Reflections of Grace

 

 

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I recall sitting, and waiting patiently for the gas man to arrive. The boiler had decided to go to sleep, clearly it needed a rest. I don’t think it was being sensitive to its demand on such a cold and wintery night, but needless to say a cold night was on the horizon. All wrapped up, with candles on, playing classical music in the background (I love classical music) and a mug of what was becoming my favourite herbal brew, chicory tea.  

Those who have visited my apartment know how cold it can be on winter nights. My apartment is an old build with poor ventilation, but quaint in every other way with traditional features. The architecture is why I fell in love with the property and although awakened to the downfalls of unbearable hot summer nights and smoggy cold winters, it was a ‘small’ sacrifice I was prepared to pay. And, to be honest, several winters had past where it became manageable with the aids of onesies, electric blankets, hot water bottles, candles, and hot brews. Lol – we made it work. Isn’t it funny the lengths you’ll go to when you want something to work desperately.  Until that one ‘horrid’ night; a cold apartment even when the heater was on,  provided mediocre comfort. 

 To my utter amazement I felt more warmth that night than I usually did on most nights. 

Looking back on the events leading up to that boiler breakdown, I could easily understand the reasons why.

You see life is a series of decisions. We can choose to suck on the lemons or decide to make lemonades out of our lemons. Don’t know about you, but I prefer to settle for the latter. 

I was going through a 31 day challenge of writing down the things I was most grateful and thankful for in my life. And as I looked around that beautiful decorated front room, I instantly felt tears of gratitude stream down my face. I recalled the nights we slept in a hostel, the many nights I was travelling with my young son looking for shelter because I was in desperate need to escape our current nightmare. The memories of temporary accommodations that weren’t fit for purpose, the days of living through a suitcase; all these memories came flooding at me. And at once, I was fuelled by a surge of warmth, one that came from within, not without.  Admittedly it was a very cold night. London was  7 degrees with a 70% chance of snow. It was freezing to say the least.

But as my mind escaped, so did my perspective. I have a shelter, a bed to sleep on, clean, running water (indisputably cold) but nevertheless, running water. I sat there for almost an hour, smiling and thinking up all the many blessings I was grateful for in  my life and how far He had brought us through. 

For some of you there is a dramatic shift that is going to take place in your life in the remainder of this year, if you will simply know hot to rest in the storms and the not so convenient weather changes.

I learned first hand that the sure-fire way to see the change that is promised, was for me  to change the position of my heart. 

This week whilst journaling my heart to the lord, I heard these words”take your eyes off  your circumstances and current situations, they will cripple your faith. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” ‭‭JOHN‬ ‭15:7‬ ‭AMP‬‬

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You have no idea how timely this message was for me this week. I recall a time when I’d stay parked listening to john 15 in my audio bible. Desperately crying to the Lord to help me to remain. What does that even look like, I used to wonder? In chains to every spoken word, I refused to be unshaken and undisturbed in my pursuit when my desire is to remain in this word. My desire for change has been a desperate one, fed up with poor life choices and stagnancy, wishing my ‘aha’ moment would finally come. I’m sure we’ve all experienced such moments. Imagine driving to a destination, clearly getting nowhere fast. Desperately looking to get back on track only to realise you’ve been driving in a circle all along.  

Once on the right track you’d do what ever you possibly can to prevent yourself from getting back off track. You could liken this analogy to my  hunger to have this word being glued, permanently tattooed on my heart. To do whatever it takes to get it out there, and join the many clouds of witnesses that came, not only saw, but also conquered. The many that refused to allow their story to be written for them. The many that refused to have life keep them down. Despite my many knock outs, I’m convinced that with each blow Ive gained new muscles. Muscles I never realised I had before  and granted I don’t know how many falls I’ve taken, but the one thing i’ve never done is allow them to keep me stayed down.  My desire is to remain because everything else  means nothing to me. In this place, I’ve found living. The temperature in my apartment was unquestionably cold. But the heat I felt that night, and would love to have continually on the inside of me  is blazing.  

img_0841More and more I’m realising the power of this moment. The power in the now; right now. I see so many of the things I once hid my face from. Now this journey would allow me to sit in a place that others cannot, I see this grace at work, in my life, proving to be sufficient for the roads  I am to travel. 

