Meeting Malcom

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I spent most of my day speaking to Malcom (the young man in the picture above), after meeting him at an outreach.

Malcom was very open to sharing his story with me, and after hearing it I was both heartbroken and inspired. I wanted more people to know about it, so I asked him if I could share it with all of you.
He said yes.
(Side note: these are not his exact words, but I have not changed the story one bit, just the grammar.)

“My dad passed away when I was 1 and a half. We were both in a car accident, I survived because of him, but he didn’t make it. From the age of three my step dad would abuse me and my uncle started raping me, and he stopped when I was 8. I couldn’t wait to get away from my family. No one in my family believed me when I told them what had happened to me, so I ran away at the age of 9, and became a street kid. While on the streets, I was raped about 5 times in the period of 3 years. I did drugs for 7 years and stopped in 2009. It was so hard to stop with everyone in the streets around me pushing me to ‘try it one more time’. But I stopped.
I have been living on the streets for 18 years now. I sleep on any sidewalk, and when I can somehow get money for a shelter, I’ll stay there.”

After that, he got up and got in the long line to get food. I wasn’t sure what I say to a young man whom has been through so much, all I could say was, “I’m so sorry.”

After he had eaten, I snapped a quick photo of him, hugged him, and he left.
I craved more of his story.
I wanted to find out if things have gotten any better, if he even believes they can get better.
But he was gone.

About an hour afterwards, I went down to the Durban beachfront and went for a walk. While watching people walk past, I spotted Malcom. I couldn’t believe it. I walked up to him and greeted him again.
We ended up sitting down and talking for 3 hours straight.
I asked him if he had money for the shelters.
This was his response, “I almost have enough. I had to beg for this money though, and I hate begging. People turn around and tell me to get a job, but do they not think I have already tried? I don’t blame them though, we were not made to be beggars.”

We continued to talk about how he would sometimes dig in rubbish bins for food, and how embarrassed he was about it. He told me stories of how he would get woken up in the middle of the night with someone beating him up.

Suddenly, a man came up to us, asking if I had any money to donate to a church event for the youth of some townships near by, I said, “no, sorry.” Then, without any hesitation, Malcom jumps up and hands him the money he had gotten for the shelters. He needed that money. That was all he had.
When I asked him why he did that he said, “Did you hear what it is for? It is for people who need to hear about God.”

I had tears in my eyes.

how could someone be so selfless?

This young man had blown me away with his kindness.
He challenged me.

I was so shocked by what had just happened, that I kept asking him more and more questions about it. He laughed at me, and was quite happy to share his faith with me.
He told me that God makes him joyful. He told me that he knows that God will provide.
(He made me promise to write that part so that all of you might be strengthened some how.)

So this isn’t at all like any of my other posts, but I felt I better share Malcom’s story.

The man who is willing to give everything, even when he has nothing.

Take a Look at your Wings.

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This morning I found myself wondering around in my garden, and I noticed there were a few butterflies flying around some flowers and weeds. I thought this was a great moment to get my camera out and get some good shots of these beautiful creatures, so I did.

See the butterfly in the picture above? That’s what I was able to see. How lucky am I? How beautiful is this creature? Look at every intricate detail on that small wing. Look at the patterns. Look at the colours. Look at the beauty.
Immediately a thought popped through my head, do butterflies know they’re beautiful? I went inside and quickly researched it. They don’t know. They cannot see their wings and so they live their whole lives not knowing how beautiful they are.

How many people in this world cannot see their wings? How many of you cannot see your wings? How many people live their whole lives not knowing how beautiful they are?

I find it so easy to see other peoples “wings”, other peoples beauty, but what about mine?
And no I am definitely not just talking about how good we look, I am also talking about our hearts and what we are truly good at.
I remember in school the most common question asked in a Life Orientation lesson was, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
My list of weaknesses would take up a whole page, maybe even two! But my strengths were never really too visible to me, and so that list would remain almost empty.

