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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Super-stretched... but not broken!

I have been privileged to share the company of some pretty remarkable women in a class I’m currently taking. I love how we bonded so easily from the first. Amidst all the learning is a whole lot of laughter and love, sharing and growing together….. And being that I am a ‘women’s woman’ you can be sure that I’m simply loving this space. In the very first class we had, the professor facilitating the session had asked each of us how we were feeling at that point in time. As it came the turn of this absolutely intelligent, sweet and funny young woman who we have all adopted as our official baby sister (and whose permission I do have to share this story), she dropped some words the Lord has used to inspire this post.

So Tolani (let’s call her that shall we?) said to the class that she is dealing with quite a lot at this point in time. She has a young marriage and two young children, one just a few months old. Her father had died halfway into her pregnancy for her second child, and even through trying to deal with the trauma of losing her dad, she has found herself having to take over the running of his business in the interest of the family. She is juggling a young family with dependent children, with the strain of trying to prove herself in the business space – outside of her father’s shadow and rather large shoes he has left her to fill; having to deal with people so much older than she is, people who are used to the old established ways of doing things, and the attendant resistance to change that is inherent in such situations. Then Tolani said, ‘This is my reality, but I’m dealing with it. Truth is that I’m super-stretched, but I’m not broken. And that is what counts’.

You know sis, as she said those words, I felt them resonate deep in my spirit and I thought ‘YES…that’s just it!’ I sent her a message later that evening to tell her I would like to use her experience and words to do a post, and she laughed and said to proceed by all means.

Super-stretched, but not broken! Wow, sis! I suspect that even if I didn't write a single word hereafter you would be able to relate to this. I mean, truthfully this is the state many of us find ourselves in at one time or the other right? It strikes me though that when our responsibilities and/or troubles come … and of a certainty they do, and they will; we sometimes completely lose ourselves under the weight of the things that we are dealing with. Sometimes we are so bogged down with things pulling at us from so many different directions, that we can barely find it in ourselves to remember that God is in control and that He has assured us that there is nothing that will come our way that He has not given us the strength to bear, and the way of escape.

Sometimes, we allow ourselves be so crippled with fear in the face of our current travails, that we are truly unable to think rationally, to take the right actions, or indeed ay action at all. Sometimes, the weight of our work-space responsibilities and pressures take us so far away from the passions, personal aspirations, and the things that truly satisfy us - keeping us busy yes, but without a sense of purposefulness and fulfillment that we so desperately crave. Sometimes sis, we are dealing with so much in our personal spaces that we walk around perpetually angry at the world and especially at those who don’t seem to have any problems. Sometimes, we can barely raise a smile or a kind word to our spouses, children, or other loved ones who are around us.

Sometimes we can barely pray, much less spend time reading the Word of God. Yes sis, sometimes our ‘realities’ are so overwhelming that we literally allow them take on a gigantic life of their own and we lose ourselves in the whirlwind of emotions and frustrations that assail us on every side. Sometimes, sis…… sometimes! Sometimes, it’s really all just too much!

But...

Today I want to encourage you sis to shift perspective. You know this is what I constantly advocate right? I truly believe we win or lose on this side of eternity largely based on the perspectives we choose to adopt and whose word we choose to stand on. Today, I ask that you and I shift gear and take life head-on in a new and more vibrant way, the God way. Yes sis, so how about we look at our realities from the spiritual dimension of Tolani’s perspective…. ‘Super-stretched, but not broken’  What a delightful confession this is, sis. Simply delightful! And so deep!

I’m super-stretched sis, as you probably are too. Why? Because my darling friend, we are privileged, we are blessed. Personally I’m juggling the roles of servant of God, wife, mother, homemaker, entrepreneur, boss, professional colleague, daughter, sister, friend, writer, speaker, trainer, mentor, board and exco member, etc. Not an easy set of balls to juggle, sis. Not at all! Each cap I wear comes with its own set of responsibilities and therefore its own set of competing challenges and demands on me and my time. I am sure you can more than relate. However,  the perspective I have intentionally chosen to adopt, is that I’m super-stretched because I’m privileged, because God loves me, and because He has somehow chosen and qualified me to deliver on specific assignments that He has also graced me to achieve.

