Thursday, January 28, 2016

Be Happy



I once read a book in a Library of a company where I worked. I have always been a bookworm so I went into this library full of resource books looking for light reading material. Sure enough I found a kind of self-help book called, “What if it were all alright?”. I have forgotten the author of the book but it changed my life. It began a journey I now know as the Law of Attraction. The Bible is full of this law if you are looking for it. An example is Philipians 4:8 ‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things’.  

So the book was saying we have a lot of things in life that stress us and make us unhappy and uncomfortable. What if we looked at these things and changed the way react to them. What if it is alright for it to rain just as I was about to go out for a volleyball match with my kids in the garden. What if instead of getting furious and depressed and sad, I laughed and joked about it and said ‘ah its alright, now we can play that new board game we bought and never opened.

Now I am not talking of harmful things to ourselves or our families but let’s face it, women especially have are addicted to worrying. We will often look for something to worry about, oh I have solved this problem now what can I worry about next! Those little things that are not a train smash (like a friend of mine likes to call them), what if we just ticked them off as alright. Recently in our difficult economy I have found I have learned to live without some things that used to be crucial, and I mean mandatory. Only to realise that if I left them out of list for a day or two I didn’t die, the sky did not fall and life actually went on.

In the same way, we burden ourselves with things that we have told ourselves should be perfect all the time. The doormat must face north and be at exactly ninety degrees to the little grass path in the middle of the driveway. Really!? We end up adding pressure to our families especially the husbands who will be trying to please us or to stay out of trouble. This reminds of the dining room scene in the movie, The War Room when the husband apologises for not being able to come where the wife had just had a near mugging. The wife then says, ‘It’s ok, I knew you were busy and probably in a meeting’, to which the husband is surprised because she is normally negative and not understanding.

What if we also, from today on, behave like that wife and say, its ok honey, I know you are not intentionally late for supper, you have things to do. Even though the meal is a bit spoiled it’s not worth us fighting over and spoiling the evening too. Besides you were out working for this family.

I seriously believe that our lives and our relationships would change for the better. Less stress means better health and happiness for all. As the cliché says, life is short, make the most of it. It might also assist in our quest to live like 1 Corinthians 13 Christians.

1 Cor 13:1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Ministry of 'Helps'

Years ago at a Youth Camp, one of the Pastors taught on the ministry of Helps. It was my first time to hear of this type of ministry and he had to explain for most of us. He was talking about how you do not have to be a pastor of any other prominent person in the church but how you can help the men and women of God to make their work easier. These people that are assistants to pastors, or those that carry their bibles, bring their water, order their food and sometimes even babysit for them are called 'Armour bearers'. The term came from ancient bible times where the armour bearers would literary carry the armour of the King and other prominent people. I am sure present day men and women of God are really grateful for people like that and it is indeed a ministry on its own.


In the last couple of years I have noticed a different kind of armour bearer or Helper if you will. These have not served pastors or any prominent person but ordinary people like you and me. My mum has had lots of friends over the years in the high density area where I grew up. It seems that at every stage she had one very good friend that would not miss a day of passing by and bringing goodies and making her laugh and she in return would do the same. One was called Mai Rori ( mother of Rori) who later passed away. Some ten years back after my father died, my mum all of a sudden had another very good friend. It seemed sudden to me as I was away at boarding school and when I came home there seemed to be a person very familiar with my family and who knew her way around the house even better than me for the first few days of holiday. Mbuya vaMacolm was her name which means grandmother of Malcolm.


I didn't notice the significance of these people in her life until recently but I did realise how she seemed to live for them especially after my father passed away. She got sick and my husband and I, now living away from her in a medium density surburb were discussing bringing her to live with us so that we could monitor her nutrition and taking of medication. We realised that she never wanted to stay for more than a few days and were buffled, till we went to visit and realised that mbuya va Malcolm would come in frequently and would pass through on the way to church to get her and they would go together. Then we understood that besides her having a life of her own in the high density surburb, it kept her alive because she had friends at home and at church. She had responsibilities at church like being treasurer for activities in her section. At our place, she would be alone most of the days because we would be off to work and school early in the morning and the house helper would be too busy for her.


Then mbuya va Malcolm also passed away. She grieved so much and didn't have the energy anymore to go to a little plot where they used to go and plant seasonal plants and plan staying there in their old age. But then an amazing thing happened, I visited and was greeted by mbuya Musakwa, who, you guessed it, knew her way around the kitchen like it was her own. I later learned that even though my mum had a niece living with her, mbuya Musakwa would sometimes bring warmed bath water or cooked pumpkin leaves, a delicacy in the African culture, for my mum every time she cooked them. Every time she cooked anything at her house she thought my mum would like or would be good for her, she would bring it over. At a time of difficulty when my brother got into some trouble with the police, I went home to find my mum was at mbuya Musakwa's house praying, getting comforted and encouraged in the Lord.


Mbuya Musakwa was not in the area when I was growing up. She moved in after I had already been married for a while. How did she single out my mum to befriend, and how could she be such an angel? I often now call all her friends angels because I have seen that they are sent by God. They enrich her life and make difficult days bearable.


 I have seen the same thing happen with my mother-in-law. You might think that her friends are older like my mum's but they are young women who come in and cook for her and chat with her. Recently I saw a new one I had not seen before and it clicked when my sister-in-law commented that she did not miss a day of coming in to sit and chat with my mum-in-law. I am amazed at how God can meet the needs of these women so wonderfully.


I once saw a program on Television where in the western countries young volunteers can be paired off with elderly people for purposes exactly like the above. They visit to chat, go grocery shopping, cooking, eating together and general companionship. One of the young volunteers actually stated that it had saved her live to be able to be useful again in life. So my friend don’t despair and be alone, don’t keep searching for a purpose in life when you can just in the meantime be a friend to someone in your neighbourhood who needs it. It doesn’t take much on your part except time and lovingkindness.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Helper

This is a huge subject but today I will scratch on the surface. Most women, especially in African countries will relate to this. How many of us are working mothers with helpers in our homes? Other women that we call maid, aunty or other names, who 'should' be at our beck and call and who run the home in our absence but should do it like they were us.

I have noticed that I expect my helper to anticipate my needs and that of my children! I expect her to follow my instructions without question even though sometimes I expect her to use her own discretion in making decisions on what to cook for supper on the days I get home late. I have often caught myself telling her conflicting instructions, like I would have said something earlier in the week and then when I change my mind I rarely notice or acknowledge and I just expect her to read my mind!

Although I have had maids since 2005 when I had my first baby, I only realised it now, ten years later as I began a journey on a different but crucial subject, Me as Helper to my husband. Boy am I amazed at the similarities to the requirements of my husband to those of me from my helper. How many times as a wife have you tried to anticipate the needs of your husband? What he would rather eat, when he would rather make love, which shirt he needs to be clean on a certain day and other acts of love? How many times do you obey without questioning especially in things that are harmless to you or the kids? Sometimes we just rebel against our husbands just for the sake of it. We feel like we do not want to be bossed around. I am not saying we should blindly follow when there is danger but just giving him his place as head of the family.

Today I challenge all working mothers and wives to watch how they treat their helper and how they respond to the husband's requests for help. I believe if we take our rightful place as helper to our husband, our own life and that of the family will improve in quality because then he will feel respected and appreciated.