Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Home Authors Posts by Ryniel Muthusami

Ryniel Muthusami

Coronavirus is real, now what?

It’s a global health pandemic. 

But it seems that the fear that accompanies is it is just as real, just as fierce, just as deadly. 

It’s natural to have questions, of course.

What are we meant to do?

Why is this happening? 

Where should I turn to?

Who is responsible?

How can I save myself?

Natural questions, sure, but all based on fear. All seeking to understand, control, self protect. And the truth is that there are some things, in fact, many things in this life that we simply cannot understand, cannot control, cannot hide from. COVID-19 is one of them. 

The thing is, that even if we had answers to the what, why, where, who and how it doesn’t actually remove us from the situation. It doesn’t make COVID-19 disappear. It doesn’t make us immune. And perhaps that is why the fear is so real because deep down we know this to be true. We know, as the bible tells us, that we can’t add a single moment to our lives by worry, by fear. And so we feel powerless. Perhaps that is the root to the fear we feel, the sense of pervading powerlessness. 

And so the question remains – what can be done? Where, or to whom must I turn to? Whilst the world waits, albeit trembling, for some sort of vaccine or answer, what can we do about the fear that remains? 

The beautiful truth is that whilst we may be powerless to answer the coronavirus related questions, there is one who can override our fear – if we choose it. If we choose him. Jesus, the perfect love that drives out all fear. 

Jesus said ‘come to me, all who are weary and heavily burdened and I will give you rest”. Rest. Peace. Before Him, we can shrug off the burden of fear and find rest for our souls. He didn’t say he’d make the baggage disappear, like magic, or that there would never be burdens again, but he did say come. Come and find rest for your souls. 

When Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, walked on water he didn’t walk on still calm waters. He walked out into the storm. He left the shelter of the boat he was in because he understood that to be near Jesus was actually the safest place to be. The storm was raging, the waves must have been choppy and scary, but Peter fixed his eyes on Jesus and he walked to him. 

Whilst we may not be in a boat, we are in a storm. Whilst we may not be able to leave our houses (if you’re on lockdown) the storm of fear is very much raging within. 

Now is the time to fix your eyes on Jesus, to walk into the storm knowing that only with Him can we find peace. Only with Him can we lay our burdens down and find rest for our souls. 

Whilst the world waits for an answer to COVID-19, we already have the answer to the shadow of fear that follows – Jesus. 

Wishing you a perfectly peaceful Christmas

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What does the perfect Christmas look like to you? A beautiful tree surrounded by longed for gifts? A houseful of loved ones? A meal fit for a king? Everyone has a different idea of what Christmas should be. Depending on where you’re from and how your family choose to celebrate the season there are many ways to set Christmas Day apart from the other 364. Regardless of the traditions and rituals you observe there is one thing that can be universal – pressure. Trying to create the perfect day for everyone can be both exhausting and stressful.

Bigger and better

I’m all for the tree and the trimmings. I love the festivities and glitter but the spirit in which frivolities happen has to be kept in check. It’s possible to go completely overboard, push yourself, and everyone else to the limit, and in the process lose your peace. In an attempt to make everything perfect you may well end up ruining it for everyone.

Where is your peace?

It’s often believed that peace is the absence of conflict. You can get along with all your family and friends, have dealt with any disagreements or offences but still find that you are not experiencing peace. While we live in a place of striving for more, constantly looking to be better, more perfect and discontent with our reality we can never be at peace. Our inadequacies and insecurities rob us of the chance to live at peace and be at rest.

Rest for the restless

Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you – Augustine

The whole point of Christmas is Jesus. Without Him there is no special day, no need for a tree, gifts, carols or celebration meals. If we miss this fact, Christmas loses its purpose. Jesus came so that we could live at peace. Not just with one another, nation to nation, but also at peace with God and our own reality. Without Jesus we are lacking, restless and unable to live in a relationship with God. On our own we will never be good enough to stand before our Creator. Jesus changes that. He makes it possible for us to stop trying to be good enough, when we know Him and accept the gift of who He is, all the striving can stop. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and His gift to you this Christmas is a peace that can’t be found anywhere else.

