The beauty of becoming

Hi folks,

I recently had a blessed conversation with a wonderful friend I had not spoken to in months. We encouraged each other through the difficulties and the stagnancy we both feel and face in our lives. As she encouraged me, she reminded me of the blessing of processes. I have heard ministers call the young people “a microwave generation”- I will be honest, I have fallen into that category many times in my life, from not understanding the times and seasons of heaven to being impatient and ordering God to do things in my time-frame, forgetting to imitate Jesus in prayer- “not my will but yours be done, LORD”.

Today I want to share what I have learned regarding processes- life processes that shape us into who we are designed to be. I will use one of the most important processes in my life- being called to ministry. My friend reminded me of the first prophetic word I received about being called to ministry, she reminded me of a church that we used to go to where I was first told that God has a plan for me to work for Him. I must have been 14 years old when that prophetic word came. To be honest, I had forgotten about this, I only remembered a word I received at age 17. I was encouraged when reminded of this because it showed me that God made up His mind about me a long time ago, whether it is currently evident or not.

As I reflected on this, I realized that God’s processes are a blessing. God trusts us enough to reveal His plans for our lives, and sometimes the words He gives us are for encouragement during dry seasons so that we have something to hold on to. In all the prophetic words that have been given over the years, I was never really told when these would manifest. I simply assumed these would happen at a certain point in my life and in some cases, I forgot. Although I was involved in ministry in high school, many years went by after that when I was not in ministry and did not really have the interest for it. I only joined the ministry again as an adult. Throughout those years, God was busy doing the necessary work on my heart, although I was far from His will.

When I look back, I am so grateful that God took me through processes to refine, heal, strengthen me, as well as develop my character. I am grateful that He spoke over me but took His time to shape me into a ‘useful vessel’. I use this term because when you work for an organization, you are as good as useless to them if you do not align to their values and core objectives- you can even be counterproductive if you are working against the main goal of what they are trying to achieve. There is a certain level of wisdom that is required to do any job you are employed to do. If you lack that wisdom, you can end up taking things for granted, or you may make a mess of things. I can count the number of times when I have messed up due to a lack of understanding, or ignorance.

A dear friend of mine, Amahle, who is a mom, once gave me an illustration about God’s processes using her relationship with her children. She said her children will ask for things they want regardless of whether these are good for them or not, they are children after all and do not know any better. She made an example that she would not give them ice cream in winter simply because they cried or nagged for it, this would be irresponsible and can lead to flu; neither will God. He will not give us things unless He believes we are ready, mature, and responsible enough to handle them, no matter how much we may cry for them.

He gives us a glimpse of what to expect in the future through ideas, prophetic words, dreams, or the desires we have in our hearts. With that revelation follows a process where you will have to be prepared, pruned, matured, and purified. The process helps you heal if you have gone through traumatic events. This process teaches you who you are in Christ, it gives you an identity that is separate from what the world calls you. It pushes you to unlearn false doctrines so you can learn the truth of God’s word. This process allows you to be in a solid relationship with God- solid despite the storms of life. I do not think this process is designed to make one perfect, but God knows how much needs to be stripped off and rebuilt before you can walk in your destiny. What processes do is that they equip us to be fit for service, they enhance our vision to see the bigger picture of what God wants to do in our lives.

I still struggle with processes and sometimes wish I had a magic wand to get me to where I think I need to be, but that is not how the things of God work, and I am also learning and accepting this. We live in times that promote disregarding the processes that God takes us through, we are often quick to equate hard processes to only the enemy’s work but if God is allowing things to happen in your life, surely, He has good reason to. Surely, if moms do not give gifts to their children, they have a good reason not to. Our Heavenly Father is loving and patient with us, He wants us to succeed, prosper and expand His Kingdom but He is a God of order who certainly has the power to work things out immediately, but often takes His time until He sees that “it is good” and we are ready to be released to the world. He sees beyond our vision and can advise when it is Kairos time for things to unfold in our lives.

A process as a verb can mean to perform a series of mechanical operations on something in order to change or preserve it. Think of this every time the process seems hard. Let us continue to trust that God is changing and preserving us for His Kingdom, developing us for His glory, and our good. Be encouraged today knowing that His processes are good, although we may not see it with our eyes. Jesus has a plan and a purpose; processes are part of that package!

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you”- 1 Peter 5:10.

