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Sunday, August 31, 2014

God's Plan A

It’s been nothing short of an interesting few weeks for my family and I While I would so love to share all the details, you and I know I already don’t do shorts posts so trying to capture the many delays, trials, breakthroughs, and lessons in waiting that I have experienced would be rather stretching, lol.  Suffice it to say that I find myself in Canada with no husband and only three of my four children here with me – a situation that is very far from the plan I assure you. The greatest irony of this situation is probably that of the two children who we were to settle into schools here, one - the one who was due to start school last week, is still stuck back home waiting for his passport to be returned from the embassy. The other, who is here with me, is off to school tomorrow and will neither be able to see his father or older brother (they don’t get in for another three days, sigh!) whom he hasn’t seen in a couple of weeks, before he leaves.

Errr….you can tell my sighs are more for myself than for them right? I mean, here I am seriously missing my husby (boo hoo); leading my second child off to school and away from home (boo hoo hoo); knowing full well that when my first son does arrive in Canada he is heading right off to Campus since he is already late for classes (boo hoo, sob sob); and… knowing that in another week or so, I will be heading home to the reality of a nest that is now half empty (wailing unapologetically now!). Okay! Sniff sniff….  I hear you remind me that I’m a big strong woman! Sniff sniff…yes I surely am! BUT sis, I have long since failed to make the connection between being a strong woman and being unreal. As I see it, I am stronger still for working out all the things God is helping me be and achieve, and yet being able to remain open about my vulnerabilities, struggles, and tears. I am a strong woman, who right now misses her husband terribly, and I miss my boys – the one with me and the one who isn’t, desperately. I am a strong woman who will have a big cry at every opportune moment because it’s my prerogative, and because I’m hopelessly unashamedly emotional like that!

The difference is that my strength is in Christ alone and I know this. So sis, after each cry I will pick myself up and give God the glory for the amazing things He has done, is doing and will continue to do in my life. I will lift my hands in worship and thank Him also for the gift of my tears. Yes, ma’am, I surely will! I will thank God for my tears because there are many others who have no husbands to speak of, or who have such terrible marriages that they actually look forward to times of separation with their spouses. Yet, here I am missing my husby and best friend. Thank You Lord! I will thank God because it is only a woman with children that knows the pain of separation from them. I will thank God because I am leaving my children in another country to further their education, which means they are moving forward (that’s what ‘further’ means right? Getting ahead? Yes ma’am).

I will thank God for my tears because even if husby and I had the desire for our children to school abroad but had no resources, we wouldn’t be here. I will thank God because we could afford for all the family to come together to see the boys off. I will thank God for my tears because even if we could afford to all come, but one or more of us was dealing with some kind of major health issue or infirmity, we wouldn’t all be here. I will thank God because I still have two amazing children who are home with me now. I will thank God because I know that even when those two are ready to leave home, He will give me the strength and grace to move into the next phase of my life. You get my drift? Bottom line would be that as I cry (and I most certainly will) about leaving my boys here and the transition phase my family is once again going through, I will NOT allow myself forget the goodness of the Lord, His love for me, and the ultimate privilege of His choosing me and freely giving me Himself as an anchor my soul in Him.

But this is not about my missing my children or my crying sprees, sis. Neither is it about my strength as a woman. Sorry, but I just needed to put this first bit out there. Today I want to take the lesson from my son’s experience to share what God has been teaching me and is helping me to practice. My first son is off to university. We completed his visa application and then proceeded to wait. We were however beginning to worry somewhat when the timelines began to stretch a bit and we hadn’t received a word back from the embassy. I kept reminding the Lord of the major visa-related testimonies He had put on my lips two years ago, asking Him to come through for us once again.

On this one day, I felt a leading to send an email to an address God showed me. I was initially reluctant because the embassy always tells you they will not respond if your application is still within the standard processing time. But the Lord spoke clearly to me and said, ‘Send it. I have prepared the person who will give immediate attention to your mail’. With this assurance, I obeyed and less than an hour later got a response, and things began to look up from there. My sista and I had submitted our applications on the same day, and had our boys do their medicals on the same day and at the same hospital (our family hospital at that). You can then imagine our confusion when her son’s passport came in and our son’s didn’t.

Long story short, her son since resumed school with other students last week, while my son is still home waiting on his passport. I mention this because quite frankly, it didn’t help our anxiety having her son’s application timelines as a reference point for how things should have gone for our own son’s application also. I mean think about it: same day (and time practically) submission + same day medical = same processing period = same batch approval, right? Perhaps if we didn’t know better, we wouldn’t know better right? But we did! My sistas son’s approval and receipt of passport was our reference point, and it didn’t help. Can you relate sis? My sista, all my sistas really, were resolute in prayer on this matter and for that I love and appreciate every single one of them, but it was tough going at times – made worse perhaps by not having my family together physically through this.