If you would like to know more, please leave a comment below or click on the link.

The SA Springboks: Why They’re the Real Champions of World Rugby

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The South African Springboks first hosted and made their rugby debut in 1995, where the Springboks defeated All Blacks (New Zealand) 15-12. This moment is recorded as one of the greatest moments in South Africa’s sporting history

Winning the Rugby World Cup in 2019 has given more than 57 million South Africans the unique opportunity to unite as a nation and celebrate the excellent sportsmanship, talent and sheer resilience found in a country, which has been plagued with social ills over the past years. It has also provided the country with a golden opportunity to unite in addressing deep growing economic, financial and social challenges.

South Africa is now considered as one of Rugby’s most elite nations securing three world cup titles. The country’s victory is inspiring and there are a few great lessons we can take from this win.

Defy the odds

The Springboks went into Japan as the underdogs against an England team that played a sterling game against the legendary All Blacks in the semi-finals. This was undoubtedly a great challenge faced by the team. Not only was this challenging, but it was also intimidating. In spite of what they knew about their opponents, in spite of what they had witnessed in the semi-finals, they still performed, gave it their all and won in the end.

Develop resilience and agility

After England ended the All Black’s eight-year reign in the semi-finals, it was predicted that a tough game was on the cards for the Springboks in the final and yet again the Boks gave a colossal performance of sheer resilience in pursuing the victory. They struck the minute the opportunity arose and never backed down.

Pave the way

This time around, the Springboks was led by Siya Kolisi, the first black player to captain a South African Rugby squad. Siya grew up in the impoverished township of Zwide and was watched during the match by his father, who had never flown before. This proves just how true the saying is that where you come from does not have to be your ending. With the right level of determination and willingness to grow, you can overcome anything.

South Africa still faces various challenges economically, politically and socially, but the Springboks victory in the 2019 Rugby World Cup has inspired fresh and positive energy into the nation. South Africa is filled with hope, filled with faith and for now, as they live in the afterglow of this victory, there is so much to look forward to in this Majestic country.

Does age really come with wisdom?

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Stereotypes are prevalent all around the world, but none as common as the stereotypes that exist between youth and the older generation. Examples are quite easy to find. Our favourite movie series’ often depict the older relative as frail and feeble, available for a rare dose of wisdom and thereafter the victim of a crude joke among friends.

We’re taught at school to excel and that an education is the only thing that nobody can take away from us. They’re right! This happens to be the case. Finishing school will be one of the most glorious moments of our lives. Our degrees, certificates and other qualifications will be the highlight of our twenties and thirties. Being young is quite a thrilling experience, but what happens when we’re older? Is there really no more to us than what we have to offer in the prime of our youth?

Perhaps we should re-adjust the lenses when it comes to how we view those older than us. After all, education is not the only thing that cannot be taken away from us. 

Experience is another.

How often have you seen a job advertisement for a senior employment opportunity, that requires a degree and no experience? When we have zero to no experience we’re usually classified as juniors. Once were gain experience, confidence and the insight needed for the job, our educational qualifications are amplified. This is usually when we’re promoted to a new level, which is always more senior. During the process of being a junior, we’re always trained by someone who has more experience and who knows the ropes, and is willing to teach them to us too.

See, when we look at things through a different lense our perspective changes. As much as our independence has to do with our resolve and commitment to progressing in life. We cannot deny that from time to time we need to consult someone with experience. Someone who has been there before and survived to tell the tale. Who better to consult than the older generation?

This goes beyond the home remedies that ALWAYS work. The older generation has the wisdom to assist us through some of life’s most challenging situations. We all get to an age where we utter “If only I listened to my parents” or “I should have taken my dad’s advice”.

Not all advice may be sound, but this does not mean we should disregard it as such, before listening to it at all. Someday you’ll be older too. Can you imagine being ignored because you just not ‘young’ anymore?. By then you would probably agree that with age comes wisdom.

