The Friendship Factor

A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 NKJV

I think one of my favourite things about life generally is the gift that is friendship. True, genuine,I’m here for all your seasons kind of friendship. I desire it. I treasure it. I honour it.

This morning I was thinking about this thing of friendship and these are my reasons for wanting it so much. Friends are a place for grace, they get you. Friends are the ones who come and ask you “what’s up?” in the private chat after you totally lost in the group chat… lol. Friends are the ones who keep wanting to believe the best about you even when you are at your worst. Friends help you remember who you are when you have forgotten. Friends help you find your way back home when you get lost. Friends give to you. Friends receive from you. Friends laugh with you (and sometimes at you…lol). Friends cry with you. Friends hope with you, sometimes they hope for you when you just can’t find it. Friends celebrate with you. Friends let you know if your clothes aren’t fit for the function (or at-least they should…hehe). Friends and friendship really are the spice of life. The mchuzi mix on this journey of ours.

A while back , God went and told someone that I am His friend. I kept wondering, “What does that even mean?” . So I asked myself who else the Lord called friend and I got Moses. That started my journey studying the book of Exodus which I just finished reading about three days ago.

“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” Exodus 33:11a NIV

You know what is really amazing about Moses’ relationship with God? It seems like He’s the only one who had it, at least at that time , in that camp. God told him things before they happened and as such Moses is rarely if ever seen to fret and worry. Moses also had the Lord’s ear. In the verses after this, Moses asks God to show him His face and the Lord responds to him. This might be my favourite conversation in the bible at the moment. The tenderness, humility and friendship in that moment is mind boggling for me. Moses also cared what other people thought about God. Can you imagine that? Moses cared about God’s reputation.

I have had and lost some friends in this short life I have lived. For some, life and space has separated us. A few of them have died. However, I am yet to experience a friendship better than the friendship I have found in and with God. I won’t lie to you that I know everything the bible says or that I have all the answers but this one thing I know and I am persuaded of. The God of the Universe is very friendly to me. He’s my best friend. I only know how to be a friend by watching how He deals with me. He calls me friend. Imagine that!

Trust Exercises

I prefer the silence and the darkness
I prefer it when I’m asleep and memory has little to do with anything
I prefer when your voice is loud
I prefer when your voice is all I hear
I prefer you

I spent the day sharing about your goodness
Enjoying it and wondering why you love me so
But before I slept you knocked on a door
You asked that I let you in
And I responded with tears and trembling
Proof that even though I wish otherwise
I have been keeping you out

I believe you and I don’t
I’m desperate to believe you always
You said Yes and Amen
Yes and Amen
It resounds in my Spirit
and calls out to me as I sleep
Yes and Amen

So now I hide under your wings
Where healing resides
You cover me and protect me
You are my strength and my hope.
Yes and Amen
You don’t lie.

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Photo by Kristin De Soto on Pexels.com

 

Write new things

One of my favourite books ever is Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love. I never tire of reading it. I see something new every time I go back to it. God in His great wisdom and amazing love gave it to me for my birthday this year 🙂 . It’s a story of love, romance , pain , healing ,restoration and seemingly unforgivable wrongs.

“In that day,” declares the Lord,
    “you will call me ‘my husband’;
    you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
    no longer will their names be invoked.”

Hosea 2:16-17 NIV

I have a love- hate relationship with social media especially Twitter and Facebook. There are days I absolutely love it. There are days I want de-activate all my accounts…lol. I need it for work and some passion projects. So, on these days, I make sure I stay off the general timeline. I stay in my mentions meaning unless you call me out, I won’t see your things. Same goes for Facebook, I stick to my timeline and read things that I have posted. I have been doing that a lot with this blog too. Logging in to simply read things I have written before and not always interested in writing new things. It has mostly been because I have felt that I still lived there, that place from which I wrote the things that I am reading or at least wishing I lived there.

“God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
    Expect love, love, and more love!
And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again,
    dear virgin Israel.”

Jeremiah 31:3 MSG

Starting over. This is not really one of my favourite things to do. I have been to only four schools. My nursery school, one primary school, one secondary school and one University. I am pretty content with consistency. I like to plan. I like to know what to expect. I like familiar spaces, experiences and people. Alas! In comes Jesus 🙂 , the most consistent yet dynamic relationship I have ever been in. I can trust in His steadfastness yet I don’t always know what it will look like. He finds me in Egypt and speaks to me of Canaan and doesn’t really give me details of the wilderness.

Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19 NKJV

I found this portion of scripture shared by me in a post I wrote on Facebook about a month back. it was a post about a movie I love called Faith Like potatoes. I have been spending some time in the book of Exodus and do you know what I am learning? God is very good at doing new things. Things you could never have imagined, things that will blow you away.

What am I saying? I’m not sure I know anymore…lol, do you?

Allow yourself to write new things.

 

Never enough – Archives

My error was in thinking my love could heal your wounds
However deep it ran, my love was lacking from the get go
Kisses and hugs on rainy days
Did not stop the storm within your soul
That had been raging for years
Convincing you that you were not worth loving
That you were not al ready abundantly loved
Mine was not the voice you needed to hear
My words were not the ones you needed to believe
I see it now
After
Endless tears
Nights of chests caving in
Fighting for breath
Holding on to sanity
Feeling a great loss
I see it now
I interrupted your healing.
I pray you are well friend…
I asked as we slept
But your face turned to the ground
and your answer didn’t come
You will be well friend
Mine were not the hugs you needed
My love was never going to be enough

I know where you live

I think I am starting to get a glimpse of what Jesus meant when He equated anger to murder. His standard has always been higher than ours. When you are angry at someone, there is a part of you that wishes they were no more because in that moment they are such an inconvenience. Strangely though, it is the same Jesus who asks that we forgive 7x 70 times. In short, we are to never stop forgiving. We are to always extend grace. Sometimes I want to argue with Him on this one. I would like to present my case backed up with witnesses, laws and evidence. I am even tempted to accuse Him of being out of touch with the great injustice that I perceive I am suffering.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?

 Isaiah 40:27 NKJV

A couple of weeks ago, I lost one of my best friends in life. I tear up every time I say that because it’s like it hits me afresh, the loss. There is simply none like Joel Benjamin Ntwatwa. One of Joel’s greatest attributes and believe me when I say they were many was how gracious he was. Joel extended so much grace. It’s his fault that I hurt this much over his passing. It really is. You see, I wronged Joel in a major way when our relationship was fairly new. I haven’t been very good with confrontation and apologies though out my life. I have been such a people pleaser, I always worked so hard to make sure I was never in a situation where I had to apologise, especially not for major things. But as life would have it, I wronged some people. I wronged Joel and in a major way. Because I felt guilty, I tried to avoid him. His anger was very accusing to me. Do you know what happened? Joel reached out to me. Joel made the relationship right again. Joel sought me out over and over again.

I am yet to meet and relate with a person more gracious than Joel. If he were to read this, I’m pretty sure he’d refute it. There were many times I went to him ranting against someone and he would listen. What a great listener! Whatever the situation, he considered both parties as needing of grace. He helped me see that many times. There are days when it is he who would come to me with a rant but it would eventually end up at him being gracious, seeking to mend the relationship even when it was him who was wronged.

He wrote this sometime after he had come out on the other side of one of his biggest forgiveness battles. I knew the story. It hadn’t been easy.

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The work of forgiveness. Forgiveness must be born in us. We can’t forgive on our own. It is not in our nature.

O my soul, you have said to the Lord,
“You are my Lord,
My goodness is nothing apart from You.”

Psalms 16:2 NKJV

The only good in any of us is God really. Our only chance at forgiveness is God and He understands what it is like.

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

Hebrews 4:15 NKJV

In July 2017, this ended. It’s been ten months. Ten months yet I realise on certain days that I have residue emotions, un-dealt with issues and feelings I hadn’t yet felt. I wish I could say it has been easy. I wish I could say that because God has loved on me so much it has been easy. I wished it was. I don’t like drama. I wished it had been quiet and quick, almost as if it had never happened. Unfortunately it hasn’t been like that. I have had to feel every emotion and face every memory and broken dream as it came to me. There is nothing anyone can ever tell you or a class you can take that could ever prepare you for a thing like that. Grieving a living person. On some days feeling like a recovering drug addict, super aware of how much time it has been since you last broke down. The panic and fear that you might never actually get over it and be stuck there forever. The chest pains. The crying yourself to sleep. The feeling marked by a thing. The limbo your life seems to have fallen into. The weight loss,yo!!! The not knowing if you’ll ever stop crying. The constant prayer request. The missing. The trips down memory lane looking for signs and answers. The guilt for taking so long to be over it. The resolutions that you will guard your heart more. The not knowing if you even care about heart things anymore. The wanting to choose God’s way but feeling too afraid and inadequate. The not knowing. The hoping. The being mad at yourself for hoping. The triggers that you didn’t know where triggers until they triggered you. Like I said, nothing can ever prepare you.

