Champion of Hope: A Story of Resilience, Determination & Hope

I first met Sam, last year (2020), through my friend, Biggie, who suggested that the three of us should put our skills and gifts together and start a social media business. I had been doing social media account management for close to two years by that time and Biggie had been doing something similar, too. Sam, we brought on board, mostly for his numbers brain. We needed someone to balance out me and Biggie’s creative side and Sam was the perfect fit.

The first time that I met Sam, I was so excited about our new business- LoveWork- and all the things we were planning to achieve. Sam just had this way of dreaming really really big and then breaking the dream down into bite-sized pieces that you can achieve one step at a time. He spoke with such zeal, and so much passion. It was impossible not to feed off of his vibrant energy. He always spoke with excitement. If you were listening to him, you had no choice but to be excited with him; even if you didn’t even know what he was excited about.

A little later in the year, I found out that Sam was battling sickle cells when Biggie mentioned it to me this one time that he’d been in hospital for a while. It was one of those things that just takes you by surprise, because wow, he looked super healthy all the times I’d seen him, and so full of life. It was hard to imagine that he had this battle that would occasionally draw him away from the world that he was so happy to be a part of and added value to every day.

And he lived his life as though he had nothing to worry about and absolutely no limitations- health or otherwise. He had daily goals, weekly goals, and a number of big, inspiring, long-term goals. He most definitely had a healthy mind, full of big plans and ideas.

Through all the hardships and difficulties that Sam went through with his health, he never gave up hope. He always dared to dream, and dream big. He was constantly pursuing growth and career advancement. He was always so energetic and full of life when I saw him; and he spoke with so much passion and excitement- always. Sam was a true Champion of Hope, as he liked to call himself. He never walked around with self-pity or a defeatist mentality, and I celebrate him so much for that.

Him and Biggie, went through a leadership course last year (the one I’m currently doing), which required them to write books by the end of the year. Sam went through the course and came out an author. Amidst all his nights in hospital, in the middle of trying to complete his Master’s research, and in the middle of many other challenges, I’m sure, because this life is full of those. But Sam persevered and pushed through and is now an author of a book that talks about resilience, determination and hope- the epitome of his life story.

Besides the book he wrote, Sam made it to his 30th birthday; against many odds. Several doctors told him that he wouldn’t make it to 30, and yet God got him there. Isn’t that such a great testimony? He has really lived a life of resilience and defying several odds.

Sam went to be with the Lord 2 weeks ago; on the 7th of April. As much as I’m sad that he has left us, and that his energy and passion are gone from this world, I am also super grateful that I got to be his friend, to spend time with him, to be impacted by him, and to run a business with him as well. He taught me many things about life and business, which I will carry with me for a long time.

Thank you, Lord for the opportunity to interact with such a great man. Thank you, Sam for all the lessons you taught me. Rest in peace, my friend. Till we meet again in glory.

Marlie Keishamaza

Better Together

I like to come up with ideas and I love to think. Might sound a little weird but it is what it is. I’m always coming up with (what I believe to be) great business ideas, project ideas, content ideas- you name it. I’m just always bursting with those. I always like to say that at any given moment if someone were to read my mind, they would discover about 100 ideas per second constantly flashing through my head. Or if someone poked me open, ideas would just come gushing out. The only problem with my many ideas is that I think that I’m the only one that can understand them and execute them. And ironically, many of them never end up being executed, or at least fully executed because I’m trying to be a one-man Broadway show. Just imagine trying to run an entire Broadway show, ALL ON YOUR OWN! It’s exhausting, first of all.

The thing that I’m really learning this year and have to be super intentional about is learning to work with others. A famous quote says, “if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together”. I am meditating deeply on this quote and what it really means. Looking at my own life, I can draw some answers. I usually am more focused on trying to get the thing going, any which way, rather than on how far it can go, and so I end up doing it on my own. the truth of the matter is that ideas will almost always kick off faster if it’s only one person involved because it’s only one final decision to consider, one person to rely on, one person doing everything, so the only hinderance is one person. When you want to do things together with others, however, there’s a lot more time involved in the process. There’s more than one opinion to consider, more than one final decision to wait on, more than one person to control, there’s just a lot. But, in my opinion, it’s way more worth it. One of these options takes you fast (and may not necessarily take you far), and the other option takes you far. And obviously, going far takes a bit more time.

