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.

2018-04-06 11.33.46.png

2018-04-06 11.31.50.png

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 were triggers until they triggered you. Like I said, nothing can ever prepare you.

ever.jpg

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.

 

Advertisements

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.

My Persis

My Persis. I have been thinking about the possessiveness of such statements. In fact the other day I was talking to God about it and I found that I get so much joy in saying “MY father” “MY Jesus” . It’s not possessiveness per se. It’s belonging. It’s intimacy. It’s pride. I want to show you off to the world.

My Persis…

You bring such joy to my heart. You are the softest hug I have ever received in my life. You are also the most communicative hug I have ever received. Time slows down when I am speaking to you, it’s as if you will it to slow down. Thank you for being present.

There’s this thing you do where you give everything you have without regard for yourself. It’s a beautiful thing, to have no regard for yourself.

“You are your Father’s responsibility”

You have no idea the number of people I have repeated this to after hearing it from you; and boy do you live it! Of course you have no regard for yourself, there’s someone else who’s responsibility it is to look after you. Thank you for stretching the boundaries. Thank you for sharing those experiences and in a way inviting us to do the same with our Father.

I’ve been learning that God loves us passionately and that He pursues us! That sometimes He will desire to sit with us in silence and just enjoy our company. That when we show up for a date with Him, He’s happy to see us. I love that! God is always happy to see you. God is always delighted to hear from you. God actually likes you and every little thing that you are amuses Him. Persis, Mukama omusanyusa 🙂

There’s not an aspect of your life that He’s not concerned about. There’s not an area you can’t trust Him with. Persis, even the parts you’ve pushed so far back to that part of your mind even your brain forgets about, your Father knows. He loves you intimately. He holds you close and when you show up, His heart sings , “My Persis”

I pray for you. I pray that you shall embrace this love. I pray that you will receive revelation of its breadth, depth, height and any other unit of measurement it has. Lol. I pray that as you experience more of this love, you will grow in boldness. May you shout about this love from rooftops to crowds. May you sing about it in lullabies to babies. May you poeticise  it in your books which I am eager to read.

Your life is a testament of this love. Your life is an epistle from Him to us and to yourself. Isn’t God funny though? That He can give you to yourself as a gift? God, by the way, is so much fun. Enjoy Him. Discover Him. Enjoy yourself. You are God’s gift to yourself. You are also God’s gift to me. I appreciate you My Persis. I love you but more importantly God loves you.

 

Lover lover

Do you ever see God as a lover?

Pillow talking, neck kissing, can’t wait to get out of here with you lover

When I wrote Kisses on the neck , I was just from a fellowship. I had just discovered Pompi’s No Rent and I was singing it to God non stop.

Sometimes prayer feels like pillow talking. Naked, unashamed, you’ve already seen it all, no point in hiding kind of naked. But also, freedom, I love that you are delighted in me, I delight in you and I am neither afraid nor ashamed of my desire naked. But also, comfortable, secure, I have nothing to fear with you naked.

So, sometimes we lay there, legs intertwined, head on chest or just lying next to each other, happy and speak with the honesty that comes with late nights and happy hearts. We giggle about seemingly silly thoughts that not even my closest may be able to handle without doubting my sanity.

We speak about big dreams that are both exciting and scary. Mostly so because of the person I will have to become to get there. He pulls me closer to Himself and says ,I’m here. I’ll be there. He kisses my forehead because He knows it warms my heart and shatters my walls.

Sometimes we talk about past hurts and I admit some things for the first time even to myself. He says, show me where it hurts. I point to my chest. He places butterfly kisses. One for every tear I tell Him about. He kisses my neck and I giggle. He whispers things, His breath on my ear is ticklish, I am laughing now. I don’t remember why I ever cried.

He comes face to face, holding his weight above my body and smiles. I smile back. I am my beloved’s and He is mine.

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.

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.