Purpose For The Pain

I met someone over the weekend; not the kind of someone you think 🙂

The kind of person who puts plenty into perspective. Meaning is found for queries long unanswered. This particular one was a girl in high school. We were at their school all weekend and I had missed students’ ministry. We had just finished facilitating a session for all the girls who wanted to become lawyers. She followed me as we walked out. I didn’t mind; as a matter of fact, I absolutely love those one-on-one conversations.

I initially assumed it was a career related issue since that’s what we were discussing. Wrong. Turns out, while we were winding up, I mentioned how my coming this far sincerely took God and hinted at the crazy health drama I’ve had. That’s the part that got her attention.

She begins to speak and I it feels like she stole the script from the story of my life. She sounds kinda like me and our personalities are too similar; but this wasn’t it yet. She starts to explain all the health issues she’s had. No way! She’s literally stating all the areas of my body that I’ve had trouble with. I listen to her almost speechless. This is more than unbelievable! She’s in tears and I’m almost following suit but I hold them back.

I can’t recall most of what I told her afterwards but I narrated my issues as well and we exchanged experiences that had left us emotionally drained, mentally overwhelmed and on the verge of despair. Things that people around us probably never get. The relief! Seeing that in this world, it’s possible to have someone who truly understands the very lengths, breadths and heights of your pain. Needless to say, we hit it off and became friends.

As I was reflecting on this later, I got thinking that if this was all the purpose to my pain, then it was worth it. Sharing my story with someone who was living it as well and encouraging her to not give up because I too was making it through. Being there to remind each other that all the dark days and all the tears, were not for nothing.

We might never fully see the purpose our tears, break downs, valleys and unbearable moments accomplished; but rest in this darling: it wasn’t pointless. God never wastes our pain. Someone somewhere will survive what you’re going through just because of your story. Hold on, fight through; it sure is worth it.

Mountains and Valleys

I have finally decided to come here and fess (this should tell you how reading Little Women all week and watching the movie, has had an effect on me). I have carried enough and since writing helps me unpack, I’m doing just that. 

This has been a gloomy week, which makes little sense because I had the most wonderful Easter weekend. I’d planned to go home and enjoy plenty of introverting since the whole family was travelling upcountry. Needless to say, my plans backfired beautifully. Don’t you like it when God wrecks your plans and trades them for lovelier ones? 

Friday turned out to be my turn to enjoy being daddy’s girl. Went to town with him and had quite the shopping spree then late lunch at some Resort. He told me to call my little sister (not biological) to come join us and her classmate who he has a spot for since her accident. That man has such a big heart! Went to pick my friend for a sleepover and had fun ‘shopping’ in her house (that’s what true friends do, Lol). 

Saturday was mostly cooking for guests and the compliments are always worth the effort. Then ended up in town again, this time round having a girls’ day out with mum. This time round I got more than I expected from the shopping including a pretty high-low dress that had my dad voicing his concerns since he believes I’ve grown so fat that the poor dress wasn’t fitting (smh).

Sunday in church gave me plenty to meditate on and friends to reconnect with. Went for an Easter concert in town since I’d promised little sister that I’d go. Oh the praise and worship was everything my spirit craved! Decided to go for coffee which we thought was unwise since we both had limited cash. Goodness, the surprises God pulls! Someone came and paid for our mochas and cakes in advance! 

I travelled back the next day with my heart very full. I’d been more than loved on and God took me from one amazing experience to another and another. I’d received more than I’d ever imagined.

So why was it hard to have all the wonderful memories overshadow everything else? Monday evening had me battling depression alongside a misbehaving body. Later I realised the link between the condition disturbing my digestive system and depression. 

From then, things haven’t been too different. Ennui at work, long hours that made a point to move even slower, heavy downpours and dull weather that seemed to reflect my internal state and feeling completely alone. 

