I have seen God’s fingerprints all over my life. Even in times that I thought I was “so bad”, He was always really there. Now that I am grown up, or growing, I could clearly see His amazing grace and the privileges that I had so often taken for granted. And I am grateful to Him for them.
I don’t want to come across as snobbish or proud, that is really not my aim. I am not pretending to “have it all together because I have Jesus”. There are definitely times when I need reminding that I have not made it this far because I am smart, and that I cannot rely on my own strength to live and move forward in this life.
In the quarter century I have lived, the things and events in my life, which God has allowed me to pass through, have been wonderful and sad, depressing and amazing. I have trusted, I have doubted, I have almost given up, my strength has been renewed; just a whole range of emotions, really. I may not know how other people live or what they consider to be a “tough life”, but life is tough no matter what color your glasses are.
Proverbs 3:4-5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
When I was a teenager, in high school, I used to think that I was fulfilling that scripture, that in Heaven, God had put 3 golden stickers next to my name! Because I had the comfort of living at home with my awesome family, who are all believers and very active Christians, who spurred me on in my faith and belief in God, life was good! I praise God for the family I was born into. They have nurtured me, walked with me, helped rediscover my gifts and talents, and have been there for me when life got tough. I feel truly blessed.
I have lived in Kenya since I was 5, so my life as I know it has been predominantly ‘Kenyan’. I have gone from Nursery School to University in this great nation, and I am so happy for that fact. That being said, I am proud of my Ethiopian heritage and upbringing. A few years ago, I coined the term ‘Ethio-Kenyan’ for people like me – ‘Ethio-’ by birth and upbringing, ‘Kenyan’ by socialisation. I can say that it has been a balancing act, of sorts, knowing just how much ‘Ethio’ to be in a population that is almost all ‘Kenyan’.
I praise God that I got to go to really good schools here, and got to equally share and participate in school activities (as far as my parents gave me permission). His favor has been undeniable. I did my Nursery and Primary schooling in a Kenyan system school, passed my National exams very well in Class 8, after which I switched systems and got a Music Scholarship to join a British Curriculum school for my high schooling, up to A Levels. After that, again, I switched systems and attended a prestigious and very well accredited American University in Nairobi, the Capital, which really grew me up in more ways than class work. I have now finished my coursework, technically ‘graduated’, and the MAIN commencement is in August, 2014, where, with God’s help, I will be counted. He has kept and been so faithful to me that my only response is to honor Him.Schooling and switching systems has really helped me get along with different people from all walks of life, and, I believe, has also positively impacted on how I relate with them. It has given me confidence and made me open to accept them as they come. It has also taught me to be friendly yet firm.
There are so many little things that God has taught me in 2013 alone, so many which He has emphasised with regard to my dream, or the dream He has for me,a lot He has helped me get over, let go of and just trust Him to do what is best with me, for me. To do what those 2 brief verses in Proverbs 3 say has been the toughest lesson in my life yet, and I am still in class. God tested my trust in Him this year. On Friday, 13th of December, 2013, I got a job offer from an amazing organisation, when I wasn’t even looking!
I could tell you STORIES about just how much I needed some sort of assurance and affirmation with regards to my future. I kind of knew what I wanted to do, I’d pray with so much faith about it whenever I was moved and able, yet somehow I did not believe that I could ever get a job like the one I desired. And I’m Christian. There was such a war going on in my heart and mind that, sometimes, I thought someone else could hear all of the gunfire going off in my head.
When it hit me that life is happening in real time, especially now that I was done with Uni, and I could see my friends getting jobs, getting married, getting promoted, I panicked. Apart from being a Student Leader in school, I had no other formal work experience.And I was already in my twenties!I just felt like life was for “them”, not me - I was unfocused and unserious. I became afraid of believing God for the future. I deceived myself into THINKING that I believed God. But really, fear had taken root in my heart. I began to look at my accomplishments and compare them to those of my friends and got really downcast when I saw that they had so much to ACTUALLY write about in their CVs. Singing at school really made me popular; I had enjoyed the admiration and attention of many. But now I felt like they were scorning me whenever they looked at me. Once you let fear in, you have officially let Satan become your adviser. I shrank into a really dark place. The bible says very rightly not to compare ourselves among ourselves. I knew that, and yet I let the fear of the unknown get to me and almost depress me.
This race I am running, I have to run with endurance. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. I will pace myself and take my time to learn how to navigate it. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a friendly person, and I am. In university, I had majored in Psychology and done a minor in Public Relations, which really inform my interactions with others unconsciously. I love it J I think I have been made a better communicator and person as a result. I am so grateful to my parents for allowing me to study subjects that fall naturally with my personality, although it was met by some resistance at first.
In finishing, don’t let anyone dictate to you what you should become. The God who created you knows you way better than anyone’s best opinion, no matter how valid. So ask Him. I was really amazed at how closely God hears my heart; He gave me an offer from JUST the kind of organization I would pray about, yet fear for it to come to pass, that requires the skills that I had acquired in Uni. I am learning more now to trust Him.It is an everyday walk. I pray that I get this job and, EVEN IF I don’t, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, I know that the God I serve is mighty to save, so I will be still.
My God is big enough and He is your God too. Dream again.