The truth is we all need a helping hand now and again. And, no matter what the world tells you, the older, wiser ones ahead will always be better equipped to show the way you should go. Allow yourself to learn from them. In the same breath, life has had a significant, abrupt transformation in the past 20 years. The problems we are experiencing now are things no one could have ever even dreamt about, let alone anticipate. Learn to lean on much stronger support than anyone you could ever find on earth. A personal relationship with Jesus is all you will ever need to navigate the chaotic crossways of life on earth. Let that be the foundation upon which you build everything else.

Daddy Issues: Growing up without a father…

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 “The Fatherless Generation”.

It is what they are calling this generation, another box society has created for us to fit in. According to some studies conducted, there is a possibility that 64% of children grow up without a present father figure in their life. Fatherless households have been shown to lead to higher suicidal rates, increase in depression, anxiety, aggression, low self-esteem as well as an increase in divorce rates and social and behavioural problems.

Fathers are an imperative component in the wellbeing and development of their daughters. Girls who grow up with involved and respectful fathers have a better example of how women should be treated and are less likely to get involved in toxic relationships. According to a study that involved 700 girls, it was discovered that females that came from homes where fathers were absent, displayed significantly higher rates of sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy and abortion. It also leads to earlier sexual intercourse compared with those with “intact families”. According to research females that come from a fatherless background are also significantly more likely to endure, tolerate and suffer from abuse. David Mech (a pornographic producer) stated that many women in pornography have been sexually abused.

The Sugar Daddy Dilemma

Another controversial topic that is becoming more and more popular is “sugar daddies”. A sugar daddy, a blesser, ‘oga’ – whichever definition you know- is defined as a rich older man who lavishes gifts on a young woman in return for her company or sexual favours. Although many young women have various reasons for getting involved in these type of relationships, it has been suggested by psychologists that many young girls who start these relationships have a foundation in father issues. Due to the lack of a father figure, girls can subconsciously choose older men, an attraction they may not even realise. The problem is not with the age gap necessarily but many of these vulnerable and broken girls get taken advantage of by older men. Due to the socio-economic challenges many communities or households face, girls are left vulnerable and in very desperate situations. When an older man comes around and promises to lavish them in gifts, money and care many of these girls are so ready to escape their circumstances that they are not even aware of the situations they get themselves caught up in. Human trafficking, pornography, sexual abuse, manipulation and control. Before they know they are stuck and have no way out.

Choose your tunnel wisely

Steven Furtick says it so well: “when the enemy can catch you desperate, he will try to get you to change something into something it is not supposed to be”. You can start off as just finding ways to meet your inner needs. Maybe it is the inner need and desire for love that you try to meet through sex and it will work for a while. Sex can feel just like love and give release for a while. But if you escape your loneliness through sex, you will eventually be a slave to what you used as an escape. But don’t let the tunnel that you used to try and get out, become the trap that keeps you underground. And that is the challenge that many young women face: being so desperate to escape a situation that you go to all kinds of measures that end up getting you trapped in worse situations.

 When you look at the consequences of the lack of a father figure in the lives of females, it is evident that it can be the cause of a destructive pattern of behaviour and decision making. Although it is possible to avoid these patterns, it surely does put these individuals at a disadvantage navigating a patriarchal society without any predetermined set of values.

The way, way back…

Being a by-product of an absent father, 4 failed marriages and the inconsistency of male role models throughout my childhood, I can see the traces of heartache, blemishes and cognitive distortions that still to this day infiltrate the very core of my being. I can see how the absence of a father, a safe place, a daughter’s first hero impacted my self-esteem, my understanding of love, a husband, a father and most of all; my understanding of God. It influenced my decision-making when it came to substance abuse, my sexuality, my self-worth, my value, my ability to succeed in life and what treatment I deserved. I am so grateful to have discovered that after all the failed male relationships I have encountered, it was my relationship with Jesus that never failed or disappointed me.

I realized that if you allow him; he will atone for the lack of love and support in your early years. He can reset the past and heal the hurt. He offers a new and fresh perspective and builds every part of your life that has been stripped and broken down. He is the perfect father and the escape that we all desire. He will provide a way out that is better than any solution you could come up with on your own. If my story triggered anything within you or you simply wish to talk to someone about understanding and accepting Jesus into your life, please reach out to us below.