With love,

Unathi.

Your joy is in the bag

Joy, despite it all. I remember being asked what my New Year’s resolutions were a few years ago, I answered “I want to be happy”. My former colleague laughed at me and said this is impossible and unrealistic. She was probably right. What I meant though, was I wanted joy, I just did not know then that there is a difference between happiness and joy, now that I know better, I still want joy to be a part of my every life. Is this even possible?

Happiness is described as that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good, and you cannot help but smile. It is a positive emotional state that one experiences when they are content and satisfied with how their life or situations are currently presenting to them. The definition of this word seems to be based on circumstances, when life is good then only will the emotion of happiness come out but what happens when life is bad, does it mean that happiness disappears? Is there an alternative to this? I do understand why my former colleague laughed at my ambitious desire, because life continues to bring a lot of situations that will steal your happiness, and unfortunately, we do not always have control over these. Although I like feeling happy, I do not like the fact that it is so limited and short-lived.

Joy is described as good cheer and vibrant happiness. It reflects a form of happiness but suggests that it is much deeper than that. If you end your search at using a dictionary, you will most probably conclude that happiness and joy are one and the same thing. However, when digging into the scriptures, you will find that joy, a deep gladness from the LORD is defined differently. It is a gift that comes with walking closely with God. The bible reveals that unlike happiness, joy can be found in both good and bad times. Joy lasts longer than what the emotion of happiness brings us. It remains in us even though we may be enduring trials, it allows us to go through those difficulties focused on a hope and a brighter future.

The bible tells us that joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Fruits are produced only when seeds are planted. After some effort and time of watering and allowing the seed to grow, we eventually see the fruit we have planted in the good soil. Fruits of the Spirit come about when we allow Jesus into our hearts and surrender to Holy Spirit to bear that fruit. We do this by being in constant fellowship with Holy Spirit, constantly allowing Him to remove weeds from our hearts and to water our lives with His rivers of living water. This sounds like a doable exercise yet so many of us move through life with sadness and brokenness though we are in a relationship with God. What then is the issue, why are so many people constantly sad and broken when the gift of joy is given to us forever, a gift that surpasses our horrible situations? I think it is because we simply have not grasped this concept, otherwise, our lives would be different. We do not fully understand that this is both a gift and a fruit of the Spirit. We are blinded to it and therefore have not tapped into it. The trick about spiritual things is that they work when done in alignment with God’s will. I know I have a constant struggle with wanting to do things my way, the logical way, a way that I can measure. However, when it comes to things of the spirit, we must continue to draw from the word of God and not necessarily on what we see.

Joy is ours. We must start by believing it, as with all things related to God, we step into these promises by faith. When that spirit of heaviness approaches you and bullies you into discouragement, you must choose joy by faith. Imagine joy as a beautiful colorful shawl or scarf that you can cover yourself with. Imagine this every time that nasty spirit of irritation, pain, or humiliation comes near you. Choose to cover yourself with this cloth and believe that Holy Spirit has already given you this gift and therefore it is yours to use and enjoy. Choose joy, despite it all. Choose to silence anxiety, anger, sadness, etc. by being decisive in choosing joy. It is there for you, but it is you choosing it despite your circumstances that makes the difference. May God help us all in choosing well.

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” -Psalm 30: 11.

With love,

Unathi.

Check your lenses

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” -C. G Jung. This is a profound quote, I have had to assess myself a few times, wondering why certain characteristics about people annoy me, this pointed to my undealt issues or sore points I must deal with.

How is the view from your lenses? Do you have a positive or negative outlook on life? Our perception of life, situations, and people will determine the outcome of most things we face. Are you always quick to lean to the negative and criticism of others or do you find prioritize finding the positive, even if it is small? An important fact regarding people is that at the core of who they are, they are created in the image of God. Therefore, some of their characteristic traits will represent God. I am not referring to the bad behavior and habits people have adopted due to pain, trauma, or disappointment, but I am referring to people’s character- who they really are.

Today I want to focus on perception, our understanding, opinions, beliefs, and interpretation of concepts. Have you ever heard of the saying “there are two sides to a story?”. This saying is telling us that if we want healthy relationships, we must understand there is more to life than just our feelings and thoughts about situations. We can have viewpoints and express them so that people understand how we feel, but when dealing with others we must remember that all parties involved in situations have feelings, opinions, and thought processes. These may be similar or different from yours. We cannot control how another feels or perceives but we have the responsibility of navigating our thoughts and feelings towards issues and people. It is great when we mature in our thinking, but if we are still immature, we must take accountability and strengthen this area because it impacts our mental health and the decisions we make.

