QFTestimony: Forgiving your spouse after infidelity

I would like to thank the beautiful woman out there who chose to share her testimony on how she is working on forgiving her husband after he cheated on her. Truth is, we hear stories of infidelity all the time, but rarely do people talk about the pains of getting through the emotions of being hurt in such a way.

Beloved, if you are struggling with forgiving your spouse, or anyone for having done you wrong – please find hope in the post below from an anonymous contributor.

She writes…

“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself” – Bishop TD Jakes

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The statement above resonated with me because forgiveness is something I have struggled with for the better part of the last four years.  I have always justified and rationalized it to myself that I had a right to feel the bitterness and resentment I did towards my husband because of what he had done…

That was the biggest load of rubbish I ever allowed the devil to whisper to me.  You see rewind to four years ago after I had been married for about 13 months where while having dinner with my husband; the intercom rang.  He looked at me and said “Are you expecting someone?” to which I replied no.

He went to the gate and after about 10 minutes of talking to two women I was instructed to stay indoors.  So I remember thinking:  “God what is going on????”

Anyway I went to our bedroom and started channel hopping and as I started praying;  I knew something was wrong and it had to do with my husband.  Fast forward to about three hours later, he came and said:

”I need to know that you love me, please tell me you love me?” 

My heart sank and I knew that my worst nightmare had come true… I said nothing and asked him NOT TO TOUCH ME…

To cut a very long and complicated story short, my husband – the love of my life had cheated on me with another woman in the year prior to getting married while I was completing my Masters in America.

I was horrified; disgusted; angry all at once.  Angry at myself for ever trusting him because not only had he cheated but said the woman had a child to prove it.  Unbeknownst to me, my husband had gone for paternity tests and yes it was true that the child was his…

I had always made a vow to myself that should I ever find myself in that situation,  I would pack my bags and leave. Mmm easier said than done.

When this happened I was 3 months pregnant with our first child; and I made a decision then that I could not allow myself to feel and deal with the raging emotions because I could lose the child I was carrying.  So yes, I shelved the rage and the hatred.  I did however go on to cry myself to sleep every night after that for a long time. As I cried out to God, I asked him to just get me through the pregnancy without passing on the negative feelings and emotions I felt about my husband towards my unborn child.

I had never felt so completely betrayed, broken and lonely in my life; because I was too embarrassed to tell my family or my friends about what was really going on.  So I suffered in silence.  I hated my husband with so much venom that I never knew was possible…

Through all of this I had no desire or interest in communicating with my husband. After the initial conversations where I conveyed how I felt and how he had humiliated me, I was still stuck in limbo because a part of me still loved him but EVERYTHING had changed. I didn’t look at him the same way. In fact, he disgusted me and I wanted to do anything and everything possible to hurt him so he could feel if only a snippet of what I felt.

Things came to a head when I broke down before God and told him I was tired of carrying the weight of hatred and anger that I felt towards my husband.

It was then when I made the decision to forgive him – not for him but for myself. I realized that the only person I was harming in carrying the hatred was myself.

Forgiveness is not a feeling but a conscious decision where you can only do it with God’s help. The truth is sometimes you have to say over and over:  I choose to forgive….

You know true healing comes when you are honest with God about your feelings. For years I struggled because I just buried how hurt I really felt and as a result I was constantly angry and sad because I hadn’t allowed God to heal my broken heart.

I have shared this not to air my dirty laundry but to encourage someone who is hurting and struggling to let go of how you have been treated.   God loves me and HE loves you and there is nothing more painful than seeing someone go through things and think they are alone.

I am still a work in progress and find just meditating on how much God loves me helps when I have moments where I feel like…God after everything I did for that man and this was the thanks I got.

I have made a decision to not let the devil steal my present and my future by constantly dwelling on what he did because the fact is it’s done – I can’t change it but Lord knows I know that God is continuing to give me beauty for ashes…

My marriage is still very much in ‘rehab’ J I was ready to walk away but for some unknown reason God has not given me the peace and release to walk away.  It has only been very recently that I have begun praying for my husband and the marriage itself.

I had wanted the end of this post to be different where I would be sharing how my husband and I are so much in love but I felt like God wanted  me to be real and that it was okay to let people know that God is still working on me and the marriage.

