This year I have found myself at many different tables, literally and figuratively. Many times I have looked at the other occupants of the ‘table’ and wondered how could I, a black girl from America, be afforded a seat at this ‘table’? What qualifies me to be in such a position? From the lens of the world, it makes absolutely no sense why I, this black girl from America, would even be in the space let alone having a seat at this ‘table’.
There has also been times when others have also questioned my existence at these tables. Most of the time their bewildered faces and questions of “Why would I give up America for South Africa” came from a genuine place. But unfortunately, some other comments were very hurtful whether it was intended to be hurtful or not. Comments like, “I am too American for this or that,” or “I don’t speak English I speak American.” Although they were laughed off, after a while I myself started feeling very out of place. Even to the point I was questioning God’s will for me being in South Africa in the first place. I knew that coming to South Africa was all the way to the left…in theory it just didn’t make sense.
I wasn’t coming as part of an established, reputable programme to teach or even to study. I was not even officially invited by an organization to volunteer. My coming to South Africa was inherently God’s doing and Him putting situations and people in place to legitimize (for the world and my daddy) my quitting my full time teaching job, regular pay check, and comfortable life for a place I knew only a little about. To come and pursue a degree that although prestigious within the borders of this country, means absolutely nothing in the United States. And also at the time volunteering fulltime for a non-for-profit without receiving any type of remuneration. I was like Abraham. God told me to go, and that is exactly what I did…I went.
So almost two years into this journey, I started getting weary. I started doubting. I started questioning my decision to leave my life behind in the States for an uncertain, unstable, and at times uncomfortable life in South Africa.
But then I looked up one day and found myself at a table. It wasn’t by accident that I was sitting at this table. I didn’t just wander in and found an empty seat. No, my space was reserved at this table. There was a seat especially set aside for me. My name was on it! How and why can only be answered with: Jesus! It does not make any sense with all the influential, more qualified, more eloquent people in this town they would choose me. They would ask me to come and speak. To speak to their students attending this very prestigious and expensive school. The same black girl from America. Natural hair and all!
It does not make any sense that I would be asked to coordinate five other organizations’ maths and reading clubs; analyse data and write reports for funders; lead training sessions on how to implement curriculum for these clubs; and speak to families about the importance of math and literacy development at home. I have absolutely no experience or background in any of these areas. I had absolutely nothing in common with the people I was training or families I am speaking to. But yet I was there. Sitting at the ‘table’.
Despite my perceived short comings and inherent lack, I was there at the table. I didn’t have to squeeze my way into a seat either. I didn’t have to wait for a space or even beg for a reservation. My place was already reserved. My space was already designated. All I had to do was show up. In some cases, people came looking for me!
I am sure you have heard the saying: “God does not call the qualified, but qualifies the called.” I have been learning this and experiencing this first hand over and over again. For I know that who God calls He also equips. He also provides, enables, and qualifies. It is not man who determines my qualifications or justifies my purpose for existing at the table. I know I have been chosen for this time and for this place. It was predestined and preordained by my Father in Heaven. What God has ordained to be so no man can stop. All I have to do is avail myself. All I have to do is go.
Go expecting a place at the table. Go expecting room to be made for me. Go with an expectant heart that if God said it will be so then it already is.
Back in June, my friends and I did a 21 day Daniel Fast in the hopes of receiving more clarity from God about certain decisions we would be making and more power to do His will. The Sunday before we began our fast during a worship service at my church, God gave me a prophetic picture. In this picture was a table. It was a beautifully decorated table with fine linens, expensive china, and elaborate centrepieces. Also on this table was the most amazing spread of decadent and delicious foods. God told me I could have anything and everything on that table. It was all offered to me. All I needed to do was ask.
Little did I know during and after the 21 day fast God kept placing me at tables, literally and figuratively, where from the world’s point of view it made absolutely no sense for me to be there. But each time my space was reserved.
God has been making room for me in the most amazing ways this year. He has opened doors I didn’t even know existed. He gave me amazing options to pursue different opportunities that I never knew where even an option. He has made a way for me to learn and experience things I never knew were possible before coming to South Africa.
He keeps placing me at ‘tables’; this black girl from America. Natural hair and all. It makes absolutely no sense in the mind of man, but that is how I know it is God’s doing.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” – 1 Corinthians 1:27
Check out the many ‘Tables’ God placed me at this year: