Put the light on…

Hey friends,

May is slowly creeping on us, I cannot believe it. It was never my intention to be gone for this long. I have been thinking about sending out a hello piece, but struggled to find better reasons besides saying, hello. It is important for me that when I do decide to share a piece, it would always come from a now, and transparent place.

As someone who appears strong, confident and sure of herself it’s so easy for people to assume you have your shit together.

‘You always look so good, It’s hard to believe you’ve been through so much’.

Today I want to share a little about my battle with depression.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, let me re-introduce myself to you. And it all started with Hello…From the age of 16 I was diagnosed with manic depression. And for several years I was on medication for this illness.  My life revolved around psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, behavioural therapies, drugs, sex, alcohol and wrong friendships, with the occasional church visits. My life spiralled out of control as the years went on, and although outwardly it would appear like I was coping, inside I was perishing slowly to my death.  As the cycle perpetuated itself, I would soon become suicidal and attempted multiple times to end the pain, resulting in me being hospitalised on many occasions. Being dependent on sex and  drug abuse, would lead me to making bad financial decisions that consequently took me to rock bottom. The day would come when I was finally presented with the choice of life, or death. Surely, I was in no sound mind to make such a life changing decision, but one that was imperative if I was to stop this cycle of sameness. img_1536

8 some years, I fall humbly to my knees, thankful to God that I chose life. And that His mercies never gave up on me.

You are looking at a victor of mental illness, a victor of someone who did not know that the mind had to be renewed on a daily basis. That you do eventually become how you think. My thoughts were toxic to say the least, thoughts of abuse from a young age, thoughts of abandonment, thoughts of being unloved, rejected…

I do not pen my heart for follows, or likes. I  do this for you. You might be that  ONE person who feels that their life makes no sense. Fed up of the sameness and monotony of your journey. You might have woken up today wishing you hadn’t. Believe me, I was the same. Some days I begged God to take my life. Just so I wouldn’t have to face another painful reminder of the past, and its pain that left with it many invisible scars. So, before you end it all, throw in the towel, or decide to check out of this life. Please believe that there is a God. He loves you so much, and that He sent Jesus to die for you. I am living proof of His restoration.

Being transparent is so important, we cannot heal if we remain masked. I know for me I gravitate to people  who allow me to see their true authentic self. And the truth is said for those who have connected with me, in times past and even today. People are drawn to the real you, not the pretend you. For so many years i’ve shared my story in bite-sizes and it has been that level of transparency that have allowed me to form lasting relationships. Being courageous to dare to reveal, and refusing to skirt around my truth has helped healed so many, including myself.

Today I found myself struggling to get my day-to-day shores completed. All of the sudden, with no warning signs I found my self procrastinating on things that would otherwise take no time at all. Refusing to accept the truth, I phoned a friend. It was in our conversation, the heart of the matter was revealed. My transparent moment became the reason behind this blog. Through this conversation he told me to retrace my steps and rewind the days leading up to today. It soon became apparent I had been inconsistent with one of my daily habits, and the scariest part of it; was It could’ve been avoided. Had I known two weeks of missing the gym would’ve made such an impact in my mental health, I think for sure I would’ve reconsidered missing a day. But one thing I can say is that It is so important to be in tune with the triggers that cause you to revert. You must start to understand what your triggers are You have to protect yourself from these triggers. The same way you would protect your home with a burglar alarm system.  You have to set up a system in place that protects your mind at all costs.

img_1190-1Truth is I am human. I live in a body. My flesh is constantly throwing its dummy out of the pram desperately seeking attention. Putting the light on it and revealing its ugliness is one way of me fighting back. Today has been a wake up to the reality that yes, although I’ve come out of depression, after battling with it for 15 years without medication, or counselling.  It was sobering to say the least, and being awaken to my triggers is the greatest help. And my need for Jesus as my healer and constant life support is something I do not take lightly. I’m honoured to be His patient among many things. There is no doubt that day(s) like these will resurface. But I am living proof that there is a God. There is NO pit too deep that He cannot dig you out from. He will bring everything that this world has tainted and work it together for good.Since January I’ve been attending the gym 3-5 days a week, sometimes twice a day. I’m no where close to my fitness levels or weight goal, but each morning at 6.30am I find myself down a familiar road, walking and talking with Him with no interruptions; just the two of us.  In the desperate pursuit to hear Him, and pour my heart out to the one whose ears are never deafened to hear me. You see some days, we just need an outlet. I have grown fond of this outlet over the years, the safest place I can share my heart, without shame, guilt or inferiority. That first sunrise, the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the crisp air were all welcoming additions to entice my morning journeys to my new favourite place; the gym. Yes, the gym for me has become so much more than just an institution to build physical muscles and the delights of me one day fitting into my favourite skinny jeans. It has become my training field for so many of the other things I see Him working in me.