Forgiving my husband was an important part of my healing process but the most important person I am now working on is myself – forgiving myself.  I say this because I was stuck in a quandary where I was obedient to God and stayed in the marriage, but on the one hand was angry at myself for staying with someone who had cheated on me.  As I prayed and processed my feelings one thing that God said to me was: ‘ You are Enough’.  This was liberating because at one stage I felt like I was not woman enough and should have done more to ensure this nightmare would never have happened.

I want to encourage anyone struggling to forgive to just go ahead and do it…God loves you and your life will be so much better for it.

Quintessentially Yours,

Anonymous

 

 

We’ve been nominated! Vote for Quintessential F at the 2016 ZIWA Awards

We got the news through messages of congrats trickling in on whatsapp earlier on this week. Yes, Quintessential F – this heartfelt movement that began through skype calls at our dining room tables in Harare and Lusaka – has received a nod in the Women’s Collective Category at the 2016 Edition of the ZIWA Awards! Also, fellow QF’s Tendayi Ndoro and Colleen Chifamba have also received nominations in separate categories – and we are super excited.

We are truly thankful for all your support since launching 2 years ago. This nomination is yet another validation of our efforts as we pursue an instruction from GOD. Again we say – thank you QFs!

It’s not always easy to share our musings, but what we do now is that nothing gives us more joy than knowing that we are not alone in our quest to self discovery. GOD is great, a master in showcasing our strengths if we allow ourselves to be used of Him. This is exactly what QF is about, and we are thrilled to have grown as we have!

Please show us some love by voting for an inspirational movement by Zimbabwean Women, for Zimbabwean Women – Quintessential F on ziwa.twunhu.com/vote/

We cannot clinch this without your support 🙂

Quintessentially yours,

Ruvimbo and Yvonne

 

Boldly walking away from FEAR

I heard the call and I accepted the challenge to contribute to the Quintessential F dream of inspiring and encouraging women through written word. So I started to write an article, but before I could tidy it up I kept over-thinking and re-evaluating and before I knew it, a year had passed before I submitted something. I couldn’t, or maybe wouldn’t, figure out why I kept holding back. It was not until I came across some Facebook posts from a young American author called Tiana Patrice (Author of FiftyTwoShadesOfFearless) that I realised that what I was experiencing – and letting thrive – was fear. I was afraid that my articles would not be good enough, that no one would be inspired, encouraged or even interested in anything that I had to share.

To top it all off, so much terrible news was doing the rounds on the news channels and in social media. A lot was going wrong and it sometimes felt like there was no end in sight to the stressors and horrors. In addition to the loud voices of doom from outside my spheres of influence, my inner voices kept ringing loudly leading me to panic and and a state of being overwhelmed. The source of my fear was absolutely real.

It was after taking Tiana’s #ActivateYourFearless challenge that I appreciated that “Faith and fear can’t operate in the same space.” That I had to stop holding on to the kind of fear that was pulling me further and further away from my God given destiny.

Once I had resolved to let go of the fear and open myself up to all that God was calling me, I started getting a prompting to write about FEAR from different influences in my life. In church I was reminded that fear is the opposite of faith, that you cannot profess to believe in the power and might of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ when you are led by fear.

On social media my attention was caught by messages such as this one from a former schoolmate and friend,

Fear causes us to turn bad news into a bad report, we lose perspective but faith turns bad news into a good report. Walking with Holy Confidence.” Mavis Mazhura: Author and Speaker:   Facebook Page   02/04/2016

I then decided to explore the most common causes of the fear that forces us to lose our focus and grip.

Most of our fear is caused by our uncertainty about the future. Our need for control and absolute certainty pressures us to settle for nothing less. We just HAVE to be in charge of our destinies otherwise we have failed. It is easy to think that our opinion about our future is fact and nothing and no one should be allowed to mess with that. We are conditioned to visualise how our lives are going to turn out and what to be a success means.

It is unfortunate that these views can be the very reason that holds us back from fulfilling our destinies. My recent encounters have led me to realise that I am more than I or the world perceives. My experiences, positive and negative, have shaped me into the person that only God wants me to be.  No one lives in a vacuum. No one is in complete control. No one has all the answers. Your future is not going to be shaped by fear and anxiety. So why give in to fear when God is for us. He is on our side and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us?

One lesson that I have learnt is that in the grand design of things, everything has a time and purpose. We may not understand nor appreciate why things are happening (or not happening) at the expected time but if we really dig deeper we will realise that there is a divine purpose in it all. Just Let Go! And Let God lead you into your future!

