Be still: When doing nothing is all you need

matt11-28

If you are anything like me – I have days when it’s literally a struggle to get out of bed. Last week’s heat, the school run making a re-entry, juggling the day to day hustles of life and such – all of it – took a toll on me. I was bedridden for a day with a severe migraine and inexplicably high blood pressure, which the doctor attributed to stress. Stress I could accept – possibly…but nah! “Do you have a history of blood pressure issues in your family?” the doc asked. I thought about Mainini Tsitsi who passed away from a brain aneurism triggered by high levels of blood pressure. She was 21 when she died. I thought of my gran who sometimes experiences swollen limbs when hers peaks. “Surely no” I thought to myself. The challenge though was that each doctor visit this year had comes back with some irregularities in my BP – and that was beginning to throw a wrench in my positivity.

I’m in my bed as a type this out, suffering from the equivalent of writer’s block to a writer and lack of inspiration to a creative. My mind is telling me that I cannot let fear of ill health, and my body feeling a certain kind of way – keep me from pushing along – but my body really is tired. I was talking to my girlfriends just yesterday, wherein I asked if they ever feel like checking into a hotel, closing the curtains and sleeping for days on end – waking up to order room service and have a shower. What a relief to hear them all chime in “Yeap! I feel like that now!”

It’s important to take stock of what’s happening to your mind, body and soul, establishing root causes for any feelings that are contrary to what you would rather be experiencing. I woke up with a plan yesterday, but turned around and checked myself in for a massage because I felt I needed the quiet and the de-stressing. I’m soaking myself in some good content to restore all the flowery inspiration that keeps me soldiering on. I understand more than anything, that sometimes when I’ve been doing too much too fast – GOD has a way of making me take time away to refuel. So that’s what today and tomorrow will be about; taking time away to do nothing at all….

The profoundness of Og Mandino’s “17 Rules to live by”

Do not worry about tomorrow

A dear friend of mine unexpectedly lost someone very close to her. Over the past few days, we’ve shared several conversations on the impact of death to families, and just how much we often times take the very essence of living for granted. I’ve also in recent weeks, not only turned a year older, but come to realise the magnitude of responsibilities that come with being an adult. Thinking about it all can create  a tad bit of anxiety to be honest…

Life is a gift, a precious one at that – but how many of us are actually taking time to really smell that morning brew or listen to the sound of birds chirping outside our windows. The difficult thing about growing older, is that it also seems a little like the world expects more from us. Time commands more out of us; people need more from us, goals keep staring at you – often times leaving us sapped.

I read an inspired piece by Og Mandino the other day, that really spoke to me about how we ought to live our lives and thought to share it with y’all…

17 RULES TO LIVE BY From A Better Way to Live BY: OG MANDINO

1. Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play and you will finally be able to move forward toward the life that God intended for you…with grace, strength, courage and confidence.

2. Today, and every day, deliver more than you are getting paid to do. The victory of success will be half won when you learn the secret of putting out more than is expected in all that you do. Make yourself so valuable in your work that eventually you will become indispensable. Exercise your privilege to go the extra miles, and enjoy all the rewards you receive. You deserve them!

3. Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down by life, don’t look back at it too long. Mistakes are life’s way of teaching you. Your capacity for occasional blunders is inseparable from your capacity to reach your goals. No one wins them all, and your failures, when they happen, are just part of your growth. Shake off your blunders. How will you know your limits without an occasional failure? Never quit. Your turn will come.

4. Always reward your long hours of labor and toil in the very best way, surrounded by your family. Nurture their love carefully, remembering that your children need models, not critics, and your own progress will hasten when you constantly strive to present your best side to your children. And even if you have failed at all else in the eyes of the world, if you have a loving family, you are a success.

5. Build this day on a foundation of pleasant thoughts. Never fret at any imperfections that you fear may impede your progress. Remind yourself, as often as necessary, that you are a creature of God and have the power to achieve any dream by lifting up your thoughts. You can fly when you decide that you can. Never consider defeat again. Let the vision in your heart be in your life’s blueprint. Smile!

6. Let your actions always speak for you, but be forever on guard against the terrible traps of false pride and conceit that can halt your progress. The next time you are tempted to boast, just place your fist in a full pail of water, and when you remove it, the hole remaining will give you a correct measure of your importance.

7. Each day is a special gift from God, and while life may not always be fair, you must never allow the pains, hurdles, and handicaps of the moment to poison your attitude and plans for yourself and your future. You can never win when you wear the ugly cloak of self-pity, and the sour sound of whining will certainly frighten away any opportunity for success. Never again. There is a better way.

8. Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time to accept a real challenge when it comes along. This applies to play as well as work. A day merely survived is no cause for celebration. You are not here to fritter away your precious hours when you have the ability to accomplish so much by making a slight change in your routine. No more busywork. No more hiding from success. Leave time, leave space, to grow. Now. Now! Not tomorrow!

9. Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find “tomorrow” on the calendars of fools. Forget yesterday’s defeats, and ignore the problems of tomorrow. This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year. The saddest words you can ever utter are, “If I had my life to live over again…” Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day!

10. Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. 17 RULES TO LIVE BY [Og Mandino] 2

11. Laugh at yourself and at life. Not in the spirit of derision or whining self-pity, but as a remedy, a miracle drug, that will ease your pain, cure your depression, and help you to put in perspective that seemingly terrible defeat of the moment. Banish tension and concern and worry with laughter at your predicaments, thus freeing your mind to think clearly toward the solution that is certain to come. Never take yourself too seriously.

12. Never neglect the little things. Never skimp on that extra effort, that additional few minutes, that soft word of praise or thanks, that delivery of the very best that you can do. It does not matter what others think, it is of prime importance, however, what you think about you. You can never do your best, which should always be your trademark, if you are cutting corners and shirking responsibilities. You are special. Act it. Never neglect the little things.

13. Welcome every morning with a smile. Look on the new day as another special gift from your Creator, another golden opportunity to complete what you were unable to finish yesterday. Be a selfstarter. Let your first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail.

14. You will achieve your grand dream, a day at a time, so set goals for each day-not long and difficult projects, but chores that will take you, step by step, toward your rainbow. Write them down, if you must, but limit your list so that you won’t have to drag today’s undone matters into tomorrow. Remember that you cannot build your pyramid in twenty-four hours. Be patient. Never allow your day to become so cluttered that you neglect your most important goal-to do the best you can, enjoy this day and rest satisfied with what you have accomplished.

15. Never allow anyone to rain on your parade and thus cast a pall of gloom and defeat on the entire day. Remember that no talent, no self-denial, no brains, no character, are required to set up in the faultfinding business. Nothing external can have any power over you unless you permit it. Your time is too precious to be sacrificed in wasted days combating the menial forces of hate, jealousy and envy. Guard your fragile life carefully. Only God can shape a flower, but any foolish child can pull it to pieces.

16. Search for the seed of good in every adversity. Master that principle and you will own a precious shield that will guard you well through all the darkest valleys you must traverse. Stars may be seen from the bottom of a deep well, when they cannot be discerned from the mountaintop. So will you learn things in adversity that you would never have discovered without trouble? There is always a seed of good. Find it and prosper.

17. Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.