In short, I want to encourage you to be accountable for the way you view life, assess your own opinions of people and situations. Be honest with yourself to see if your perception is limited or tainted. Question your motives to see if you are reacting or responding. Reacting is emotional while responding is emotional intelligence. If you do not grow and mature in your thinking and opinions, you will move through life in a pessimistic way, where the world is always against you. Regularly clean your lenses so that you can correct yourself and heal. Dirty lenses will limit the beauty of life and can damage your relationships, but clean lenses produce a clear outlook on life. As I encourage you to check yourself, I too commit to being accountable to checking my often-tainted lenses, I know I have a long way to go regarding this area.

“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law” -Proverbs 29: 18.

With love,

Unathi

Answer the call

I believe our main purpose as Christians is to love the LORD our God, with all our hearts and minds, to walk in His ways, and to hold fast to Him (Deuteronomy 11:22). This can be manifested through our relationship with Him, He teaches us His ways and the more we dwell in His presence is the more we get to know who God is. Although on this earth we will not have a full picture of who God is but daily or regularly we may receive more revelation of the manifold character of God.

Today I want to talk about the purpose we have in our lives. As mentioned above, our main call on life is to love and glorify our Heavenly Father. God has gifted each human being to work, minister, or live out a specific purpose that enables us to glorify Him and expand His Kingdom as we teach others about the salvation we have found in Christ. There are many different industries and areas of expertise, wherever you may find yourself, understand that even in those secular places you are still called to glorify God in the work that you do. God has allocated different talents and gifts for us to nurture and use- these are still intended to glorify God and to bring honor to His name.

Think of your childhood, and what was on your heart as a child. What did you love most, enjoy the most, or dream of becoming? Children are usually of innocent spirit because they have not come across the different influences and experiences that may produce doubt, fear, and anxiety. Most times you may find that you have always been attracted to your purpose but you never really thought of it as “your purpose”.  At times, we stumble across our purpose as adults but because God has always known what your purpose is, you will find that you can trace it back to previous activities in your life. Purpose is basically what you are designed or created for. If for instance as a child you were always interested in things related to health and were fascinated by how people become healed, your purpose could lie in the health sector. This industry has many different professions such as being a doctor, nurse, radiographer, occupational therapist, paramedic, pharmacist, etc. However, there are also support structures to this industry such as financial, administrative, operations, etc. This already covers so many different roles within the health sector. If you use to dream about becoming a nurse, you could end up as a support structure within the nursing field, which could mean that your gifts lie in understanding both medical and administrative aspects. At times, we can be discouraged if we do not end up in the exact place we thought we were supposed to be, but you can find that you are not necessarily misplaced. Perhaps you were not supposed to be a nurse, but you have always been called to support nurses and the work they do because your gifts are not just limited to nursing. We can easily go around in circles trying to find our purpose but God knows exactly what He has placed inside of you and what He has designed for you to do. It would ease your burden to seek the LORD on what exactly your purpose is in life. Go to God with a clean slate, knowing that He could direct you to a different path and will eventually link to what you have always desired to do.

Answer that call, wherever God calls you to.

Each of us has a purpose that we are to walk in and grow in while we still are on earth. It may take you a long time to get to that place however, the assistance and direction from Holy Spirit will certainly get you to where you are meant to be. The LORD expects us to walk in our purpose because He has already given us the gifts and solutions that are required in our place of purpose. For a long time, I thought a place of purpose was optional but when I read the bible, I realize that we will have to account for every gift God has given us. Like the parable of the talents, the Master will come back and ask for an account of what we did with the talents He gave us.

Which of the three servants will you be or do you want to be? The first servant was given five talents, the second given two and the last one was given one talent. The first servant traded with the talent and gained five more talents, the second gained two more talents whereas the last one did not even attempt. I encourage you today, seek God for your purpose, it may not be revealed immediately but God will certainly point you in the right direction. Purpose may not necessarily be limited to a job, it could be work in ministry or charities. Whatever God reveals to you, work at it with all your heart, you will find joy and blessing in it.

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” —Frederick Buechner.