My prayer for everyone reading this, is know that He sees you, you who is desperately seeking a safe haven. You, on your journey to finding restoration and craving for change. I pray that you are established and planted so deeply in Him. That regardless of your current situation and where you may find your life at today. Be assured that your story is not over because of one cold night. There is promise in tomorrow. I pray you find him on this journey, if you seek him with all your heart. And that you trust  the process and allow His word to build you up. Let boldness and courage come over you today like never before. That you might ask  whatsoever your heart desires, and when you delight yourself in Him.  Soon and very soon, you’ll experience your hearts desire. I’m on the same journey…

Signed, 

Finding my way 

The Pain of Regret

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? John 14:2

 

My best friend died…

Did he even know he was my best friend? 

Crazy how death will cause you to sober up. These past few years have been the toughest. I’ve lost many loved ones, and each death stinging harder than the first. You get to a place where you have to accept that  life must go on.

 

 

Someone I considered to be my best friend and held in high regard, was no longer in the land of the living. It was a tough blow, because I never knew when he died. Until one night I found out through Facebook!!! We had lost contact for a few years or so. I can’t even begin to tell you I know the reason why.

Life.

He was busy, I was busy.

Time flew by.

I still remember the first day I laid eyes on him. Yes, you could say it was instant. My attraction towards him was unquestionable. It would be the craziest whirlwind of friendship and frolics to take place at our shared house at university. We met at university and instantly I felt a connection. As the years grew, so did the feelings.

Looking back on those years, I feel ashamed to say that I didn’t mind sleeping with him, but giving my heart was something far more expensive than I could afford. You could say he soon became my safe place, and hiding cave.

I knew he was sick from the first time we had met. He told me he suffered from sickle-cell, lupus to name a few. But man, was he ever the soul of a party. Never did I see this guy down in the dumps about life. Every so often, he would become frustrated and rightly so. His health was important to me and I recall the many hours spent with him in hospital after a crisis. I never got scared about the possibility of him dying to be honest. Death was far away from my thoughts of him in those early days.  If anyone had told me that 15 years later, he would’ve been graduated to another life, I don’t think I would’ve believed it.

The pain of regret is one of the hardest things we will ever endure in this life time. The numerous questions rolling around in our thoughts about what we could’ve done better, had we known. 

Truth is, I didn’t know. If I had known I would’ve told him how much he truly meant to me. I would’ve chosen to spend our time together better, and stopped playing so many mind games. I might’ve forgiven quicker the things he’d do that would cause us to fall out for days, or weeks and now what would become a lifetime.

Finding out he died, was a huge shock to my system. For weeks I struggled to sleep, to eat and basically continue a normal life. He was everywhere I went, convinced he was finding me to say his goodbyes. I saw him at every bus station, restaurant, and road…

Just the other day  I decided to call his number. I rang ‘his’ number knowing well and good that it was no longer was in service. As I looked down at the number in desperation to hear his voice, just once.  Screaming aloud his name, but no one answered. “Why didn’t he answer me, didn’t he know I would be calling”. Some days are better than others, but one thing for sure is that loosing someone who you never had the opportunity to say goodbye to, is the most painful of all.  Truth is, we suffer this regret because of the wasted opportunities we had but never made good use of.

