Posts Tagged ‘#God’

Hello you!

Been ages! I’m sorry, and yes I missed you too.

A few things have happened in my life in the past three months, and I would share except I’m not sure yet if the changes will be permanent or if there are bigger changes in the offing. So maybe wait a little bit.

How have you been? My condolences to Nigeria and the shittiness that is our country at this time; only bright spot seems to be the Acting President and his strides across the economy, security, and national unity. There’s so much going on, rulers across federal, state and local levels perpetuating foolishness on levels I didn’t think were possible in 2017. Anyway, Nigeria, this post is not about you.

This is about my one-year-old niece Talia, and how she made me reflect on a few things today. So her older brother, my nephew is 5, but she sometimes believes she is older. Of course when she tries to lord it over him sometimes she ends up crying. Not because he hits her or anything, but because he stands up and runs walks away for instance. Or because she falls or in some other way, causes her own tears.

When she cries she looks for me, I comfort her, maybe give her a treat, and send her on her merry way. And then in less than 20 minutes I hear her voice (and it breaks my heart to hear her cry), and the cycle continues till she falls asleep, she’s distracted by something/someone else, or she comes and stays with me. Sits or lies on my bed for a good cuddle, some tickling, a snack, a cartoon, or whatever fun thing we decide to get up to.

After a particularly hilarious incident today (with plenty tears) I reflected on our relationship with God and how sometimes it is akin to my relationship with my niece. He keeps calling to us, and if you’re His child you know His voice. He doesn’t stop asking us to abide under His shadow where no one can harm us, to drink of Him because every good and perfect gift comes from Him, etc. But sometimes, we act like we know it all, like we created ourselves; like we have the manual for our lives.

And so He sits and waits because we will doubtless come back, bruised, in tears, in pain, everything He warned us about. But He takes us back, cleans us, heals us, and off we go again, like an unending cycle. But that’s not how He intends for us to live. His wish is that we prosper and be in good health even as our soul prospers, but we won’t enter into that without Him. We cannot.

Are you tired of running around in circles? Just some food for thought.

 

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I think I’ve written about vulnerable people and metrics for giving alms etc.; how I’m more disposed to women with babies and people with disabilities over people who look ‘okay’ at first glance. I’m also more likely to give food /edible items to younger children instead of money. Just my thinking and how I feel those things should happen.

What do you do when someone shows up at your office though? Yes, there’s a story here.

Two Fridays ago, about evening time I was trying to finish up an application, write an article and send a couple emails; talk about being super busy! My team had just come back from facilitating a step-down training in conjunction with Women Advocates for Vaccine Access (WAVA) and were putting away their things possibly to start heading home.

I was on the phone to Tata, when one of them came to say someone was waiting to see me. I recorded off the call and asked that she be ushered in.

Frail didn’t capture the woman wrapped from head to toe who entered my office and asked if she could sit. She did, and I asked how I could help. She said she came from Nasarawa State because hospitals were on strike and she couldn’t get her anti-retroviral medication. So she came to Abuja and after going to a few hospitals, got two months’ worth of medicines, and for free. She paused long enough to remind me that ARV are free from government hospitals once you have ‘your number’. I didn’t bother asking what the number was.

Anyway, bottom line was she had spent the money she had moving about and buying food and didn’t have any money to get home. She said she couldn’t beg on the streets and that God told her to walk and somehow she got to where our office is situated. How much was she looking for? N1500 only (less than 4 dollars).

I gave her the money, got my people to give her a pastry and drink from what was left over from their training and her smile is something I will remember for a while! Big, warm, and stretching from ear to hear. Then she prayed for us and left. Ah, she took my number too, said “so I can tell my daughter Chioma when I’ve reached home”. I haven’t heard from her since then, and I really hope she got home okay.

Now she could have just schemed me out of N1500, or she could really have been directed by God to seek help at our office. Either way it felt really good to be there for her and to not have had a plan or standard for that kind of request. May God wanted to disrupt this process of mine.

I dunno. And I think sometimes it’s okay not to.

So it’s been a little while since I reproduced my notes from church, not because I haven’t been attending, but because… *sheepish grin* I’m sorry. I’m glad you’re here though because today’s sermon you cannot afford to miss!

