What’s in a label … Victim


I have been pondering this for the better part of 2 days … can’t even believe that I lost sleep over it. But I met someone recently who wears the victim label really well and in thinking this over, I remembered a story I once heard about the power of sin …

This isnt the exact version I heard but I hope you get the picture. A man buys a house and cleans it up, sets everything in order and leaves the man of the house to live there. Initially he does well, keeps it clean and enjoys being there. One day the old landlord comes and asks for just a small spot on the wall saying, “I just want to keep one small cloth on a nail.” No one will even know it’s there.

The nail is hammered into the wall and the cloth placed on it. What the man of the house is not told is that the cloth is dirty and smelly and soon, its smell soon fills the whole house.

So it is with sin, Jesus comes and sets our houses in order and gives us all his abundance, but whenever the enemy comes back, enticing, requesting a small space, he doesn’t stop there. The influence of that small sin, can fill and taint our whole being; and so it is with anger and bitterness.

Some people are so blinded by the label “victim,” that they are unable to see past a perceived wrong, or even a real one. No one is immune to hurt and pain as long as we exist in a world where we interact with other beings. Some of us, including me, at different times have allowed ourselves to put offence on a nail, and let bitterness grow until it’s stench fills every inch of our being. Everyone who walks into our lives can smell it and most choose not to stay, but we are so used to the stench that we are unwilling to deal with the source.

Bitterness infects everything we do and leaves very little room for the enjoyment of the things we have. It focuses on what has been lost and how we have been wronged and refuses to acknowledge our part in what has happened in our lives.

Sometimes we are so comfortable with the anger and want to hold on to it, and left unchecked, anger morphs into bitterness and Bitterness is never mild, it’s a cancer, a contagion that affects those we touch too. No wonder God asks that we Keep our hearts with all diligence and to not let the sun go down in anger. We are all victims of wrongs committed at different times by different people, but staying a victim robs us, so I pray that we recognise bitterness for what it is, where it lurks and remove it before it taints us.

Survival mode


The last few months have been something to say the least … If you have followed this blog for long, you will know that I take leaves of absence when life gets hectic. This year, I had to take a long one and honestly, I am not sure it is over yet. Been feeling unwell for the bigger part of the last 7 or so months and was in ‘survival mode’

And no, it’s not Covid, even though it has in its spree brought sadness and pain … anxiety and death, sometimes in the most unexpected places. As usual, God has been faithful, my husband has been faithful and again my family and friends have been faithful; and I know that there is joy in the now and a promise of joy to come … and with that hope, comes anxiety because of other people’s stories and I have to be reminded of the immense love of God and His mercies which cease not. Regardless of what comes our way; surviving, thriving or treading water, He is constant, unfailing and has us covered.

Human Dignity


Our dignity is not found in status, 
the coins that dress us
the tears on our backs
the tears in our eyes
Dignity is not imputed by our senses
the grace in our steps
the sensuality of our movements
the depths of our sexuality
Dignity is a quality of being human
Something never to be gained
Never to be lost
Never to be stolen
Dignity is a quality born in us
It lives even when unseen in us
unrecognisable in others
It is a quality of being human

Choose life


God sets before us life or death and implores us to choose life.

This world can be crushing and its dark days oppressive … but there is always hope, even when our own hands threaten to drown us, there is hope … even just a sliver as if through a crack … and when we walk through the valley and the ghosts lurk in the shadows, remember that the shadows are shaped by light … and when we are deep in the cave, deep in the earth of despair, remember that there is light somewhere beyond these dark oppressive cold places … and that as long as the sun rises somewhere beyond our view or that even when it fails to shine, that the Son always promises to shine, to be present in our weakness, in our strength and every place we find ourselves. I pray you find your tether that leads you back out of the cave. I hope you hear the love in the voices that call your name and remember your place among us and the deep pain that your absence is bound to leave. I plead with you … choose life.

Christians, hell is not the gospel.


I recently saw a video of a group holding signs at some awards that were taking place in Hollywood and they had a megaphone with flames painted on it. As a Christian, I felt a bit like I wanted to shrink back and not announce what I am. Why? Because the words that were coming through the megaphone did not seem Christian to me.

I understand that hell is something that the bible talks about and that judgement before a just God is something that all man must face. However I shrink back from shoving Christianity in people’s faces and angrily proclaiming Christ when His ways were humble.

It’s like the “God hates fags” placard. I am a Christian who believes the words of the bible and is convinced that any form of sexual contact outside a socially recognised marriage between a man and a woman is not what God intended, however, I do not subscribe to the statement that these people holding the placard hold.

Why? Because according to God’s word, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. When we were still His enemies, he laid his life for us. Because as a fallen human, saved by grace, I understand that I am no better than anyone else around me and that my white lies, greed and jealousy all make me a candidate for His judgement. God is gracious to all mankind, and shouting at someone you feel is the “other,” the defective, and daming them to hell like you are the righteous judge, is anything but Christ-like.

