Our Top 10 inspired quotes from Zimbabwean women who inspire us

I continue to marvel at just how much giving my time and effort to this platform has transformed me.  GOD is truly at work through some amazing women in my life. I draw strength from the knowledge that there are so many women I can learn and grow from if I open myself to asking questions on how they encounter their successes.

In the coming weeks, we look forward to bringing to you more inspired testimonials, interviews, musings if you will – from Zimbabwean women that are mastering their own destinies and sharing their lives with others through their professions, works, talents and gifts. QF Features have been some of the most widely read elements of our blog, as readers are able to see themselves in the stories of other unique and tenacious women.

Today i’d like to share in one setting, some of the most beautiful words shared by women we have enjoyed sitting down with. I hope you enjoy these as we enjoyed sitting down and talking through their success stories…

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Check out their full interviews under the QF Features tab on our homepage. There’s plenty of wisdom there!

Quintessentially yours,

QF Yvonne

Be still: When doing nothing is all you need

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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….

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

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

Who do you BELIEVE you are?

Trish glides into the room with her 4 inch red bottom shoes on, a pencil skirt, crisp silk blouse with costume jewellery that screams “morning world!” She is the main speaker at a much anticipated women’s conference, followed by what seems to be a personal assistant carrying her tablets, briefcase and things. She checks her make-up in a hand held mirror while a sound technician hands her a microphone for a sound check in a few minutes.

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Across town, Tendekayi opens the door to her twin cab and steps out in her timberland boots, clad in jeans, t-shirt and a light jacket with her company’s logo embroidered on her breast pocket. She has recently purchased the tract of land she now stands on and is set to meet with yet another project manager and contractor to discuss what foundation is to be laid here. Self-assured, with her cellphone and architectural plans in hand, she is ready – ready to move onto the second project in as many years.

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You may have read the above and thought “well this is where I am in life right now” or for some it may be: “I would one day want to be that woman” – the woman who seemingly has it all and all of it is together. Today’s woman. Mudzimai waNhasi. I thought to set a backdrop for this series of write ups I’m working on in the hopes that in this very moment as you are reading this, you start to imagine where you would like to be if you aren’t there already and how you intend on getting there. Truth be told even those who are “already there” continue to aspire for more.

Fashion Designers, medical doctors, stay-at-home moms, entrepreneurs, entertainers and more – let’s be honest – women are out there doing it for themselves nowadays, and you would be amiss to not want to jump onto that train for a ride. Social enterprise networks and professional organizations are pushing the women empowerment agenda, emphasizing how “to educate a woman is to eradicate poverty” and so on. Women empowerment means different things to different women but I wanted to delve into the issue CONFIDENCE and how SELF-BELIEF plays a role in our ability to attain all that we desire.

I’m reading an impressive book by Joyce Meyer, and in it she speaks largely on how we can combat our shortcomings and fears as women to a living a fulfilling life. It’s one thing to dress sharp and bust out the killer Colgate smile. Those of you who have gone through some things also know that it is another thing to be able to bust out that smile from within.

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I speak openly about how once upon a time I was that woman who looked like her stuff was all the way together, but yet grappled with all kinds of insecurities. Today I stand in process, rehabilitated by the WORD OF GOD and what it says about WHO I AM and WHOSE I AM. I greatly value relationships that edify and give me strength.

When I started to revisit where my insecurities came from and share my pains with friends and loved ones; I began to see how much strength we all stand to gain from vulnerability. I made a conscious decision that I had no room to allow pain and self-imposed strife in my life if I wanted to experience all things beautiful. I am in process, and what a journey it is!

Having that house on a hill or that corner office counts for nothing, if you do not walk in the light that GOD wants you to. On the other hand, powering through adversity with the full knowledge of who GOD is and how He created you, gives you endless capacity to keep pushing until you become that woman with a story you tell proudly.

We are all under process with so much yet to experience. The good and the challenging – we will all encounter. But the most important thing that determines how we emerge on the other side of our experiences, lies in what we believe of ourselves.

I hope to delve further into this topic and how we can build confidence in who we are as Zimbabwean women as we work towards what we desire for our lives. Like you, I’m in process – and having to restart oftentimes so I can move onto a better space with higher levels of faith.

