God gave us an opportunity to empower women in South Africa at our Daughter Arise Conference from the 12th to 14th of August. Our team consisted of Pastor Fatima, Ayanda Sibanda, Lebo Sibanda, Marilyn Nyandoro, Sandile Nyandoro, Catherine Giwa, Sarah Masengo and Jan Patching. There was a lot of expectation and excitement in the air. Women had travelled from many churches and locations.
The word Arise was defined and the conference was started with a welcome from our hosts. Mrs Nyandoro gave her testimony of how she strived in order to bring her daughter to South Africa. Her daughter Sandile had been turned away at the airport due to the fact that she was 17 and could not travel alone. She encouraged women to rise up and strive for their families. She also encouraged people not to give up as not only did God turn it around so that her daughter could come but God also granted her the desires of her heart to come to South Africa.
As women we came together for a common purpose – We came together for the common purpose of rising up. From the definitions of the word arise we knew God was calling us His daughters to arise upwardly into action, to shift to a position of influence so that we can impact our world. As daughters of God we are to awaken, to move upward and to ascend. If we determine to shift our position, there is always room for growth and there are higher places to go. The main shift is in our minds. We are rising to a position of influence. This is a new season in our lives – this will be a better season as the bible says, we are moving from glory to glory. Our life is to be a blessing to others. That is why we have to arise – we need to operate in a new level of brightness so that others are attracted to Jesus. Our level of brightness matters to those sitting in darkness – others need to come from the darkness to the light. We looked at these keywords that are synonyms of the word arise: to begin, to emerge, to breakthrough, to stir, to awaken, to promote, to stand in position, to live, to commence, to start, to spring, to come to light. For each of us, one word was more significant than another. Some will need a breakthrough, for some, there are things that need to come alive again, for some they may not need major surgery but just a bit of support – this all comes from the presence of the Lord. We also explored the consequences of not rising which are found in the antonyms of the word arise. So if we do not arise we will disappear, things around us will cease, expire, sink, fall, decline. We will settle for less than God has for us.
We are in danger of slumbering and declining if we do not arise. The Lord is calling us upward it is a calling of love – every parent desires for their children to grow and succeed and our heavenly Father is the same – He desires the best for us, He wants us to grow and succeed. This brings glory to His name. People will be attracted to the things God is doing in our lives. We are the bride of Christ – He is our groom and our lover. He wants to lavish His love on us so we can do well as His bride. Our groom wants us spotless. We need to be daughters who are free to love Him. Pastor Fatima shared our conference scripture: Mark 5:35-42. Jesus was making His way to Jairus’s house – on the way he was interrupted by the woman with the issue of blood – this was a condition that was affecting her brightness – this delayed Jesus getting to Jairus’s house but because of His compassion He stopped to meet the need – during this time at Jairus’s house, things had deteriorated. This was a situation that had declined, this decline affected the whole family.
Mark 5:35-42 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?“ Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (Which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old).
Our decline does not just affect us but those around us, those linked with us. This little girl’s influence and her destiny had ceased. This is the opposite of arising. However, Jesus wasn’t moved by the decline but others around were moaning and causing a commotion – the crowd around were not helping the mission of Jesus. We need to assess and sort the commotion in and around our lives and remove the distractions. Jesus removed the people who were causing the commotion. Sometimes commotion can come from our own hearts and sometimes it’s caused by external circumstances. We concluded the first session by dealing with any commotion in our lives and choosing to rise up and take our rightful position in Christ.
We had a full house and after the breakfast, Pastor Fatima started off with her message titled “Tamar the violated princess”.
Tamar was a lovely princess who started well, lived well, had a great future, no worries, she was kind, caring, compassionate, she was genuinely sincere and innocent. She was skilled and she knew how to bake. She lived in the palace as a daughter of the great king David. She wore a royal robe that had many colours. She was a beautiful princess indeed. As a princess she had dreams and desires and a great destiny awaited her. In 2 Samuel 13, the story unfold: In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David. Amnon became so obsessed with his half-sister Tamar that he pretended to be ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her. Now Amnon had an adviser named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man. He asked Amnon, “Why do you, the king’s son, look so haggard morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?” Amnon said to him, “I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” “Go to bed and pretend to be ill,” Jonadab said. “When your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her and then eat it from her hand.’ So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. When the king came to see him, Amnon said to him, “I would like my sister Tamar to come and make some special bread in my sight, so I may eat from her hand.” David sent word to Tamar at the palace: “Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare some food for him.” So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it. Then she took the pan and served him the bread, but he refused to eat. “Send everyone out of here,“ Amnon said. So everyone left him. Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food here into my bedroom so I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.“ “No, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.“ But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her. Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, “Get up and get out!” “No!” she said to him. “Sending me away would be a greater wrong than what you have already done to me.” But he refused to listen to her. He called his personal servant and said, “Get this woman out of my sight and bolt the door after her.” So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. She was wearing an ornate robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore. Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went. Her brother Absalom said to her, “Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.” And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman. When King David heard all this, he was furious. And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.
