God is so Good, and every time we talk to one of his daughters, His Grace and life is renewed in us. In this heart to heart interview we interview a woman of God, Olita Paulina Khumalo. Like many women who are matured today in the Lord, she has had to face trials and testing that proved her faith and deepened her faith in God. Her life is a testimony of God's second chances and Grace. Here, she shares simple yet profound truths that will help you to re-evaluate your relationship with God and enjoy your Salvation.
Inside Woman Online: Would you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to faith in Christ?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: First and foremost I am a child of God, and that is my no one identity. I am an only daughter with 2 younger brothers, I'm married with 2 daughters aged 22 and 16 I also have a 3 year old grand daughter. Since the age of about 9 I was a full member of a traditional Church and I was very active in the youth Church. In 1993 I got born again and unfortunately due to lack of proper discipleship I somehow fell off the wagon but I thank God that on the 4th of January 2004 I re-dedicated my life to the Lord and this time around I was blessed to be in a Church which had very good programmes of discipleship and I got to have a deeper understanding about Salvation and my relationship with God grew stronger. That was also when the Lord spoke clearly to me about what He has called for and I knew then that He wanted me to be a pastor.
Inside Woman Online: You were raised in Church. How has your view of Jesus changed since being born again? How do you define Jesus now?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: Growing up in Church taught me about the existence of God but being born again opened my eyes to the existence of God's Son Jesus. He is my Saviour, a Fried and I have regular conversations with Him and I know now that He is the only true Messiah and it is only by allowing Him to be Lord and Saviour in our lives that we are reconciled back to God the Father.
Inside Woman Online: Growing up, what was your biggest struggle as a woman and how did God help you?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: My father passed on when I was 11 years old and my mother never re-married. As a young girl I struggled with the need for a father figure in my life and that together with the fact that I had weight problems led me to have self esteem issues. I could never make or keep close relationships with my peers so my life was very lonely. My biggest problem was that all my peers seemed to have everything I was longing for, they had their dads and where slim and in my eyes more beautiful than me. It was only when I came across John 1 verse 12, " but to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave them the right to become children of God". I started to see God as my Father and that I could go to Him with all my insecurities. He helped me to start to view myself in a positive way. I am now able to stand in front of hundreds of people and preach His Word because of the confidence I now have not only in myself but through Him.
Inside Woman Online: You are team member of the pastoral team at your Church. What is the mandate that God has given you now?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: Yes I am, actually I am the only female amongst four other male pastors. My mandate has not changed from the time God first spoke to me about what He has called me for. My mandate is to help and encourage women like me who struggle with issues of fathers who are not in their lives for whatever reason. God has healed me from my own insecurities and struggles to be a testimony to others that if you allow Him into your life God is able and is willing to change every negativity into a testimony and that testimony is this: He is indeed a Father to the fatherless.
Inside Woman Online: How do we as women in leadership steward power well?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: The only thing which helps me to stay grounded is to remember that the calling on my life is bigger than me. Every victory is not about me or for me but it is for me to go out and help another woman.
Inside Woman Online: What have you learned as to how women leaders differ from men as leaders?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: As women we are differ from men. Even though we can be equally gifted, wise and intelligent God has given us an ability to use our maternal instincts and emotions especially when dealing with wounded souls. Our ability to use both our hearts and brains gives us an advantage over our male counterparts.
Inside Woman Online: Women in a leadership role are still a minority - everywhere. Given this status, how can those like you truly serve as role models to other women?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: Personally, what I try to do everywhere is to make my presence felt by anyone I come in contact with and I hope that they would gain something positive out of our encounter. I try to leave everyone with God's hope and in His ability to change their lives for the better. My opinion is that as women no matter how low our numbers can be we should always strive to be effective in what we do. We should also empower others and be good role models to young girls.
Olita Paulina Khumalo: Unfortunately even in "Christiandom" women still have to prove their abilities. Even though God has anointed you for ministry, it is still a a struggle for you to even pass on a message from the Lord . And the most unfortunate is the fact that even other women don't support women in ministry as they should do.
Inside Woman Online: There was a survey recently done and it showed that Christians worldwide are too busy for God. Do you think Christians are addicted to being busy?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: What I found even in my own life is that we get trapped in being busy with the things of God doing things for Him, in His name and we actually forget about Him.