I didn’t go to work today; I have my misbehaving body to thank for that. Which means I’ve been in bed all day and have had all sorts of thoughts. Feelings of despair have been the thing this week. Eventually told God how I felt I wasn’t worth entrusting the gifts or talents He’s given. Wasn’t worth giving a family since I can barely keep my own house. Wasn’t worthy of love. Basically feeling like I wasn’t worth the things I hoped for.

It’s been a lot to handle and I’m not bearing it all too well. I should be drawing especially close to God right now but I’ve been lost in books and social media because I feel like I don’t even have the discipline to be intentional with God like I should. He’s been very nice and constantly present so all I’ve been doing is conversations with Him while nicely tucked in bed. 

I’m not sure how the next days will turn but I am not perturbed. Valleys precede mountains and dark days don’t last. Sorrow may last for the night but joy sure comes in the morning. So yes, this not-so-little woman will keep keeping on.

Strange(r) Tales

​Today I’ve had the most incredible experiences with people I haven’t personally met or hadn’t known at all. Each of them dented my life significantly.
I was enjoying a nice lazy Saturday when the first encounter happened. I received news of her death and it completely broke me! I couldn’t stop crying. I had too many questions for God. This lady was an icon of hope for thousands if not millions of people. Her battle with stage 4 cancer and her faith in God through it all had spread unimaginable hope. I couldn’t get why. My own health battles had been enough and I had been encouraged by her recovery. I had never met her personally but her death wrecked me.
In the midst of my tears and heartache, the second person reached out. I can’t even remember when we became ‘friends’ on Facebook but I’ve known him there for quite long. I’m still in awe of how God worked. I had a very fruitful conversation with him and God used him both to teach and remind me of several lessons. By the time we were done, I was in complete peace; not just comforted but led right back to where God had wanted me. 
Immediately after that conversation, I had to leave for a sleepover. I decided to take a long walk instead of using a more direct public transport option. Armed with my earphones, I started out really well. By the time I was getting to the second song, I met this kinda old lady. I said hi to her as I was passing her, just out of politeness and because I love saying hi to strangers. 
Little did I know that it was the genesis of a conversation that would take me through my entire walk. She began by talking to me in a dialect I love but know little of. Eventually I had to admit that I wasn’t getting everything. Lady told me tales of God’s faithfulness the entire way! Two random people and somehow we found so many things in common. I was greatly encouraged and my faith challenged. 
Let’s just say I’m in awe of God and how He works. It’s unbelievable how He used 3 completely unexpected people who I barely knew, to break me then build me and leave me better than I was. Evidently there’s nothing He can’t do and no one He can’t use. That He’d do all this leaves me overwhelmed by His goodness and love.

Eyes on 97

It’s lunchtime and I am hardly excited about it. Not because I’m not hungry but because I’ve been dealing with this persistent nausea all day. Who knew something seemingly small can cause this much trouble? I’ve been trying my usual remedy and it’s not helping much; I can’t even remember the number of pellets of menthol gum I’ve chewed so far (Wrigley’s should hire me as their brand ambassador).

I’m having one of those I’m-completely-fed-up-being-sick moments. Sick and tired of dealing with similar issues day in day out. If you’ve been in a similar predicament then you know how tiring it is to be stuck with something for a long time when you can’t completely get rid of it. And no, I’m not talking about pregnancy; though maybe pregnant ladies can relate.

These are the kind of days I gather enough questions to ask God and it flows over from the health drama to everything else. That’s how I found myself having a conversation with Him on why my life isn’t as straight forward and easier to figure like many people. It doesn’t help that I have absolutely no clue what I’ll be doing in about 5 months after I’m done working here.

I have all these varied ideas and passions and plans, but can’t seem to figure how to merge them just yet or where to begin. This mostly leaves me feeling overwhelmed by how much I aspire to do vis-a-vis the little I’ve actually attempted. Then I crawl back into my shell and wallow in feelings of failure. When I try to crawl back, I’m reminded of how old I am yet I’m still in a position that people 2-4 years younger than be, ought to be in. I don’t even bother comparing myself with my peers ’cause that would be depressing.

