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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Grace… sufficient for when life happens!


I had a very emotional reaction to something a friend called to tell me a couple of weeks back. Highly emotional! I mean, I literally burst into tears. It was a combination of very deep hurt that she would leave me out of that experience – though I didn’t know exactly what the issue was at the time (yours truly having been too upset to hear her out completely) and an even deeper pain that she’d had to go through it by herself regardless. I had said to her that I could only be as much a friend to her as she would allow me. In responding, she had tried to explain briefly how intense things had been on her side, which I must admit incensed, me all the more. Why? Because if anyone truly knows me, they know that I drop everything without a second thought, in order to be available to my near strangers – much less dear friends who are in need. I would not have been too busy to make time to be at her side, visit her in hospital, or if she were out of town, call and text her several times a day to encourage her and pray with her.  I was so upset that I literally couldn’t speak, so we had a bit of an exchange by text with me trying to let her know how hurt I was, and she trying to calm me down with a promise to call back to give me the full details when I was more settled. She’d ended her chat with these words: ‘Life happened, sis!’

Life happened!

Such a simple phrase and yet packed with so much depth. Those words settled every upset I had at the time completely and have stayed with me ever since. Life happened! Life happens…and when it does, there can sometimes be such unpredictability to our actions and reactions, but for the grace and power of God.  Life happens and has certainly been happening to me. ‘Life happens’ is the summary of my hiatus from this forum for so many weeks now. You see sis, life has been happening to me, and it has not been an easy ride. My travails over the past few weeks are enough to have written a book on. It has been one thing after the other, and if I will admit it, it has been pretty overwhelming. One of my sistas came to see me recently and had said to me that I had an odd kind of calm about me. Given that I am ordinarily a very calm person, her use of the qualifier ‘odd’ told me she could sense something was off. And how right she was! I was inordinately calm because I was ready to implode sis, I was. The combination of physical and mental exhaustion, emotional upset, and having to be strong for everyone at home and at work despite all of that, had me working all my autopilot controls to the max. You can relate right?

So yeah, life happens, sis! But we can’t give up can we? Nope! Remember we are called to be relentless right? If you haven’t read my previous post ‘Relentless’, let me encourage you to look it up in my archives sis. I saw something on Facebook a couple of days ago which said ‘’Giving up is like slashing the other three tyres of your car just because one tyre went flat”. I thought how it spoke brilliantly to what our response to the pressures of life should be – that if life pushes us down in one area, we must continue to move nonetheless. It never is all bad. Never! ….especially not with God on our side.

I see now that there is a reason why the Lord allowed me this ‘Life Happens’ experience at this point in time in my life. Last week, the 7th annual ROTH (Return of The Helper) conference held here in Lagos. It has been my privilege and blessing to be a part of this event for a few years now, but this year the Lord simply took things to the next level. This year, the Lord allowed me to see, hear and understand with more clarity than ever before, that even though life happens, He literally holds us through every storm and uses our trials to build us and others up. This year, the Lord allowed me meet in the flesh, a lady who has been a friend and encourager, even though we had never met, and had only spoken on one occasion. At ROTH 2014, I was blessed to meet Dr. Irene Olumese, along with her remarkable husband and sons.

Sis, I can’t tell you in this space what Irene’s story has been. I was simply enthralled as she spoke on "Graced for Glory', sharing her life story openly and freely to help us see. Suffice it to say for over 20 years, starting just a couple  of years after they got married, they have struggled through one horrendous attack on her health or the other, and several surgeries to boot – the last of which had the doctors amputate both her legs. Indeed, her hands were to have been amputated as well, but the Lord our God Who is mighty to save countered the Doctors say and restored her hands to life completely. He had promised to give her ‘Feet of Grace that would carry her where her natural feet could not take her’, and God has been true to this word. As she shared her story, all I wanted to do was to shout ‘ENOUGH PLEASE!’. Several people in the audience simply sobbed uncontrollably. I was too numb for that though. You see, I knew a bit of the story. My sistas and I had held Irene up in prayers on several occasions, including through the time of the amputation. But I know now that I didn’t have depth of understanding and clarity regarding just how long and how intense her sufferings had been until that day at ROTH.

Life happened to my sista Irene Olumese BUT….to the glory of God, she is still standing and standing strong. Halleluyah! Irene is walking, she is dancing, she is using her life and experiences to teach people around the world what the GRACE of God really means. She is literally showing that what the enemy meant for evil, the Lord is using for good. Yes sis, her prosthetic ‘Feet of Grace’ have literally taken her to minister God’s love and mercy across countries of the world that she would otherwise never have been to. I watched this amazing woman smiling, laughing, singing with all her heart in worship to the father, hugging people, listening intently to them and offering words of counsel, praying with them. 
I watched Irene and never saw her wince in pain. I saw her pouring out of herself continuously so that those around her could receive a touch from God in their lives. I heard her declare boldly that this second chance the Lord had given her at life – complete with a new set of lungs (yes, I said lungs) and new feet, are dedicated completely in service to Him. I heard her challenge us by her life, to truly live for God. I watched her and ‘heard’ her unspoken determination to help God’s children truly see and know Him through her life experiences. I watched her, and I loved and love her with an intensity that can only be of the Lord. I celebrated this amazing woman at ROTH 2014 and I will always celebrate Dr. Irene Olumese …. So much strength packed into such a lithe frame. Yes ma’am, the Lord showed each of us that day that He is God, and He is ALWAYs with us. I encourage you to share Irene’s walk through her blog http://touchinglives4good.blogspot.com and her Feet of Grace ministry.  