Hell is not the gospel. Christ’s glory, His love for his fallen people and how he took our place and restores lives, is. When you read the new testament, you find a gentle Christ and His gentle disciples who took the gospel far and wide and in many instances when you see His anger expressed, it is against an elite group who assumed their salvation was guaranteed and set heavy burdens over the people around them. Even when the disciples were told what to do when people rejected the gospel, we find that the disciples aren’t even asked to say anything … they were to do something that by today’s standard would be considered very benign and non confrontational … they were to dust off their feet and leave.

Christ warns us against the leaven of the Pharisees. While I can recognise these traits in both the world and the church, the bible’s standards are for those who profess to follow Christ. Our responsibility towards the world is not to Lord over them with our standard but to show them the gospel in its fullness and show them the change that takes place in our hearts as Christ takes over our lives.

My Food Trek met Zambia


Hehehe … so I came across a video circulating on the Zambian web that left me needing to punch something before I even finished watching it. It was one of those things that leave you feeling like someone has come into your home, urinated on everything, and walked away without taking anything but your dignity.

Okay maybe not so serious, but you get the point. I went on youtube looking for this video, where a young American man did little research about the country Zambia, our home and claimed to be cooking our food and called whatever mess he cooked Nshima and Ndiwo … then he went on to make very disrespectful and ignorant comments. I found no videos on the My food trek channel and after googling, understood why … 😂He had met Zed Twitter. Even after he had posted an apology and taken down all related videos, Zambians were still commenting and sharing the video so other Zambians could see … and oh my ribs at the comments. Reminded me of the #lintonlies Twitter war that was sparked by Louise Linton when she more than embellished her experiences during a 1999 Gap year she spent in Zambia.

On a serious note, though, Americans need to learn that you do not invite yourself into someone’s home and insult them like the my food trek video guy; or get welcomed into someone’s home, like Ms Linton, and then insult them and that is why we as Zambians felt so passionate about making it known that this was not okay

Living despite our falls


I was reading a post by Doctor Ben Carson about Tiger Woods on Facebook this week; it was a motivational post, reminding us that whatever happens in our lives, we can still rise. I couldn’t help but remember my mother saying, “the media couldn’t rest until they destroyed him.” This she had said when Tiger’s life unravelled and he was not winning any golf tournaments. He has worked at getting back on top, and this September, he has achieved a win once more. If the quote I have shared is any indication, you can see that my mother doesn’t like it when the media splatters people’s lives out for the world to consume. She prefers hearing about the highs of their lives, like when Tiger wins tournaments, or when Celine Dion had her babies, though she only glances at these happenings.

This week, the fact that we people are quick to judge and move on has been highlighted for me. There’s a video that has been circulating on the net about the keep Zambia clean campaign, where a man asks a woman carrying a baby and water for sale on her head, to pick up discarded empty sachets. I was initially upset, but I’ve heard and watched things that have added some context to the conversation and that calmed me down. But reading the comments online, you find that even people who once supported this man, are now up in arms and boycotting the Facebook page, not to mention the name calling that falls in the category of things we as Zambians don’t do.

But in these interactions it is clear that people only like you when you do things that fit their mould of acceptable behaviour; I guess we all pick and choose, however, I like to think of myself as a person who decides who to associate with based on a track record, and not on individual moments or a few events in a space of time; but we all do it, form ideas about who people are and refuse to give grace. Sometimes though, we are as harsh as we are because we recognise a part of ourselves in them, and that sparks a defensive response on our part, and in an attempt to feel better about ourselves, try to make “the other” worse than us. It is clear that as we walk through life, we must make choices with the best intentions but not with the aim of pleasing people, otherwise we live our lives dancing to whichever piper plays, like puppets pulled in all directions, forgetting what we stand for.

Live your life, fighting for whatever it is you stand for, applying wisdom, but not swaying whenever people leave you or question your value. Live based on your convictions, hopefully stooped in truth and not just some shadowy candyfloss philosophy. Tiger rose and conquered again despite the media’s assertions that he was a “had been.” So always  remember those who cheer you on when you have nothing for them to gain, and if you should ever fall, pray that there are people around you who can tell you how far you fell but are still willing to stay with you and walk it out. If you should fall, don’t stay down, fight! Fight for the life you want.

Freedoms


I have found myself thinking about how important it is to preserve individual freedoms. This, probably because of a few things that Ive heard happen recently that challenge the idea that everyone has the right to self determination.

If you live in the western world, you have no doubt heard of the debates that rage about hijabs. If you havent, you can read about it here; in Australia’s case you can read just one of many stories here. There are more stories from Canada and the United states, however Americans tend to believe heavily in the ideal that everyone has the right to choose the course of their lives, at least in theory, and for that reason, a ban on head coverings seems unlikely.

