Wednesday, 26 June 2013

When life gets tough

Have you ever wondered why life seems to pick on you sometimes? Like nothing really turns out the way you want it to... in the silence of your heart you ask yourself so many questions - “Why do I have such a dysfunctional family?” “Why don’t I have parents who love each other and have a beautiful happy home? Why can’t I have this or that like other people?” You’re not asking for a perfect home but a home filled with love. “Is it wrong to ask for that?” you ask yourself. “Maybe if I was from a rich home like her I would have more cool friends”, you begin to think... 

Or maybe one of your parents unfortunately passed on and it’s just your mom or dad who’s trying all their best to provide for the home...and it’s a real struggle. There’s little money and little food on the table. Your fees for school is so difficult to get, and you think every night, when will all of this end?

Maybe you’re caught in the middle of your parents’ divorce and you end up moving to a much smaller apartment and all these changes glare you in the face and you have such a hard time adjusting to it...or maybe you do have your parents together but its hell in that house, there’s no peace, no don’t really have a bond with your siblings, just this awkward relationship and you wish and pray with everything in you that somehow things change, somehow things become more happier or that you miraculously get a whole new better family. “If wishes were horses...”, you whisper under your breath.

Or perhaps it’s with friendships. Life is messing up your head in this department. You’re from a rich home and have all these friends, but deep down you wonder if all these people are with you because of the things and favors they get from you. You wonder “if I had nothing at all, will they still be there?” You notice quite a number of fake smiles and flattery from these ‘friends’ but you shut your eyes to it cause truth is, you don’t want to end up being friendless or lonely. 

Or your story is quite the opposite. You barely have any friends. And no, it’s not because you’re not friendly. You’re broke, and not popular. You’re plain ol’ you. (Maybe not so plain.) Well, you know how the saying goes ‘no money, no friends.’ The few friends you do have sadly also begin to drift away. They have this cute clique thing going on with other friends and you can’t join, you don’t even want to join. Well, you aren’t invited to join anyway. Plus who likes to be the ‘third wheel’? No one likes to be the new girl, it’s awkward, it’s frustrating. 

You see them hang out with these other people who seem way cooler than you, people who have cars, the newest tech devices. They sometimes come and hang out with you, but you notice it’s only when their ‘cooler’ friends aren’t around. So you become like the spare tire, the friend who gets the scraps and gets squeezed into the plan, not the friend who’s intentionally fixed into the plan. These few friendships you have start breeding this silent unhealthy competition. And you think out loud “seriously, why do people think everything is a competition?!” And you sit alone in your room, sigh heavily and can’t help but wonder if it’s you, or them. You decide you can’t be bothered, so you watch as your friendship with these people grow apart, and some of them act like complete strangers towards you. You’re a bit confused and wonder if friendship isn’t supposed to be based on deeper, meaningful things like trust, loyalty, love and NOT superficial things.

Oh, how can I forget the boy drama? You meet this great guy, you’re attracted to each other. One minute he’s very interested to get to know you, the next moment he acts like he doesn’t know you, like you’re not good enough. And you think “What did I do?! Do I have bad breath? What’s going on?” Or, perhaps this great guy after being friends for a while actually asks you out, you date steadily and before you realise, he dumps you! “How dare he? What happened to all the forever after promises we made to each other?” you think. Fortunately for you, it was a Godly relationship at best so you didn’t give yourself away to him physically or unfortunately, you did. Either way, you gave yourself away to him emotionally and it hurts like crazy to let go. The worst is if he cheated on you and you start comparing yourself to the girl. “Is she prettier than I am, is she smarter, funnier, richer than I am?” You continue to wonder...

You succeed to block/remove him from your social media but you occasionally still see stuff from him on your feed because there’s this mutual friend you have who “likes” and retweets stuff from his FB and Twitter accounts. Ggrrrr! Just when you think the wound is healing, you bump into him somewhere while he’s with the new girl and the memories rush back and it hurts. You go home, cry your eyes out and scream “when is this madness going to end. When does this wound completely heal?!” You’ve had it, you’re tired of scratching the scab and deepening the wound. It’s hard for you to trust any guy now. You feel jaded.

