What I learnt from participating at “Masaku 7’s” in my day

Letter to a 20 year old.

Kenya Harlequins, Champions of Masaku Sevens for second consecutive year - Photograph courtesy of ur7s.com

Kenya Harlequins, Champions of Masaku Sevens for second consecutive year – Photograph courtesy of ur7s.com

My dear,

I thought I would write this in a letter form so that I might tempt you to read beyond the first paragraph, back in my day letters were the bomb dot com, we waited for them in high school and college with almost the same eagerness as you wait for Friday night, the first salary or having your own place for the first time. Whether it was a letter from a boy or girl who you thought was absolutely amazing, wait I hear it’s “amaaaziiiiing” these days. Don’t be fooled though I am only 10 years older than you so yes I am on Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp just to mention a few though I still can’t make out what Instagram is all about. I tried but the cow refused! I am laying this foundation to make you comfortable in the fact that this is not your mother or father talking, I know how parents can be. The ‘we used to’ speech is way too familiar and no, my parents were never number one at any point of their education the one thing they nailed very well though was cultivating good character and seeking wisdom.

I know this because I turned 30 the other day and realized the harsh truth “my parents were right all along”, yup believe it or not I guess they just did not communicate it in a way that I could understand. Anyway just having to admit this to you guys makes me feel like a traitor, a snitch, like I am acknowledging I should have listened and maybe I would have avoided the whole deep dark depressive days of my life. You see the thing is at that particular time we have our own set of ideas on what is right and wrong, well are they really ours or our friend or are they from the movies and radio stations we watch ? I digress…

I have come to realize that many times we rarely look at the whole picture. say for example when you begin college you are excited mostly because of the new found freedom, new friends new environment and what not, we rarely count the cost of being in college, the financial cost: which would remind us that our parents are working their butts off and most probably one of our siblings will have to forgo school for a year. What about the cost of time? Hey we will not live forever, the thing with time is that it can never be carried forward, a day like today, right now this minute, you will never get it back, as in once it passes it’s done, gone, kaput! Yet our lives have a limit of how much time we have to spend, for some of us we will live to be seventy some not so lucky. And the cost of purpose? I am a firm believer that each and every one of us was created for a purpose, our genetic makeup, thought process, abilities and talents are all part of a bigger picture and the beautiful thing about this cost is that it involves the world. We get the opportunity to change the world when we realize what mark we are supposed to leave in the world.

At 20 we have only seen and experienced a glimpse of what the world has to offer, so it’s still a good place to be at because all hope is yet to be lost. If there was something I could share with a 20 year old without going all pastor on you is that you are a unique human being, unique in the way you were created, in your thought process and that you are capable of making your own decisions but like I mention our fault is in never looking at the bigger picture the choices I make now have consequences now or later and the sad thing is that the decisions you make not only affect you but the people you love and those that love you in return.

Believe it or not the cycle of life has never changed just because you are at that age. In my 20’s we had less of the kind of fun things you guys do and this is not to mean that they were acceptable then nor now. Our definition of fun then was smoking weed, “dressing in clothes that began way too early and ended too late”, indulging in alcohol, changing guys like you would change clothes, flirting , club hopping etc. The definition of fun I see and hear of today would turn my grandfather in his grave! Homosexuality is the it, one night stands, dress as less as one can, vibrators are a girls companion, drinking has become a sad excuse and orgies have taken over, let me not forget the public grinding,twerking,cyber sex, the private house parties and everything that go on there just to mention a few.

The question of whether it is right or wrong has found each and every one of us at a crossroads of some sort in the journey called life, but I realized some years back that I have been asking the wrong question all along. It’s never whether the thing you are doing or the decision you are about to make is right or wrong, the question each and every one of us needs to ask ourselves often is, “Is it wise or not?”. Is it wise to be part of an orgy with friends or even unknown person not knowing where his private parts have been or who they have been doing? Is it wise to drink till you pass out at a club or rugby game with the excuse that your designated driver will get you home safely when the probability of them ending up with a one night stand are 10-0, clearly meaning you might be left high and dry in a club, alone and vulnerable? Is it wise to not dress up and disrespect your body by inviting all kinds of preying eyes?

Growing in wisdom comes from making wise choices in every circumstance and not necessarily the right choice. The bigger picture is that your 20’s will fly past and friends will change and move, will you still like the person you are now? Will you sit down with your children and share stories of Masaku 7s, Safaricom 7’s and other rugby tournaments, the road trip to Naivasha, Nakuru Mombasa etc. or will you like our parents twist and turn the truths hoping, wishing, praying that your children will never know your past or God forbid they turn out to be anything like you.

There is something that threw me off balance a few months ago that I see fit to share at this point of my letter. I did indulge in what we called fun in the 90’s and I thought as I left that life behind everything would be forgotten. Thank God I don’t have children yet. Last year I was in church hanging out with some friends after a movie night which takes place every third Friday of the month. (Let me invite you to join us for the movie night this July if you live in Mombasa. It’s the third Friday of the month at 6pm. don’t forget it). So we are talking and one of our newest staff introduces me to his brother the brother stretches his hand to greet me with a grin on his face, I pause out of confusion, see the thing is he is familiar to me, I can’t remember where or how I know him but I know him, somehow, somewhere we have met but I will never know where or under what circumstances. I have asked him severally to remind me but he says that’s in the past and that I wouldn’t want to remember, what about the time I was in the middle of sharing the word of God with the whole church and I spot this guy sitting smack in the middle of the 4th row. On seeing him, I start sweating as I remember very well where we were and the things I said and did .You see the past is often forgiven but rarely is it forgotten only God forgives and forgets.

