Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Beauty Of God

There were a number of good things that happened to me in March. One of my favorites was climbing the highest mountain in Ghana! :D If you know me well, you’ll know I love the beauty of nature and the outdoors. (I’m no Barbie doll but well, I don’t mind being one sometimes. ;) )

On the Bridge

After a good four hours drive from the city and enjoying beautiful scenery along the way, Mount Afadjato was finally in view and boy, could I wait to get my hike on! 

At the beginning of the hike I was all pumped like ‘yeah, let’s do this!’ But barely ten minutes after, I was panting for breath. LOL I can laugh about it now but I tell you at that moment it was no joke. I was tired already. We (my friends and I) were informed by our tour guide that it took about 45 minutes to climb and another 45 minutes to descend for an average person. So I was thinking ‘OMG with my slowing pace when will I ever get to the top of this mountain?’

The climb became more and more steep such that I had to crawl on all fours. Yessss. And I had to constantly cling on to jutting twigs and rocks on the mountain. We all had to, or else you were assured of an unfortunate free fall. And sometimes I stopped to sit on steep rocks along the way, and the view from those rocks frightened me because the ground looked so far away and my balance wasn’t that firm too.

With laboured steps and lots of water to gulp down, I climbed on. I felt so drained and had thoughts of just giving up. I was sweaty, extremely tired and my heart was racing a thousand miles a minute, I was was so crazy. I thought my chest was going to explode if I dared to continue. But of course, I dared to. I asked God to give me the strength to continue cause I’m no quitter and truly, He did. Each step I took gradually led me nearer and nearer to the peak and all along the words of Donald Miller from his book, which I blogged about here kept flashing across my mind. He said “Don’t kick yourself around if you can’t climb up out of a canyon real quick, just do it slow.” (Which in my case was climb up a mountain.) This helped me take it easy and move at my own pace. Thanks Don!

Somewhere along the steep climb, one guy voiced out what was running through my mind. I was thinking about how the whole climb and its toughness was like the Christian we Christians feel like giving up walking down the narrow road, how I was tempted sometimes to change my path and go walk down the broad but dangerous road, how some problems are like giant mountains in my life and how painful it is to try and fight those mountains.

 Following Jesus’ footsteps sure gets pretty tough. But just like the joy awaiting me when I climbed to the peak, what urges me on to keep following Jesus and obeying the commandments of God is the assurance of my spot in Heaven. That’s what keeps me going in the toughest times, you know. 

As I neared the top of the mountain, I could hear the happiness in the voices of those who had already gotten there and I was like ‘oh yes! I’m almost there.’ I took all the rests I had to take until I took those final steps which landed me on Mt. Afadjato. I was so happy I had made it somehow...and I ended up being the second female among close to ten ladies. Hehehe. It felt amazing to stand there and look at the beautiful view and just enjoy the sweet breezes. 

Finally at the top
“For lo, He who forms the mountains, and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought; who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth- the Lord, the God of hosts, is His name!” Amos 4:13 

I'm thankful I didn’t even get a bruise and that nothing fatal occurred to anyone. I was just grinning and grinning and soaking in the awesomeness of the mighty works of God’s hands.

I'm thankful for my sweet friend here who carried my bag up and down the mountain :-*
After all the pictures and relaxation, it was time to descend. I must say this part was way easier and fun. It didn’t take so much effort and time, so we got to the base of the mountain in a relatively shorter time. 

Afterwards, we headed to Wli Falls (the highest in West Africa.) I was so drained and munched down my lunch on the bus in no time. It was like a ten minutes drive away so we got there pretty fast. 

 Made some shy lil friends before the hike to the Falls :) (Prayers and love to the girl in the background)

I couldn’t wait to see the falls but it took another hike (a much smoother one) and crossing of about nine bridges (I know, tough luck) to get to the Falls. But O, it was soo worth it. 

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1

The cascading water from such great heights was totally amazing (No, I’m not exaggerating.) I stood there just admiring the awesomeness of God and how great He really is for creating all of these things...the Falls, the beautiful mountains in the distance... and oh, the beautiful rainbow across the waterfall which brings to mind the covenant God has with us, never to destroy the earth with a flood. All these things dazzled me as I enjoyed God’s beauty in them. 