What do you believe about yourself? Who do you think you are and what’s stopping you from reaching your full potential?

So here’s my challenge to you with this blog. Let’s unravel this mystery for some, and build on the successes for others. This is what Quintessential F is all about – openly sharing our wins and helping each other through our shortcomings! What do you BELIEVE ABOUT YOU? What mindsets do you have to shift or do away with completely? Press play….

Quintessentially Yours,

QF Yvonne

 

The Jacob Challenges – Don’t leave without your blessing

I had to reblog this brilliant piece from resident QF Tendayi Ndoro on here (thank you Sis Tendi for letting us poach your messages!) because I believe we can all relate to what she is saying.  If you have ever encountered a gruelling test of faith, this message is for you…

Tendayi writes…

I was having a chat with a dear Professor in Linguistics aunt of mine who has just attained a very prestigious leadership award in the United States yesterday, and as we recalled the extreme challenges that seemed unrelated in a totally different area that she had experienced beforehand, I commented that that was the testing by fire before coming out as gold. As I replayed the type of month that I had experienced she mentioned a phrase that really caught my attention and said “It is time for the Jacob challenges and it looks like the gospel is right on target.”

I don’t know if you like me have had a month or week or a season where you start off so sure where you are going, God has promised you so much, you are on track with your own actions that you have to take and what you want to do and the minute you step in, ready to go, you are met with a huge challenge. Not the usual jump over the hurdle stuff that you are used to tackling but something with a twist that requires advice from good council and carefully applying yourself to the issues. And as soon as that is done, you have something else that shakes up everything that you have been walking towards and believing for a significant number of years; a great shift in the twinkle of an eye in a way that leaves you having to recalibrate your settings and remap your route again.

Such seasons are often met with literally anything and everything that can be challenging or that could go wrong to a point that it actually starts to get your attention as you inquire, “hold on a minute, what is really going on here?” I am always a firm believer that every breakthrough is first met with its great challenges and the need to apply increased force or pressure (in the form of determination, resolve, increased prayer and worship) in certain matters hence the term BREAKthrough. Such times are definitely not the times to back down and quit although some of the battles you face can certainly make you weary and cause you to want to go that way.

We see this pattern in almost everything about life. The attainment of a prestigious degree course is always met with rigorous testing at the end of it, the birth of a new child is met with excruciating labour pains before they are born and hence anytime there is a change in STATUS that is about to take place, you must expect to experience the JACOB CHALLENGES.

So what happened to Jacob then? In Genesis 32 we see him sending his possessions, wives and children ahead of him to meat ESAU and remaining in the camp where he had to wrestle all night with a “MAN”. Jacob prevailed over the battle and the man injured Jacob’s hip that he limped from then onward. But he would still not let him go until he had blessed him. He was asked for his name and when he said Jacob, the “MAN” who was God almighty himself, changed Jacob’s name to Israel, the father of the nation of Israel we see today. This was because he had wrestled with man and with God and prevailed!

So if this is you today, I want you to note a few things about such times when you are contending for your Blessing:
1- It is a place you have to walk alone, no-one else can come into that battle with you although they can encourage and pray for you but this is one you will need to fight yourself with your faith, your work, your focus on what it is that you want regardless of what you see and your experiences of what God has taken you through so far.
2- This battle will change the way you walk forever! Some of the things that you are going through are status shifting things, you will never be the same again. This is a great change and you will not be recognised in the way you had been before.
3- It is just an “all night battle” and although it may seem long whilst you are in the thick of it, Joy is coming in the morning, give it your best shot and do not give up, you were born for this next phase that is coming your way. Keep pressing in.
4- Do not allow God to leave without you receiving your BLESSING! It is easy to go through these storms and come out just wounded and bruised with nothing else to show for the journey we have gone through. Be determined that whatever you entered into that battle for you come out with it! If it is your degree, come out with it, if it is a happy marriage, come out with it, if it is your ministry, come out with it, If it is a cure for your sickness, come out with your healing.

I am encouraging someone out there today
IT IS JACOB CHALLENGES TIME- Do not leave that place without your Blessing!

To read more of Tendayi’s GOD-inspired messages, visit her website on www.tendayindoro.com

“My exodus” – QF Edith Utete shares…

Resident QF Edith shares on her quest to finding hope from the BOOK of LIFE. She writes….