But…   and this is the foundation of my message to you today sis, the challenge which I now know, is that our reference point should not have been my sista’s son, it should have been God and that which He has purposed to do for His good pleasure and purpose.

A few days after I arrived in Canada, God had given me a Word (Ruth 3 v 18) assuring me that He would not rest until the matter was settled today. That very same day, I got an email confirming that my son’s visa had been approved. Joy overflowed and I sank unto my knees in absolute praise. But, days later the physical passport still hadn’t been dispatched. I went to God again in prayer, reminding Him that He said He wouldn’t rest until the matter was settled and that I needed Him to perfect what he had started. His reply was so quiet and soothing and a question to me as to why I would think His perfect will had not been done. He said simply, ‘My ways are not your ways, and My thoughts are infinitely higher than your thoughts’.

I can’t describe the peace that flooded me then. I really can’t. I understood His response so perfectly, sis. You see, I had since realized that there was clearly a reason or indeed reasons that my ever faithful God didn’t want my son to be on the university campus during the Orientation week, and I had said as much to a few people, my son included. It had ministered to my spirit that there are some associations that come your way each time you enter into a new environment, and if you are not careful you will find yourself aligned with the very wrong set of people from the start. I had such a conviction about the fact that God was keeping my son away from certain people and or experiences that wouldn’t ultimately be good for him, and this was confirmed when a friend told me she had watched a news story about the debauchery that was going on in most university campuses in the name of orientation.  And yeah, it doesn’t follow that every child who is present at the orientation week will involve themselves in those things, but we are each on a different path as are our children, and the enemy’s has different strategies to try to derail us from our destinies.

I was reminded about the fact that - while I am my son’s earthly mother, and while it is in my flesh nature to anxiously expect and pray for the best for him; God Who is his heavenly Father loves him so much more than I ever could, and is also working all things out for his good. God reminded me of something I’d heard Craig Groeschell  say a couple of weeks before we travelled, that ‘The things that are often our afterthoughts, turn out to be God’s Plan A in the first place’.

That expression had struck me very strongly and thinking about the totality of our experiences this period, I realized that while it took me going through my earlier emotional roller-coaster to finally come back to the place of prayer and a Holy Spirit realization/reminder that God is working something else out for the good of my son and by extension our entire family; that God had a plan A from the start which never involved my son arriving on campus at man’s appointed date. God certainly didn’t manufacture a reason for not allowing my son get to campus earlier because He saw through my disappointments and anxieties. Not at all sis! He had already purposed it all, and He had already worked out the end from the beginning for our good – even though we can’t now or might never fully know or understand His ‘Why’ ….since ‘His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are infinitely higher than our thoughts’

In my quiet time with the Lord this morning, He led me to read Psalm 143. This was David – a strong man as well, running to the Lord to admit that the many trials and travails around him were wearing him down, and he was dealing with some sort of depression in the flesh. In the spirit though, he came back to the place of remembering how good God had been to him time and again in the years past. He understood that his victory and restoration were in the place of full submission and worship of God the Father, regardless of what he could see around him that was intent on crushing his soul. And in verse 8 he said ‘….for I lift my inner self to you’.

Wow! As I read this, the Holy Spirit said to me that this is the key! That in our flesh, we might face delays, disappointments, worries, travails that will try to crush our spirits; but… if we lift our inner selves – our true selves, our spirit man, up to God; if we do this sis, then we will always be able to confess ‘Lord, I don’t understand this, but I submit. Lord, I confess that Your ways are not my ways and Your thoughts are not my thoughts; but I believe Your thoughts towards me are good and not evil, and that Your ways are designed to lead me to fullness of joy in You’. We will be able to come to God fully yielded and admit that we have no strength of our own and that He alone is our Source, our Trust and the Anchor to our souls. If we know that God’s Plan A – whether it looks like our plan B or whether it looks like something we find ourselves in because everything else failed, is ultimately the best for our lives; then no matter what the flesh is pushing at us, we will find it in our spirits and in our hearts to say ‘Lord, Your good and perfect will be done’.

Sis, I don’t know what in your life isn’t working out the way you would have thought it should. I don’t know what many efforts you have made and continue to make that seem not to yield the results you were aiming for. I don’t know what it is in your life that looks like it is being delayed sis. I don’t know what has made you cry or what is causing anxieties in your life right now. I don’t know sis, but I want to encourage you with this word and ask that you trust God to show you the good that He is working out of your trials. Even if you can’t see, or if you are so pressed down that you can’t even hear God now sis, can you just lift your inner self up to Him? Can you just go into praise and worship of Him regardless? Can you pray in the spirit for a while to Him? Can you boldly declare that He is working all things out for your good even if you are not sure how? Can you tell Him that your spirit says ‘Yes’ to His will and His way? Can you surrender yourself to whatever His plan A for your life and situation are?