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What I think I was most unprepared for was the anger. I generally really hate being angry and try to avoid it as much as possible. I will choose peace any day. However, for the sake of feeling all the feelings so that I can heal fully, I couldn’t run from it. It was also really loud on certain days. It demanded a voice. It demanded audience and I gave it. I don’t have that much experience dealing with anger because I have spent most of my life either avoiding angering situations, brushing things off or never really processing my feelings.

“I feel like God is saying that you should forgive” , a friend of mine told me , more than six months later. I had asked for a word from the Lord to help me deal. This is not the word I wanted. However, this is a word I knew to be true. I thought I had forgiven. I mean I had said it to myself from the very beginning because I knew it to be the right thing to do but here I was being asked to do it again. So, I had a conversation with God where I mentioned out loud one by one the things I was forgiving. I needed to be specific. Some of these things, though felt, I had never accepted or admitted to myself until then. They were not few. There were places where the forgiveness was from me to me. There were areas I blamed myself. There were places I was angry at some of my friends (sorry guys…lol). I went through a whole week where my prayer just consisted of speaking forgiveness. It was freeing.

This is what I have learnt about forgiveness. Forgiveness is trusting God. At the beginning of the year, God said to me “Let me fight for you.” Forgiveness is pretty much taking yourself out of the equation and putting all your precious eggs in this basket called God’s hands. Forgiveness feels like walking on water. It is quite scary sometimes. It can feel unfair and again you will be required to trust that God is just and He is for you. Forgiveness is a journey. Be gracious towards yourself. Some things just simply take time. Forgiveness is freeing. It might seem like such a cliché statement but it is the truth. Set yourself free, forgive. Forgiveness is of God, apart from Him, none of us can do it. Forgiveness is not dependent on apologies. It’s a choice. You choose to forgive, not because they are sorry but because God asks you trust Him and believe Him when He asks that you forgive.

“You forget I know where you live” a thought that crossed my mind. We laughed about it with a friend. We never consider that the people we’ve wronged know where we live…lol.

Forgive, so that you can forget that address in peace.

 

Say it with your chest!

I spend a big time of my life online. I find it amusing. Social media, though very versatile and can be used for just about anything is most pleasing to me when I use it as a play thing. One of my favourite things to pick from the social is new language. I like to know what “the kids” are saying these days.

Say it with your chest!

This. I really like this one. Almost every one is The Avengers brave when given a screen and a keyboard. People online are bold! They can be all up in your face without fear. It’s fascinating to witness. Every once in a while, an individual or groups of people find themselves on the wrong side of popular opinion or just on the wrong side of the rule makers’ opinion. These unlucky individuals are tasked to own their unpopular opinions. If you’re to play on the social, you ought to be able to say your things with your chest.

If only life was that simple

Social media’s biggest advantage is also its biggest disadvantage in my opinion. Messages and attitudes are spread really quick. You don’t have to live on a continent to catch its vibe. There’s a vibe online. A self care vibe. I am all for self care. I advocate it. You can’t pour from an empty cup. However, in many cases, self care has been translated into you never have to deal with difficult people or people who disagree with you or have the hard conversations. The lines have been blurred, especially when it comes to “cutting people off”. I mean, if you offend me, all I have to do is stop talking to you, right? It’s all cool until it’s your “friend” who has offended you. Do you just cut them off as easily as you cut off the many strangers you’ve been fighting with online?

Here’s a theory. If you were close enough for you to feel betrayed by the offence, then you are close enough to give the relationship a chance by way of conversation. Otherwise, you’re being dramatic and maybe even projecting. Maybe it’s not what they did or said that offended you but other issues that have not been dealt with. However, if you haven’t sought conversation or the other person has sought conversation and you were not up to it for reasons best known to you, let it be. Don’t go around using their name in your conversation or citing the incident in your examples. If you didn’t have the balls to say it with your chest, namaste.

Speak now or forever hold your PEACE

I love the wisdom therein. Forever hold your peace, not forever hold your grudge or forever be on the defensive as regards that person or forever think everything they do is in some way about you. No, forever hold your PEACE.

Say it with your chest

Anyone who has been in love or even had their heart broken knows that you can feel those things physically in your chest. I know the heart that pumps blood and keeps us alive is not the one that makes us fall in love so scientists better explain to us the mystery of the chest pain.

Say it with your chest could also be say it with love. It’s so easy to get caught up in being right that we forget to be loving. The work of love is not the easier path, in fact it is the harder path but it is the more excellent way. We’re going to disagree, we’re going to hurt each other, we’re going to offend one another but in all this let us be intentional about speaking in love.

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”

Proverbs 16:24 NKJV 

Peace.