What you’ve gotta know about love

Is that it sucks sometimes!

Yeah it does.

I mean not the love itself… but the relationship in which love happens…

And growing up means knowing that love doesn’t begin and end at the crazy butterflies in your belly, or stolen kisses in crazy places or nervous tingles when the phone rings- real love, the kind that last for a really (REALLY) long time doesn’t stay in this airy stage. It grows. Into something bigger.

Sometimes your body may yearn for those butterflies- and sometimes your heart may weep out for attention- sometimes loneliness can consume you… In those moments you look at the one you’re doing the Love Thing with and you wonder if it’s worth it- Most times it is. But it takes growing up to know that the tingles go, and so do the butterflies and so do the nervous energies we all love about being in love.

But what comes Dear Friend is something deeper and wider and Oh SO much more wonderful. Something that when you have it you wouldn’t give up for a million butterfly feelings or a gazillion juvenile moments in crazy places.

What comes is a friendship so solid it makes all those rubbish times you went through a mere shadow of things past and things gone.

What comes are golden moments of stealing glances at the one you love and drinking in how much of your heart they fill up… In those  moments you see them in a renewed beauty you can swear you never really noticed before.

It’s normal to want what you once felt when you were in love and everything was brand spanking new… It’s normal to miss the high of those insane chemicals that make you skip and jump and bring out the child in you- it’s totally normal. But it’s stupid… utterly stupid to desire that so much that you throw away what’s deep and what’s real right now for an illusion of what used to be once upon a time.

Many years ago one of my mentors told me how silly it was for people who’d been married for years to “chase after tummy butterflies” all their lives.

“And in so doing,” she said, “they’re always off for the ‘next best thing’ and they’re constantly breaking lives along their juvenile path.”

When you’ve been married a while (and by a while I mean so long you’re scheduling intimate time) it’s so easy to miss an old crush- or even fantasize about a thing you once had with a certain Someone “that time…”.

It’s easy to paint wonderful pictures of what your life “might’ve turned out like” had you married “So-and-So” instead- but the reality is you didn’t. You married who you’re married to right now. And the reason the “So-and-So” looks so good right now is because you didn’t really get to live a life with them. You didn’t have to pay bills with them- go through rough pregnancies, nurse sick babies or wake up a gazillion times to hush your new borns-

You didn’t go through severe fights with “So-and-So” that threatened to end the marriage you’d poured so much into- so of course that old flame seems SO much more attractive right now-

In the grand scheme of things- chances are You and “So-and-So” didn’t really  have anything that was truly significant- because if you had you’d have married them instead. But you didn’t.

The thing you gotta know about love- true love- is that it’s not about feelings.

It’s not about feeling all mushy inside and it sure ain’t about your heart pumping chocolate and paw-paw juice all the time– Love is SO MUCH more than that. And if you really do “love” the one you’re with then you probably know exactly what I mean.

Thank You Tata

Years ago I watched a remarkable documentary on Tata Mandela. It was profound and an amazing picture of his life.

The film ended with Tata saying he believed he’d fought a good fight. His parting words in the documentary seemed to be a final goodbye- I mourned him then.

I cried and allowed myself to feel the weight of a world without him- I thanked him for giving me the opportunity to live in this awesome country and I thanked him for the freedom to become whoever I chose to be with virtually no limitations.

I was sad that I’d never met him in person or spoken face to face with him.

My closest contact to him came when I was as a young student many years ago at 46664 concert album launch. I saw him in person… albeit from a few feet away.

When he came onto the stage I cried. His presence was overwhelming. It was majestic and yet inspired compassion, generosity, insane humility, love, the power to dream, joy and what it meant to truly live a life full of purpose.

When my dear friend called me a few days ago, completely distraught by his passing- she told me how she felt no right to mourn him because of her background and her race- I told her that in mourning him she honoured him because the fact that she could  mourn him meant that he had achieved the South Africa for which he had stated he was prepared to die: A South Africa where a black girl like me could so deeply connect with her, my white, Afrikaans friend. A South Africa where two people like us who were so vastly different could openly share such a powerful bond of love and reverence for one another.

