Category: Sense?!

Conversating

You like Broken things.

What makes you say that? and what do you even mean?

You’re a poet, aren’t you?

Yes, kind of. What does that have to do with anything?

I know your kind. I used to be like you. Being fascinated with pain and brokenness. I’m not broken , you know.

I didn’t say you were.

I’m not. I was just disappointed but I’m not broken.

I never said you were.

In a perfect fairytale, these conversations are had while watching stars.

Why? this fancy restaurant with other people’s chatter isn’t romantic enough for you?

She chuckled. You know what I mean.

The service is nice and they even charge your phone for you.

We used to come here.

I know, I saw you.

You did?

No, but I didn’t want to have an awkward silence.

You’re silly.

Thank you.

Forgive my cheesiness mr poet but I’m not ready to do anything but hurt you.

Ouch! Thanks for the heads up and I bruise pretty easily.

I’m serious.

Why?

Why what?

Why are you serious about hurting me?

She smiled. Not sure I can see anything through at the moment.

You make it sound like a corruption probe comittee.

Isn’t all of life though? Just constantly finding out how badly we hurt ourselves when we fell?

Now, who’s the poet?

You know what I mean. It’s a constant uncovering of all the ways we can hurt.

Surely other things happen in life!

They are interrupted by the pain.

That is sad.

Life is sad.

No, it is sad that you have let some events sour you. I guarantee you that milkshake is not just a distraction from pain. I saw your face as you took the first sip.

I love food.

Well, there’s something to be excited about.

You’re interesting.

I hope this is a good interesting.

She nodded. But you have bad timing.

You’re not allowed out at night?

Haha. Do you give up?

Not often.

So what are we doing here?

Conversating.

That’s not a word.

Lil Wayne says it is.

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LXXX

“Why don’t you care?

“About?”

“Everything!” He said sounding exasperated, “you don’t seem to have a care in the world”

“Well…” she said, “I am quite deliberate about casting my cares away”

This wasn’t the first time she was receiving this kind of reaction. However, it was only in recent weeks that she had started to not mind it. She had, in a way started to understand it. To accept it.

Two months earlier something had happened that had rocked her world, and not in a good way. Like one of her friends put it, it felt like the carpet had been pulled from under her. The floor had caved in and she was left in free fall for days. Weeks.

“I’ve learnt,” she started, “I’m learning to accept imperfections. Of late, I have been faced with what I thought was the worst version of me and it nearly broke me.”

She paused to clear her throat. Even though some time had passed, she still got a little emotional just thinking about it.

“Listen, you can’t control everything. Worrying is assuming that you can and fearing that you shall somehow fail. Usually it is after failing so badly and finding that you are still breathing that we usually learn to release these things. It may seem silly and maybe it’s hard for us to take it seriously because it was popularized by a meme; however I find ‘but did you die?’ to be a very good question.”

She felt some relief as the frown lines on his face started to disappear. She had been where he was and definitely understood where he was coming from. She was grateful that she was learning to embrace imperfection, especially with herself. She had been the text book good girl. She was always working hard to be on the right side of everything. She wasn’t very successful at it because there were situations where by virtue of who she was as a human being, she was on the wrong side of things. She had spent many years being afraid, embarrassed and letting it all stress her out.

Over time that was the definition of her relationship with God. Acceptance. God drew her out of her shells, which were plenty and constantly encouraged her to celebrate herself. It had been a journey. Sometimes she forgot how far she’d come. Most recently in the midst of the turmoil she had been experiencing, she realized that she had become more comfortable with being imperfect and being known to be so. It’s not something she felt the need to hide. Yes, some days her vanish was chipped, her haircut was bad, her jeans didn’t fit well, she mispronounced words, she wasn’t called back for her dream job, she left dirty dishes in the sink, she was self-righteous, she wasn’t there for her friends, she told lies, she procrastinated, she had a past and she was broke. So what?

“But how do you do it?” He asked, she could hear the suppressed plea in his voice.

