I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately and while watching a woman talking on Facebook, heard this song. Haven’t heard it in a while but it reminds me of God’s good grace and even as I am typing this, I find myself unable to contain my smile. It’s a song from the Bemba language, one of the many in Zambia, and a huge part of my heritage. When translated it says, “when you see me dancing, singing, rejoicing and carrying on, I am doing it for God because He has brought me this far, because of His “luse.” The word Uluse or ‘luse encompasses different English words. It speaks of mercy, compassion, grace and in some instances forgiveness; it is used when we feel sorry for someone, or when we ask for forgiveness or mercy. God’s mercies are undying; he waits on us patiently and His compassion has always been my rock. Our standing is based totally and wholly on His mercy. The song talks about a difference that should be seen in us Christians, that despite our circumstances, we should exude joy. The singer talks about people wondering about what His secret is because when others lack, God provides for him, and when tragedy befalls him, he is still joyful. So when you see me smiling, dancing or carrying on, know I have much to be grateful for and it is all by His grace. Hope it blesses you as you dance to it 🙂
I’ve been married a little over a year and have known my husband for about 14 years, and probably, as hindsight would have me believe, loved him for close to that. In the time we have been married, we have spent about 8 months in the same place and the other 8 apart. This seperation, especially the last 2 months have been HARD! Now some people would ask, why aren’t you living together when you love each other? There are two answers for that … Paperwork! And God!
Australia’s spouse visa process is a long and taxing process. Just answering the huge number of questions relating to our relationship is atleast a days work and then there’s the large number of evidence that needs attaching after you have paid the $7000 price tag for love.
Second is God. I keep trying to remember that God takes us where He will and opens doors and closes them, and leaves us in the waiting que for whatever reason. I say this because all authority that exisits exists because He allows it to. So in line with that, the visa will be granted when it’s granted.
I’ve learnt, in this period of waiting, how dependent on my husband, I am and how much I love him. I talk to him every chance I get but also that despite love being present, when we can’t see someone, it becomes harder to be vulnerable or maintain those lines of communication. Many a time, when our communication fails, misunderstandings, hurt and arguments follow and even when theres no misunderstandings or arguments, our lives just seem less happy, but the less we talk, the less transparent we want to be, which makes starting up that communication harder.
In being married, I have discovered that as much as I dislike hangouts with people I am not comfortable with, I love quality time with those I love. Now, this got me thinking, if in the absence of my loving, amazing but flawed husband, I can struggle for sanity so much, why don’t I struggle when the lines of communication are dying between me and my perfect God? God still speaks through His scriptures, that we so casually maime for our amusement or for itching ears. When we set time to dine with Him and hear from Him, our joy is made complete, we find our place, and no matter what goes wrong with us, we can stand with Him by our side.
I’ve found myself wondering why, as Christ’s bride, the church, members of His blessed body, we do not yearn for Him like a wife longs for her husband. With my husband being away, no other person entices, and yet, with Christ, there are so many things that entice and cause us to doubt His nearness. My prayer is that I grow to love my Christ, more than anything in this world, including my husband and I hope and pray that that would be the case for us all, those of us who, like a husband and wife, have been made one with Christ.
I found myself driving in the dark
Some light came from around me
And then it was gone
I found myself lost, one with the dark
So removed from light once inside me
We felt the same …one
I found myself covered in a cloak
Non-distinct, except bright eye
Felt right to the bone
I’ve found fear in my dark, burnt out shack
My thoughts – proof of evil – lie
Thank Christ I’m not gone
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.
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.
I was aware that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I said “I do,” but I was not aware just how true that was. Nothing has gone to plan this year, but it has become more apparent just how much strength and grace God gives for each season. His provision has left me in awe, and I am more aware of the undying bond that exists with our kin.
I haven’t settled in to running a house as well as I would have liked and there have been lows, but the highs have been far greater. I’ve learnt a lot about myself, and a lot that I didn’t know about my husband, and my daughter. I have once again fallen in love with parenting and the things I once feared have proven to have been an illusion. I love, love, love where my life is at, but realise now more than ever, that where we are is not an achievement, because in the end, it’s not how we start that counts but how we finish this race, but still recognise that it’s something to be grateful for. Pressing on towards what is ahead, eyes focused on the surpassing greatness of Christ, I can only imagine what’s to come.
So yesterday, I was at work, and right in the middle of attending to a client, this song that my mum sometimes sings and I don’t have a title for it, but every time that I remember this song, it doesn’t leave my system for days. The sad thing though is, I can never seem to remember the words and eventually the tune evades me too, and I am left with this itch and a need to sing a song that I can’t remember. So I messaged mum last night and asked her for the words and in the process, I remembered the tune. Mum sent me two audios and lyrics and I keep playing the audio. There’s something soothing about my mum singing that song and it doesn’t feel like I am playing the song over and over. Whenever I was away from home or from my family, I prided myself in not missing my parents, but after not living with mum for just over 4 months, I think I miss her. Key words being “I think.” I’m also beginning to think that maybe, (just maybe) this is a song I will be singing to my children.
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.
It is often said that women rarely celebrate women’s sucesses, but maybe it might be that we require reason to celebrate. I don’t think men celebrate every man’s victory or success … So maybe they just need a reason to celebrate … Like me today.
For the right girl, it’s not a might celebrate, but a definite I will honour this beautiful soul. In this case it’s a girl who has worked so hard despite falling a few times and inspite of her own fraying self belief at times. People see her now holding her degree and all they see is the beauty of it all. Behind the scenes though, they have not seen the tremendous hardship she has had to endure. The tremendous sacrifice that has been hers and her family’s to make.
Tabeth Mwema, well done. Keep keeping on and remember that whatever fight comes your way, you can take on, and whatever dreams God sets before you, He has graced you to achieve. I’m inspired by you.
Sometimes … Okay … not sometimes, Most of the time, I struggle with the idea that God will provide all our needs. Especially when there are deadlines at play. It’s easy to try and get everything done in your own strength, but I’m reminded of the prayer “God give me only what I need for today, lest I become rich and disown You, or poverty stricken and steal, and so dishonour Your name.”
He is a loving father, and so will in all things provide what we need. He sees those needs before we know them and even in those times when we don’t know what we need.