What I learnt from Uncle Ashwin

The first time I encountered the Mahabeers was about 9 years ago. I had just taken my sister from KZN she was about 4 at the time and I was completely overwhelmed I could barely afford providing for my own needs at the time. How much more another little person’s needs as well. I wanted to put my sister in a pre- school that would prepare her for school in the best possible way. Auntie Veniza owns a pre- school called Shekinah pre- school and it had come highly recommended. I had made my budget and had decided I’d cut a few things out to make sure my sister could go there. It was tough.

I paid the first month and when I tried to make a second payment I was told it wouldn’t be necessary. I didn’t understand, and when I asked I was told for all the years of pre- school leading up to primary school they would cover the expenses.

Uncle Ash and Auntie Vee taught me with this simple act of grace, that God blesses us so we can extend our blessing to others.

Kindness to the poor is a loan from God, and he will repay.

Proverbs 19:17

My life has not always been filled with male godly role- models, I’ve admired most from afar. A few years ago I encountered one up close when my cell group started being led by Uncle Ash and Auntie Vee. Before this we had greeted them from far and just knew them as a friendly couple from church.

The first time we went to their house, he told us his life story, he shared how much of a difficult upbringing he’d had and how he’d worked so hard to make it in life. He shared how God had transformed him, how he strived to be better than the men he had seen encountered in his life. He shared his father’s struggles. He shared how in contrast his life was completely different, since he had a relationship with Christ.

He had so many reasons to succumb to the toxicity around him and he chose to be a better man. He chose to lead in love, to be a loving husband and to work hard.

His life story taught me that where I have been in life is not an indication of where I am going. That God could also transform me.

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.

Revelation 12:11

I remember once my house was robbed and I was crying at cell group sharing how terrified I was, sharing how when I drove into my yard and saw a group of men running out I just froze, I couldn’t think of anyone to call. I remember he sternly told me “NEXT TIME YOU CALL US, we will come help you, it doesn’t matter what time it is and what is happening we’ll come help you”. He was like a father to me.

I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with this couple and one thing that was always prevalent was how well he loved his Wife, it’s not hard to love a woman as wise and beautiful as Auntie Vee and I remember how he was so gentle with her, with the words he spoke, with the way he prayed, I watched how they always held hands, how they laughed and how they were always captivated by each other’s presence.

His love for Auntie V taught me to pray for a Godly man. A loving man.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25

I remember as he started getting sick, we had always worshipped with him, I thought him being sick would mean he would just sit and watch us. NOT Uncle Ashwin he would walk up the stage, most times I could see he’s in pain but he’d worship. HE’d play drums, he’d sing, he’d praise GOD even in the midst of everything he was going through.

He taught me how to TRULY worship. He’s life was a life of WORSHIP.

BLESS THE LORD OH MY SOUL, AND ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME BLESS HIS HOLY NAME

Psalm 103

I have many MANY stories that I could tell. I have many great memories of this man. These are by far my most treasured. I will never forget all the times he made us laugh, all the stories he told and all the love he shared. He was so generous.

Uncle Ashwin’s life ministered to me so much, I am sad, but I rejoice, for all his life has been, for all we learnt from him. I pray more men would live with his example in mind. I pray we may never forget how deeply he impacted our lives. We will love him always.

To the man who truly lived his life like Art. Whose treasure he now gets to enjoy in heaven and to his beautiful wife, his kids and his grandson. We mourn with you, we love. We know God will bring us through.

Life is Art

The real reason why I started memorizing scripture

People have asked me multiple times why I memorize scripture, I’ve given the clean explanation about how I did it because I struggled with inadequacy or because it came easy to me but there’s another story behind this, one I was too afraid to tell.

I spent my early twenties actively pursuing ungodly relationships, I was aided by the fact that I was drawn to “bad boys”. I got into relationships actually they are what I’d like to call “situationships” because I’d try to not publicize them, I’d completely take control of the relationship by seeing the person on my terms, refusing to define the relationship, I’d never agree to going on public dates, I’d also leave at anytime I felt because the relationship was mostly about me and had little to do with the other person. I controlled the physical aspect of the relationship for the most part as well, how much was done, when it was done. I didn’t sleep with any of them, physically I was a virgin but a complete whore at heart, I was selfish, the above characteristics are usually most common when it comes to men but there I was thriving.

You would never tell I was this person though, I hid it so well behind my “good girl” image, that came easy, because most people know me because of my testimony (I’ve blogged about it in a previous post). That and my ability to hide these things was a sure recipe for disaster. I don’t remember feeling guilty about my behavior, I said I felt it but honestly I enjoyed every single part. Most guys left of course which was fine by me I mean “I never wanted to be in a relationship anyway” so I rarely would stop them. In the midst of my relationship woes I met a really “nice” guy, who was a true believer, who valued purity and showed fruits of the spirit, but because I was set in my ways, I lost him playing my childish games and also I just felt I was too young at the time for a serious commitment, that would put a halt to my escapades.