MY EXODUS

Lately I have been struggling to sleep, to smile, to carry out major (and small) tasks; even to eat all due to an overwhelming sense of helplessness and failure. Reaching out to my sisters has not been very fruitful due to the fact that they are also engrossed in their own sufferings and struggles. I then came to a point where I grudgingly faced the fact that I needed to go back to the basics. As a Christian woman going back to the basics means going back to the source of my faith, my Bible. This is the only thing that has been a source of inspiration, history and purpose for generations of women before me.

I have committed to read the Bible from a different perspective and will share with you some of the interesting things that I have started to pick up.

  1. Living the Script

When I read the Bible I realise more and more that I am part of an awe inspiring script filled with wonders and lives that have shaped history in various amazing ways. We are called by God to be SIGNIFICANT players in His drama. We have been called to greatness, each and every one of us, all we need to do is to take up our roles and fulfil our divine destinies. Have you ever witnessed how an actor prepares for a big role? They rely heavily on their script, they live, eat and breathe their lines. Some actors will even lose or gain a lot of weight just so that they can perfectly fit into their role. As Christian women we have significant roles to play in our families, churches, communities, professions yet we refuse or neglect to put in the work that is required of us.

Living the script and finding your place in God’s story requires that you familiarise yourself with the text. You need to fully immerse yourself in the Bible in order to know your part. We have to read the Bible deeply and widely and become skilled at interpreting and practicing what we read.

We need to find our joy, comfort and purpose in the scripture.

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  1. The Exodus

Once you have grasped the script and what God requires of you the next step is to live your part! When in doubt, ask yourself, “Is this an appropriate and fitting way to live out the story of Jesus today?” Remember that you are God’s artwork – created to do good works all the days of your life. When in doubt? Refer to the Bible.

In today’s world it is easy to get caught up in trying to fit in and find a place in the confusion but we need to focus on living our lives in the way that God desires for us. We have to move away from the fears and the doubts that hold us captive. We have to move to the land that the Lord has promised us – no matter what.

One way of obeying God is to stop listening to the negative voices in our heads that tell us we are not good enough, we have to move away from the people and things that hold us captive. We have to make our exodus out of depression, anger, regret, despair.

Reading about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt is loaded with seasons that I have gone through. I have felt the fear, excitement, hope, despair, joy, disappointment, failure, regret, courage that they too must have felt in their journey, but after all is said and done when I hold on to the cloak of Christ I come out feeling the kind of peace that surpasses all understanding. I now accept that my role may be limited to showing others the way out of their situation, it may even be to just obey and get off my behind and move from point A to point B. Maybe I am the one who has to lead the march in breaking down strongholds. I also accept that I may even have more roles than one therefore I will find my way in scripture and prayer.

I no longer feel the pressure to recite a thousand verses and to impress fellow Christians with my knowledge of every word in the Bible. Thankfully, I have now moved to a place of comfort where the Bible ceases to be a text book that I must memorise, but rather, I see it as a motivational tool in my move from the bad to the good.

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  1. Commitment

Nothing in life really lasts if not done with some commitment.  The first step in the Christian walk is to commit to following Jesus no matter what may come our way. By acknowledging that Jesus is the rightful ruler of the world, committing to following Him and joining with God’s people we place ourselves on the right path to life eternal.

Remember that God has led you to where you are, commit to stay – no matter what!

One lesson that I have learnt from Joyce Meyer in her book NEVER GIVE UP! In Chapter 8 on “The Keys to Success,” is;

“God wants to take you to a new level of commitment. He wants you, like the eagle to be fiercely commited to His purposes for your life and to dedicate yourself to Him.”

Remember that God’s plans for your life can only become a reality if you are truly committed.

  1. Do not Give Up!

When life has knocked you down more times than you can remember, it is easy to lose hope and feel defeated. You can lose confidence in areas where you once considered yourself to be capable, even an expert. Being someone’s anchor, friend or even mummy can sometimes feel overwhelming and become such a burdensome task.

We can face rejection after rejection, disappointment after disappointment and we just feel like throwing in the towel and totally walking away from EVERYTHING!

But Please! Do Not Give Up!