Many of my great ideas die out within a short period of time, mostly because as I’m in the middle of executing one another ‘greater’ idea pops into my head and then I jump ship. So, anyway, back to what I’m learning. Things go a lot further when you involve other people in your journey. The more people you are working on an idea, the more ideas you have, the more resources you have and so the greater the potential of what you could create. When you work as a one man show, you’re only limited to doing what one man can do. The amount of time, the money put in, the ideas you create- it’s only as much as one person can do. Imagine if you were two people trying to do the same thing; things would move a lot faster for sure. If you want to get a meal cooked quickly, a meal that one person cooks in an hour, two people can do in nearly half the time because the tasks are split and so the time spent on the activity is significantly less than it would have been had it been one person preparing the same meal. So, I’m learning to invite other people on my journey with me. For all the incredible ideas that I come up with, I actively look out for people who can help me achieve it and would love to be a part off what I’m doing so I don’t end up carrying all the work on my back and eventually getting burnt out.

Learning to partner and learning to work with others is the greatest thing you can do for yourself in this life. I promise. You need to be very careful and cautious about who you invite to join you, of course. But partner. It’s a good thing. You have to be able to all complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and all have the same values to be able to work coherently together, I think.

Whatever dope ideas you have for yourself, your business, your community, your nation, the world; find someone or a group of people you can work with. You’ll go much further with more manpower and more resources that when you do I on your own. I strongly believe there’s a reason we were not each born into our own little worlds, and given our own unique strengths there. We exist in this world, right now, together, and there will always be someone with similar skillsets, gifts and ideas to you; so make use of what’s around you. Partner with someone today.

Love and light,

To you and to yours.

Partner with someone today.

Stay blessed,

Marlie Keishamaza

The Golden Rule…updated

Growing up a Catholic, there’s a famous hymn we used to sing a lot in church. Maybe you know it. “Whatsoever, you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me. When I was hungry you gave me to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me to drink…”. Something something. I don’t remember the lyrics well but it was definitely along those lines.

Now, I’m sure that from a young age many of us, if not all of us have heard it said, that we should treat others the way that we would want to be treated. The good ole Golden Rule. We’ve heard different versions of it, perhaps, which, if you think about it all seem to be saying the same thing. We must treat other people the same way that we would want or expect to be treated. I agree completely with that statement, but I’m here to contest it a little bit. Or maybe we’ll call it an upgrade. Allow me to add some flesh and spice to this famous Golden Rule.

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me’.

Matthew 25:40.

In this verse, Jesus is telling His disciples a parable, in which he tells a story of His return to earth on the final day where He calls the righteous into the Kingdom and he welcomes them because they fed him when He was hungry, clothed Him when He was naked, visited Him when He was in prison and so on. Now, the disciples were very confused by this statement because there was never really a time when Jesus was in prison, or when He was hungry (except after His 40 day fast but that’s expected). They couldn’t think of a time where they saw Jesus without clothes. So, generally, what Jesus was saying was a little confusing to His disciples. In verse 40, which is the verse we’re looking at, Jesus then explains to them and says, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me”. So, my plot twist question is this: has it ever occurred to you that the way you’re treating others is the way you’re treating Jesus. Jesus loves us all, which is why He came and died for ALL our sins. And in His great love, He treats and views everyone the same and wants us to do it to. He sees Himself in every one of us (and if we believe in Him and confess, He lives in us too), and so the way we treat other people is the way we are treating Jesus. If we look at the examples from the scripture we’re studying, when we help to clothe a naked person, we’re clothing Jesus; when we feed someone who’s hungry, we’re feeding Jesus. If you add your own examples- when you offer someone a free service, you’re offering it to Jesus, when you speak to someone you’re speaking to Jesus. And if we look at it the other way around- when you yell at someone, you’re yelling at Jesus; when you abuse someone, you’re abusing Jesus, when you disregard, someone’s worth, it’s like you’ve done it straight to Jesus. All that we do, we do unto Jesus, so think and act with that in mind.

From now on, before you do something, think twice about it. If you knew it was Jesus on the receiving end of that, would you still do it? If the answer is no, then don’t do it. Think before you act and speak. Act and speak as though you were doing so to Jesus. Because you are.

Love and Light,

To You and to Yours

Act as Unto Jesus

Stay Blessed

Marlie Keishamaza

I Did a Thing!

I Did A Thing.

I really like to say those words, I realized. Hehe! But really, I did do a thing, guys. A really, really BIG thing (At least to me it is).

Growing up, I always had a musical gift, which my mother nurtured and encouraged constantly. She was always encouraging me to sing and reminding me how gifted I was. I did vocal classes as a child, took piano lessons, and also wrote music a lot. I don’t quite remember what age I started but I know that I probably wrote my first song (that I was content with) at age 10 and that I did music training (piano and voice) all through high school. As a child, many times it felt like she was just forcing me into hobbies that I wasn’t too keen on (mostly because all these lessons would happen on the weekend or over the holidays while my friends were out playing). So, I went for all these lessons because my mum had asked me to, but not really because I was trying to nurture a gift or go anywhere with it.

