After the Answer

Helloo beautiful people,

Hope you all are doing fab. I know I keep apologizing for not putting up new posts as regularly as I originally intended but it seems that new things keep coming up that demand more of my attention especially the new job. It’s going okay and it’s nice to meet new people but it means I have to consider rearranging my schedule; I probably have to switch my quiet time with God from early in the morning to the evenings after work. I might also have to spend a day less than I normally would working out. However, I promise to keep this blog a priority; I’m so grateful that what I write means something to someone. I found out that there’s a French lady in Australia who reads this blog and that just blew my mind. So hello French lady in Australia and thanks ever so much for reading my blog and recommending it :-). Thanks so much everyone for the love, comments and questions and please keep them coming; I’ll do my best to make sure I reply.

So onto what’s on my heart to discuss today…..I find myself getting quite tired these days especially since I started this new job and the one thing that keeps coming to my mind is the fact that I prayed for this. Please don’t get me wrong; I am grateful for the fact that I have a new, good job but I remember how much I prayed about it and how much it’s taking from me now that I’m walking in the blessing of the answered prayer. It got me thinking that we often dwell so much on hoping and praying that God answers a prayer that we don’t think much about what happens after the answer to that prayer arrives. I was so wrapped in praying for that job that now I have it, it’s kinda anti-climatic cos here’s this thing I really wanted that seemed like a good and glamorous thing to get. But now that I have it, I realise that it’s actually a lot of work and not as easy as I thought it was. The most popular parallel I can draw to this situation is marriage. Now, I live in a society where there is a huge amount of pressure for women to marry (marry young and marry well) and naturally, many ladies are on their knees asking God to send them their husbands (myself included, you know I won’t front) but the thing is we often don’t think past what we would do when the guy finally arrives. Think about it ladies, what would you do if you met your spouse right this second; would you be ready to have a mature, God-centered relationship with this man? Would you be ready and willing to put in the work that goes into managing that special relationship? The more I think about this, the more the nature of my prayer in that area of my life takes on a new theme. I still pray for God to send my spouse but I pray more for God to equip me to be able to handle the responsibility that comes with that blessing. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past two days, it’s the fact that for every answered prayer, there is a huge responsibility that comes with it which usually implies that there’s more work (and more growth) to be done.

Another thing that occurred to me was that if we could think past getting to God to answer out prayers to actually visualizing who we would be and what our lives would be like if those prayers are answered, we may not be too fervent in those prayers. I believe that there are many times that God doesn’t answer our prayers because He doesn’t want to give us a responsibility that we cannot bear. See, we often quote the bible verse that says God won’t give us more than we can bear in reference to suffering and hard times but the truth is that God won’t also give you more good things than you can handle (this bible verse is actually in reference to temptation and we are tempted by things that we find attractive i.e. the seemingly good stuff). I read a recent tweet by Heather Lindsey where she said (and I paraphrase severely) that we need to make sure we keep our eyes on the giver of the gift than the gift itself. We are flesh so we often tend to take our eyes off the giver of this gift and make idols of the gifts themselves which is indicative of unpreparedness and immaturity; we were not able to handle the responsibility that came with that answered prayer.

“God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

One thing I’ve learned over the past two days is to be careful what I pray for and how I pray, not because I’m afraid that God will answer my prayer even though I’m not ready (I sincerely doubt that He’ll do that but I’m not very sure to be completely honest) but because I don’t want to be frustrated if my prayer doesn’t get answered as quickly as I want it to. Whenever I pray for my husband, I ask myself “babe, are you really ready to handle being a wife right now? Can you honestly take care of yourself and another human being and still be able to maintain your focus on God? You just got a job that you’re settling into, can you really juggle that and a purposeful relationship with a guy?” If I can’t answer yes, then my prayer needs to change from “God send my husband” to “God prepare me for my husband; teach me the lessons I need to learn to excel in this area of my life, give me the grace to follow your direction and focus on working at the area of my life that need close attention right now”. Now I know that marriage is one thing that you can never be completely ready for but the truth of the matter is that you want to be as ready as you possibly can and at the end of the day, you have the Holy Spirit alive and at work in you to let you know how prepared you are for anything. This I know from experience; I may make a little noise about how I’m coming home tired from work and how its tiring….blah blah but at the bottom of my heart, I know that God has taken me through the lessons I need to be prepared for it and I know that this I can do. I also knew about 2 years ago that I was in no way ready to be in a demanding corporate environment so I shied away from it but that’s another post for another day. So now that the euphoria of getting a new job has died down and the work has begun (now that it’s “after the answer”), I’m not afraid of being unprepared or unable to handle the responsibility because God has equipped me in this regard. Likewise when the euphoria of being newly married dies down (and I know one day it will, that’s just life), I will be able to get past that and focus on the work that needs to be done (by God’s grace of course, after all I’m grace’s daughter ;-)).

Now I know I’ve jabbered on about jobs and marriage (mostly because these are the main topics of discussion among my friends and other people my age) but there are plenty other examples; I remember when I was in A-levels and applying to universities for my first degree. My parents really wanted me to get into LSE (London School of Economics) because it’s a very prestigious university and I was applying for an Economics degree. I prayed to get into that school ehn…..when my rejection email came, I wailed like a banshee but I look back now and I thank God that He never answered that prayer because it would have been a disaster. Remember that:

 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”- James 1:17

and

“The blessings of the Lord make rich and add no sorrow”- Proverbs 10:22

God will not give you a gift that will make you happy for a moment and bring you an end that is sorrowful or put you in a situation that looks good on paper or outside but really isn’t bearing any fruit. If I had gotten into LSE (which I was in no way ready for), I would have flunked out of school and then my thoughts of suicide might well have been a reality. Basically, I’m saying that we need to think past that the idea of that thing we have been praying hard about and actually ask ourselves (and be honest of course) whether we can handle that thing that we think we want. Also, this thing that we think we want; is it the reality of it that we want or are we asking for one thing when the reality of what we want is completely different? A lady once shared with a group of girls where I was present and she said that she was grateful to God she didn’t get married when she was younger because her idea of marriage was completely different from the reality of it. She had bought into the idea of the prince charming who would sweep her off her feet and make her life completely comfortable for her. She never thought about what she would have to bring to the table or that she would also have to labour for her spouse. I’ll use myself for another example; I have never been in a relationship with a guy (I’ve never had a boyfriend and this is something I used to be ashamed of saying, thank God for growth) and I look back on my life and thank God for that because I would have been a mess. I was looking for a guy who would save me and make me feel worthy to be loved; that kind of relationship would have been a disaster and a complete wreck to my already low self-esteem because the only person that can save me and make me feel worthy is Jesus. It’s extremely unfair to put that kind of pressure and responsibility on another human being and it’s something that can be easily abused.