The danger in liking nice things

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Generation ‘ME’ is here and growing at an alarming rate…

Our Instagram stories and Facebook news feeds do a really great job of selling us dreams. Whether we’re following lifestyle influencers, travel bloggers, or just trying to keep up with the Joneses down the street, leaving our screens without some sort of FOMO is becoming increasingly difficult.

Somewhere and somehow, the inclination and pressure to live up to the ‘standard’ on social media and popular culture creeps in, and we find ourselves selling our souls for the latest smartphone, clothing and Instagram friendly hotel stays, just to get that perfect shot for the ‘gram’. Slowly, but surely our own choices lead us to a path where we hardly recognize ourselves and begin to encourage others to follow suit. Young people who do not live up to the standard find themselves being victimized online and at times we’re the perpetrators of these acts, no matter how low-key it may seem.

If you find yourself in this space and you’re eager to find your way out here’s some advice:

1.   Regular self-checks are important

As much as checking on others is important, we need to check on ourselves, not our physical appearance, but what is going on in our hearts. Are you frustrated, agitated or always in a state of discontentment? Never quite happy with anything, and you struggle to see goodness in any situation? Then it might be time for you to check your attitude towards life. God loves when we ask Him for help. This may be as simple as “God help me today to focus on the things I have that money cannot buy”. It pays to do some stock taking, especially where our emotions are concerned. The heart is, in fact, deceitful above all things.

2.   God loves you regardless of the ‘stuff’ you think you need

God looks at the heart. He is hardly concerned about the new car we think we need or a new pair of sneakers we desire. He is interested in what our heart and inner thoughts look like and it pleases him when we prioritise our inner lives. You’re not alone. He doesn’t love you any less because you don’t fit in. As long as you’re a part of His plan, you should not be worried about what anyone else thinks. And you being on this very earth is proof that you are His plan.

3.   God does not compare you to others

You were created the way you are for a reason. You were born into your family for a reason. God does not make mistakes and He has made all of us with different complexities because He knew exactly what the Earth needed, long before we were born. You are a glorious reflection of God’s love to others around you. The Bible speaks about how you were formed. God honours, loves and takes great pleasure in our differences. He created us with them. Why would you want to live a life consumed with looking like everyone else?

Even if you’re currently in this space, heading straight into it or you’ve been there in the past, nothing and I mean nothing stops you from being and doing better in the future. Life is a journey. Every day is a new chance to change the steps that do not bring any good into your life.

If you are in need of prayer or you would like us to tell you more about this man named Jesus Christ, feel free to send us a message today.

Millennials are lonely

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In 2019, it is no secret that social media has changed the way we live our lives. From the way we get our daily news to how we communicate and engage with our family and friends. For a millennial, it is unavoidable, it’s powerful and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. While our newsfeeds and Insta stories may be thriving, can we truly say the same about our social lives?

Social media is being linked to the loneliness epidemic that’s contributing to mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety in the millennial generation. Many studies have focused on some key factors, including spending too much time looking at other people’s perfectly presented lives, or even spending too much time looking at ourselves can lead to feeling inferior or left out, which we now call FOMO, or fear of missing out -can lead to a downward spiral.

In all of this, there is a simple truth millenials are unaware or simply don’t know enough about- No matter how many friends we have, or how great our Insta following grows, our hearts will still have a void, a longing for a deeper sense of purpose and living, this longing can only be fulfilled through a relationship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ. He is a very present help in time of need and much more than this, He never leaves us alone.

Now, as a millennial, you may be wondering –how can God actually help me cope online and in various social media spaces?.

Here are three ways that having a relationship with God will help you cope with your millennial world.

  1. Having a relationship with God gives you a unique identity

God knows you and loves you just the way you are. Your character and personality are unique and He was completely intentional in creating you. The deeper your relationship grows, the more secure you will begin to feel and soon, you won’t have the need to compare yourself with anyone.