In my high school (S1 to be exact), I was fairly active in the world of music. I took piano lessons at school, did voice training and was a part of the school choir. An announcement was put out for auditions for a school play and, of course, mother dearest encouraged me to sign up. To cut a long story short, I trained and practiced hard for that audition, but on the day of the audition, just as I was about to begin my song, two boys that used to bully me walked into the room. I froze, barely sang and wished the ground would swallow me up in that moment. I never really sang in public again after that. Well, I did, maybe twice or thrice after but with wells of fear inside of me and an extremely shaky voice (from the fear). In short, after that incident in my S1, I never really sang again or nurtured the gift that God had given me. I let my fears get the better of me. I let the fear win.

Fast forward to 2019, I was on holiday in Canada, visiting my mum, and also getting some well-deserved rest at the end of the year; I felt God tell me to step out into boldness with my gift the following year (2020). He asked me to record and release an album or EP and to join the music team at church. I joined the team once I got back and started writing a song that very day that I heard the instruction. The writing process was long and hectic this time round because I’d been so out of practice with my writing. I hadn’t written any blogs, poems or anything creative in over 2 years, so to say that I was rusty is a bit of an under-statement, I’d say. As I started the journey to write music, I was quite excited. Excited to be venturing into new territory, and to be revealing a new side of myself to the world. But I was also very fearful, still, because it was ground I hadn’t tread in over 10 years and there were fears I had never really addressed. But I chose to look passed the fear and just do. And so, I did. I did a thing, guys. I released a song 😊.

I had mentioned earlier that I was a little rusty with my writing so putting together a whole 6-8 songs for an EP was more difficult than I thought, so I decided to just start with what I was able to do to avoid procrastinating the gift into the next decade of my life. I wrote two songs. So, I took myself to the studio to begin the process and I recorded one, which I happened to release on Valentine’s Day. I’m officially a recording artiste y’all. I still can’t believe myself when I say that; but also, it’s been such a long time coming, I’m glad I can say that. So, anyway, the point of this is to let you all know that I wrote and released a song and you should check it out (it’s attached to the end of this blog). But also, to say, that whatever that thing is that you’ve put off for a long time, it’s not too late to pick it back up again. Pick that talent up and dust it off the shelf. Don’t focus on the fear, don’t focus on your weaknesses; instead focus on your gifting and how you can share that with the world. Don’t let fear have a hold on you. Do a thing! You are capable of so much.

Stay Blessed,

Do a Thing.

Love and Light,

To you and to yours

Marlie Keishamaza

A Special Kind of Victory

Have you heard the story of the army that defeated their enemies with music and song? And, yes, it’s a real story, not a fable. I noticed something profound in the Word the other day; something which I believe is too good to be kept to myself. It’s a story of how the Israelites won a battle against the city of Jericho before they even brought out any guns and ammunition (or whatever weapons they used in those days). They won a battle with their music. And I’m not talking about a figurative battle or like a dance battle of sorts. The army of Israel won against the city of Jericho through song.

Joshua 6 tells the story of the Israelites, preparing to go for battle against the city of Jericho. Now, I don’t know much about battle or fighting, but I’m pretty sure that to go into battle, an army needs to, first of all, prepare, and then go into the battle and actually fight to stand a chance to win. That seems pretty obvious, right? Well, God is not a God of the obvious, He’s a God of the extra-ordinary. You’ll see why shortly.

“And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, it’s king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days.”

Joshua 6:2-3

The first thing that stood out to me is that, God told Joshua that he had given them victory over Jericho even before they went out to fight. I mean, we’re just gearing up for battle Lord, what do you mean “I have given Jericho into your hand”, we haven’t even approached them yet. But here’s the thing- with God there is always victory. God had already seen the end of the matter and so He spoke with confidence to Joshua about what had already been done. In the physical, the Israelites were just gearing up for battle, but in the spirit- God’s point of view- the battle had already been won. God doesn’t work or speak according to what you see in your current circumstance, He sees the end of the matter, which is always victory if He’s involved.

The second thing is that God is not a God of the obvious. He usually does the extra-ordinary or asks for the extra-ordinary and peculiar. When you look all through the Bible, you see how God performs very extra-ordinary miracles with ordinary people. I mean he parted the red sea so the Israelites could go through it. If that doesn’t scream extra-ordinary, I don’t know what does. You would expect that if He’s going to give you victory in the area of battle, you’d at least have to show up to the battle with your weapons ready and then he’ll take it from there. But He is a God of the extra-ordinary. The truth is that, if you want God to do anything for you, if you want to experience victory in your life, you need to step away from the familiar and walk, in obedience to God’s word. Don’t tie yourself in to doing what seems familiar or what the more obvious way to do things is. Seek God before you go into every battle (that could be a new assignment, a difficult conversation, a new task, business, anything), and then obey exactly what He tells you to do, even though it seems not to make any sense. He’s a God of the extra-ordinary, a God of the impossible. The best and most obvious way to achieve victory with God is to walk, in obedience, not to do that which seems obvious. Allow yourself to do something different today, allow yourself to venture into the unknown, to do what feels strange and absurd. If God spoke it to you, the end can only be victory. Focus on Him, not the current circumstance, not on what seems familiar and obvious to you. There is victory in obedience.

“And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.”

Joshua 6:5

I don’t know what you’re going through today, or what you’re seeking God about currently but I can assure you that it ends in victory. Allow yourself to step away from the obvious and unfamiliar. Do that thing that seems scary, do that thing that seems not to make much sense. God is on your side and you already have the victory. He has given Jericho into your hand. Even before you go into battle, He has won it for you; but in order for you to experience that victory you need to walk, in obedience and move according to His plan, not yours. Whatever it is that you’re going through, whatever situation you’re facing- you have the victory in Jesus. Just walk, in obedience to what He’s asking you to do. It will not end in tears 😊.

Stay blessed.

Love and light,

To you and to yours

Marlie Keishamaza

Live in the Moment

Me as a child

As a child, when asked about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always had an answer ready. But aside from a career option I thought befitting for myself, I just wanted to grow up. I think that would have been my first and final answer if asked the right questions. I just wanted to grow up. In fact, I was almost itching to be an adult. Being a child was boring and restraining, I thought. Adults looked like they had so much freedom and independence and I just couldn’t wait to get to that place. I mean, imagine being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want to without having to ask for permission first. Being able to stay out as late as you can and having your friends over at home all the time. Sounds like a dream to me! Or at least it did as a child.

The thing is, I was so focused on how fun and glamorous adulthood looked, that I almost didn’t quite live as a child truly should. I just couldn’t wait to be an adult. There was no time to live as a child, which is quite funny because I now say “adulthood is a scam”, at least five times a day LOL. It’s not entirely a scam, actually. I don’t think so. But because I was so excited to get there and had built all these high expectations of how much better my life would be once I got to adulthood, I was severely disappointed when it began. I thought I’d have less problems, and less setbacks because being a child is just one giant setback. I mean I can’t do anything without permission. Sheesh! Needless to say, I was disappointed. Greatly. In fact, adulthood is quite the opposite of what I thought it would be- more problems, more setbacks and way more responsibility. My biggest responsibility as a child was probably making sure my homework was complete before my parents asked to have a look at it. Oh, and maybe making sure my younger siblings were behaving, since I was the first-born child, a.k.a the deputy parent. Adulthood looked so much better than childhood and I couldn’t wait. I told my parents all the time, I talked about it with my friends. I probably told anyone who cared to listen that I just couldn’t wait to be an adult.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think anticipation of the future is a good thing. In any case, its better than a nervousness and fear about the future. But as they say, “everything in moderation”. You can still have a hope and anticipation of the future while still enjoying and embracing your current season of life. Just because I’m looking forward to something, doesn’t mean that my life should come to a complete halt until that thing happens. First of all, it’s important to ‘make lisaach’ before you throw your expectations out to the wind like that. As you get excited for the next season of your life, first understand what it’s about and what it’s going to take on your end. What will be required of you in the next season? How much work will you need to put in? What would you like to remember the most after the season is over? So many things. If for example, you’re going to be a first-time parent, it’s absolutely wise and recommended that you learn about the next season you’re entering into. In fact, these days there are all sorts of lessons on first time parenting, from what to do while pregnant, to bottle feeding, to what to carry in your hospital bag. There’s so much information available. And parenting is such a beautiful privilege that many people look forward to, so by all means, read up on it, and allow yourself to get excited. However, if you choose to wake up everyday and only speak about the fact that you’re going to be a parent soon, that it starts to affect the other areas of your life, you might be moving towards the negative extremes. Maybe, don’t do it? If you choose to sit around and put your life on hold because you are only focused on being a parent and are just preparing yourself for that time, the other areas of your life might suffer a little bit. Allow yourself to live in the moment you’re in. Whole-heartedly, joyously, and with content. I think that’s where I went wrong with my anticipation for adulthood. I first of all, knew nothing about the responsibilities and challenges that automatically come with being an adult. And then I wished and hoped for it, every time I wasn’t happy with even the slightest thing or when I saw something around me happen that I assumed to be a perk of adulthood.

I remember being in high school and just being so eager to leave that wretched place. So, what did I do? I started to act like an adult, even before the time had come. I did what I wanted, when I wanted it and many times refused to follow school rules. (needless to say, I was quite disappointed to find out that rules still exist even outside the four walls of high school). I picked my subjects based on which ones would get me out of school the quickest, and left school as often as I could to allow myself to taste the ‘freedom’ of the outside world I couldn’t wait to enter. I actually didn’t even finish my A levels because I felt like I’d been in school for way too long (I had a mini gap year in my high school and also re-did a class). The moment my AS results came out (1st set of final exams under Cambridge-there’s one in both classes of A Level) and I learnt that I could join a number of international Universities with my AS grades as opposed to full A Level, I told my parents I was done and needed to be released from the grappling shackles of boarding school and of high school. I made a few bad irrational decisions because I was in such a hurry to leave my current season of life. And yes, it greatly affected certain parts of my future, if you’re wondering, so it wasn’t even worth it, unfortunately.

So, what am I saying? Allow yourself to enjoy the moment and season of life you’re in. Don’t be in such a hurry to get out. Make plans. Allow yourself to dream and anticipate. But don’t start trying to play puppet master in your life and orchestrating things so you can reach your next season faster. It usually doesn’t work. Let life take its natural course. Allow God to be the true author of your life. Have an expectation of your next season, but fully live in the current one. Don’t skip way ahead of yourself. It will end in tears. Probably.

What season of your life are you in currently? Ask yourself what you can do today to enjoy the present moment. What choices do you need to make or not make to ensure you’re not getting way ahead of yourself today? Everything happens in its due time. I promise you. Enjoy your current season. Live in the moment.

Stay blessed,

Live in the Moment.

Love and light,

To you and to yours

Marlie Keishamaza

Getting Comfortable

I love comfort. Many of us do. In fact, we desire it in so many different aspects of our lives. We always look for comfortable clothes and shoes, a comfortable chair to sit on, friends who make you feel safe and comfortable enough to be yourself. We generally desire comfort as human beings, if you ask me. And can you blame us? Comfort is comfortable. (ha ha. I don’t know if that’s a pun, or a lame joke or something entirely different but we move). I don’t think anyone of us is wired to want and seek that which is uncomfortable; many of us just learn to get used to it.

As a lover of the comfort zone, I can also boldly come out and say that nothing ever grows from comfort zones. Nothing at all. Or at least, not that I know of. The thing about comfort is that it keeps you where you are. Stuck. In the same place. Not wanting to move, because you’re happy and contented with the way things are. Let me give you a very simple example that I’m sure most of us can relate to. Picture yourself at home, resting, on a day when you really have no work to do or have intentionally decided to put it off so you can rest. You think about what you want to do. Will you sleep in till lunch time? Will you binge watch a series or catch up on the movies you’ve been dying to see? Or maybe you’ll sit down and read a good book. Basically, as little movement and physical activity as you can get in that day. You decide on what you’re going to do. Let’s say you’ve chosen to read a good book. You find the perfect spot on the couch, get your drink and your snacks to munch on as you read, and cover yourself with a nice warm blanket because it’s a cold day. You’re living the life. Then the door-bell rings and you have to stand up to open it, or maybe you’re dying to use the bathroom; or perhaps your glass needs a refill. What do you do? I mean, it took you hours to find the perfect spot where you could sit and read your book and enjoy it, then you prepared yourself for the long read by sitting with your snacks and drinks in hand and then a visitor has the audacity to knock on your door at that very moment; your bladder dares throw a tantrum right there. But here’s the bitter-truth of the situation. The only way for you to know who’s on the other side of the door, the only way for you to get rid of the excess liquids hanging out in your bladder, is to actually get up and do something about it. I get it, you were comfortable and happy and really had no plans for anything else beyond that, but life is constantly throwing things at you and the only way to get better is to grow. The only way to grow? Well, it’s to step out of your comfort zone to allow growth to happen.

Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash

If you want to be a millionaire; to be rich enough to look after yourself well and also add impact to your community. Guess what? You’ll need to step out of your comfort zone of just one income stream. You’re probably going to have to find more income streams for yourself and learn the habit of saving (even off unexpected income). The more fun and comfortable thing to do is to spend all the money as it comes, on all the things you want and need in this life. If you want to have a better relationship with God, you’re going to have to give up a few hours of your morning so you can pray a little longer or read your Bible more. Perhaps you want to be smarter; to be the type of person who has a little knowledge on a lot of different topics. Maybe you’re going to have to read more than you text and check your social media; you’ll probably need to trade in all your favourite movies for documentaries. I think you get the point. Here’s the thing- there’s nothing bad about the comfort zone. It’s not a sin or an abomination to humanity. But the question is, how much has being stuck in the comfort zone done for you? You can sit down and ponder on that question and give yourself an honest answer. There is no growth in the comfort zone. There is no growth in the comfort zone. There is no growth in the comfort zone.