We walk around almost every day not noticing our wings. Not knowing that we are beautiful.
You know that person that turned around to stare at you a second time? There’s nothing wrong with you, there’s nothing on your face, they were admiring your beauty, the way you walk, your smile, your ‘glow’. They could see your wings!

When you get a chance, go look in the mirror today and make a conscious decision to look at your wings, have a long, good look! Look at the patterns, admire the character.
You are not average. You are not plain. You are beautiful, just like that butterfly, picture perfect.
Start to look at your most attractive characteristics, stop being modest, for a few minutes, look at yourself, inside and out, and flaunt it!

Then, walk around a public area, and start to notice everyone else’s wings, everyone else’s beauty. After that, take a deep breath, and give them a compliment. I promise that you will help someone else see their beauty.

Take a good look at your wings, take a good look at your beauty.

A Story of Hope

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Photo taken at Grace Family Church.
From far left, myself (Paige Bates), Dee Dahllund, Precious, Randle Duki.

A story of hope

Sitting at Grace Family Church, having a cup of tea before the service was a normal weekly routine. Except on Sunday the 16th of February, a lady named Precious, changed something.
Meeting 25 year old Precious, you’d see her as a happy, healthy lady, someone who enjoys the simplicity of things. She greeted my friends and I with a simple sentence, “You don’t understand how happy I am for this tea!” We’re very open to meeting new people and started a friendly conversation with her. While in this conversation, we discovered a few details of her life which we never, ever expected..
She is HIV positive.
Her mom had a stroke and she has to look after her.
She has a 9 month old baby.
She doesn’t have a job.
She gets laughed at every day in her neighborhood for being HIV positive.
Her baby luckily does not have HIV.
They sleep on the floor.
She can hardly pay her rent.
That morning, she wanted to kill herself.
And she came to church to receive prayer.

With tears welling up in my eyes, I quickly told her about an organization that my friends, Dee Dahllund and Randle Duki, (whom were sitting with me at the time) and I were running, Food Ambush. I explained to her that every week we buy food for someone and help them out, I told her we would love to help her out as soon as possible, her eyes widened and tears ran down her cheeks, she couldn’t believe it, she couldn’t believe we cared. With that she went into the service and we headed off to spar to go surprise her with some food for her, her mom and her baby.

Once the service was over, we searched for her for a while, we finally found her, as soon as she saw we had bought her food, she fell into my arms and started sobbing, then fell on her knees, level to the packets of food and all she kept saying was, “Thank you, and thank you Jesus!”
My friend, Randle, also handed her some money for her rent and taxi fare, she was shocked that people could be so generous.
Once she had gotten prayer, I sat down to chat to her about maybe writing a short story about her and she said yes, but there was one condition, she told me I had to add her story of faith for others out there who are like her, and so I will keep my promise and I will share her story to the best of my ability.

She started off by saying, “my mom had a stroke and now she can’t talk and I have to look after her,” she looked around for a while and then continued, “I am HIV positive and I can barely look after myself, and now I have to look after my mom and my child. I don’t have a job, I have a matric but no one will hire me because I am HIV positive, I can’t afford food. I try feed my child everything that is close to baby formula because I cannot afford it. I once thought of handing over my child to the Domino Foundation, as I handed my child to them, I realized I couldn’t let go, and that day I kept my child, and promised to do anything and everything I can to keep my child alive,” She looked at me with tears in her eyes, took a sip of her tea and proceeded, “I have never understood how mothers can just give away their children, how can a mother leave her child?” She wiped her tears from her cheeks, “I live in Inanda and even people in my neighborhood laugh at me because I don’t have stylish clothes or I’m not healthy like they are. When I am not with people and I keep things to myself, that is when I feel most alone that is when I think of ending my life,” She smiled, “But I am happy for my life, because if I didn’t have HIV and if I had money and a job, I wouldn’t be relying on Jesus like I am. Jesus knew that through my illness and through my hardship, I will gain a relationship with Him,” I struggled to fight back the tears, “I am happy I met you guys, because I needed someone to talk to, I needed someone to listen to my story, I needed to be with people who will not laugh in my face, you are my sisters and my brother,” she took another sip of her tea, “sometimes I wish I could go on the radio and speak, so I could tell other people like me that they must not keep their sadness hidden away, I want to say that they need to tell people. You cannot let this thing eat you away. If you want a friend, become a friend of Jesus. Today I came to church and today Jesus sent you three to give me food. Food that I haven’t had for so long. If you trust in Jesus, anything can happen!”

