Raped, divorced, angry and today God is using her. Who are we talking about? Lungi Ngaphi a woman who has learnt that God is truly the Only Source of joy and life. Her story will resonate with so many women who have been abused, physically and sexually and women who have wondered what is the meaning of their lives. Lungi believed that the God who her great-grandfather was talking about is able to heal and deliver her. Today she is a living testimony of God's goodness. Here is our heart to heart interview with her.
Inside Woman Online: How did you come to understand Jesus as you do now?
Lungi Ngaphi: I was led to Christ by my great-grandfather at the age of 12. It was an experience that was very challenging as a teenager. But as I was growing up getting and having to go through the speed humps of life, I began to understand that the only way to communicate my misery, my pain, my joy and misunderstandings was through prayer to Christ who died for me.
Inside Woman Online: As a child you were sexually abused. Briefly take us through the story?
Lungi Ngaphi: I was raped at the age of seven and the perpetrator is someone I knew. He lived in the same yard as me. He was armed with a knife and he kept it next to the couch where he raped me. That was a weapon he used to silence me during the whole saga. It was a shameful experience and I ended up thinking that it was my fault and I should have ran away or said something, but then again no one asked me anything even after he was caught in the act by my aunt. Instead I was given a good hiding for doing dirty things. I didn’t even know what was happening, all I knew was it left me with a sense of feeling cheap as a little girl. I felt like my surroundings were just not protective of me and maybe I deserved it.
Inside Woman Online: At what point did you realise you needed help, and how did you seek it?
Lungi Ngaphi: I only realised I needed help at the age of 25 after giving birth to a beautiful baby boy. I was depressed in my marriage and I was once more a victim of abuse, this time through the hands of a man I loved. Again, I was reminded of how harsh men can be towards women.
This one time I exploded in my supervisor’s office and I told her that nothing is right in my life. I even tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose of pills and I was caught before I swallowed them. My supervisor intervened and I was taken to a psychologist. I was calm for a while but I still faced serious challenges in my marriage. I was being abused.
Inside Woman Online: What is the one challenge that you are still faced with as a result of your abuse? And how is God helping you through it?
Lungi Ngaphi: I cannot stand a man who shouts at a woman and treats her like she is a nobody, because for a long time I was told by my ex that I will not make it without him. He would at times say ‘If I were to leave him even a dog would laugh at me’.
God is helping me with anger and now I am able to address a man who treats a woman badly without being angry and feeling like strangling him.
Inside Woman Online: What are some of the most common mistakes churches and Christian organisations make when it comes to responding to sexual abuse?
Lungi Ngaphi: Sadly, many Churches do not discuss these things. Their main focus is the growth of the church and while people are dying in their own home. Few churches encourage families to openly discuss issues of abuse.
Inside Woman Online: Forgiveness is a huge part of our healing. How do you forgive those who have wronged and hurt you?
Lungi Ngaphi: It took years for me to forgive. I had to continuously speak to God about letting go of my pain and I had to learn to receive freedom for my own heart. I read the Word and a lot of books.
Inside Woman Online: Our God is a God of all comfort. Who has been the person of influence the most and why?
Lungi Ngaphi: Even though he has passed on, my Great-grandfather is the one person who greatly influenced me. He taught me so much about life.
And my mother too who I call my Rose has taught me a lot about being calm in the midst of chaos.
Inside Woman: Tell us about your relationship with your grandfather? What was it like?
Lungi Ngaphi: He was my everything, mother, father, friend and pillar. He gave me hope that in Christ I will make it.
Inside Woman Online: If you could ask your grand-father one question today, what would it be?
Lungi Ngaphi: I would ask him if he misses me? And if he would you come back just to see how I am doing now that I am single again? And I wonder if he is disappointed by the decision that I took to divorce my husband?
I would also tell him that I will not exchange him for the world. And I would ask him to help me choose a good husband.
Inside Woman Online: How did your idea of your book come about? Did God call you to write it?