My one consolation and greatest hope is that I am right where He knew I’d be and going through things He allowed in His wisdom. The best part about knowing that the One working behind the scenes in everything is Someone who loves you insanely, is the realisation that He has a pretty good reason, has my best interests at heart and is working everything for my good.

For example, I may have all these ambitious plans that seem too far fetched or scattered, and it feels unfair that I have to have a harder time than most people figuring it all out; but boy am I glad to know the amount of growth that will happen as a result!

All the health drama has taught me how to slow down and appreciate life. What started by turning me into a constant complainer ’cause I always had health problems daily; eventually taught me how to be grateful for the 97 things that are not wrong when 3 bad ones taunt me. I have learnt grace. Learnt how to empathise with people a lot more. Learnt how to appreciate problem-free days. Learnt how to be keen on detecting if someone wasn’t okay.Most of all, I have learnt resilience and how to keep moving when beaten down or worn.

So yes, I’d still easily trade off this malfunctioning digestive system just to get rid of this nausea, but in the meantime, I’ll keep living and keep trying to enjoy the rest of the day. I’ll take my eyes off the 3 and focus on 97.

The Whirlwind… Part 1

The past weekend was a whirlwind of activity and emotions! I am not even sure I have recovered… and by weekend I mean some 24 hours or so of it. All I’d expected was a road trip out of town as we went for a thanksgiving party for my friend, Missy, who just got admitted to the Bar.

For most of the journey heading there, we were engrossed in conversation and laughter. Managed to get some time to talk with God. Had this feeling which gave me chills about us crashing and kept seeing all the ways we’d possibly get into that accident.

Then my fears came true; well not for us though but a vehicle that rammed straight into a truck right next to us. I remember that bang so clearly and the way my heart almost stopped. Rushing out of our car to go check on the people who were there. Panic mode. Praying with some ladies who were in shock and crying. Trying to see how we could help. Seeing a guy I was sure would not make it out with his lower limbs, being taken out with his legs intact.

We had to leave soon after because we were very late for the event and we had the girl everyone was waiting for. I was left feeling a bit confused: wanting to absorb what just occurred but distracted by the urgency of our getting to the destination. Car we were in stalled just before we got to Missy’s home. Another one came for us and the celebrations began.

There was too much to soak in at that event. The importance of family and community. The centrality of God and prayer. The beauty of our life journeys. After speeches that had me meditating on so much, we found ourselves distracted by selfies and photo shoots.

Three of us girls retreated to Missy’s room. In between girl talk and being on phone chatting, my dad called. Then casually, Miss Kay asks if I know a certain guy she’s chatting with. I smile and can’t believe it. I tell her to say hi and figure he should break the news to her. He does. She’s baffled to say the least. Just then I remember my dad mentioned he was in the kitchen with a certain guy as he called me: the guy is her ex! So here she was chatting with my ex, M, while I’d been on phone with my dad who was cooking late lunch with her ex. I mean, how weird can life get!!!

That evening had us do plenty of reminiscing and discussing stories about us and guys who’d featured in our lives. I was really glad to have gotten M’s number because I owed him an apology and had been looking for him for months.

Hi Beautiful

I have this song on replay that probably would have the usual religious lot throwing stones at me; but allow me to share:

If perfect’s what you’re searching for, then just stay the same
So don’t even bother asking if you look okay
You know I’ll say

When I see your face
There’s not a thing that I would change
‘Cause girl you’re amazing
Just the way you are

And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for a while
‘Cause girl, you’re amazing
Just the way you are

 Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Oh goodness, I find it hard to explain how I can’t wipe this smile off my face. The more I listen to those lyrics, the more the truth of how beautiful I am washes over my soul. The reality that I truly am fearfully and wonderfully made, sinks in deeper.

See lately, I feel like God’s been drawing up all sorts of people to remind me just how precious and beautiful I am. This would sound like a show off to someone who doesn’t understand why this means so much to me. Last year has to have been the worst for me in terms of how I saw myself.

