies in ruins while we continue to build our own fine houses. You can take that literally or figuratively. This is how I interpreted it.
In the literal sense, it means looking out only for your own needs and wants, while we know God’s people are suffering and we see opportunities where we can help, but we don’t because we are too busy building our own homes. I understand it as chasing my own dreams, goals and visions and forgetting that there are people I can help in my backyard.
Then it goes on to say‘It’s because of you that the rain withholds its dew and the earth produces no crops’. In simple English, we end up blocking our own blessings and plans God has for us because we are so busy being selfish and self-centred and we are worried about our own needs.
This portion of the verse spoke so vividly to me because all of us want the harvest but hardly any of us want to put in the work. Humans are impatient, myself included and we don’t always understand why we are going through difficult times of hardships. We question everything; why are others successful and I am not? Why are things progressing for others but not for me? I believe this scripture says simply;
It is not yet your time.
It is your time for a drought.
What we must remember is the following;
HAGGAI 1 vs 13
‘I am with you, says the Lord’
We are never alone in our time of drought, God is always with us.
HAGGAI 2 vs 4:
And now, get to work, for I am with you. My Spirit remains among you…do not be afraid’
How beautiful and encouraging is that promise from God. Even when we go through a drought, God is with us. He encourages to be strong, reminds us that Hs Spirit is among us always. He will never forsake us or forget about us. We must simply continue the work He has called us for and continue to work, even during the most trying times and circumstances. God’s promises are clear.
HAGGAI 2 VS 19
‘I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates and olive trees have not yet produced their crops but from this day onward, I will bless you’
Nothing to explain there, simply take it in and understand God will bless you.
I’ll leave you with this to end off.
HAGGAI 2 VS 21
‘I am about to shake the heavens and the earth’
HAGGAI 2 VS 23
‘I have chosen you’
You are not random. God has a plan for your life. He only asks that you give Him room to work in you so that you can also be a part in building his house and his Kingdom. The Lord has chosen you for a time such as this.
we are shaped by our experiences but we can choose how to live out those experiences. We choose how to live, we choose whether we give up or go on. We choose to forgive.
life demands of you to be intentional; intentional about your actions, your energy, your focus, your thoughts and emotions.
It hasn’t been easy but it has been fulfilling
love is one of the most if not the most powerful source of hope we have on this earth
Its not just okay to live as your authentic self, its absolutely necessary.
do not fear. do not tremble. do not question or second guess
These hard, tiring and busy days won’t last.
Your ability to nurture, love, care and encourage is God-given.
break out of the mould you created for yourself with all the things you thought you knew
I hope you relinquish all expectations you had of yourself for this next season and simply enjoy being alive.
Even if it fails, at least you know that you tried.
We all have a place in our minds where we wish to go, things we want to do and places we want to see but if I’ve learned anything, these last few years, is that you won’t get there if you don’t get moving.
It’s a beautiful day. The dog dreams. I breathe
Better to have a moment of awkwardness than to have a lifetime of regret.
This past weekend, I attended a women’s conference at our church. Pastor Gugu Dlamini was the keynote speaker and delivered some great advice and in many ways opened my eyes to many things which I either forgot or were never aware off. As a child of God and in my role as a wife, mother and just a woman, I often find myself in a mental state where I feel so lost. I feel hopeless, I feel utterly exhausted and attending this conference reminded me where I should find my strength. Funny thing is, I told myself I wouldn’t be able to attend the conference because I would be working but God had other plans.
The most important or rather one of the most important take-aways for me was the fact that as a woman, married or not or whether you have kids or not you have a big responsibility in the kingdom of God. You are more valuable than you know and you have so much more power than you realise and its time that we not only tap into it but also use it to change the world.
Pastor Gugu started off by explaining how we can live a life of truth. The truth is the Word of God. She explained that the truth about you, your husband, your family and your future are all already laid out and if you want to find it, you need to spend time in the Word of God. She not only said it, but she proved it by referencing several scriptures. The thing is however, the Word of God can only be your truth, if you believe it.
She said that faith is the currency of a Christian.
PSALM 112 VS 2-3 :
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.
To be honest, I wish I had recorded her the entire time but I felt that it was important to be in the moment and take in the teaching hence I’m only sharing key points.
JOHN 10 VS 10:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
When you operate in the currency of faith, you know and trust that God will fulfill his promises to you and to you it doesn’t matter how long it will take. You know when God says He will, it is already done.
JEREMIAH 1 VS 10:
See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.
Pastor Gugu unpacked the above scripture. She said that when she reads a scripture, she not only reads it, but she reads and tries to understand every word and I’d like to share with you here what she shared with us.
Uproot all that is not of God and introduce a new standard.
TEAR DOWN / PULL DOWN:
Pull down and tear down any demonic force within your family and your household.
Destroy everything that is not aligned with God.
Overthrow the enemy.
BUILD AND PLANT:
Start building towards the kingdom of God. Direct your household and stay in the gospel.
JOSHUA 1 VS 5:
No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
On day two of the conference, we discussed kingdom wealth and how to implement strategies to gain wealth. Pastor Gugu shared some of the following points:
Being a helper is not a subordinate position – she referenced the story of Adam and Eve and asked us why did God decide to make Adam a helper.