I attend HolyHill Church, and if you’re regular here you know I’m always talking about how I enjoy worshiping there, the choir ministrations, the Word of God that feeds my spirit, and the focus on charity the church has using HolyHill Relief Foundation. I love it! 

On the other hand, I’ve heard a lot about Pastor Poju Oyemade; a number of my friends swear by his messages, and I keep hearing great stories about him. Interestingly, I’ve never listened to any of his teachings, and even though I’m in Lagos a lot, somehow I’ve never been to his church.

Then it was announced that Pastor Poju would be at church on Thursday and for some reason I was super excited in my spirit. I knew I would attend.

Fast forward to Thursday evening, I was in church (EARLY), and a really intense worship session, after which Pastor Sunday Ogidigbo introduced Pastor Poju. Cue my thumping, really expectant heart.

The rest of this post is my reproduction of the notes I took during the sermon. Ready? May God bless the entrance of His words into our hearts, amen.

Title: The Economy of Faith – God’s Economic System

Exodus 6:3

El-Shaddai – God of the field. When God revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He introduced Himself as the one who causes fields to produce in abundance… as the God of the marketplace. God is the God of the fields, the one that teaches our hands to profit.

2 Corinthians 9:8 (Amplified Version) “And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.”

Such a powerful scripture! (There and then I downloaded the Amplified Bible onto my iPad; no time!)

Deuteronomy 11:10, 8:17, 28:11

When you refuse to work at all, there is nothing for God’s rain to fall on. You’re not in the game. Joseph was working in jail and God met him there.

The mystery is, how can anything good come out of Nazareth? Mark 4:30

Give God something to work with – He needs a seed in the ground for His rain to fall on. Even if working for free is the way to get in, do it. Get in the game.

The History of Money

Barter system – French Opera singer (there was a story here about the barter system starting to fail and this singer who was paid in sheep, goats, pigs, and thousands of coconuts and then had the problem of transporting her pay home, lolololol) – value system for products and services. Money moves when products and services of value are exchanged.

Entrepreneurship – using your skill to open the doors for business. Offering – giving a gift without expecting anything in return.

Wisdom creates labor-saving devices. We, as Christians should be full of this wisdom which is a product of the rain of heaven.

Warren Buffet said, “Acquire skills that no one else has, or invest in those who have these skills”.

The ideas God wants to give to me will be too much for me so I will start to trade in them – consultancy/strategy.

The value is not in the ground but in the idea applied to the product in the ground. For example, crude oil. It was just this black, gooey substance in the ground till someone figured out that refined it could do all the things that earned it the name, ‘black gold’.

The starting point to operating God’s economy is this…

  • When we start doing anything, whatever we make from it is not the point. Whatever we are given, whenever we are given, take God’s part and give to Him. Then He will pour out A Blessing that we won’t have room to contain.

But we need to start doing something first. The strategy of the church is (and should be) “…wherever the soles of our feet tread upon…” Where are your feet going/treading?

  • No matter what we’re doing, praise God there. Give thanks – the earth is waiting to yield increases for us when we praise.
  • Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. John 15: 5 God is the husbandman though, John 15:1, and the scriptures say the husbandman is the first partaker of the fruit. So why do we deny him the first fruits?

Anything I release of my own freewill without any demands on the recipient (implied or not) God rewards by Himself. Prosperity is not in material things but the next big idea God drops in your heart.

It was Daniel, it was Joseph, it was Jacob; God is quicker to put His people as right hand, influential men/advisers rather than kings.

Final word: Get to the office excited tomorrow and pray down God’s rain on your place of business. Glory to God!!

And that was it, the message ended while I was still on the edge of my seat, waiting to drink just a bit more. Argh!! Ah well, means I’m hooked on his messages now jor. Totally!

Good news; the message is available for download on our church website, and you’re welcome to fellowship with us in person or online.

God bless you!

 

 

So it’s my Pastor’s birthday today, whoop! Pastor Sunday Ogidigbo is the golden age of 39, and he decided to share with us 39 principles he’s learned through 20 years of following Jesus, 19 years of preaching the word, and 5 years of pastoring full-time.