“And God said, “This is a sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”” Genesis 9:12,13

Spot the rainbow  

 No, I don't know why Tasha is holding a lappie here

On the drive back to the city, I reflected on how God is strengthening me to conquer all the mountains in this hard life, the frustrations, anger, raw pain, pride... When the pain is just too real, when the tears won’t stop flowing, when I feel numb inside and I have so many unanswered questions, I’ll always remember that no matter what, I shall overcome. I will conquer all these mountains in my path just like I did that day. And just like the peace and calm I found in gazing at the wonders of God which surrounded me, I’ll run to God and bask in His peace when peace is such a distant thought. I’ll continue to look for the good in the bad and beauty in the very ordinary.

I don’t want to forget this experience and how much it means to me. I don’t want to forget how all these great and small wonders God created can soothe my soul. I want to remember it all... 

“O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy creatures.” Psalm 104:24

 I’m looking forward to enjoying the many other wonderful things He made to make us realize His great power to remind us that if He did all these amazing things, then there’s absolutely nothing He can’t fix in our lives. The hurt, the brokenness, the grief, the sadness, the loneliness, the sickness, the confusion...He is more than capable to make all of it right.

Met Jaime and Stephanie at the Falls, and they were apparently in my hostel back on campus. Small world.
Are you having a hard time seeing the good in
 this messy world? Well, you’re not alone, I do too...But do take a look around you and find God’s beauty in all the mess... the beautiful flowers, the tall green-leaved trees, the cool breeze, birds flying across the blue sky, a serene beach, the streams and lakes, the ah-mazing sunrises and sunsets. Because I did, and I tell you, it was worth it. I’ve come to know that the peace I find in nature calms my troubled soul and draws me nearer to the awesome God I serve. 

Those mountains in your life are worth conquering dear. Be strong and fight on. xoxo 


Thursday, 18 April 2013

My First Missions Trip

This March, I got a beautiful opportunity to go on my first missions trip. It was to Adukrom, a town in the Eastern part of my country. Prior to that, I had no idea about embarking on such a trip. You see, I prayed to God and told Him to lead me to a missions group where I can get the chance to share His truth to hurting people, and the most interesting thing happened. Two days after that prayer, God sent a stranger to my door who introduced me to this Foundation that honors God by reaching out to people, especially teens with the soothing message of God. Crazy, I know. But God totally heard my prayer and answered me. I was so thrilled! This foundation has apparently been operating in my school for about three years now and I had no clue about it...until that day when I was in the midst of praising God for helping me get a very good grade on one of my finals from last semester, and the God-sent stranger knocked on my door.

 I love going to new places and I absolutely love sharing God’s Word with people so I fell in love with the idea of being a missionary. I hoped, dreamed and wished for it but I never really seriously told God about it. This experience taught me that I should always be specific and direct with God when I want something. I’m learning that when I’m willing to serve Him, He opens the necessary doors for me to diligently serve Him. He’s such a cool Father. =D>

So I signed up to be part of the Foundation and went on my first missions trip which lasted for two days. Before we left I already knew there might be challenges we would face so I was prepared for the out-of-my-comfort-zone experience. And yes, it was challenging but I’m so glad I went. I got to share the Word with a number of senior high schools girls and for the first time I went on a dawn broadcasting. Whoa! Yeah, I know. Sometimes I look back and ask “was it really me?” Haaa, I’m so kicking shyness outta my life. The amazing this is, I didn’t have to depend on my own strength. I told God He should fill me and use me to say what He needed the people to know. I was jittery and nervous, but I did it. The opportunity to be a counselor to a couple of senior high school girls who rededicated their lives to God was totally amazing.

Me with my fellow missionaries  

 “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16,17

Through this outreach, I learned some vital things. I realized that if I wasn’t living right for God, I would have felt awfully guilty for encouraging those wonderful people to do the things which I wasn’t doing myself. But I thank God that I strive to always do what is pleasing in His sight. So the experience served as a check on myself and challenged me to walk my talk always. You can imagine the kind of leader I would be if I don’t do the things I tell others to do. And the whole thing also served like a mini retreat for me, you know. Either my face was constantly in the Bible or I was praying and ministering to people. I’ll admit this experience renewed and strengthened my relationship with God. It was refreshing.

