He remains

God is sooooooooooooooooooooooo good. I honestly feel like I can’t say this enough. You are a good God.

I love how you remain. Your remaining-ness should be spoken about more often. I know I have just made up a word but I feel like that should be allowed considering that I am talking about the creator. 😀

So we are two weeks into the last half of the year and I feel like I have lived a lot of lifetimes already; in just two weeks. Something happened that threatened to tear me to pieces. I was devastated. I did not in a million years see it coming. So on the first day, which coincidentally was 1st July, I cried myself into dehydration; I kid you not. I cried on and off from about 2pm up until I forced myself to go to bed at around 9pm. It was like an avalanche. I woke up super thirsty and I knew why.

Chest pains

The thing about grief, and maybe scientists might have an explanation tied to hormones about this is it sits heavily in your chest; or is it just me? Heavy to the point of laboured breathing. Heavy to the point of putting your hand on your chest. Heavy of shoulders slumped forward. Heavy like it is literally pulling you to the ground. Heavy like only tight hugs will do. I have felt chest pains the past weeks.

On Tuesday 4th July, I woke up a little earlier than I usually do. I don’t have to be at work until 10am and I live only thirty minutes away. I woke up at about 5:30-6 ish and my chest was heavy. I couldn’t take it anymore. I got out of bed, went to the living room and talked to God about my heavy chest. God is funny. I don’t know how he balances comfort and encouragement. I mean, I know and felt beyond reasonable doubt that he was/is feeling all my pain alongside me. Yet at the same time, He was showing me light. He was pulling me up. He was making me smile. The chest pains were leaving. I was surprised. I was delighted. I was relieved.

Faithful

I think that’s my favourite God attribute. I mean I love all of Him because cheiiii, this God!!! I find so much comfort in knowing, seeing and thinking on His faithfulness. Maybe I have had trust issues growing up and this aspect is super important to me. However, I have learnt that in the storms of life, I need to know that He is faithful. That He will come through for me.

In the first days when the pain was still super fresh, the enemy tried to whisper lies about Him not being on my side. I cried several times “Where is my advocate?”Where is my vindicator?” I heard voices telling me, “This is your punishment, don’t think you can escape what you have done”

I thank God for God. Thank you Jesus for the Holy Spirit who I shall also start referring to as the “Truth sayer”. He didn’t stop rebuking those lies. He didn’t stop hugging me. He didn’t stop quietly reaching for my hand. He didn’t stop just sitting with me. He didn’t stop rubbing my back when I was crying. He didn’t stop listening to me vent. He didn’t stop reminding me of the promise of His faithfulness. He remained. How do we even give to you, God? How?

Music

I made a conscious decision from day one that I would not participate in making myself sad. I refused to listen to songs that identified with my feelings. I actively looked for music that spoke about the contrary. In fact I looked for music that just spoke about God’s goodness. The first one was Andrae Crouch’s The Lord is my light. More than what she is saying in that song is how she is saying it.

It is in this time that I also discovered Darlene Zschech’s 2017 album, “Here I am , send me” . I have had this album for about two months now but had never got round to listening to. This album is dripping with beauty, truth and honesty. Darlene was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. We bless the Lord for her healing but that also means she has been through one of the worst things ever. She was facing death. A lot of the music on this album talks about God’s love, His remaining-ness(there goes that word again) through every situation, our intimate relationship with Him, praising and recognizing His goodness regardless of the situation. Wow. I love the entire album. I wake up early in the morning, get my flash, play it off some good speakers and I just pray along.

My favourite tracks at the moment are the last two; “You will be praised” and “Your eyes”. First of all “your eyes” sounds a little different from the rest of the songs. It sounds more relaxed, as if jazzy and it’s a duet with a man I believe is her husband. It has the lines

“ …I know your eyes are on me,

You won’t turn your face away

Only love within your gaze

I know my heart is on you

I will rest under your shade

All my hope is in your name…”

The first time I heard that song, I felt like God was watching me. I have this image in my mind, of slow dancing before His throne. I feel like I’m either slow dancing with Him or I am dancing for Him and He is watching me. He is watching me and He is smiling. I love that song. I feel like I am almost always dancing with or for my father, amusing Him.

“For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people…” Psalms 149:4a

You will be praised is…wow. It speaks of a determined faith. Of, I have made up my mind this is what I will do.

“You will be praised.

You will be praised

Through every storm

You will remain

In death and in life

I’ll not be afraid

In joy or in pain

You will be praised”

It’s amazing how it re-aligns your focus to God; and the more you see God, the better everything becomes. My friends, press into God always. Everything should be seen through Him. There are days I don’t even want to go to work. I just want to like sit somewhere and sit with God and sing and laugh. He’s so funny and just enjoy each other. I thank God my job allows me to do that a lot more than other jobs may.