Fear can also rear its ugly head in the form of insecurity. For us women a lot of the negativity we face comes from comparing ourselves to our friends, siblings, peers, competitors and even to complete strangers.

“Comparison is the devil’s tool that has stopped many of us gals from stepping into our God-given destinies…and it’s time to stop!” Sharon Jaynes

I encourage you to learn from the experiences and successes of others but never look again at another woman with the kind of envy and comparison that distracts you from your own strengths and achievements.

On the 10th of May 2016, Tiana Patrice shared this profound message on Facebook;

“One of my secrets to my success this year is this….

I stopped watching others.

It’s so easy to get distracted by what others are doing, and compare it to where you are in your season. So I stopped. I unfollowed people. I even unfollowed people I admired. I stopped allowing myself to get consumed in someone else’s day, or marketing plan, or product, or service…. or whatever. I stopped focusing on everyone else’s chapter in their book and focused on mine… I read more, I worked more, I implemented more, I took action more… I stopped posting my every move…. I starved my distractions… and I fed my focus… And it worked!”

This is what we need to do! We need to stop focusing on the minute details of other people’s lives. We need to STARVE OUR DISTRACTIONS AND FEED OUR FOCUS! Go for it! Stop the negative comparisons, starve that fear and focus on your success!

Another cause of fear has been when one goes for their passion or calling and then somewhere along the way things get HARD. At that point fear of failure takes over and our first reaction is usually to give up. We start telling ourselves that this is not for us… that it is just too hard and not worth the time or effort. It is important to remember that;

Difficulties show men what they are. In case of any difficulty remember that God has pitted you against a rough antagonist that you may be a conqueror, and this cannot be without toil.” EPICTETUS

Do not let the fear of failure persuade you to let go of your dreams. Endure the hardships, overcome and keep moving.

I have consistently been at my best and most proud of myself after facing challenges that I sometimes thought were insurmountable and would be the death of me. I have come to appreciate difficulties as a moulding and building process where lessons are learnt, resilience and determination is developed and ultimately fear is conquered. It may hurt, but at the end of the trials I come out with a sense of victory, that I am a conqueror.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed by fear and a sense of failure just take this advice from Joyce Meyer; in her book Never Give UP! and tell the devil,

Listen, liar! I had a little setback, but it is not over yet! I will meet my goals. I will do what God is calling me to do. It is worth the effort, and you will not stop me.”  

While most of us harbour on the fear of failure a less obvious and equally dangerous preoccupation is…… the fear of success. We may have a set game plan or we are ready to accomplish the vision that we can clearly see yet we stumble and stutter simply because we are afraid of dealing with the success elements that come with it.

I remember once telling a friend about my vision and what I deem to be my purpose and when her reaction was, “Wow! You’re going to be famous!” I immediately cringed and pulled back. While I appreciated that my passion would possibly open me up to other people, that my vision had the potential to take me to other lands and to open me up to other cultures… I was filled with the dread of being exposed. I have always been a very private person and I was afraid of losing myself by unleashing my talents on the world. In order to counter unwanted attention I resolved to play small in order to avoid being too successful and famous!

In dealing with the fear of success I am encouraged to look at the example of Jesus who did not let the “fame” get in the way of His divine mission. Despite the positive and negative feedback He lived His mission and vision to the very end. His focus was not on the people and voices around Him but rather on what needed to be done. Jesus just DID! Simply and completely. But above all He did everything for the glory and honour of GOD! Not for His own glory and comfort.

As a parting word and in celebration of the life of one amazing Fearless Ambassador of Christ I leave you with this wisdom from Tiana Patrice,

“For those of you who are out there right now, doing God’s work. Stop stressing the details, because God will put you in the perfect position to ensure your purpose is properly executed!”

Be blessed! Be Fearless!

Quintessentially Yours,

QF Edith

 

An ode to SAM

13 July 2016 – a day that will forever be etched in the hearts and minds of Zimbabweans far and wide. Videos and text messages were flying across borders, time zones and social media platforms, as we awaited word on #ThisFlag’s Pastor Evan Mawarire. My  heart hung in my throat many a time; with shivers interrupting my silence from time to time, as I witnessed men and women, belt out songs of praise and worship to the Heavens, crying out to GOD that justice would be served.

