When you just can’t even: life update

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It’s already February 2020, where on earth has the time gone?!
I’ve been quiet for a little while now, here on the blog and moderately so on social media – for good reason I might add. I’ve pretty much been in and out of hospital for around 6 weeks now and it’s been an all around learning experience – personal and spiritual. There are some things that will challenge you on all fronts and it takes a village to pray you out of it.

Learning curb

Lying in a hospital bed attached to a drip and pretty much unable to do anything gives you a lot of time for introspection. Having all that free head space is not always a good thing, but you have to take the good and release the bad. It takes great determination to choose to look past the physical circumstances and look for hope and a future, but a lot of learning was done in this time.

Given all this free time, I took a look at the space in society I wanted to build, the amount of space I’m allowing social media and the outside world to take up in my life, the future I want to have, the usual goals for the year and then I stopped to ask, “WHY ME?!”
Of all the people on the planet that could be laying in this bed with some “complicated” issue, why did it have to be me? The more I brewed on it, the more frustrated I became with the idea that it was me who had to be poked, prodded, biopsied and had blood drawn from multiple times. The more I thought about it the more frustrated I became with my body and it’s inability to just heal and get it over with so I could get back to life and the more frustrated I became with the lack of answers and random complications.

Let me tell you that no matter how amazing the hospital and the staff are (in this case they really were), laying there with nothing to do can drive a sane person crazy. In all honesty, it’s in those moments of weakness that you start to question God, faith and everything you’ve built your life around. I will say that I’ve been blessed to have family, friends, a boyfriend and church family that have been standing in the gap for me. The lesson I’ve learned is that sometimes in our moments of weakness it takes the nudge of the strong around you to hold you up when your strength isn’t with you anymore. There are a lot of things that I’m terrified of – seriously, check my prayer journal – but there are so many things to be hopeful about. There are so many opportunities that this fresh new year, that each new day holds. There are so many new challenges I’m eagerly waiting to take on.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10:32

Holding on to faith is hard sometimes, but even when your heart is filled with doubt, the knowledge that your Creator has created you with a design and purpose in mind is the strongest gravitational pull you need.

What are you hoping for in 2020? Be sure to head over to my Instagram and let me know!

Sisters of Africa 2019

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I’m a strong believer in women’s ministry! I believe that women’s ministry presents the opportunity for women to come together and express a strong sense of community, celebrate femininity and be collectively empowered to go out and empower others in whatever sphere they exist in.

This year I made the trip up to Johannesburg for my first Sisters of Africa conference. Despite it being a last minute decision, this was such a phenomenal experience! Outside of the fact that this was an amazing experience creatively, this was also an incredible opportunity for me to sit back and detox from the world. The choice to fly up and take a break from work and life doesn’t come easily. This is a choice that can be used to detox from the world by filling yourself with  general activities, hobbies and entertainment.

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The road less travelled was to spend the days of annual leave at church, choosing to disconnect from the world and connect with God. In a wilderness season, conferences can be the most refreshing and reinvigorating places to be. It’s a conscious choice to step out of life for a moment and choose to be filled with the Word topped with creative expression and a strong sense of community.

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Having technically travelled this year on my own, and having met the ladies from my home church up in Sandton, I can absolutely say that the experience was amplified by the ladies choosing to stick together and enhance the sense of community. Ultimately, that’s what conference is about. Whether you know the lady next to you or not, it’s about a group of ladies coming together

I suggest making the investment into your personal and spiritual development by taking a trip up to conference next year. And why not invite someone along. Strong women build each other up and when we rise together, we can build a better society for those around us.

You can find the link to register for Sisters of Africa 2020 here: Sisters of Africa Registration 2020

Hopefully, I’ll see you next year! 😉

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selah.

The Art Exhibit

No, it’s not a name. It a verb. It’s an active moment to pause and reflect. On what you may ask, reflect on life, the moments that have brought you here. Take account of the places you have been, the people you have met and the things that have past. Reflect on the God that has brought you to this moment in time, reflect on everything that He’s carried you through, and once your interlude is done, keep moving.

The moments when we stop to take account are the moments when we are able to learn from our experiences. That’s why I created this blog, as a space for us to learn from each other and to learn from out past, learn in our quiet moments and learn from each other. We line in a society that continuously promotes productivity and personal growth. On an exhausting level. Don’t get me wrong, growth and improvement is important for us to mature and find fulfilment and accomplishment, but at some point we need a break – we need to pause and rest. Selah.

TO PAUSE.