I did this easily until one day I met my match, I say that because I remember clearly the day I met this person they were not interested in me, which was confusing I mean who could pass up the opportunity of having me in their lives, so I made it my mission to get this person’s attention and I did and nothing could have prepared me for what came. I had never really liked any of the previous guys, they were just pawns in my game, I used them for boredom and disposed them just as easily and that was the plan with the new one. It didn’t work out that way however, because I fell so deep in love (what I thought love was anyway) I was not prepared. The relationship started out normal, I’d vowed to myself to change and try going all in this time and just as I made that decision I found out there was a third party, I was shattered. I was angry and hurt but I decided that instead of confronting my pain I would put up a wall and go back to usual antics , I convinced myself I was too good for this but the difference is this time deep down I was hoping for different outcome. It never came, it was only after years yes YEARS of this: in-and-out, toxic, dysfunctional, completely dramatic relationship\situationship , with too many close calls to compromising my purity that I found the courage to get out.

I had repented multiple times, I had tried to stop this cycle of shame but nothing seemed to work. Not until I realized what the problem was Me. The problem was ME. I had spent most of these years convinced men were the problem but the one common denominator in all these relationships was ME.

I tried everything, I tried self-help books, I tried venting, my poor best friend Busi who knows all the intricate details of these stories, I tried to fast my phone and nothing seemed to work, not a single thing.

Have you ever been so desperate to change that you’d cry and punish yourself and fill your time with any mundane activity just to distract yourself from the demons that are within. It was so bad I became suicidal at some point, I’d wake up in the morning look at my walls and wish I could sleep forever and never wake up, until one day I took a sharpie and scribbled verses all over my wall, the first verse was:

John 1:5

The light shines in the darkness but the darkness had not overcome (understood) it.

I followed it up with more verses from John 1 and Psalm 16.

I knew in those moments that I needed more than venting or any other simple distractions. I remember reading multiple purity blogs, getting a purity ring, confessing and falling time and time again and knowing I’d go back to that lifestyle.

I was on YouTube one night and I saw a sermon by John Piper reciting scripture and I downloaded it, I listened to that sermon over and over and over again, when I was sad, when I felt weak, when I was consumed with guilt when I would rather die. Without realizing it I would spend hours close to 5 hours a day just replaying this sermon here:

The truth is that I had spent most of my life just trying to avoid being hurt, if you know my story you know that I have been through a lot and I was so Afraid of losing people I was so afraid of loving people, I didn’t know what love was and I didn’t trust any man because of my Daddy issues and because at the core of my flesh I was deeply broken and I spent my life convincing myself that I don’t need anyone, I had built walls so high to keep love out real love couldn’t even come in. Not even God’s love.

Scripture memory isn’t something I stumbled upon it became a life line, the Word of God pulled me out of depression, toxic cycles, dysfunction, darkness so deep I cannot see how I made it to this day. But God…

A brother of mine all the way from Kenya who’s blog I found whilst in the Middle of this mess Who counseled me multiple times with his wife Waturi, whose name is Ernest Wamboye said the following:

“The truth, Beloved, is that anything on this planet will fail you. If you seek a non-permanent thing to define your identity, be sure that future pain, worry, doubt and anxiety will always take the firmness and strength of that entity. You will suffer crushing defeats and the things you look to in this world will not sustain you. The truth that you need to befriend is simple; hook your identity on something permanent; something that can never fail and that can never be taken from you. Peg your identity on something permanent and constant to give you success, worth and significance that can never die. One reason we fall into depression is because our idols die. Get an “idol” that will never die. And that truth is the Gospel”

And to those men, I don’t know if they’ll ever see this, I had apologized but now I feel I should do it al over again. I hope you forgive me, I was broken, I was selfish and I treated you horribly and it’s completely inexcusable, I pray that you won’t let my behavior towards you change how you view life, love and women. I pray that you’ll find your worth in something greater than anything the world offers. I hope you find your worth in Jesus.

My depravity made me idolize and misuse relationships, the truth is that I made myself god, I completely disregarded anyone and anything that could have told me otherwise. God started a work in me and my life was completely changed.

Ernest Wamboye also states the following:

“The truth is a person, Beloved. A person that laid down their life for your sins and gives you a free gift of eternal life. A person who you have hurt over and over on account of your sin yet he chooses to cancel your debt and grant you forgiveness by paying for that debt with his own life. Christ never fails. Christ has never failed. Christ is the sure worth, success and significance for your identity that can never be taken away from you. In him, you will experience the pain in this world but you will never be crushed by it. See a man dying on a cross for his enemies and see one who understands pain in its most raw form. He understands yours. Don’t Facebook your pain; face Him- the Healer”

I faced the healer and he healed me, the sin that once was what I lived for became so repulsive that I changed my whole life to please the one true God, who saved me, the worst of them all. I couldn’t figure out how how I had been saved from having sex Here I am at 28 a virgin and through all of this mess and the reason really is found in this verse:

1 Timothy 1:15-17

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

This is the hardest blog I’ve ever written and my prayer is that it encourages you and pushes you so far into God’s presence that you’ll never look back again.

Life is Art – because the creator of the world himself has given us victory!