By now we should all be up to speed with the current affairs of Zimbabwe. Even if you aren’t a keyboard activist of sorts or social media junky, messages and phone calls must have made their way to you one way or another. I was moved. Moved by Zimbabweans of all races and ages, gathered outside the aptly named “Rotten Row”, waiting for word on the proceedings within. To be honest, I’m still basking in the euphoria of happenings of that day. Passionate posts on the welfare of our country and wellbeing of friends and loved ones trucking on, through the state that is Zim, news headlines which have made their way to international networks and more – the people are alive and wanting a change for Zimbabwe. Even from this far away, a great number of us feel like we were there day in and day out.

My piece today, comes inspired by a picture I saw of Mrs. Mawarire, clad in a red blouse, awaiting word of her husband’s wellbeing. I’ve read several messages of thanks to her for being that mother that has selflessly given up her husband in this season. Those of us married know that it isn’t always easy to stand by the men we love. I am moved by what I imagine to be ethereal strength because Lord knows, I don’t know if I could do it. She stands with him, whom the world now knows as “The Flag Pastor”, watching him valiantly take on a passion that morphed from a few minutes of poetry-like spoken word, to a movement that is giving many in our generation hope of a better Zimbabwe.

I’ve tried to imagine what she had to tell her daughters when they didn’t see daddy after school the day before the trial. I imagined feelings of helplessness, anger, fear, anxiety, heightened stress – and so on – that she not only felt on that day – but today STILL. I can’t speak on how she felt then or what she feels right now, but I am enamored by the woman that is SAM. Sam today stands as a heroine to many of us who too carry the same desires for our nation, who too want a brighter Zimbabwe for our children and who – every single night, pray for their husband and his dreams.

As a wife, and a mother, my heart and sincere gratitude goes out to Samantha Mawarire today, for in her silence, she exudes strength. For those of us that are believers in the GOSPEL, it is easy to see that hers is a peace that can only come from her strength – GOD.

Only GOD can give a woman that much strength, and that much heart, to stay strong when the lives of her loved ones are now in the limelight for many a reason. Many have grown to know and love them through their work while ministering to the youth and young adults. Some of us have grown to love them since the first #ThisFlag video went viral.

Wherever you stand today, I ask that you continue to pray for abundant grace and protection for Sam Mawarire and her family. Her husband, who we are all cheering on from the sidelines, wishing that we too had as much courage as he has shown us in the weeks past – and her daughters, those precious souls who are wondering if daddy is okay – they all need our covering.

Thank you Sam for your endurance then, yesterday and today. Our hearts and prayers continue to make their way to the heavens. It shall be well.

Quintessentially Yours,

The Quintessential F Team

Why boundaries are a necessity

Several events have happened in the last few weeks that made me realise that with the business of everyday life, the boundaries that I thought were established were either no longer existent or my personal space was being encroached to an extremely uncomfortable level.

What prompted me to share on the issue of boundaries is mainly because I for one found that while I never had a problem with saying “NO”, the older I got for the sake of ‘peace’ I would say yes but I would secretly be complaining and moaning in my heart about how I really didn’t want to do such and such.  Then obviously soon after, I would repent and then think about what Colossians 3 says.  It’s a difficult thing to constantly battle oneself, fighting the preference of rather declining a request but then being quite honest with myself in thinking – “Mmm if it was me I would appreciate a yes”.  You see my quandary.

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It wasn’t until the following happened that I finally said ENOUGH is ENOUGH:

A relative of mine who is fairly close called me one Saturday afternoon while I was having my hair done. She asked if I could come and collect her to take her to her nephew’s house.  Now initially I thought it was a request for the next day or the following weekend which would have been perfectly reasonable.   No she wanted me to drop everything and come to her house at that point in time because it was convenient for her to go and visit in that moment.  Yes, my eyes opened wider as I told her I was sorry but I would not be able to be her personal chauffeur because I was busy.  I then politely told her that in future, she should make her requests in advance as I actually have a life and am unable to just drop my plans when it suited her.

Now as you all know when you are at the salon, everyone pretends not to listen to your conversation especially when they can tell you mean business.

Said relative then proceeded to whine and complain and said ‘Well what am I supposed to do?’  I proceeded to tell that she would just have to wait till the following weekend. Seriously! – I was sure her visit to her nephew’s  wasn’t urgent and alternatively, she could find another way to get there.

The conversation ended abruptly with said relative obviously in shock that I had said NO.

It was extremely liberating to say no.  It was at this point that I had a light bulb moment and it dawned on me that I had stopped enforcing the boundaries that I cherished so dearly.