  1. Having a relationship with God gives you self-control

The more time you spend with God and in His Word, the more self-control you will gain. This is part of the gifts of your salvation and once you accept His son Jesus into your life, you have full access to this glorious gift. Self-control will allow you to spend your time online wisely.

  1. Having a relationship with God will influence you to be a blessing to others

The more you get to know God, the more you’ll begin to understand that He is a God of love and mercy and you will start sharing this truth with your friends and those around you. God selected you to read this truth for a reason, to share with others who are overwhelmed and who suffer from FOMO. Share your truth and God’s love with others.

If you are reading this and it relates to a situation you are currently facing, we would encourage you to get in contact with us and we’ll tell you a little more about this man named Jesus.

Hey mama, you’re not alone: Dealing with the pain behind pregnancy loss

In a perfect world

Growing up I always just assumed I would get married and fall pregnant easily and that I would carry full term, perfect babies. I never once feared infertility, loss or complications, because that was something that happened to others but not to me. And this was all true for my first pregnancy. Pregnancy was even better than what I had dreamed of, feeling the kicks, seeing the fetal scans and witnessing my baby grow. It is so much more than words can explain and I loved my child in utero with the same love that I have for her today.

A Dark Reality

We planned our second pregnancy and fell pregnant almost immediately. The first scan was perfect, showing an 8 week old little baby with a strong heartbeat but 3 weeks later my beautiful baby left my body. A 6 month faith journey finally led to another pregnancy and I felt overwhelmed with joy. Once again the first scan was perfect but with our second scan we found out that our baby boy suffered from severe Cystic Hygroma and although we fought so hard for a miracle, at 20 weeks into my pregnancy our precious boy Elijah left us.

Nothing can prepare you for the physical, mental and emotional trauma you go through when miscarrying your child. It is something that stains your soul and changes a part of who you are. The grief is immense and the pain isolating. The days rolled into weeks but still the loss echoed through my being. The weight of different emotions was all-consuming, guilt, extreme anger, confusion, heartbreak, loneliness. I was also not prepared for the amount of friendships and community we lost. My faith crumbled and a gap slowly crept into our marriage. I was stuck in this dark reality and didn’t think I would ever recover. To be honest although a good amount of time has passed and I have grown immensely, I came to realise a part of me will always hurt and long for my unborn children.

Water in the wilderness

I can’t tell you how to heal the hurt and fix what has been broken but I can share with you what I have learned through my two losses and what helped, because I would like to believe for everything I’ve lost I gained a lot as well

  1. It is okay not being okay

I think too many women and men out there feel that losing a child in utero should be less painful but let me tell you it is not. Because not only are you grieving the loss of your child but you grieve all the lost future memories that you will never have. You need to hear that you are allowed to feel and mourn deeply. Embrace all the feelings, let them roll over you and allow yourself to be in that moment.

  • Grieve your own way

Every person grieves differently and you cannot compare that to the person next to you. I found that out the hard way when I felt stuck and my husband seemed to have made peace with it. However long the process takes just allow it. Some days might be better that others and that is okay as well

  • Keep Speaking

The hardest but best thing to do is to communicate about it with people, a friend, your partner, counsellor, as long as you keep talking. Talk about what happened, how you felt, how you are currently feeling. A loss like this can become very isolating and it can be a dark slippery slope if you don’t watch out.

  • Say Good Bye

This takes time and should not be rushed but when you get to that place and you will know. It might look different for you but for us we named our babies, imagined what they would have looked like and what personalities they would have had, I pretended to hold them and then we decided to let the bad memories go. I wish I could tell you it was easy but it was heart breaking but beyond freeing at the same time

  • Hope for tomorrow

This takes courage but you can do it. When you are ready allow yourself to hope again, to smile again, to feel joy and laugh out loud. It doesn’t mean that you have forgotten your child it means that in the midst of unspeakable pain you can let something beautiful emerge.