Strength

“Your heart is Gold

Your strength is God

Your path is glory”

A very good friend of mine sent me that today. I stared at it over and over again especially number two. There is no lie there. My strength is God. I am shocked. I don’t remember ever being this strong in my life. Strength does not mean there are no tears by the way. In the past, I have fallen apart. I have pretty much resigned and just camped in my pits. It’s only by God. It’s only by God who even way before this happened was strengthening me. God who from the very start said, “I got you”. God who has spent my entire life telling me and proving to me that He is not going anywhere. This is not me friends. My strength is God.

I don’t believe you have to suffer to learn but oh the lessons that tough times will teach you. Press into God, I beseech you. Press into Him. Choose to believe Him even when physical evidence seems to suggest there’s no reason to. Cry on His shoulder, in His chest. Vent to Him. Receive His comfort. Sit quietly with Him. Enjoy His presence. Delight yourself in Him. Beloved, child of God, our father loves us very much. Our father is the king of pursuit. Our father can remain!

There are days I pinch myself because how dare I not recognize that Lazarus has been dead four days! How dare I step out of the boat! How dare I sleep though the storm! How dare I sing while in chains! My strength is God. Your strength is God.

The valley of the shadow of death probably looks different for each one of us. I know about two constants though. God, the truth. The enemy and His lies.  Choose God.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For thou art with me. They rod and they staff they comfort me” Psalms 23:4

Amen.

 

Archives 5 : You remind me

Soundtrack: You remind me – Andy Shauf ft Darryl Kissick

You are my person of peace
My favourite place in the world
A reminder of God’s goodness
His grace,His love!
My co-fridge opener 😉
My cheerleader
My biggest fan
You fit right in there with my fam man 😅
Believing in me even when the dreams
aren’t concrete, YET
I am confident in all your promises
I don’t need manifestation to know they are true
By the time they show up, I would have been celebrating for years 💃💃💃
You pray for me, in the moment
You let me know you are talking to the father about me
You hold my hand, you kiss my face
You love me with your eyes
You love me with your words!!!
You give to me!!!
Oh my,you give to me all of you 😄
With every line I write,
It just hit me 🔥
You remind me so much of Christ 😍😍😍
“I love you” feels so inadequate

Archives 4: Tulina omubeezi

Soundtrack : Just a kiss – Lady Antebellum
Today I purpose to be productive
Playing in my head is Lady Antebellum’s
Just a kiss :), remember that song?
It defines so many things for me
It acknowledges that sometimes
The love ekusukako and you just want to
literally be joined to this person
It also acknowledges the beauty of savoring
Of taking our time
“we don’t need to rush it… ”

You make me feel safe
Thank you
Often times, we think of protection
And we think power banks and fist fights
But way beyond that
That holding hands
And forehead kissies
And forever hugs
I am not afraid to be alone with you

I know you will not surprise me
I know you are true to your word
I know you want to honour me
I know you want to honour us
You make me feel safe

I am grateful to God
I am overwhelmed by God’s love
He sent me you
He crafted specific things in you for me
He keeps me safe

I love you
And with God as our mubeezi
Plan to love you forever
With God as my lover
Plan to overflow into you
I love you

 

 

Archives 3 : Waist, Chest, eyes and lips

Soundtrack : Kiss me – Ed Sheeran

My hands around your waist
I come face to face with your chest
Chest, strong, welcoming, comforting chest
I rest my head there for a while
As I pray for a lifetime

My fingers intertwined at the back of your neck
I see chin, bearded manly chin
Rub my face against it
I tilt my head a bit
I am met by lips
The stuff my dreams are made of, lips
Whisperer of promises, lips
The fountain from which I will one day drink

Nose to nose
My hands on your face
Eyes, happy, sometimes longing eyes
Full of love and wonder, eyes
I love this lens
This one I will keep

Waist, chest, eyes and lips
Waist, chest, eyes and lips
Come kiss me my love

Archives 2 : Facts

Soundtrack : God gave me you – David Barnes

Fact :I have been seeing you in my dreams every day for the past few days
Fact : I am blessed to have you in my life
Fact : You make me super happy
Fact : You are a reminder of His goodness to me
Fact : I look forward to being called yours
Fact : I love looking at your face
Fact : I love holding your hands
Fact : I love when I am held by you
Fact : If I had my way, I would spend all my time with you
Fact : You are blessings galore
Fact : I get what Bey was on on that Drunk in love, Crazy in love, Dangerously in love, Countdown song
Fact : God gave me you
Fact : I love you
“You remind me of everything I love “

A chance to dream #UPENDOSILENTDISCO

 

“It’s easy to fall in love with these kids” I thought to myself. I was just remembering how I’d spent my Saturday afternoon and smiling.

Every other Saturday, a couple of friends and I spend the afternoon at Naguru Remand Home. I don’t know about you but from the outside looking in,I always thought these were just deliquents, bad people, just not old enough for Prison. It is true, they are not yet old enough for prison. But that is not all there is to their stories.