Lessons to be learnt from St Paul;

  • Fight the good fight
  • Finish the race
  • Firmly keep the faith.

Some of us have a long way to go, some of us are almost there but we need each other more than ever. Let us be constantly and consistently strengthened by our faith through the word of God.

Remember that to truly honour God we have to stop being self serving. We have a mission to spread the gospel and bring as many souls to Christ as possible. We are duty bound to step out of our comfort zones where fear and selfish gain abound. Let us step together day by day into everything that we have been promised by our Father.

I hope we will hear and answer to our Lord’s call to the promised land.

Quintessentially Yours,

QF Edith

 

Zimbabwe’s narrative must change

News headlines have been disparaging. The thought of what they are calling bond notes is weakening. Reports of rising costs amid fear of food shortages are all too familiar – and this, is punctuated by an utter resentment towards our government. I know the bible tells us to honor those that have been placed as authorities over us, but how does one do that when they are sleeping on the pavement, guarding a pile of mangoes, tomatoes or second hand shoes, while resting on a pillow of hope that perhaps a sale will be made tomorrow.

Screenshots of news updates, flyers of conferences and dialogue calling for political change and passionate commentary has been streaming across every social media platform. Souls are angry and disappointed. You can almost taste the frustration. I’ve engaged in countless discussions on all matters to be discussed; what it all means, who is behind Zimbabwe’s demise and what we can do even from so far away. I carry my opinions much like the next person and have always maintained that QF is about speaking our truths as women; to help each other as women. I speak to girlfriends and colleagues from far and wide and we are all embattled by what’s going on. What is clear is this; the situation is being further fueled by prophesies of doom, texts and images of banking queues and more corrupt individuals being pardoned after grand larceny in every form. It’s a lot to take in. Just thinking about it now wells up a deep angst within. Where do we go from here?

I’m reminded of the struggles the Israelites endured under the hand of Pharoah. Life in Zimbabwe I imagine feels quite like that. I worry for my parents and extended family, friends and their families and many times words have failed me on how to encourage. I’m fully absorbed because despite being far away from the day to day toils, I have plenty vested in my country. I’m plagued by memories past, of how good Zimbabwe was during our primary and high school years, how things functioned and how justice prevailed. I read a blog post by an individual in the political arena who lamented about how bad things were and that the solution for any and every Zimbabwean was to turn back to GOD and put GOD first in everything. To that I said – “finally, someone among them gets that there is no other way.”

I love the book of ISAIAH as it does well to remind me of GOD’s redemptive power and promises to save his people. I like to think of Zimbabwe as biblical Israel – a nation whose people have gone astray, leaned on their own vices (for survival or as motivated by stress in trying to survive) – and calling on GOD based on how they feel. From drunkenness, adultery, corruption and greed –every kind of sin has now become the norm and is filtering through generations. We have all been left to disillusioned and the devil is at work people. BUT GOD. ISAIAH is a book of survival and a book of promise, packaged in pleas and GOD’s rescuing ability. His promises are real and I do think now is as good a time as any to pick a side.

With GOD, there is only right and wrong. The bible speaks of GOD’s wrath for those that oppress His people. The question begs though, of which side we fall with the passing of each day. Are we the oppressor or the oppressed? Are our actions, knowingly or unknowingly, right or wrong? With GOD, you are either one or the other. Yes, grace is extended to us, but I believe grace runs out too. I believe our nation is experiencing punishment for the sins of the past two decades, from the leadership down to its people – and the line in the sand has been drawn. Which side are we? Will we come out on the other side being able to sleep soundly at night, or will the untold suffering we have caused to someone rise up from the ashes of their pain and come back to haunt us?

As Zimbabweans we have work to do. Whether the struggles of Zimbabwe are a part of our day to day lives or not, we have a role to play in the changes that ensues. The Christ in us must rise and be a part of the restoration that’s needed. Too many lives have been lost, too much pain suffered, yet we have the greatest ammunition to rival any army – the WORD OF GOD. Come on Zimbabwe. Surely our narrative should now change

To all GOD fearing men, woman and children – I will end with such a compelling chapter from the book of Isaiah. May it bring you peace, hope and expectation for a better tomorrow today…

Quintessentially Yours,

QF Yvonne

God Promises to Rescue His People

43 Israel, the Lord who created you says,

“Do not be afraid—I will save you.
    I have called you by name—you are mine.
When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you;
    your troubles will not overwhelm you.
When you pass through fire, you will not be burned;
    the hard trials that come will not hurt you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the holy God of Israel, who saves you.
I will give up Egypt to set you free;
    I will give up Ethiopia[a] and Seba.
I will give up whole nations to save your life,
    because you are precious to me
    and because I love you and give you honor.
Do not be afraid—I am with you!

