In the thick of it…

bp3It had been an interesting couple of weeks and if I’m being honest, one heck of an emotional roller coaster. All sorts of emotion were felt; the highs and the lows.

Every now and then we all have those moments when we feel like we are definitely in the thick of it… especially with so many complexities surrounding every single situation that you begin to wonder that with so many pieces to the puzzle how is it going to work itself out.

So I found  myself shedding silent tears that really reflected the heaviness within. Silence became an avenue through which I was reminded of life’s complications. So I felt overwhelmed.

I was then reminded the only thing I could possibly do especially when things are beyond my control was to Pray.

Cliché isn’t it? But it was either that or I keep going the way I was, and feeling helpless. Now with praying, I knew someone was listening. Someone who got it and understands the depth of emotions I was feeling and that in itself is comforting. It didn’t mean that things automatically fell into place the minute I started praying but it did mean that I gave myself the opportunity to have FAITH.

Sometimes what keeps a lot of people (like myself) going in life especially with the constant challenges thrown at them, is not the fact that they are very strong or what have you. It’s really because you get to a point where the only thing you can actually do to help yourself is have faith.

Someone told me that whenever in rough times we need to remind ourselves that all things work together for the good of them that love God. Now before we come to see that ‘good’ may take a few years but at least something is in the works. We however must learn to remain in love with God. Understanding that separating yourself from God during the difficult times ends up worsening the case; because now you are definitely not sure if things are going to work out for your good.

Difficult I know; but you see with life, it’s a consistent learning process. I’m beginning to learn that you prepare for the worst while earnestly hoping for the best. Now this should not be done out of doubt but out of a place of peace that God’s will be done. Even Jesus Christ prayed to get out of dying on the cross but ultimately gave room for God’s will to be done. And His will is always best.

One final thing, I’ll leave you all with is that regardless of how murky life gets, you don’t stop living. If we let it, life has a way of sucking out all the joy we have; so we don’t. We learn to fight for our peace, focusing on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. We say no to depression, to heaviness, to hopelessness and to bitterness. And we say Yes to Joy, Peace and Hope.

 

Love and Blessings…

 

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God is For You

support-handsSometimes we are not sure our stand with God. Especially if you feel like you’ve not been on your best behaviour or you could have done something better or treated someone better. You sometimes think why can’t I get this whole Christian thing right? I’m up today and I’m down tomorrow… its like the moment I take two steps forward, the next time I’m taking three steps backwards. Yep annoying and sometimes it makes you not want to make the effort so you decide you know what I’m not just good enough; and subconsciously it begins to affect the confidence you have on God’s love for you. I’m not just speaking out of some abstract knowledge this is me a lot of the time.

But I realised something that I’d thought would be helpful to you all. Something that keeps me going, not give up easily both in my stellar times and in my not so stellar times is that God is for me and on my side and his love for me is consistent. May sound cliché but you’ll be surprised how many people struggle to believe this ALL the time, myself included.

You see sometimes leading this Christian life in a world that dictates we do otherwise can be truly difficult; especially when a lot of “things” the bible clearly discourages are deemed as normal and the idea that “everyone” engages in it may lightens the burden that we may be wrong. So sometimes we are tempted to relax on certain lifestyles in bid to be more accepting or to just fit in after-all as Christians we need to “fit in” to be able to reach and touch lives? well I don’t know about that. The point however I’m trying to make is that we need to stop looking outside and using it as a benchmark of how we lead our lives.

We need to look inwards and see what God is convicting you of as person and use that as a yardstick for your life.

I’m learning lately that every Christian do not have the same path here on earth. So we can’t even look at other Christians and use it as a sole compass to direct our ship. Because to be honest you may end up feeling either inadequate or yet still better than some others. And before you know it you miss the point.

Another thing is for you to remember that God’s love for you is not to be judged by how you feel about that idea. Don’t reduce God’s love for you to just feelings and then make it a give and take sort of game. God is not trying to play ping pong with your heart so stop doing that to yourself. He doesn’t stop and never stops loving you… end of! Contrary to a lot of thought He is not trying to catch you out if anything He is trying to pull you in closer.

So whenever you fall short, sincerely ask for forgiveness and the grace to be and do better. And if the enemy tries to whisper to you that you’re not deserving of God’s love, you catch that thought and speak out to yourself that it is a lie and God is for you and you may not be where you want to be but you’re not where you used to be.

One last thing always remember especially when you’re in difficult times that those times always pass regardless. And KEEP PRAYING because those difficult times can be our most vulnerable of times and hence the need to hold even more tightly to the only one from whom we can draw strength. Speaking from experience He truly does become our strength in times of weakness. Don’t get me wrong you may be mad at God for letting you have such difficulties and it’s ok for a while but don’t stay mad because you give the devil an upper hand over your life. You tell God to help you not be mad at him and give you the grace to hold on to him tightly and He will.