Several years ago I heard TD Jakes say:  People treat you the way you treat yourself.  When I heard this statement my initial reaction was “WOW that’s so true!”  This statement has resonated with me and is a constant reminder to myself that I determine the boundaries I set or lack thereof.

I did go through bouts of guilt where I felt perhaps I should have just taken her. But the more I thought about the importance of respecting myself and my time, the more liberated I felt from having made a decision I was happy with. With time, the guilt disappeared.

In translating the importance of boundaries to other areas of my life, I have definitely taken more control. I can say for sure tha,t before I commit to doing something, I check my heart to ensure that it isn’t an obligatory action which results in my grumbling all the way through.  I’m working at managing expectations, and establishing boundaries such that it no longer resent people or their actions especially when it begins to feel a little like my efforts aren’t appreciated.

The scripture below has helped me to enforce the necessary boundaries:

Proverbs 4:23-24

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

What I am learning is that there is no formula to ensuring you have boundaries in place but one thing is for sure – boundaries are necessary!  It’s a process and will take time as it requires being brutally honest with yourself; which is always the first step to ensuring that as you respect yourself, others will follow suit.

 

Quintessentially Yours

QF Ruvimbo

 

When bad things affect good thinking

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Adulting has a way for bringing forward unanticipated situations, some of which leave you wondering why things have gone south. In my early 20s, I was a victim of identity theft, except the act was carried out by someone very close to me. Unbeknownst to me, they wormed their way into soliciting personal information that was then used to secure credits cards in my name and make a series of online purchases. Thieves always get busted right? I only found out about this after the bank called me and alert me to the damage that had been done, investigations now being underway and so on.

This situation created a series of problems for me which you can only imagine how expensive the cost was in the long haul. As a result of that incident, I put my guard up and taught myself not to trust anyone. To me, everyone was “a fraud” until they proved otherwise.

You see the problem with staying in that frame of mistrust, is that it affects future relationships and opportunities that may be working at making an entry into your life. You can’t let love and faith in with the level of skepticism I carried. It becomes so easy to bring forward to new relationships, the rot from those past.

Beloved, unless you cut the tree of disdain and mistrust at the roots, you will always drag in the branches from seasons past into a new spring. I did that – for a time – to no real gain. Yes, there are some pretty shady folk out there but there are even more people who stand to be a really insightful and enjoyable part of one of your life’s chapters.

As I read my morning devotional, Philippians 4:8 wherein it states, “If anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” – I was reminded of how impactful having faith in the perceived goodness of others has served me. Gone are the days when all my interactions were smothered in suspicion. Yes, I tread cautiously when those warning (Holy Spirit) bells tinkle or begin to ring very loudly! But ultimately, I choose to believe there is good intent in everyone and navigate each interaction as we progress. People can put up a front to have their way into your sphere, but the front always washes away to expose the real deal. Similarly, if the person involved carries good intentions, had to you operated in the realms of suspicion, you may have very well missed out more that could have come out from that relationship with the passage of time!

I have over the years, learned that every single experience is part of our training, and preparation for the things that GOD has in store for us. Whether a friendship encounters some form of strife, or you work with a really difficult person, or your landlord asks you to vacate his property without warning, or your car breaks down en route to the most important interview of your life, OR YOU CAN’T YOUR MONEY OUT OF THE ATM! – all these situations are working together to teach us something – if not about others, then about ourselves. It is however important to ensure that we do not harbor anger over the more difficult cases in our lives, but seek to understand if there is a lesson in it all. A lot of times, lessons are only discovered in hindsight.

What’s that saying about experience being the best teacher? Our levels of discernment also become heightened as we gain experience in seeing people and situations for what they are. Choosing to see the good in as many a thing as we can almost always keeps the good coming or in the least, the wisdom to deal with the bad should it present itself

So ask yourself today – are you doing your best to operate in the realms of positivity and trusting that the outcome will work in your favour? Or do you let the hurts and struggles of before prevent you from seeing your blue skies. Are negative feelings clouding your ability to let trust in again? I will soon share a testimony about mending bridges after broken trust, and how GOD is faithful in restoring all so that life and relationships become easier to navigate moving forward.

Quintessentially Yours,

QF Yvonne

My testimony: GOD does equip us for everything.