— From A Better Way to Live by Og Mandino

“Not waving, but drowning”- The battle against depression

I first came across the poem ‘Not Waving but Drowning’ by Stevie Smith in high school and I remember even then, it hit me in the gut, and over the years I have returned to it time and again because it so aptly describes how I feel a lot of the times.
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
If you want to know what depression feels like, the gaping chasm that sometimes feels like it’s eating your heart, a chasm in which you can scream as much as you like but no one ever hears you, then read this poem. It says the dead man lay moaning and nobody heard him. That’s what depression is like. It’s like death whispering at you even in your happiest moment, when you should be rejoicing it whispers ‘this won’t last, you know it won’t’ or even worse yet, ‘this is a dream, it’s not real, enjoy the adrenaline while it lasts, because soon it will be gone…you know I’m right.’
And even worse, it feels like it is your condition alone to carry – only the dead man lay moaning; no one else heard him but they heard each other…
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way, They said.
‘He always loved larking…’ That is what they think…people wonder how someone who seems so strong, seems so capable and gifted and beautiful and whatever it is could take their own life…
There was a song I heard years ago and I remember I could never get the one line out of my head… ‘I was always on the outside looking in’.
A dis-associative feeling, like somehow you consciously know you are in the world but you feel far apart from it and all those around you. Many people have felt it but it is hard to describe and worse yet explain to someone else.
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always (Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
I really find the final stanza fascinating: It is poignant sad and for once quite clear in meaning… ‘it was too cold always’, and because he is dead, he is truly beyond help – ‘I was much too far out all my life and not waving but drowning.’
Are you drowning and everyone else thinks you are waving? Putting on that winning smile, clapping your hands so you stay in beat with the rhythm of this life – people’s expectations that you are struggling to live up to? Your own expectations for yourself? Your own limitations? Feeling trapped in the shadow of other people’s successes and afraid to say how you really feel – frail, unaccomplished, unwanted, unheard and misheard, like an outsider? Is that you too saying, ‘Im not waving I’m drowning!’ and no one hears your screams or sees your frantic flailing in the deep deep waters of life against a never-ending onslaught of waves, each new one bigger than the last and threatening to overwhelm and sink you to depths where no one else can reach you?
Well you are not alone. I have been drowning not waving and for a long time unable to articulate it. To speak it out loud. That life is too hard. The world is too big and sometimes, many times we will be standing in the middle of a crowded street screaming our lungs out and not a soul will stop or see or hear us.
Never has that scripture been more profound to me that we are strangers in this land –
For I am a stranger with You,
A sojourner, as all my fathers were.’
And sadder still – everyone is screaming. They may not tell you, but they are screaming too. But if you are reading this you are still alive. Unlike the man in the poem who is now an afterthought, gone like vapour in the wind – you are still breathing. You are not alone. You are not forsaken. You are not forgotten.
“But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me.
Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.
Your sons shall make haste;
Your destroyers and those who laid you waste
Shall go away from you.”
(Isaiah 49:14-17)
“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.”
(Psalm 61:1-3)
You are not alone and I am not alone, and while we yet breathe there is hope for a better day.
Quintessentially Yours,
QF Chiratidzo

Financial Intelligence: Are you a good steward of your money?

Both my grandfathers were headmasters.  I never met my paternal grandfather but one thing that my maternal grandfather – and for that fact grandmother as well – never got tired of drumming into our heads was the important of education.  I have always interpreted this to mean both formal and informal education.  My definition of informal education is learning from the lessons that life presents to you.

One such lesson lies in the importance of saving and having realistic financial goals.   The truth is you don’t have to be earning millions to start.  In life i believe it is always the first step that is the hardest and therefore the most powerful. It is important to start where you are.  The rule of thumb is always to save 10% of what you earn whatever that may be after your tithes and other obligations.

I am passionate about women being financially intelligent because I find it upsetting when we can spend eye-watering amounts on our hair, make up, shoes and clothes but not put a cent aside for a rainy day.  Please don’t get me wrong, i want to look good like the next person but as my dad always says, “All those things will never end, so sacrificing ‘shopping money’ in order to start putting away money for investments; your pension etc. seems like a small price to pay.  Life really is about reaping what we sow…”

Below are some principles that I apply to my life:

  • Tithing – there is something  powerful about giving back to God the first 10% of your income – Malachi 3v 10 -12
  • Take the time out to prepare a realistic budget ( see article on budgeting)
  • Save at least 10% of your income every month
  • Have a rainy day fund which should be 8 times what your monthly expenses are.
  • Pray and work towards having multiple streams of income.  Now for everyone this may be as simple as taking the time out every couple of months to de-clutter your home and sell things you may not need anymore.  Seek God to show you what else you can do to bring in extra cash.
  • Set savings goals. Establish what it is you are saving for exactly. For instance, if you would like to buy your first piece of land in the particular area of town, and you’ve done your research, you can pretty much give a ball-park figure of what it will cost you to buy that land per square meter. Maybe you are working towards the purchase of your first car. Knowing that it will cost you $5000 to buy the car and another $5000 to get it shipped over, coupled with the dreaded duty costs – you have figure in mind that you need to work towards. Your target is $10,000 and it will cost you X amount to save it. Creating a goal, or reason for your saving is important because it gives you focus.

