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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Do it afraid; Do it uncertain…. But do something!

My first book is out! It really is! I find myself sitting back and just staring at it. For real? Apparently so! I saw the first hard copy this past Friday but excited as I was, I was also in the thick of last minute preparations for the 2013 edition of the Return of the Helper conference. I guess the reality of the book ‘Uniquely Woman’ began to hit when my daughter-from-another-mother Blessing came to me in the course of the conference and said “Mummy, there are some ladies lined up at our stand waiting for you to autograph their copies of the book”. I could only but stare at her for a few seconds, absolutely speechless. As I signed those first few books, the smile on my face totally belied the fact that I was crying inside; it was just so overwhelming. I was simply in awe of a God Who is able to take the smallest of our efforts and bring great things out of them. I have since had several calls from people asking me where they can get copies, how they can pay, if it’s available on Amazon, etc. With every new call, my heart sings in gratitude and praise to God Who has made this possible.

Please allow me say this to you, sis: Whatever the Lord lays in your heart to do…. even if you are afraid, even if you are uncertain of the outcome… Just do it!  Regardless of how daunting it might seem, make the first move and then leave the rest to Him.

I don’t recall when I first had the leaning to start blogging. I was already writing for TW Magazine and at the same time working on another book (which will be out in another couple of months) yet I had a sense that I wanted to have an outlet to speak more regularly to an audience out there. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to blog about, but I knew at least that I am passionate about adding value to the lives of people and in particular women, so it was clearly going to be something motivational or inspirational. I can be a bit of a clown sometimes, so I did also plan to infuse some humor into my writings. But there was a snag….

First was the fact that my then friend-from-a-distance (now sister and prayer partner) was already blogging regularly as the Desperate Naija Woman (DNW). I followed her posts diligently and continued to be amazed at how similarly our minds worked and the other many commonalities that we clearly shared. She had published her blogs as a Diary which was generating waves (I personally have bought and absolutely loved every one of the Diaries) and I was so afraid I would be seen to be copying what she was doing. Secondly, another sista of mine also authors another great blog (Nevertheless: http://www.bidemimarkmordi.com) and I was even more afraid of being seen to be copying her too. I was scared enough to question myself as to whether I was suffering from some kind of ‘me-too’ syndrome. You know that one where you compare yourself to the next person and then wish you could, or even sometimes waste precious time and energy trying to do what they do right? Hmmm! Thank God for maturity and for now being able to take our full identity in Christ!

Thankfully, the Lord continued to lay this desire on my heart and so on this one day, I was opportune to be at one of Salt’s (DNW now goes by ‘Salt’ – http://thesaltchronicles.blogspot.co.uk) book readings, and mentioned to her that I was writing a book myself. Her first response? Excitement! She had said she would be looking forward to having me read sections of my book at her next book reading. As we talked, I had casually mentioned that I had also been considering starting a blog and she said something to the effect that she didn’t doubt that I would have something to say that will bless someone out there. When I also spoke to my sista Bidemi about this exchange, I got yet more encouragement and she went further to share with me all the technicalities about setting up and managing a blog. There I was worried that I would be seen to be a poor copy of these two amazing ladies, and all they had to give me was the greatest of encouragement and support. There is surely a lesson in that for someone sis. Surely there is!

The rest as they say is…history? Not quite sis! Not quite!

It still took a while. Even with all the encouragement I was getting – from my husband inclusive, it took a while. Finally though, I started to write…. very afraid and extremely uncertain. Afraid that nonetheless, I would be seen to be seeking significance; afraid that I really didn’t have anything to say; afraid that no one would really care if I did say anything. I started to write uncertain that I would be able to find the time to sustain my writing; uncertain that I wouldn’t lose interest at some point; uncertain that I really had anything to say that would sustain anyone’s interest; uncertain about what value the whole exercise would bring. I was afraid and uncertain of so much…. but I braved it and started to write anyway. At some point I had kinda figured that I had absolutely nothing to lose by at least trying.