“From the distant east and the farthest west
    I will bring your people home.
I will tell the north to let them go
    and the south not to hold them back.
Let my people return from distant lands,
    from every part of the world.
They are my own people,
    and I created them to bring me glory.”

Israel Is the Lord’s Witness

God says,

“Summon my people to court.
    They have eyes, but they are blind;
    they have ears, but they are deaf!
Summon the nations to come to the trial.
    Which of their gods can predict the future?
    Which of them foretold what is happening now?
Let these gods bring in their witnesses
    to prove that they are right,
    to testify to the truth of their words.

10 “People of Israel, you are my witnesses;
    I chose you to be my servant,
so that you would know me and believe in me
    and understand that I am the only God.
Besides me there is no other god;
    there never was and never will be.

11 “I alone am the Lord,
    the only one who can save you.
12 I predicted what would happen,
    and then I came to your aid.
No foreign god has ever done this;
    you are my witnesses.
13 I am God and always will be.
No one can escape from my power;
    no one can change what I do.”

Escape from Babylon

14 Israel’s holy God, the Lord who saves you, says,

“To save you, I will send an army against Babylon;
    I will break down the city gates,
    and the shouts of her people will turn into crying.
15 I am the Lord, your holy God.
    I created you, Israel, and I am your king.”

16 Long ago the Lord made a road through the sea,
    a path through the swirling waters.
17 He led a mighty army to destruction,
    an army of chariots and horses.
Down they fell, never to rise,
    snuffed out like the flame of a lamp!

18 But the Lord says,

“Do not cling to events of the past
    or dwell on what happened long ago.
19 Watch for the new thing I am going to do.
    It is happening already—you can see it now!
I will make a road through the wilderness
    and give you streams of water there.
20 Even the wild animals will honor me;
    jackals and ostriches will praise me
when I make rivers flow in the desert
    to give water to my chosen people.
21 They are the people I made for myself,
    and they will sing my praises!”

Israel’s Sin

22 The Lord says,

“But you were tired of me, Israel;
    you did not worship me.
23 You did not bring me your burnt offerings of sheep;
    you did not honor me with your sacrifices.
I did not burden you by demanding offerings
    or wear you out by asking for incense.
24 You didn’t buy incense for me
    or satisfy me with the fat of your animals.
Instead you burdened me with your sins;
    you wore me out with the wrongs you have committed.
25 And yet, I am the God who forgives your sins,
    and I do this because of who I am.
I will not hold your sins against you.

26 “Let us go to court; bring your accusation!
    Present your case to prove you are in the right!
27 Your earliest ancestor[b] sinned;
    your leaders sinned against me,
28     and your rulers profaned[c] my sanctuary.
So I brought destruction on Israel;
    I let my own people be insulted.”

Zimbabwe flag2

Praying for our nation.

I haven’t blogged for a few weeks. Between navigating the pressures of everyday life and following the news on elections, attacks, Scripture Union being banned from school, politicians with videos and photoshoots and now the imminent intro of bond notes – sometimes one just can’t figure out which point to ponder to be honest. I am however moved by the efforts of the likes of Pastor Evan Mawarire with his #thisflag campaign, the sentiments of Zimbabweans far and wide, passionately calling for change, crying out for an opportunity to be heard. I like millions of others, continue to hold on to hope for a better Zimbabwe – because simply put, we miss what was and cannot go on like this.

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land

I have a lot riding on the home front. The future I envision for my kids doesn’t involve toiling through the challenges that arise from cultural differences in far off places or having to wait a few years before they can reunite with their relatives. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the privilege of being where I am at and the opportunities that are a part of my life. However I would be lying if I didn’t say nostalgia makes a stop-by from time to time and I wonder what Zimbabwe will become with what’s going on right now.