The truth of the matter is that at the end of the day; God wants to bless us with every heavenly blessing:

“Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom”-Luke 12:32

Therefore, the question is not whether God wants us to have good things; the question is are we ready to handle those good things? After the answers to those prayers come, will they draw us closer to God or away from Him? If God was willing to sacrifice His only Son to ensure that we not be separated from Him by our sin, please be assured beyond any reasonable doubt that He is more than willing to sacrifice our temporary happiness so that we do not take our gaze off Him and create any space between us and Him.

Alright peeps, that’s it from me today. I do hope that this speaks to someone and as usual please send in any questions and/or comments. I look forward to hearing from you guys. Honestly; the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is check my phone to see if there’s any wordpress notification of a comment (don’t mind me oh, instead of me to read my bible first *blush*. Oh well, thank God I am still work in progress). KK guys….have a lovely weekend and I look forward to hearing from you.

Signed,

Grace’s daughter.

P.S: I’m really excited by the fact that there are people in different parts of the world reading this blog and being touched by it so I’m thinking of creating another page where people can come and share their stories and testimonies as well as where they’re from and where they live. There’s someone in Greece that has visited this page and a few other people in Ghana (and I know only one person in Ghana, no one in Greece) so I think it would be great to see different people from different walks of life share their stories. Please do let me know if this anyone would be interested in this. You can email me at aokwodu@yahoo.co.uk if you don’t want to leave a comment on the post. Thanks again guys and have a fantastic weekend :-D.

Authentic Worship

Hey people,

So sorry for the hiatus. I had very busy weekend; birthday on Friday, get-together at my house on Saturday to celebrate my birthday and recovery on Sunday. Thing is life is about to get even busier for me cos I start training for a job tomorrow but hopefully, things will get better in that regard. I want to say big thank you to all of you that consistently follow the blog. The Kikster told me today that there are 146 people following this blog which is mind-boggling to me because I don’t think I know up to 146 people but that’s God at work as far as I’m concerned. This blog was His idea in the first place so it figures. So thanks everyone for the outpouring of love and support; facebook messages and emails as well as feedback my close friends give me from their own friends who read the blog. I’ll keep writing as long as I’m led and who knows….maybe even meet you guys. I have no clue what God wants to do with this blog but I know He specialises in the impossible so I continue to dream big.

Alright guys, so I usually start writing with a concrete idea in my head and a direction with regards to where I’m going with what I’m saying. That’s not the case today though. I have a couple of ideas floating around my head that I’ll try to string together into a coherent message. I woke up this morning really tired but I had to haul my behind out of the house to get a jog in before I set out for the day. Fast forward a couple of hours later and I’d had a serious argument with my mother (shouting was involved and I was in the wrong at the end of the day which I detest). Now, I knew that God wanted me to apologize to her but I really did not want to do so and I started to justify myself in my head “Well if she hadn’t started shouting first, maybe I would have calmed down and listened to her”….blah blah. I could just feel the Holy Spirit nudging me to do the right thing and thank God that I did. Now I’m blessed with a mother who is quick to forgive; she was still upset when I spoke to her on the phone to apologize but I knew that things were right between us.

While I was deliberating over the need for me to apologize, one of the thoughts that came to my head was whether I was worshipping God with my behaviour. I know that the general view of worship is singing “worship songs”in church on Sundays, Wednesdays during mid-week service and sometimes in our quiet time with God. However, one of the things that I have learned is that God is not moved by what you do in church on Sunday if Monday to Saturday you’re messing about; disobeying His word and generally being a bad representation of Him. I had a conversation with a lady last week at a job interview and she was saying that she doesn’t understand how people can wear jeans or trousers to church. The lady was wearing trousers to this interview and I was about to ask why she was wearing them when another lady beat me to it. She answered; “Well this is a corporate environment, not church so it’s different”. I remember thinking that this is part of the problem with our Christianity. The Bible did not say that God was looking for people who will worship Him with the songs they sing, the clothes they wear and the number of times they attend church. It said that He was looking for worshippers that will worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” – John 4:23

When I first read this bible verse, I struggled to understand what it meant by Spirit worship and true worship. So I started by looking up the meaning of the word “worship”. Now “worship” can be a noun or a verb. There’s the act of worship and there’s the state of worship. Often times, we concentrate on worship the verb (the act of worship) which includes coming to church on Sunday and taking part in religious rites; raising our hands to heaven in church when we see others doing it or wearing skirts instead of trousers or jeans so we can look like we are obeying God. But often times there’s a disconnect between worship the noun and worship the verb. If you’re doing worship (verb) as opposed to being a worshipper (the noun), then you’re wasting your time and God is sincerely uninterested. When worshippers are being sought, He will look you over. To be a worshipper means to show God reverence and adoration. When you respect and adore someone, you will not want to do anything that would make them upset; when you revere and adore God knowing that He is all-knowing and all-seeing, you won’t disregard Him when making decisions, you will be wary of disappointing Him and when you do (we are all flesh, so this is pretty much inevitable), there will be that part of you that won’t be well until you make things right with Him by confessing, asking for forgiveness and repenting. So the way I see that verse is that God is looking for people who will worship Him internally (in their minds, hearts and souls) as opposed to those who worship Him solely with external acts. Most times, you find that people who focus on the external acts of “worship” suffer from pride in their religiosity. The Pharisees were a classic example; they took such pride in their piety and could not understand that none of what they did impressed God in any way.

I sing in the choir in church and I’m one of those that are on stage pretty much every Sunday. I know that my job is to lead people into the presence of God and in order to do so, I have to connect with God in worship. This means that I can’t just sing the songs but i have to actually mean what I’m singing. I will not lie, there are times when I’m on stage and my mind drifts off to other things like whether I’m hitting the right note or if the sopranos are harmonizing properly. God forgive me but there are even times when I drift off and start to think of what I’m going to eat for lunch (hides face in shame) but God often gets my attention back and encourages me to focus on Him and I find that the more time I noun-worship Him the other days of the week by spending time with Him in the word and in prayer, telling the truth, being kind, sharing Him with other people, it’s much easier for me to verb-worship on Sundays.