Ready for it? You better be!
39 things that equal wisdom for daily living.
1. Be planted in the word of God; listen to it, apply it, abide by and be guided by the word. Let His word lighten your path and guide your steps.
2. Be prayerful, not because you feel like it but because you ought to. Pray in the spirit, in your understanding, in season and out of season.

3. Be addicted to fellowship. As long as the iron is in the fire the fire will be in the iron. When you stay connected to God in the place of fellowship you remain on fire for Him. Executive Christianity will profit you nothing.

4. Fast often. It must be part of your lifestyle, at least once a week. Fasting is a spiritual catalyst.

5. Join a service unit, be useful in the house of God.

6. Join a smaller fellowship unit in the church.

7. Read books. Develop the gift and passions inside you.

8. Surround yourself with Godly friends. Any friend who isn’t helping you grow is destroying you; if you’re not changing them they’re changing you.

9. Have faith in God. Flood your heart with materials that will build your faith.

10. Read biographies whether they be men of God, politicians, sportsmen, social activists.

11. Be a giver… Giving is the proof that you’ve conquered greed. Give as you have, to God to your parents, to the needy, and with the right attitude.

12. Find a mentor. In the multitude of counsel there is wisdom; follow people who are headed in the same direction you want to go. Be accountable to them, submit to them.

13. Be holy. Holiness is the quality that validates our ‘sonship’.

14. Be a soul winner. Be a public Christian. If you are ashamed of Him He will be ashamed of you.

15. Be generous. The liberal soul will be made fat.

16. Be a person of integrity and honour. Be true to God, to men, and to yourself. Don’t make promises you won’t keep. Let your words be bankable.

17. Honour all men. Treat elders like your parents, accord them the respect they are due. Fear God, honour the King, love the brotherhood.*Don’t ever conclude on a Christian, you don’t know what God has in store for them.
18. Be contented. Learn to enjoy the things that you have.

19. Be supernatural. Don’t operate based on the things you hear, see, read.

20. Be humble. Humility engraces and enthrones. God gives supernatural support to the humble.

21. Work hard, work smart. Work to learn before you work to earn.

22. Learn to understand people. Be tactful, political, and diplomatic.

23. Be hospitable, allow people to eat your food and drink. Accommodate strangers.

24. Dream big. Visions are free, get yours. Money is too small to be a dream.

25. Be purposeful

26. Live your life on information and revelation.

27. Meditate on the word. Meditation is to your spirit what digestion is to the body.

28. Attitude is everything. The only disability in life is a bad attitude.

29. Love is the greatest. Love will always guarantee victory regardless of what life throws at you.

30. Be friendly. Try. Celebrate the successes of others. People never forget how you make them feel.

31. Be simple. Simple is hard but powerful and effective. Be brief.

32. If you have nothing to say, keep quiet. Train your mind so your mouth talks wisdom. A foolish man who talks less will be seen as wise.

33. Fear God. A fool says in his heart that there’s no God.

34. Don’t live on impulse. Let principles guide your life so it has a sense of direction.

35. Be gentle. Blue flames burn hotter, empty barrels make the most noise.

36. Self control.

37. Control your appetite, especially for food, sex, and sleep. A man who cannot control these three cannot be a vessel into God to be used by him.

38. Family is important. After God comes your spouse and children.

39. Hold no grudge, begrudge no man.

Happy birthday pastor Sunday! Thank you for yielding yourself to God and HIs great work, and for constantly dividing the word of truth with such simplicity. God bless you today and everyday!

So my Pastor has been teaching about giving, and because I’m a good person (he he he), I’ve been reproducing my notes on here for you good people of God. There’s another dimension or teaching on understanding giving here (you’re welcome).

Ready? Quick prayer: Dear Lord, may these letters bring light to our hearts and life to our hands. May we be blessed and divinely guided by reason of your word we’re sharing here today. Amen.

Ok, let’s go for it!
An offering is something precious given to God as part of worship; consistent with the worship of God is the giving of an offering. In Genesis 4, we learn that offerings predated tithes (Genesis 14)
Six elements of an offering

1. The gift, the thing that is brought.

2. The giver, just as important as the gift brought.

3. The receiver. There are two people involved in receiving the offering; the church, and God.

4. The offer. You can give an offering without offering it because ‘the offer’ is of the mind. Ananias and Sapphira brought an offering but it wasn’t offered.