My dear 20 something friend as I conclude let me share something that has changed as I have grown up. As you live your life having fun, posting photos on Facebook and Instagram as you post comments and like questionable pages, as you visit questionable pages on the web and have videos of yourself uploaded all over the internet, remember one day you will get out there, a degree in hand ready to conquer the world. Many times we lie to ourselves and think that we will leave that irresponsible life behind and get serious but we forget that the internet never forgets and faces are easy to remember and memories do not fade away easily. The job market today does extensive searches on the people they hire, they Google you to see what kind of person they are inviting to be part of their family as they seek to ascertain your character and how you will fit in to their organization and brand. I have seen enough reference check forms come to my desk for my boss to fill and I can tell you that companies are no longer moved by grades and points you scored in school. It is John Wooden who says, “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.”

Make wise choices now and avoid the enticing fun that has the potential to devour your dreams of tomorrow.

For my generation

Wanjiku Ndungu

 

3.0 – 13 Things that are totally going to change in your 30’s

So……I am turning 30 in a couple of months and i am excited ! I want to share this journey, this milestone with my readers so more posts are coming your way, this though is a post my Pastor sent to me and i can totally relate so if you are turning 30 this year, Brace yourself we are finally growing up and i love it !! Enjoy

You are in your 30s. It came a lot quicker than you expected, right? Kaboom. After posting your pics and tweeting the occasion, you are finally home alone — and it hits you. You go to the mirror and stare at what might just possibly be baby crow’s feet creeping across your face. Oh my. So, you say to yourself, “Holy crap, YOU. ARE. 30.” (O.M.G.) (Not gonna happen to me hi hi hi 😉

While these years may feel surprisingly more pressurized than your 20s, they will unexpectedly also bring the most personal growth in your life. The 30s will toss you surprise curve balls instead of easy-breezy pitches, and you might get caught staring. You’re no longer allowed to kick back in flip-flops on the bench — you’re in the big leagues, in cleats with a giant 3-0 on your back. This is where you find out who you are and who you really want on your team.

You squint, you swing and you run. You pay attention like never before, you look ahead and you ask yourself:

Is this where I thought I’d be? Is this where I am supposed to be?

And life starts to get a bit more complicated. Here is the good news:

YOU Version 3.0 is more of a Smart-you than you think. Why? Because in this decade you will be challenged, pushed and p—u—l—l—e—d in ways that would have baffled you in your 20s. You will be completely forced to grow. That is, if you choose to dress out for the game. And it’s my bet that you will. Here’s why.

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1) You will figure out who YOU really are and why you have gone through so much. You will reflect on your life and find it easier to claim your own path outside of the wishes of your parents, counselors or coaches. You will realize the difference between a mistake, a whim and a calling.

2) You will struggle with how you are going to start building a legacy in this life, versus the fear that you will not make a difference at all. You realize that you want to leave a mark on the world for more than just you — you start living for your children, your community and maybe even the world. And you wonder how you are going to do it. In this decade, you will see your calling more clearly, if you are open.

3) You will find great satisfaction and great frustration with all of the people that you are going to be taking care of (e.g., spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends). You will face many situations that throw you, but you learn how to adjust to life’s changes and those that need you. This will transform you, your time and your relationships.

4) You will feel real, in-your-face, make-you-cry stress about finances, love, career and family. You will start to understand what your parents were talking about all of those years. The good news is that this is the kind of necessary stress that life is made of — and where you find out what you are made of.

5) You will get off balance, on balance, off balance, on balance — and so on — because of all of the roles that you have to carry on the shoulders of your life. You will have to wear many hats, and you will often feel like a tightrope walker trying to stay the course, balancing the people and commitments in your life. This frustration will help you to see that one person can only handle so much and you will start to understand why setting boundaries is so critical.

6) You will feel more meaning in your life and begin to see love, career and family as part of your purpose — instead of part of your obligation. You will realize that with great love, also comes great pain, and you learn that it is worth it. On purpose.

7) You will start coming to terms with the fact that you are not going to live forever as you start losing important people in your life. Mortality becomes a brutal fact of life, and it changes you painfully, for the better.

8) You will see the world differently and embrace things that you would have run away from in your 20s. You will feel a higher sense of well-being, creativity and self-awareness as your experiences widen. I’m talking about values, experiences, goals and opinions that will (*gasp*) change. You will be very surprised by you.

9) You will realize that gathering mass amounts of friends is not as important as paying attention to those who are in your life for a reason, and those who should not be in your life at all. Your fringe friendships will fade, your closest relationships will deepen and some wonderfully surprising people will on-the-floor amaze you.

10) You will have life-changing “a-ha moments” that drastically change the direction of your life for the better. The underrated gift of wisdom comes with age, and you will be thrilled by it.