So, think about it this way. If there’s anything you’d like to grow or improve at. Just prepare yourself to step outside of your comfort zone to get it or achieve it. One of my major comfort zones is sleep. I LOOOOOVEEE to sleep. Ask anyone that knows me. I always make sure I get 8 hours of sleep, and on certain special occasions I even go for 10-12 hours of sleep. I love sleep, man. Love it. But here’s the thing. There are so many things I miss out on during the day because I’ve chosen to put sleep as a number one priority. I am probably my most comfortable when I’ve had a good 8 hours of sleep, but I also don’t always achieve the most out of my day when I get a good 8 hours. There will be times in my life where the situation dictates that I have to get up earlier than the sun to be able to achieve a lot more from my day, and so I’m learning not to subject myself to the comfort of sleep. It’s good, yes. But there’s only so much I can achieve while I sleep.

Think about the things in your life that you’re extremely comfortable with and have accepted as a norm. it could be your income, the state of certain relationships, your grades, anything. Now, ask yourself what you can do today, this week and this year to improve the state of those things. How can you step put of your comfort zone to ensure that when you look back at those areas at the end of the year, you’ll be able to see progress you’re proud of? Allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone today. Allow yourself to stretch forth.

Stretch Forth
Photo by madison lavern on Unsplash

Stay blessed,

Don’t Get Comfortable.

Love and Light,

To you and to yours,

Marlie Keishamaza

On Your Marks, Get Set, Prepare

I’ve mentioned the class I’m taking called Harvest Institute, right? Get acquainted with it. I’ll probably be mentioning it quite a lot this year (maybe even a little bit after), so it’ll do you well to get used to it now so you can keep up 😊. So, in 2020, towards the end of the year, I felt God whisper to me that I should take this class in 2021. Now, here’s the thing, I’d watched a number of my friends go through it and suffer through the immense pressures and demands that come with the class and had already decided with myself that I probably wouldn’t take the class- at least not any time soon. But God had other plans. LOL. Anyway, I truthfully still didn’t feel like taking the class even after God told me, but I know that God is a good Father and that when He asks us to do things it’s for our own good and will serve a good purpose, so I signed up.

It took a while for it to really sink in that I’d be taking this class or for me to really come to terms with the fact that I was, but eventually I caught on strong. Having had a number of friends who’d taken this class before and a few close friends particularly, I knew that I’d have support from people who’d been through it and stayed the course and that gave me great comfort. So, I asked questions- all the questions- the fun parts of the class, the challenging parts, the favourite things, that not so favourite things-everything. I wanted to fully understand what I was signing myself up for (that I had no choice out of) and mentally and practically prepare myself in the best way I could.

Sometime towards the end of last year I was praying with a friend of mine over a word I had received from God at the beginning of the year that really hadn’t manifested and I was growing weary of waiting. (I’ll tell you a story of the waiting season one day). My friend and I would spend time on our own praying and hearing from God throughout the day and then hop on a phone call right before the top of the lunch hour to share anything we think God might be saying to us about ourselves or each other. I remember one of those days as we prayed, she asked me, “If you knew the President was coming to your house, let’s say on Christmas day, what would you do”? I thought about it for a bit and responded. “I’d probably organize my house a bit better, make sure it’s in tip top shape and buy a few things if I need to.” “Exactly”, she said, “you would prepare”. Why would I prepare? Because I’m anticipating and looking forward to his visit/arrival, to put it simply. So, in the same way, as I waited on that word from God to actually manifest, I needed to prepare for it, not just sit around aimlessly until it magically happened.

I think that preparation is a very important process in life, which can many times be overlooked or ignored. I know I do all the time. I’m in a season, I think, of learning to prepare for different stages and phases of my life and it’s a very rewarding process. Before I took this class, I had friends who had taken it before, like I mentioned. I found out from them as much as I could about the class to get an idea of what to expect and how I could prepare. Procrastination and I are good friends and I think that many times procrastination doesn’t give me the leeway to actually prepare because I push tasks off until it’s almost too late and so my preparation and execution processes happen almost in the same breath. I purposed that I wouldn’t let procrastination take centre-stage in 2021 and so far, I can say I’m doing alright. I made a conscious effort to prepare for the class before I even stepped foot into the first one and I’m super glad I did. Two of the things that I knew about the class were- that you had to write a book and publish it by the end of the year, and that you were required to blog at least bi-weekly. So, what did I do? I prepared. I actually wrote a number of blogs last year (including this one. Tee hee) in preparation for this blogging exercise and I came up with a very clear target and execution plan for my book, which is what I was missing those two years before, where I had the book idea and never got round to it. I wrote out a couple of blogs (also ideas I had sat on for a while) and kept them on my laptop in preparation for the year. I also started putting together ideas for my book last year so that I wouldn’t struggle with procrastination and then drown in pressure at the last minute. The results? A settled mind and some organization in my life. I don’t know if it’s just a me thing, but I find that most of the time, my inconsistencies are brought about by poor planning and lack of intentionality. For example, with my YouTube channel. I started out quite well for the first two months and then the consistency started dropping slowly. Mine was never a lack of content because my mind is always bursting with ideas. I just didn’t plan and prepare well enough for the weekly content targets that I had set in the beginning. I would have done so well on the consistency if I had planned to shoot a number of episodes in one go, which I can then release over time according to the consistency that I had previously set. Same with this blog, the content was never really the issue, it was more poor planning and lack of intentionality. I would have ideas but have 10,000 other things to do and before you know it 3 months have past since you last posted and you suddenly don’t feel like posting anymore or don’t see the point. (It also affects your following because your audience loses a lot of interest with a lack of consistency.)