Or, are you the new girl in the neighborhood, your school or a group/club? You’re having a hard time with people who can’t accept you as you are. It’s hard to fit in. (you’re probably born to stand out then). All the other kids seem to have it together and some even try to intimidate you. They don’t really know you that well and don’t understand why you’re more laid back than most of them, so they try to fix you. They try to get you to be this loud person you never want to be. They make you feel like it’s totally out of order to be a soft spoken person, to be who you are. “They don’t get it”, you think. You’re not the non-stop talkative kind, it takes time for you to open up. You’re more careful who you trust as friend. You don’t like loud, you are not loud. Loud people work your nerve and you certainly do not like to be loud. And you begin to realize that maybe they’re all jabbing and picking on you because they’re running away from their own insecurities. You become this new project they’re working on, when in fact they have so many imperfections of their own. And you yell, “WHY ME?! Leave me alone!”

Or is life getting to you with recent events going on in the lives of your close family and friends? Everybody around you looks so happy being in a relationship. Your friends are getting engaged, some got married just a couple of weeks ago or a year ago. And you’re still single. People keep asking you all the time “have you met that special someone?” and in your head you go like “urgh! Not you too. Why can’t y’all stop asking me this question?!” You know they mean well by asking you, but it gets frustrating. Some of them even try to push you into relationships by saying things like “your biological clock is ticking, don’t you want to have kids?” All these things drain your energy and happiness. You know it’s a matter of time before you also meet that Godly man you’ve been praying for. All the pressure becomes too much and life seems so crazy, you can’t believe it.

Or do you find yourself in a country where nothing seems to go right? There’s so much poverty around you, so much stench from dirty, stagnant drains. There are few to no employment opportunities. You feel so stuck, so helpless. Poverty meets you in the streets, even in your own home, and you can’t wait for a breakthrough, to get out and escape the misery. You’re so tired of eating poor- so much carbohydrates with very little protein. You want out so bad, you feel God is deaf to your prayers, it’s like He’s being so slow to come to your rescue. You see friends escape the harsh reality and make it to better places right before your eyes and you’re like “What about me, Lord? What about me?” You’re at the end of your rope and your faith begins to shake.

Life. It’s beautiful, then sorrowful, sweet, sour, horrible, unbelievable, miraculous, unpredictable... You think you have the hang of it one moment and the next second, it’s totally out of your control. That’s how this thing called life is. People will hurt you, ignore you, reject you. You’ll face disappointments, things wouldn’t be smooth always. There are good times, there are bad times. In the good times, we must remember to be thankful. In the bad times, we must be thankful too. We must be fully dependent on the strength of God especially when we’re in despair. We must keep reminding ourselves of how immensely God loves us, no matter what. He is the one writing His story through us. He decides where we have our setting, our family. He presents us with opportunities, hoping that we make the right choices, that we choose the right friends, the right relationships. 

Your parents might have got it wrong, and ended up divorced, and it must have affected you, but for how long will you beat yourself about it? You have the choice to wait on the Lord for a Godly mate, making sure you’re walking with the Lord yourself. You have the choice to pray to God for Godly friends who’ll accept you as you are, not cos of what they can get from you. You have to be strong and stay true to yourself.
Although some people seem to have it going way better than you, you’ve got to remember that life is unfair to everybody at some point and that life is not a competition. Keep praying even when you feel like God is so far away. Remember how Elizabeth and Zachariah waited forever before they could have a child and when they did it was no ordinary child? It was John the Baptist! Well, that breakthrough seems so far now, but it’s just a matter of time. The pain can’t last forever.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; He bestows favour and honour. No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

You’ll have the beautiful friendships you’ve longed for, the pain and anger from that broken home and broken relationship will go. The wounds will heal. You’ll be surrounded by people who accept you and understand you, people who aren’t perfect but who love you oh so much. You will have your breakthrough, the struggles will reduce. That Godly man will eventually come into the picture, he’ll pursue you like Christ pursues us, His bride. You’ll have a beautiful marriage with cute wonderful kids. Affirm these positive things in your life, have faith they will come true, keep reading God’s truth in the Bible. Refuse to let fear and doubts get the better part of you. 

I’ve been through and still going through some of the scenarios above. I know how it’s like. It’s tough, but my sweet Jesus is mighty to save. He knows our needs, it’s just a matter of time. Let’s keep being faithful and obedient to God. Let’s keep praying and praising Him. He’s gonna show up. He has to. We must trust in His plan. The stories He’s telling through us isn’t over yet, there’s more to tell. The best is yet to come. Stay strong dear, whatever your struggles, whatever your pain, know that this too shall pass. Hugs to you. :) xoxo


Monday, 17 June 2013

Lessons Learnt, Lord

Hello, hello! So I’m back from camp. Well, I have for some days now. I’ve just been taking some time off to really rest. Rest. A word I didn’t get to experience at camp. LOL Everyday was so packed with activities. 