The contradiction of life is that I am experiencing one of my most fruitful seasons. Busy, productive and beautiFULL. Each day I am discovering His goodness in a new way. I even took the step of faith and started that new business which i’ve put off for quite some time. I’m also currently in the process of moving homes, and schools with a teenage son who is also on his journey discovering this gift we call life, and trying to figure out his purpose in the plan of God’s big tapestry. All the while finding my feet in many unchartered and unfamiliar fields, with different projects I will share with you all as time goes on. img_1322

I know it’s not always easy, and sometimes it feels safer to  hold back. Sometimes we don’t know how we’re going to be received if we were to put it all out there, So I understand. This is why it is so important to use wisdom and discernment. And even for me, I share a lot but there’s still so much that I’ve yet to disclose. This is partly because I am under submission to my fathers will. Whatever gets disclosed have to be for the greater good of revealing His goodness in my tests, and to give testimony of His goodness. Anything more outside of that, well for me is irrelevant.  Make no mistakes about it, the beauty in restoration is that it affects everything. Nothing remains the same. The exteriors and interiors must be demolished in order for the building (you/I) to be rebuild.

I see us living in restoration mansion together. I see broken men and women being restored back to wholeness. I see masks falling off, and laughter being the sound theme of the every room in our homes. I see scars being supernaturally healed, and relationships revived.

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Jeremiah 31:4

Once again I will build you up,  and you will be rebuilt, my dear people Israel. Once again you will take your tambourines, and you will go dancing with happy people

These words friends, have been the meditation of my heart this week. As clearly as I heard God saying to me that He himself will rebuild my life. I believe this to be the truth for every one of you reading this entry today. As I conclude for today I feel that someone needs to know that the God of heaven and earth is in the business of rebuilding, repairing and  reviving.

Stone by stone He will rebuild our lives. 

God is not wasteful, and nothing you have ever been through will ever be wasted. Lets ‘go-again’ and  get on this road trip together.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, let me re-introduce myself to you. And it all started with Hello…

Signed,

Jewelbygrace

 

What floats your boat?

Sometimes it feels like everything around you wants to consume you. Problems at work, family issues, lack of finances and bad health to name a few. It is like being stuck in a boat in the middle of the ocean, hit with tempestuous wave after wave, with rollercoaster events leaving you fighting to find the calm in the storm.

What matters is not so much what’s going on around you but what is incubated on the inside of you.

Notes from my journal, and it reads:

Negative issues seek to penetrate your heart and become a part of you. The word of God says to guard your heart for out of it flows the issues of life. As you allow these issues to spring a leak in the heart of your boat you will find that it will sink because you have allowed what was on the outside to get on the inside.

If we are going to endure the storm there are key parts your boat will need:

1. An anchor to keep you from drifting off course. The word of God serves this purpose. Proverbs 3 : 5,6 says
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know, recognise, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.day as it ever was. Letting go and submitting was hard for me.

2. A rudder (flat piece hinged vertically near the stern of a boat or ship for steering)
Now I want to substitute the rudder for your tongue or in other words what you say.

James 3:4,5 (NLT)
And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong.

In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.

Proverbs 18:21 (message) explains the power of the tongue further indicating your life will move in the direction of your words.

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.

3. Your faith keeps you afloat resting on the promises of God. I love what it says here in 1 Peter 5- Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

Our boat is blessed… Christ on the inside

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In fact you are at the highest state of blessedness ( a feeling or state of well-being and contentment).

We are going to make it.

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honour depend on God; he is my  mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”‭‭Psalm‬ ‭62:5-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬ 

 

Hope you enjoyed this entry, and please feel free to comment. Your support is warmly appreciated. 

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Jewel 

Video

#i can’t breathe

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried but actually you’ve been planted.”
― Christine Caine

In torrent waves whose current force me further and further into the deep waters. I flail my arms in a desperate attempt to surface the watery mirages that seek to drown me.

Starting out as droplets they seemed harmless at first, but like a dripping tap they congregate and grow into a puddle…a pool…a pond of water…a lake…an ocean….

The Mirages I speak of are those who I celebrate as they move swiftly in their sphere of influence. I watch as they network and form impressive waves of illusion like niagara falls, when inspected closely are nothing but mere droplets of tap water. But as I observe and admire their progression, I am caught off guard like a starry-eyed fan, standing face to face with her idol. Disappointed and despondent, I am left stranded with nowhere to go. Wasted time I can never get back, my soul submerges in deep depression. Anger begins to fill my empty space, I’m choking, airwaves closing in on me. #icantbreathe

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With arms surrendered, I relinquish my will to fight.  I can either let it overwhelm me or I take charge and allow it to move me towards my onshore.

Do I sink deeper and deeper into a watery grave or allow my anchor to keep me afloat the overwhelming crashes of wind hitting hard against my back. 

Yes, I choose to relax, and rest in Him.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand  (Oceans, Hillsong)

Resuscitated back to life, my breathing slowly regulates, air begins to fill my lungs. My living rescue boat has arrived. The captain of my ship forming my arms to stay afloat. He  makes my legs become the engine that would allow me to move, and my eyes firmly fixed on Him above the water. I find my self steering back in the direction I wish to go.

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I can breathe, finally  I can swim, yes I’m  afloat. Instead of being distracted by the watery mirages, I choose to let them be the substance by which I lay and keep my head above water.

Thanks for reading, and as always your comments are warmly appreciated.

