Perseverance, courage and this one bold woman who showed us how it’s done

Courage - VRHS Library Media Center

One of my favorite stories is about an old man whose name is Cliff Young, a farmer, who had ran an ultra marathon and won at 61 years of age. It has since been removed from the blogger site but I have it printed somewhere and every now and then I go back and marvel at what that man has done.

Cliff young took part in his first ever ultra marathon, which is basically 875 km, the trick is you run for about a hundred kilometers, sleep and repeat for a few days. Standing at the starting line were all these runners half Cliff Young’s age, wearing their ergonomic sneakers, having trained for months on end this man though he’d received no such training, he had no experience whatsoever, he hadn’t run a short race or a full marathon. All he had done was shepherd sheep, that’s it. It turns out in the end he won the ultra- marathon, you see when the other young runners had taken a rest for the night, when the lights had been switched off, this 61 year old kept going, he didn’t stop, not through the night, not through the rain, not the scorching heat not in anything. He didn’t just win but he broke the record. When he received the prize money he waited at the finish line and gave all the runners an equal share of the prize money, said they all worked hard and deserved to receive something, no matter how small, and so he left the world beaming from within and reminded us of just how much good there is out there.

This story recently reminded me of a woman who is my very own Cliff Young, she isn’t a runner, she isn’t a farmer but my goodness, she is a force to be reckoned with, her name is Sylvia Musoke. We call her Mama.

A few years ago she announced to us that she wanted to pursue her degree in education. It was surprising at first but we all showed support and what she taught us are lifelong lessons that we’ll carry with us for years to come. So grab a chair, or find a nice warm spot in the sun and lean in here, I pray this inspires you and that in the end you may see all that seemed possible glimmer with hope. Here we go!

It is never too late to pursue your dream

Who told us that dreams can be achieved within a certain time frame? That is only in your 20s or 30s that you can go for it? Who gets to decide that you’re too old to pursue any passion? Well Mama taught us there is no such thing, you get to dream big and actually have your dream realized whether it is in your late 40s , early 50s and at any age you decide you’re ready, if you my friend are concerned that too much time has passed remember this verse. All things in their time can be made beautiful, so dream on, work hard and find new passions it is never too late, never!

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Time management is essential to reach your goal

Daylight Saving Time - Turn back the clock Why Standard Time all year round  is the healthy choice

How well do you manage your time? Most people can spend hours on social media but cannot make time for what really matters, I am most people, sigh, this is what I do, I will scroll through my phone and tell myself that I wished I had more time, more time to pursue my passions and more time to do what matters even though I sometime waste so much of it, I am slowly changing and prioritizing, you can too.

Managing your time can be defined as:

“the ability to use one’s time effectively or productively, especially at work but not limited to a working environment”

I watched Mama do away with most things as she focused on her goal, she spent less time on social media, she would cook and arrange chores accordingly so she would have enough time she would even wake up really early so she could focus on her books, when were all snug and getting those extra few minutes of rest she was already up and about and this has taught me that time can be made for what matters.

Whatever you, do it to the best of your ability

Mama wasn’t going to be satisfied with just obtaining her degree, I told you in the beginning she is feisty, she has always taught us to do whatever we put out minds to, with great effort, she has always spurred us on in whatever field it may be, she worked hard to make sure she got it with distinction, you don’t manage your time well, sacrifice all the fun, whilst juggling the expectations from your job, so you can just get a qualification, you do it so that you can get it with distinction and that is exactly what she did.

Cum laude is Latin for “with praise” or “with honor” and represents an academic level of achievement. Educational institutions use the phrase to signify an academic degree that was awarded with honor.

Unsurprisingly her children, my siblings all have inherited this, not only the beauty but the brains, but as we all know brains alone can only take you so far, you also need the grit, the strength of character. Don’t be satisfied with just getting tasks done, do them well, do them with honor, do them with all you have the results will show in the end.

Celebrate others

Whilst Mama was still studying, she celebrated not only us, but others who were obtaining their qualifications. She encouraged us and she showed up for us whilst we were in our winning seasons. It is easy to side- eye and care nothing for others who seem have reached the peak you are still setting your eyes on. She has taught me that showing up for others does not take anything away from the goal you are aiming for. It is why in the end she was supposed to get a huge party, bigger than all the ones she has thrown for us, but she kept it simple and intimate and we love her all the same. She prayed for us and kept us going even though she had the same workload if not more, mothers are truly amazing. This particular woman is exceptional.

