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Friday, December 12, 2014

Exhale!

A few days ago, I had the privilege to partner with my sista and accountability partner Bidemi Mark-Mordi (www.bidemimarkmordi.com) on the first of a series of quarterly meetings titled ‘Sista Power Collaborations’. Essentially, this is a forum for women to come together to grow spiritually, find and fulfill purpose, serving as midwives and collaborators in each other’s lives; the understanding being that ‘together we are more’. This is a series of gatherings that are a fall-out and continuation of the conversations and interactions from the annual Return of The Helper (ROTH) conference www.returnofthehelper.com.ng which BMM convenes annually by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.

This first collaboration was themed ‘Exhale & Recalibrate’ and I recall that as we met to review and pray towards the event, I had said to BMM that from the things that were on our hearts to speak, it sounded to me like I had the ‘Exhale 2014’ mandate while she had the ‘Recalibrate for 2015’ mandate. We had laughed, but truly that is the way things played out. Saturday came and was a powerful move of God and it is on my heart to share a few things from there with you.

I honestly can’t replay the entirety of both sessions on this platform, but there are some key things that I thought it would be important for you and I to pay attention to, sis. We are fast approaching the end of 2014 and so I had started by asking each person to take a few minutes to do a hard and honest reflections and assessment of their year, using specific words to describe how 2014 has been for them as individuals, spiritually; emotionally; physically; in their relationships as wives, as mothers; professionally also as business owners, colleagues or employees. I asked everyone to describe the economy of the nation in 2014 as they have experienced and understood it; and then I asked if they could see connections between any of their responses and the state of the economy as they saw it in 2014. The last question was one of how their description of the economy today is framing their expectations for 2015.  

The essence of these questions was for each of us to do an honest assessment of ourselves to understand where we are and what role we have played in getting to where we are. It was for us to face truth, be real about our strengths and weaknesses; and assess those mindsets and perspectives we have held or are holding on to that are not in alignment with God’s word, will and way. We took time to share the responses we had each written down and as expected, every one of us had our fair share of struggles in the course of the year. Each person had a few things they could say had been good or not so bad, but more people than not had something or the other they were beating down on themselves about. All in all though, when we each looked at 2014 from an overall perspective, a general agreement across the room was that challenges notwithstanding, 2014 has been a good year.

Without understanding, this conclusion would have presented quite the paradox. I mean, looking at all the negative words I had penned on the flip chart as people spoke, it wouldn’t ordinarily have made sense to still then come back and declare that it had been a good year. With the right understanding however, why wouldn’t our ultimate confession be that 2014 has been a good year sis? We are daughters of the King and God cannot contradict Himself. If He says His plans for us are good, they are! If He says all things work together for our good, they do! Sometimes it takes us coming to the end of a season or cycle to realize that the fact that we are still standing is a victory and a testimony in itself. And this was exactly where we first anchored sis, that it had been a good year because we are still alive and well enough to have been at Exhale & Recalibrate 2014; even as it has been a good year if you are still alive and well enough to be reading this article now.

EXHALE, sis! You are still here! You’ve made it! We have a few days to go yet, but you have made it thus far and you will make it to the end, in Jesus mighty name. God has been and will continue to be faithful sis, so count your blessings! All said, your blessings are still way more than whatever storms came with 2014. Do you recall His word that when you pass through the waters, He will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you? That when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, and neither would the flame kindle upon you (Isaiah 43 v 2)? He saw you through, sis. He did! Did He not say that though the storms and floods have lifted up their voice; and the floods lifted up the roaring of their waves; that He is on high and more glorious than the noise of many waters, yes, than the mighty breakers and waves of the sea (Psalm 93 v 3-4)? Has He not been the sure refuge we could run into and be confident until calamities and destructive storms passed (Psalm 57 v 1)? And didn’t the storms always eventually pass sis? You were at various times bent, near broken, beaten, discouraged, confused, afraid… but ultimately you were not defeated sis! You are still here and you are still able to lift your head, exhale and move forward right? Bless this awesome God with me sis! Thank You Jesus!

Exhale sis! He is the One Who assures us that He performs that which HE has planned for us, and of many such matters, He is mindful (Job 23 v 14). Can you not see that this has been your testimony? As surely as He declared it sis, no matter what we went through in 2014, you and I can see that God was faithful in His assurance that He would crown the year with His goodness and bounty (Psalm 65 v 11). Exhale, sis! Take a deep breath and let it out in praise and thanksgiving to the One Who has kept you thus far. 

I remember that I had talked about how when we look at 2015 through the lens of the flesh and in the understanding of man, it would be too easy to confess along with the majority that 2015 is positioning to be a difficult year. I shared however that the word the Lord has given me for 2015 is that where others are saying there is a casting down, I will be saying there is a lifting up (Job 22 v 29). This is my confidence first and foremost because it is the word of God, and it is a word from God. I shared a quote I heard recently that the man with experience is never at the mercy of the man with an argument, and I declared that for the simple fact that I have seen the Lord come through for me and mine time and time again - even in the midst of seemingly impossible situations; I would not be a slave to the arguments and logic of men in 2015. I will stand on the experience of my many indisputable testimonies, and I will experience ‘lifting’ regardless of the going’s on in the economy - because God says so; because I believe it; because with my mouth I decree it, and so shall it be established unto me and mine, in Jesus name, amen.

As you exhale 2014, what is your word for 2015 sis? By all means, ride on the one the Lord has given me because it’s an awesome confession and spiritual decree which heaven has already backed; but can I also ask that you make time to be still in the Lord’s presence and let Him give you that word which will be meat for you throughout 2015?   If there is one thing I have clarity on, it is that 2015 is not a year to be disconnected from the Holy Spirit, and it is not a year to allow distractions take you away from the worship of God. As you exhale today sis, make a resolve to press in, and ask the Lord to help you stay plugged in. Sis, as you exhale, settle in your mind that you have to operate more deeply in the Spirit from today so that you can operate in the rest of God throughout 2015. As you exhale, settle in your mind that according to Psalm 54 v 4:  God is your Helper and Ally; He is your Upholder and is with them who uphold your life. He has always been sis, and He will always be. As this year winds down, allow this to be one truth that nothing can take away from you. 

Exhale sis! Let go of all the struggles and disappointments, and seeming failures. Let go of the targets you set for yourself which God did not assign to you. Allow the Lord give you a fresh breath today sis. Allow Him re-energize you to continue,  and to continue purposefully under His leading. You might not see it, but as long as you stay connected to God Who is your source, all things have worked and are working together for your good, sis. Breathe sis! Breathe!  It really is all good!

Be blessed sis… for you surely are!


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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.