Rest is a fundamental part of our being. It servers to refresh our spirit and body. We are called to slow down and rest. It allows us a moment to catch our breath, reset our thinking and refresh our minds. This is such a pivotal part of our ability to keep moving forward. Without a stop street on the road, we would collide with other drivers, without a pause in music we would be unable to understand the prelude before we move on. We are called to rest. Burn-out is an unfortunate reality of our continuous strive for productivity. Rest and refresh lead to improvement and the ability to rationalise and seek clarity…

TO THINK.

An action – process information, direct your mind onto a particular subject and actively connect to a though, reflect and ponder. We are called to intentionally assess our past actions and events, critically view the information presented to us, actively stop to take account of all surrounding circumstances. Be intentional and logical, applying wisdom and taking the opportunities we have to learn and grow from all experiences. Multitasking will only get you so far, will only allow for a limited period of divided attention. We limit our growth when we seek to be involved in too much, process too many differing stream of information at the same time. Pause to rest and then critically evaluate past, present and future.

FOREVER, AMEN.

There is finality in our Selah. Closure presents itself at the end of our period of rest, at the end of our period of evaluation. There is finality in letting go of the past and choosing to move forward. The past cannot be changed, only learned from. We cannot go back to it, but we can selah and let what has past become a lesson.

Let your Selah be a resounding roar drawing a community closer and a you heart nearer to the Creator.

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Bible with me

At the start of every new year we spend all our time creating resolutions and goals, plans for outcomes we desire for the year. The thing I set out to do every single year is complete the Bible in a year. Sound simple enough, I know, but it’s the thing I’ve relentlessly failed at accomplishing. This is why I love the option of tackling this with friends!

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My dear friend, Megan, had a real Jesus moment earlier this month when she dropped me a text about Youversion reading plans. We decided to tackle this as a group. The wonderful thing is that this has created a far less intimidating type of accountability. When you’re accountable to friends, even if it just begins as a silent and benign streak of competitiveness, there’s a comfort in knowing there are others on the journey with you. Discussion and comradery often make the this type of goal far less tedious to work towards. A support group is essential to help you get through on days when you’re just not in the mood to leave bed, or even crack open an app, let alone the Bible. Make this task seem a little less daunting, make relationships your priority and take a step to accomplish something that seems so simple, but may alter your lifestyle with the simple creation of a habit. The ease and accessibility of an app such as Youversion, which is my favorite and I have raved about it multiple times, or an alternate app like SheReadsTruth will keep you on your toes. And by having an app on your phone (between your most used apps) you’ll never be able to avoid the task or claim to be too busy or have no time. The Word will be accessibly and in your pocket and just like that, you’ll carry it wherever you go.

Take up this challenge with us. Whether that’s with your friends, by yourself or with your family, make a move towards reading more and disconnecting from the world to Selah when needed.

If you’d like to join me over on YouVersion or have a plan that you loved, drop me a DM or and email and let’s connect!

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Avengers, Assemble!

1Avengers, assemble! I know, I know, stay with me here. I love superhero movies, the action and drama, convictions and human flaws all shown in a culminated attempt to save the world; the good guys always win. I’ve recently taken to re-watching the Marvel plethora of movies. When spread over 10 years, you miss the little nuances, the little threads that run through the entirety of these movies when viewed in their solidarity. When put together, you have the opportunity to understand the mind of the team behind the scenes that formulated this marvelous 10 year spanning cannon of work, knowing through each of these 20 movies where the end was. I mean, they were teasing movies that were 5 years down the line. That’s foresight!

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So, why then do we question His love for us when we are lost? How much more does your Father love you? Didn’t think I’d go there, did you? Think about it for a moment. Look back at your life, the years you’ve spent trying to climb through a window and then, looking back, saw a door open that you were not looking for. Through my span of 26 years, I can attest to having seen more than my fair share of this in my life. Circumstances have the tendency of unraveling when we step back and take a moment to look at the whole, even though we may not see the bigger picture in the beginning, when we’re too close to see the greater details. Don’t focus on the single thread in the tapestry and risk missing the grander design.

Psalm 84:11
For the LORD God is a sun and a shield; the LORD gives grace and glory; He withholds no good thing from those who walk with integrity.

Our human tendency is such that we tend to overlook the progress we have already made and become enraptured in our current circumstances. We see an immediate problem and try to resolve it within ourselves, when we have the opportunity to call on bigger, better reinforcements. The thing that struck me in these movies, is that there was an idea that took 20 movies, spanning 10 years to culminate in the idea that an individual on their own was not enough, backup was needed. Likewise with our lives. Often times we’re too close to a situation to see the growth, but when we take as step back to assess each moment in our lives, we see the Presence in our lives, undeniably guiding each step for our benefit, each moment for our growth. We see the backup that’s been there all the time, but we’ve been too close to life to see.