“His lord said to him, well done good and faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” – Matthew 25:21

With love,

Unathi

Pick up your spade!

We fall down and get up, that should be our anthem as God’s children. Our lives come with experiencing ups and downs. The ups are amazing and give us opportunities to experience the ‘milk and honey’ as God pours out His goodness through these activities. When the road is smooth, it is often easier to do more and manifest our hearts’ desires because we are encouraged and joyful. However, the lows can be discouraging and can feel like you are stripped of the things you once held dear to you, but the valleys teach us valuable lessons and provide wisdom that shapes our character and outlook on life. Although we may fall during the low periods of our lives but must get up again!

I met up with a friend this past weekend, one who challenges my thinking and brings a sense of accountability, partly because we find ourselves traveling similar paths in pursuing our passions but also because her character is one of a visual person who sees what most people cannot see, and she is an active person who gets things done. I was encouraged after our meeting, reminded of the dream that God has placed in my heart to reach out to the lost, broken-hearted, and lonely souls that need Jesus and need to hear about the transformation Christ has brought to me.

I, therefore, got up and started believing and working again. I realized some things must still be put in place to get the dream going. The dream will not necessarily be manifested in a short space of time, but it will eventually come together, let us continue to build our dreams one brick at a time. If we were to take inventory of our lives we would be able to trace that there is so much that has already been done, a few wrong turns, and perhaps unwise decisions but the good LORD uses it all for our good. The wrong turns and disappointments come as part of the process of growth and being established in purpose. I realized that the disappointments and obstacles can sharpen our perception and understanding so that we avoid the wrong voices or influences in future decision-making. Although we may have fallen, it is time to get up and start allowing God to move on our behalf, in those difficult and impossible situations.

I encourage you today to dream again, to work again, to allow God to use you to further His Kingdom! Dream realistically knowing that processes take time. These dreams might be tested along the way, tested with challenges and obstacles that can make the dream seem impossible. We must soldier on knowing that our lives will minister to many people who need to hear about the grace, miracles, transformation, and healing God has brought to our lives. As we have been released from our prisons (mentally, emotionally, or physically), our victories might be the key that releases others from their current prisons. So, dream again dear friend, this time with the guidance and leadership of the Holy Spirit who knows all things and is willing to direct your every step. May God meet you halfway and surprise you with the fulfillment of your heart’s desires. You might have prayed for long periods, yet nothing changed, pray again, God’s arm is not too short to save His children. Perhaps this time your efforts will be accompanied by courage that is beyond the natural, exactly what you need in this moment. Take up your spade and keep digging, much discovery awaits in your place of purpose.

“So, I say to you, ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you” – Luke 11: 9.

With love,

Unathi

Are you offended?

To be offended means to be annoyed, hurt, or resentful because of another’s perceived insult. I find it interesting how this definition includes the word perceived. Perception refers to how we as individuals see things, it does not necessarily give the full picture of the offender’s point of view but paints how another’s reaction made us feel. I suppose there are times when it is okay to be upset or angry about what others do/ did to offend us, depending on the level of insult. If people offend us continuously it would be unhealthy not to deal with it. However, I wonder how much of our power we hand over to others when we should not. For instance, if Person A is in a foul mood and does not want to see anyone smiling on that day, is it fair for Person B’s mood to also be ruined by A’s situation, how many times do we allow other people’s stuff to spoil our moods?

In today’s blog post I focus on what an individual can do to reject the spirit of offense- it can operate as a nasty spirit especially if people are still wounded and remain unhealed- everything offends them. The point I want to make today is that our response to situations is our responsibility. We cannot control what the next person does, but we surely have the power to decide what sticks to our hearts. An important key to dealing with an offense is forgiveness, let us unpack this.

Forgiveness is the ability to let go of situations, whether you have received an apology or not. That certainly does not excuse or justify the bad behavior of others, but it allows you to respond with grace, for your mental health. God has taken me on this journey many times. Friends, family, and colleagues will continue to offend, irritate, or hurt you, sometimes intentionally, other times unintentionally. We also, can do that to others, whether we are aware of it or not. I think the gift of forgiveness must be imparted to children from a young age, the minute they learn this as children, it will help their minds understand its importance or critical value as adults when those curve balls are being thrown at them. Ahh, what a relief it is to be able to forgive others and yourself.

Why forgive?