“But how are men to call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!”” Romans 10:14,15

I just had to take a snap with this pretty tree. hehe

When I look back on my life, I just thank God for all the beautiful changes He’s working in me. I mean, two years back I wouldn’t have dedicated my time into serving God like this. And I’m so glad I made the decision to serve Him faithfully by reaching out to people. I’m still a work in progress and I’m nowhere near perfect. But my willingness to submit to the will of God and to fulfil the Great Commission is enough to begin an awesome adventure with God. 

 I don’t have to be a pastor behind a pulpit before I share God’s Word. I’m a vessel willing to let God fill me with His plans to go out there and win some souls. J Because seriously, what will be the point of me being on earth if I don’t obey God? My life would be pointless. Honoring God is what brings me fulfilment and joy. I don’t want to live this life forgetting the most important things which is to love God above all things and to love others. 

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30,31

So if I truly love others, I should have a deep seated desire to share God’s love and redeeming truth with them. I should be ready to give hope to the hopeless. I should be able to trust God and sacrifice my comfort to go out there and make disciples. :) Jesus said “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Matthew 28:19,20

Rebecca didn't look too amused here. Must have been the cold weather.

          On our way to half night service
I believe this new journey of me serving God as a missionary is going to be the start of something really beautiful. I can feel it. And I’m believing God’s Word concerning my life each day. I’m happy my relationship with God is blooming and becoming so real and very personal. I love it. :-*

So dear friend, how are you honoring God’s will these days? If for some reason or two you can’t go out there and tell people about God, your everyday life itself should be honoring God so much that it inspires others to want to live their lives for God too. Let how you live be the proof of your love for God...the things you say, the way you behave...Your life may be the Bible somebody reads.

“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
During our final sermon

The team

Before we left to Accra. I have no idea why Michael had his eyes opened. lol

  When you get the opportunity to go out there and reach out, please don’t miss it for anything in the world. It’s a humbling and wonderful thing to do. I’m so looking forward for my next missions this summer and I’m trusting Him to provide all I need for the trip. Exciting details on this later. ;)

I love this song from Britt Nicole about reaching out. I pray it blesses you.

Don’t let your lights go down,
 Don’t let your fire burn out,
 Because somewhere,
Somebody needs a reason to believe.
Why don’t you rise up now?
Don’t be afraid to stand out,
That’s how the lost get found.

Dear friend, Love is calling you to call out to others to share the Good News. Are you willing to say yes? I sincerely hope you do. :) xoxo 


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Facing My Fears

Somewhere last month, I took the step to leave the shy world I created for myself and be bold. You see, I’m this person who doesn’t really like to face crowds. The thought of it alone shoots my nerves to space. LOL I’m such a clutch of nerves when it comes to this. Thing is, I really like to write but when it comes to performing my pieces, I go like “no, I’m shy” or “oh, I would perform some other time.”(which I never end up doing.) I’ve known all along that I needed to get over it and face my fear of crowds. Because honestly, the message I have to share could be what someone really needs to hear to help them through a situation in their lives.  

I’m realizing that as a writer/poet, there’s no way I can hide and cower behind shyness forever. So last month, I took that bold step to perform one of my pieces. Yes, I did! :) I tried so many times to talk myself out of it but I guess the part of me that listened to the excellent Spirit in me, which is the Holy Spirit, convinced me to believe that I could do it, I could stand in front of a crowd, regardless of my fears and nervousness and share what is on my heart. The whole thing got me thinking about how sometimes we let our fears get in the way of what God is softly urging us on to do. And I’ve realized that the importance of what we need to do is far greater than giving in to our fears. 

I can count the number of times I’ve performed in my church and in senior high school. But these were not poetry performances. They were either drama based on the Bible or music performances. So this step I took last month was kind of a big deal to me- sharing one of my poems for the first time for an audience as a budding poet. The funny thing is, comparing the present to when I was growing up, the tendency to be shy is stronger now...but that’s all about to change.