I walked Precious to the front door of the church and she told me that she couldn’t believe how well she was treated. She also told me that I am her sister, that I am now her family, her friend, and then she said, “I love you.” I told her that people care about her, and that she is going to change lives after I tell people of what she has been through. She then headed off with her packets of food and waved goodbye.

So before she left I asked her if there are any others like her in Inanda and she said that there were many. I then asked myself the question, “Imagine we could help them too, and imagine giving them all a story of hope?”
So now here I am, typing this story, hoping that most of you have read up to this point. I am almost 17 years old and my friends, 19 and 16 years old, we were able to change a story of chaos into a story of hope. If we can, so can you. If you’d like to know more or you would like to get involved in our Food Ambush organization, contact us on blueballoonhome@gmail.com

Thank you to Dee Dahllund and Randle Duki for making this possible! And thank you to Precious for letting me write about her story!

The Samples

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Have you ever walked into a store and spotted one of those food promotions with free samples for you to taste and think to yourself, "Free food!" So you rush over to the promoter with the platter of food samples and once you taste the food you then make the decision on whether to buy the product or not.
What if we are Food samples?
What if I told you that we are the ones who can altar someone's food choice?

Let me explain a little bit.
If the congregation follows God, are we then not the samples to what God is like?
There are numerous amounts of times in the bible where God tells us to be like him and to bring people to that point where they see Gods profound work in our lives, and they just have to let God work in them as he worked through us.
So then, if we love people with Grace in our hearts and let God love through us, surely we will draw people in and they will want to know why we love them, and so then God intervenes in their lives.
But if we act differently to how God has called us to act, and hate people or be in a constant state of anger or bitterness, then we will chase people away.
Just like the food samples. If the food tastes good the consumer will want to buy it so they can have the 'real deal'. If the food tastes bad the consumer probably won't ever consider trying it again, and they will tell others about this experience.

What does this look like?
If you're thinking, "Well, I'm definitely safe because I've never sinned, I always follow by the rules and I'm a good person." You're in the wrong mindset, and you need to let go of that thought fast. If You're a "good Christian" but you treat others badly, they're not going to want to know your God.
Just because the food sample looks good, doesn't mean that the consumer will buy the product.
Being a Christian isn't about rules and most people fail to realize that. Being a Christian is to be the best sample you can be to others. God didn't call you to follow the rules, God called you to go out and love people as he loves you.

The sample didn't work.
"Paige, I have no idea what to do. I loved that person like you said I should and I did what God wanted me to do, but they still aren't interested in God."
Wait.
Be patient and have faith in the fact that God is capable of changing lives.
Not every person is going to want to buy the product after tasting the sample, even if the sample is tasty. They may not like the price that has to be paid. In this case it isn't money, but rather using their lives to fulfill Gods plan and let Him be in charge. For some people it's scary, I was even scared the first time I truly gave my life to God. I can guarantee you that if you keep being there and keep loving them they will come around and know that the price is worth the product.

We are the unusual samples.
What is unlike food samples is that Christian samples can't sit in one place and wait for people to come to them. We can't just sit in our churches and wait for new people. We need to step out of our comfort zone and connect with new people, make new friends and build new relationships. A food sample is approached by a person and that person decides whether they would like to taste it or not. Instead we won't give that person a choice, we're going to show them Grace and love them no matter what.

Don't stop loving them.
Lastly I want to point out that once someone chooses to follow Jesus and become a Christian, this doesn't just mean that your jobs done and you can finish loving them. You need to love that person until either of you are on your deathbed, and on top of that you need to keep loving new people. It sounds like a lot of work, right? Not of God is the one loving them through you. God works through us in powerful ways if we just simply invite Him to by a simple prayer.