I Peter 5:10

And after you have suffered a little while, the GOD of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

When I made the decision last year to step back from consultancy and head back into the corporate world, I was physically prepared for the adjustments that being a part of the labor force meant. Funny when you are a mom working from home you get the “so what is it that you do?” question at the PTA meetings, church gathering, coffee meets and such. One of the highlights of last year was that I was greatly encouraged by fellow QFs to step out and step into my new destiny. Really just following their stories and exploits had me challenged to stop making so many excuses.

I knew that in most recent years, indeed I had been planted, schooled, debriefed and equipped – whether I was willing to accept it or not. Living in 4 different countries in the space of 10 years, adopting new roles and adapting to a myriad of life changes will do that to you. Evolving relationships and transforming goals will at times have you second guessing yourself, and second guessing I did.

I second guessed my ability to get up and show up “for work” every single day. I was worried about how my babies would cope without mom being at every school event or them coming home to a nanny and not mom. It took me a long time to realise just how much I craved the whole “going to work” thing because again, when people see you with tonnes of flexi time they think you on a vacation 24/7. So when I took that first step to submitting my first application for jobs in the UAE, I was good and ready. I was done with being in Zim after a 12 month stint on a project and I needed a fresh outlook on life. Modern, empowering, motivating were my words to describe what I was looking for. I felt I was ready to offer my knowledge, experience and skillset to whomever would take me. Boy did I get the shock of my life!?

Two years ago I asked my dad what he thought I would be good at in the “next phase” of my life. He said “international relations or PR” and I thought really? I asked why and he said because it appealed to my personality and administratively he had watched me blossom as running point for a huge real estate project in Zim. I just thought I was getting up and “hustling” because well…I have dreams to one day be a real estate mogul on our beloved continent and that was a perfect opportunity to not only tap into my real estate expertise but actually run a project from scratch. Dad watched me navigate the bureaucracy and change tone and language to get what I needed done done. I value my father’s opinion because it comes unbiased. It can at times be painstakingly honest, but the man never lies and is a brilliant judge of character and nurturer of dreams. So I took his word for it and got to researching what it would take to join the world of PR – from a global perspective – as opposed to the more regional and localized projects I had been running.

I’m etching closer to my 1 year anniversary since joining the PR world as opposed to operating in the marcomms domain from which my career is deeply rooted. Based on my experiences in recent months, I like to consider us to be the Olivia Popes of this world. We make sure our clients are portrayed in the best image possible and fix things. It don’t matter what time of day it is – fix it and if you don’t know how – get someone who knows how. A collision of passion, creativity prowess, administrative capacity, strategy and critical thinking…24/7 save for when you are asleep or fixing your cup of coffee to get your next boost of caffeine – are how best I can experience my personal transition into PR. It’s everything I imagined but so much more.

I got to thinking about how GOD takes every experience we go through to prepare us for the next. I’m reminded of a time that I took to writing anything and everything I felt during my season in Zambia. I not only wrote a lot in that time, but in all honesty, it is then when I actually learned how to write using tones different from a more corporate voice. Sharing through written word prepared me for the countless types of pieces I write for a living today, with the spoken sharing having built my confidence in making presentations. I started out my career in retail, and 10 years later some of my clients are in the retail sector. My love for the tourism industry created many opportunities which I continue to leverage from today!

What I am getting at is: GOD IS IN THE BUSINESS OF STRATEGIC PLANNING. Anything you and I will ever go through either teaches us life skills that bolster our comprehensive capabilities, build up on attributes that shape our character or draw us closer to discovering our passion and purpose. Trust me when I say this, nothing we ever experience or learn, is in vein. Belief in GOD’s greater plan will help you and I to truly embrace every experience, however exhilarating or challenging it may be.

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So, if you need a reminder of our calculating GOD is, take a journey through your own life and see how people, places and experiences have been instrumental to where you are today! You’ll be happy to note that grace surrounds you, and experiences usher you into new levels of perception and appreciation if you allow them to.

Quintessentially Yours,

QF Yvonne

Are distractions robbing you of your time with GOD?

Luke 10:38-42

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.

The last few weeks have been very emotional weeks for me. From following intently the happenings at the magistrate’s court with what I believe to be a GOD-inspired movement championed by Pastor Evan Mawarire – #ThisFlag, and engaging in intense discussions over how we even got here as the nation of Zimbabwe, watching videos of demonstrations mushrooming across the country in light of local police brutality – to waking up to yet another attack on France that has resulted in the deaths of many – it’s becoming increasingly difficult to understand what sort of world we are living in.