I heard a very sad but common story about a woman whose husband died in a tragic car accident and left the family with nothing but debts that sadly she was unaware of.  What makes this situation even more painful is that for the better part of the last 10 years the widow was a ‘kept woman’ who allowed her husband to handle EVERY single aspect of their finances, to the extent that on the day that he died because he handled all their finances and gave her an ‘allowance’ all she had to her name was $10…

She is now finds herself in a situation where the family has no vehicle as it was a complete write off – and that was the least of the struggles that ensued. Said lady had to endure the task of getting up to speed with what it was that the husband was doing to get them into debt, reading the fine print on paperwork signed and trying to keep her head above water in every way.

It gets even testier when there are children are involved. Was there any money aside for their school fees? Was the house they called home at some point put up as collateral for one of the many transactions the husband was involved in? She was a ‘kept woman’ – but did she have any previous experience she could ride on to get back into the work force or continue on with the business that her husband was running? I never got wind of the answers to those questions, but do imagine that had she been better prepared, perhaps after this life changing tragic event may have been softened.

Ladies, we have to be shrewd about issues of finances. I know people who borrow about town so they can serve a nice roast chicken for dinner every day or keep the pool full. As we know all too well – life can throw some hectic curveballs that often times leave us realising just how unprepared we were. Are there wiser decisions we can make with our money? Are we being good stewards with the money that passes through our hands and our books?

Quintessentially Yours

QF Ruvimbo

Called to inspire? Quintessential F needs you!

Ever felt like you have much to say on various topics affecting the Zimbabwean woman? Do you have valuable insights on food, nutrition and fitness, finances, economic empowerment and entrepreneurship as relating to women in our communities, family matters, faith and spirituality, fashion trends, style tips – and all those other things that make us so fiercely fabulous?

Challenges in life may be many, but we draw our strength from knowing that there is always someone close by who can offer invaluable advice on how to push on and fight strong. Our journey started through writing yet today we celebrate a movement that excites us just by thinking about what it has become. And we want YOU to become a part of our evolving story!

If you can write (or know someone who can write), and are willing to share your musings on all things navigating life through faith – we invite you to join our team of bloggers. Requirements? None apart from passion to help women do better and be better.

This may very well be your call to inspire and Quintessential F welcomes you! Join us:)

When Big Brother leaves the playground: The Pastor E Conundrum – QF Chido Mash weighs in…

I have been observing the latest turn of events in the #ThisFlag protest movement with keen interest as well as growing dismay as scores  of Zimbabweans, who only a few weeks ago were lauding Pastor Evan Mawarire as a “hero” and Zimbabwe’s hope for a better tomorrow, are now tearing into him on various social media platforms. He stands accused at best of being a coward who deserted his followers when they needed him most and at worst, of being a political fraud who manipulated the emotions of the people of Zimbabwe as a means of getting asylum in the United States.

In my view, the first accusation is unfair as it fails to take into account the following key observations:

  • Pastor Evan never set out to be the leader of a protest movement. He was just a frustrated citizen who like millions of Zimbabweans, found himself in the unenviable position where he was struggling to provide for his family’s basic needs. That his heartfelt video lament struck a chord within Zimbos the world over and went viral does not automatically transform him into a political leader who is accountable to Zimbabweans at large, no matter how many of us chose to follow him. I think Pastor Evan realised that people were looking up to him and out of his own volition decided to adopt the role of a big brother, speaking for those who might otherwise have been too afraid to speak out.

 

  • Before he became the poster boy for the Zimbabwean protest movement, Pastor Evan was and still is a husband and a father to two young girls. As such, his God-given responsibility is owed first and foremost to his family, and not to the people of Zimbabwe. He has no obligation to put his life at risk and potentially leave a widow and fatherless children just because he dared to speak out against the government (at a time when very few people had the guts to do so). The fact that he has chosen to relocate, whether temporarily or otherwise, to protect his family should not be an issue requiring public consensus nor is it something he should apologise for.