5. The acceptance or the rejection. The receiver reserves the right to accept or reject the offering.

6. The blessing. Every time an offering is offered and it is accepted, there is a blessing.
*It is better to give to the poor than to give to your pastor. Matthew 25: 34-46
Ten thoughts about offerings

1. There are different types of offerings. Worship offerings (typically given at church services), project offerings (Moses collected this from the Israelites when they were building the temple), charity offerings, prophet offerings, partnership, first fruit, etc.
*Every time God calls for a seed, it’s because there’s a harvest ahead.

2. Offerings can either be free willed or commanded.

Don’t give emotionally, don’t ever feel pressured to commit yourself to an offering or pledge you’ve not been led to commit to by God.
3. The first person to bring an offering in the Bible was Cain, but that offering was rejected.

Genesis 3.
4. The second person to bring an offering was Abel, and it was accepted. So Cain was the first to ‘bring’, but Abel was the first to ‘give’.

*Cain’s offering was rejected not because it was grains and fruits and Abel’s was animals, but because it wasn’t his best.
5. There are two components in every gift; the material component which is seen, and the honour component which ascends to God.
*The weight of the offering is not in the material component but in the honour; it’s the heart from which the gift is brought.
6. The heart, attitude, character, and motive of the offering is just as important as the offering brought. Where the heart is malicious, angry, or impure, the offering is lost. Genesis 4:4-7.

Matthew 5:23-24
*Your destiny should be too important for malice.
The most important gift is our hearts and souls to Christ, it is only then we have as it were accounts where our offerings are recorded.
7. The offering is a spiritual seed, the soil is the heart of the giver. Joy fertilises our seed (reason why we’re told to give cheerfully).
8. God is the ultimate recipient of all the gifts we give.
9. Humans are involved in the receipt of any offering, whether it is to the poor, our parents, in church, wherever. Offerings are not only given in church.
10. 2 Corinthians 9:7 Bring what you’ve purposed in your heart.
Plan your giving, and give your best (within your means). Don’t treat God like a conductor.
Be prompt in your giving.
Pay your vows. Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. Ecclesiastes 5: 4-6

I hope this blessed you, and I pray you have a fabulous week!

Welcome to church!

So my church pastor started a series on giving, and I’ve enjoyed it so much I’ll try my best to share it with you! Ready?

Giving and receiving are cardinal functions of life that cannot be broken or suspended without consequences. Life as we know it operates on the principle of giving and receiving.
Giving and receiving is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the church because people approach God like they approach gambling.


Why do we give?

1. We give because it is a law. Luke 6:38

Most times you don’t reap where you sow, you reap what you sow.

2. We give because we are in love with God.

3. We give because we are alive, to sustain life.

4. We give to honour God, and to honour man. Proverbs 3:9.

*The first fruit principle: By choice, not to be compelled. It is the first increase in anything we’re doing.

5. We give to be of help. Luke 10:33.

The reason why some people are hungry is because some others are greedy.

6. We give to worship God. Exodus 23:15

7. We give to stir the covenant we have with God.

8. We give to stop plagues, to destroy hardship. 2 Samuel 24:17-25

9. We give to provoke a blessing.

10. Giving moves God.

When do we give?
1. According to Ecclesiastes 11:6, we are to give every time.

2. We give in season and out of season.

3. We give when we have, and when we don’t have.

It is not what you give, but the heart behind the gift.

Where do we give?

1. Giving must begin at home.

2. On the street. Giving to people who are disadvantaged and cannot give back to you is one of the most fertile soils.

3. You give in church.

4. You give in the office.

How to give?

1. Give cheerfully. The attitude with which you give is just as important as the gift you give. 2 Cor 9:7

2. Give tearfully. Psalm 126:6

3. Give sacrificially, going beyond the call of duty in giving your seed. It is the giving that comes at a cost.

4. Give bountifully. 2 Cor 9:6 Bountifulness is not in the quantity but in the quality.

5. Give consistently.

6. Give systematically.

7. Give with expectation. “It is a sin to give without expectation” – Mike Murdock.

Who to give to?