Tensions have been high over black and blue lives mattering in the “the land of the free”, Iraq experienced a vicious act that left hundreds dead but a week or so ago, conflict in South Sudan, the migrant issues that Europe faces as a result of conflict in Syria and those coming in from the coast of North Africa… Brexit – need I go on? I think just from reading these few lines alone, you can put forward more examples of things that are ravaging the world we live in and adversely impacting lives in the process. This shouldn’t be, but sadly it is. GOD HELP US ALL.

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I follow global current affairs from my social media feeds pretty much every day. In my line of work, anything happening in the world beyond my current border has the potential to affect my clients’ operations at any given time. I have to be ready to issue a statement, draft a release or be on standby for media inquiries. There is a lot of information going around and not all of it comes wrapped up in a big glistening bow. It has been total information overload off late to the point that has left me questioning the very essence of humanity. In that process, I found myself asking GOD if perhaps, I was too vested. I questioned whether it was in any way good for me to follow what was going on around me as much as I should and whether, there is really any room for much else thereafter.

I believe it is important to be in the loop with goings on beyond our scope of interest. I believe as a Christian, and global citizen, it is important to stay connected to the truths that affect others close and unknown to us. I believe empathy ought to exist in all of us, such that we do our goodwill to pray for those less fortunate than ourselves as the Spirit leads. I believe however, that it is imperative that we sift through all the information that comes our way, assessing how much time we spend on processing it and deciding what stand we take on the issues that prevail.

In a moment of ministering to someone today, I realized that while I was pretty versed on many a global issue, the information overload was weighing down on me greatly. After reading a forwarded message that talked about prioritizing time with GOD and praying, GOD said clearly – that I had of late, let the events of the world eat into my time with Him.We do not have the power to combat many things, but we do have power over our time. Our time is limited, and we must sift through all that’s coming our way and create time for what is the most important thing – our relationship with GOD.

I couldn’t argue during my moment of internal rebuke, because GOD and strife do not co-exist. I have spent a lot of time engaging in elongated debates, reading news reports and social media feeds, flicking through news channels, and forwarding screenshots on more  has been a battered and starved spirit, angst over situations I cannot control and frustration over things that I would ordinarily ask GOD to take control of.

That is how the devil works. He uses anything he can to keep us away from spending time with GOD. Our prayer lives become rushed, there’s no space for devotionals, and all we do is pass messages along dutifully, as opposed to dutifully filling our souls with the GOOD NEWS OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, so we can pass the Gospel along, dutifully.

I implore you today beloved, do not find ourselves in the space I have been of late, where I can barely find time in my schedule to share an inspirational write up, because I am so caught up in contributing to the next hashtag on top of my day to day grind that carries in it multiple roles. If you do find yourselves where I find myself, perhaps we can set time aside to re-calibrate our prayer, praise and worship lives and turn it all back to GOD. In a viciousness of some of what the world has to offer – we need to hear the voice of GOD in all the noise. We need to create room within our lives for GOD, and peace dwell, for GOD and peace cannot co-exist with stress and commotion. Ask yourself, if you find yourself like Martha who spent her time wallowing in a bunch of things when Jesus was right there before her, ready to show her the way to sift through all the stuff she was dealing with…

Quintessentially yours,

QF Yvonne

 

About the SMOOTHIE life…

My metabolism hasn’t been the same since crossing over into my 30s. What used to be zero effort needed to stay fit and healthy has become a full-fledged battle of wits to stay in shape and keep the clothes looking right. I love my food. From sushi to good ol’ BBQ complete with the corn muffins – I am there. But have learned since having my babies that there is discipline required to keep from falling off the healthy-living bandwagon.

I gained a little weight since going back to the “working mom” life. This has resulted in far less time for rigorous exercise between getting the crew ready for their day, to my getting home and getting them ready to end their day. Oftentimes, the only exercise I do is walking in and out of buildings from one meeting to another. Then – there is the office lunch. Meal ordering is a daily ritual, with menus flying across our open plan office and dinner and drinks outings ever so often. I’ve had to jump off that shawarma bus before having to move up a few sizes! So to get back to my previous and most ideal weight, I’ve resorted to the faithful smoothie!!