No matter how upset you are, it is never a reason to burn down UNISA

In the end when we almost did jail time for arson. UNISA kept giving Mama a run around and I was just a prayer away from setting that building alight, I know, I know, crime doesn’t pay. Mama reminded us of this, if came really close though, they had better be grateful Mama knows the Lord because we were not playing any games not at all.

Dear Mama,

Thank you for practicing what you preach so well, thank you for speaking with your life more than what you could have spoken with your words. Even when in the end there were a few obstacles that arose you kept going, you always kept going, through Covid, through winter, through tiredness through it all you just would not stop. You never ever stopped. Thank you for teaching us the power of prayer, I know how much you prayed through it all, even in the end when we almost burnt down UNISA (Jesus knows our hearts) you kept us all from jail time. You are truly remarkable and it’s a pity some people will only read about you, I wish everyone would encounter you. We are so proud of you and may God grant you all the desires of your heart. Congratulations again, I hope you change your mind about that massive party because you deserve to be fully celebrated, for all you have done for all you are and all you have been to us. We love you deeply.

You have taught the art of perseverance and courage.

Life especially Mamas is Art in its truest form is art and her life has been the most beautiful display.

On love and some lessons that I’ve learnt along the way

52 Romantic Love Quotes for Valentine's Day 2021

Love is such a mystery, honestly! Everyday you interact with so many people and then one day you look at one particular stranger and decide you want to keep them around in your life for longer which is so insane because for some of us there are family members we would gladly trade in even though we come from the same parents and have spent most of our lives together.

I don’t think I have been particularly fortunate when it comes to the affairs of the heart, my ability to choose potential suiters is honestly the worst, no really, I used to think they were the problem until I realized in all of my relationships I am the common denominator, it isn’t who approaches you, it is who you decide to entertain.

During most of my strange escapades that with the opposite sex, some thrilling, some short and most ended with absolute regret I have learnt a few things. I won’t say that my lessons are life changing and maybe for some they are so simple and straight forward but I took a long journey to get to this destination of contentment.

Yes, contentment, I know for some it is an unattainable space, well it was for me for the longest time. Those who know me will know I have been single for most of my adult life, I have been hooked up more times than I can count and each time it ended in absolute disaster.

I am a hopeful romantic and was overly picky! I was thinking the other day that in my early 20s I had a two page list of what I wanted in a man, everything form his exact height, complexion, qualification and to top this crazy list he had to be left handed, yes something about someone being left handed impressed me, ridiculous I know but hey. As the years went by my list grew suspiciously shorter and now it only has 3 things on it and it’s hilarious how I have scaled it down but keep reading to find what those 3 things are… Here are some of the lessons I have learnt in my journey of love.

Lesson 1: You are as healthy as what you entertain

One of my favorite quotes is by Rupi Kaur:

“For you to see beauty here doesn’t mean there is beauty in me. It means there is beauty rooted so deep within you, you can’t but see it everywhere” What a beautiful quote right?

I have learnt you are as healthy as what you entertain, now don’t get me wrong, people are deeply flawed and loving someone means looking past their flaws and finding the gem hidden behind all the rubble, we all have past traumas, triggers and other disfunctions that we ourselves are trying to navigate, how much more when you bring someone into your life. There are people who strongly believe in this saying “this is how I am, take me or leave me”, this statement is so problematic because it means that person isn’t willing to do anything to see how their behavior can have an effect on their significant other, in a negative manner. In relationships, not only in romantic relationships but all relationships we need to constantly strive to be kind, to be gentle, to guard our words and to apologize when harm was done. Although sometimes this isn’t enough we can strive all the same and if you see that a person is unwilling and hardly reciprocates that same attitude than it’s best you keep your distance. If all you ever see is what is wrong with people and you believe they are the only ones who need to change, then you need to look long and hard into yourself. ALWAYS try to see beauty in others but don’t break your own heart when all your attempts are futile. I was this person I could never see the good in me and so I painted everyone with that same brush. An ugly brush it was when I started to value myself that people seemed better, healthier, worth the effort.

For you to see beauty her... | Quotes & Writings by Megha Bhattacharjee |  YourQuote

Lesson 2: How you define love matters!

How do you define love?

We all have different ways of defining what love means to us, that we have adopted from somewhere, some think love is just feelings, some have other views on it. The problem comes when people who have different definitions of love come together and when they try to make it work they keep clashing.

My definition of love is one that won’t sell any romantic novels, it is dull and boring but quite rewarding even if mainstream media wouldn’t necessary agree.

I believe to love is to choose.

13 Quotes About Making Life Choices | SUCCESS

Feelings come and go, they fluctuate depending on the time of the month, the happenings of the day and other factors but our ability to choose is the most powerful thing we can do, do you know that you could choose to love someone who absolutely abhors you! You can decide to act in a way that goes against your feelings no matter how hard it can be. For peace it is better to find someone who has the same definition of love that you do, and if not, both parties should be in constant conversation about how to bridge this gap to avoid any disagreements or misunderstandings in the future.

Lesson 3: Build a foundation

What is the foundation of your life? As in what are your principals? Your beliefs?

MY FOUNDATION IS CHRIST! Oh man I could write a whole other blog post about this (I really should) I believe in Jesus, I believe in God and the Holy Spirit, I believe he died for my sins and that He is the ultimate authority of my life. I was deeply lost in my sin, I don’t think I will ever fully understand how far deep I was in shame! I was selfish, prideful, unteachable and completely dysfunctional. But God, he looked at all that was wrong with me and didn’t look away he loved me fully. His Word is what always called my wandering heart back, it calms the most violent inner storms, you know when words that were spoken to you by others and yourself come hunting for you, words or failure, of defeat, past mistakes and everything else that gets thrown your way. His Word responds with my favorite Psalm,

Psalm 103:1-8 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless  his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,  who forgives

Psalm 103:8-12

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

That part about ” as far as east is from the west” gets me every time. Every. Single. Time. When I am nursing past wounds and wallowing about what has long gone, I remember that God is not doing the same. He loves me fiercely, he is not constantly accusing me. He is not accusing you too as you read this beloved. His is never the voice that shames you.

I have encountered men who didn’t have the same foundation, some would be seen physically in the same church as I was but their hearts were far removed and my failed attempts at missionary dating (which is dating someone whilst trying to evangelize them) taught me that only God can transform hearts, no one else can, no amount of love can, in the end that love becomes frustrating for both the parties and if you’ve read this far you’re waiting keenly to find what is left on my list and it is this:

  1. A MAN WHO IS TRULY SOLD FOR CHRIST not just quoting scripture here and there, not just when in suits them but always, as it at all times, in everything, who values scriptures who is in constant progression not PERFECTION! This is where he learns how to forgive, how to be generous, how to be kind and all the other good stuff.
  2. A MAN WHO PRAYS and understands the value of prayer.
  3. A MAN WHO LOVES ANIMALS. (This is a recent one and I am surprised myself! but more on that later)

Lesson 4: Being single isn’t the worst thing you can be

Singleness is not a curse, there is nothing wrong with being single, no matter how bad people make it seem, we can be so good at rushing people and ourselves in certain seasons, find your passion, pursue Christ, invest in your relationships. To those who are reading this and rolling their eyes, I know how it can be and we are in it together, you are not alone dear friend, surround yourself with people who love you and remember God always has a plan.

As always remember you are art the most beautiful kind.

Till next time

Life is art

Why as Christians we should reject every lie from the Enemy and understand spiritual warfare

In my previous blog, I touched on prayer, I challenged my readers and myself to be more intentional about how much time we pray.

Prayer is an essential spiritual discipline for us as Christians yet I don’t think we spend enough time understanding why it is so important that we pray.

Today we’re going to touch on Spiritual warfare so let us consider the following verse:

Ephesians 6:12 NIV (emphasis my own)

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

This verse highlights a few things.

  1. There is more than the physical world that we can see and touch.
  2. There is a wresting taking place, other versions include struggling.
  3. There are unseen spiritual forces of darkness.

So let’s begin here by understanding what spiritual warfare is.

We can define warfare in this way:

military operations between enemies, hostilities, also an activity undertaken by a political unit (such as a nation) to weaken or destroy another. struggle between competing entities conflict.

So if you are still following you will see that there is a fight going on between evil and good. The kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light.

It is vital to understand that there is a healthy response to this as well as an unhealthy one, some people see demon activity in everything and they are obsessed with it they live in crippling fear, while others don’t believe that evil exists and so they live their lives without the fear but in as much danger as those who overestimate the power of evil. We need to have a healthy approach and it starts by acknowledging this truth:

Hebrews 2:14

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil—

The devil is real. He is not some little guy in a red suit with a pitchfork, he has come to STEAL, KILL and ultimately DESTROY.