Now I’m not saying that churches where ladies are made to wear skirts as opposed to jeans and trousers are all bad. In TPH for example, ladies in the choir are not allowed to wear tight-fitting skirts or trousers to sing. This is because we understand the kind of people that we are trying to lead into God’s presence (the kind of people in the congregation). We don’t want them to be so distracted by the fact that the lady in the front row is wearing a tight pair of trousers or a tight skirt, that they forget they’re meant to be focusing on God. Now the lady in question may not have thought that there was anything wrong with what she was doing and her hear my have genuinely been connected to God in worship but the fact is that she did not do her job as a worship leader. If she had been a member of the congregation wearing trousers, then I don’t belive there is anything wrong whatsoever as long as she noun-worships outside the church building (including her decision to wear those trousers, ladies we need to dress appropriately for our body types both in and out of church but that’s another post for another day). On the flip-side in TWB, ladies in the choir are allowed to wear jeans on stage because the congregation there isn’t distracted by that; it’s a much younger church in terms of demographics so that is not an issue.

So what am I saying today people? In summary, don’t think that authentic worship rests in your ability to sing the loudest or your recollection of the most worship songs. I’m sorry, but if you’re sleeping with a man who isn’t your husband from Monday to Saturday and you come to church on Sunday wearing the longest and most loose-fitting outfit, singing all of the worship songs and singing them the loudest while you’re jumping and screaming and raising both hands to the highest heavens, God is not impressed and He will look you over when true worshippers are being sought. If you worship God in all you do from Monday to Saturday and come to church in a pair of jeans and a shirt (knowing in your heart that you are dressed decently), God is pleased with you and you will find it effortless to connect with Him in worship. Now I have to say that there are times when people take it too far especially the ladies. You also worship God in the decisions you make on what to wear so wearing some cleavage bearing outfit in and/or out of church does not worship God. You know the motive in your heart for wearing that and the Holy Spirit in you is strong enough to convict you that what you’re doing ain’t right. So let’s stop focusing on verb-worship people. Let’s noun-worship; that’s the kind of worship that moves the heart of God.

Alright my darlings, that’s it for me today. As usual, I hope this speaks to someone and I look forward to your comments and feedback. Have a lovely week ahead.

Toodles,

Grace’s daughter

 

Reflections

Hey y’all,

Hope you guys are all doing good. I’m fab today; just got home from my valentine’s day dinner with my parents. Abs commented that I was cramping their style but the truth is that they love me too much to let me roast at home (do I have fabulous parents or what? :-D). I hope you all had a fabulous day today and for the singles (moi aussi), I’ll take on the risk of sounding cliché to say that it’s not just about having that special someone to show love to. It’s about loving people wherever you are. I went to my mum’s office today and her staff pooled money and got food for their whole department; pizza, small chops, shawarma, cake, wine etc. I mean those guys were having a ball and the guys all wore red ties. Now, none of them are dating each other and most of them are married but they took the opportunity that the day presented to do something special and celebrate with each other. I thought that was pretty cool.

Well, my favourite part of val’s day is the end. Now, I know what most of you are thinking but it’s not because I want to get over the “single awareness day” which is now another name for val’s day (check out Heather Lindsey’s post on this at http://heatherllindsey.blogspot.com/2013/02/valentines-day-single-awareness-day.html….very interesting read). It’s cos my birthday is on the 15th of February so I start getting those lovely phone calls, sometimes before the clock strikes 12. I love celebrating my birthday because of all the love and good wishes I receive from people. It really does make me feel loved. Since my 22nd birthday though, my appreciation for my birthday has taken a different turn. I guess its cos that’s the year my life changed. I was knocked down really bad when I graduated from my first degree ( I was 21 at the time) because I was absolutely devastated by the fact that I graduated with a 2.2. Now before some of you chop me raw, let me put it in proper context for you; I’m the first child and only girl in my family, my dad is the first child and my grandfather is pretty much the patriarch of the extended family so from the day I was born, a lot was expected of me. I had always performed very well in school; top marks from primary school through to A-levels and I had brothers and cousins looking up to me (I’m my grandfather’s first grandchild). Add in the fact that people from my family are very smart and you can now understand why this was such a big deal to me.

The other areas of my life weren’t grand either; I was worryingly over weight (I had battled this from childhood and carried it all the way through my teens to my early 20s) and you know how kids can be mean in school so I learned to develop this hard exterior. When I told one of my friends that I had been insecure for a long time when we were at A-levels together, she was in shock because I apparently always carried myself with such confidence. It wasn’t real; that was the only way I knew to protect myself so if other people thought I was okay with myself, they would think it useless to attack me about my weight because I seemingly didn’t care). To be honest, I didn’t think much of myself but the one thing I had that was of value was the fact that I was smart and no one could take that away from me; my track record spoke for itself.

So you can imagine what went through my mind when I got my result. It got to a point where I began to consider suicide in a very logical manner (and I’m quite sure that’s scarier than considering it in a loud and hysterical manner). The thoughts going through my mind were “Well, you’re fat and people don’t think you’re pretty. The only thing you had going for you was your intelligence and that’s pretty much gone as far as the world is concerned. There’s really nothing for you to live for so you might as well just end things”. To be fair, I had very supportive friends around me; Dabs, Nicky and Cynth all encouraged me and reminded me that I had finished and I ought to be proud of that but I just didn’t want to hear it cos is sounded patronizing to my ears. Moving back to naij and trying to get a job was torture not just because I had a “not great” result but because I was also confused; I didn’t really know who I was and I had no clue who I wanted or was meant to be. In summary, I was just a confused mess.

That was easily the lowest point in my life so far and each time I reflect on it, I thank God everyday that it happened because I would not be who I am today. It was not easy but in the period of recovery after I moved back to naij, I learned so much about who I am in God and I found such peace and clarity that it’s very difficult for me to remember the state of mind I was in back then. I now understand that my worth is not defined by a piece of paper but by the fact that God thought me precious enough to send His Son to die for. There are times when I read my journal entries from 2010 to 2011 and I marvel at where I was at the start of that period and where I got to at the end (before I went for my Masters degree). The best part is that it gives me so much hope for what God has in store for me in the future. I also learned so much about God and His ways i.e. how He does His things. I feel like I jumped the gun a little so I’ll talk about how I got to the present day. The first thing was I started attending TPH. I was initially attracted to that church because of the choir (like I’ve said a number of times, they are simply amazing) and then the teachings kept resonating with me; it was like fresh cool water to a man dying of acute thirst.

