I started SPARKLE WITH LOVE because of the emotional bullying that I encountered when I was in High School. This made me question my beauty and my value very often but by God’s grace, I had support from my family and my faith as a Christian played a huge role in affirming my value. However, most girls do not have family that support them when they experience bullying, let alone family to build their esteem and make them realize their worth.
This experience was not a joyful ride at all, nevertheless, you can’t be mad at the things that you’ve been through as an individual as those are the some of the things that God uses to build our character and our faith. It is because of the end result that this ‘not-so-lovely’ yet ‘worth it’ experience that I felt the need to start this initiative where young girls’ value can be affirmed and therefore, create a movement that is led by strong, bold and confident young women that are not ashamed of Jesus Christ, thus not ashamed of themselves, as when you give your life to Christ, “it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me” (Galathians 2:20 NIV).
When I was in High School, I was ridiculed for my faith, my culture, my complexion, how I articulated some words, and sometimes, even my personality. I was labelled as a ‘church girl’ that was too perfect and because of this, I often felt restricted from fully being myself. I felt as though I couldn’t dress in a certain way, make comments about a specific TV programme or fashion trend because ‘I’m a church girl’, however this arose because of the perception that people had about me and to some extent, how I portrayed myself.
If there is one occasion that I so vividly remember and that has impacted me for the better because of its outcome, it has to be this: I remember showing up to school one day with purple eye-shadow on my eyelids and lip-gloss as my makeup for the day, I left the house that morning thinking that I looked my best and I would “fit in” and be accepted by my friends at the time. To my disappointment, when I arrived at school that morning, I was welcomed with a bad energy of laughter that made me feel so ashamed and embarrassed, I wished I could’ve disappeared into one of the pillars that surrounded my then friends and I. I tried to pretend as if it did not hurt me so I decided to laugh with them as they were having the time of their lives! But deep down I was hurting. When my mother came to fetch me from school that afternoon, I could not wait to get home and cry to her. I told her what had happened and she said something that changed my life forever, she uttered these words to me: “Tirhani, you are fearfully and wonderfully made and you are of a chosen generation. You are called to be the light and be different from this world, that’s why no matter what you do, you’ll never fit into the standards of this world because Jesus created you to stand out and shine His light bright.” After this, I wiped away my tears and walked towards my tall mirror, looked at the girl that I saw, a girl who was trying to get validation form society just so she could fit in and have a sense of belonging, I saw a girl that had so much potential and big dreams , but she refused to let the negative declarations of men come to pass. I declared that I am a child of God and I will not succumb to the pressures that were put before me. I declared that I am beautiful and I do not need any purple eye-shadow to affirm that. I declared that I know my worth because it is found in Christ and Christ lives in me so why should I be worried? Why should I be discouraged that I don’t look like the ‘rest of them’? Why should I be sad that my crush hadn’t noticed me? Why should I be worried that my hairstyle wasn’t up to date? Why should I be ashamed of the beautiful black South African Tsonga, Christian girl who hails from the beautiful province of Limpopo in South Africa, so rich in culture and diversity yet united.
During that week when I was reading my bible, I came across the scripture Psalms 139 which has become one of my all time favorite scriptures. Psalms 139:13-14(NLT) reads “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it.” This was more than enough affirmation for me; the fact that I was created by a God that sits so high on the throne with all power and grace in His hands, a God that is so majestic and sovereign, a God that loved us so much that He sent His son Jesus Christ to die for us, just so He could have a relationship with us; the fact that I was created by such an amazing God whose workmanship is marvelous, I mean, what more do you need after that??
However, it is not my place to condemn those that willingly or unwillingly bring other girls down, because I am not perfect and I understand that in the same way Jesus loves me, He loves them too. Instead it is my duty to respond in love and not retaliate with anger and bitterness, but to also be wise and distance myself away from such situations. That was one of the key points that helped me deal with the nasty experiences that I went through. I knew that all the negative and ugly comments I received, it was not because of me but it was a reflection of the other person, but because Jesus died for the same people that we think do not deserve our forgiveness and our love, who are we to hold back? Often, as human beings we tend to always want to fight back, sometimes even when it’s not worth it. I learnt to respond with love and allow God to do the rest, which if I have to be completely honest, this has proven to be a tremendous miracle with God always showing up and showing off!!
With all that being said, it has become my desire to see young girls rise to know their worth and not have to go through a phase of constant doubt about who they are and try to fit, yet they weren’t called to fit in, but to STAND OUT. I aspire to see a generation of girls that will leap above the limitations and labels placed upon them by society; just because someone else does not see their worth.
In addition to that, it takes one person to be mature enough in a ‘situationship’ to rise, dust themselves off and sparkle. A sparkle is not a huge reaction but the outcome is great because it has the ability to shed a bit of light in darkness, and thus attract people to Jesus. That is why I started SPARKLE WITH LOVE.
So SPARKLE WITH LOVE, young girl. You are valued!! xo