What am I saying? That preparation can save you a whole lot of inconsistencies and many mishaps in the things that you’re doing. I’m feeling the pressure of the class a little less because I started preparing for it before I started by writing a few blogs, setting targets and schedules for book writing and by coming up with a clear weekly schedule for my time that incorporates all H.I activities as well as my personal and other work activities and obligations. It’s genius! So, if you’re like me and you suffer with the procrastination bug I used to have and just major inconsistencies, prepare, prepare, prepare. It really goes a long way. Preparation is ultimately more important than the work you have to do, because if you prepare enough and prepare well, you won’t need to spend much time on work. You’ll know exactly what to do and how you need to do it. Those are my wise words for today. Whatever you set out to do, prepare for it first, it’ll make the execution a lot easier for you and possibly a lot quicker too. You can thank me later. First go prepare.

Stay blessed,

Prepare.

Love and light,

To you and to yours

Marlie Keishamaza

Dialogue vs. Monologue

Just imagine with me for a second, that you’re a parent, and you love your children dearly (as every parent should). You care about them so much, and want nothing more than to see your children prosper and excel. If you’re a parent already, just think about your children and how much the above is true; no need to imagine. Okay, now as a parent, because you love your children, you want relationship with them and you want to have a great relationship with them too, right? (Those imagining, stay with me). Now imagine (we’re all imagining now), that your children come to you and approach you whenever they want something, or just need to rant. They sit down and start to pour out their problems and tell you all the things they really need or want you to give them; and then as soon as they’re done talking, they stand up and walk away. Yes, immediately. They don’t even wait to hear one word from you in response. Nothing. Even though, being older and wiser than they are, you probably have some good wisdom and insight to share on the very things they’re ranting about. Or maybe you just want conversation beyond their needs. You want to know how they are doing, to tell them how you’re doing and what you’re up to and maybe remind them that you love them and want to see them do well. We were all created for connection, so no one definitely wants to just constantly be on the receiving end of someone’s rants and requests without ever being able to have any real conversation aside from that. Right?

Now think about your relationship with God. Does it resemble these children’s relationship with their loving parent? Do you find, many times, that your relationship with God is mostly about asking Him for stuff or venting about something on your heart? I recently heard someone say that ‘prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue’, and it really sent me into deep reflection. Many times, I go to God and present all my issues, rant about my problems and ask Him for stuff I need or want and then my prayer session is over. But here’s the thing. God wants to spend genuine, quality time with me. God wants to spend genuine, quality time with you. Yes, He will provide all that you need. Yes, He will listen to you; He will comfort you with open arms, but He wants so much more from His relationship with you. He wants you to truly seek Him and spend time with Him, and talk to Him, just like any earthly parent would want to spend time with you and talk to you. God is a gentleman and He has given us the gift of freedom and free-will so He won’t force himself on us. He’ll talk to those that choose to talk to Him and spend time with those that give Him time. But He wants to spend time with you. He wants to talk to you.

I was challenged by this same person (who said prayer is a dialogue) with the question, ‘how many times do you ask God how he’s doing?’. How many times do we come to God and ask Him how He is; ask Him what we can do for Him? We usually always approach God with our own wants and needs and never think to ask Him about what He needs or what we can do for Him. God wants us to extend His Kingdom here on earth and each of us has something on the inside of us to contribute to that equation. But it’s possible to go through life having done nothing in line with what God called you for because you’re so focused on your own agenda and never stop to ask God how you can fulfil His. God loves you. God cares for you and He wants to spend quality time with you. Allow yourself to just bask in His presence and to hear from Him. Don’t just go to Him to speak non-stop and never listen. It grieves Him when you don’t spend time with Him.

“Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.”