1. To God

2. To your family

3. To the house of God

Matthew 5:23

Give to widows. Galatians 2:10

Give to strangers, Hebrews 13:2

*It is better to give to the poor, than to give to your pastor.”
Giving doesn’t have to be money. There are a lot of things we can give!

1. Money. 2. Time. 3. Talent. 4. Material things. 5. Good words. 6. Food, drinks, and water.

7. Shelter. 8. Good smiles!

Give someone a smile today!

Hey you!

How’s your new year shaping up? Did you make resolutions? How many have you broken o!! Lol… I stopped making resolutions a little while ago, prefer to just keep striving for perfection, trusting God to help with chipping off the less than pretty bits, and working at it. To each their own though, if you made resolutions keep working at them, one day at a time ok?

On to this gist about fish, my brother in-law bought some really baby catfish (no I didn’t look up what baby catfish are called), and put them in a massive fish tank. It’s his first time of rearing them, and my second time of closely watching (maybe even being responsible for) fish growing since I was like 5 years old (long, long, long time ago my father had a poultry and a fish farm – he actually worked in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries department).

Back to our fish in 2015, each time I go to see them, I learn something; sometimes a lesson so ‘alive’ I start to compare them with us humans. I had a chat with my sister this morning when we went to feed them, and decided I would capture my thoughts so far, and expand them as they grow (maybe even show y’all a photo or video of them sometime).

Ready? I’m excited about this!
1. Baby fish are really demanding, require a great deal of care. Their water must be changed every few days otherwise they get poisoned in it; you have to follow the pace of their eating when feeding them otherwise the leftover food in the water sinks to the bottom and becomes a problem. Still on feeding, if they’re underfed, they die. If they’re overfed, they die. (It’s worse than looking after a baby)!

2. Carers must be as intuitive and perceptive as possible. We know the that are active, the ones that are not as active, the ones we need to prod so they move around and eat, and the ones that have passed on but look like they’re still alive (which is a health problem for the others). So we’re constantly looking.

3. Fish are a lot of work! But, it’s rewarding to see them grow, and feed, and grow, and feed, and grow… (you get the whole idea)

Remember what I said about following their pace with feeding? That’s a bit tricky, and here’s how I relate it to us humans. So, my darling nephew has days when all he wants to eat is Pringle’s, and he refuses to eat anything else. Do we ‘follow his pace’ and let him eat 200 packs of Pringle’s? Of course not. But he must eat three times a day, and get snacks in as they’re due.

Relating that a bit further to our relationship with God, sometimes we ask for stuff that we are not ready for, might not be able to handle if we get it, or it’s just bad for us generally. God says no (or wait), and we ‘take up arms’. But He can see the full picture, He has the manual, and so He’s playing that out for us. Just like us and the fish.

Still on our relationship with God, sometimes He needs to move us to different waters because again He sees the entire picture but we’re either comfortable with where we are, afraid of change, or just being pig-headed (like I can be sometimes). And so we get hurt (sometimes gravely), because we are not in His plan.

Let’s take it to the fish. When they started growing and we saw that some of them were fattening faster than others, my brother in-law decided to separate them so the smaller ones would have a chance. They ‘refused’. I don’t know how to explain that, but they refused. One day, when the water change was going on, my brother in-law and sister saw something whitish and so they thought the silicon at the opening to the tank had given way. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that. It was a half-eaten fish. Yes, apparently fish eat each other.

Yep. Yep. I was as shocked as you might be now (if you didn’t know).

Final point for today, checking on these babies has reaffirmed to me two things.

A. Some of the fish died, and for no reason. Sometimes you do everything you’re supposed to do, tick all the boxes, put in the work, but stuff still goes wrong. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up.

B. Some of the fish are triple the size of others. Some people will run faster than others, others will get to their destination faster, and that’s okay too. Are you confident you’re in God’s plan? Are you working hard? Then stay in your lane. Don’t (and this was the first example that came to my head) cut your hair because the people with short hair are more successful, or dip your hands into things you know you shouldn’t because xyz did that and “oh, look at where they are now!”