1.We forgive because God expects us to

When this concept first got introduced to me, I must be honest I questioned God’s loyalty towards me, as ashamed as I am to admit this, but it is true. I often felt justified to hold a grudge, hardly thinking about the many times I expected to be forgiven. With time, our patient God taught me that forgiveness is His gift to us as His children. As Jesus cried out when He was on the cross, “forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do”, so should we as we choose to give the gift of forgiveness to others, as God forgave us too. God gives us the instruction to forgive, it is not an option, although God will not force us to forgive. The word of God says we must forgive, period (Mark 11:25). I speak so freely at this moment as though it is a walk in the park, but I know it is not. I have battled to forgive others and myself, I sometimes still do but I am learning to surrender to God because He knows best. We must understand that forgiveness must become a lifestyle, not just that one big act you do occasionally. I say this because there are situations that will require you to forgive more than once, of course, you will need to use wisdom in terms of how to deal or engage moving forward but I am referring to the heart condition. When disappointed or hurt, we must learn to let go and forgive the situation. In the end, when you have released this gift, it brings freedom and allows your heart to still be in good standing with God. When our hearts are clogged up with unforgiveness, we open ourselves to all sorts of disadvantages such as mental breakdowns, broken hearts, offended spirits, gloomy moods, unhealthy habits, and strained relationship with God, etc. however, when we choose to forgive, we are immediately set free in our hearts and minds. Both the mind and heart are extremely important particularly because they can influence our decision-making, therefore it is vital to keep these clear of negativity as much as we possibly can.

2.Forgiveness brings freedom

We all have some issues that we are dealing with in our lives, some people are more silent about it than others. I know it is difficult to be compassionate when you are going through things but what we forget is our reaction to situations will either land us in “prison” or in a place of “freedom”. The prison in this case can either be frustration, anger, bitterness, or triggering mental health problems such as depression or anxiety disorder. Freedom on the other hand can look something like “I may not be where I want to be but I know God is in control, therefore I choose to release this uncomfortable situation to you God” or “I am upset with this situation but I know that if I wallow here long enough, it will still not be resolved, I, therefore, choose to allow you to take this heavy burden dear God and release me from it”. When we think of forgiveness as the simple process that it is, it helps us in taking the first step to implementing it. Take note, I used the word simple and not easy, it is a difficult thing to do but it is simple in the sense that the first step only requires you to decide. A decision that is not necessarily based on how lovely or horrible a situation may feel but looking at the result, which is freedom. When we choose to forgive anyway, we choose to be free, free of burdens and free from being offended unnecessarily. This decision yields good fruit and works towards the good of everyone involved. You remain in peace; you have obeyed God and others’ sins are pardoned. The impact of this act far exceeds the wonderful feeling we get by releasing, it removes any unnecessary blockages to your soul.

“Freedom lies in being bold” – Robert Frost.

Are you offended by something/ someone this week? If yes, what are you going to do about it? Will you allow the situation to consume you and control what mental space you should be in? Does that please God? Does that please or poison your soul? If you are offended, I encourage you to be brave enough to acknowledge how messed up your situation may be, but then also decide to forgive, release whatever/ whoever may be bugging you, and allow God to cleanse your heart. This same situation may come back again but continue to journey in forgiveness because it gives you back your power, the power to allow the joy and peace of God to continue flowing in you, despite it all. If it is any consolation, I too am regularly challenged with this concept, but I am committed to implementing it as often as I should, so should you. Do your part, God will help you with rest.

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life”. -John 6:63

With love,

Unathi

Choose Love, Love is a Healer

I found love in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, God gradually changed and improved my life especially my thoughts and view of myself. Only love, true love can have the ability to help you move from feeling like a nobody to a somebody. Through all the difficulties and challenges I have experienced; I have found love to be such a healer, it eases the anxiety and rejuvenates hope. Feeling and knowing you are loved can change the way you perceive yourself and your life. Love can accept weaknesses (well, sometimes) and when that happens, it helps to affirm an individual, that they are not limited to their faults and weaknesses.