That company of believers accompanied me on the journey that changed my life. I attended DTI (discipleship training institute) classes and they shed more light on the spirituality of Christianity as opposed to the religiosity. I found that I was free to express myself in singing and worship and there was no judgement whatsoever. I will never forget this time when Pastor Nigel called for people who wanted to give their lives to Christ or recommit themselves to Him to come forward. Now I had been active in the choir for about a year and the choir has a designated seating area in church. I felt the spirit prodding and pushing me to go which I thought was weird because I didn’t feel that I needed to do any of the above. In hindsight, I guess God was testing whether I cared more about what He wanted as opposed to what other people thought about me. I thank God for His grace because I went out at the last minute and I was so sure that a number of people in the choir would ask me why I went forward. I tell you, not a single person asked me anything, it was like I never even went forward. We understand that everyone is at a different level of spiritual maturity and even when we correct each other it’s done in love. How can that not change a life?

God then sent me on my Aston journey; that in itself is a testimony which I will briefly share. At the beginning of 2011, I was still confused as to what Masters degree to pursue and my parents were constantly on my case to go and get a Masters degree to cover my 2.2. I applied for degrees from petroleum economics to publishing (was I confused or what?). Eventually, my degree search took me down the path of international business. The other applications I made came back with rejections so my ego was taking more beatings but I kept pushing, thank God. The more I thought about a Masters degree in IB and researched it, the more appealing it became. I decided to apply to Aston University (encouraged by Abs’ constant prodding, done in love of course). It was the only school I could apply to because it’s a good uni with a good reputation that happens to admit 2.2 candidates and the deadline for submitting applications had not passed. I remember being in the bathroom one random day and saying to God that I did not want to go to that school if that was not what He wanted for me. On a subsequent lovely Sunday evening, I was sitting in the living room with my mother when I had this sense of “rightness” in my spirit (I don’t know how else to explain it). I looked at my mother and I said “Mummy, I’ve gotten the Aston admission”. She asked me if they had contacted me and I said no. She said “Well, my daughter Amen oh! You will get it in Jesus’ name”. I said, “Mummy, that wasn’t me trying to pray, that was me informing you”. She said Amen again and I guess she shrugged it off. The next day in my office, I got the e-mail saying that I had been admitted. I bawled like a baby because it was like a second chance for me.

Now many more testimonies abound since that day in June 2011. I got into Aston Business School and I finished my Masters degree with a distinction. I’ve moved back home again and in an economy where it’s taking a lot of people years to get a good job, I’m getting job offers (Yes, offers not singular but plural i.e. more than one). I’m not saying this to boast because I will tell you for free that none of this is as a result of my abilities. When I tell you that I am a daughter of grace, I do not exaggerate. All the things that have happened to me and that I’ve done are things that don’t really make sense from the world’s viewpoint but I am from above. That’s why I am above all, not by virtue of who I am but by virtue of whose I am. God lifted me from the miry clay of what used to be my life and set my feet upon the solid rock and because of that I am not shaken by what goes on in the world. I know whom I have put my faith in. Don’t get me wrong, I often stumble and fall and that won’t change because at the end of the day I am still flesh until He returns or calls me home. But the beautiful thing is I am not who I used to be; that’s the miracle of God’s way and God’s process. He has taken my life and made it something that is often hard for me to recognize. I now struggle to ensure that I do not take any of these things for granted nor start to think that this was all accomplished in my own strength (still I remind myself to lean on Him for the strength to do so). Jesus never said there wouldn’t be problems in our Christian walk but boy, do I prefer the problems I have today to those I had when I was still lost.

I had this conversation with my aunt once and she told me how she went through her own very trying period. She said that God wants to get our attention and He does that by allowing the thing we value most to be taken away. It’s very painful but the fruit of that pain makes it more than worth it. If you’re out there and you’re going through what you feel is the worst moment of your life, my heart for you is that you turn to God. It might take some time but trust that He does indeed give beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning.

Looool….I really didn’t intend to talk much about my past today but as usual, God has other ideas. So as I turn a year older in a number of minutes, it’s with absolute joy in the knowledge of who I am, whose I am and the fact that I am walking in purpose. God has blessed me with the best friends and family members anyone could ever ask for. I am so grateful for how far God has brought me and thinking about that gives me massive hope for where He is taking me. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be where I am today and that’s what excites me about my future. I can sit and try to think of the greatest thing ever that could happen to me and it still would not match what He wants to do in, for and through me:

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,  to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen”- Ephesians 3: 20-21

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28.

So happy birthday to me, happy val’s day to you all and wherever you are, please trust that God has only the best in His heart for you. Dream big people; it can never be bigger than what He has in store.

Love,

Grace’s daughter

Sisterhood

Hello darlings,

Hope y’all are doing good. Sorry for my absence over the weekend; like I’ve mentioned before, my weekends are always busier mostly because of preparations for Sunday’s service and trying to spend quality time with the parents. We went to the movies and saw Flight. I was put off by the nudity and swearing in the movie especially because it was unnecessary but other than that, it was refreshing to see Denzel depart from his usual macho “I’m a tough, problem solving, got my act together (for the most part) kinda guy” type roles that he tends to lean towards. Service today was great; wasn’t at TPH today because I was asked to sing with TWB’s worship team. That in itself is for another post but it showed me that when God gives a word, He confirms it. KK…..before I get into what’s on my heart today, I just want to say a huge congrats to the Super Eagles of Nigeria on their win at AFCON. I will admit that I had no faith in the team (they’ve broken my heart too many times) so I was in no way interested in their performance but they proved me wrong. Well done guys :-D.

Alrighty then. So I went out to lunch with some of my girlfriends after church yesterday at Olivia’s Cafe in Lekki Phase 1. The food was alright and the cupcake I had was particularly nice. Anyways I digress (in case you don’t know, I’m quite the food lover). We all know that when girls get together, the topics of conversation are pretty much always the same; boys, relationships (marriage has also started making its way in), clothes, hair, food, etc. Diets may also find their way in but it depends on the group of girls you’re with. There were four of us and two of us are engaged so the conversation naturally went to wedding planning (I’m the CBM for a friend’s wedding, tres exciting) and how to go about crowd control at weddings (which can be a serious issue at Lagos weddings). We also talked about marriage itself and what the pitfalls seem to be especially in situations where people marry to meet society’s expectations; the feelings that a bride may go through when she married for the wrong reasons or at the wrong time and what happens when the euphoria of being a newlywed goes away (while the reality of being a wife and sharing your life with another flawed human being kicks in). Again, this is a topic for another post; what struck me about our conversation yesterday was when we talked about how we treat each other as women. This is something I’ve wanted to blog about for a while and one of my girlfriends hit the nail on the head about this issue. To summarize, she said “we women are not honest with each other at all”.