11) You will not feel as young and carefree as you did in your 20s, but you will learn to love feeling more grounded. As sad as it is to let go of the good ol’ days, you will appreciate being at the Adult Table. The food just tastes better. And you know how to order off of the menu.

12) You will figure out how to align who you truly are on the inside with what you are doing on the outside. You will figure out how to start accepting your limitations and your talents. You move toward making peace with the human experience and focus in on why you are truly here.

13) You will accept your previous struggles as life lessons and gain a greater sense of life purpose. Amen. It’s part of the beautiful game of life. Now play ball.

Article courtesy of http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Another Year, What else is new ?

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Wow another year has begun, breathe..please breathe…

I know some of you are excited at the prospects of the New Year others are overwhelmed at the amount of things to accomplish while the majority is freaking out!! Thinking i wasn’t done with last year! what happened to last year? Oh my goodness what did I achieve? accomplish? I am such a failure! Chances are you feel like you are going to mess this year too and two options are going through your mind, One to just sit and watch as another year just happens, or two to just do the bare minimum and see how the year will progress. Now as much as those two options are tempting…..please read some more of what I have to say and maybe I can convince you to see things in a different way.

Today (Tuesday) was my first day back to work; yes I have been on Holiday break for two weeks and was looking forward to coming to work but for some reason (I slept in good time…well almost) but I woke up late, now I get pissed when I wake up late because it kind of messes up my day. I don’t get to do my morning routine, my devotion, drink my vanilla cup of tea and dance a little bit as i prepare for work…you know setting the mood and all. So I didn’t get to do any of those things, I got to the matatu stage still pissed because the matatu’s were taking their sweet time and when i finally got into one the driver decided to take a shortcut which most times has never worked because we end up in a jam for hours on end. I wanted to scream but decided to complain to the person sited next me but he dint respond so I got mad at him too for not saying anything!

When I finally got to town I alighted and realized I dint even thank the conductor, so off I went to the office, four flight of stairs only to find the doors locked, went down one flight of stairs and found our third floor office space opened, I went in and found Mariam my colleague,The first thing I told her was to open the door least people come in and thought we are still closed, Imagine not even a good morning!. I entered the office with all manner of attitude,Something in me was urging me to get on to face book and write a frustrated post or tweet and maybe spend the rest of my morning mourning over how bad of a day I was having .

As I entertained that thought(whether to rant and rave) I decided to Google the word for today by UCB and I read something that caught my eye, the teaching was from Jeremiah 1 that when God calls people they usually feel ill equipped and insecure and unsure, He calls people who have made mistakes, When Jeremiah told God that he doesn’t have the competence nor confidence to do the job God said to him and I believe what He is saying to us today “You are not going in your own authority” and that somehow comforted me because I realized that I dint make this day, I wasn’t feeling confident over how this day would turn out and so I wanted to sabotage it, I was letting my self dictate the kind of day I was going to have.

As you begin the year with all this doubts and fear the key question ought to be in whose authority are you going forth with? Who is sponsoring you? Who is sustaining you? The truth is if the answer is you, then you don’t stand a chance, but if the answer is God, regardless of how this long road ahead looks you can look up and know that there is someone holding the reigns, there is someone leading the way, We are sheep and your work and my work basically is to hear His voice and follow Him. And since we know Him and how perfect His will is for our lives we can rest in the fact that He’s got us!! He’s got this year!

My friend wherever He leads you, whatever He requires of you, stand in obedience, don’t rationalize, agonize, compromise or apologies. Do as He says and this year will be one that you will never forget! The ball is in your court, in whose authority are you going forth with this year?

Psalms 37:23-34 says : The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,And He delights in his way.Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;For the Lord upholds him with His hand.

Ps: my day got brighter and I even went ahead to do an exercise that we were asked to do. Every day when you wake up take the first 5 minutes to be grateful for what God is doing,write down 5 things I was grateful for…..i wrote my 5 things the last one was this was that I was grateful God had given me the ability to write, so I started this post and I was done in 20 minutes.

Happy New Year !!!

For my generation
Wanjiku Ndungu

Fellowship of the Unashamed

This is a a poem found in a preachers house after he was killed because of his faith. How i seek to live my life like this man. here goes……

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I AM A PART of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is in God’s hands. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, the bare minimum, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, the best, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith. I lean on Christ’s presence. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the power of God’s grace.

My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give until I drop, speak out until all know, and work until He stops me.

And when He returns for His own, Because He will return, He have no difficulty recognizing me. My colors will be clear. End

My Prayer

Lord Jesus take complete control of my life, let me not just rejoice in the privilege of trusting in you but in your suffering as well. Let me stand up and speak up boldly and with authority about you grace, love and the ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Let me be open to your Holy Spirit leading everyday of my life, Lord Jesus let this life bring you glory alone.