At Worship Harvest we believe Church Begins on Monday and Sunday is Garage time. What that means is , we are reminded that we are the church of Jesus Christ and we are commissioned into the world. In our places of abode, work, learning et al to share the love of God with people. On Sunday, just like a car that needs servicing, we gather to check our oil, encourage each other, rejoice together and also plan. One of the ways we are able to be Church is through Missional Communities. A Missional Community is basically a family on mission together, My family is called Upendo, which means love. Our Missional frontier is the Naguru Remand Home.

As of last Saturday afternoon when we visited, there were 104 children at the remand home. 100 boys and 4 girls. That is a small number. There have been times when they were twice that. We rejoice when we go to visit and they have reduced in number. It means they were released. I was stunned into silence the first time I went to the remand home. I saw boys as young as nine in there too. Boys who were the same height as my little nephew and my heart broke.

“What did you do sweetheart?” I wondered silently to myself

And they are still kids, the same way we were at 9 or 13 or 16. Kids. Maybe ,just been dealt a not so good hand. Some are in there and their parents have never come to visit them. Some are about to turn 18 and their cases are yet to be heard, they are scared. They might be sent to Luzira Prison. Most of them just hang out with the wrong person. All of them are just children needing love and guidance. Children needing someone to believe in them.

Every other Saturday, we spend time with them from 2-5pm and teach. Our aim is to impart some life skills so that they know they have options when they are released. They don’t have to go back to a life of crime. The kids in there have different levels of education. Some had gone up to s.3 before they were arrested. Others had barely finished Primary school. Many had given up on school way before they got in trouble. Currently we have five vibrant classes. We have Basic Computing, Literacy, Agriculture, Carpentry and Arts and Crafts. We are working on reviving the tailoring class. The remand home lobbied from the government and they provided some sewing machines.

You should see the eagerness with which they attend these classes. A few weeks ago, some kids in the Computer class were graduating. So we designed some certificates and printed them out. It was hard fighting back the tears. The look of pride on those boys’ faces as they received their certificates! That same day, the literacy class was also giving out certificates for a creative writing exercise they had done. The best compositions received certificates. I have received a number of certificates in my life and I guess after some point I started taking them for granted. A certificate is physical evidence of achievement. It is also a reminder that there is so much potential in you.

cert
Certificate time!

Like I said, it is easy to fall in love with these children. They laugh, they crack jokes, sometimes they don’t pay attention in class, sometimes you see them attempting to do homework as you ask for it, they are pretty much just like any other children. Except they are in a remand home. A prison for children. If you visited them once, you would want to give them so much.

Last week we went to visit them with someone else. His name is Ibra. He used to be one of them. His story is both inspiring and heartbreaking. Ibra had been at the remand home for 1 year and 3 months before the High Court judge sent him to Luzira Prison for a year. We were hoping for release. But he had just turned 18, he couldn’t be at the remand home anymore. Ibra was released recently and one of the first things he did was get in touch with one of our leaders, Joanna (such a beautiful soul) and inform her that he had been released. Oh the joy!

ibra
Ibra,far left 🙂

He came with us to the remand home on Saturday. Some people knew him. Many did not. He shared his story. He encouraged the children not to give up hope. He reminded them not to give up on God, He spoke of His faithfulness. But most of all , he told them, it is only their bodies that were imprisoned, not their minds. He exhorted them to desire to learn, to engage in all the classes and the activities as much as they can. To realize that the power is in their hands to make the future that they want; It was amazing.

Ibra wants to study beauty and hairdressing. Ibra has signed up to study beauty and hairdressing. He is passionate about it. His plan is to build a salon to reckon with. I can’t wait for the day I will actually go to his salon.

The remand home partners with an organization called COWA, an organization that helps get released inmates mostly into vocational school. Through COWA, Ibra got a bursary to study the thing he wants to study at Centenary Vocational Training School, the Vocational school attached to COWA.  Not everyone gets this bursary. Not everyone has parents waiting to encourage them and send them back to school. Some of them have the same circumstances waiting for them on the outside.

As UPENDO, we realize it isn’t enough to skill them while they were on the inside only to have them come back. What we do is merely laying a foundation. We need to help them, build the whole house. Our plan is to set up a fund that can aid those who don’t have the required support on the outside. Ibra just got out of prison and has no money. Yes, he has a bursary but he’s going to need scholastic materials, housing and bedding. Some others will soon be released and they won’t get the bursary but will want to get into vocational school. The plan is to be able to give them a start, a good start. Let’s give them a chance to dream.

Upendo

So mark the date 30th June, 2017. It is a Friday. In fact, it is the last day of this month. On that day, we shall be holding the Upendo Silent Disco at the Uganda Museum starting at 6pm. Tickets are going for only 25,000 ugx ONLY! Five DJs , three channels. We are doing this to raise money for this fund. Come one, come all. Buy for your entire clan if you have to. There will be lots of great food and drinks for sale, awesome djs and of course giving to a wonderful cause. Spread the word, and buy a ticket. Let’s love on these kids. Let’s give them a chance to dream.

For more information , call or whatsapp on 0777 154 166 or send an email to gwnanfuka@gmail.com.