“Surrender,” she smiled, ” Look to God every day. Remind yourself of His promises. Lean into Him. Tell Him your fears. Tell Him when you are embarrassed. When you are worried, when you are sad, when you are disappointed, when you are angry. Get naked before him.” They both laughed at the last one.

“Seriously though” she said, “Listen to Him and choose to believe Him. If He says you’re the shit! Believe it! If He says you so dope, walk like you so dope. I am extra about believing God because many days it’s the deciding factor between tears and laughter. Remind yourself of His goodness and His faithfulness.”

Often times we do not realise what is happening to us as it is happening. Very few people can tell you with much confidence that they noticed themselves getting bitter or stronger. Most of us only realise when we are at the end. Being the type of person who was extremely self-aware and who also wouldn’t stop bugging God about everything, she was learning to live more in the present. She was learning to confront what was happening to her and in her instead of ignoring or running away like she had always done.

Nevertheless, she felt like her biggest victory was learning to celebrate herself, to be comfortable with her imperfections. Not just because she found people who accepted them, in fact even when she encountered people who rejected her based on said imperfections, she was learning to be okay with that.

Earth Benders and Wall Climbers

Do you know what is worse than finding out your favourite book is going to be turned into a movie? Finding out that your favourite animation will have a movie adaptation.

A couple of years back, it must have been around 2007 0r 2008 a company called GTV brought affordable satellite tv to Uganda. Prior to that it was only Mnet and DSTV I believe. In those days, my sister and little brother chanced upon the amazing Nickelodeon and Avator: The last air bender. We watched it religiously.The company went out of business without warning and we were back to boredom after tasting beauty. However we discovered people like Eddie Soft and Roshan zone and we were re-united.

I have not watched the movie adaptation of Avator : The Last Air bender up to this day. I loved the original too much.

Avatar-the-last-airbender-hogwarts
Image Source: Google

I have often debated with myself and with friends which kingdom is the most powerful or at the biggest advantage. I mean I love the Avator and the endless things he can do as long as he has a little air. Then there’s water bending which can even grow to blood bending and  then there’s the fire nation, getting their power from the sun. Recently though, I have been more fascinated by the earth benders. They are to me, some of the most interesting to watch. Their skill seems to be both defensive and offensive However, it does come off as a lot more defensive especially for the one who hasn’t yet mastered it.

The little girl a.k.a The blind bandit who introduces the earth bending in book three (I think) mostly uses it to protect herself. The only way to get to someone behind a boulder is to either break through it or climb over the wall. However, with each wall you overcome, usually a new one is raised, most often a higher or bigger wall. You can not get to an earth bender who doesn’t want to be found. 😀

ade
Image Source: Google

Chris Brown (The Hollywood guy not Elevation Church’s worship leader…hehe) , has a song called Wall to wall. He released it in those days when he was still new on the scene and greatly loved. He’s still greatly loved by some, others kind of moved on upon finding out he’s in the habit of beating his girlfriends and threatening them to the point of them getting restraining orders. Henewe…

In the video,( I don’t really remember what the song is about,)  Chris and his dancers seem to be jumping from wall to wall chasing this girl’s love. It’s been a while since I watched it and hence very possible that I misinterpreted the song altogether. 🙂

Some of us are skilled earth benders, putting up wall after wall to keep others out. It’s a defence mechanism. If they don’t get to you, then they can not and will not hurt you. It does seem to me however, that these walls keep the love out too. So many people can want to love you but you will not be able to experience that love unless you let them. Not even God.

Some people will try though, they will train for sometime so that they have enough strength to break through your walls. They will go to that rock climbing thing you find in fancy gyms …hehe…to improve their wall climbing skills. Wall climbing is not like tree climbing so even childhood experiences do not help here. But if you don’t let them…

Anyway, me thinks, you have a big say in whether you experience love or not. Even from God.

And to the people having to climb wall after wall, I pray for you strength and patience. Sometimes, us skilled earth benders just need a little more time. We want the love. We are just afraid.