I celebrate also Dr. Peter Olumese and their sons Ose and Ehi. I found myself watching them constantly with a lump in my throat. Peter has stood beside Irene like a rock through the years. The truth is that the ‘For better, for worse’ vows notwithstanding, no young man or woman goes into marriage with the expectation of the kind of ‘for worse’ experiences that these two have had. But Peter has been stoic! He has exemplified Jesus Christ Who is our ROCK! He has been a pillar of strength. He has been love in Irene’s life as God is love in ours. I doff my heart to you sir. 

Their sons, Ose and Ehi….these are young men who have loved and nurtured their mother through thick and thin. They have physically carried her, they have kept house for her, they have cooked for her, they have fed her. They have given up time with friends and parts of their social lives in order to be there for her. I watched them always on guard. They were so attuned with her needs – if she needed to sit, if she needed to stand, if she needed a tissue, or a glass of water. They escorted her everywhere, and never did I sense any form of exasperation as is common with youth. That these young men love and are unabashedly and wholeheartedly committed in love to serve their mother is crystal clear (speaking even more to the great woman that Irene is- as wife, and as mother). These were gentlemen to the core and I don’t doubt Ose and Ehi will make amazing husbands to some blessed daughters of God one day. Yes, I celebrate these fine young men. The Lord will certainly not forget their labour of love and great shall their rewards be in Jesus name, amen.

As I think about how the Lord used and is using Irene and her family to minister to me, I want to leave a few things with you sis:

NEVER GIVE UP! ........First is to say again, never give up sis! Never give up! There is truly always someone out there who has it ssssoooooo much worse than you do, so always find it in yourself to thank God that whatever you are dealing with is not much worse than it otherwise could have been. There is always something good in our situations if we would only open our eyes to see. The Lord is clear in His word that He will never give us any temptation we cannot bear, and He promises a way of escape. Giving up means we don’t truly believe; that we don’t think we are able; and worse still… that we don’t think He is able!

PUSH BACK! …….Push back sis! The word of God tells us that if a righteous man falls seven times, he still rises. And remember it is the righteousness of Christ that we walk in and not our own, so don’t allow the enemy and the spirit of condemnation begin to make you question whether you qualify under the scripture reserved for the righteous. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus sis. Never forget this….and knowing this, get up! No matter how long you have been down, get up! Push back! Remind the enemy that you serve a God Who is more than able to see you through and use your life for His glory. Remind yourself that you are called for a purpose, that the Lord did not create you as a space-filler on the earth. No, He called you to carry out an assignment and as long as you refuse to stay down, you will fulfill your assignment in Jesus name. Don’t stop writing, don’t stop speaking, don’t stop loving, don’t stop trying, don’t stop giving your very best! Don’t withdraw from living. No, push back at life sis! When life happens, push back. Your Father is the Giver of Life. He is the Author and the Finisher. In Him do all things consist! Nothing is impossible to Him and nothing shall be impossible for you if you lean on Him for strength. He has called us to live and live gloriously sis, and so shall it be if we refuse to be bowed down by the storms of life. 

TRUST GOD! …..Trust God sis! Trust Him with your mistakes, your messes, your failings. Trust Him to work things out for your good. Trust Him to bring helpers into your life to see you through every situation or challenge you may be facing. And open yourself to be helped sis! Do NOT allow the enemy isolate you! Isolation and mental domination are the devils ways of pressing you down and keeping you focused on your problems – magnifying your largely unfounded fears and creating problems in your mind that don’t even exist. If we would but look up to God, sis! He is our strength, and He is our Helper. When life happens, trust God! Go to the place of worship. Worship even if you can’t find it in you to utter a single word of prayer. As your worship rise to His ears, God Himself will infill you afresh with a confidence that nothing life throws at you is greater than that which He has purposed for you. He will release grace and strength to you, so that like my sister Irene and her family, you will be able to smile, to dance, to have the confidence that God is mindful of you, that His grace is sufficient for you, and that all things will certainly work out for your good.

The Lord helps and will continue to help you and I sis. Even where life happens and situations and circumstances puts us on crutches, like Irene you and I must lean on He Who is the ultimate crutch, and we must LIVE sis! We must! With the Lord on or side, we will live... to the praise and to the glory of His name! This is my confidence and trust… and so shall it be, in Jesus mighty name. Amen and Amen!

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.