Are you a little more relaxed with my title now? Let’s talk about it! Have you ever reared animals? What do you want to share from that experience?

PS: Baby catfish are called ‘sac fry’, or ‘fry’

The end of 2015. The end of the #31Days31Writers series.

I’m here. I’m still here. In April God delivered my family from a great evil, I was very ill at different times; on the 18th of October I was aboard a flight so turbulent I was walking ‘towards the light’ in my head, yet I’m here. I’m still here. God is merciful.

You know, if for some reason that’s all I could write, it would be more than enough. There’s more though.

My father was consecrated Bishop this year – was the first time ever I saw him cry. Like really cry. He fought tears at my sister’s wedding in 2010, maybe a few tears slipped through, but August 8th? Dang. I’m so proud of him and grateful to God for this lifting and fulfilment of prophecy that looked like we wouldn’t see it.

TechHer was born this year too, my pride and joy, and gift from God. From a ‘how do I plug this hole’ moment of frustration, to a community of women passionate/curious about technology in its hundreds, and growing too!

My sister passed an international exam this year, and I remember the joy, the tears, the celebration. So proud of you Mama na, we all are! You are a gem, and I love you, fiercely. Big hug to you and your amazing husband for housing me this year. My family is everything, and I’m grateful for them everyday.

What else? This was the year of leaning on, and getting leaned on. Brethren, pray for friends who can ‘cover your shame’, who are not just there when it’s time to ‘turn up’. More important, pray that you are the person the people you call friends can come to and find peace, quiet, a word of encouragement, action that leads to a solution, you get the point. Wunmi, my best friend, is a blessing; she’s my gift from God. Francesca saw through my bullshit one afternoon when I wouldn’t stop saying I was fine, yet I was crumbling under a feeling of inadequacy I can only trace to the pit of hell now that I think of it. My personal chekeleke!

Here’s a big hug to The Committee, friends who have become family in more ways than one. You guys rock!

This was the year I took a decision about my weight, and though I’m still on a journey to the numbers I want to see, I love where I am! I feel incredible too!

Also, I cut my hair! Not the ‘big chop’, big scrape, for simple reasons that included the unbearable heat, and me wanting to see what my head looked like! Love it, love it, love it! Looking forward to experimenting with it a lot in the New Year.

I hired staff this year, and I’m excited that 7 months on, I see growth that makes me proud. Thank you guys!the

What would I undo this year? Nothing. Maybe make more practical financial plans and not believe that people will fulfil their obligations (read as pay their bloody debts) so it doesn’t skew my programmes, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

I learned a few things too:

  1. God loves me. Even in my most unfaithful, most unlovable moments, He loves me. And He shows it.
  2. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I heard that like a million times this year (SMH at everyone who told me :))
  3. Human beings are inherently selfish. A complete understanding of this (and I’m still learning) helped me get through the year.
  4. It’s ok to stop (shut down, turn off, whatever you want to call it) and breathe sometimes. I learned the importance of stopping to rest as my body (and mind) demanded it.
  5. Everyone needs a nephew! I cannot explain this, just go and ask your siblings to ‘bring’ you one! My nephew is my numero uno (next to God jor, walk away)
  6. Read! I didn’t read all I planned to, but I read this year, and I believe I’m better for it.
  7. It’s okay if things don’t work out, even after you’ve done everything you were supposed to do, prayed, worked hard, etc. It’s okay, really.

I had a good year. This was one of my busiest travel-wise, and each time a plane I was in took off, it landed. Not taking that for granted at all. I have this blog, and all you wonderful people who read and like and share and comment – thank you. To everyone who contributed to the #31Days31Writers series, you’re awesome! To those who said they’d send in an entry and didn’t/couldn’t, there’s next time.

Here’s to a big 2016, enlargement on every side (not my girth though, God no), advancement, and God’s great blessings.

Look at that beautiful head...

Look at that beautiful head…

Nigerian Blogger

Happy New Year folks! Mwah!