By posting this blogpost I am in no way saying I am not guilty of being a "bad sample", because I most definitely am, but i do think that myself and fellow Christians need to realize that being a sample means that we altar peoples decisions of whether they want to live a fulfilling life for God or live a life that is meaningless.

We are Samples and we are Called to Love.

Invisible

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Recently I listened to a song by Skylar Grey called ‘Invisible’. This song speaks about how no one ever notices her no matter what she does, incase you’ve never listened to it, here are the lyrics:

[Verse 1]
I take these pills to make me thin
I dye my hair, and cut my skin
I try everything, to make them see me
But all they see, is someone that’s not me

[Chorus]
Even when I’m walking on a wire
Even when I set myself on fire
Why do I always feel invisible, invisible
Everyday I try to look my best
Even though inside I’m such a mess
Why do I always feel invisible, invisible

[Verse 2]
Here inside, my quiet hell
You cannot hear, my cries for help
I try everything, to make them see me
But every one, sees what I can’t be

[Bridge]
Sometimes when I’m alone
I pretend that I’m a queen
It’s almost believable

I remember a while back, I was at school and I spotted a girl sitting alone, she looked like she was a grade below me. This girl had sat alone for the past week and everyday I thought of going to sit with her. I would walk past her on my way to the tuck-shop all the time, and one day I told myself, “you need to go sit with her.” That day on my way to the tuck shop, I was so close to going in her direction, but then something inside of me just wouldn’t allow me to, and I walked straight past her and continued my route to the tuck shop. I was so angry with myself. I didn’t know why I never just went and sat with her. Thinking back now, I realized i didn’t do it because of that thought in the back of my mind that says, “wait, what would my friends think?” That disgusting thought stopped me from noticing someone, and even more than that, making them my friend.

I remember asking people that were in her grade how often she sits alone, their response was, “I didn’t even know she was in our grade!” And oh how often I have said the exact same thing! I remember having a grade meeting with our Head of Grade at school and a girl would walk in and I’d say, “I didn’t even know she was in our grade!” Or, “I didn’t even know she was in our school!” To my friend sitting next to me.
But WHY didn’t I ever notice those people?
So often we choose to only associate with those people who are like us or who fit in our ‘cool kid’ category. We think that we are ‘too good’ to associate with anyone lower than us, OR our friends influence our decisions on who is worth noticing and who isn’t. I’d really like to put a stop to this. In my life, personally, I am making some changes. I have acknowledged that I am not above anyone nor am I below anyone. Everyone i come across is worth noticing. That beggar that comes to the car window? Instead of looking another direction and ignoring him/her, I’m going to greet them, and give when I have something to give. When that girl/boy is sitting alone or people are mocking him/her, I’ll go stand by them, and make them my friend. When I see someone go so far as cut them selves to be noticed, instead of backing away, I’ll move in closer and notice them more.
Maybe you need to make some changes too.

To the people who feel invisible and who can relate to Skylar Greys song, I am so sorry that you have turned to harming yourself, or having to be someone you’re not in order to be noticed. I also want you to know that you are worth noticing. You are not below anyone and you are not alone.
BUT
You don’t need to to do anything like hurt yourself or be someone you’re not to be noticed. Do something great. Create something, like a new invention, stand up for something you believe in, do a good deed, help someone with something, be kind, and the best one, walk around with the biggest smile on your face and you’ll attract people like moths drawn to a light.

One last thing.
1.If you were that girl sitting alone everyday in a school of over 600 students, and no one ever noticed you, how would you feel?

2.Mother Theresa was noticed for her kindness, and even after she has passed away, people are speaking about her with praise.

Why?

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WHY does God allow suffering?
WHY doesn’t God help the poor?
WHY doesn’t God stop poverty?

