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Addition by Way of Subtraction

“You don’t have a Swazi name” she stated as sweat dripped down her brow, a result of the beaming sun.

“No” I exclaimed, “no one has given me one.”

“Good,” she said with a grin on her face. “Your name will be Jabulie. Jabu for short.”

“Why Jabulile?” I asked with a puzzled look on my face.

Grinning from ear to ear she said, “Jabulile means joy, and you have brought me so much joy.”

Most people don’t know the proper terminology for two numbers added together. I, on the other hand, take delight in knowing uncommon and unimportant facts and information. The correct terminology would be addend, but I’ll get back to that.

After being in Eswatini for almost a year and a half, I finally received my Emaswati name Jabulile Mabuza. God placed me in here to minister, and I’ve decided to take this name on as my own. The name Jabulie adds value and importance and speaks to the woman God has created me to be. The lady who saw fit to name me lives in an impoverished area in Eswatini. Her way of life is very different from the “normal” life of an American. Although her lifestyle looks entirely different than mine, filled with hardships that I’ve never experienced, she chooses to find light and hope everywhere around her, particularly in me.

As we live out our lives the person who we are currently transforms into the person that we are meant to become. Each day the Lord adds more worth and meaning to our lives. He uses our situations and circumstance to shape the person that He has called us to become; while birthing new passions and desires in us.

As I continue to reflect on life, I pose this question: How has God added on to your life? There could be a plethora of answers but looking back over the past year of my life God has added on to my life in two particular ways. 1.) allowing me to experience wilderness seasons and 2.) consistently stripping me of my unrighteousness. Crazy to think of it, but by way of subtraction the Lord has so graciously added on to my life.

Recently I read a book by Christine Caine called “Unashamed.” In the book, Caine explains the journey of the Israelites through the wilderness which gives more insight into this addition-subtraction complex. Caine writes,

“the wilderness was a place filled with unknowns– but it was a land of great purpose. It was the place where the people’s wilderness mentalities, the negative mindset they developed while in captivity, would be exposed — all their wrong thoughts, attitudes, longings, and habits, all of their doubt, fear, unbelief, emptiness, and unforgiveness. But it also would be the place where God strengthen their hearts and souls. It was where He would transform their minds so that they would no longer think like defeated slaves but like victorious free people.”

In the wilderness, God uncovers all of our ungodliness and reveals the areas He’s still calling us to develop in. It’s most definitely uncomfortable and calls us to remove pieces of ourselves that Caine states above, but it helps us to become more of whom Christ calls us to be due to His sacrifice on the cross. In addition, it increases our capacity to withstand adversity. He adds on to us supernatural strength.

Since the wilderness season causes us to undergo so much self-analyzation so much of my unrighteousness is shown to me. Each time I walk through these seasons God reveals the ugly truth about myself and I open my eyes to places that I’ve ignored changing for so long. Due to his desire to consistently strip me of my unrighteousness he pushes me to become a purer reflection of Him, making me more like Him with every step I take along the journey.

Due to the way that the Lord has added onto my life I have the opportunity to be an addend in the life of others. There are two ways the Lord has used me to further the lives of others. First, the pursuit of supernatural joy. I am Jabulie. If I am choosing to walk in joy, then naturally others around me are experiencing joy as well. As a high influencer, I have the responsibility of stewarding the influence the Lord has graciously given to me and that means my joy. Lastly, largely because of my testimony, I have the ability to encourage others to walk in freedom by walking in mine. As I gambol around in my freedom people are able to see that no matter what has tried to keep us bound that freedom is attainable and free for all.

A declaration that I’m choosing to make this year is focusing on being intentional while making it a point to positively add to the lives of others.

So I’ll leave you with these questions to ponder?

  1. How has God added on to your life?
  2. How has He used these additions to add to the lives of others?

Stay encouraged my friend. There are so many days of addition coming your way, sometimes by way of subtraction.


  1. I truly marvel at how you CHOOSE to see your journey as a blessing. You’ve stepped beyond a comfort zone that many simply shy away from.

    Continue to allow the Lord to use you – your story touches more people than you even know. XOXO

  2. Thank you Tabatha for the words of encouragement. These words most definitely hit home, more than you could ever realize.

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