As I begin to write and share on a very personal subject, I cannot help but take a deep breathe to shake off familiar old and uncomfortable feelings.
I will forever remember this part of my childhood of feeling like a "little tin soldier", routine and religion without my permission.
My young Hindu mother adopted Christianity as an act of "tradition", "submission" and respect to her new husband, and so would it be for each family member.
At 5:00 pm we were to gather for Family Altar, a time of prayer, worship and reading of scripture.
My very strict father began with playing his guitar, we would all sing along to songs of worship which was the only thing I enjoyed actually, then we would read a scripture and end with a personal prayer of thanksgiving. Of course I was the one to race through the Lord's Prayer so I could enjoy the rest of my evening.
Then the day I dreaded the most would arrive, Sunday a day that meant I would have to wake up really early, dress up in a hideous dress and struggle to keep my eyes open for Sunday school.
Nobody had a choice to sleep in on a Sunday and missing Sunday school was not an option, I was very angry with my parents for forcing all of this unto me.
My mother grew more involved in her new faith and went to countless church services, some were early in the morning, and some in the afternoon which lasted the entire night.
I was my mother's shadow, I wanted to be so much like her, and was always with her, but secretly hoped we were out doing something fun instead of spending all that time in church.
Eventually my mother became a missionary and led a life completely devoted to serving others and Christ, I was only eleven and devastated that we had to move away from city , my friends, my grandparents and settle in a place that was far away, desolate, and now live a life of difficulty.
I remember eating a lot of vegetable and beans that were donated, and rarely eating meat or having a treat.
I now realise I was more upset that I had to share my mother with God and people in need who she spent hours praying for and counselling.
Looking back I now realise I was more upset that I had to share my mother with God and people in need who she spent hours praying for and counselling.
Twelve years ago my mother was diagnosed with an incurable disease called lupus, I stopped communicating with God for a while and was filled with anger and resent for a God who represented love and goodness.
During the twelve years my mother never stopped praying, encouraging people or believing that God would heal her.
Her body grew weak but her mind and heart remained confident and strong in God, and I thought who am I to stop believing in God if my mother through all of her pain can still find peace through her faith.
I mended my broken relationship with God and rallied around my mother in prayer and faith again, six months ago she passed away and everything I believed in was quickly removed from my heart.
I did not want to believe in God anymore and was so angry that my Mother had to suffer and did not receive her healing which we all believed for over a decade.
I wondered where was the Jesus that performed miracles and healed the sick, where was mercy and love for my Mother?
Three weeks after my mother's passing my friend had invited me to a healing school in the beautiful town of Potchefstroom, it was the last place I wanted to be but somehow I attended.
I sat in the church services heart-broken, and cynical with so many unanswered questions.
We were to practice in the days to follow of what we had learnt in the Healing School on the Outreaches.
Many groups took to the streets, clinics and hospital to pray for the sick.
I immediately shared with my group leader that I do not want to pray for people, I did not want to give anybody false hope and still see a person sick.
Everybody in the group prayed and people were being healed, on the second day I had no choice but to participate.
I prayed for a lady who was blind in one eye and afterwards she could see clearly. At the end of the week there were over a thousand miracles recorded.
The prayer was short and to the point, and we did not try to convert anybody to Christianity.
I still do not have the answers that weigh heavy on my heart, I am still grieving the loss of my mother but I believe without a doubt that her wish for me is to never give up on my faith, to never stop believing in God and to love God and others wholeheartedly like she did.
How did all of those people get their miracle of healing? I believe it was the ambition of God's love inside of us and the power of Jesus Christ, why didn't my Mother receive her miracle? I will know someday, but for now faith and love will always lead me even though it pains me at times.
Ahead of Easter 2017, The Huffington Post South Africa is delving into what faith and spirituality means to South Africans here and now. Against the backdrop of a renewed wave of thought around decolonisation, a new generation are rediscovering their traditional beliefs, while some are reconciling with Christianity. And on another note, we tell South Africa's real good news story: our remarkable and peaceful religious diversity. In a world fractured along religious extremism, we have a large Christian population with significant Muslim and Jewish communities, who often come together peacefully and with purpose, as has been evinced at the memorials for departed struggle stalwart, Ahmed Kathrada. Read the rest of the special report here, or choose from our selection below:
- Decolonising Faith: Here's How Some Africans Are Rediscovering Their Ancestors And Spirituality
- Sipho Hlongwane: I Was Taught Not To Remember My Grandfather. This Is Why I Do.
- South Africa's Untold Success Story: A Christian's Nation's Peaceful History With A Muslim Minority
- It's Nearly Easter: Here's What You Need to Know In The Run Up