 

This particular person? I don’t remember how we met. Like I tried to search my brain this morning, no luck. But, she’s one of God’s greatest gifts to me. Francesca is the angel God sent from heaven to save me from myself, yank me out of self-pity, stress, fear, you name it. Fran is the person who will listen to me complaining about something and in the middle of my well-prepared speech will go, “but Chisco I reject this feeling of sadness in the mighty name of Jesus!” I either start laughing (I think it’s something with the way she pronounces ‘Jesus’ when she’s trying to shut me up), or I start crying because I’m overwhelmed. But she never leaves me there. She will sit with me (even if over the phone), and be quiet with me till I’m better, or till she decides she’s had enough then she’ll go back to bullying me!!

Lol. I love her. Few females I really love (or love at all), and she’s one of them. Everyone needs a friend like her. Someone who you can be silly with, who accepts you the way you are (and loves you intensely), who prays for/with you, who is real. That’s it, Onomarie (and I can never say this name right) is real.

2015 was the year I learned not to be afraid. Pause.

That’s not entirely true. Let me rephrase that.

2015 was the year I learnt to face my fears, confront AND overcome them.

You see, I’d often viewed “facing fear” as something soft or abstract – not overly ground-shifting or life-altering. The loss of a job maybe, a bad breakup, or an uncomfortable confrontation; you know, difficult things, but not really life and death.

Well. Let’s just say life happened.

I lost my father on the 2nd of January 2015, and in many ways it is still a shock, almost unbelievable actually. That swift, sudden, brutal and absolutely painful event shattered every single thing in my life. I hated God, life, my immediate family, my late father (God rest his soul), and everybody else I came in contact with. I was seething with this volcanic-like rage; just bitter, angry, lost, grieving and waiting to erupt. I wanted to colour the world black, because that is how my soul felt – dark and odious. Like Job said in the Bible, “the thing I feared most had come upon me.”

But fear (and grief) are heavy burdens to carry; they poison everything they come in contact with. So I had to make a (hard) decision – to keep moving, or to let my grief (and fear) consume me. My father may have died, but I was still living. I owed it to his memory, and more importantly, to myself, to live wholesomely and completely. As long as I had breath in my lungs, dreams in my heart, and yearning in my spirit, I would keep living, and by God, I would keep moving forward.

So I reset myself – my soul, my mind, and my spirit – not an easy task to do by the way. I cried when I had to, (still do that sometimes). I learned to share my grief, my questions, my angst, my concerns, with my friends and burden-helpers, those who upheld me like pillars, people who fought tirelessly to move me out of the funk. Those who gave me tough love by saying “Okay, that’s enough, no more now.” Those who sent messages of hope, encouragement and humour, those who stood in the gap for me, who prayed, sent me food, or just sat with me.

It’s been an incredible year really. I lost my father, but I gained an incredible perspective on life. I learned that family is less and less those who bear the same surname with you, but much more about those who share your grief and your triumphs. I learned that putting someone you love in the ground, is one of the worst things that can happen to you, but maybe also the most important, because you value more, those you have with you. I’ve learned to be less patient with time-wasters; people who take and take from you – your time, your energy, your resources, your emotions, – without giving back. I’ve learned to immerse myself fully in life, to laugh, to learn, to travel, to love, by God, to live!! I’ve learned to live this life honestly, completely, fully, but also intentionally. Never before, have I been this desperate to accomplish God’s call and purpose for my life. Never before have I cared less about “haters” or “enemies” what are those? Only distractions. Only pesky scarecrows in my rich field of wheat and barley.

I have learned that fear is there to be overcome; you must not let it rule you. Fear is not of God, it’s from the devil. I have learned to look fear in the eye and say “ehen, you’ve hit me with your best shot, now fuck off!.” I have learned to stand. Oh! to stand and keep standing. I have learned to stand victoriously. I have learned focus and the beauty of rising up from ashes.

I have learned that my scars are my greatest assets; that instead of reminding me of the past and filling me with regret, that they point me towards the future, towards the woman I am meant to be, towards the woman I am becoming. I have learned love – that it is ABSOLUTELY about giving – anything less than that, is jive. I have found God again, anew, different, deeper. I am listening for Him more, involving Him with everything – from the mundane to the important. Oh! And I am still fighting fear, daily – in my work, in my mind, in my spirit, but I am winning, because I am of God’s I CANNOT lose.