God doesn’t want us running away from Him or seeing him as the not so good God. He is very keen to always be on your side and have you on his side so you can lead the fulfilled life he’s called you into please let Him.

Love and Blessings…

Trust Issues

Last year in 2014, I decided to take up swimming lessons; although I previously had a few of my friends try to teach me but I was too terrified of sinking/drowning. As you can imagine I was scared and excited at the same time.

Anyways so I and my friend signed up and thankfully by the end of the 10 week course I did learn how to swim. But there was a problem. I would only swim only by the sides of the pool because I could hold on to the walls should I get scared. However when I had my friends around I find my fears were not as heightened and I would take full advantage of the pool. Have in mind that I only swam at the university’s gym pool at the time and there were life guards consistently on standby; but I wouldn’t dare swim in the middle of the pool or even try new tricks if I didn’t have a friend with me that day.

I had trust issues and quickly understood it was a knowledge thing. I didn’t trust the life guards- not because I doubted their skills but because I did not know them as individuals to trust my life in their hands. You see, because I ‘knew’ my friends I was able to have a higher trust level that they would help should something go wrong while I was swimming.

I realized quickly that is was a similar situation when it comes to truly trusting God. We hear about how all powerful and mighty God is; some of us might even sing about it every now and then. But when we are actually faced with situations where this trust on God’s al-mightiness is required, we gravely fall short- well I gravely fall short.

God helped me to understand that just like my trust level for different individuals varied based on my knowledge of them, so it is with Him. And to fully trust Him, I must give myself to truly knowing Him.

Part of Daniels 11:32 reads- “but those that KNOW their God, shall be strong and do exploits”

I used to settle for just the teachings I had at church and not really dedicate time to understanding or at least try to understand something about my creator. In truly knowing someone, there has to be at least some form of relationship existing between both parties. Yet many Christians although we claim to have a relationship with God don’t actually do. If you read the bible daily mostly to tick off the box of necessary Christian duties of the day or you pray to God and don’t wait to actually hear if He’s speaking back or you go to church or give to charity because you think that’s what you’re supposed to do, then I’m afraid to say it’s more of a religion than a relationship here.

I learned that you still carry out the aforementioned practices while in a relationship with God but the difference is- WHY you do them. Having a relationship with God I find, makes these practises more the acts of love and devotion than acts of religion.

Some of the benefits I see in my life because of my growing knowledge of God through my relationship with him are; being very much assured of my salvation; not feeling guilty should I happen to miss church one Sunday; learning that God is not set on catching me out and judging me should I slip up but is more of a loving father that is ever so gracious especially in times of our weakness.  Also learning that as a father loves his child and willing to do favors for him/her so is God with his own.

He is always willing to help out in the littlest of ways should you ask him; and more recently I learnt that since God is for and with me, I have an edge over the powers of darkness and when I am faced with life’s challenges it wouldn’t be the end of me.

One last scripture I’d love to leave you all with is Jeremiah 29:13- “You will SEEK Me and FIND Me when you SEARCH for me with ALL YOUR HEART”

Trust is built with time and we need to allow ourselves the opportunity to truly know God day in day out even if its in the littlest of way…. It really does help with your trust issues I can testify to that.

Love and Blessings….

Fight for Your Peace

peaceful blogSo I woke up one morning, trying to figure out how my day would progress while trying to get ready and all. Then I started to feel this heaviness and I felt my attitude was turning towards a direction that I didn’t want it to go. Funny thing was, I had no reason to feel the way I felt and I knew if I didn’t watch it, my day would turn sour. I started realising that lately at the time it had been a hassle to keep my peace so that morning I decided to play a sermon by Joyce Meyer to distract me while I continued getting ready. Funny thing was the broadcast was about fighting for your peace and one of the ways she suggested we do that is starting your day expecting something good to happen. She also suggested we start our day saying out loud “this is the day that the lord has made and I will be glad and rejoice in it”.

Well later on that morning I went ahead to study Matthew 6:25-34 where Jesus was teaching about not worrying for our basic day to day needs but what especially caught my attention was verse 34 (MSG); “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time come”.

From that scripture I was reminded how easily I lost my peace and joy because I kept trying to figure out what will happen tomorrow and how I may be able to control the outcome (I am not God so I don’t know why I even try); and the more thought I would put into it the more I started to worry about things that may or may not happen. I also realised that I had started psyching myself to not expect my day to go the way I hoped so as not to get disappointed hence my occasional sour mood; and I came to realise that mindset is a twisted perspective that will make you lose your hope.