Jeremiah 33:3

My challenge to you this week, next week and always. Okay, let’s start with this year. My challenge to you this 2021 is to sit down and actually spend more time with God. Set aside a time daily for you to talk to God. And in that time allow yourself to both talk and listen. Each day might be different. On some days you might talk more than you listen, on some days you might listen more. And on some days just allow yourself to sit in silence, with some worship music and just bask in His presence. God loves you and He wants to spend time with you. He’s a good Father and He cares for you. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know’. God can show you glimpses of the future and He can give you the answers you so desperately seek. All you need to do is call to Him. He will listen, but most importantly He will answer.

This year, may you never forget just how much you’re loved; and how much the Father wants to spend time with you. I pray that you walk with Him daily and allow yourself to listen more. Remember that prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue- that means that it’s a conversation between two people not a speech by one person. Listen to God more, don’t just speak to Him or at Him this year. Let’s agree to do that together, yeah?

Stay blessed.

Love and light,

To you and to yours

Marlie Keishamaza

Watch Your Words

I’ve always heard phrases like “watch your words”, “your words have power” and other statements about words and the need to be cautious with them. There was a point where I didn’t understand that talk and truthfully just laughed at people who spoke like that.

I recently re-watched a great movie called A Star is Born. I love that movie; particularly the music in the movie but also the message that it carries and how it paints a clear picture of how fame many times consumes people. But aside from all that (and the fact that the movie left me in tears), I learnt a very very major lesson from the movie on the power of words. The movie is about a big superstar musician (played by Bradley Cooper) who meets a regular girl (Lady Gaga) who has dreams of being a big music star. They get to know each other, and eventually fall in love and get married. The girl becomes more famous and celebrated and slowly starts to change to fit into a certain stereotype and also starts to put her career as a top priority in many instances. Her husband, who fell in love with her because of her simplicity, started to feel distant from her because she became way too focused on her career and had less time for him and he resorted to drinking and smoking heavily which he had greatly reduced when he met her and started to feel a connection. Fast forward to her manager (who was the one who kept feeding her ego and encouraging her to fit into the generic mold) noticing that he was unhappy with the change and afraid to speak to her about it. He approached this man and said some really mean things to him and “fed him poison” as I like to call it. He mentioned that he was a terrible husband and was holding his wife back from a great career and he was terrible for doing that. Meanwhile, the poor man had never mentioned to his wife or even insinuated that he wanted her to leave music or let go of fame. Yes, he was disappointed that she had changed and they weren’t spending as much time together, but he wanted so much to be a supportive husband that he chose to say nothing. Anyway, immediately after the manager said those mean things to this husband, the next scene is him committing suicide. What a tragedy!

Here’s the thing about words and the things you say to people. They really have impact and go a long way (both negative and positive words). I keep telling people that 99% of the confidence I have is a lasting impact from words my mother spoke to me when I was younger. She constantly affirmed me and called out the greatness in me. I’m still eating the fruits of her words today. I landed on this Bible verse some time last year and really meditated on it. I read it in several versions, said it out loud over and over. I even created a verse image and made it my lock-screen image for a while just so the words could saturate well into my mind. “Let no corrupt word proceed from your mouth except what is good for the necessary edification of others, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Now, here’s what really stood out for me from this verse. 1- don’ let corrupt words proceed from your mouth; that could be lies, negative talk, deprecating talk or anything along those lines. Just don’t let negative stuff come out of your mouth- about you, about others, about your country, nothing. Your words have power. The second thing that really stood out, which, truthfully was my biggest highlight, was that your words must impart grace to the hearers. Notice how the verse doesn’t specify who the hearers are. Many times, we focus on being kind with the words we say to others and disregard the words we say to ourselves. Both matter. I once read a quote that said “Before you speak, ask yourself this: is it true, is it necessary, is it kind. A very good three-way test to go through before you open your mouth to speak.

I really, truly believe in the power of words. God created the world with words. Words have the power to shape certain realities around us. But that’s a topic for another day. Just be careful with the words you say to other people. The truth is that you really don’t know what people are going through, so don’t just open your mouth and start blabbing nonsense that isn’t imparting any grace to the people that are hearing your words. Just because someone is out and about, just because someone is smiling, doesn’t mean that their life is fine and dandy all the way. People have issues, insecurities and so many other burdens in this life. Don’t add to that weight. Be kind and careful with your words. They could impact for a lifetime.

So, my challenge to you today, this week and always, is to be careful and intentional with the words you say. Make sure they’re imparting grace to the hearers. Let your words be true, be necessary and be kind. I’m sure you’d want and love the same for yourself, and for those you love. Don’t be the reason someone thinks of suicide or cries themselves to sleep at night. Be the reason for someone’s smile every day; be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.

Stay blessed.

Love and light,

To you and to yours

Marlie Keishamaza

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