Signed,

Anchored

Are we there yet?

Firstly let me begin by saying what a joy and what a blessing it is to see 2017. 2016 wasn’t easy. But it took all of that to get me here.

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

This year the difference marker is me and you deciding our language of where we will go before we even get there. So if we are intentional about making this our best year yet. Then our language ought to be a reflection of a winner by grace.

Anyone who’s ever traveled with children, would remember the often-asked question, “Are we there yet?” If you are anything like me, then you easily become just as irritated by the long distance as your kid does. But never dare to admit it, until you become frustrated like we see in this scene when Shrek and Fiona’s finally exploded with a scream.

We are not so much dissimilar to our children who want to “get there” NOW.  Silently we are screaming the question, repeatedly in our heads. Hoping that no one can hear.

Are we there yet?

Often times it’s our response that makes the journey all the more unbearable. Journeys in itself can appear to be an adventure if we allow it to be.  Each milestone moving us farther way from the familiar and distancing us from our comfort, into the unknown. As you go on your journey every place, feels like the first time,  adventurous, sometimes terrifying in every way.

Looking out of the window frequently, I remember my first major journey at age  10.  Travelling unaccompanied on the plane, never realising that (He) was always with me. This journey would be the mother of all journeys I would have experienced up until that point.

 

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Growing up in Africa, the farthest I travelled to, was the village market. Or on special occasions, Lumley beach. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined getting on the plane with United Kingdom as my destination. It felt foreign to me, that this place I once called home would soon become a distant memory. Africa at that time for me wasn’t ideal. Away from my parents, I suffered many injustices. So you could say the thought of travelling to a new address, with hopes, joy, excitement, peace, a fresh start  would be my first introduction to restoration mansion.

When restoration mansion was conceived in my spirit, I knew it would take all kind of fight to get me to the final stages of delivery.  Just like my pregnancy journey to motherhood did. The fight to be allowed to keep my baby, the fight to provide for him and the fight to continually learn through the process that the journey is not a destination. Motherhood would in fact introduce me to myself. Had I aborted the process, I dare to imagine what would have become of my young fragile life.

For every mama reading this, we know the struggle all too well. Labour isn’t as smooth sailing as the movies would have us believe. Life has taught us that even what appears to be the final stages of delivery, the  journey itself would cost lives. Not everyone gets to deliver what they have been carrying. That is why, our attitude throughout the process is the distinguishing characteristic of believers.

On the journey there are no quick fixes. Journeys take time and movement. They also take direction. Without any of these, change is not going to happen, and that change we are after is shalom. I don’t know about you but this year I’m even more determined to enjoy my journey to restoration like never before.

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Truth of the matter is, the journey is going to happen whether we like it or not. We can make an eleven day journey last for eleven days or for forty years, the choice is entirely yours to decide. In Deuteronomy 1:2, Scripture tells us to travel from Mount Horeb to the promised land was an eleven day  journey.

Eleven days!!!

But the Israelites never took the eleven day journey. Instead, they wandered around aimlessly, murmuring and complaining . . . for forty years!

These people never entered the Promised Land. And never got to taste the  flowing  milk and honey.

Have you sometimes asked yourself what would happen if you stopped wandering, complaining and deciding to take short cuts to your destination?

Could it be like the Israelites, we can are  turning our eleven day journey into a forty  year one!

How?

How do we turn a journey God gives eleven days to complete into a life-long one? Just the thought of that cripples me with frustration, Our need to know everything, and have everything done in microwave time is the biggest dream killer of today’s generation.

It’s no coincidence that you are reading this blog. And I believe there’s many unspoken  fallen princesses and princes on their journey to restoration as well with the same frustration.

The “mansion” we are traveling toward will not be a visit; it will be our home. So if we are indeed making our way home, don’t we owe it to ourselves to enjoy the journey.  You know, travelling on an empty stomach is a sure-fire way to park up sooner than intended. So that’s why I’m offering you bread to eat so you will not quit on your journey.

I’ve heard it said that when you become sick and tired of being sick and tired, you’ll change the course of your direction. Einstein so aptly put it. Insanity is doing the same thing, expecting a different result. So, this year if you are indeed serious about seeing change then I encourage you to make the decision to stay the course on the road and refuse to park up.

No, we are not “there” yet; but we are well on the way. We can be rest assured that our travelling buddy on the trip knows the way—He IS the Way! He has the map, He is the navigator, we can never get lost.

He is the way, the truth, and life.

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Listen, during this life’s journey everything is not going to be easy. We will experience wins and losses. But never lose hope in the journey, no matter how long it may take.
We may not be “there yet,” but we see the road signs; the destination is just ahead. The travelling buddy has already gone ahead of us. He knows the way and is guiding us during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he has provided light at night with a pillar of fire. He has made the way easier for us to travel by day or by night with joy and anticipation until the journey ends.

TIPS:

Mirages are lies, things always look good from a distance

You don’t need to get out of the car

Hitchhiking another person on their journey could take you on a different route

Stay on course, and trust the process

Say NO to short cuts

Hunger will be your biggest distraction

Question: What has been the most challenging journey you’ve experience so far in your life?