Joyce Meyer said something that morning that resonated with me. She said if we are worried about something happening or not happening, chances are it may well happen or not happen; so what’s the use of getting yourself worked up- up until the time it does or does not happen. Instead give yourself the gift of a positive mindset, not allowing yourself to lose your joy and peace because it should in the first place not be based on your circumstances but on Jesus Christ the prince of peace.

I know it’s easier said than done because even the devil will not be at rest until we lose our hope, our peace and our joy. He plants thoughts in our hearts that if we are not careful would make us start getting agitated over nothing and that’s why scriptures instructs us to cast down imaginations, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). The book of Psalms goes further to tell us to “search for peace and work to maintain it”.

It is a continuous effort to maintain our peace and joy but by the grace of God it is possible because His strength is perfected in our weaknesses. Some of the ways I find works for me is continously giving my self to God’s word, through bible study and sermons, church fellowship, talking to friends/ family especially  those in the faith, confessing positive thoughts also helps.

There are obviously a host of things that can cause us to lose our peace such as sin, strife, pending obedience (disobedience), etc. and we have to also be sensitive enough and ask God what exactly it is that is making us lose our peace; and Him being a good God would always show us if we listen closely/ honestly enough. His thoughts for us as thoughts of peace and not of evil to give us a future and a hope and as we set out to fight for our peace we have to also trust that God himself is in this fight with us.

 

Love and blessings…

Looking for the right Church?

Two men pray at Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman opened fire on school children and staff in NewtownMost of my life I never really had the need to pray for God to place me in the right church. Like most people, growing up I went to the church my parents attended and never really had a choice; not that I wanted to go somewhere else   anyway

 

Then I moved to a different country for my studies and I happened to have a friend of the family who lived in the same city I was in. So I casually tagged along to the church she went to and settled there.

I was quite young and still coming to my own so I wasn’t necessarily bothered about choosing a right church. I had a very good first time impression by the church and didn’t even think a lot about it much less pray about it before deciding that was the place I’d settle in throughout the course of my studies. That was one of the best decisions I made though thank God.

Fast forward to four years later, I was done with my undergraduate studies and had made the decision to move. The move was a bit impromptu so I never really had the time to do enough research on the churches out there. Unlike before though I did know what I was looking out for in a church and was now very much aware the impact it would have on my faith should I get myself planted where the Lord didn’t lead me.

On moving there I searched the web for churches closest to my address and I came across this one church that caught my eye and decided to check it out. Again I had a very good first impression even though it was generally not what I was used to, I liked it.

Unlike before though I was more concerned now with making the right choice. Like I earlier highlighted I had no experience of actually seeking out a good church and I’m not necessarily a fan of church hopping. So I stuck with it for a few weeks and kept praying about it. At some point though, mostly because people asked, I decided to try out a different church. This other church was nice as well however I did find that my heart kept going back to the first church; so I continued with the latter.

With moving to a new city and all the hassle of settling in, the lack of assurance about the decision to fully commit to the church didn’t help matters. I was struggling. I finally decided to make a kind of prayer I usually don’t make mostly because I sometimes struggle with coincidences and God incidences; and I rarely had the faith to ask for something so precise from God.

I did though, I asked God to do something in a particular way at a particular time then I would know for sure whether or not it was His will. Few weeks later what I asked for had happened when I least expected it (I had forgotten about the prayer) and I only noticed when it was prompted in my heart and then I knew for sure that was the church I needed to be in.

Now there’s no direct formula on choosing a church, God is dynamic and works differently with different people. It just so happened the way it happened for me because God used it to grow my faith in him. For some it may take longer for you to really come to peace about where to worship and I think that’s okay.

I would say this though; there are basic pointers to look out for in a church. One of the main purpose of church is the opportunity to have true genuine life giving fellowship with other Christians not just on a group level but also on a personal level. So you need to check if there’s an opportunity for that. Another key thing is looking out for God; be it in the message, in the worship, in the people etc. and make sure you find the God/Jesus Christ you know and love. Try not to compare in bid to fault the church and given it is made up of human beings, there’s bound to be flaws.

One last thing, make sure to open your heart enough to allow God lead you to where he wants you to be (which may very well be different than what you’re used to) and believe that your Faith in him is just as important to him.

Love and blessings…

Making Life Transitions

stepping-into-the-unknown-e14159854239671So I moved to an entirely new city almost 6 months now and at the time this was me taking on a whole new experience with no clue what to expect. Everything happened so fast that I didn’t get to do as much research as I usually would have.