I’m sure you’ve read countless weightloss blogs on what to eat and what not to, the ultimate detox and such – but a quick recap never hurt anyone:)

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Here’s a pretty basic plan I used that helped me jumpstart my quick shed of the sudden weight gain. This worked great, ingredients don’t blow the bank and are easily available in your neighborhood grocery store. I try to go through this routine once a month and it has done wonders for my energy levels:

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Admittedly, the green smoothie – a blend of cucumber, raw broccoli, green apples/pears, lime juice and plain yoghurt – is my least favourite, however it does wonders with detoxing, and taking out the excess water from your body. I try to start my day with this or a more fruity variation which includes anything I that’s lurking in my fridge. It keeps me full for a good part of the day and makes it easier to avoid the shawarma and pizza lunches. The kids also love smoothies. With the right combination, it is an easy way to get them to get their fruit and vegetable intake in. So if you are looking for an alternative to heavier breakfasts, try some of these great recipes. I can vouch for any of these and continue to try new combinations depending on what I have in my fridge at any given time. If you are all about the liquid meal life, these won’t disappoint!!

Quintessentially Yours,

QF Yvonne

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Comparison isn’t the answer

We live in an age where we are so quick to pass judgement. We are so quick to draw conclusions about the outcome of our lives and those of others without taking a second to process the very things that bring us – and them – to where we are.

I had an opportunity to “bond” with a colleague a few weeks ago wherein she got to talking about her life and upbringing. It was a short conversation but brought so many things to light to where I felt like I finally understood why she did some of the things she did. From growing up in different countries (her father was in the army) to being separated from her sibling on account of her parents’ divorce, dabbling with drugs at 100 miles an hour on life’s dangerous expressway I thought “Wow…I think I get it now”…

A few days letter, a similar situation arose wherein an acquaintance talked at length about her struggles and why she felt her life wasn’t quite as she has planned it. Insightful this conversation was too, as it reinforced the notion that not everything is as it seems. Seemingly strong-willed young woman with a myriad of successes under her belt – she said she had given up on life and was merely pacing through the motions day after day. Indeed, nothing is as it seems. It never is. Oftentimes, unless we ask the questions, we find ourselves entertaining thoughts and deductions that are so far from the truth – ours and that of others.

I meet and work with a lot of different personalities as part of my profession, and with that comes plenty of opportunity to learn about different cultures, religions and traditions, cuisines, practices, habits, languages and so on. In a few short moments we can discuss anything from my having children to them praying for the gift of conception, them having booked a ticket out to Thailand and me wishing I could in this very moment do the same, excitement about clearing a debt and them having a fear of getting into debt or swimming in it, my complaining about the size of my condo and them saying they just closed on a villa. The list is endless.

Just this morning a friend called me to say hi. We chat from time to time, but on the whole, her calls usually come with a request for information or something of the sort. Today she said she was checking in, and proceeded to ask what I was doing for the summer. “Working,” I said. Then came the “Oh, you aren’t travelling? Because we are headed to such and such for the summer” and the description of what sightseeing she has lined up for her and family. Admittedly, a part of me was like “Nje that’s really why you called init?” In a few short seconds I went from feeling the sting of jealousy to wishing her a pleasant trip and carrying on with the days’ plans.

In many a short conversations such as these, what has been more pronounced to me over the years is that we all want the same things. We all want happiness, peace, health, an opportunity to experience new things while staying out of trouble. We want what we want and only pray that we are satisfied with status quo. If satisfaction isn’t the case then the hope is that we are taking the necessary steps to get there. We compare, consciously or subconsciously, we wonder how they have managed to get x, y and z done while we are trying to figure out the a, b and c of it all.

Comparing our achievements to those of others comes naturally as we journey through life. How much more weight has so and so lost, how many degrees do they have now, which neighborhood do they live and what car do they drive. But is this really a holistic way to live life? Is there true joy in living a life that is driven by the workings of others and not GOD’s working in our own?

Philippians 4:11-13

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

1 Timothy 6:6-8

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

Matthew 6:31-33

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Beloved, as you read the verses above, I pray like me, that you are reminded of how GOD works tirelessly to supply our needs. Nothing surpasses the peace of contentment with where we are in life. GOD is in the business of answering prayers, and exceeding all our expectations. However, much is required from us. Plenty of it is tied to faith and prayer. That in itself is a better investment than to spend time wallowing in the successes of others. Rather, chose to celebrate the good fortune of others, as it is an illustration that your moment of elevation is well on its way.

Quintessentially Yours,

QF Yvonne