by Agatha Mangwende
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Have you ever been hurt so bad that all you can think of you is making that person who caused you pain suffer so much more than the pain they have caused you? You wish you could inflict so much torture on them they would remember that for a whole lifetime.
It didn’t matter that I was a bible based Christian of many years but yet I so shamefully admit that I got to this stage of pain. It was ugly and evil, but I got to that stage of mind depravity. My high blood pressure of 170/80 was a testimony to that effect!
What had happened? It is a long story...
In December 2004 one of my young sisters passed away, leaving a family of four – a girl of seventeen years, a boy of fourteen and twin girls aged nine. Like any responsible aunt, I took over looking after these children since the father was an unemployed sluggard without an ounce of fatherly responsibility over the family. So I took the children and placed them under my mother’s care at our village home.
Within a year the oldest girl was pregnant from a man she hardly knew about. I helped with looking after that new baby. Then I found a gardener’s job in the city for the young man. He worked for about a year before he decided that the job was not good enough for him. So he started living off one relative after another until he almost became a destitute. Because he is a Christian, the Lord managed to put him back on his feet again, in a very humbling manner.
I cherished the twins. God gave me two biological sons, and these twins were my ‘adopted’ daughters. When they were sixteen and were about to write high school exams, one of the twins eloped to a man eleven years older than her. That hurt me and I was greatly disappointed.
The other twin completed her high school, didn’t pass very well. But I was not discouraged by that and went on to enrol her in a careers college for underprivileged girls. She seemed to be coping well with both her academic studies as well as the sewing and knitting courses which made up the curriculum.
Then a month before she was to complete her certificate, the college personnel observed that she was four months pregnant! When I got the news I was devastated, shattered ... I felt many other emotions I could not even know how to describe!
Together with one of my young sisters, we sat down with the girl to enquire of the source of her pregnancy. We were shocked of her responses. Apparently the girl had been having multiple sexual relations with men old enough to be her father! And this was happening from right under our noses. She was such a sweet, gentle person you would not expect that kind of behaviour from her.
The disappointment I felt went so deep inside me. I felt cheated of the one girl I had hoped would turn out to be my ideal daughter. I hated her for taking that away from me. I had pinned my hopes on her and spent not just resources but hours of bonding as we travelled together often to the village. I mentally went over the list of things I had done for her, bought her, given her and I just could not come up with anything more that I could have done for her. Then why did she go after these married older men? For sex...wouldn’t one young man have been sufficient for her?
I should have stopped my rattling thoughts sooner, but I found myself taking a key that opened the door to the past. I saw myself going back to the years that I helped my young sister look after her babies even as the husband neglected his family. The same key took me back to when I was only seventeen. and just completed high school, with no opportunity for college since my father was then unemployed.
There was no food in the house, so I took my very first job, at a rural shop. For the whole year that I worked there I only bought myself a jersey; all the other salaries went towards the family upkeep back home. I became a mother to my mother’s last child. My mother was malnourished, so she could not produce enough milk for the baby, and I had to buy baby milk as part of my monthly groceries.
I have helped raised my siblings and now I continue looking after my siblings’ children. And these siblings’ children are now producing their own children, again for me to raise! Realizing this cycle made me feel abused. So I hit rock bottom!
How does one get out of such a deep pit? Only by the grace of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit. I had done a lot of shouting, verbally abusing that stupid pregnant girl with all kinds of threats. I prayed for wisdom and read my bible, but I knew that my spirit was in serious trouble. The devil was in, turning the knife viciously in my heart until I could not understand what was happening in me at all.
I shared my anguish with a few of my praying friends. They began to intercede. One evening I sat with my bible open but unable to read it. But in my heart started a chorus sang by Pastor Benjamin Dube (South Africa) titled ‘We praise Your Name’ (Uyahalalela). I had listened to the tape earlier in the day as I worked in my office. As I repeatedly sang this song that evening the Spirit of God started to minister to me.
I was a worse sinner than my niece. She was immature and gullible and didn’t know God in the way I did. But I was a woman of God, a leader and teacher of the Word. I was known among my friends for a travailing, praying and humble spirit. Like the Apostle Peter I had been put through a test and failed my Lord. I had allowed anger, bitterness and resentment to dominate my soul. I needed God’s forgiveness and cleansing in a big way.
God began to remind me of some lessons from this episode of my life:
• The past must always remain in the past. Turning on the key to the past has serious destructive consequences to one’s spiritual walk.
• I like to take control of every aspect of my life, including that of those in my custody. When things do not work the way I had anticipated I do not take it kindly. I pull out a gun and starting shooting – metaphorically. God has shown me that I am not the one in control; He is. If things go well, He is in control and if things turn out disappointing, He is still in control.
• Lastly, I forgot something very important – worship. When the world knocks you down to the ground; while you are still down on your face, worship, worship. Because you will not rise up to see the Enemy’s face but the Lord Jesus’ victorious face smiling at you. Like Stephen, when the Jewish leaders were shaking their fists at him in rage. The word reads, ‘But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily upward into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand.’ Acts 7:55
Jehovah Be praised!
Psalm 95:6, ‘Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for He is our God’. Amen
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