As I mentioned the other day, six years ago at this time I was in South Africa. It was a journey that my online community and my church smallgroup were an integral part of. They got me there in so many ways, offering financial help, encouraging messages through twitter and blog comments and praying for me (and everyone else I was on six planes there and back so I wouldn’t have to deal with puking passengers!). While in South Africa I helped at a holiday club in a community centre, and some of the girls from England taught the kids a song with actions. The chorus goes “the rainbows in the sky show that God’s promises are true”.
I remember one day, coming out of the holiday club after some folks from an organisation came to film what we were doing. It had been a difficult day for me. I had hurt my knee badly one night at a church service (don’t ask – to this day nobody knows how I managed to do it) and had been doing a lot of the holiday club and fitting glass in a school’s window on one leg. We had been singing the song…and came out to find a rainbow across the sky of Bhekuwandle.
I have a tattoo on my foot to remind me of that trip. Months before I went, I saw a vision and heard a word from God. The word was ‘Themba’ – I had no clue what it meant and in my ignorance thought it might be someone’s name. When I got to South Africa, I asked two guys from a local church – one Zambian, one South Africa – if it was a name of someone or if it was a word in any African languages they knew of. It turns out in Zulu the word means ‘Hope and faith’ (or so they told me).
I wasn’t sure about getting tattoo – my mother is totally against them. Some cultures are totally against them and I was concerned about travelling to places where they don’t allow people with tattoos to swim etc. Every time I prayed about getting a tattoo, I would go out and soon after see a rainbow across the sky.
So I got the word themba inked onto my skin for all eternity!
A month ago, I was feeling down in the dumps, frustrated with life and all the things I thought God had promised and let me down on. I was having a real grump and groan about it. Then all of a sudden I looked out into the garden to see not just one, but two rainbows across the sky.
To me, rainbows are the universe’s reminder to keep having hope and faith, that it will all turn out ok in the end. Even in the midst of rain and cloud…there is colour and light. 🙂