The enemy is crafty, he knows what each person is weak in mostly because he has a plan. The same way God has plans to prosper us the enemy has a plan to harm us and keep us from the truth.

The enemy uses fear.

Fear is Satan’s primary weapon. It’s a spiritual force that begins inside you, and it is totally destructive because it robs you of your faith and peace. It keeps your focus on circumstances instead of the promises in God’s Word”

Where is your focus as you’re reading this? Do you fear for your family in these difficult times? Are you concerned about finances? Job security? Or just your life in general?

Instead of just moving in fear have you looked at God’s word? What promises do we have? One of them is this…

Matthew 6:25

Therefore I tell you do not worry about your life…

The areas that you worry about the most is the same areas that you trust God the least.

Some days you might have to say the following out loud: “Lord I am afraid, for my future and my life but thank you that your Word says I don’t have to worry about my life, if birds are not having nervous breakdowns because they are taken care of I will also not be afraid or worry”

The enemy is very crafty, he knows exactly what to shake in your life…

“The enemy’s attacks are always wrapped in the packaging of deception, always designed to manipulate the truth about God, and about your value in Him. He desires to lead you into sin so that fellowship is broken between you and God—this way you’ll be disconnected from the Source of true power and strength,”

The enemy will lie to you, tempt you to sin, and make you prideful.

So what do we do? How do we overcome?

We do this by understanding that the most powerful weapon is RELATIONSHIP, real relationship, our spiritual armor and prayer is included in this, for years my spiritual life was just about ticking boxes, I just did things that a good Christian does and thought my mission is to stay out of hell, nothing else, we do not talk about the importance of relationship enough because it’s hard.

Relationships with people that we see aren’t easy, how much more with our Heavenly Father, but the same way we work hard to keep our worldly relationships thriving we should do the same with the relationship we have with God. This is the most important relationship of them all.

What does relationship look like?

For me it looks a little like this. It looks like being honest everyday that I believe in God, I believe that he sent his one and only Son to die for my sins. I believe that it isn’t my good works that qualify me for his goodness, I believe that God loves me more than my mind could ever comprehend and that nothing can separate me from his love. I believe that he has certain guidelines that he has put in place to protect me and that his Word is the most wonderful thing I have ever laid my hands, heart and eyes on and I will spend my whole life navigating through these truths. I believe he is the ultimate authority in my life.

I make honest prayers. I entrust all that I am to Christ. Even when I fail I remember nothing disqualifies me from his love. I am learning to Go to God about everything, even the most ridiculous things. Knowing that he’s a loving father who is crazy about me.

The armor of God:

  1. The belt of truth- Have you read it, do you know it? Do you carry with you in your heart, if not start today. Start by praying and ask God to open your eyes, your spiritual eyes so that you not only see what is written but also believe that it is true.
  2. The breastplate of righteousness- Our righteousness is Christ, without him we fail even before we begin, so knowing this with the help of the Holy Spirit we must pursue right standing with Christ and fill our lives with what glorifies.
  3. The shield of faith- “Faith is the shield of the believer. Trusting in God’s power and protection is imperative in remaining steadfast. When the battle rages, we must remember that God works all things for good. He is always true to His promises.”
  4. Helmet of salvation- “The believer’s helmet of salvation is the most crucial piece of armor for the Christian. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit that enters a believer at the moment of salvation, all other armor is useless. Salvation empowers believers to fight. It protects us in our weaknesses. Without salvation, there is no victory.”
  5. The Shield of faith- “Faith is the shield of the believer. Trusting in God’s power and protection is imperative in remaining steadfast. When the battle rages, we must remember that God works all things for good. He is always true to His promises.”
  6. The Sword of the spirit- The sword is the only piece of offensive armor it is so vital in the battle with evil, the enemy knows this, if Jesus responded with scripture to him in the wilderness how much more should we? However we cannot respond with what we do not know, do you know the word? Do you know it really?

And PRAYER… Not only before meals and before bed but at all times, for those you love, for every situation and no matter what happens.

So much can be said but as you read this I pray your spiritual eyes may be opened, I pray you may be encouraged and remember with Christ we will overcome.

2 Corinthians 10:5

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

So much can be said on this matter. But we’ll end here today.

As you read this I pray your eyes may be opened, I pray your spirit may be strengthened. I pray you may always remember that in Christ we have overcome.

Life is Art