I cannot take any credit for the growth or healing that has taken place, it truly is al God. I mentioned losing my faith after our first loss but I am so thankful that even in a season that I gave up on God He didn’t give up on me, not for one second. He is so gracious, loving and patient. One of the best pieces of advice someone gave me was “you can be angry at God, his shoulders are broad enough to handle it” and that’s when I realized that God understands better than we ever will, He understands that at times all we can see is our hurt and we can’t see him in the midst of it reaching out towards us. Even if he is not the author of our pain, he is the atonement we need, the strength we need, the courage we need and the only hope that can keep us to going.

1Africa would like to extend their support and help to any individual in need. If you or someone close to you has experienced the loss of a loved one or child please take the courageous step of reaching out to one of their team members.

My story

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Coming home at 6 am from a crazy night of partying about 8 years ago, I still lived at home so my mother was up getting ready for work and the look of sadness and hurt on her face when she saw me in my drunken state was something I will never forget.
The reason this impacted me so much was because just months before I committed my life to God and went on a discipleship training school ( DTS ) with Youth With A Mission ( YWAM ) my experience there was so amazing and God instilled so many dreams in my heart but when I returned home I had no friends that had experienced what I did, in fact, none of my friends really understood or cared about my experience. So when I returned to normal life I was not strong enough to resist what I thought I didn’t want anymore. Sadly I went into a downward spiral of partying, drugs, sex and the rest, even though before I was saved I did those things, this time it seemed so much worse because I knew the calling I had on my life and I knew better but rebelled and still did what I knew was not beneficial for my life.
That day I came home in the early hours of the morning was a defining day for me because I realized just how much my actions were breaking, not only my heart and spirit but also my mom’s. When she left for work that morning I broke down in a way I never had before, suddenly shame and guilt riddled my mind and I was overcome with sadness and disappointment at the person I had become. I sat in the lounge and started thinking the thoughts that maybe some of you reading this could relate to  – maybe If I wasn’t here anymore the pain would go away, maybe if I wasn’t here I wouldn’t be able to hurt any more people.
So I started googling ways to end my life but at the same time I was doing this I saw my mom had a playlist of songs from Hillsong church that she had been playing before she left for work. Something in me just felt like pressing play, in an instant of listening tears started streaming down my face in an uncontrollable way. I knew that God was calling my heart back to His. In a complete and utter surrender because I was so desperate for my life to change I worshipped God in my lounge that morning and in the same breath I felt to contact someone at Hillsong church who could help me. Within minutes somebody phoned me and asked me to come grab a coffee with them. That following Sunday was a defining day for me as I recommitted my life again to God and have not looked back since.
This is what I want you to learn from my journey:
  • God is the God of second, third, fourth….. chances. He NEVER LEAVES US! Even when we reject him the minute we draw ourselves near he is there waiting with open arms to our cry.

 

  • I felt like I wasn’t good enough for God. unworthy to even ask him to save me but in my desperate surrender, I felt God say to me that there is NOTHING that could EVER separate me from his love. and in that surrender, God created such a desire in me for worship. What is it that God wants to show you for your future that you are holding back because you feel unworthy?

 

  • I felt extremely lonely, feeling sorry for myself. My perspective was not open but the minute I stepped foot into church God opened my eyes and allowed me to see that not only can I be apart of a community but that I was not the only one going through hard times, lack of identity, insecurity etc… my loneliness quickly turned into an urgency to let others know that they are not alone.

 

  • I can come as I am.  As soon as I walked into church I felt God whisper to me, come as you are. I had a lot of issues, faults, sins, and lists of things I had done wrong but God did not care about those things and it did not require me to be perfect before I came to church, in fact it was the opposite. I could come just as I am, broken, alone and desperate. That day God took my heart and started healing it as well as molded me into all he intended for me from the beginning.
What I was not aware of back then was that God died not only for my past sins but for my future ones as well. The blood that Jesus shed on the cross was so that we could live in relationship with him for eternity. It simply is not about what we can do or can not do to get into Gods good books, it’s all about what Jesus did on the cross and that he died so that we can have life, he rose so that we can have the holy spirit to walk with, talk with and guide us through this life until we live with him in heaven.

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