Luck or blood, sweat and tears: How have others made it thus far?

There’s the adage that goes something like “when opportunity meets preparedness success ensues.” Roman philosopher Seneca defined luck as the moment when preparedness and opportunity collide. Many of us simply assert that it is about being at the right place at the right time – or not! In the advent of Zimbabwe’s socio-economic collapse, there have been many that have come up from the rubble imposed and made a name for ourselves.  Never mind whether they came up legally – that’s a debate for another day which I’m pretty sure leans more to one side than the other for a good number – but let’s continue. Reports of upsurges in growth in other African economies such as Uganda, Ghana, and Angola for instance, have me thinking much about what our forefathers did wrong for this generation – our generation – to be held ransom by the madness that prevails from the powers that be. Again, political a debate but a crippling reality for many of us all the same.

Having migrated from the U.S several years ago, settling on home ground for several years and now living in the UAE, I’ve surrounded by fast paced growth so much such that it really emphasises just how messed up things are on home turf. I was away for 12 months and came back to find new buildings having been opened all around my neighbourhood. Bridges linking one part of town with another, with the sparkling sea underneath are everyday occurrences here. There was a time when Zimbabweans used to describe the likes of Zambia and Malawi as disasters, chuckling away at the very notion of the kwacha. Now the kwacha trades while we print bits of paper that are supposed to preserve currency in our nation. Whose currency when they killed ours. There was a time when we would be a part of the roaring crowd at the National Sports stadium, basking in the festivities of Independence Day celebrations – and no, it wasn’t under duress either. But I digress.

I love my country with a love that has grown as I have become older. I want my children to speak Shona fluently, to ride bicycles through my city’s leafy suburbs, to not debate about the cost of living when pitted against all the other countries I’ve had the good pleasure of living in and for the notion of opportunity to move back home to not be a topic of melancholic debate. We have watched madness prevail in Zim for so many years to the extent that no one is surprised anymore. We say we’ve reached the bottom only for more crazy to make an entrance to the party.

A whatsapp message circulated this week about how we have grown so accustomed to creating jokes concerning our demise; that no one is making the right kind of noise when they should. Were there signs five years ago for what we are experiencing now? Is there anything that we could have done to be prepared for the bond note aka zim-dollar come back? What about those of us with money in the soil or businesses we’ve spent years sowing into, cultivating and nurturing as we work towards one day reaping the bountiful harvest of our hearts and hands’ toil? What happens to our hopes? What happens to our dreams?

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My thinking was incited by one morning’s bible reading. As I navigated through the verses of Matthew 25 – the story of the 10 bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. The bible describes 5 of them as being foolish and the other as being wise; foolish in that they took lamps but carried no back-up in terms of olive oil for their lamps. The wise dames on the other hand carried with them reserves; that is, they were prepared.

As the story continues we are told that the bridegroom is delayed to the extent that the bridesmaids fell asleep. When the bridegroom arrives at the midnight hour, the OPPORTUNITY that the bridesmaids had been waiting for all along presented itself. As suggested by the words of Seneca, the wise bridesmaids were lucky and therefore able to attend the marriage feast while the other 5 foolish bridesmaids missed out on the opportunity as they had to go and source more oil to keep their lamps alight.

Simple yet intriguing a story it is in that it so very accurately describes what is commonplace in the lives of many of us. Opportunities come about, but due to lack of preparedness, many of us are left in a quandary, talking about what could have been had the conditions been different. Alternatively and much to the benefit of the prepared ones, they are able to exploit and maximise upon what they are presented with regardless of what the environment dictates.  Many of us are wondering what will happen yet, yet there are others who were burnt last time and won’t be burnt again. They are working tirelessly to ensure that they won’t experience a repeat of 2007/2008. Jokes and all – it’s not hard to sense the tones of resilience, still. Still our people stand, still our people push on.

But then there’s ZIMBABWE

So I bring it to my nation of Zimbabwe. In the advent of the so-called crackdowns on corruption (there haven’t been any real crackdowns by the way…coz that would mean half of govt would be carried off somewhere…), exposure of those taking home monthly salaries that surpass those of the United States President – I ask myself whether there is such a thing called “luck” or “opportunity meeting preparedness” in a country like Zimbabwe. Can you do all your research, write all your proposals, draw up all the graphs, practice your pitches a thousand times in front of the mirror, put in your 10k hours, take all the professional development courses on offer – and really get your break, THAT BIG BREAK THAT LITERALLY CHANGES YOUR LIFE!? – IN ZIMBABWE????