Being a Christian, one of the hardest things for me was when people would ask, “If God exists, why would he allow suffering in the world?” My answer would always be somewhere along the lines of, “some things we don’t know all the answers to and we just have to accept it,” but that didn’t help. I try to avoid this questions as much as possible because sometimes, it makes me doubt things that my God can do.

This morning I was flicking through TV channels to find that the movie Bruce Almighty was on. It was half way through but I decided to watch anyways. After listening to a quote from Morgan Freeman whom played God in the film, a lightbulb in my head was quickly lit.

In the movie Bruce (Jim Carey) is given Gods (Morgan Freeman) powers for a while. He uses the powers on silly things like parting his soup in one scene and trying to get a job as an anchor man by destroying other peoples careers. Later in the movie a riot breaks lose and it ends up being chaotic. Bruce realizes he can’t stop it and so he goes to God for advice.
This is what God says:

Parting your soup is not a miracle Bruce, it’s a magic trick. A single mom who’s working two jobs and still finds time to take her son to soccer practice, that’s a miracle. A teenager who says “No” to drugs and “Yes” to education, that’s a miracle. People want me to do everything for them. What they don’t realize is that THEY have the power. You want to see a miracle, son? Be the miracle!

So, with all respect, stop asking God to feed the hungry, start doing it yourselves. If we stopped being lazy and went out and helped the poor and did something about the amount of people dying from starvation or all the bad things happening in our world, we wouldn’t have to keep asking God. There are over 7 billion people in this world. 22 000 children die each day from poverty around the world. So if ALL of us, and I mean all of us, around the world, gave food to a starving child every day, would we solve children dying of starvation? YES.
More than 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 (R24.74) a day and 1.3 billion of those people live on less than $1.25 (R12.37) a day, that leaves us with 4 billion people who can give these people food and provide for them.
Preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia take the lives of 2 million children a year who are too poor to afford proper treatment, I’d like to ask all doctors whom are fairly wealthy, WHY won’t you save a child’s life? You have the power to do so, you’re more then capable, so WHY? working in a hospital where they have machines to keep people alive and all the right treatment, I honor you for that, but isn’t working in a place where there are way more people dying and in need of your knowledge in health and your ability to heal them more rewarding, knowing that you’re saving the lives of 2 million children? We have enough doctors in the hospitals located in wealthy areas, we don’t need you as much as those 2 million dying children.
More than 867 million people are illiterate in the world, to my understanding there are many people studying to become teachers, why not teach the illiterate. The schools around you probably have way more teachers than they need, but the schools where illiteracy is high are struggling, those are the places you should be drawn towards. Imagine being able to do what you love (teaching) AND being able to make people’s futures much brighter, does that idea not excite you?

And for people like me, who are still in school/university and don’t exactly have the money to help these people or the skills as such, lets make an effort to spread the word and let everyone (who has the resources) know how they can help. I know from experience that spending time with these people, people in shelters who can’t afford a home, or people who have to sleep on the streets, children in townships where school isn’t an option because they’re busy taking care of their family, or a child in an orphanage whom has never had someone hug them or speak to them with love, is so worth it because these people treasure every moment you spend with them, every word of theirs you listen to, every trouble of theirs you care about and every pain of theirs you pray for. So for people my age, your times more than enough. If you don’t have time, spread the word, do what I’m doing, as much as you may think it won’t make a difference, it will.

Stop asking God to do everything and realize he gave you your gift for a reason.
We all have different gifts to be put together in order to stop what’s happening in terms of poverty in our world, I may not have mentioned yours in this blog post but it can most definitely still be used in ending poverty. Yes I’m dreaming big, but if more of us started to dream big, maybe we could change things.

Stop asking God WHY and starting asking yourself WHY.
WHY haven’t YOU stopped suffering in this world?
WHY don’t YOU help the poor?
WHY don’t YOU stop poverty?

You want to see a miracle, son? BE THE MIRACLE!