Being quite adventurous at heart, I was excited at the idea of fully being on my own despite my fears of not being sure I was making the right decision. I kept praying sincerely though asking God to stop me in my tracks if this was not part of his plan; after-all, the year had been full of surprises so trusting God and his crazy plans were the “in thing”. The Lord didn’t stop me in my tracks. If anything He orchestrated everything in such a way that my moving was so smooth, no hindrances and everything was set.

So here I was in a new city and it honestly felt like I was starting over. From looking for a new church, to making new friends, to learning what is where, getting lost a few times, etc. I started to complain almost about everything really it wasn’t because the new place was bad but that I was not giving myself time to settle in. I’m so used to controlling stuff that when I began to realise that a lot of things were slipping beyond my control I gradually began to panic inwardly. I missed my friends, my previous church family and the comforts of being settled and deeply rooted at a place.

However a friend of mine had reminded me just before I moved about something so simple yet so profound. I’m sure he didn’t understand the impact of what he said to me at the time but it stuck and sank deep.

He said to me, you may not know or have anyone there but you will always have God.

And that was a constant comforting reminder for me especially when I started feeling lonely. God’s presence had never felt so real because I literally felt and still feel I am doing life with him. I found myself praying a lot about everything in bid to get Him really involved in my life and He always answered. It was as if He was looking for every opportunity I gave to let me know I was not alone and that He understands how I felt and is with me.

In that process I started to see that God is the comfort and peace that keeps me going and that my joy and peace was not to be based on my circumstances but on Him. God was my strength in times of weakness. Looking back I can say that God has helped me grow. I am proud of the lady I am turning out to be as a result of this whole process. I started to be thankful for the circumstances that were somehow orchestrated to my being here at this point in time. My faith muscle has definitely been having a good work out and still is but I am not doing it in my own strength.

So I want to use this opportunity to encourage anyone that is facing any life transitions and is struggling to trust God; that it is okay to let go and let God. It is scary and can be hard but if He’s initiated it then you can trust that He’ll see you through it. Also,  we have to sometimes  wait patiently for Him to really appreciate the move He makes in our lives. I have learnt that life doesn’t necessarily get any easier but with following God daily, our inner peace grows to a point where facing hardships don’t have that much of a negative impact.

God is not necessarily safe but there is security in him; and sometimes he may ask us to walk on water and we may sink while doing it just like Peter; but we have to realise that He will always…always be there to lift us back up. So don’t let fear hinder what great things God wants to unfold in your life.

I can honestly say I am happy with where I am now, with who I am growing into and my joy is full not because of my current situation but because of God.

Love and blessings….

Am I really Happy?

happy blogI was talking to a friend recently and he told me that I seem happy all the time and that now he thinks of it he had never seen me upset. I chuckled, thinking to myself oh honey you don’t know the half of it. Having gone through my instagram posts he reached the conclusion that I’m a happy person. I wouldn’t beg to differ because I do think I am a happy person… well most of the time.

However his statement got me thinking. I did tell him that like everyone else I had my own stresses and worries and that we all deal with things differently. I realised quickly that as an individual I can only stay upset for so long before it starts eating away at me. So I cry it out, talk it out and most importantly pray about it and the cycle continues until I fully let go of the burden/heaviness.

You see I said “let go of the burden” and not “until the problem goes away” because sometimes the “problem” never goes away. Some problems do go away whereas with some you have to deal well until you turn the coin and they are no longer seen as problems. Take for example- the struggle of being confident in yourself and accepting yourself can be a problem until you decide to accept that you’re a designer’s original and one of a kind.

I don’t believe true happiness is the absence of having worries, fears or problems. It is rather being able to navigate through life and understanding that its twists and turns are all integral parts of its beauty. That way you condition your mind to not only expect challenges but to also look forward to going through and overcoming these challenges. If you’re Christian like me, you hold on to a greater hope, believing that all things have been orchestrated by God and He has made everything beautiful in its time. Bottom line is- have FAITH!

Another thing is, you have to believe in true happiness and genuinely want that for yourself. I mean if you’re a consistent pessimist or you just like attention so you look for every opportunity to be upset it will be hard for you to let go of every unwanted burden you encounter. I’m not saying live in la la land and delude yourself because I know as much as anyone else that life is real; however a little inclination towards a positive attitude every now and then wouldn’t hurt.

Finally I’d leave you with this- always look for opportunities that will make you smile and consciously remove yourself from any mood dampening situations; always endeavour to be thankful- focusing more on your blessings than your sorrows; never compare yourself in a negative way to others because you don’t know their struggles, lead a healthy life style and finally have faith and trust that God’s got You!

 

Love and Blessings…