 

  • #ThisFlag is not about one man. It is a rallying cry to all Zimbabweans to rise up and take responsibility for the future we want to see for ourselves and our children. Pastor Evan’s geographical location has nothing to do with the problems we are currently facing in Zimbabwe, nor does it prevent any of us from continuing to speak out against corruption and the other evils plaguing our nation. It doesn’t stop you and I from taking the time to register as voters so that come 2018, we are able to go out in our masses and exercise our democratic right to vote. Your vote DOES count, whether or not you believe it does.

The second accusation, that Pastor Evan is a fraud who misled citizens for personal gain, is equally flawed. This is because it presupposes that Pastor Evan could accurately predict how the #ThisFlag movement would evolve and eventually play itself out. If this theory is true, it would mean that when he made the initial protest video, he knew that:

(a) the video would go viral and that he would gain a cult following;

(b)  he would be arrested and charged with inciting public violence (i.e. the infamous “button stick”);

(c) an unprecedented number of people, including hundreds of lawyers, would turn up at the courthouse to support him, thus turning him into an overnight sensation and raising his public and international profile even more;

(d) the charges would subsequently be changed to the more serious charge of subverting a constitutionally elected government;

(d) the Zimbabwe Republic Police would bungle up the case  and forget to issue a warned and cautioned statement for the new charges,  resulting in the charges being dismissed;

(e) the dismissal of the case and Pastor E’s growing influence would encourage citizens and incite other protest movements like #Tajamuka and #ThisGown to take further action, thus putting him on the government’s radar;

(f) he would be publicly denounced by the highest office in the land, with further threats of incarceration and worse being levelled against him.

(g) he would be forced to flee with his family to South Africa as a result of the threats against his life and liberty.

Pastor Evan would need to have had prior knowledge of all of the above in order to mastermind his clever scheme to deceive the citizens of Zimbabwe into helping him gain international acclaim as a political activist and thus gain asylum in the USA once his life was under threat. Sounds quite ludicrous when you put it like that, doesn’t it?

Apart from requiring one to suspend belief and assume that Pastor E had such prior omniscient knowledge, this accusation is also completely unsupported by any facts. Correlation does not imply causation. The fact that Pastor E may now be eligible for asylum in the US as a result of this turn of events does not mean that he brought about these events in order to get such asylum. It is a sad day when we can go from hailing someone as a man of integrity and principle for so long as he is saying and doing what most of us wish we could and were too scared to do, and then turn around and accuse the same man of manipulation and deceit just because he has made a personal decision that is not favourable to us.

I know some of you will argue that I am just another blind follower who is seeking to silence any criticism against Pastor Evan. Not true. I have no problem with someone expressing their opinion about a public figure, however negative that critique may be, as long as it does not malign and cast aspersions on the integrity of  a man who most of us only know from afar and without any basis to support such accusations, other than rumour and innuendo.

What many refuse to acknowledge is that the anger they feel is not really at Pastor E’s decision to leave. It is rather the pain of the loss of a big brother, someone who we could hide behind when the bully came into the playground while we stood in the background shouting “Ngaarowhe! (hit him)” from a safe distance. If truth be told, Pastor Evan’s fearless stance emboldened many of us to find a voice to speak up against the corruption and injustice in this nation, a voice which had become croaky from disuse and fear. Yes, we were afraid of the very thing Pastor Evan now stands accused of.  With Pastor E gone, that fear is slowly creeping back, together with the uneasy question: Who will defend us now?

We wanted Pastor E to be willing to risk going to prison, to put his neck on the line while we continued to peep over his shoulder. That time has however come to an end. Big brother has left the playground and we are left to confront the bully by ourselves. So we feel betrayed and exposed. Confronted with the reality that we no longer have a champion on the ground who can take the fallout that is the inevitable consequence of any citizen’s protest movement, we want to lash out at someone, and Pastor E is the nearest target for our rage. That anger is however, misplaced and will ultimately lead us nowhere, except to divide us, thus playing into the hands of those who wish to see this movement come to nothing.