A Face Full Of Wax

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One of my clearest memories as a kid was during Easter time, when the family would get together for a big lunch and many Easter eggs. One Easter, we were at my aunts house and she had decided to light some candles, which looked a bit like the candle in the picture above. Once the lunch had ended, my cousin and I were really eager to be the ones to blow out the candles, I went to ask my mom and she said, “No, don’t blow them out, its dangerous!” I thought she was being unfair and completely disobeyed her, so while blowing out candles, I chose a big, green candle. I took a deep breath then blew, then it happened. Not only did the candle go out, but my face was covered in melted wax, it was burning. I started screaming for my parents. I cannot describe how i was feeling, there was wax everywhere! My mom quickly took me to the bathroom to wash it off before the wax dried completely. She had gotten all of it off, and luckily, I was unharmed.

In the bible God has Ten Commandments. Lately I’ve heard that living by those commandments is not what God tells us to do, and I want to clear it up. God does say we must do these things, but he says it in the same way my mom told me not to blow out the candle, because if we don’t listen to those things, he knows the consequences and he doesn’t want to see us get hurt. I am in no way saying that if you don’t obey the Ten Commandments, God won’t love you, OF COURSE he will, he loves you no matter what(Romans 8:38). When I didn’t listen to my mom when she said , “don’t blow out the candle” she never stopped loving me, I never hurt her, I hurt myself. She was giving me a guideline, showing me the safe way. I had a choice to listen to her and in the same way we have a choice to listen to God.
Lets take a closer look at the Ten Commandments..

1.You shall have no other gods before Me.
By “gods” He is referring to other religions. This is a guideline of giving your WHOLE heart to God. It’s almost like having a wife, but a girlfriend on the side, you won’t be fully committed to either relationship. God wants to be more intimate with you. He is a jealous God, he wants you all to himself, because he is your DAD and he wants to have a COMMITTED relationship with you.

2.You shall not make idols.
Idols don’t necessarily mean “people”, it could also include a cellphone, partying, drinking, your job, drugs, material things etc. In my opinion, God tells us not to do this because this stuff won’t keep us happy, and he knows that, he doesn’t want us to waste all our time and energy on something that isn’t going to bring us complete joy and contentment.

3.You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
This means using a phrase like, “Oh my God!” Firstly, God sees this as an insult. How do you like being insulted? I’m sure you don’t enjoy it, we’ll neither does God. Secondly, I used to do this a lot, and I realized that somehow it made me care less for God and I just started not caring about my relationship with Him. It could also lead you to walk away from God somehow. It is also in a way blaming God for everything, imagine someone walked around using your name in vain and blaming you for everything?

4.Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
A Sabbath day is a day of rest. I think this commandment explains itself, if we don’t obey this one, it will only effect us, we will be the ones tired and worn out. This is a good example of how God thought of us while he was making these. Another part of this is to “make it holy”, God says, “here’s a day of rest, BUT it is also a day where I want to love you, and I want to strengthen our relationship and speak to you.” So this commandment allows you to have a day of NO WORK and getting to know the God that loves you more than anything.

5.Honor your father and your mother.
Without honoring your parents, it creates a negative relationship between you and your mother or father. When someone is not honored and treated with respect, their reaction is to completely block off that person, if you don’t honor (respect) your parents, it would completely alter your relationship with them, for the worst.

6.You shall not murder.
7.You shall not steal.
8.You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
All of the above have the same consequences, murder, stealing and false accusations. They can all lead to prison in extreme cases and they can cause a lot of pain in your life or the lives of others. This is a law to protect people. God is literally protecting us from harming others and from the criminal consequences that come with these.

9.You shall not commit adultery.
This commandment is protecting everyone. It’s protecting the hearts of most people, it’s there to prevent hurt and brokenness. God didn’t want to see us hurting over a boy or girl whom has broken our hearts by cheating on us. He also doesn’t want us to break someone else’s heart.

10.You shall not covet.
To covet is to envy. If we continue to want what everyone else has we will never be happy with what we have.

Even though there are guidelines for us, we’re going to blow out that candle and get a face full of hot wax sometimes. We’re going to rebel and fall flat on our faces, but God is always there to pick you up, just like my mom was there to wash the wax off my face.
These aren’t rules.
These are your guidelines.
Use them wisely.