Before I get into this fully, I will say that God has blessed me with two things in the area of my girlfriends; one, He has given me the best girlfriends ever and two, the ability to enjoy and appreciate them for who they are and who God is building them up to be. These two blessings go hand in hand; in order for you to enjoy and be happy for the people around you, you need to have a certain level of security in who you are (again, a post for another day) That being said, there was a time in my life (when I was much younger) that I didn’t have these things in check and though I know I had a part to play in that situation because I was very insecure, I also believe that I the problem was not all me. It’s clearer to me now that most of the people I hung out with at that time were so concerned with ensuring that other girls thought they had their whole lives figured out and they had the manual on how to live this life successfully. It seemed that their perception of their worth was measured by the level of jealousy they could garner from other girls. I know this happens mostly in high school and would love to put it down to childishness and immaturity but it seems that we carry this on to a certain extent into our adult lives and it’s more subtle, yet it’s way more dangerous.

I believe that as women or girls, we owe it to ourselves to be honest to each other and not put out false images of ourselves. It’s only very recently that I stopped comparing myself to other people and became comfortable with who I am. That’s a blessing that comes from my relationship with God and that fact that my identity rests in who He is. However, there are many other women (both young and old) who do not have the revelation of this truth in their lives. There’s always someone (they believe) who’s better than them; skinnier, has a more defined figure, got married earlier, has a better job, has better behaved children, is a more organized mother, has a better looking and more successful husband, etc. Then you have this carrying over into the younger generations. Mothers who never sorted out their self-image issues raise daughters who become obsessed with how they look or how people perceive them and sons who only look at superficial things when looking for their mates. This problem is serious people and I believe that one way we can address it is by being honest with each other as females and looking out for each other whether or not we are friends or complete strangers.

Imagine a world where every single woman behaves like they she is part of a sisterhood where women are honest with each other (with boundaries in place of course; there’s no need to walk up to some random woman you don’t know and tell her inappropriate things. That’s just awkward. No TMI please) and they interact with each other from a place of love. The number of cases of emotional insecurity would take a nose-dive. I accept that there are cases where self-esteem issues are so deep that it takes a conscious effort for the individual in question to change how they see themselves and the world (meaning that no matter how many times you tell a lady the truth about your struggles, she still thinks that she’s worse than everyone else). For the most part though, low self-esteem is perpetuated by other women who make themselves out to be what they’re not so that people can envy them (which in itself is a type of low self-esteem. If you’re really comfortable with who you are, you won;t go out of your way to make sure someone envies you). If we women had each other’s backs, we would be as honest about or struggles and failures as we are about the easy stuff and our successes. We would be comfortable with each other and be able to say “she is my sister and regards me with love, I can be honest with her without fear of judgement”. If we know that we are not the only ones struggling through this thing called life, we would not set impossibly high and unattainable targets for ourselves and proceed to beat ourselves up when we don’t reach them. We could encourage each other about body-image issues, man issues (which I will come back to later), work issues, children issues, etc.

Now I need to stress that there is a difference between being honest and being falsely nice. If you have a friend who clearly needs to lose some weight, don’t lie to her and tell her she’s okay if that’s not how you honestly feel. Tell her the truth but tell her in love. When you see that she’s trying to make an effort in that department, make sure to encourage her. I have been in the same situation and I thank God for my girlfriends who encouraged me as I tried to lose weight. For the married ladies with children, if your friend is finding it hard being a home-maker or being productive at home and in the office at the same time, encourage her. Please DO NOT go on some diatribe about how your kids continue to take top positions in their academics and you just got a job promotion, oh and your husband commented last night that the stew you made for dinner was your best yet. TACT PLEASE!!!!!!! You know that you were not able to do all this without batting an eyelid and even if you have convinced yourself that you did this effortlessly (I don’t believe you actually did), keep it to yourself and understand that it’s about the other woman at the time, not you.

The one area where we women are dishonest with ourselves to our own detriment is that of men.  Now, I’m not saying that you should go about sharing all your business with people if you’re not comfortable (yes, it’s okay to have personal boundaries with you girlfriends. I believe there are certain things that should stay between a husband and a wife.) but please don’t intentionally make them think that you have it all together when you don’t. You know your husband or boyfriend is cheating on you but you want the people around you to think that you have everything together. When they eventually find out that you don’t (because the truth always comes out), they will not want to be there for you because you rubbed them the wrong way when you were constantly throwing your “perfection” in their faces. You know that man is married or engaged or whatever and that you should not be entertaining his advances much less making advances of your own. Can you please stop whatever it is you’re doing. Imagine a world where women did not entertain “randoms” (as Heather Lindsey called them) of the married/engaged/involved/generally useless kind. That way, we set a standard for how we want to be treated and create conditions that encourage men to step up their game (especially in the faithfulness department) and behave properly. I’ve heard several stories where women have said that they don’t think it’s possible for men to be faithful to their spouses. Well, if you have already set a standard where they’re allowed to cheat then cheat they will. If they understand that the consequences of stepping in that direction are more than they can afford, then they will behave. If they also know that the options available if they step out are in no way appetizing, they will stay where they are and find ways to make the marriage work (and this is where looking out for a sister by not doing inappropriate things with her husband comes in).

I will digress a little and talk about dysfunctional relationships. I know that what I’ve discussed today may not be easy to consider because a lot of women are in less than idyllic situations and are trying their best to make what they have work. Maybe you’re married and when you were dating your husband, you didn’t really set a good standard for how you ought to be treated and now he’s cheating on you and/or does not treat you with respect. I want you to know that God sees you and knows where you are so instead of trying to work things out in you own strength, turn to God and let Him work in you. I know this sounds like a very cliché statement to make but I honestly believe, and have heard testimonies from long married women, that God can do the impossible, renew a marriage and restore what has been broken or lost. Don’t look to God to fix your spouse, look to God to fix you. To the ladies in bad relationships, please get out and allow God to sort you out. God will never bless your mess  (as Michelle Hammond says) so stop asking Him to get this guy to propose to you when you know he’s no good. Get out of it, find who you are in God and allow Him to join with you with the wonderful man He created just for you.

Back to the topic; if there’s one thing I want us to take away from what I have discussed today, it’s the need to surround ourselves with fantastic girlfriends and set a good example when it comes to how we treat our fellow women. I was outside Shoprite at the Palms about a week ago and a lady walked towards me and said “You look absolutely beautiful”. I was so surprised because that never happens but imagine if we encouraged each other that way (by the way, I did say thank you to the lady so you don’t think I’m rude ;-)). If I had been in a bad mood at the time, that would have done a good job of cheering me up. Let’s lift each other up and be our biggest supporters. Let’s have each other’s backs and always look out for each other.

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers [and sisters] dwell together in unity”- Psalm 133:1

Also, please note that I am not saying that men in general are the enemy; contrary to popular opinion, I do believe that there are is a significant number of good, stand-up guys out there (YES! Even those of the Nigerian variety). My point is we should stop focusing on men and making them out to be the only problem; we should look to ourselves and find out how we can demand better. We hold the key to the solutions to these problems ladies, let’s start using them.

That’s it for me people. As usual, I hope this speaks to someone and please leave any questions or comments and I’ll get back to you.

Have a lovely week,

Grace’s daughter

Changing Seasons

Hey people,

Hope y’all are doing great. Sorry for the extra late post tonite, I got back home bone-tired and had decided not to blog today but once I switched off my lamp I started composing what I would have liked to talk about. So here I am :-). I won’t talk about much today, I just feel like sharing what my day was like. Hopefully, it’s interesting to someone and there’s a word for someone somewhere. Again, I want to say thank you to all you guys that continue to follow the blog. There have been 211 views of the blog since I started (five days ago). I don’t know what typical blog site statistics are but this definitely blows my mind. There’s someone in Ireland looking at the blog for goodness’ sake and I’m quite sure I don’t know anyone there. So thanks everyone; each view is a sign of support and it encourages me to continue writing.

Onto my day; I ran a few errands in the morning that didn’t allow me catch up on my sleep (since I started blogging, I’m in bed around 12ish and getting up to jog at 6.30 in the morning means I need to catch up on sleep after I shower and pray). I didn’t have time to pray before I left so I planned to pray once I got back home. When I got home, I had a conversation with Pastor Mo (who is meant to be my spiritual father but he’s more like my spiritual big brother cos he’s so cool) about how I haven’t seen him in a while. I told him that we had quite a few things to discuss. I was about to head out to his office when I remembered that I hadn’t prayed. Now, to be honest I was very close to leaving without praying but the Holy Spirit would not let me so I decided to give in and pray. While I was praying, I started to receive revelations on certain separate pieces of my life coming together. It’s difficult for me to put in words but I felt like God gave me a glimpse of my future. To give some background, I moved back to Nigeria from England at the end of September last year. The atmosphere was so different when I moved back and I could sense that God was calling me to leave certain things behind and step into new things. One of these areas is the church where I worship. Now people who know me (and they don’t even have to know me that well) know that I rep my church wherever I go. I’m proud to say I’m a TPH baby so the thought of me leaving was preposterous to me when I had just moved back. I guess God in His mercy knew that He would have to ease me into that idea. There were several other occasions where I could tell that I might have to leave but I just was not ready to deal with it.

I knew where God wanted me to move to and to be honest, TWB (The Waterbrook) is another expression of TPH (This Present House) so I wouldn’t be going far away. There was one main thing that kept holding me back from leaving and that was my membership in the choir and the worship team. Now, if you think I rep my church, then you don’t want to know how I talk about this choir. Remaining small, I for write Lagos Community Gospel Choir for my head. It is an absolute privilege to be part of such a talented and hard-working group of people. The thought of leaving was something I never wanted to seriously consider until today. Actually, the response to this blog was another piece of the puzzle that came together today to help me make my decision because of the response it’s gotten and the type of people I’ve been called to reach. There are a number of changes going on in TWB right now and I can see how I have a place there; it’s difficult to explain but trust me on this. Secondly, the kind of people God is calling me to reach are in TWB; most of them are in my age bracket while TPH caters to an older crowd. Finally, TPH is a church where I received a lot but the seasons have changed and God is calling me to start giving back. There is a lot of work to be done and I know for a fact that God has equipped me with the giftings and experiences to do what He needs done through me. So that’s basically it people

However, it’s not easy. Right after I made this decision and discussed with Pastor Mo, I had choir practice and it started to hit me that I would be leaving a lot behind. First of all, these people have been my family for the most [spiritually] important years of my life. They taught me to be expressive and to be comfortable with who I am. They unknowingly encouraged me not to be self-conscious and being a part of that family has shown me things about myself that I most likely would not have found out in any other context. I’m going to miss them badly and I’ll miss the atmosphere we created together. I started feeling down and a number of people noticed. I’ve spoken to one or two people about the move but it’s all hush-hush for now until I talk to the music director (I’m hoping he doesn’t read this blog, looool). I think God knew I needed some encouragement which is why we rehearsed “Moving forward” by Israel Houghton

I’m not going back, I’m moving ahead, I’m here to declare to you, my past is over. In you, all things are made new, surrendered my life to Christ. I’m moving, moving forward

You make all things new, yes You make all things new and I will follow You forward.

I listened to that song from a fresh perspective. You see, I always thought that the past they were referring to in that song was a past without Jesus, where we were still in sin. But hearing it today in light of my situation, I felt that it could also mean leaving a good past behind, a past season, to enter a new place in God. Once you have surrendered your life to Christ, you no longer make decisions for yourself. God, in His mercy, even prepared me first but I know that I will not be given such leeway in the future. God is a God of renewal. He makes all things new; even the things that we think are still new, He makes newer.

Seasons change people and we need to be able to go with it so that we can remain useful to God. I know for sure that a season of preparation is over in my life and a new season of work is about to start. It’s time for me to put my hand to the plough and be a useful labourer in this season of harvest. I’m moving forward people, and it may not be pleasant (actually, not “may not”, “is not” sounds more like truth) but it has to be done and if there’s one thing I know for sure about God, it’s the fact that there is always a blessing for total obedience. I would even go so far to say that it’s a spiritual principle.

Alright guys, that’s it from me today. My eyes are starting to close and I need to be up to jog tomorrow. As usual, I look forward to your comments and questions and please keep passing the word about this blog along.

Nite nite,

Grace’s daughter

Kissing Dating Good-bye

Hello world,

I woke up this morning, went for a jog and was trying to come up with a topic to discuss today (I’ve set my mind on writing a new post everyday because I know the time will soon come when I won’t have the opportunity to do so). Nothing really stuck in my mind but when I was praying, it occurred to me to talk about dating. Now, a number of people I know think that I need to go live in the 19th century because my philosophy on dating is extremely archaic. To be fair, I understand where they’re coming from but the truth of the matter is that it’s working for me; I haven’t met “the one” yet but I have peace of mind while I’m waiting and that’s something you cannot buy in the market. Some of you may be irritated and maybe even shocked by what I’m about to say (which is kinda understandable) but I actually don’t believe in dating; at least what the world defines as dating these days.

When Joshua Harris released the latest edition of his book, “Why I Kissed Dating Good-bye”, he mentioned in the author’s note that most people reacted negatively to his book. This isn’t surprising considering what the entertainment industry has flooded our brains with; a certain concept of love that we all want to attain but only lives in those love songs and on those movie screens. We are so engrossed with the messages they convey that we don’t think to look beyond the images they create and into the lives of the people who create them. It’s a self-evident truth that the divorce rates in the entertainment industry have become the butt of one joke too many. Even in our society, the number of divorce cases among younger couples is steadily rising. It means something is wrong somewhere and I personally believe it has a lot to do with dating.

My first issue with dating is that it is often purposeless. You can be someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend just for the fun of it. There is no thought as to whether or not there is a future with that person and even if there has been such thought, there are cases where people still remain together when there is no future. If after you hang out with someone in a scenario you have both established is more than friendship (which often isn’t the case and I’ll get back to this later) and you know after a some time that the two of you are not compatible, why would you want to allow that situation remain the way it is? I can understand that you may have developed feelings for the person but you need to start looking beyond what you feel like doing and start thinking about doing what’s good for you. It’s like working out; I personally don’t like it and would do away with it of I could but I have to consider what’s good for me, hunker down and do it. Climbing the scale and appreciating the numbers, looking good in that dress and being healthy are all good for me.

Abeg, don’t think that I am preaching down to you. My own dating history has been comical in terms of the kind of characters I have encountered but I won’t talk much about this, it’s a topic for another post. I will say that I have dated someone who I knew I had no future with. We were never officially in a relationship but we had both developed feelings for each other and had no interest whatsoever in ending things. God had to tell me clearly to end things with him because my relationship with my future spouse was at stake. It was hard, but I asked God for the grace to do what was right and He made it available. So people, if you are in a relationship with someone that you know has no future, help yourself. Trust me, it’s much better being by yourself than carrying the headache of being in a non-functional, stagnant relationship (which is what it is once the euphoria wears off).

The second issue I have with dating is the ambiguity of the rules. All that “he said this, but what does it really mean?” or “he’s holding my hand, does that mean he really likes me?” I’m speaking to the ladies now. My darlings, we always know when we are in a situation that isn’t working. I remember a little over two years ago, when I was seeing this guy (who turned out to be engaged already) and I asked a friend at the time, “do you think he likes me?”. She said “if you have to ask whether a guy likes you, then you already know the answer to the question”. That was like an “aha” moment for me. These questioning situations tend to happen when both parties have not declared their intentions (set a purpose) and decided how to go about achieving these intentions (setting the rules of the game). Without laying these foundations, what ensues is chaos.

The last issue I have with dating that I will discuss (there are many more, but I don’t want to bore you) is the fact that it advocates intimacy without commitment. I will say right off the bat that I do not believe in having sex before marriage, that’s a given. No matter how you slice it, it’s not scriptural and the bible will never ever change to accommodate new age thinking. But even more than sex, there’s other stuff like making out, heavy petting, etc. Now, I’m speaking to the ladies again, you know that we are not built like men. I don’t care if you want to shout from the roof till you’re blue in the face that you can just get down with a guy without getting emotionally attached, that’s a downright lie. Often times, we become intimate with guys because we want them to like us or we want to express our feelings for them; that’s how we’re built. There are cases where it starts out with you trying to sort out your “conjy” but this usually results in you developing feelings for whoever you’re getting down with. Women, we are wired to be givers, giving our bodies is one of the ways we show love but we need to ensure that this is done in the correct context. That’s how it can be fully enjoyed and that’s how we protect our hearts. If that young man has not made a commitment to you in the presence of God and in front of friends and family, he has no right whatsoever to your body.

Now I know that the next question on most minds is “Are you saying that we are not meant to kiss or touch or be with the person we like/love?” My answer to that is that your body is the temple of God. Jesus paid the ultimate price with His blood and He ransomed you, He paid the price for you and as long as you have accepted Him as your Lord and Saviour, you belong to Him. Imagine how you would feel if you paid a significant amount of money to get something that was the most precious thing in the world to you and someone who doesn’t even appreciate it comes and starts putting their dirty hands on it. For goodness’ sake you don’t even know where those hands have been. I’m sure you would be enraged (to put it mildly). Now if it’s a case where the person is attracted to that wonderful thing that you have and respectfully observes and investigates that most prized possession of yours, you would allow the person to have limited access to it once you know that the person appreciates that possession of yours. You might even allow that person to share what you have once the person makes a commitment to care for that thing with his/her life. So my answer to that question is this, you know what you should and shouldn’t do. It’s like the “do you think he likes me?” questions. The truth is that some couples can kiss and stop at kissing, they are not spiritually affected and they can handle kissing. There are also other couples that make the decision not to kiss until they get married; Eric and Leslie Ludy, Cornelius and Heather Lindsey. These are not people who lived in ancient times nor are they of the older generation. I know Leslie Ludy was about 18 when she married in 1991 and Heather Lindsey is in her early 30s and has been married for about three years. It can be done people, even in today’s world.

I’ve talked about why I don’t believe in dating and I’m sure some of you are wondering what I do belive in? I believe that finding your spouse ought to be done in four stages; purposeful friendship, courtship, engagement and marriage. I’m not against having friends that are of the opposite sex but I have found in my experience that it is extremely important to create boundaries in such relationships so that you don’t find yourself developing feelings for someone who was only interested in a platonic friendship with you. Purposeful friendship and platonic friendship are two completely different things and it is in our best interests not to confuse them. Purposeful friendship is when you start to hang out more with this person (preferably in groups) to see if this person has the qualities that you are looking for in a mate. I believe it becomes courtship when you have both decided that you are ready to make a commitment in the form of marriage but you want to check with your mentors and the people who know you best and want the best for you. It is very possible that you are looking at this person through rose-coloured glasses so you need these people to confirm your decision. Engagement is when you have both decided with the blessings of God, close friends and family to marry (and the young man puts a ring on her finger :-)) and marriage is when that commitment is made before God.