 

For my generation

Wanjiku Ndungu

My Pain…..His Glory

It was a Tuesday like any other, I got into the office early and did a book report that was way past its due date, Deep and wide by Andy Stanley amazing book which I personally recommend to anyone who is pastoring or wants to pastor a church, let’s just say it will disturb you and inspire you at the same time. So I did my report and send it via Skype to my boss, yeah he is cool like that ;). My next step was Facebook I am in charge of the church account so basically I was busy uploading stuff, responding to messages , praying and just sharing information when a colleague asked me if I knew Maryanne (names have been changed) I said “sure thing what’s up ?, she went on to tell that she had seen a message from one of our common friends on Face book saying that Maryanne had passed on, I snorted and quickly searched Maryanne’s name on the Facebook engine only to find countless number of messages all verifying what my colleague had just shared. I can’t really explain what happened next but between not being able to breathe and calling another friend to really confirm what I had just read and calling a member of the family to give my condolences I mean everything was just happening too fast.

Two weeks prior to the news I had met with Maryanne at a mutual friends boutique, she had come to pick a dress which from our conversation would be for the evening party for a wedding she was attending I on the other hand was picking a dress for a coffee date which was to take place the next day, I remember her admonishing me about my disappearing act from her life and went on to mention how I haven’t even visited her in her new home. I agreed, not one who liked to argue especially when I know I am in the wrong and a date was to be set once our social calendars were less engaged and with that we said our goodbyes not knowing that it would be the last time I would ever see, touch, talk and hear her speak. So Tuesday came as a complete shock, and denial was my first reaction. It couldn’t be, not here, not now. But the thing about death is that its so final and there wasn’t much to do but pray and cry and pray some more and cry some more, I wasn’t even sure what I was praying for…all I know is that I talked God’s ears off that day.

Prayers at my church happen on Tuesday at 6pm and at some point I had to get myself together to ensure that everything was set for prayer time, at 6 sharp I was seated in my usual corner and song after song was sung all praising and worshiping this wonderful God whom I felt had failed miserably, you see in my human mind its somewhat understandable for death to take away someone who is sick, someone who is old, someone who is in pain, someone who is not following Him or serving Him or even someone who doesn’t  believe in Him, It might not be fair but it’s understandable, But Maryanne…she, she was so full of life, she was healthy, she was a mother, a wife, she served God daily , her smile was an encouragement to any kind of storm and I……I just couldn’t understand. When the choir began to sing “Be Magnified Oh Lord” I wanted to punch someone in the face….how can He be magnified, how can He be exalted at a time like this…….But still I found myself standing up, raising my hands and after a while began to sing along and telling Him that He is still magnified and exalted regardless of my situations regardless of my circumstances. I told Him I dint understand Him at times and I wasn’t happy with how things turn out at times that He had a lot of explaining to do when I got to heaven.

You see many times in this life we rejoice when everything is honky dory, when God is answering prayers, when our friends are receiving miracles, when our children are making right choices, when God is present and near and you can feel Him and touch Him and everything is just working out as best as we can imagine. But when tragedy strikes, when there are cracks in our relationships, when we lose someone we love, when we get fired, when terrorists invade our country when our whole world literally turns upside down, praising God becomes so hard, so difficult, the “why” questions is asked over and over again and we want someone to explain what is going on and why this is happening to us. We blame God, call Him names and for most Christians it is so easy for us to lose our faith, to give up, to throw in the towel, to be so overcome with such hopelessness. And if we are not careful we might never recover or even if we do we would have lost much more than we had planned to.

Sorrow and pain are not easy nor are they uncommon to us all , as a matter of fact no one escapes sorrow or pain depending on their wealth, status in society , marriage status etc…we all experience it at some point in our lives. The bible on the other hand has endless verses that let me know hey there is going to be pain here and this is what the Lord has promised to do concerning it……

Psalm 147:3 ESV: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Matthew 5:4 NIV: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

John 16:33 NIV: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

But the most my most interesting verse on all this is in Habakkuk 3:17-18 which says Even though the fig trees are all destroyed, and there is neither blossom left nor fruit; though the olive crops all fail, and the fields lie barren; even if the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be happy in the God of my salvation.

Meaning that regardless of what life throws at me, what I lose or gain and how much I suffer I will rejoice in the Lord who saved me, I will continue to bless this God. When we sing songs like, Still –Hill song United, Praise you in the storm –casting crowns on normal days they are just songs we sing but when it really matters its hard and it’s okay for them to be hard but remember God doesn’t change, He is not shocked by the happenings in the world or in your life , He sees all things knows all things and I am confident that the pain i feel, the pain you feel , the hurt will go away at some point but God will forever be God and a song like,  Never would have made it –Marvin Sapp would finally make so much sense.

For my generation.

Wanjiku Ndungu

Mercy Said NO.

What comes to your mind when you hear or read about the word “Mercy ” ?

Mercy for me describes not just that Christ died on the cross i mean that sacrifice is incomparable ! But it does remind me of the things that God has withheld from me because He loves me too much. Even to this day we still sin but God gives us His mercy every new morning because He knows that we are capable of sin and He withholds his punishment.

Imagine if God were to literally punish us everytime we sinned ? When we lie, when we dont fulfill a promise to Him, when we are late, when we dont give, when we look at a person lustfully, when we waste time, when we are selfish and so on….

Yet its funny how we are quick to withhold mercy from people, someone cuts you on the road, or dissapoints you, or when someone treats you unfairly we are quick to wish harm on them or just play out scenerios of vengence in our mind, sometimes we even pray that God would repay them, some of us waste so much time being angry and bitter, forgetting that we at some point commited the same acts yet God saw it fit to bestow mercy on us.