Awww sis, there is so much peace in this place of submission. I make no claims to have apprehended fully sis, but what I do preach is that as you and I walk this walk together, we will encourage, build, hold each other accountable to living the fullness of the lives that our Father has so uniquely designed for us to live. Submit to God’s Plan A today sis. Its way better in the long run than our human plans and desires can ever be. And that’s the truth! The Lord will help you to truly know and remember this truth sis, and He will help me.



Be blessed sis…. for you surely are!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

ARE YOU READY?

No matter where you are in the world, there is a lot of fear in the land at this time. It really doesn’t take much to know that we are truly in the last days. In my country, in addition to the already existing insecurity and insurgency, a new enemy - the very deadly Ebola virus, made its entrance unto the scene a couple of weeks back. The Ebola virus is not one that can be ascribed to any religious intolerance, ethnic discriminations, class distinctions, or divergent political affiliations. It is an enemy that is quite literally no respecter of persons… and its right here in our space!

People have died, and new cases are being reported in different regions. What is clear to me however is that what is happening now is not about the Ebola virus per se. No sis, it’s about a harvest of souls…. And a dark harvest at that! It’s a dark harvest because there is the question of just how many of those souls that have gone and will go, are ready to meet the Lord. Ebola is one more way that the enemy has released a spirit of fear into the land and into the hearts of believers and unbelievers alike. And boy is there great fear in the land!

My son was invited by another friend to go along with him for an open mic talent contest at his church. I had said this was fine because my son is quite the artist, to the glory of God, and we do everything we can to support him in this. We went out together, having agreed I would drop him off at this church to meet up with his friend on my way out. There wasn’t as much traffic as I had anticipated though and so I asked him to call to confirm how close his friend was to the church. My reasoning was that since this wasn’t our home church, I would rather he went with me first to see my friend first, rather than have him sit alone waiting in unfamiliar territory. Well guess what? He called and his friend said to him that his mother had decided he should not attend the event because they were concerned about the spread of the Ebola virus and so were being careful around going to public places. Seriously? Would this mean they would not be in church this Sunday then? Hmmm!

Social media is agog with one Ebola-related thing or the other. Some people have even found it in themselves to post jokes about what is a very deadly virus. I personally don’t see anything funny about a real situation that has the potential to wipe out hundreds of men, women and children in the space of a few weeks. Then of course, there are the superstitious opinions and the highly uneducated guesses that end up being broadcast on social media with such rapidity that makes clear that the senders are cloaked in fear, and so are unable to make rational judgments about the misinformation they then broadcast. Between those who are advocating bathing in and drinking salt water, to those who now refuse handshakes, to those who are avoiding going out – even to church; all that is manifesting is the spirit of fear pervading the land.

Yes sis, I hear you ask if we shouldn’t take extra care in the face of this reality. Surely we should. But, methinks there is a clear difference between being careful and operating in fear. If we would but settle down and allow the Spirit of God to minister to us, we would usually be able to discern when we have crossed the line of carefulness and entered into the realm of fearfulness. God has said that He has NOT given us a spirit of fear. And fear is certainly a spirit, sis. It is a spirit from the pit of hell. Fear is a spirit that can hold you down right where you are seated. Fear works by taking over your mind so completely that you are literally paralyzed. Fear grips at your heart, constricting it so much so that you can sometimes hardly breathe. Fear works to hold you back from doing the thing(s) that God has designed you to do. Fear holds you back from experiencing the life of abundance which is God’s design for you and I.

Sis, allowing fear to overtake us is really you and I saying that we don’t believe in God. Hard word, but oh so true! Our Father already knew that fear would be one of the enemy’s strategies to keep His children away from His fullness. He already knew that flesh would fail us. He is God remember? That is why His word (which He exalted above His name) tells us to cast our fears on Him. God has said effectively ‘I know that of your flesh, fear will come; but of your spirit, stand in faith that nothing is impossible for me, that I am with you and I am mindful of you’.

My daughter’s godfather said to me about 20years ago, that there were six million ways to die already and so he couldn’t understand why anyone would be afraid of that one more way – in this case, Ebola. Think about it with me, sis. There is no guarantee whatsoever that when we go to bed at night, we will wake up the next morning, even when we went to bed in absolutely good health. Those great people who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack got up, had breakfast and were working as usual in their offices when those planes came flying in. Yet you and I head off to work every day with a sense of certainly that at the end of the day, we will head home once again. On those really bad days, we are practically counting the minutes so we can ‘just leave this place’. What do we know sis? What did any of those 9/11 guys know? Who would have told them they would die at work?