In the days of “burning” the Zimbabwe dollar circa 2007/2008, many because of their access to foreign currency, were able to make lucrative business investment decisions that saw them prepared for the downturn of events that ensued with the introduction of the multi-currency system. Some bought land and built properties whilst others invested in organizations or started businesses that are still standing despite the abysmal reports on the economy. That’s a classic example of opportunity meeting preparedness – LUCK EVEN… (and either Seneca’s or my assertion of “Zim Luck” applies here).

Then there was the guy who from the money made through “burning”, imported multiple high-end luxury vehicles and flew to Joburg for an omelette everyday (you see because if you can have a Sandton omelette as opposed to a Harare omelette…YOU HAVE ARRIVED#cueChrisBrown….”Look at me now”), whilst renting an apartment on Harare’s Fife Avenue. This guy threw parties at the hottest clubs in town, threw money on the dance floor, had a bevy of women around him at all times, drank himself to stupor and was in the church pews on Sunday morning, tithing “burned” monies and making pledges to donate vehicles and the likes. No exaggeration here – I was in Zimbabwe during those days and saw it with my own eyes #TOMFOOLERY.ALL .AROUND. But when things changed and the U.S dollar came into circulation – #LAWDAMERCY!#BROKE.TO.BEHIND.THE.BACK.OF.BEYOND.

Now I find myself asking what next. What next with the looming bond note? Surely we can’t go back to empty shelves should Pick n Pay pack up the trolleys and roll out since the lure of the US dollar no longer prevails. Every which Zimbabwe related page you open, there are reports of this and that not working, big wig so and so being exposed and to that I ask – what’s next? Ideas and potentially profitably concepts abound within the people of Zimbabwe without a shadow of a doubt. After all, we still boast of an education system that surpasses that of any other African country in the very least despite what’s on the ground – not withstanding that the education minister’s concern over teachers’ teaching attire. Our people have survived the inexplicable save for war – GOD’S DESIGN TO MAINTAIN A PEACEFUL NATION. But are we really free? Do we really have a fighting chance at birthing radical change that puts us back on the map? I guess the debates of what needs to happen will rage on and all remains to be seen.

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Is it possible to do business based on merit and credibility as opposed to knowing “such and such” who holds position of “Director of So and so” at the Institution of “what not?” Fellow Zimbabweans in the diaspora ask me often enough, what opportunities can be exploited back home. The truth is, perhaps there are many sizeable opportunities, but many believe one needs luck to remotely access them. By LUCK I mean MONEY and CONNECTIONS.

Without those two things – the road to travel is marred with grit and every concrete boulder on every which way you turn. The path is perilous, the trials enormous, with folks asking you to do the unorthodox to see your vision through. I speak from experience here, working on project permits that took years of following up – daily. Showing up, daily. Making calls, daily. There was no luck there. There were no affiliations that could open doors for us. It was sheer grit and a faith in GOD that still mesmerises us today. What we were promised would take four months, became a process that lasted over 2 years – 3 if you factor in the breaks in between when we ran out of resources. BUT GOD came through!!! It was hard, costly and unfair. In the process I watched so many thrive because they knew so- and-so or related to such-and-such. This was infuriating but we weren’t about to sell our souls to the devil. It was a faith fight!

And it’s about to be a faith fight bigger than ever before now, as we are fighting against a series of goliaths, not just one. Marriages are on the brink, suicides and drunkenness are claiming our peers. Children are being left without parents. Hospitals are struggling to cope, every kind of doctrine is being preaches in our churches and the government…well, the news has it all. Ladies and gentlemen, we must stand in PRAYER. PRAYER AND TRUTH IS WHAT ZIMBABWE NEEDS. NOT their truth, about liberation struggles and what not…BUT GOD’S TRUTH. We need our anthem “Ishe komborerai Africa back”, we need our Scripture Union back on our schools, we need our families to stay together and turn all they know how to back to what GOD is saying and doing. We need to invite GOD into Zimbabwe.

Mwari huyai.