I want to share two scenarios that have proved to me that love, truly is a healer. The first instance was the internal job that I had avoided for years, i.e. loving myself. I was presented with many opportunities that held up a mirror towards me and I certainly did not like the picture I saw, it did not look like what I wanted for my present life or my future. So, I had to be accountable and take the necessary action to bring the much-desired change. And so, I started to allow God to fill up the empty places. At some point, I had to learn to do that too, to fill myself up with the much needed love and attention. Through this, I have learned the important balance of knowing when to give yourself or others love. I have healed from operating from an empty and broken place, and continue to heal daily. I keep reminding myself of the responsibility and privilege God has given, of loving and appreciating oneself, the daily decision to accept this mandate results in healing and health to our souls.

The second thing that proved to me that love is a healer is that God can bring strangers from near and far, strangers who see beyond what you present (the masks, shortcomings, walls and insecurity) and love you anyway. This form of love can bring healing because it is not performance-based as you have not done much for strangers to recognize the beauty of who you are. They simply find themselves loving you, seeing a part of God in you. It confirms to me that God will bring love to us, in any form or size and will allow you to experience a part of Him through other people, including strangers. As people give you love, it can teach you different and healthier ways of loving others- shaping you to become more versatile. 

The problem with being emotionally wounded is that it limits your ability to love yourself and others because most times we may still be consumed with bitterness and anger. It heightens our walls as we are scared to get hurt again, understandably so. However, in the journey of life, we must get to a place where we let go of past hurts and allow a new narrative to navigate itself into our hearts.

After the aches and pains, we have experienced from disappointments we often see love as such a foreign and hard to reach concept. Our minds can hardly wrap themselves around going down that route again. But what if we did it wrong from the beginning, what if we gave too much when we should have learned to receive, or what if we were supposed to give of ourselves instead of waiting for our friends or lovers to give until they got tired? Either way, in love we learn to find the balance, that is what makes it healthy. I had the privilege of writing this paragraph whilst staring at the humongous mountains in the Drakensberg (KwaZulu Natal) and it occurred to me that when we are hurt, we see love as such a mountain, a far-off beauty that is hard to attain. We cannot relate to it because it can seem so lofty and sometimes too beautiful for our once broken hearts. My spirit was then challenged with the passage of scripture in Romans 8 which tells us that nothing in all creation would ever be able to separate us from the love of God, no height (mountains), nor depth, nor angels, demons, or whatever may be limiting your view of love. None of these obstacles would ever be able to keep God from loving us, and it should also not stop us from receiving God’s love or sharing that love with people in our lives. As I continue to admire these mountains, I find myself encouraged that this grandiose love is for you and me, that our perfect LORD and Saviour gave up His life so we can experience love in its purest form.

A sunny day in the gorgeous Drakensberg mountains

It is not so strange that love heals because the true sense of love represents all of whom our God is. He is love and a lover of our souls, when we continue to acquaint ourselves with Him and go deeper in our relationship with Him, He teaches us other places where we can find love, places different from what we have been accustomed to.

Today, I encourage you to allow love back into your life, starting with accepting God’s love, then the love from yourself, and eventually the love from others. When you have allowed it to happen in that order, it produces healthy outcomes. You can start small, such as visiting friends you have not interacted with in a long time, or going on that coffee date or even taking yourself out for ice-cream. Eventually this can lead to more courage for your heart to love again, courage for a fresh, new season of love. Love is a healer, only if you allow it to be.

“…Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love”. 1 Corinthians 13: 13 (The Message).

With love,

Unathi

Seasons change

I am reminded of the story of Hanna in the bible (1 Samuel 2). She obtained a title because of her unfavorable situation. She hardly had a choice in it because the bible says the LORD closed her womb, therefore she was barren.

As we are entering into a new season may we remember that even heaven gives us different seasons for our lives. I do not know what each of you may be battling right now but today I want to remind you that God is busy ensuring that your new season shall come to fruition in due time. Summer has an allocated period, so does winter, all seasons come and go, they do not last forever.

Hanna as a barren woman was unable to expand her family as she desired but in good time, God opened her womb and allowed her to be fruitful. We simply cannot remain barren forever if we are walking with the LORD Jesus Christ. When we are in a “winter” season, it can feel long as though those cold nights are dragging. And in that winter season, we might not even have all the resources required to keep us warm and comfortable. With that said, winter still comes to everyone, regardless of our attitude/ feeling towards it. However, winter does not last forever. Just like Hanna, the time will come for each of us to be fruitful, as our seasons change.

A picture of a tree starting to produce fruit.