In the shortest of times however, the Lord began to open up new things to me that I was led to share on the blog. I have since received such great feedback and some very deep responses from my readers that sometimes had me go back to re-read certain posts, finding myself in awe of the things the Lord is using these posts to do in the lives of both men and women who follow Uniquely Woman. And now three years later, Uniquely Woman the book is a reality. Some of those I mentioned in the acknowledgements have called to express surprise that I thought to acknowledge them. My response? Honor comes to those to whom it is due! It is the feedback and encouragement that has kept me going all this while and I am so grateful to each of you.

You never know how far a simple word of encouragement from you can go in the life of another. The Lord wants you to use your tongue as a vessel of honor unto Him, and one of your core assignments is to speak life into those around you. In the same way sis, God will use others to speak into your destiny and purpose and help you find fulfillment in your assignment, in Jesus name.

What is that thing that you long to do, sis? What is that large elephant that you wish with all your heart that you could swallow? Take the first bite, sis. You will never be personally fulfilled unless you are able to bless the world with the things the Lord has put in you. In Genesis 15 v 5 the Lord asked Abraham to look up and count the stars. Clearly there was no way that Abraham could have been able to do that in his own ability. All He would be able to do was to look up, and truthfully that was all the Lord needed him to do… to take the first step. God asked Him to count the stars because He knew that as long as Abraham looked up to Him, he would not have to depend on his human ability, but rather on the ability of our God for Whom counting the stars (the ones for which the Lord knows each by name) is not at all impossible.  

Do it afraid sis! Do it uncertain! The Lord will help you look up sis. He will help you take the first step and then He will use your obedience to magnify the output of your little effort. We serve a God that is no respecter of persons. Just as He has used a blog I was afraid and uncertain to start-off to touch lives; just as He has now brought it to the fruition of a book I know will bless even more people; just as He has done this for me with my little step of obedience and looking up to Him…. so also do I pray for you sis, that the Lord will help you to give full expression to the uniqueness that is in you, for the benefit of mankind, and to the praise and glory of His name.


Be blessed sis….for you surely are!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Forgive

A couple of nights ago my husband received a call from an old friend of his. They hadn’t spoken for a while so the earlier part of the conversation was filled with the usual pleasantries and banter. I had sort of tuned out at some point, my attention refocusing on my writing. I have been away from my blog for a couple of weeks as I have been struggling to meet my publisher’s targets for a book I am writing. I did note however that the call had gone on for quite a bit, but that my husband had been largely silent at his end of the conversation. When he finally hung up, the weight of his sigh had me stop and move over to join him on the couch. I listened quietly as he relayed to me what his friend had shared with him. I will confess that anger bubbled inside of me as he spoke. Flesh reacted sis! I found myself wearing a perfect stranger’s shoes and responding in absolute anger on her behalf. Then the spirit moved, and for this I am truly grateful.

Let me start at the beginning. So my husband’s friend was married to some lady so very many years ago. It didn’t work out and the marriage ended on a rather sour note. The lady moved out with the children and eventually left the country with them, asking that he make no attempt to contact them ever again. He has since married again and had several children who are in the university now. Fast forward to the present and he has recently found out that the lady has been dead for a couple of years. Somehow or the other he obtains the number of the older of his daughters and calls her. When she picks the call and asks who it is, he responds that he is her father. There is absolute silence at the other end of the line and she then asks him never to call her line again because he is dead to her. She hung up and didn’t pick his calls thereafter. He calls the next day and a male voice answers the call. He again asks if he can speak to his daughter. He is asked to hold on. There is yelling from a female voice in the background, a long silence and then the call is cut off. The number has since been switched off. My husband’s friend is very upset. He wonders why his daughter is responding to him in this way. But here’s the thing…. She is thirty-eight years old and hasn’t seen or heard from her father since she was ten years old.