Not many people achieve their dreams… Tata Mandela did. And I hope that, despite some of the embarrassing circus that marred his memorial service this week, we could in our own selves not fail to honour the man he was.

I hope we don’t cease to be grateful for the South Africa we now have. The South Africa he fought for.

Many, many, people fought unbelievably hard so we could enjoy what we have now.  Let us never take that for granted.

I’ve heard some people call Mandela a sell-out for how largely he embraced those that persecuted him and the millions of other once oppressed South Africans.  I can’t speak to that-  In all honesty I’ve had far too much of a privileged life to have any right to speak to that-  but in my own opinion that WAS  the largeness of Tata’s life- that he could show love to his enemies and he did!

Even if ever there were moments of his actions being only for public good, despite his own sentiments- I believe that  truly is the hallmark of true leader-  that they have the humility to stoop down- wash filthy feet as mere servants so that those they serve can look at one another and see humanity in “the other”  through the leader that stooped down to serve them all as equals.

Some say we will never have another Mandela. I agree.  But I see his life in my freedom, I see his life in my marriage that would have once upon a time sent me to jail, I see his life in my children who are remarkable and won’t have to explain their skin in fear ever, I see his life in my awesome Church fellowship and the amazing friends I’ve made there- friends I can truly call brothers and sisters. Not too long ago us worshiping together the way we do now would have never been possible because of our skin.

I see Tata’s life in my career that has allowed me to see parts of the world I would never have ventured had I not had the opportunities afforded me by the South Africa he fought for- All my life I will see his life in so many aspects of my own life and I will see his life in the many people who impact me- regardless of colour. Because he chose the very unpopular path of embracing, showing love and living out forgiveness.

I do believe there was a part of Tata none of us ever got to see. And that’s fine- I think if he did, he deserved to keep a tiny bit of himself for himself- even though I believe he really did pour himself out entirely for us all.

During the latter part of his life it disgusted me how so many people dishonoured him even by the way they sucked photo ops out of him. It was clear that some who took photos with him, especially in the latter days of his life, didn’t care for the man he was. All they cared for was going back to their colleagues and friends to show that they  had been with the great Mandela. What nonsense! And yet he humbly allowed photo ops even though it was so clear to see that he was tired and was desperate for solitude and rest.

He gave and gave until he was far too spent to give anymore. That’s what I’ll always remember about him: How generous he was. To a very large extent I think we his people at times didn’t honour that. He had given us so much and yet we continued to milk him instead of respectfully whisper “Thank You Tata” and allow him time to rest from all his labour.

Tata’s daughter, Zindzi Mandela, had interviewed her dad a while ago. In that interview she asked him what he would’ve liked to have been remembered for.

He said there wasn’t any one thing he would highlight because one must leave their legacy to the community and it is the community that should decide what that person will be remembered for. Tata didn’t even stake a claim on his own legacy! He left that to us!

I choose to remember him as an extremely generous giver.

Many people remember his humility.

Many years ago, as a young girl in high school, I remember Oprah interviewing Tata and she talked about how, prior to the interview with him, while they’d been backstage, he’d asked her what her show would be about that day! It didn’t occur to him that HE would be  the show!

If only leaders all over the world would live their lives with that kind of sincere humility- serving their people instead of milking them and instead of constantly seeking self glory, praise (worship even) they’d seek the upliftment of the people they serve. That was how Tata led and lived.

He was always eager to talk about the efforts, contributions, sacrifices and achievements of others during The Struggle.
In his interview with his daughter Tata Mandela remembered Tata Sisulu who led with such humility and never sought self-glory.

Tata Mandela remembered Tata Sisulu as someone who never sought position but led from behind- and yet when there was danger he would come to the helm and lead from the frontlines…  These are the greats from which our incredible nation was birthed- let us not forget who we come from.