I beat myself up more than I’d care to admit (not physically of course). I hated  loathed who I was and who I’d become. I’d look at the mirror and wonder who on earth that was. I felt like crap and no amount of makeup helped. I’d look at photos I’d taken of me and think of what a lie I portrayed. I looked nothing like the beautiful girl I’d see.

I remember two people, men to be precise, who became highlights in that journey. Both were guys who hadn’t met me in person. First guy asked to meet me and insecurities galore arose! I have no idea why, but I kept thinking he’d despise the person I was. Either way, I gathered up enough courage to show up and sure enough, my expectations were met. I felt rejection and pure conceit from him. I was quite glad when that acquaintanceship ended just as promptly as it began.

Second guy, whoa, where do I even begin. The guy was someone I thought was quite something. His heart for God, love for people and broken as he was, I still thought his personality was wonderful. Interactions with him were nothing close to my experience with the previous guy. However, as good as our friendship turned out, it unearthed insecurities I didn’t even think I possessed. I remember the time I realised I’d started liking him, I immediately had those feelings curtailed by reality. Which reality for me was that, nothing could ever happen. Main issue was the people who surrounded him: he had innumerable ladies who were the perfect combination of beauty and skills/brains. The kind of ladies that were talented and were doing something about it. Which ultimately reminded me of how I was doing nothing with all the capabilities I had.

Suddenly, comparison crept in and I felt like I couldn’t compete; couldn’t match. I was far from adequate and was definitely not worth  noticing. With all the self-loathing and body image issues I was having; I felt inferior and decided to retreat. What was the point? The guy deserved one of those phenomenal ladies from his bevy of beauties. The more I interacted with him, the more the insecurities would gnaw at me.

Well, I’m glad the story changed because right now, I cringe as I read what I’m writing. God stepped in and used all possible avenues. A random text from my baby girl reminding me how beautiful and amazing I am. A lesson or two (okay, way more than that) from YouTube. Compliments from people. A random passenger in a car that was passing as I was crossing the road, telling me how good I looked. Songs that would spew out the same truths. A text from a close friend saying how I was very beautiful and very wise (this one almost had me crying). All the above until I began believing it.

So yes, now you get why this song has me smiling endlessly. To any of you feeling something close to anything I did (and at times still battle with), I pray that you’ll be reminded of how precious and beautiful you are. I pray that your value will be revealed until you accept it. Most of all, I pray for God’s love to embrace you, overwhelm you and break you free from all the lies you’ve believed about yourself.

 

A Letter to You

Hi,

You with the wounds; deep or shallow. You who’s clothed with despair. You whose heart is tired. You who’s hoped and hoped and been disappointed one too many times. You who’s been looking at other people flourishing in their happiness and wondering when your turn will come. You who’s been hurt severely or mildly. You on the verge of giving up. You who always comes so close but the happiness you chase keeps being elusive.

Your pain is legit, your despair is understandable, your fears are founded and you are worth grieving over. Don’t let anyone belittle what you feel; not even your own self. Allow yourself to feel all this at this moment.

However, down in those ashes of despair is not where you belong; that pit of pain isn’t your abode; that dark cell where you’re covering your wounds is not your permanent place. After the dark night, day dawns; don’t miss your sunrise.

You, right in the place you are, are loved. You are worth caring about. You may be knocked down but you’re not out. Take His hand, let Him gently pull you out of the pit. Lay your heart bare, let His love wash over your wounds and be your healing. Move away from that cell’s door; His rays of hope want to burst in and flush out despair.

You are loved; your wounds are legit but they can be healed. You are loved; yes your hope was genuinely lost but it’s a new day. You are loved; you feel rejected you but what they didn’t give you, they can’t take away; your acceptance was from Him. You are loved; broken as you are, He makes you whole. You are loved; disappointments of the past are not a forecast of the future. You are loved; nothing can take that away

Allow yourself to be loved and embrace the truth of that love until you live it fully.