Written by Francis Kalamba

“Unprecedented times” is the general term to describe this year. Our normal has been disrupted, and you may have more questions than answers. You may even question God’s sovereignty and justice, as I did when my mother passed away from cancer on January 10.

Growing up, my mother was the anchor of faith in a household full of boys. Alongside my father, she supported her five boys, and in hindsight, I am grateful for her prayers. They protected me from a host of potential pitfalls. At home, I was taught about the Bible and godly principles from a young age, but I never thought the teaching was practical, which lead to my rebellion.

I didn’t understand what it meant to live for Christ. As a result, I associated with the wrong crowds, ignored wise counsel, and lived a carefree life. I’ll never forget the night I defied my mother and went to a party without her consent. I was a junior in high school, and a group of my peers decided to attend a party even though the neighbourhood had a bad reputation. In my mind, meeting girls outweighed the risk.

But after I left the party with some friends, some hoodlums attempted to steal my wallet. I wasn’t going to let them off easy, so I resisted. In a flash, I felt cold steel rattle against my skull, knocking me out. Later, I found out that steel was a pistol. My face was badly injured, but I thank God for preserving me.

When I got home I expected the biggest scolding of my life. Instead, my mother consoled me with her supportive words and nursed my wounds. That night marked a turning point. It set the foundation for understanding who I am in my heavenly Father’s eyes. Now, I realize my mother’s show of grace is what God does for me every day. That is, He shows me mercy and guides me along the best path for my life.

As I began to mature in faith, I joined a local church and got baptized. I faced more challenges and obstacles than ever, but every setback was an opportunity for me to witness God’s miracles of unfailing love, protection, and true freedom found in Jesus.

I still make plenty of mistakes, but I don’t need to be weighted by burdens because He carries my burdens. Even now, with life flipped upside down, I recall His faithfulness. Yes, it’s been a hard year, and I have cried many tears, but I know in whom I believe. My mom died at 50 years old, and until her last breath, she believed.

Her faith is my faith, and it is what has shaped me to be who I am. Until my earthly death, I will run the race with perseverance and strength. I press on, toward the purpose for which I was born. To be ready, as Esther says, for such a time as this.

Star: Ode to Esther

It all began in the summer of 69’
The birth of a star in the heart of Africa
Momma dearest was fearless and gave glory to God

She stood strong and made sure her family turned away from wrong 

Her children call her blessed and her husband a crown jewel
I remember, when I was a child, she helped me excel in school

She never gave up on her family, always prayed, and hoped for the best.
Now no longer active in our lives, but she’ll always be missed

Until the day I fulfil my heavenly mandate
I will shine until the light of life burns out inside me 
Then I will have shown the world what a star-child looks like
For Esther is the star that birthed the boy inside me

The boy became a man, and the man don’t fully understand
The ways of God are beyond reason, but nonetheless I must stand
By the grace God’s given me I will adhere to His sovereign plans

It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later—you were too good to be true 
Thank God hope is alive in the One—Jesus Christ
Thank God for living testimony—the best gift of my life
The story of unwavering faith amid pain so deep
My mom was a fighter
My mom spoke the truth
My mother radiated like a blossom in the mild spring sun
My mom was a joy and more pleasant than roses
My mom was so lovely and possessed inner beauty
My mom I will remember for the rest of my days—a shining star, a radiant light, my best friend 
Forever in my heart 
Je t’adore, Maman