It is time for Zimbabweans to realise that the success of this movement will not depend on whichever personality happens to have sparked it, but on the strength of our unity as we stand up for what we know is right and just. Just as we stood united at the courthouse when Pastor Evan was arrested and subsequently released, we need to stand united in our resolve to see the birth of a better Zimbabwe. We need to be willing to stand on our own two feet and realise that we do not need a designated leader in order to accomplish this. There is a potential leader within each of us and we are capable of effecting national change if we are only willing to step out of our comfort zones and be counted.

Quintessentially Yours,

QF Chido Mash

 

 

 

 

Praying isn’t an event; it’s a lifestyle!

Throne of grace

I used to think that living a prayerful life meant waking up at 4 am and praying till the day breaks, or spending hours in the church pews calling out to GOD with all sorts of complicated language. Growing up we were taught that praying is in some ways a ritual, that requires complete shutdown so you can hear get out what you need to say to GOD. I have learned from my mom, and walking with other women of faith – that being prayerful is in fact a lifestyle. It involves speaking to GOD about your wishes, what you need, your feelings, your hurts and struggles, your successes and victories at ANY TIME. There is no protocol required – just respect to your MAKER and an open and truthful heart.

Gone are the days where I wait for complete silence before I utter my “Dear GOD…” I found fulfillment in prayer and freedom in my relationship with GOD when I began to understand that GOD does not expect complication in conversation or a big praying event. HE just wants us to speak, as how we would speak to our dads or our best friends. Speak life into yours by speaking to HIM openly, at any time, without limitations. GOD wants state. He already knows what we really want to say, or are really thinking. There is no way to hide our feelings from HIM. But, the ability to lay down your truth, whether you are stuck in traffic or getting ready to visit the doctor or pick up your kid from school – is what GOD is looking for.

Don’t get me wrong. Quiet time is necessary. It is absolutely essential to make time to tap into the WORD of GOD, to pray in solitude as Jesus did often. You need this time to soak up what GOD is saying to you without the distractions of the TV bellowing in the background or that shirt you’ve been debating about buying taking you away from focusing. But as I said before, praying in itself is a lifestyle. I talk to GOD whenever and wherever. He guides me all through my day and grants me peace when making decisions – even the simple ones like which road to take on my way to work or who to speak to for the help that I need. I know HE is there so never feel lonely. As a matter of fact, this is why i enjoy my evening jogs or  moments alone – because I get to speak life into my own through my chats with GOD.

I implore you today, to take out the formality in much of your prayer life and just come to HIM. GOD has no limits to the number of times you can talk to HIM or make requests. He just wants you to operate with HIM as you would in any of your most trusted relationships.

Quintessentially Yours,

QF Yvonne

mark11.24

 

Are you expecting GOD’s miracles under your conditions?

0110

I’ve spent a lot of time debating on whether or not I was ready to pursue certain endeavors at various intervals in my life. You see, one of the most challenging things about life is that it leans heavily on the precipice of time. Time moves and waits for no one. As we debate others proceed, perhaps having completed their process of weighing out the pros and cons well before you have. Others are just wired to achieve whatever comes to mind, leaving you feeling like you aren’t doing enough. I’ve seen many people thrive, with limited education or experience – just sheer will and resolve to give whatever they desire as best a shot as they can. I have moments when I wish I could be that bold. I have moments where I wish I could be a little more aggressive on certain matters, not delve into so much thinking and processing because well…time…time waits for no one.

I watched a TD Jakes sermon today, wherein he talks about how GOD’s methods and miracles do not come in a way that we expect. In our minds, we have a picture painted of what life will look like when we land that dream job, when we can afford to take lavish bi-annual holidays, when we can attend conferences with industry giants, enroll for another degree, our wedding day, the arrival of our first child, building a house or starting a business. But what I have come to appreciate is the very fact that GOD’s ways are not our ways, neither are His methods ours. We cannot expect GOD’s miracle under our own terms and conditions. Sometimes what He wants for us requires more from us. Sometimes the challenge and struggles are real so we can appreciate GOD’s hand in everything.