Mercy is saying NO! i withhold the punishment you deserve, i withhold my anger, my unkind words, my fist .I will not wish you harm, i will forgive you, i will let it go. Giving mercy is saying i know you deserve this but i choose to love you.

Show some mercy this week.

Ciku

Starting Over……Faith

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“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” John 3:4

Many of us would laugh at Nicodemus, yet the question of how a 27 year old starts over is one I have been asked over and over again for the past 3 months. I don’t know how far many 20-27 or even 40 year-olds have come as far as life is concerned but I know those are quite some years not to have done something in your life. Most common would be getting an education, growing in your chosen career and even having a family of your own.

At 27, I do have an education and a career that I love! But I guess from early on I always knew that there was another path I was meant to take. Some of us are blessed to find our purpose and passion in life and go for them, some of us have no clue, and we just sail through life living under other people’s shadows, expectations or their dreams for us. Some, like me, do have an idea about what their life is supposed to be about yet take the easy way out or choose the road most traveled.

I wonder which category you fall under. What are you planning to do about it? And most importantly how long are you going to ignore the calling or conviction of the Holy Spirit? You see, we live in a world where everything is generally dictated for us. You are born, cared for and provided for by your parents, you grow up and go through sixteen years of education, you get your ID at eighteen and luckily by twenty-two get your first job, move out of your parents’ house at twenty-four – that’s when life truly begins for you! You casually date here and there, nothing too serious. Several jobs and promotions later you meet this amazing man/woman and you get married. One year later, you have a baby and now you have your own family depending on you and soon as age forty clocks in, you have your dad and mum depending on you as well.

Responsibilities day in, day out. The last thing you have time for is you, what you want, what you need and really where you are going. You spend ten hours at work, two hours catching up with friends over drinks, two hours with your family, nine hours sleeping and you’re up again to do it all over! Weekends are mainly divided between your own and extended family. Don’t even get me started on where you get the extra hours to watch TV! You manage to squeeze in a few hours for church and guess what – its Monday again! See, you’re not complaining, really. Because you love your family, you love your job and everything is fine, your living up to the society’s standards and all is well. That thought in the back of your mind, however… that voice you have suppressed, keeps you second-guessing yourself. What if there is another path, another way that your life is supposed to be different, what if your calling is much higher than what you are settling for?

In all honesty, for how long can we settle? How long can we settle in the jobs that we have, in the relationships we’re in, in the system of education that we still let our children go through yet knowing it’s not the right one! Don’t you think if God wanted us all to be the same he would have made us the exact same way?

There is a reason why we are all different and have different abilities, talents, capabilities, character, values, temperaments etc. We all have a role to play in life. We all have something greater to achieve and something small to give. We are all capable of change, changing our attitude towards life, towards people, towards God. We all have a chance to start over.

The one thing that I have never doubted at any given time is God’s love for me. You see  God is love and  He loves us  (John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life). With God, it doesn’t matter where you have been, what you have done, what people have said about you or even what you think and say about yourself, The Bible says in Mathew 11 :28, Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.  See, you’re His child, His creation made in His image. One of the greatest promises He gives us is that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

As another year begins, I am starting over. I am giving it all up for Christ because I can’t hide anymore. I can’t hide in my work, in my playing small in life and just settling! I have dedicated this year to serving Him and truly finding His purpose for my life. Many friends, workmates and family have had a few things to say concerning this decision, but let’s be honest. It’s your life to live, and you can’t always please everyone. The most important thing is that it pleases God.

For some of you, starting over might be as practical as changing your attitude,  taking responsibilities for your actions, forgiving people, picking the phone and mending broken relationships,  making a decision to fight temptation, dressing decently or even exercising! For others it requires huge steps like taking on a promotion, leaving a job, tearing up divorce papers, making peace with absentee fathers and mothers, and coming to a point of realizing that when all that was happening God was there and what He did, is that He did not let you go, He held you and He comforted you, He kept you and grew you to the person you are today.

They say it takes 40 days to form a habit or get rid of a habit. I say it takes God, period! The journey to starting over is not easy, nor is it pretty but it’s possible! Mathew 19:26 says, Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

As you write down resolutions for the year ahead, as you make your long term plans, ask yourself this: Are you really living your life in full? Are you living the life that God meant for you or are you living your life your own way, or society’s way? Are there things in your life that need to change or that you need to add? Are there habits that you need to change or cultivate, are there people you need to let go or hold on to, and are there relationships you need to break or mend?

God is with you throughout this process. Go ahead. Dare to start over.

(I wrote this in January…..Life is beautiful with Jesus, let no one ever tell you different 😉

Winning or whining?

James 1:12

Blessed are those who endure when they are tested. When they pass the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.

During the first two weeks of the year I made quite a number of prayers, asking God to guide and show me the way forward, asking that He makes His will and path clear so that I don’t stumble my way through the year, I remember specifically sitting at my grandmothers garden since I had gone to visit her and basically tell her what I was up to and yes I had terribly missed her! As I prayed God brought a word in my heart, the word was “Test…..it’s a test” yes I had the same look on my face, I started wondering what the test was? What it was about? And why a test?