I wrote about living fearlessly here. And my own words challenged me to go out there and do what God has called me to do with the talents He’s blessed me with. I wouldn’t lay it on thick that it was an easy thing for me to perform for an audience, no. No pretenses here. My mind was filled with so many ‘what ifs’... What if I forget my lines and go blank? What if I make a mistake and the audience laughs at me? What if this, what if that. All these questions were racing back and forth in my mind, threatening to cripple me. They almost made me refuse to take the opportunity to fight back my fears to share what I needed to share with that audience. A part of me even tried to convince me that I was not cut out for performing my pieces, and that I was supposed to be the writer/poet who only writes but never performs. Sometimes I even felt what I had to say was not important. Oh, the lies the devil whispers loudly into our ears! 

Something greater in me however tried so hard to fight back those lies the devil was filling my mind with. I chose to believe the truth of God’s Word and believed that an excellent spirit dwells within me. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.”

I also realized that it’s not in the absence of my fears that I can say I overcame but rather, it’s my behavior in the presence of the fears I face that determine if I’m really believing God’s truth over my life or not. Those fears are there to challenge me and test my faith. And the good thing is, I didn’t make a fool out of myself on stage, I almost blanked out but I didn’t. :D I shared what I had to share and it brought such fulfillment to my heart.

On that very day of the performance, I started overcoming that fear of addressing a crowd. It still lingers around, but because I finally took that first step, it’s not so glaring as initially. I even performed that same piece the following week at a different program and it went really well. *shoots right fist up in the air* LOL So you see, I’m gradually getting over this shyness and fear of crowds thing. It’s not a one time thing that you get over. It’s a learning process. The more I rehearse for my performances, the better it gets. And the more I perform, the more I get over my silly shyness and fears. 

 Pouring my heart out. ;)

2 Timothy 1: 7 rings in my ears whenever I feel like I can’t do something. It says “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.” How cool can it get! To know that shyness is not from God and that I can overcome any fear in my life because I choose to believe that the Holy Spirit within me has the power to help me do so.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121: 1,2

 I couldn’t have taken that bold step to face my fears without my Helper. I told God to help me overcome and give me the courage to go out there and say what He needed me to say. Because regardless of how I feel, what needs to be done, must be done. I’m not supposed to fear my audience, I’m supposed to love them enough and have that desire to share with them what God has laid on my heart. 1 Corinthians 16:13,14  says “Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

 After my performance, I felt so relieved not just because I wasn’t a complete klutz on stage, but because I felt this inner peace and happiness for speaking the words that needed to be spoken. Although the applause and compliments I received afterwards encouraged me, those weren’t why I performed. I didn’t go to that stage for that. My mission was to get my message to the audience and I did exactly that. And even if I hadn’t received any applause because my message was convicting and a hard truth to sink in, I would have still felt glad to know that I said what I had to say. 

 These days, I’m believing in myself some more. I’m believing in the truth that what I have to say matters! This truth compels me and moves me to action. I’m doing all this bearing in mind what Paul said in Colossians 1:10 “To lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” I don’t want the talents given to me by God to go wasted. I want to pour all of it out of me to serve the purposes for which they were given to me. I’m a vessel, filled with gifts and I have to use these gifts to bear good fruits. My poems and stories, the ability to perform my pieces, my blog, my sweet voice (ahem!) ;) ...these talents must all encourage people to live their lives for God and bring glory to His name.

 So dear friend, what are your fears? Write them down, cancel each one out with a pen/marker and tell yourself you have overcome! Be bold and face your fears. Is it a fear of taking an academic course? A fear of amounting to nothing? Or is it a fear of never meeting that special someone? Please believe me that you can overcome. You are dearly loved and the awesome God who created the skies, stars, mountains, oceans and a lovely you says you can overcome all of these fears. You only need to believe this, ask Him for strength, go out there and face that fear. Nothing beats that happiness you feel when you finally look that fear in the eye and overcome it. Nothing. It’s exhilarating.

“And Jesus answered them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and never doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”” Matthew 21:21,22 

 Don’t succumb to your doubts ok? Be fearless and trust God to help you overcome. Reading the Word also does so much good in dissipating the doubts in your mind. James 1:6 says “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

I want to urge you on to take that bold step you need to take and live that meaningful live God planned for you. Go on, you can do this! \o/ :D xoxo 


Soaring Up In Sunshine

Soaring Up In Sunshine
//sharing my heart in the glow of the sun//
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