Recently I’ve heard it said that some employers allow Muslims and not the Africans in their employment to have head coverings. In Australia, some people take it further, holding the belief that African employees are bad for business, and a investigative report a few years back showed that people with African names were more likely to be passed up for a job than people with names indicative of another ethnicity. The fact that Job prospects improve if you have an Anglo-Saxon name has caused some people to acquire a more “Western” sounding name in order to land a job and there are parents who even choose to give their children English names, to make their lives better.

Now, in the event that you hear someone in the workplace express views that indicate they feel one ethnic group to be inferior and that opportunities for furthering themselves should be limited, do you report that person or do you ignore it with the aim of protecting the person’s freedom of expression? Where does the balance lie? Are such views a threat to the individual freedoms of the ethinicity in question? And is reporting such veiws a threat to freedom of expression?

In today’s world, you see conformity becoming the new aim. People’s right to pursue a livlihood seems constantly under threat and government policy seems hell bent on making people conform to what some consider the norm. Take for instance the vaccination debate; I am a partial vaccinator, and a lot of people look at me funny when I indicate that I dont get the flu vaccine. I recently had a workmate stare at me blankly when I told her that.

You see, I work in the health sector and the health department recommends that health workers get the flu vaccine yearly. Currently, people are allowed to refuse but I wonder how long for. Previously, in Australia, parents could conscientiously object to children being vaccinated and while they still can, in recent years the government has moved to cut entitled payments for non-vaccinators. I believe that in order to maintain the health and wellbeing of families, the role that parents have always had in deciding what is best for their children must be protected. Rather than heavy handed tactics, and threats, and in this case, withdrawal of money that could put children at a disadvantage, goverment needs to create opportunities for discourse, where concerns on both sides are heard. In a democracy, we convince with ideas and not coerce through legislative power.

And yes, I do understand that parents don’t always get it right but to assume that governments are better able to decide the welfare of children is a misplaced idea. For instance, a few years back, there was something wrong with the flu vaccine and had severe reactions, with one child in particular experiencing life-long disability. Personaly, I would be better able to come to terms with something going wrong if I had made the decision on my own, rather than through coercion, and ultimately, it is the family that has to pick up the pieces of any adverse outcome of any choice they make.

That aside through, we also need to remember that the power that government has, needs to always remain in check and that if we give up to many freedoms, we give rise to tyranny. The idea that humans today, are better than those of old, is something we might need to view with a lot of scepticism. The assumption that the rights we take from ourselves and give to government are going to be used to the benefit of society seems to me, a dream far removed from reality and what we have seen happen time and time again suggests that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The little I have seen of the show.


When you have watched too many western shows and decide it’s time to create something similar but for Zambians, what you get is a misrepresentation of your country and its ideals and can’t even get speech norms right. This I say about the misnomer that is “Zuba.” definitely not authentically Zambian and makes me wonder if it was written with the worlds acceptance in mind or to portray our very valid stories. Now, if we the Zambians can not get our own stories out with ourselves in mind, who then will tell these beautiful stories? Or do we just want to seem like zee world and Disney channel, or whatever it is people watch these days?

I have to admit that I have only seen trailers of the episodes and the Character that is Zuba seems to portray some good traits and I would probably like her. I do however look forward to the day when authentic accents and authentic norms are celebrated as vital parts of our story telling process. How many Zambians can relate to the characters? They seem to lack depth and dimension and seem to exist merely for the dramatic; to act as a superficial pastime, a place to let your mind roam, stagnant, with no value to gain.

I have my whole life planned out


I like to think of myself as a master planner when it comes to my life but if you know me, and know me well, you know that I really am not that great at planning. I used to be one of those people who just went with the flow, but I now find that in order to maintain my sanity, I need to have some set plan; and by that, I mean one of those unchanging fixed step by step guides for my day.

Life however is not like that. My parents, I am sure always had plans for each of their kids, and I am sure me having a child at a really young age was not part of it. Still, when it happened they rose to the challenge and walked out the days ahead.

I hadn’t planned on my daughter being as attached as she is to my mother, and I definitely had my mind set on becoming a vet. I had never intended to fall for any man; that to me, was an unnecessary distraction.

Our plans are not to be seen as set in stone, fixed paths on a road, but more like sign posts on an unknown road. Think about it in this way, someone with a good, kind heart wakes you up and says, I want you to get to a place called Destination, but I want you to get there with only a few clues that I will keep giving you as you make the journey. You don’t know what deviations exist on this journey, but you start off. At different points you may find road closures for whatever reason with signs saying detour. Sometimes the earth quakes and leaves you shaken. Sometimes you get magged on the way to Destination and you are left wondering why this good person has led you to this place.

We plan, sort of as attempt to get to what we think the destination is, and then we realise we have not arrived and have to forge ahead towards another pitstop. There are times we allow winds and tides to take us along and sometimes even take us backward. Sometimes we fall and break and lose hope, but rather than feel like failures, we need to trust the One who set us on the journey and walk it out, with plans that we intend to fulfill; plans we are truly working to achieve, but all that in line with the view that Christ is above all, and ultimately, His will is above it all, and that our plans might be changed by the true master planner.