In everything, find yourself in His presence, in His group and under His captainship.
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Spring beginnings

“When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death, And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
– C S Lewis, The lion, the witch and the wardrobe

As we’ve broken into spring, I’ve been haunted by the image of the Great Lion shuffling his mane and ushering in spring with a slow exhale on the fleeting winds. Dramatic, I know, but it’s still a sensation that took days to shake. All seasons were clearly not created equal. What is it about spring that brings about this deep sense of hopefulness? 07.09.18The more I simmered on Lewis’ imagery, the more I unraveled my desire for something fresh, a deep longing for something to hope for. In part, the hope of the new comes with the release from ties of old, from the things that held us captive in the season we found ourselves trapped in, the thing encasing us in a winter. The hope of the new brings with it the prospects of relief, direction and wonder. That’s what we all long for, right? And that wonder, that glorious moment the ice melts to reveal the first sprigs of spring, that moment is something deeply personal to each of us.

As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. – Hosea 6:3

The new is fostered in an atmosphere of anticipation. That’s what spring means, it’s the anticipation and optimism that has been brought in with the change of tide. The surety of provision and rain, with conviction as strong as the surety that the sun will rise tomorrow. Perhaps the shifts to green, the warmer weather and longer days trigger a renewal of hope in us that has long been dead. And in the beginning… that’s what this is, a beginning. A start. The old, the past, the loss, the mediocrity, the doubt, it’s everything that we choose to leave by the wayside and begin again. Not because we have control over the changes in the season, for that in itself is in the shuffle of His mane – far beyond our control, but we choose to accept the shift as a moment for our own movement. Because that is what He’s really about; leaving behind the past, leaving behind the old and the dead things that have been for the new and the fresh, the wonder that lies ahead. Winter must end for spring to begin.

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How I take sermon notes…

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Taking sermon notes it such a personal experience. I’ve gone through phases of simply trying to scribble down EVERYTHING possible, taking digital notes on an iPad and not taking notes in certain seasons. I’ve landed up with a method that I’ve started to enjoy, and that encourages me to actually be attentive and retain information. Without further ado, here is how I take sermon notes:

1. The notebook: I love stationery. Stationery makes me happy. I know, I sound like a basic, simple human being, but it makes me so happy. Having a notebook that I love, that makes me feel proud to carry around and that embodies my personality makes the hugest difference in my desire to take notes in the first place. I’m far more likely to carry and take notes in a notebook that suits my fancy as well as one that I’m comfortable writing in. I’ve been using a pretty simple A5 notebook that alternates lined and blank pages and occasionally doodle important points along the way.
2. Prepare pages: I’ve always wanted to be creative with the way I take notes and approach Bible study. Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that I’m more likely to take notes and recall the information I write down than if I go into a service with a prepared slate. I’m pretty basic with the way I prepare my pages on a Saturday night, mostly because I am in NO WAY the world’s best doodler. Because I can usually tell what ministry-series we’re on, I like to use stickers or print outs from Doodling Faith (over on Youtube) or simply lay out some brightly coloured washi-tape to liven things up. Easy, right? I like to do this the night before as it allows me to focus on key points more during the actual service, encourages me to actually utilise the space and recall information.
3. Minimise the writing: I am contradicting myself here, I know. Stay with me… Write down only the things that speak to you, stand out to you or questions that you have for later study. I tend to keep my actual notes down to a page (3-4 main points) and will only note down the things that grab my attention. This means I recall the 3 main sermon points and the accompanying scripture, have a creative way to recall them visually and is just less intimidating to come back to later. No one wants to be swamped in an ocean of content that doesn’t make sense. Writing everything down is impossible.
4. Don’t try to be perfect: Trying to make “perfect notes” is ridiculous. I’ve spent years too scared to doodle because I’m a terrible artist. Not a good enough reason. Your notes are for you, to encourage your studying and to guide you. Being intimidated by the beautiful doodles of the internet doesn’t help. Reflect your personality, the rest will follow.
5. The Bible: I don’t like to carry my full study Bible to church with me. It’s huge and takes up too much space. I prefer to use the Youversion app during services for quicker references and it’s easier to carry around. It’s also space-saving and lets me be a lot more comfortable when sitting down for ministry and lets me actually focus on the note taking.