I hurt on her behalf sis. I was mad! Where had he been all those years, I wondered? Why was he calling her now? I imagined her also thinking about the fact that he hadn’t called at the point of her mother’s death. I imagined how many times she might have asked herself why her father had never tried to reach her. I know because he said so that he didn’t know she was dead, but how was his daughter to know this? I could imagine her trying to figure what she was supposed to make of his calling her now she was almost forty years of age and a parent herself. How was her younger sister going to handle this? So many things played up in my mind and emotions as I empathized with this young lady. I have known this guy for years and somehow always assumed that he stayed in touch with the girls. My husband tried to speak on behalf of his friend. He said to remember that the lady asked his friend never to contact his children. Somehow that simply incensed me all the more. I reminded him of the fact that the children have been adults for well over a decade now and so that was not a tenable excuse. I also said that if his friend had continued to try to send birthday, Christmas and new year gifts or greetings and to contact his children at those times even while they were in their teenage years – even if not necessarily trying to see them physically but just finding ways to let them know he loved them and they were constantly on his mind; that if he had done all of this it is more likely than not that regardless of what their mother might have said to them when they were younger, they would eventually have themselves started to reach right back out to him years ago.

I thought of the emotional turmoil this woman and her sister would now be going through because of his calls and I hurt for them. I had such a physical ache inside that had me wondering at myself, especially because I do not know those his children at all. I guess I just love my children so much and expect every parent to love their as well, and to love them enough as to go to any lengths to ensure they are a part of their children’s lives. I know there are some extreme cases where this cannot be so, but to my mind this was clearly not one of those.

Forgiveness’

The word just dropped quietly in my spirit and I went still because I knew God was speaking. I closed my eyes and listened intently as the Holy Spirit reminded me of the many things the Lord has forgiven you and I for, sis. He reminded me that minus the heart to forgive, the Lord would never have sent His own Son to go through so much pain and humiliation and ultimately die for us on the cross. He reminded me that He has commanded that if we have anything against our brother or sister (or in this case, Father) we need to let go and forgive before we can come fully into His presence. As the Holy Spirit ministered to me, He showed me that in the end if this woman refuses to forgive her father and refuses to give them all a chance to try and forge some kind of relationship with him, she would be shortchanging herself and she would never truly have peace in her spirit for all the remaining days of her life. He reminded me that were my husband’s friend to die without reconciliation with his daughter, she is the one who will live out the rest of her days in regret, wishing and wondering how differently things would have played out if only she had extended a hand of peace to her father when he called. He asked me to join hands with my husband to pray for a move of the Lord in the heart and lives of this man and his estranged children. I sighed, sis! I sighed! Honestly, that was the very last thing I felt like doing but I knew better than to expect any peace until I obeyed, so I did. I shared with my husband what the Lord spoke to me and we held hands and lifted our prayers of intercession up to the Lord, placing the three of them firmly on the mercy seat. I know the Lord heard and I trust that heaven will move.

I had to spend some time examining my relationships to be sure I am not carrying any unforgiveness in my heart sis – either for myself directly based on my own experiences, or on behalf of someone dear to me who someone else might have wronged. I prayed then as I do now for you also sis, that when our flesh rises in hurt/anger and unforgiveness we will still be sensitive enough to the voice of our Lord as to let Him minister forgiveness, grace and mercy through us unto those who we feel have wronged us, so that our prayers will not be hindered when we come into the presence of the Lord. We cannot enter heaven if there is unforgiveness in us sis. That is my reality as much as it is yours. I encourage you today to do a soul search. If there is any unforgiveness in you sis, ask the Lord to help you let it go. He it is Who has promised to take away our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh. Because He has said it therefore, He will not fail to do it when we come to Him in total submission.

The Lord will help you to forgive sis – totally and completely, now and in every situation that demands it. He did ask us to forgive seven times seventy times right? Only in His strength and power can we do this sis. But we must first yield our unforgiveness to Him. He will help you choose to forgive sis. He will help me!


Be blessed sis…. For you surely are!


About Me

Entrepreneur, Mentor, Wife, Mother, Sister, Friend. A firm believer in God. Walking in faith everyday that by His grace, I will achieve harmony in all areas of my life, and make measurable impact in the lives of other women of the world

WORD FOR THE WEEK

LUKE 1:

34“-How can this be, Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God

JEREMIAH 2:

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth. 7 But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

8 Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. 9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 See, I have this day appointed you to the oversight of the nations and of the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.

1st CORINTHIANS 1:

25 [This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men. 26 For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. 27 [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. 28 And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are,

Colossians 1:

28 Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect) in Christ (the Anointed One).

29 For this I labor [[z]unto weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me.