It’s a hot afternoon in the slopes of the Mt. Kenya, class three pupils are scheduled to have a CRE( Christian Religious Education) class in which she sits waiting impatiently for the teacher, eager to continue from where they last stopped. What will happen to Joseph now that Portiphar’s wife has subjected him unjustly to the wrath of his master, Portiphar?
……………………… I sat there waiting for the teacher, with frustration as she was running late and that might mean not getting to know the full story.
I was about 9 years old and quite fascinated by the Children’s Bible story read by the teacher, by the characters, Joseph the dreamer and his evil brothers, Jacob and Esau whom God hated from birth, Pharaoh, whom God decided to destroy to show nations and Israel that He is God alone thus hardened his heart…..etcetera, etcetera.
They were just stories and though I knew God, I did not glorify Him as God, church being a routine to me. Those stories opened a new window in my head, a new way of thinking. Of travelling to Egypt through Joseph and crossing the red sea through Moses and actually turning around to see Pharaoh and his chariots drowning. They also made me tear eg: at Joseph’s evil brothers and angry at Esau giving his birthright for a bowl of soup.
I am 11 years old now. In a catholic boarding school, Mary Immaculate Girls Mweigha. It’s a pretty school with cool uniforms. You have to read, by fire, by force as the teachers and nuns don’t spare the rod and my backside can attest to that.Rosaries, prayers are held every evening, in Swahili, English and Kikuyu. It’s memorizing and rote, I lose my earlier interest in the Bible although I have one now. It’s cold in school. I am a go getter and in a two-streamed class, am among the top, my parents are proud. March of the same year I lose my sister, I am sad. I question the existence of God, my tears threaten to come down at the slightest provocation afterwards.
Throughout the year is a dark year. Uknown to me I fall ill. Depression. My parents don’t take me to boarding the next year, but to another missionary school next to our house, where they can monitor me. All the way to age 14 years, my health is unstable. I am in a limbo, though I excel in my studies as in a way I am a perfectionist, I am suspended in space, not reaaly feeling anything and oblivious of almost everything, apart from discovering boys.
Around the national examination time, mom visits me in school during lunch break as she works nearby. In that big Catholic Church where I pray and seek the face of God in my own way, we sit, talk and she’s praying. Then tears, she’s crying out to the Lord for my sake. I don’t know of mercy intercessors by that time. I am moved. I am wiping her tears away with my hand and am crying too because she is crying. It’s only she that bore you that can feel your pain. She feels me. Prayers are over. We walk out. I don’t know if God heard but there is a tugging at my heart.
2011, I am in high school (to shorten the story and not bore you any further) and I panic and fear for no good reason, such that my stomach boils. 2012, Am a sophomore and attending CU( Christian Union). I am an absent person in that church, a silent observer and sometimes sleep through the summons, I don’t praise and worship, I am a tree stump.
My mom has started forcing us to go to Church around that time, such that I loathe Sundays and I just want to be home watching the telly. I know I should be in Church but I feel abandoned and left alone by God.The pastor in this church is really on my case, telling me of salvation and the lot. I brush him off and tell him I am a baptised catholic, he should not waste his time, he doesn’t give up.
25th December 2013. My aunt calls from Scotland and start preaching to my brother and I about salvation and eternal damnation. It’s the same salvation story, won’t they leave me alone? I am praying for the phone to disconnect or the credit to be over so I can be on my way. It doesn’t. Hours later, my hard heart ceases from a stone that I welcome Jesus into my life.
And the journey, the race begins. And I bless the Lord for being my strong fortress. In my sorrows, in my loneliness and dark nights and days such that I wished He was human, or tangible that I could hug Him and never let go; I could dwell in His infinite goodness and love. The nights that I cried to Him my heart broke, that I hugged myself on my bed and called His name over and over, and my eyes swelled so bad, He didn’t abandon me. Had it not been the Lord on my side, my troubles and enemies would have swallowed me.
And today I bless the Lord
Who leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
Who satisfies my mouth with good things and renews my youth
Who has not allowed my enemies to ask me where my God is
but has given me a new name.
Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and all that is within me bless His Holy name. Bless the Lord Oh my soul. And forget not all His benefits.