One word to describe the whole experience for me is ‘challenging’. Why? You may ask. First off, I had to share a small room with soooo many people. There was barely space to move, it was crazy and I had to wait forever to have my turn in the shower. Sleeping extremely late and waking up so early at dawn was just not my style and it made me feel so grumpy in the early part of the day. There were days we had to fast from 6am till 6pm. That part wasn’t easy too. The latest I fast is till 3pm. I wouldn’t deny that it was a struggle for me. I had so many I-didnt-sign-up-for-this moments. Oh, and I had to be social with a gazillion new people. It was a bit too much for me but camp had its good side though.
The parts I enjoyed were the teaching parts. I learnt so much and got lots of encouragement. I was reminded of the great sacrifices I need to make for my Jesus- my time, effort, money, my whole life. I mean the Guy laid down His life for me, doesn’t He deserve my all? Whenever I felt camp was going downhill for me, I remembered this great sacrifice done on the Cross for me, and how I need to sacrifice my sleep, comfort and energy.

We had some great speakers who shared about how they personally sacrificed their personal careers to answer to the call of ministry. Learning about the huge sacrifices the martyrs did just to bring the Good News to Africa was eye opening and inspiring. Like they knew they would die out here cos of malaria but they still came. They knew the persecutions they would face but still they set out on the mission to bring the saving knowledge of Christ to people they didn’t even the very peril of their lives. Shows how important it is for me and every Christ follower to also go forth to the nations and share Jesus. I learnt that a true follower of Christ cares about the souls of those who have not accepted Christ as their only Savior, and that means I have to sacrifice my vacation, my comfort, my money and all of me to go out there on a Kingdom Mission.

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 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 28:18-20

 I also enjoyed the cookout we had and the sports evangelism bit (maybe cos my team won the games. Heheh.Go Team Faith!) I learnt about so many reasons why I shouldn’t date or marry an unbeliever. Yes, no matter how attracted I feel to a cute guy who seems good but not a Christ follower, it’s a no-no. The person I get married to is to help me walk in the purpose of God’s plan for me and vice versa. If the person doesn’t share my beliefs, which form the foundation and pillars of my life, that relationship will be a disaster, it’ll wreck the purpose of my life.

“Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14

I went to this camp expectant of God’s direction and boy, He sure doesn’t disappoint. God spoke to me through a good number of prophecies almost each day of camp. I’ve journaled each of them, waiting and trusting God to see each manifest. But of course, it requires my diligence, prayers and carrying through my side of the deal. God was moving and at work. He still is. :)

I learnt the hard way that I can’t let my introvertedness get in the way of pursuing God and His purpose for me. I’m learning how to be a sweet quiet spirit, and not a bottled up quiet spirit in the midst of lots of unfamiliar people. I’m learning to smile some more no matter the anguish coursing through me.
I’m learning how to bear shame and surrender the dignity of nature, knowing that whenever I suffer shame, I gain strength. My choice to follow Christ and live for Him may look very foolish now, but I know the rewards that await me in eternity. My time on earth is for sowing, reaping is for eternity.

I’m learning that the love of God must and should constrain me. It must constrain me to continually die to self and keep loving others even when the pain they’ve caused is just too real. It must constrain me from enjoying the ‘pleasures’ of this life that only leads to eternal destruction. The love of God was what made Him sacrifice His only begotten son to die for my sins, our sins. Jesus died for me and now, I live for Him. I live to respect and obey His authority. It’s the least I can do, really.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to Life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13,14

I forged some really cool Godly friendships too. I met ladies and guys who are desperately chasing after God’s heart. I don’t see that often these days. I see lots of lukewarm Christians. Note to self: there are still Godly guys (cute ones too) out there, don’t be disheartened. Wait on the Lord. :) 

So, are you learning the lessons the Lord needs you to learn as He takes you through the chapters of your life? Or are you feeling so comfortable where you are, ignoring His cues? We need to learn the lessons, hard as they may be. We need them to refine us and be well equipped for our daily battles as Christ followers. I’m taking these lessons along as I go forth, giving hope to the least of us and living for my Jesus. xoxo 


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Life Lately

The past couple of weeks have been busy ones. After my last finals and final submissions, I FINALLY finished up with my undergrad studies (that’s a lot of finals I used in that sentence LOL). After that, I had to do an awful whole lot of packing to leave for home. I barely had any decent amount of sleep when I got home that night cos mom woke me up early  at dawn around 4 am to get ready for the trip to our hometown for my grandma’s funeral (bless her soul). All that while, I had to make sure I had packed up what I needed for the trip. 