Post – violation
This is a very sad story for a princess who started so well in life. A princess who had an amazing potential and future became a victim of her brother’s lustful desires. She innocently went to help as her father had asked to do. Her kindness was what she went to offer not knowing the fate waiting for her. She left the palace on a mission to serve and minister to her ill brother not knowing that she would be violated there. She tried reasoning with him, she tried all she knew to stop the situation but to no avail. She could not believe what was about to happen to her. Unfortunately, Amnon was stronger that her so he applied force and violated her sexually. To be sexually assaulted by anyone is traumatic but it’s even worse if the perpetrator of that violence is in the family! Tamar was shocked and traumatised. The trauma was too much for her she was forced to the background she was silenced. She no longer had a voice. She lost her precious gift. She had been devalued and her dignity had been ripped from her. There was now great commotion in her life. Her shining light was switched off and life as she knew it ceased straight after that incidence. Sadly she tore her robe in deep sorrow and disappointment. This was a great family scandal. Many women find themselves in the same position as Tamar. Different categories of different violations hinder them from rising up and taking their place. Family scandals, church scandals, workplace scandals, neighbourhood scandals and many more can and has robbed women of their livelihood, their vision, their ministry, their hope, their confidence and ultimately affecting their destiny.
Different types of violations have caused women who had great potential to stagnate. Many have lost their voice and have been silenced by various negative situations that came unexpectedly. Some have been pushed to the margins of society by those who were stronger than them. The very essence of their being has been ripped from them. There are many violated princesses out there who have been displaced from the palace. Tamar could have been helped by her dad, the king but he did not. Her brother Absalom did not help her too. It took him two years before he could deal with the matter. Help did not come from where Tamar expected it and that is the story of many princesses out there. The good news is that God’s plan hasn’t changed. God still has a plan and a purpose for every princess in this conference and out there and he never wastes any of our experiences. He is well able to heal and to restore us. He makes things that are meant to work against us to work for us. As princesses we are not meant to be at the back of Absalom’s house, we should expect to be living with all the privileges of a daughter of the King The enemy tries to kill steal and destroy he is after the woman and her seed. He violates them in many ways but God is calling us out and upwards.
Unlike King David, our King of Kings is concerned, he gives us new robes and restore all things, lift our heads up and repositions us while giving us back our self-worth. He wants to move us from the back room to the front so we can impact this world for His glory. He is restoring and bringing to life those things which have been stolen, ministries, careers, identities. He is giving us victory in exchange for all our violations. It is time for His daughters to arise and go back to the palace. Get back your royal robes and walk in your purpose.
After ministering Pastor Fatima invited people who had been violated in one way or the other to come to the altar and lay everything down. She called those whose robes had been torn to come and be re-robed. Those who violated others came and repented and received forgiveness. Those who were lost also came to give their lives to Jesus. It was an amazing life changing meeting. The Holy Spirit took over and worked in our hearts. We moved from being the violated ones to the victorious ones. Daughters and even sons arose.
After lunch, we had interactive workshops where women went into different groups according to different stages they were in life. Married women, single mothers and widowed or divorced, and under 18’s, then singles above 18 and never been married. We discussed different ways of arising and shining. We then gave feedback from each group and learnt from each other. We had testimonies and different ministrations. Catherine then shared her testimony how God had provided for her financially so that she could make the trip and also how God helped her deal with her emotions because she lost her mum just before we left for SA. Although her mum had not yet been buried, God gave her the grace to come for the conference. She had experienced such a peace that was beyond explanation. The testimony had a great impact on the women when they saw that others had laid aside their own issues to come and minister to them. Lebo and Sandile then ministered in dance – this had such an impact that the following day a couple who had seen the dance on Facebook, who had not been intending to come to the Sunday morning service, they came to see what God was doing. Ayanda ministered in songs and the Holy Spirit moved mightily. She also gave a testimony of how God provided for her, and healed her ear. Sarah helped with the graphics and photography. We all served in one way or the other.
We chose to arise.
In Isaiah 60:1-3, we were told to increase the level of our brightness so that we can shine. The ability of God has come to us so that we can arise and shine. Light cannot be ignored, it dispels darkness. When we rise and shine we will bring hope to those around us. To arise also means to influence. As victorious women, we can begin to lead other women into victory as we encourage them with the word of God. Our light is needed in darkness. It’s needed in our homes, marriages, churches, workplaces and wherever we go. We can choose to arise from our violations and allow God to use us. Our scars can bring healing to others or we can choose to remain in the pit of discouragement. In Judges 5:6-7, Deborah saw the chaos that was going on around her. She saw the status quo of Israel and people doing what they wanted, disregarding the ways of God. Deborah decided to rise up as a mother in Israel: “In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned; travellers took to winding paths. Villagers in Israel would not fight; they held back until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel.”
Deborah chose to rise up and fight for her people. She realised that in order for things to change she had to take certain steps and actions. Deborah arose and let her light shine. Queen Esther arose and let her light shine so did Ruth and many women in the bible. Lot’s wife refused to arise so she declined and died. An opportunity to arise and shine was presented to her but she refused it and held on to in her past life. She chose to remain in a place that was not good for her. Even God called that place evil but Lot’s wife chose to remain in her current location. That ushered her into her untimely end. Her absence led to the creation of the Moabites because her daughters decided to have children with their father after making him drunk. If Lot’s wife had chosen to arise and move on, this could have been avoided. When we choose not to rise up and influence our world, someone else will. God forbid that someone else arises and bring evil influence simply because we would not let our light shine.
We made a choice to arise and shine. We chose to influence our communities with the love of God.