She is clothed with Strength and Dignity.

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So often as women, we doubt ourselves. I know I do. We always find reasons not to like our bodies or how we were made.
So many times I have not seen myself as worthy because I think others see me as worthless. I feel inadequate when I face rejection. When one bad thing happens in my life, it feels like the end of the world to me. I overreact, but i know I’m not the only one. While typing the title, “She is Clothed with Strength and Dignity,” I asked myself, do I really believe this because how can I be strong if everything makes me insecure and makes me fall apart. How can I be clothed in dignity when I don’t get treated with respect and honor by men or my peers.

As women not only are we prone to feel insecure about ourselves, but we are seen as vulnerable. We are treated like we are objects of attraction or fertility and nothing more, and I’m not saying this happens all the time, but it definitely exists. Look how many woman have been trafficked for sex slavery from when they were younger, look at how many men leap at the thought of buying a young girls virginity, take a look at how these girls are treated as nothing more than dirty “hookers”. Or to bring the subject closer to home, lets take a look at how many girls have unfortunate chance to experience a boyfriend taking advantage of her and leaving her, as if she meant nothing to him. Lets take a look at the number of female rape victims there are in South Africa and the rest of the world. Lets go into schools and take a survey as to how many girls get called fat versus how many girls get called beautiful. Notice how our dignity has become invisible and our strength seems hard to find.
How many times have you been treated unfairly?
How many times have you felt inadequate?
How many times have you had a man take advantage of you?
How many times have you let what people say affect your confidence?

“She is clothed with Strength and Dignity.” Proverbs 31:25.
I don’t care what has happened to you, because compared to what God says in that verse, it means nothing. Who knows you better than the one who created you. When bad things happen, let’s take that strength God has provided us with and put it into action! When others don’t honor or respect you, know that God does. When you feel inadequate remember these words that God has spoken over you, “You are precious to me you are honored. And I love you.” (Isaiah 43:4) When you feel like you have no one to speak to about how you have been treated, turn to God, because He created you, He knows absolutely everything you are feeling. He knows every hurt you have felt, He knows how broken you are.

It’s a wonderful thing when we find out that we are women of so much worth, but we need to keep reminding ourselves about it. Even if it means putting a daily reminder on your phone saying, I am clothed with strength and dignity.
Believing all of this and being able to let go of the hurt and injustice in your life is a huge relief. So why not give other ladies you know, that need a word of encouragement, a chance to feel the same, don’t limit the good news to everyone who reads this blog post, go out and tell people. Let women know how beautiful they are, let them know that they are clothed with strength and dignity. .Lets create a movement of women who are warriors of God, women who will be strong and know that they were made to be treated with respect and honor.

You are clothed with strength and dignity.”

Important, Loved and Beautiful

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WORTHLESS
UNLOVED
UGLY
FAT
TOO SKINNY
AVERAGE

These are a couple of words that get used way too often. These words are dangerous, they sneak into our everyday lives whether we’re the ones who get hurt by them or even say them with the intention of hurting others.
What I’d like to do is show you how much these differ from how God sees you. If you’re about to stop reading because you don’t believe in God, I can tell you now that you probably shouldn’t, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe, if this is something that relates to you, you’re probably meant to be reading it.

WORTHLESS.
When you call someone worthless, or someone calls you worthless, the actual meaning is, “of no use or importance”, although, calling someone worthless is lying, and if you have been called worthless, it’s a lie. Jesus (Gods son) died for us. So the maker of the universe, the guy who made everything on earth, the stars, other planets and every one of us, thought that our lives, as much as we have screwed up, were worth enough to die for. God knows we are important, he made us to be someone important. If he didn’t think we were of worth, he wouldn’t have created us, but he did.

UNLOVED.
In Isaiah 43:4, God speaks about us and says, “You are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.” Not for one second are you unloved, it doesn’t even matter what you have done in your past or what you’re doing now, in Romans 8:38 it says, “and I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from Gods love.” You will never go a day in your life without being loved by your creator.