Can you sense which season you are in spiritually? Has God been giving you clues and scriptures? Perhaps you find yourself being drawn towards completely different things, teachings, habits, etc. (I am referring to Godly change, of course) but you are not even aware that those new desires are not by chance. Do a self-assessment, take note of unfamiliar things God may be trying to teach you. If your self-assessment does not get you anywhere, go ahead and consult with the LORD. God wants to partner with you so it would require you to pay attention and agree to the new thing, place or season He may want to take you to. Perhaps God is still training and maturing you in this season and it is not yet time to be ushered into that new place. Either way, it would be good to be mindful of heaven’s flow, especially to things that are directly linked to your purpose or mandate in life. Seasons change and that is a fact, that means even your winter season will change. God makes everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3: 11). When He decides to open the closed doors, you will move from a place of lack to abundance.

I pray God may continue to sing songs of deliverance over you, especially if you are still in your “winter” season. Deliverance from pain, shame, humiliation, anxiety, depression, loneliness, and anything else that makes your soul feel poor in this season. May you discover the gifts He has given, gifts that can allow you to flourish and be in health and contentment over your life. May He release you from frustration and confusion you may have right now, He is able. Nothing is impossible with our God; He is the God who changes the times and seasons in any case. I pray that the rivers of living water may flow in and through you giving a refreshing as you prepare for all God has in store for you. Seasons change, may you be blessed with the testimony of transformation, being transformed from barrenness to fruitfulness.

“The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder. So, he shall open, and no one shall shut, and he shall shut, and no one shall open”. – Isaiah 22: 22

With love,

Unathi

Why you should journal

I have found journaling to be a very useful habit that helps me unclog some of the things that I cannot express in words. I write for many reasons. At times, great ideas come randomly, and I jot these down to help make sense of what my next step in life should be. Other times, I receive random thoughts on what I believe God is saying to me. I am often very grateful to have written some of the ideas down because in a way writing them takes me a step closer to making it feel real. Other times, I laugh at myself when I read the things I have jotted down, either way, it feels like a path of self-discovery.

People journal for different reasons, I recommend journaling to express your thoughts to yourself and as a source document for progress so you can keep yourself in check. People also have different methods of doing this, for instance, they write in story format or simple bullet form. What matters is doing it in a way that is most comfortable to you. I have previously pasted pictures and quotes on my journals, sometimes those pictures help tell a better story than my words, at times it just brings context. Most times, I simply write letters to myself documenting events, feelings, and thoughts I may have. Journaling should be a personal process, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to this so I would suggest one stick to whatever their preferences are, and what works best for them. I read an article, it highlighted that journaling can help you heal injuries faster, boost your IQ, reduce stress and anxiety, improve your communication skills, spark creativity, and help you solve your problems, amongst other benefits. This clearly shows that it does more than organize your thoughts and feelings but can positively improve other areas of your life.

There is a term for the type of journaling I do, I am not certain if this term is official, but I have heard people refer to it, it is called “Journaling with Jesus”. Unlike simply journaling one’s thoughts, you allow Holy Spirit to be part of your love-letter process. This may include silent prayers of asking God to speak to you before you write anything down or asking Him what is on His heart. In the beginning, it may feel strange but with time it gets better and feels more natural.

There have been days when I have felt an urgency that God wants to talk about certain issues and feel the need to get away from my usual spots and go to different environments. On these occasions, God has never failed, I find He has special messages waiting for me in different places. Surely God would still communicate with me even if I did not leave the house or wherever I may have been at the time. However, God will sometimes use symbols such as trees, leaves, grass, cars, color, etc. to reiterate His message to me. In the end, the small getaways with God give me a much better understanding of what He is ministering, plus it makes it feel special- sort of like a date with God. So, I hardly take the prompting for granted, knowing that it helps me in building a special relationship with God. God is in the details and I would not want to miss the different ways He communicates with me.