I don’t know exactly what 2016 has in store for me, but I imagine that it will be a year of achieving big goals and dreams. I’m standing ready. As the Yoruba proverb goes: “there is nothing coming from the sky that the earth cannot handle.” That is me, standing ready, standing prepared, because the earth is mine and the fullness thereof. Bring it on 2016!

My gorgeous friend...

My gorgeous friend…

I love you chekeleke. My sister-girl!

Every now and then you meet someone (even if virtually) who is such an encourager they act like they’re not on this same earth with all the attendant issues. That’s Eloho. From the first time she popped up on my timeline (I don’t know how) I’ve never seen her say an unkind word or anything that doesn’t uplift a spirit.

And she loves Jesus. Icing on the cake, or maybe the cake itself!

It’s so magical though, the way she is. And I’m sure you’ll love her entry as much as I did! She’s super special, and that’s why she’s up today, Christmas Day! Merry Christmas to you, and you, and you!

My name is Eloho, I am a financial analyst in Lagos, Nigeria and when I’m not doing that, I love to sing, read and just live life one day at a time experiencing God’s ‘stupendous grace.’ I also love kids, and love to see people happy and walking in purpose.

What did I learn? Let’s say I learned a whole lot. Let’s go

  • I learned that God IS!!! He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Like a pancake, seems like God turned me over just as I turned light brown to give me this assurance.
  • I learned that what we know will be tested and we had better be ready. 2015 tested my faith, my resolve and trust in God deeper than the most recent years. But I learned that God’s grace is sufficient, He doesn’t allow more than we can bear.
  • I learned about perspective and timing. It’s a new day at midnight, you know. But the only reason I can celebrate the new day is because I have knowledge and a clock. It’s the same thing with life. My attitude and response to the darkness is a function of my perspective.
  • I learned from my 6-year-old cousin, that ‘nice is different than good…’ Doing what is right and good doesn’t always feel nice but it is the proper thing to do. I’m still learning not to let the fact that the right decision might hurt someone stop me from going ahead to make it.
  • I learned that wisdom is greater than weapons of war. Not every time fight, sometimes just apply wisdom.
  • I learned that ‘Peace is a radar’, far above anything. It is the compass for my life’s journey. Constantly in my face is the image of boiling water and the lack of a reflection therein. Peace is all I need for clarity and if anything ceases to bring me peace, it has to go.
  • I learned that when we think we are infallible in a certain area, we set ourselves up to fail because we are least prepared in that area. Let Him who thinks He stands take heed lest he fall became very literal for me.
  • I learned that we cannot by an act of the flesh bring the promise to pass. Desperation and listening to people may make us feel as though waiting on God is not enough. But I learned by my own Sarah type experience to ‘lean in.’
  • I learned to appreciate the small moments. I lost a friend, Hammed Ajiboye this year. I miss him and wish I made some more time for him.

These lessons didn’t come easy. But I’m grateful that as painful as the experiences that birthed them might have been, I AM better.

Adjusts mic to an appropriate height at the award podium, smiles and pulls out a tiny sheet of paper.

  • I am most grateful for my stupendous wealth in family and my friends. I could go on and on here. God brought amazing people into my life as well. I was NEVER alone.
  • I’m grateful for favor. God continues to surround me with favor everywhere I go.
  • I am most grateful for revelation and clarity. Slowly and steadily, I am gaining a better understanding of what I am here for.
  • I am grateful for ‘discontentment’ and how it’s pushing me out of my ‘comfort zone.’
  • Grateful for my journey so far. Not the script I would have written but it has strengthened me and left me in awe of God’s sovereignty.
  • I’m grateful for service and the opportunity to give back. I derived so much joy from a lot of those moments.

To what I would do differently if I could? I would be a little easier on myself. Gosh, I was quite hard on myself for the mistakes I made but now I have resolved to fail forward and trust that everything is working out for good.

I would also imagine some more. Think I got jaded at some point and just existed. But no, God is able to do far more than I can ask or IMAGINE. So it is time to imagine wildly and boldly and LIVE again.

31 days of gratitude

She’s such a gorgeous soul! I can’t wait to meet you, has to happen in 2016! Merry Christmas @Eloxie (That’s her on Twitter, I say follow her, you’ll be glad she did!)