Have any tips and tricks? Let me know how you like to take sermon notes, or notes in general and maybe I can add to my routine.
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Be Planted…

I know, the dreaded phrase; “Be planted.” That’s such a cliché, it’s the thing everyone tells you to twist your arm. I’m not a plant, I do not plant. But, here’s the truth that I’ve learned, being planted is where you flourish. A plant that has been potted is wildly restricted by its environment. So, let’s remove the pot and be planted in the wild. Our only limitation now becomes our own capacity, our own drive to improve, grow and mature. Whether you’re deciding to plant roots in a skill, a specific field or in an activity, plant roots. This is about the act of consistency, this is about practice and determination. Being planted isn’t about allowing people to control you, it’s about giving yourself a constant environment in which to thrive in. Practicing and growing your skills is a part of being planted, a part of planting roots. It’s about more than finding a home, it’s the act of creating a safe and positive environment that brings out the best in you.

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The biggest catch? You control the where. You decide where to find a home. You are in control of your environment. Scary, right? I know, it’s terrifying to realise the decision is truly ours. It’s terrifying to believe that this is our choice. Embrace it. Embrace the reality that you can decide what you allow into your life, embrace that you choose where to be planted and with that you choose the people and the environment you find a home in. Be planted. Because a consistent, positive and reinforcing environment, surrounded by people that catalyse your growth, will change your world. That’s it, that’s why we should be planted. Not only do you find a community, you find a place in which YOU DECIDE to thrive. Be planted.

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Fiercely defended…

We’ve so often been presented with an image of a benevolent Being who’s distant but will, with great eventuality, step in to intervene gently, with love and grace. Often times I’ve found struggle reconciling He who was in the old, and He who is in the new, as we have been taught to know Him.

“…he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows.” – ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭7:12-13‬ ‭NIV

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Be realistic, how often have you found yourself in a situation where you’ve demanded the Lofty One step in and give you the outcome you want. I’m guilty as charged. We become… despondent by our lack of gain. We become somewhat impervious to the might and awe of the One we chose to follow, choosing rather to lead ourselves. We forget that when we are truly in need and call on Him, there is an arsenal at our disposal, yet we often feign to ask. But the Eternal One is never shaken. It is He who makes everything right in the end. Choose your steps, for your ways have been marked, choose to rise up because you have been chosen, step forward but reach back to help them up with you. You are encompassed by His goodness, engulfed in His grace, enraptured by His love. Do not yield to mediocrity, but rise to a purpose for which you choose, not to succumb to, but to strive towards. For our fore is fiercely defended for love and we are flanked by a heavenly arsenal.

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Music to connect you…

It’s so easy to get caught up in the chaos of life. I’m one of those people that chooses to intentionally, rebelliously if you will, questions everything and anything until I can come up with an explanation or belief that I can stand on. One of the things I have always held a question mark to is the connection people have with specific worship songs. This is one of the lessons that I have only recently learnt for myself; worship songs are your personal arsenal to fall into. It’s an experience I’ve had to have for myself, find reason and rationale beyond explanation for myself. I’ve been studying The Psalms in the Passion Translation and came across an interpretation of Selah in the annotations that deeply moved me; ” It is used seventy-one times in the Psalms as an instruction to pause and ponder in God’s presence… It is said that when Selah is spoken the words are carved in stone in the throne room of the heavens (TPT)”. That had me. We should be stopping in our lives to enter into His presence with intent, with determination, it should be done on purpose. The thoughts and prayers we pray have an indelible effect in this sacred space.

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One of the simplest ways to get out of my personal head-space, disconnect from the things going on around me and try to focus is through music. It clicks with me and plays a HUGE role in my life. Music has a way of getting your walls down, of tearing through the barriers you choose to keep up to protect yourself. Whether you’re playing or singing in your personal time, in the shower, or in the car, worship music is the best way to find peace and connect in moments of chaos, in moments where you can’t connect and in moments where the course you navigate is unclear. Sing when you’re empty, sing when you’re alone, sing when you cannot find the words to pray.

With that being said, here’s a quick list (in no particular order) of a few of the songs that hit home no matter where I am, what I’m doing, or what I’m searching for:

1. So will I – Hillsong
2. Reckless love – Corey Asbury
3. Do it again – Elevation Worship
4. Oceans – Hillsong United
5. No Longer a slave – Bethel Worship
6. You – Elevation Worship
7. How He loves – Crowder
8. Come alive – Lauren Daigle
9. Speak to me – Kari Jobe
10. Good Good father – Chris Tomlin
11. I am who you say I am – Hillsong
12. Pieces – Bethel Worship

X Crystelda


*annotation marked TPT are from the Passion Translation®. Copyright© 2017 by Broadstreet Publishing® Group, LLC.