I made the decision to no longer pursue the world’s version of dating about a year ago and I can honestly say that I have had a wonderful peace since. All that crap of “he didn’t call, what does that mean?” or, “well he never said he likes, all he did was to ask for my phone number, take me out and try to kiss me on the first date” is no longer a part of my life (yes that really did happen to me, have I come a lone way or what?). I am only interested in the person God has designed for me and the only acceptable way to be found by my mate (yes ladies, we are meant to be found we are not meant to do the finding) is to sort it out at the feet of my Master in prayer. At this point in my life, I am only interested in what God wants for me. If I go and put my heart somewhere He didn’t send me and kata-kata bursts, God and I will be doing face-me-I-face-you because when I am looking to Him to solve the problem, He is looking at me asking me what I went to find there in the first place.

Alright peeps, that’s it from me today. I’m quite sure that this post will ruffle more than a few feathers but I actually look forward to hearing your opinions and answering any questions that you have. Even if you don’t agree with me, please let me know what your thoughts are and we can have a fruitful discussion of the topic. I hope this speaks to someone and please remember that my views are shared in love.

Kisses,

Grace’s daughter.

P.S. I hope that this post doesn’t mess with any valentine’s day plans. But even if you suspect that guy/girl is about to give you Blackberry 10 for val’s day and you know you have no future with him/her, abeg break up with them and their BB 10. It’s the right thing to do.

The Process

Hey people,

I’m back again :-D. Before I get into what’s on my heart to share today, I want to say a huge thank you to all of you that read and commented on the previous post. Each view and comment is a source of encouragement to me which I cherish a lot. So thanks y’all and as much as you can, please let your friends and family in on the blog. It’ll be great to reach even more people.

Alright, so today I want to talk about process from two perspectives; ours and God’s. This was actually what I wanted to talk about yesterday but I guess God took over and did His thing. Back to the topic at hand, I’ll start with process from God’s perspective and segue into our perspective. I recently heard a message where the speaker was comparing the hand of God with the finger of God. The hand of God is God working within the boundaries of nature, time and space to bring about His plan for out lives. The hand of God is often vague and easy to miss if you don’t look out for it. The finger of God on the other hand is God stepping out of the boundaries of the natural to perform what most of us categorize as miracles. A classic example would be God parting the Red Sea with Moses’ staff.

The thing is most of the time, we tend to look out for the finger of God so much that we miss out the hand of God. As a result, we don’t see the things that God is working out for us within the boundaries of the natural and we begin to take things for granted. I’ve made my peace with the fact that God is too secure in Himself to resort to constant “aba-ca-dabra” type theatrics in order to convince me that He has done something great. Don’t get me wrong, when God wants to show Himself “jim-jim”, He can choose to do so but it is of His own volition. I’ve drawn a parallel between the hand of God and the process of God. Often times, God takes us through a process in order to produce certain fruits in us. We often want things quick and easy but the truth is that as humans, we don’t appreciate things that come easily. There are times when I think about the person I am today and who I was two years ago and I marvel at how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown. That in itself is a miracle but if I didn’t take the time to meditate on this, I would miss it and could actually convince myself that God doesn’t exist or isn’t interested in me because He hasn’t made money drop in from who knows where into my pocket (actually, I honestly believe He has done that a time or two).

My point is this; God is more interested in taking us through His process (which often includes difficult times) to produce fruits in us (such as strength, power, love, patience, a renewed mindset) so that we can be useful tools in the advancement of His kingdom here on earth. He is less interested in making things easier for us. He has a purpose for our lives and is more interested in ensuring that we achieve them than letting us coast through life.We are called to be Kings and Priest here on earth and to do so, we need at recognize that God will take us through several seasons of preparation as we advance to higher levels in life and we need to allow Him have His way in us. So wherever you are in your life now, think back on where you’ve been and assess how far you’ve come. I’m hoping you’ll begin to see the hand of God in your life, taking you through His process; from waking up each day to overcoming an illness, making it through school and getting that good job, breaking up with that guy that was no good for you and finding absolute contentment in Him to meeting the mate He designed specially for you. All these experiences involve going through hard things but I can say from experience that the fruit they produce are more than worthy of the difficulties they entail.

I read a devotional by T.D Jakes yesterday and he spoke about letting God mature us as opposed to comparing ourselves to other Christians as soon as we give our lives to Christ. I really connected with what he was saying because I used to beat myself up about not being a perfect Christian or not being as good as other people who I thought were perfect Christians. Again, I was so engrossed in seeing the finger of God where spiritual maturity is concerned and I was not interested in being patient and allowing the hand of God to do its work. This is how I see the process from our perspective; we have to make peace with the fact that we will not automatically be perfect Christians the moment we decide to live our lives for God. My friend Eloxie once gave me an analogy about the glass full of malt; when you place the glass of malt under a slow flowing faucet of water, you will initially see the dark coloured malt until the water gradually displaces the malt and the liquid in the glass gets clearer and clearer until all the malt had been displaced by clean water. It takes a while for the malt to be displaced and it initially seems like nothing is happening but eventually the glass is full of clean water. So people, never ever compare yourself to other people and try to be like them. Focus on God and key into the process He is currently taking you through (we are all work in progress through process). Ensure that you don’t stay stagnant, keep on moving. You’ll find that God will flood your hearts with peace, you will compare yourself to other people less and your trust in God grows because you know that whatever stage of His process that you are going through at the moment, He is working things out for your good.

“And we know that all things  [in the process] work together for good for them that love Him and are called according to His purpose” – Romans 8:28

Now let me just say that I am in no way trying to belittle the finger of God. It’s awesome when God shows Himself in a supernatural way; supernatural healing, speaking in tongues, mysterious rescues and inexplicable revelations. But the same God that provided manna for the Israelites in the wilderness (finger), stopped providing food for them once they reached the promised land and they were able to work the land to get food (hand). It was His decision out of His divine wisdom to do it so. Whether He chooses to use His finger or His hand in a certain situation doesn’t make Him any less God. It is our responsibility to appreciate both His hand and His finger.

That’s it for me today people. Can’t wait to hear your questions and comments. I’m also thinking of easing up on the more heavy stuff; I should have lighter discussion topics coming in soon……like my birthday which is in 9 days ;-).

Stay blessed everyone.

Grace’s daughter