I’m super-stretched because I have the privilege to be a wife in a world where tons of women – my age, older and younger than I am, are single and searching; desirous of being married, constantly crying out to the Lord from the place of deep loneliness, doubt and fear. I am super-stretched because being a wife places certain demands on me, but I can handle this because I am privileged to be ‘wife’ and not ‘widow’. I’m super-stretched because I have four children, a privilege in an era where too many families are crying out to God for the blessing of the fruit of the womb. I am super-stretched because while I have to juggle mothering two children overseas and two at home, I am privileged to have the resources to do this, and also because it means my children are growing and moving forward successfully into the next phases of their lives. I am privileged in this super-stretched mothering state, because it means I am privileged not have had to bury any or all of my children (and never will, in Jesus name) and because my children are privileged to have their parents alive, well, and very much there for them as they journey into adulthood.

I am super-stretched because I have cooking, cleaning and organizing to do, a home to run. But this stretching is because of the exact privilege of having a home, of not being out on the streets, of having a family – and a close, loving one at that. I am super-stretched because I have loads of work to do at the office, but this is borne out of the privilege I have to run the businesses that I do, and to have them grow and prosper as they have. It is also because I am privileged to have a mind that is sound and intelligent, eyes that see, ears that hear, a mouth that speaks, a body that is whole. I have loads of work to do because I have opportunities to tap into, helpers and resources to manage, etc.  I am super-stretched because I have articles to write, speeches to present, training's to deploy; but again this is because I have the privilege of having something to say, and people who believe in me enough to listen, and the privilege of the opportunity to add value to the lives of God’s children around the world.

I could go on sis, but I believe you get my drift. I’m super-stretched sis…. but I’m not broken! And how can I break sis? I can’t break because my God has given me the ‘capacity to flex’. Yes, He has imbued me with strength from on high. He has been so true to His word in my life. He has! He said He would not give me any weight He has not already empowered me to be able to bear. He has said He would never leave me nor forsake me. He has said I can freely cast my cares upon Him and that He will sustain me. He has said His strength is made perfect in my weakness, and I have seen His strength manifest on my behalf time and again. He has said He would work all things out for my good. He has said He will give me beauty for ashes.

He has said His plans for me are good and not evil. He has said His mercies over me are new every morning and oh how true this has been and is! He has said He causes grace to abound towards me daily. He has said He knows my end from my beginning, and He has said my end is good. I believe Him; it’s that simple! He has strengthened my hands to battle. He has assured me that I have victory in Him. He has said any captivity I have will be turned around. He has assured me that even where I am a lawful captive, He will set me free. He has assured me that He has and will break gates of brass, and cut asunder any bars of iron that stand in my way. He has assured me that by His anointing, every yolk that comes upon me shall be broken and every burden shall be lifted from my shoulder. He has assured me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. He has assured me that He will help me, that by His mighty right hand of righteousness He will help and uphold me.

I’m not broken sis, and I will not break. And you know what? Neither will you. Life may do its best to break us, but as long as we anchor ourselves in God and the assurances of His word, then no matter how life stretches us, we will not be broken. But sis, this is exactly what we must not lose sight of… that we must anchor ourselves in God and in His Word! We need to stay connected to Him as our Source, our Helper and our Ally. We need to hide His word in our heart so that it builds us up in our inner man and is available to us as a shield when the storms and pressures of life come. We need to stay close to God so that we are not disconnected from His voice and His presence. Indeed in the midst of life’s super-stretching, His voice is the one sure navigator we need to hold us steady and see us safely ashore.

Find the Lord for yourself sis, and whatever else you do… don’t let go! If you already have a relationship with Him, draw closer still! In Him it is that we live and move and have our being. In Him alone is our confidence and trust. In Him alone is our quietness and peace during the storms, and certainly in Him alone is our victory. He is our ‘flex’ sis, our ability to bounce back out of every season of stretching that life throws our way. In the middle of life’s challenges, He is ultimately the only thing that makes sense! What better foundation is there to stand on than this?

I don’t intend to in any way diminish or make light of the weight of whatever it is you are going through now, sis. I dare not, for indeed I am dealing with one thing too many at this time as well myself. But super-stretched as I am sis, by the power of God, I will not break! I choose to see my tests, trials, pressures, challenges, storms… by whatever names the stretching present themselves, simply as avenues through which the Lord is building my muscles – in flesh and in spirit, for a greater tomorrow….. not just for me, but for everyone else whom I will be privileged to have Him bring into my life so I can walk them through their own stretching and into victory. Can you be as equally intentional about adopting this same perspective sis? You can? That’s my girl! The Lord will help you sis… even as surely as He is helping 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.