 

Papa

I googled my father’s name a few minutes back. I’m not sure what it is I was hoping to find. Maybe an essay written by him or about him. I thought maybe I could come across some pictures and just stare at the face of the man I last saw and interacted with in 1999.

I hardly remember the sound of my father’s voice. I was nine when he passed away. I remember his face. I look a lot like my father. My mother tells me so. I can see it especially as I grow older. I have pictures of him. I miss my father.

The past couple of months haven’t been anything I would ever choose for myself or for anyone. I like to be in control of my life. I like to know what is happening so that I can choose. I hate it when things happen to me that make me feel so out of control. I haven’t felt like I have a handle on my life for a very long time. I miss my dad.

Last night I was talking to God and realised that I was very specific about who I was talking to. I said, ” God, I need you . I need you to just come and make everything okay.” Then it hit me that I was very deliberately referring to God , the father. Not Jesus. Not the Holy Spirit. God the father. When I told Him that I needed Him, I meant that I want my father. He’s the only father I have and right now, I really could use a father.

In my mind, fathers represent strength and protection. My dad, the one whose physical DNA I carry, always made me feel so safe. However, the thing I remember the most is that he made me feel accepted. I don’t know why but from early on in life, I felt like I was weird. Like, there was a certain way I should be and I wasn’t that way. However, with my dad, that feeling went away. It was almost like, he didn’t see that. I felt very loved and accepted by my father.

Truth be told, I don’t have that many memories of my father. Sometimes, I miss all that could have been. I miss the relationship I could have had with him as an adult. I imagine that maybe , even at this age, I would still feel very accepted by my father. I fell asleep to thoughts of my father last night. I fell asleep smiling. I knew him for a short while and it was all beautiful.

This is my first time writing in a while. I haven’t wanted to. I would just stare at my screen and then shut down. I had the words. I would just lose the interest as soon as I looked at the screen. Pain is a very selfish thing. It calls all attention to self, don’t you even dare look away. It can also be an overwhelming thing.

God, I need you. God, I need you to come and make everything al right. I need you to remind me that I am fully loved and accepted always, regardless. I need you to lead me back home. I am feeling quite lost.

 

 

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.

 

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.

I was listening to Jealous by Labrinth…

“How is your boyfriend?” Her pastor asked as he motioned for her to take a seat across from him.

“We broke up” she said with a small smile, the kind of smile she wore when she felt awkward. or when she thought she might be making someone feel awkward.

“Oh dear,” he said after a thoughtful pause, “What happened?”

“He moved to another country and decided he didn’t want to come back”

She felt tense. This is not why she had come to see him. In fact she had been avoiding him. Maybe he sensed it. He had run into her in the corridor and insisted she come to his office for some tea.

“So, what flavour tea do you have?” She asked rubbing her sweaty palms on her jeans .

“All of them” he said, with a smug smile.

“I can tell by the look on your face that you are lacking in faith” he added before bursting into laughter. She laughed too. It felt so good to laugh. It felt so good to laugh and mean it. She probably laughed a lot harder than was required. It was just a bad pastor joke after all. Laughter that brought tears. Laughter that gave her an excuse to cry, and cry she did.

At first she tried to fight it but the veins in her neck felt like they were about to pop. So she let herself cry. She just wasn’t ready for the force with which the tears came as she struggled to breath in between sobs. She cried the tears she should have cried when she saw that text message that read “I don’t know, I’m thinking of staying” . She cried the tears that she had kept at bay when it sank in the next morning that he hadn’t suggested that she join him or mention visits. She cried because she knew he was well aware of how she felt about long – distance relationships. She cried because she had a secret board on Pinterest titled weddings. She cried because she finally could.

She was grateful that the pastor’s office was carpeted and almost laughed when she thought of what it would look like after, soaked.

“I’m sorry,” she said when the tears gave her some breathing space.

“Nothing to apologise for,” he said as he handled her some tissue.

“Raspberry and Arabian mint,” he added

“I beg your pardon?”

“The Tea flavours that I have, raspberry and mint”