Journaling with Jesus allows me to spontaneously flow with the thoughts and ideas that Holy Spirit may drop in my spirit, as mentioned above, other times these turn out to just be my thoughts, and that is okay because I get to filter the information and keep what matters. Journaling with Jesus is different from journaling by myself, the LORD often gives me scripture to confirm what He says, that way, I get a glimpse of what He wants me to focus on at that moment. When I jot my thoughts down, I can revisit them and start to categorize my emotions. It helps me to stay aware of the state I am in, which positively contributes to my mental health. In some odd way, I see journaling with Jesus as a form of prophesying over my life in an unspoken way, when I document the more positive and encouraging thoughts, of course. I write things down in the hope that they will be manifested, I also make space at the back of the journal for testimonies. What would the point be if I did not believe it would happen? I, therefore, write in faith that God will surprise me. There have been times when God has taken me back to journals from previous years, I get surprised at just how consistent God is when He has given me a message about my life, I find that He hardly changes His mind, instead He adds on more context as the years go by. This has helped me keep track of the things God says He will do in my life and it helps to build my faith in Him manifesting these. I wish I could journal daily, but this is not the case for me, I can go long periods without any journaling, and I have seasons where I journal almost daily. Either way, it makes the process of journaling personal and special. This process has a lot of beautiful benefits!

I would like to invite you to try this out, it helps in decluttering your thoughts and categorizing them efficiently. That way as you reread what you have written, you get a sense of what is in your heart, you will probably be able to sense the irritation, impatience, joy, or satisfaction, or whatever emotions come out strongly as you write. The most amazing outcome of this process is that it can help you hear the voice of the LORD better, and to grow in a relationship with Him.

Is journaling for everyone? Probably not, but you will never if this method is for you unless you try it. You do not have to be a “writer” to try it, all you need is a pen and a notepad!

Jeremiah 30: 2 “Thus speaks the LORD God of Israel, saying ‘write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you”.

With love,

Unathi

Transition can be messy

The word transition is defined as “the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another”. Change can be exciting and scary depending on the next chapter you are moving to.

I want to talk about the point of being caught in between the move when you do not see how the next chapter will unfold but you know you must exit the previous one. It can be frustrating because you do not have the outline for the next chapter. This phase can be a messy situation filled with a lot of uncertainty or a lack of evidence; it could easily make you doubt if you have made the right decision of wanting to exit the last phase. Will you ever know whether your instincts are right by staying in the old place?

A place of transition can be messy because an hour can feel like days. As people, we want to see tangible results to know that we have progressed, but sometimes we must wait for the green light, wait in faith for the sound that says “go” despite what you may or may not see. Being able to do this builds some resilience within you, at times the temporary wait also produces one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, i.e., self-control. When you gain resilience and self-control, you can overpower a lot of unnecessary temptations in life. You gain victories because your mind and heart are already set on winning, despite it all. This phase can allow you to be stable in your thought processes and in your emotions, when you have those skill sets no one can take them away from you.

Have you ever been to a train station? This is one of the places that can teach a person patience because it does not matter how much of a hurry you may be in, you must wait for the train to arrive. When it does finally arrive, you must wait for it to stop and open its doors for all passengers. Every minute counts and it may seem to go by very slowly. Stressing about the slowness of the train will not get it to the station much quicker, we must, in that case, learn resilience and patience. One can learn to be present in their life through the transition phase. This scenario can teach us how we should view the period of transition, we must always keep in mind that it is necessary to go through it so that we are released from old patterns and are being prepared to enter the new seasons God presents to us, seasons that lead us to our places of destiny and purpose.

What I have done previously when presented with change, is that I would write down my reasons for moving from an old place. I do this so it can make sense to my mind and I can be reminded of my reasons even at a later stage. When you have finally transitioned and things are not going as you thought they should, you can refer to your list and remind yourself of how justified you were of moving to a new phase in your life, despite the new challenges you may face. What also really helps during a time of transition, is to seek God for confirmation before making any major decisions, ensure that you have sensed or heard correctly, that it is time to move or change. When you have the peace of God regarding a new chapter, move in faith knowing that God will work it out for you. This also helps you realize that you are not alone, that God will continue to guide your steps and help you move forward. Even in that place where you have not fully realized the “new thing”, God is there to help you navigate the dark and uncertain passages.

To those of you who are sensing time for change but have no idea what the next step is, I encourage you today to lean on God, lean on His word knowing that our spirits are connected to the Holy Spirit. When you sense a thing, like King David take even the little details to God because He will provide the right answers for you. Remember that the transition phase can be messy and uncomfortable because what your spirit is telling you is different from what you are seeing in the physical, but it is not in vain; you must go through it. Allow it to be as it should, you will probably gain pearls of wisdom that will help you in the new place.

“Do not despise these small beginnings for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin” -(Zechariah 4:10).

With love,

Unathi