In a way I’m glad that through that amazing documentary of his life I was awarded the opportunity to honour Tata and say goodbye to him in a more intimate manner so many years ago.

It was as though that was the one and only conversation I would ever have with him. Through that film he sat next to me on my living room couch and told me of his life. Him and I celebrated the life he’d lived and I thanked him, said goodbye to him- and I remember actually saying “Goodbye Tata”. And then for the days that followed I mourned him.

This may sound strange and morbid. For some this may even sound disrespectful- but that’s what I did. And that time will never be taken from me because it was pure and it was true.

My goodbye to Tata was not tainted by drama and politicking or incompetence and tomfoolery- and because of that wonderful unencumbered Goodbye I chose to steer clear of all that transpired this past week. I have instead carried on with my life and purpose as Tata Mandela often did in the face of loss and tragedy.

It is beyond tragic that some of what has been highlighted during this time has been such  a joke.

I’ve noticed that some of us have been more worried about what the world would think of some of the behaviour that occurred at Tata’s memorial service rather than being so outraged that nonsense like that diluted our final goodbye to this man who gave us so much!

But that’s all just fluff. And none of it takes away what we as South Africa had in Mandela. Nor does it take away what he’s left us with and for us.

The day will come when we’ll forget that it rained when so many gathered to say goodbye to him. We’ll probably forget the dignitaries we saw at his memorial. We’re very likely to forget what was said by those who spoke at the ceremony. I can almost guarantee that there will come a time we’ll forget the booing and the fake language interpreter… All these things we’ll forget. But what we’ll never forget is who Tata Mandela was to us, how he made us feel and the South Africa he stood for and inspired us to believe in.

Thank you again Tata for your life and giving it so generously without reserve so that we may have so many things you never had. That  is the hall mark of a true father. One who fights to give his children a far better life than he ever had. Tata you gave us that. A great father leaves his children an inheritance. What an inheritance you left us! Thank You Tata. Thank You.

God’s List

Perched on a tree branch, two birds were observing passers-by rushing from one place to another.

Looking at their faces, one bird asked the other, “Why is man so full of worries and cares?”

The other bird answered, “Maybe they don’t have a heavenly Father like we do.”

–          Taken From the  Destined to Reign Devotional by Joseph Prince.


Really people, we’re going to have birds  think we don’t have a heavenly Father!

This past week was a tremendous struggle for me. Worrying. Then worrying some more. Then worrying that I’m worrying… Then worrying that I’m weak and don’t have the kind of faith I should… Then worrying that how come I was hearing all these incredible Scriptures about God’s love for me and yet… And yet the circumstances causing my anxiety were not changing… eventually the worry was the worry… Ever had those cycles?

Here’s what I’ve found out though- God will not take away your worry or your anxiety. You have to make a decision to focus on God’s goodness. That will take away the anxiety.

Note the Scriptures don’t say: “Pray that you won’t be anxious.” or “Pray that God will take away the anxiety.” The Scriptures say: “Be anxious for nothing…”

A dear friend of mine (let’s call her Mercy), had heard beautiful promises from God that sounded far too good to be true. She was having a real hard time believing these awesome promises- and she told God so.

His response to her was that He didn’t blame her because our lives and the entire world system is so anti-believing God’s insane, scandalous, goodness.

But it’s up to us, once we’ve heard the promises, to believe.

It’s up to us to break away from the world’s belief system and feed ourselves with God’s system.

Faith comes by hearing. What we choose to listen to is what will grow in our lives.

If you choose to focus on the all the negatives and immerse yourself in piles upon atrocious piles of things that are not God’s best for you- you will believe your life is rubbish, you will believe you’re doomed and there is no hope and you will drown. You will.

You don’t have  to listen to news about murders and rapes and corruption- so much anxiety left me when I stopped listening to the news. Especially local South African news.

You being aware of as many atrocities as the media can stuff you with does not improve your life- it increases your fear and breeds it.