If you are like me generally I don’t like tests!! Ever since I was in school I found them time consuming, competitive and downright boring…..don’t even get me started in the tests at the hospital.i guess that why when I went to study counseling and psychology and got to know that we dint have to sit for any kind of tests I was ecstatic ! But a year later the tests were introduced and had to be administered before one got to graduate and I was a frustrated young woman. Over time I have come to tolerate them, I tried embracing them but It just dint work!!

Test…it’s a test !those words were all that could play in my mind that day so I went digging in the word of God to see what this was all about. I was shocked to find that the word test appeared 11 times , the word tested 10 times and was referred to the word tempt and temptation 18 times . and there is a possibility that there could be more but to me this was quite a revelation, I was excited and eager to read and find out what God was saying, what instructions He was giving, what He expected from me but at the same time I was worried, and concerned and afraid….Let’s be honest its usually one thing to not know what your expected to do and just stumble your way through the right path and it’s a different scenario when you do know what you are expected to do and don’t do it !

Exodus 20:20 says and Moses said to the people “do not fear, for God has come to test you and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.

If I could quickly take you 2 chapters before in the book of exodus, this was the time when God had given Moses the ten commandments and sent him to pass them on to the Israelites, the Lord had come down upon mount Sinai and the people were afraid and asked Moses to speak for them least they hear from God and die. It Is quite interesting because these people had seen God do marvelous, and miraculous deeds in their lives yet they still rebelled and went ahead to make and worship idols, I mean when the situations in their lives at any point got a bit difficult or uncomfortable they would complain and murmur and wish they would go back to Egypt forgetting all that God had done for them. Haven’t we been here before? One day everything is working great and we are praising and giving testimonies but the minute things take a down turn we just can’t stand it.

As I read through some more Genesis 22:1, Psalm 17:3, 1 Timothy 3:10, Acts 5:9, 1 Corinthians 3;13 which speak about being tested and testing, we are actually encouraged to test things and there are promises in God ‘s word that we will be tested ! Life is a test, think about it each and every day of our lives we face some kind of situation, a decision to make , they may not be hard or life threatening ,urgent decisions not really , they maybe be a test of our character, loyalty, kindness, even integrity ! From creation God tested Adam and Eve, but they failed their test, this does not mean we will fail, no, because the bible gives us many examples of people who passed their test; Daniel, Jesus, Moses, Abraham and many others.

Rick warren in his book purpose driven life writes “we don’t know all the tests God will give us, but we can predict some of them, you will be tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, answered prayers, undeserved criticism, and even senseless tragedies, In his own life he has noticed that God tests his FAITH through problems, tests his HOPE by how he handles possessions , and tests his LOVE through people” the bible has made one thing clear 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has over taken you except such as is common to man, But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you maybe be able to bear it.

So why test us? I mean what for? Can’t God just tell us what to do and how to go about it! As I said before, I hate tests! but then I am reminded that we are humans, and God has given us freedom of choice, 1 Peter 6:9 says ‘so be truly glad there is a wonderful joy ahead, even through you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine .it is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ will be revealed to the whole world. Every test that we go through is for God’s glory! God’s honor and it brings Him much praise!! Which is part of why He created us in the first place?

God loves each and every one of us and seeks to draw us to Himself each and every day, for the last so days I have known this truth and I am purposing to live it out, I purpose to pass my tests , I want to be more aware of things that happen around me, more aware of when I am about to tell a lie, when I want to compromise, when I am faced with disappointment, when I am in conflict, my response to people etc…And I believe by living out this truth I am growing in my character and learning to depend on God. I may not always pass them let me be honest but I know the few times is I do my God notices and I please Him.

One of the ways that I feel that I am being really tested on this season is my trust in God, I remember early this month I talked to a friend, and anyone within earshot of our little chatty-chat would have thought that I was intoxicated, I was ranting and raving about God’s timing and plan I mean, don’t we just love giving God the reigns in all areas of our lives? And just sit back and watch Him disentangle the kinks and knots we have made in or folly? If you are anything like me, then this description is not true of you.

What test I am going through right now you ask? The test of self doubt, the test of procrastination, knowing what I ought to do but never really getting down to it, the test of living an unhealthy lifestyle, you should see the things I eat and hear what my doctor has to say…the test of choices I make every day. What test are you going through today? Are you winning or whining?

Blessings

Ciku

Be my witness …..

I don’t know what comes to your mind when you read the title of this blog… be my witness….because rarely will you find this term floated around outside a courtroom, and yes on many occasions when signing contracts… The first thought that came to mind when I first thought of this title was marriage, and no it has nothing to do with the family and friends witnessing and celebrating the next part of your life nor is it about a best man and best maid being a witness in your wedding and actually signing on the dotted line on the marriage certificate that indeed they saw and helped and confirmed that you did get married to so and so.

My thought process was on the person that you are marrying, maybe I need to explain how I have seen things growing up(well on tv to be precise ;(I look at it this way, you are born and your parents are crazy about you, they document each and every step you take, each and every milestone you achieve, have baby photos and videos and some even go to the extent of keeping the first paper you ever colored! This is where you all go awwwww **** (yes I would love to documents all this for my kids ;)).