Well, by God’s grace everything went well, the days flew by and I had to pack up and leave for the city. I got home just yesterday and as I’m talking (urm, typing) I need to pack up for a camp I’ll leave for tomorrow. I’m like this packing machine right now. Because I’ve been busy right after school, I’m not exactly feeling that freedom I should feel. I’m looking forward to when I’ll finally get some breathing space and really feel the sharp contrast between being so busy and just winding down. 

The camp is going to last for about a week and it's in preparation towards the summer missions trip the awesome evangelistic foundation I’m a part of is organizing. The campsite is out of town and the time we’ll spend there is going to be packed up with activities, so I’ll barely get me enough of my much needed rest and alone time. Sigh. 

On the brighter side, I’m excited though. I’m really expectant of what God will do. I’m eager to listen to His voice and direction as I spend time in His Word, praying, in fellowship in a quiet and secluded atmosphere. I’ll at least get time to do some reflections, journal, and just enjoy God in the calmness of the place, far from all the noise and clutter of life. I’m trusting God to speak to us concerning the missions in the different countries we’ll be going to. The first group will leave for the missions next week God willing after camp and the rest will join a few weeks after. I’m really trusting Him to make all things possible for us, for the people we share the Good News with to be transformed (even we the missionaries) and for souls to be won.

After all the cramming for my finals, through all the packing and grieving over the weekend and all the crazy in between, I believe the camp is just what I need to revive my spirit and help recharge me as I spend time alone with God and with other souls thirsting after Him. The dawn prayers we’ll have at camp remind me of Mark 1:35 “And in the morning, a great while before day, He arose and went out to a lonely place, and there He prayed.” This will be my inspiration to pray at that early hour when I’m likely to feel crazy sleepy. LOL This reminds me...

A week ago, a few days before I left school, God spoke to me through a fellow missionary. He said so many things to me that encouraged, strengthened and comforted me. I’m just so grateful that He’s concerned with my life that much. So there was this part He said that I’ll wake up in the middle of the night this week between 12 and 2am, and when I do, I shouldn’t go back to sleep but I should get up and pray. 

Last evening, after being wiped out for travelling back home, I showered, snuggled with some snacks while I finished up a movie and conked out on the couch. Hours later, I happened to wake to what seriously felt like someone nudging me sideways to wake up. I opened my eyes, there was no one there and I checked the time. It was 12:50am and I immediately remembered the message God sent me last week. With groggy eyes and a tired body, I fought against the desire to sleep and paced up and down praying to God. 

About 45 minutes later in prayer I was wide awake. I read some psalms afterwards and a bit of Matthew. I thought about how God honors His Word. I was so tired and deep in sleep, I don’t know how I woke up. And as I said, I felt I was literally being shaken to wake up. It makes me wonder, really. I could have gone back to sleep right after that but somehow, I checked the time and immediately I remembered what I was supposed to do. Why God chose that time, He alone knows. 

I’m glad I was obedient enough to do my little part of His grand scheme that night. I thought about whether to share this or not...thinking about how off or weird it might sound, but I decided to go with it. I don’t know who might need this as an assurance or an encouragement. I need to remind myself that I can’t let what people think or say stop me from sharing what God does for me. This is not about me, it’s all about HIM. It’s all for His glory. That prayer in the night must be the very thing that I needed but didn’t know of. I’m thankful for God’s directions and guidance. It’s like the more I get serious with Him, the more He draws closer to me. I’m beginning to feel this personal connection with God grow more and more...
Ok, before I finish up with this blog, I would like to share an amazing movement I found on Twitter. ;) It’s called Overcome The Lie. It basically encourages women to overcome the lies the devil throws in their faces and believe the truth of God’s Word concerning their lives. Their Twitter handle is @OvercometheLie. There are Twitter parties sometimes with the hash tag #overcomethelie. I join in when I can. The time difference gets in the way sometimes but when I happen to stay up pretty late, I definitely look forward to the wisdom everybody shares during that time. The next Twitter party is Monday 9pm EST. It’s very inspiring. You should join in whenever you can. :) 

So, I’ll talk to ya’ll later. I’ll be sure to fill you in on camp and thoughts on my mind when I’m back. ;) Keep seeking God, He’s right there to answer you and to speak to your heart. He loves you. xoxo 


Soaring Up In Sunshine

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