He  was that friend that would call me and stay on the phone with me until the early hours of the morning, most calls would have us both asleep on the other end. He was that friend that I could confide in, and tell almost anything to. He kept my mind from running away from itself when I became pregnant at uni. When everyone else disappeared, he proved to me that he was that friend who would never leave me, nor forsake me. He was my Emmanuel (that was his name) he was always there.You see, he was my best friend. You don’t know how furious writing that makes me feel, right now. How can someone be your best friend, someone you spent so much time with  yet remained hidden from. How could he have been my safe place? Why didn’t I take off the  mask and reveal my true self? Why did I not share the things that truly mattered; what was I really afraid of anyhow? Seriously, how could I have allowed time to come between us. Couldn’t time had known that I was busy. It was never supposed to be that long. Surely, we would’ve spoken again and In fact we did; a month before he died. We got back in touch. We were meant to meet up for lunch. I called him, he never answered. It troubled me that he never answered, afraid of invading his new-found love, I chose to step back.

Oh how I regret that decision.

I made some terrible choices. Choices I would forever live with, and choices I am not at all proud off.

But not once did he judge me, or ever made me  to feel worthless. Throughout my pregnancy, he was there.  He showed me grace, and although the baby wasn’t his, that made no difference to the wealth of support he gave to me.

I remember the one time we finally decided to give ‘us’ a chance. It didn’t last long. Being his girlfriend petrified me to say the least. I definitely knew I wasn’t mature enough to be anyones’ girlfriend. I was way too messed up to be in a meaningful relationship.

Heck, if I couldn’t even stay faithful to Jesus; the likelihood of staying faithful to anyone was a slim chance. In those days sex was my weapon of defence, my escape and crazy as it sounds my control mechanism. I needed the comfort of being close to someone but never really being close enough to give them the parts of me that were vulnerable. Lost and hurting, I would make up lies that would soon break us apart.  He deserved better than me, I was broken goods. Fit for no use, I had no business being united with anyone in a deeper way.

What would life had been like if I was just honest with him about who I really was, a broken girl running away to university to escape the realities of life.

She was incapable of love, incapable to give love. She never knew who she was or the worth she carried.

To Life…

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Dear Reader,

I encourage you not to just read this blog, like it or comment without taking the practical applications of the messages that this blog has to offer. It is more than mere words formed to paint a picture about a loss of a loved one. It is life, presenting itself to you, with an opportunity to go again.

 

  1. Please don’t wait until it’s too late to tell someone just how much they mean to you.
  2. Learn to forgive quickly
  3. Love deeply
  4. Live your life authentically. 

My greatest recompense is that there is heaven, and that one day we will see each other again.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:1

 

Dear Emmanuel,

I pray that that you are smiling down at me; and proud of the woman I have grown into becoming. These days I live with you in mind. You, and the many others  that I no longer have the privilege of saying I love you to. That’s why I live my best life, on purpose and without regret or fear of others and their opinions. You see, you taught me how not to give a monkeys about what others thought about you, I loved how you spoke your mind and lived your best life, with passion.

Till we meet again

 

Signed,

No more regrets

I am Woman

 

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More precious than jewels

I’m  more than a face, and more than a body.

I’m more than a vehicle used for pleasure.

And much more than a gentle kiss and a soft caress.

So much more than a cheap date and a night-cap.

I deserve more than sweet words and empty promises.

More than a longing and a wishing for something that isn’t forced and comes without resistance.

I am a woman built with stones of turquoise

My foundations with sapphires and my battlements made out of rubies.

My gates of sparkling jewels, and my walls of precious stones.

I am more; precious than rubies

Born for such a time as this

My worth far exceeds your temporary validation.

Even after the applause dies down

My worth will continue till the ends of the earth .

You see, I am woman 

Made for the completion of man

The perfecting of his needs

To bring him help.

Without me he’s made without function

I bring value to the promise.

Entrusted by the maker to be so much more than eye candy.

I lost the worth in my value

Lost the price tag that used to be attached to me.

So many have come by to have a look, but without care left me back on the shelf to gather dust.

Some didn’t even take a second glance,

Others simply stared.

They don’t see the work that’s gone into the perfecting of my splendour

I am much more!!!

Desperate to scream out this truth

But choked with dust and inferiority I sat there allowing potential buyers to devalue my virtue.

Bartering rates to lessen my price.

Until one day I found my voice

I am worth more and refuse to settle for anything less… 

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Lost &found

Jewel ❤️

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?