I mean you can see and tell the sense of pride when mothers recount the first time you walked, or the first time you called them mum, your first day at school and what not… but life goes on and around 18 years later life kinda settles down, you are either in university or college or working and apart from the random photos your friends take of you or the ones you take in the bathroom for the sake of face book and twitter nothing much is documented, a diary /journal helps but most days it goes unwritten. You see life moves on, the hustle continues and your parents, sisters, brothers are all busy with their own lives, you catch up on how one is doing once in a while and that’s about it.

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My love “Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it, your life will not go un witnessed because I will be your witness “ I came across these words in my diary I think I was in my early 20’s when I wrote them down, can’t remember where I got them from but they made me go all gooyyy hi hi  hi you know just imagining that a union like marriage would be a setting where your spouse this one person that God has brought in your life would be your witnesses because really this is the one person that you will spend the rest of your life with, bible says till death do you part (yes I am those chicks who believe and know that marriage is for forever, no two way about it) so just the idea of it all was pretty exciting and unsettling at the same time.

Unsettling in the sense that what if this person got busy? What if they died? Should my husband be the only person who witnesses or notices my life, its progress, its up’s and down, its successes and its failures. Don’t you think that’s a huge task to place on someone? As all these questions went through my mind I asked myself so what, do I sit and wait until i am married to have someone to witness my life?  How does it impact my Christian life? I mean if I don’t have a witness how I walk as a Christian, doesn’t that mean I can do wherever, or I can compromise and still be a Christian. How does it impact me as a single person? As more questions went through my mind I was reminded of a very interesting verse in the bible which I had read over and over again but never really thought about it in this context.

The bible in Hebrew 12:1 say therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Please tell me that you just got a light bulb because I did, I envisioned all sorts of people witnessing my life, my Christian life, you know the road to accomplishing my goals and purpose and all this people were just cheering me on and through the word of God they were advising me and giving me tips and guiding me which way to go, what to take seriously and what to check off my list of priorities and plans….

In my understanding of this verse Noah is looking down from heaven and telling me don’t quit! Whether people on earth think you are crazy, whether they mock you and make fun of you and the things you do and believe in don’t quit! As long as God has commanded you to do something don’t quit!

Abraham is pleading with me, obey Ciku…obey the word of God and all the promises that He has set out for you, He will accomplish, I mean look at my life I became the father of all nations ! God gave me a son at an age where it was impossible for my wife to get children, have faith in God and wherever He send you just pick up your stuff and head out.

Daniel tells me to quit whining…. if I think life is unfair I should jump into a lion’s den for one night and see how unfair life really is… I mean He refused to bow down to an idol and was left to die but God rescued him.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego …where do I even begin with these guys, tide and thrown in a furnace of fire with the assurance that whether they lived or died they would never worship another God if it’s not Jehovah.

Stephen, the one that was stoned like a dog for the sake of Christ, have we ever undergone persecution? Have you ever been slapped for your faith? Let alone be insulted for your beliefs. I hear him say whatever it takes, there is only one God and He alone is God. Whether He decided to come through for you or not…just remember heaven.

Jesus the Lord Jesus Christ himself the pain, the agony to carry my sins to the cross…..the beatings, the mockery, the shame all for me and you. I cant even describe what Jesus went through…He says I went all this for you that you may have life and be my witness till the ends of the world.

The Holy Spirit Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” How can you even say you are alone when a verse like this exists in the bible?

I can’t mention all the people who are looking down from heaven and all the lessons that we can learn from them, but they are our witnesses, they cheer us one, they urge us on, they encourage through their stories of faith and pain and triumph and their love for God is supposed to remind us that we are not alone, there are people who went before us and persevered and we can do it too….Apart from God almighty we do have witnesses in our lives, everyday every moment they cheer us on to finish the race, to accomplish the tasks , to fulfill the purpose that God set out for us from the beginning of time.

I may not know what you are going through right now but I just want to remind you that you are not alone and God is able to see you through no matter the circumstances, and each and every moment of your life is being witnessed. Yes, those moments when you feel like you are stuck in a rut, when all your friends are getting married and there is no one in sight, when the boss decided to promote that new girl and pushes you aside, when you save and its just never enough, when your family seems like its falling apart, when you are fighting an addiction and you can’t see any progress, when they call you all sorts of names because you got a child out of wedlock, when you feel empty, broken and unworthy of anything good. Even on those times your life is witnessed, and these witnesses have been through what you have been through and some much worse but you can draw encouragement and take a step to live another day.

 

The bible in Jeremiah 32:17 says “O Sovereign LORD! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!

 

Woman to Woman……

I know that you are for me,
I know that you are for me,
I know that you will never forsake me in my weakness,
And I know that you have come even if to write upon my heart,
To remind me who you are……

The words to this song by Kari Jobe have literally pulled me through this month. Many are times in this Christian walk where things have not necessarily gone as we planned nor as we imagined. Normally like many other human beings we have plans, for women this plans include the warmth of loyal friends, the love of a good man, and the laughter of children and unity of families. A great satisfying career and financial security would definitely be an added bonus. We don’t ask for much really ;). Most times we journey through and intentionally or even strategically place ourselves in the hope that all these plans will fall into place before we hit the age of thirty. So we pray, write lists, go for every singles meeting s/dinners/re-treats we can, for some of us like I said, the intentions are clear over what they want, while some are too scared of the thought of saying it aloud, I mean what would people think if they hear me saying I need a man, long for him and want to spend my days with him.