What the Lord has laid heavily in my spirit especially these days is that He longs to have intimacy with us. Lately I find myself withdrawing more and more and spending more time alone with Him. It is very wonderful how He gets to speak to me about His plans for our lives and the secrets of His will for us and how we have somehow missed the mark in as far as how we view Him as God. I recently came across this quote, "The distance between you and God is the thought that there is a distance between you and God". When I meditated on this God spoke to me about how He dwells in us and how we run around doing things for Him whilst we neglect Him. He dwells in us and He is very lonely cause we don't have time to talk and engage with Him. He values intimate fellowship with us more than the things we think we are doing for Him.
Inside Woman Online: Like so many of us, you have also been caught in that trap. What was your turning point?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: It was the revelation that He prefers to spend time with me rather than me running around being busy with what I thought was for Him. Revelations 3 verse 20 says, " behold I stand at the door and knock if anyone hears and listens to and heeds my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him and he will eat with Me". This verse speaks of a God who longs for fellowship with us, this verse does not speak about a call to sinners but He is calling His children to a deep fellowship with Him.
Inside Woman Online: Do you think we get out of balance in life because we don’t follow through with our priorities?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: Definitely, in Genesis 1 verse 1 the Bible says that in the beginning God, which simply means He should be at the very top of our priority lists and the rest must be secondary.
Inside Woman Online: God has called us to a simple life. Why do we always have a need to complicate it?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: The problem started when sin came into the picture but we thank God for Jesus because things are now back in the correct order if we can just remember that everything on this planet was created for us. We complicate things by thinking that they belong to someone else and we have to work hard to achieve or get these things. The Bible says they were created for us through Jesus.
Inside Woman Online: Do you think that the lack of self-care for believers, the inability to create boundaries creates a breeding ground for sin?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: Yes I do. 3 John 1 verse 2 the Bible tells us that in as much as our spirit prospers and grows so should our bodies. It is our responsibility to look well after our bodies by eating well and stop with bad habits which compromises our health.
Inside Woman Online: What encouragement would you give to weary women who feel disconnected from the Lord?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: God loves us unconditionally and He has promised that He will never leave nor forsake us so if you have been away from Him due to whatever reason, He is always ready to receive us back. Like the father of the prodigal son, God is ready to run towards us with open arms and welcome us back home.
Inside Woman Online: What do you say to women who are busy but can’t change because so many people are depending (family, community and Church) on them?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: It is not wrong to be busy with looking after your family, community etc, but if these things causes you to neglect your relationship with God then you need to make a change and realign your priorities. We need Him to recharge us and make us stronger for the benefit of everyone around us who needs us.
Inside Woman Online: Do you think Christian women carry unnecessary expectations on their shoulders?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: Yes and no. Yes if the expectations are imposed by other people and no if the expectations are based on what the Word of God teaches us with regards to our responsibilities.
Olita Paulina Khumalo: I have been married to Bonga Khumalo since 16 November 2013 and we both have 2 children each from previous marriages. We were blessed to be given another chance at marriage.
Inside Woman Online: Having been married for so long, how do you define marriage now?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: I first got married at the age of 16 and I had 2 girls from the marriage then was still a mystery. But this time around marriage to me means being able to minister to another person's needs and not being selfish about my actions.
Inside Woman Online: How do you balance your personal needs and family needs?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: I have come to learn that I am a better wife, mother if I take care of myself. I now realize that it is impossible to give out of and empty bank so I spend time making me a better person be it my studying the Word of God, books, learning new skills etc. This seems to work very well for me.
Inside Woman Online: Where do you see your mother’s influence on your own life?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: We don't really have a strong relationship but we understand one another and it works for us. Unfortunately I had to figure a lot of things for myself and I wouldn't have made it through a lot of things if it was not for the type of relationship I have with God. I have learned to forgive a lot of past issues with my mom through God's help.
Inside Woman Online: What are you words of advice to share with women, who may have been given a vision from God, yet have not had the privilege of seeing it fulfilled in their lives?
Olita Paulina Khumalo: When God gives you a vision He will create a way for it to come to pass, we should not depend on human connections and favours from friends , we need to allow Him to open the right doors at the right time for us, we should wait upon Him, His timing is perfect, He is never too early or too late He is always on time.