Instead of filling your heart and mind with negativity and dread, listen to uplifting programs like my show Dream BIG where you can hear amazing stories of people who have overcome insane challenges. And in this same world you live in that so many keep saying is rotten and constantly deteriorating, these people are not only living their wonderful dreams but they’re impacting the lives of others too!

Dread or inspiration? It’s our choice every single moment of every single day.

You don’t have to worry that you and your family will be consumed in this massive hurricane of doom. God’s Grace is, I believe, pouring out more than ever before too.

Will you join the mad crowd that’s sinking- or will you join the joyous crowd that is coming into the amazing truth and knowledge of this God who is far, far, FAR too good to be true?

Instead of seething on your way to work because you’ve got your radio turned on and you’re listening to how atrocious things are- get yourself some awesome teachings by people like Andrew Wommack and Joseph Prince who will share with you the amazing gospel- that when God looked at His only Perfect and wonderful Son and then He looked at you and had to decide who He would spare- He chose to spare you! Yeah people God’s love for us is that crazy!

I’m learning from people like Andrew Wommack that for crying out loud  stop begging God for what He has ALREADY given you!

He’s given you EVERYTHING you will ever need to get through this life. And not only to “get through” but to thrive- A LOT.

Every desire in your heart for your success, for your family’s success, for the dreams in your heart to impact people with your passion and love- God has provided for it all- all you have to do is tap into that abundance and live it!

As I sat in fellowship this week my heart weary and so full of dread for what lay ahead- as we entered into singing our worship I struggled- I struggled to sing about how awesome God was- I struggled to enjoy what everyone around me seemed to just be falling into- and I told God- Father I know your heart for me- help me believe it!

Because I knew the futility of praying: “Oh God please bless me.” or “Oh God please deliver me and fix my situation.”

Because I have come to know that God has  blessed me. He has delivered me. He has  fixed every situation I will ever face. So what do I pray now?

There is no shame in praying: “Help thou my unbelief.”

It’s a sincere prayer that I’ve seen God honour every single time over the years.

God is not mad at you when you struggle with unbelief.

He honours your desire to believe and He will lead you to Word that will help you believe.

So when I shared openly with God what He already knew about my wavering faith- I was hit by wave upon wave of reminders of how I was already  blessed. I didn’t have to push for those blessings they were already there.

I can’t describe in full what happened… it was like being catapulted to a whole new level of thinking.

Friend, God loves You.

You do  have a heavenly Father.

I started out this post with “God’s list” because I thought of the Forbes’ Fortune 100 List.

It’s a list of the wealthiest people all over the world.

The world looks at people on the list and we reckon those people have “arrived.”

You, as a child of the Most High, are on an even more spectacular list! You dear friend are on God’s list.

You are wealthier in every sense of the word than you can even begin to imagine.

Your family life is blessed, your relationships with people are blessed, everything you touch is blessed, your finances are blessed, your health is blessed- and as Joseph Prince shared in the devotional I read today- even your pets are blessed!

If like me you’ve been feeling “But where are these awesome blessings?!”

I urge you dear friend to embark on a quest to re-program your thinking and to start believing and thinking right.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you- don’t inspect yourself- inspect Jesus. Look at you as He sees you.

I’m currently listening to Andrew Wommack’s teaching We’re already blessed. (For this MP3 teaching click here)

YES! It’s HECTIC scandalous! But it’s true.

God is  far too good to be true.

If He were as mediocre as many of us have been led to believe- and if He wasn’t so INSANE in His generosity and MAD affection for us- He wouldn’t be God- He would be me or you…

So dare to believe in His mad, crazy, insane, BIGGER than BIG provision, care, abundance and love for you-

And friend, in fact you’re not just “on” God’s list, you’re IN His list.

If you’re “on” a list, you can be taken off it too- as many of the Fortune 100 people know and have experienced.

But when you’re in a list, you’re IN it! You’re a part of that list- you are SO integrated in that list that you CANNOT be removed!

Now that you know you’re in (and I mean IN) God’s list- what you gonna do?