Lungi Ngaphi: I was very hurt and angry when I wrote my book and I wanted to tell it all. Nobody really knew my pain and it seemed as if the only way to get my healing was to write it down. I never knew that I would be helping so many people through this book. I did to receive my own healing. Right in the middle of the book, God spoke to me and said this is another form of testifying to the nations. I told God that I aspire to inspire before I die, and I need His wisdom to do so.
Inside Woman Online: Why was it so important for you to tell your story?
Lungi Ngaphi: I wanted to testify about God’s goodness. If it was not for the Lord I do not want to know where I would be today. The world tends to teach people to pretend to be act well even when they are dying inside. Because of these perceptions, many people are afraid to tell or write their stories because they are afraid of being judged. I realised that out of a great mess God can create greatness.
Inside Woman Online: Life after divorce is lonely—even when you’ve got Jesus. How did God help you to let go and find peace after your divorce?
Lungi Ngaphi: During the process of divorce I felt hurt and destroyed and I had many regrets. I also regretted not living him sooner. After the whole process I felt confused and at the same time happy that I pulled out eventually. Now I had to learn to fully trust God for my survival. The support of my pastors and friends and some family members was great in that I now see the positive results of my decision to exit. I prayed a lot for peace that surpasses all understanding and it did not happen overnight, but it came day by day. Prayer changes things. When you don’t feel like praying that is when you should pray!
Inside Woman Online: Do you think Christians tend to put up with a bad marriage longer than non-Christians?
Lungi Ngaphi: Yes we do because we tend to live in our relationships for other people more than for ourselves. We are told to endure and it doesn’t matter the situation so as to avoid being an 'embarrassment' in the community.
Inside Woman Online: Being single also has its challenges. How are you making it work for you?
Lungi Ngaphi: I am busy at work and I do a lot of community work through my Church. I have sweet friends and a loving son. As a result I am reminded every time to go out and enjoy my singlehood. I have never been this happy in my life as I am right now.
Inside Woman Online: What do you do to help stay focused on the Lord day to day?
Lungi Ngaphi: I am myself when I speak to the Lord. I read my Bible and pray every day. I do motivational talks when needed.
Inside Woman Online: You’re a young woman in ministry. Tell us a little bit about how God is working that call out in your life?
Lungi Ngaphi: The Bible says do not let anyone look down on you because you are young. Understanding the plans that God has for my life is the best gift ever. He has placed me in different places to meet different people for a reason. I want to speak to the world about my God and the things He has done. Each person should find their purpose in God while they are still young.
Inside Woman Online: Do you think that as women we are under pressure to succeed?
Lungi Ngaphi: Yes at times it is because of the pressures of this world and because you are a Christian woman you are expected to be this super woman that has it all. It is like you are not allowed to cry or fail.
Inside Woman Online: How do we make sure that we are God led and not flesh/world led?
Lungi Ngaphi: We need to associate ourselves with the right people who are living right. We need to listen more to the facts of the Word of God about our lives not what the world is saying about us. When you have a solid relationship with God, He will lead you to a better life.
Inside Woman Online: How do we as women steward our gifts well?
Lungi Ngaphi: Do not compete with others. Focus on what you are good at as a woman. Make sure that your heart is pure and clean when others succeed in front of you. God blesses those that embrace others. Practice giving, it is the best way to win God’s heart. Your gift would grow after you practice what the Word says.
Inside Woman Online: What is one piece of advice you would give someone who is searching for direction in life?
Lungi Ngaphi: Their first stop in life is their faith in God. Then after that each one must do the following: SHUTUP meaning: S-stop H-hearing U-unnecessary T-things that U-undermines your P-potential.
Inside Woman: Is there any advice that you offer to women who are going through what you went through?
Lungi Ngaphi: Depend on God and never allow yourself to be away from His presence. Never give up on God because He won’t give up on you. The best relationship that can convert your chemist bag into a cosmetic bag is that of Jesus Christ!
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