Growing up, I enjoyed every moment of being alive. Life seemed quite blissful, accompanied by a great sense of contentment. The beauty of being a child is the naivety to view life through rosy, carefree filters birthed by the presence of family members who, in return, provide some form of holistic security and stability. I lived without a care in the world and was in touch with my expressive side – quite colourful emotions…. From a young age, I was certain that I was the life of my grandparents’ home because of the affirmation I received from my family and, most importantly, I was sure of my relationship with my heavenly Father. You see, my mom’s older sister never went to a church service without me and through the teachings I began to cultivate a beautifully solid relationship with God, even to the point of witnessing answered prayers as young as the age of 7.
How faithful He is, even to the young heart that seeks Him diligently – Psalm 145:18 (NKJV): “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.”
The unfortunate event of losing my mom during my teens due to premature death altered that childlike, carefree state because of the new reality that I had to live with. It wasn’t solitarily the fact that she was gone that affected me most; it was also the absence of my biological father and the fact that she passed on before we could reach a level of clear and sincere communication about the whole situation.
This loss left me in a very dark place, filled with confusion, coupled by hopelessness and feeling lonely in the world. I was emotionally broken. My future seemed bleak….
This led me to develop a more conservative approach to life, and become less adventurous and extremely introverted with no sense of personal identity. In my mind, the price of seeming rebellious by expressing my emotions seemed far greater than the perceived loss of what was at hand at the time.
After all, I didn’t want to be perceived as a disobedient burden at home, even though I was never labelled as such. I began to navigate through life with a great sense of uncertainty, depression and paralysing fear of the unknown. Adopting the “Good Girl status” became my coping mechanism that seemed to be equivalent to the “God’s girl status”; after all, I assumed that the absence of conflict was the evidence of peace.
But as time progressed, I began to wonder why I had inner turmoil, even though I was attending church and receiving the Word on Sundays
(Hebrews 10:25 - NIV: “…not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching…”)
In His mercy, Jesus continued to pursue me by bringing His daughters into my life that were intentional about cultivating a relationship with Him. The list is so long but I am eternally grateful for these honorable and mighty women of valor who were so obedient to His leading.
Proverbs 27:17 (NIV): “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
They manifested this word through their acts and influence in my life. The inner turmoil gradually faded once I became intentional about actively pursuing a relationship with the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit, according to Romans 15:13 (NIV): “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Now, I am gradually growing into the identity that He has given to me through His Word.
Only now “…the eyes of my heart (are being) enlightened in order that (I) may know the hope to which He has called (me), the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people…” (Ephesians 1:18; NIV).
I no longer carry the burden of being a “Good Girl”; instead, I am “God’s Girl”.
The title is no longer works-based, it is relationship-based, as we are reminded by Ephesians 2:8 (NIV): “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God….” This was quite a liberating journey for me.
I thank God for His Word, which renews and transforms my mind, especially when I’m faced with the temptation of being a “Good Girl” in matters that He has not led me to participate in. He teaches me to check in with my heart motives and reminds me that I am “God’s Girl”; I must only act as directed by Him, for His glory, not people’s approval. My daily prayer verse is now Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”.
He has studied my heart and knows very well what may lead me to a place that He hasn’t set for me.
The “Good Girl” status no longer dominates my life; it has been changed to “God’s Girl.”
1 Corinthians 6:12 clearly states: ‘“I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” – but I will not be mastered by anything.’
He has taught me that some things may be good but they may not be part of His plans for me. The only way to know is through searching His Word and waiting on the Holy Spirit to guide me.
The journey of transformation continues based on Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV): “To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
To God be the glory, now and forevermore!
Women Of Reverence welcomes Dumisile Tshabalala as a guest blogger.
Dumisile Tshabalala is a child of the living God, wife to a loving husband and mother of three wonderful blessings. I know that my Beloved Father is taking me on an incredible journey about heart and mind transformation according to His initial plan for my life. He has sparked within me a passion to understand His heart for mankind, it continues to grow by the day..... To Him be the glory forever and ever amen!