A helper can only help when there’s a vision – your husband needs to have a vision for your family so that you can help him bring that vision to life.
As a woman, you get your plan from the Word of God.
Read the Word of God with a strategy in mind. Don’t just read for the sake of reading, but read so that you can understand what is the plan that God has for your life and that of your family.
Recognise the gifting of your children -And pray that God will help you harness those gifts.
We are not led by money, we are led by the Spirit.
We get blessed because we are obedient.
Be a blessing everywhere you go.
We operate in the Supernatural.
Pray the Word of God so that the Word can go work on the things you prayed over.
Again, Pastor Gugu highlighted that as Christians, faith is our currency. This means that it doesn’t matter what your circumstances are or what’s happening around you, that you will find rest and peace in the presence of God. That was something that I especially needed to hear.
Ecclesiastes 2 vs 26:
To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
You please God by operating in faith.
Wealth comes when you start believing the Word of God and start implementing what it says.
Revelations 5 vs 12 confirms Ecclesiastes 2 vs 26
God can’t act if you don’t exercise your faith.
REVELATIONS 5 VS 12:
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
POWER: Meaning jurisdiction / rule over your circumstances.
WEALTH: Operate in three dimensions of wealth.
WISDOM: The knowledge of God.
STRENGTH: Inner strength – Spirit of God will rise in you.
HONOUR: Even if you are last, you will be first. God will qualify you as long as you apply in faith.
GLORY AND PRAISE: Arriving in in fullness – operating fully in your gifts.
It’s obviously impossible for me to share the entirety of the wealth of knowledge that was shared during that conference but I think you get the idea of what we learned or at least, what I learned. The experience was different for every woman who attended. I hope by reading this, you also find some comfort and direction.
Here are some final points:
Whatever God has called you to do, do it.
God will open divine connections for y0ou once you start operating in the fullness of who He is.
You need to have an unbelievable reliance on God.
Understand where God is posting you.
Change the conversations in your home.
Always consult God.
I loved that the conference took place over two days; the last day of September and the first day of October. It sort of felt like the ending of something but also the beginning of a new season.
Sitting outside feeling pressed, smelling the dog next to me. The sun’s heat warms my skin. Hearing bird songs and little insects all around me. It’s hard to pinpoint in which direction it’s coming from. There’s a helicopter somewhere, flying overhead, the sound of it starts or far, then it comes closer and closer until I can almost feel the vibrations on my skin. I see the dog out of the corner of my eye, vigorously scratching himself. I’m hot right beneath the sun. I take off the pink cardigan and immediately feel a chill. The dog lies down on his side, baking. His white fur looks almost golden brown. A car whizzes past. A bird chirps in the distance. The sun is hot. I look up and squint. I’m still feeling pressed. It’s a beautiful day. The dog dreams. I breathe
I wasn’t ready to lose my mother when she died in 2020. I was 28 years old; still figuring things out, finding my feet, unbeknownst to her; hiding and finding comfort in her bosom. Even at the age of 28-years old, I was very much a child. Today at 30, in many respects, I still am.
God knew I was not ready to lose my mother. He knew and still knows that I needed correction, discipline, and sometimes those things only come through tragedy. God had other plans. He thrust me into this place where I find myself today, being shaped and molded and, at times, scolded by other strong women.
I’ve realised I took advantage of the role my mother had in my life. I fought her a lot; especially as I grew older. I was hardly ever willing to learn from her because as we know, young children and young adults ‘know everything’. A wall was built between us which, until the day she died, could not be penetrated. I think I will always live with thatregret.
So here I am now; finding myself in a place where I am being humbled through correction. Internally and externally. It’s a convicting feeling.
It’s painful to be honest. It forces you to break out of the mould you created for yourself with all the things you thought you knew. It brings you face-to-face with yourself and that is not necessarily a comfortable experience. In fact, it can be downright excruciating and frustrating. At times you find yourself biting your lip and digging in your nails, just so that you don’t scream out in agony.
No one wants to be told when they’re doing something wrong but we don’t always see that correction, if done right, is almost always done in love.
Help and correction won’t always come freely though. The hard part comes when you have to ask for it. When you have to admit that you need help, that’s when the walls really start to come down.
I have been battling with my season of correction; it’s been extremely frustrating at times. Other days, I take it on the chin, I humble myself and say thank you, I needed that. Other days, I roll my eyes and think to myself, ‘I already knew that’
Not only have I been receiving correction from people around me, God has also been working in me and with me. Reminding me when to hold my tongue, helping me to keep a lid on my complaints, opening my eyes to see people the way He sees them, teaching me to be patient, helping me understand that my journey is not that of my husband’s or my colleagues or anyone in my inner circle.
When I think about correction or being shown the error of your ways, I think of it in terms of when you know better, you do better. You change when you are corrected, you can decide to become better or refuse the change and stay the same. Its all about your attitude when you are in the process of receiving correction; you can stand back and roll your eyes and stay in your ‘I know this already’ mindset or you can pay attention, take notes and humble yourself to those who are trying to show you a better way or different way.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT CORRECTION
Here are a few verses from the Bible that speak on correction. There are many more but these are the ones that stood out for me.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Proverbs 12: 1
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.
Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.
For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
You might not see it now but when you look back in a couple of months or years; you’ll notice that you have better habits, you do things in a different way than before. You do better because you know better. It’s hard to see the finish line when you’re still in the early stages of the race but you need to know, the finish line is there.
That’s where I find myself now in life; being corrected, almost on a daily basis and its hard but I know sooner or later I will appreciate the correction. I will appreciate the molding and shaping because it has made me a better person.
I started this post of by speaking about my mother. Reason being that I wish I had been more open to my mother’s correction. I wish I had listened to her more, asked her more questions because now I realise I need her more than I ever thought I would. Now that I’m in this place of becoming, I need my mother and I need her to reassure me or guide me when I make a decision. I need her to make me laugh when I’m feeling frustrated or show me her feisty and fierce character when I feel uncertain. I needed her then and I need her now.
WHEN YOU’RE THE ONE DOING THE CORRECTING
Sometimes you will find yourself doing the correcting and I’d like you to think about the following when you’re in that position:
Correction come with patience just as learning comes with patience.
Correcting someone can’t be done with aggression. Not everyone responds well to being spoken down to; in fact I don’t think anyone does.
Correction can’t be done with arrogance; you as the person trying to teach another are also still learning in the process.
You have such an important role as a wife and a mother.
Your ability to nurture, love, care and encourage is God-given.
The role of a husband and father is just as important but it’s often the wife and mother that is either heavily criticised. She is expected to fulfill all these other roles; friend, sister, businesswoman. As a woman, you are often expected to break ceilings and still be able to take care of yourself, look good, provide for your family, and do a multitude of other things.
It can get tiring. It can make you feel empty and sometimes it makes you feel as if you are not enough even when you are doing all these things.
You are the person your family depends on; your advice, your patience, your presence. Everything you do for those you care about, matters.
Don’t ever think it doesn’t.
I know you get tired and frustrated. I know at times you want to throw in the towel but your role as a woman, wife, and mother is so important, so needed and so wanted.
Your family functions because of you. They thrive because you create an atmosphere and a space for them to do so.
They draw power from you. You are a pillar of strength placed in your family by God and no one can fulfill that role better than you.
This month I celebrate my 30th birthday. The last 30 years seem to have gone by in a blur but there were some hard and necessary lessons learned. As I enter my 30s, allow me to share 30 things (out of the thousands) I’ve learned before turning 30-years-old. My 20’s were for learning. My 30s will be for putting what I’ve learned into practice.
1.Everything is a blessing from God if you choose to see it that way and if you can’t see it as a blessing, see it as a lesson.
Isaiah 43:1-3 Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
2. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache and frustration if you choose not to focus on what others think of you.
3. Time with family is more precious than money.
4. Its not just okay to live as your authentic self, its absolutely necessary.
5. Gratitude opens up the door to opportunities.
6. Comparison is just another form of ignorance.
7. Griefnever goes away. You simply learn to live with it.
8. Patience, persistence, preparation and prayer, these things will get through hard times.
9. Rest when you need to. You are no good to anyone when you are operating on fumes.
10. Inspiration is not something to be found. It’s something to be created.
11. To get through anything, you’ll need patience. You’ll find yourself waiting a lot. Waiting in queues, waiting for transport, waiting on people, waiting for signs and miracles. Work while you wait. (I wrote this part while waiting in a queue at a clothing store)
12. Always have a book with you. Whether its a reading book or a note book. You’ll either read something worth remembering or write something worth sharing.
13. No one will and no one should believe in your art more than you.
14. Prayer will guide you and conviction will save you.
15. You need to have honest conversations with yourself about who you are and who you want to be. You need to dig deep into your heart and that will hurt sometimes because you won’t always like what you find.
16. Marriage and love are beautiful thing things. Despite the fact that many people will make you think love is painful or marriage is pointless, once you find it and experience it at its purest essence, you’ll understand the beauty of it.
17. You children will never do what you say. They will do what you do. Make sure you do the right thing.
18. The world is full of bad things but there are even more beautiful things to be discovered.
19. Set goals for yourself, have a plan. Do not go through life rudderless.
20. Take care of your finances. Be smart about your savings and where and how you spend your money.
21. Mind your business but make it your business to care for others.
22. Read and study your bible. You’ll find all the answers you need.
23. It’s okay to ask for help. It does not mean you are weak.
24. Your mind can become a battlefield, you need to protect it at all costs.
25. Be grateful for the hard times. Grapes are pressed and crushed to create wine.
26. Change is scary but sometimes it takes a big change to move you into action.
27. Being kind doesn’t have to be a production. Sometimes its a sincere word, a hug or just a smile.
28. Not everyone is out to hurt you. Some people simply want to get to know you and love you. It’s okay to trust people.
29. Don’t make social media your life.Make time to live in the real world.
30. Love sincerely and wholeheartedly and never regret giving someone your heart, even when they break it.
“Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been” – David Bowie