UGLY.
FAT.
TOO SKINNY.
AVERAGE.
In Genesis 1:27 it says that we were made in Gods image. Numerous times in the bible, especially in Psalms, people can’t stop talking about Gods beauty. So we can’t be ugly, fat or too skinny, because God is beautiful and so we were made in the image of his beauty which therefore makes us beautiful. God also sees you as perfect in his eyes. You are made from beauty and no one can ever tell you you’re not unless you believe you’re not.

I’m pretty sure what God says about us is way better than what others say about us? So next time someone does call you any of those things, it’s not even worth getting upset about, because its a lie and what God says is the truth.

You are IMPORTANT.
You are LOVED.
You are BEAUTIFUL.

Happiness

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Happiness is the name of the little girl in the picture above. Does she live up to her name? Most definitely! I don’t think I’ve ever met a happier little girl. Happiness isn’t someone who keeps her joy to herself, she lets it overflow completely. She can’t contain her joy, she just lets it out and it is more than noticeable, it’s almost contagious. There is absolutely no way you can look at this little girl and still feel sad or angry, your mood will be completely changed.

I met happiness in a shelter in Durban a few nights ago. When I first saw her, I was greeted with the biggest hug with her arms around my leg.To be honest, I actually met happiness about 2 or 3 months ago, but I only noticed her joy a few nights ago. I didn’t notice it before because my eyes were so set on the darkness, I chose to ignore this outpouring of joy coming from this little girl. If you’re wanting to meet happiness because you think her personality is rare, then you’re wrong, her personality is not rare, we just choose to ignore it sometimes like I did a few months ago.

My concern is that we become so consumed by the darkness, our eyes don’t accept the light. In those shelters, I was so focused on how satan was working in the lives of the people on drugs and in prostitution, that I didn’t notice how God was working in Happiness and her family through their joy and the acceptance that they so freely gave to people. In the same way, we only see how someone is failing and not how they have succeeded in so many things. We only see all the faults we have in ourselves, and find it hard to look at our greater talents and beauty.

Have you ever woken up in the morning in a dark room and then someone turns on the light and it hurts your eyes? You either rub your eyes and get used to it or you hide under the covers or turn the light back off. It’s exactly the same as what I am talking about. When we’re in darkness for so long, and someone brings the light, or the light is made visible to us, we sometimes turn away from it and look back to the darkness (turning the light off or hiding under the blanket) OR we can start adjusting to it and embrace the light.
God makes it clear to us that he is the light. The opposite of light is darkness, and the opposite of God is satan, so I’m just taking a wild guess that satan has something to do with darkness. I know I’ve been in the darkness for a while, I’ve been focusing on what satan has been doing around me, this stopped when I noticed happiness, because after seeing the light, I chose to embrace it and I wanted more. Why did I avoid the light for so long? Or why do so many people avoid the light? Because the darkness seems better, it doesn’t confuse you like the light does, it’s more realistic than the light. The light reveals some things to us that we don’t want to see, it ‘hurts our eyes’. One of these things is Grace, freely given love. Yet darkness says, ‘you’re doing this and this and this wrong’, which is what we’ve always been taught.

The light may be ‘too good to be true’, but imagine being able to notice the people like Happiness, the love that so many people speak of, or even the beauty in yourself? The darkness is sadness, it’s never feeling good enough, it’s focusing on the bad and only ever seeing the bad in people. Although, in light, there is always a shadow, which means you might have to walk through a shadow to get to the light, but don’t get consumed by that shadow, just keep looking ahead at that light.

Happiness isn’t just the girl I met in the shelters, Happiness is the light inside of you, it’s the light in the mean girl at school, the light in your parents fighting, the light in the judgmental glances from people at school, it’s the light in the pain someone else has caused you whether it’s physical or emotional, it’s the light in the drug addicts and the alcoholics, it’s the light in your tears and brokenness, it’s the light in poverty, but you’ll never see it if you only focus on the darkness.