This is a season where many of us are hopping on one flight or the other for our holidays. Many of us have to take one flight or the other for that quick meeting, that presentation at our corporate head office, and so on. Sis, what did those guys on the Malaysian airline know? How could they have imagined that they would board a plane that would disappear over the deep sea and till today has not been found? Sis, who could have told the other guys that their plane would be shot out of the skies… a passenger plane? In 2014? Who could have told them sis? Who could have told that couple who went out for a nice romantic dinner that the wife would choke on her meal and die right there at the restaurant, in front of her husband? And yet, you and I pounce on our meals everyday like it’s a given that eating does not put us at the risk of death. Hmmm! Need I go on?

There are a million stories and ways in which people can and will die sis. Life is great, and we all want to live, but… death, by whatever means, is a constant. And… the dead are dead! The dead are not looking back and thinking how horrendously they might have died – in an accident, through a horrible disease like Ebola, if they were gruesomely murdered… whatever. NO! The dead are dead. The thinking and analyzing and regretting, etc are for the living to do. The dead are dead, and are immediately having to face God the Father in the ultimate accountability for the lives that they lived here on earth.

Sis, this is the crux of the matter! We do not need to fear death, for when it comes to us, the only thing that will matter to us who are then the dead, will be which side of the eternity divide we are headed for in that instant. So yeah, I pray that Ebola or whatever other evil disease or situation out there does not come near my family. Yes, I pray that I will live long enough to see my children’s children. Yes, I pray that by the time I go, painful as my death would be for them, my children will be old enough and established enough not to find themselves in the place of dependency. Yes, I pray that I will not be widowed in the prime of my life. Yes, I pray that I will never have to bury any one of my children and grandchildren. I pray all these, yes… but more than anything else, I pray that should the Lord’s time for me be earlier than I would like, that when I am called, I will be called into His amazing presence and that I will have the privilege of resting in His love for all eternity in heaven. This is my greatest heart cry!

Making it heaven is ALL that counts, sis. So, today I am calling on you and indeed myself to again reexamine our lives and be sure we are in alignment with God the Father. Today, I am again calling on anyone who has not yet given their life to Jesus Christ, to do so today. It is not difficult. It is as simple as this prayer:
“Lord Jesus, I believe in You. I believe You are the Son of God. I believe You lived and died for ME. I believe You shed Your Blood on the Cross at Calvary for my sake. Lord, I come to You fully repentant. Forgive me my sins, My father and my Lord. Wash me clean with Your Blood. Fill me with Your light and truth. Lord, write my name in Your Book of Life. Help me! Hold me! Teach me Lord. Help me to live for You. Show me the way Father. I give you my body, my mind, my will, and my emotions. I give you all that I am and all that I have and I ask that You turn my life around and use it for Your glory. I declare today I am born again of the Spirit of the Living God. I declare that Jesus is Lord over my life, in Jesus name Amen”

For those of us who are already in Christ, I call on you and I today to cling even more closely to the Cross. I call on each of us today to do a spiritual exercise and examine and be truthful to ourselves about what little foxes we have allowed into our vineyards, of what areas of our lives we have kept from yielding up fully to the Lord. Sis, each of us must be in ‘Ready’ position all the time. We must! Our lives are a race to the Cross, to the glorious crown from the King of Kings Himself, to eternal rest in our beautiful heavenly Father. Today the Lord is assuring us that there is a reason He has repeatedly told us ‘Fear Not!’ We cannot be so held down by the fear of death and dying that we lose sight of this. God is on the throne and if we are in Him, our end is always good. We have no idea when our last day will be, sis! Indeed, we will never know the how or the when. The Spirit of the Lord is however reminding us today that the ‘how’ of our dying is irrelevant, but the ‘when’ is critical. Sis, we cannot afford not to be ready at our ‘when’. Our ‘when’ is the end of our sojourn on this earth, and in the end, our readiness is all that counts for eternity, if truth be told.

Today I speak over you and I a prayer that the Lord will hide this truth deep in our hearts. I speak a prayer that we will truly know that the Lord in a wall of fire around about us and the glory that is in the midst of us. I pray that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will align ourselves with the Father; that as we continue to behold Him, He will conform us daily more and more into His image of glory. I speak a heavenly blessing over us and declare that none of us will be lost, in Jesus name. I declare that that we will not die before the time the Lord has appointed for us, in Jesus name. I declare that regardless of how we eventually die this earthly death, we will live the eternal life in the bosom of the Lord, in Jesus name. I hear the Spirit of the Lord call us to be ready sis, and I hear His quiet steadfast assurance: ‘I will help you, My child’. In Christ we are helped sis. How glorious is that?


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.