This longing and desire has had us settle for carbon copies instead of God’s desire for us, let’s be real woman to woman how many saved, hot for Jesus, heaven bound and tongue speaking women do you know that are unequally or have at one time been unequally yoked with non-believers? 2 Corinthians 6:14 says Do not be yoked with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what a fellowship can light have with darkness. Teaching after teaching ,seminars, conferences , re-treats name it all have emphasized on the dangers, the consequences of being unequally yoked but it just never seems to stick, we never seem to get it. Don’t get me wrong the word of God says that He grants us the desires of our heart, the desire for love, affection, children, peace, wealth, friendships and all that, but there is a another kind of desire that is in us. I don’t know about the men but I have only heard women speak about it, and I have experienced it myself, A desire to be deeply loved, deeply cared for, a longing to be held and desperate need to be affirmed, a thirst for a kiss and a touch of the soul, this love..This love that no man has or will ever be able to provide for me.

For many years I have sought this love in a man, in my career, in my hobbies and interest but I have never found it, year after year, promotion after promotion, relationship after relationship, there has always been something missing, plenty of times I would think there was something wrong with me! I mean how do you explain my wanting someone to take over and posses me, satisfy me and unconditionally love me, and no not really in a sexual way but someone who would own me! I know I sound crazy right now and the poor guys in my life never stood a chance, but I longed and yearned for that! I compromised in so many ways and in so many areas of my life that at some point I couldn’t recognize who I was or what values I stood for anymore. I was this Christian who was just seeking for the next high. This is the problem we face when we confuse the desire for God to being a desire for a man. Because no matter how hard you try a man would never fill that kind of longing you have as a woman, a career will never fill it, nor would children and wealth. This desire can only be filled with God.

God is for you, it’s funny how many Christians have been in this walk but never fully get to cultivate an intimate relationship with God, we are so content in just doing what is right, what is acceptable and move on from there, we are comfortable worshipping a little, praising a little, giving a little not knowing that those things are secondary, What God really longs and desires for is intimacy with us, He desires to whisper in your ears, He desires for you to acknowledge Him in your life, He desires to bless you , He desires to lead you to the perfect plan and purpose that He has set out for your life since the beginning. God desires you and that’s why he has your name in the palm of His hand, God loves to love you because God is love! God wants you; He yearns to fellowship with you. The bible states in exodus 34:14 Our God is a jealous God.

Exodus 20:3-4 says you shall have no other gods before me; you shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. Most often than not we think that the gods referred here are other religions or have this mental picture of shrines and witchcraft and all, but by gods the bible simply states anything that hinders your fellowship, relations, intimacy with God is a god, it might me a spouse, a job, a car, sex, money, your pride, anything that you elevate or have a high regard towards, anything that takes first place in your life is a god period! let me remind you of something you have heard of over and over, God loved us so much that He gave his only son to die for our sins, not only did Jesus die for us to be free of sin but He reconciled us to God, Jesus opened the lines of communication between us and God so that we no longer have to go through the priest or the pastor or any other religious leader. We don’t need to sacrifice by killing a goat or a ram or anything for us to communicate and commune with God. We can freely go to His presence and talk to Him, and He talks back.

I don’t know about you, but I hungered and I searched and longed for so much more, and after searching and seeking I have come to the point of understanding that it’s okay, it’s alright because God is ready to fulfill this desire, Psalm 42: 1-2 David sings, as the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God, My soul thirst for God, for the living God, where can I go and meet with God? A lot of people admit to wanting to be men and women after God’s own heart just like David but the sad thing is they don’t want to do the work, any kind of relationship requires work, effort, giving, adjusting and so many other things, it just doesn’t happen, God did not just sit one day and decide to say that David was a man after His heart, but He saw how David took it upon himself to pursue Him, to learn about Him, to get to know Him, to talk and walk with Him, David would do something and before he questions what others would say he would quickly run to God to beg for forgiveness, He would do things that pleased God, He would listen and obey God, For a man who fell so many times David knew he could not do life without God, he needed him, wanted him, yearned for him. And day by day he found God and communed with Him.

Satisfaction is our greatest desire and I want nothing more than all of us to be fully satisfied in this life, but there is no greater joy than a satisfied, content woman in God. A man will never fill this void in your life, that’s the harsh truth, period! No amount of money or sex can, because a man wasn’t meant to in the first place, he can only sweep you off your feet for a few hours or a few days but God, He is timeless, He is always there, and no matter what comes your way, you can just run to Him and you will be safe.

I challenge you to go ahead and spend time with God, read His word, circle His promises in the bible and pray, pray like your life depended on it because it does, but at the same time be keen to listen as He responds. It is not a one off thing because again like any other relationship, you work on it, it’s a daily decision you make to pursue God. Woman to woman, the truth is I am still learning, I am being filled and met one need at a time. He is molding me to be the woman that He created me to be. Our God is love and He desires to love us more each day, fill us every day if only we allowed Him.

Ciku Ndungu