Gods-Miracle
God’s miracles do not come in the manner in which we expect them…

Check this out…

A lot of times, what feels like a roundabout way of getting somewhere is really GOD training you for something better, equipping you to handle the breakthrough when it does come or protecting you from something else unseen. He is the author of all things noble and good, and cares for us. GOD will never subject you to something you cannot handle. You can handle the wait, but are you willing to spend the time waiting for all the conditions to become ripe for GOD’s miracle?

Can you differentiate between GOD’s quiet whisper in the still of the night and the voices that contend with us all through the day? What about when someone suddenly pops into your life, sharing an insightful truth or “prophesy” you have been looking for for the longest? Do you take time to ask GOD whether it is HIM talking to you in that moment, or whether it’s just another voice creating distraction from where GOD is really taking you?

Before making any decision, trust that it is founded on the right reasons. Make sure you have done your due diligence in praying and asking GOD, yourself and others the right questions. Then trust GOD to give you the signal on when to move ahead. As you lean more and more on Him, you’ll find that the conditions are almost always ripe for your miracle (which will almost always not come in the manner you envision!) because you and GOD are well synchronized.

Beloved, GOD’s work does not depend on you or your terms but does depend your patience and whether or not you listen for the instruction to move forward.  Check your settings and remove any conditions you may have set on GOD to do His work in your life.

Quintessentially Yours,

QF Yvonne

A Zimbabwean’s nostalgia: Remembering what was…

I used to be the one, much like millions of my fellow Zimbabweans, that steered away from any commentary on the more controversial topics as related to our nation. To be honest, we have all been harping on the reasons behind the economic demise of our country for so long – it’s an exhausting painful truth. For many of us, the dreams of raising our children in a place we call home seem to be a distant memory. For many of us still, the challenges of trying to make it all work in a system that seems to be doing all it can to put us down is again…an exhausting yet painful truth. Having said this, I believe GOD is doing a new thing for our nation and its people. Something is happening and we need to be in the right frame of mind and prayerful state to make the crossover…

The other day, I got to musing with my girlfriends about the Zimbabwe we remember. We are in our thirties now, but it seemed like just yesterday we would wake up to milk bottles and bread deliveries at the gate – much like the post man on his Black Beauty bicycle (yeap…the bicycle was actually called a black beauty…bell, mudguard, carrier and everything) would deliver mail with stamps that depicted the Kariba Dam Wall or Birchenough Bridge on the backdrop of white or khaki envelopes.

zimbabwe_414-428_u_fvf_11-14-08_0001

There was the ZUPCO bus that drove us all from the neighborhood shopping center to “town”, an event for us as children at the time. “Tirikuenda kutown” (We are going to the city center) – we used to say, clad in our dresses with bows and lacey socks or a checkered shirt and slacks for the boys – as excitement mounted about getting on the big ZUPCO bus from Pendennis Shops in Mount Pleasant to Rezende Street in the CBD.

For those who grew up in the bigger cities and shopped at OK, the big announcement banners would be plastered about town, alerting shoppers to the cars to be won at the OK Grand Challenge come May-June. I attended quite a few of those, and remember watching drum majorettes in their little uniforms, marching to some band – much like they did during the Independence Day Celebrations that would have taken place the April before at the National Sports Stadium.

Ok grand challenge

Independence Day Celebrations. *Sigh* The displays were always the same – some police band, some dog show, some army guys landing on the patch of grass after rolling in on some parachutes…the jets zooming past compliments of the Air Force. Yes…the displays were always the same, yet we always packed the stadium – willingly – because we were a patriotic celebratory lot…proud of our nation, our flag and our independence.

August would roll around and – my goodness – the excitement of the Harare Agricultural Show and the Luna Park. So many rides with simple names like Jets, Big Wheel, The Whip and the merry laughter of kiddos covered in that awful beet red soil like that by the passport offices.

November ushered in the Christmas decorations in every shop, and the promise of mom or dad taking the afternoon off to take us to Greatermanns – where we could get the toy boxes from Santa! My parent’s siblings, who were largely in their late teens at that time, would come over for the holidays to see “mukoma vanogara kuHarare” (Big brother/sister, living in Harare). We would together make a trip out of The Christmas tree lighting event in First Street, complete with carol singing in celebration of the Christmas Season.

Paul Matavire’s “Kisimisi yatosvika” would bellow across just about every radio speaker in shop windows could contain, ushering in the festivities that were emblematic of Christmas time. From bulk shopping to buses being loaded for that trip to the roots, it was a time were the year as we knew it wound down, folks trekked across the country to spend some time with relatives kumusha or buckled down for lots of cooking, eating and sleeping. Eric Knight would bring in Mvenge Mvenge and the all-night “New Year Mirepoix” – a video countdown of local music that had topped the charts that year on ZTV.

With cassette recorders on standby, some of us preferred to tune into Radio 3’s Top 100, waiting to hear whether Keith Sweat’s Twisted or Brandy and Monica’s “The Boy is mine” made it into the Top spot. I could go on and on, about the things that used to excite us in different phases of our lives – growing up in the Zimbabwe that was, growing up in a Zimbabwe that worked, growing up in a Zimbabwe that many of us miss. These are our memories, with plenty bountiful ones to add and muse about.

Typing this blog, I am filled with a cocktail of emotions. Hope for a brighter future silently screams within me, yet the news reports have me struggling to contain the rawness of frustration I feel over the goings on on hometurf. However, there has to be a part of me that chooses to anticipate the good that we grew up seeing. Yes, the last few years have forced many of us to seek refuge from the state of affairs in Zim, to become distanced from our ideal norm as we  walk through some pretty hectic trenches. But see our spirit remains steadfast in our desire for new things. We all want life to just be doable no matter the circumstances.

My message today is really about holding on to the good memories during our season of waiting. GOD is watching and HE hears. The bible mentions countless times how HE WILL NEVER FORSAKE THE RIGHTEOUS. HE is the Fixer, and help is on its way. We just need to pay attention to what’s really going on and trust that GOD will raise up a new standard for the sake of the righteous people in our land…

Quintessentially Yours,

QF Yvonne

 

Wait for Baba! Wait for Daddy…ABBA!

“There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand”

Proverbs 19v21

Those are the words I heard when I dropped my daughter off at her playgroup.  There was a young boy aged four, who was running towards the open gate. His father shouted, “Wait for Baba!” to prevent the young boy from going through the gate towards the road.

As he ran past me,  I ran after him to stop him from actually walking on to the road unsupervised, while we waited for his father to come who was a few steps behind me.

Fast forward to several hours later when I was thinking about the statement above, which was not lost on me as it resonated with me because that is exactly what God says to so many of us –  “Wait for Me to align everything first before you hurtle ahead.”

I know that when you are believing God for something and you hear these words, it can be a bit deflating because in our natural state we want things to happen yesterday.  However I have learnt the hard way that it is easier and more fulfilling to wait on God’s perfect timing rather than to run ahead of God and create more problems for yourself.

“He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.
 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,
 but those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40v29-31

I love this passage of scripture because when I close my eyes I can literally see an image of an eagle soaring in the skies…

Sometimes we try and figure things out or go ahead of God and this always results in disappointment and frustration.  When we are patient and just allow God to be God in our lives, everything comes together in a much more fluid way.

Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.

 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.  When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken;  and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”  So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”

 Luke 5v 3-11

While you are waiting for God to manifest Himself in your situation with whatever it is you need, be it wisdom, favour or clarity of instruction, you can do the following:

  • Go deeper in the Word of God – Hebrews 11v1
  • Spend more time Praising and Worshipping God just because He is God and is worthy of our praise and adoration
  • Do something special for someone else – there is so much joy in allowing God to use you to be the answer to someone else’s prayers.

God loves you and I more than we can ever fully comprehend and the truth is we can never hear those words enough.  I know for myself my faith in God took on a different meaning when I had my first baby because I was overwhelmed with how much I loved this little thing.  I could never imagine willingly sacrificing her for the greater good let alone for someone else.  Yet God did that for us.  So when He tells you to wait…wait because hey, He loves you enough to let His child Jesus die for you!

Quintessentially yours

QF Ruvimbo