A little encouragement for you today…..

11 Aug

“Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the Lord And whose hope and confident expectation is the Lord. For he will be [nourished] like a tree planted by the waters, That spreads out its roots by the river; And will not fear the heat when it comes; But its leaves will be green and moist. And it will not be anxious and concerned in a year of drought Nor stop bearing fruit.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17:7-8‬ ‭AMP‬‬

There is a blessing when we choose to believe, trust in and rely on The Lord; when we invest our confidence in Him no matter what we’re facing. When we choose to say “Lord I don’t know how it would all come together but my confidence is in You”. The writer says such a man will look like a tree that is planted by the waters. Such a tree will be nourished with its leaves evergreen and unbothered by the heat.

How can you trust Him today? What situation has you up all night? Does the news leave you anxious? Trust Him. Keep sending your roots down into the soil of His word. He will keep, refresh and restore you.

I hope this encourages you and that you can hold on to this word through your week and in the days ahead ❤️

Song recommendation

….with us in the wilderness

4 Aug

Since September last year I’ve been in a new season work wise. In March this year it just got harder – the commute to work, work intensity and my commitments were not fewer especially my core commitments to my family and my local church.

Change is uncomfortable, seasons of transition stretch us to a degree we often do not want to grow into. My discomfort held the potential for growth but the stretch was tough I couldn’t see any positive potential.
What was more was the uncertainty of many days and how uncomfortable I felt on my inside. Many other factors made the March curve a bit tougher and as the months came around there were events happening on the side which I couldn’t control, including loss.
Hard seasons are as they sound – hard. Our faith in God doesn’t keep us immune from them.

As the days rolled by, I had to personally unplug from many things because my gaze was becoming distracted and life seemed to be spinning.
In my unplugging, I began digging my heels deep into The Rock. If life would not take us out, if our faith would not fail, we must refresh our gaze from time to time. We must disallow the noise around us from drowning out the voice of hope from within us that urges us forward into the future God has prepared for us.

I love Gods word – it remains the surest compass for my life. I began to study the Israelites as they began to transition from Egypt into the promised land. They were Gods chosen people yet had to navigate a wilderness, the Red Sea and many giants as they journeyed. Some resorted to complaining, while some retained a perspective of faith and an assurance in Gods character and His ability to deliver.

I share this to say, keep going. Our journeys in God would not be hassle free always yet in them we can choose to live a life of complaining or instead choose to see The God who is with us in the wilderness.

Through all the book of Exodus we see Him

as a Pillar of cloud by day and a Pillar of fire by night leading His people through unknown terrain

as the Invisible Hand that parts the Red Sea making it a pathway for His people to walk through

as The Camper God who camps His people by fresh springs and palm trees so they are refreshed

The Providing God who supplies daily manna for His people and quail for their nourishment

The Faithful God under whose care their clothes did not wear out neither the shoes on their feet.

God is constant in all our times and seasons and He is not removed from our wildernesses. If we quieten our hearts and find our rest in Him, we would see Him present with us, never leaving, always guiding and always providing.

Sometimes all we need to do is to pull away from the noise of fear and doubt and refresh our gaze. It’s there that we would see Him clearly, constant in His character and present with us as we journey along. Most times we are in a hurry to exit hard seasons yet they hold such great potential for us to see our multifaceted, multidimensional, multi gracious and faithful God. He is tender to all those He loves and His compassion is unending. Hope this encourages you. Don’t give up.

“I have led you in the wilderness forty years; your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭29:5‬ ‭

Mary, a picture of quiet strength, humility, complete devotion and total surrender.

14 Dec

Every year at this time, I read the Christmas story and sometimes to be honest, it flies over my head such that the very next minute it’s just like any other story. At other times, I pull out my chair and try to picture the scenes, the theme, the design, the chaos, the confusion, the birth, the characters, the STORY.
For the past few years I have examined one of the characters closely – Mary. Who was she? What was it about her? Why was she chosen? My heart likes and admires her. Friendship with her is something I’m quietly desiring. I want to sit up close with her and understand this woman. I’m a woman and I love women who get Gods attention. I love women to whom God commits His agenda, women whom He can trust with His plans. That’s why I’m a secret admirer of Mary – ok now the secret’s out.

All there is to know about Mary is what”s written down. Young lady, engaged to be married then all of a sudden, unexpectedly, she gets an angelic visitation that completely disrupts her life and plans. Not only is this visitation disruptive, it talks about a lot that sounds impossible. “A virgin would birth a Son who would be the Son of The Most High, and will have an everlasting kingdom.”
I’m looking at my “friend”, she listens, expresses her confusion, is greatly disturbed, asks how it would all come to be. The angel assures her of an empowerment from on High that would bring all these to pass.
Mary then responds by sayingBehold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

Nothing about this visit was clear; in fact it was confusing and disturbing. The how, when, why, “what happens to all my plans”; how does one go about telling people “I am pregnant by The Holy Spirit” Imagine the reactions of neighbors, friends, members of her church, passers by who knew her 😯🙄😧🤔🤣🧐.
Mary, humble, submitted, surrendered, assured of who she was – Gods servant, took it all in, in quiet contemplation, refusing to complain about the inconvenience. The opinions of others must have sounded loud, the gossip from those who didn’t understand, but she would not allow herself be distracted from what had been committed to her. She even risked a broken engagement. It must have been heavy, difficult, inconvenient, lonely but these words echo again: Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

Then there was the census, the long journey to Bethlehem. Thinking about it, if told you were going to have a child who would be King, your imaginations would run wild. Maybe he would be born in a palace, lay his head in a golden crib and have everyone at your beck and call. I don’t know what she imagined, but it didn’t quite go that way. This King was born in very humble circumstances. We all know the story. In our current day, If we had Mary’s position, our social media statuses would most likely read :

  • Visited by a host of angels. Spoke with Angel … face to face. What a great surprise. Something great is cooking
  • Privileged to be chosen to bear the King of kings 😅
  • The countdown begins

As the visitors began to make their way to see this child who would be King and as they presented their gifts and worshipped, scripture records Mary’s posture as this:“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:19‬

So back to where I started. As I pull out my chair, leaning in to observe this woman, I see the following:

  • A woman just like you and I, nothing spectacular that marked her externally but who had such a deep awareness of Gods presence that she was ready to receive from Him during her everyday life
  • Her fears and confusion when a lot was unknown
  • Her complete trust in Gods word. If He says it, so be it
  • Her strength and courage
  • Her humility
  • Her heart for The Lord choosing to surrender to His will at great personal cost
  • Her quiet contemplation, observing, pondering, taking words seriously and not letting these significant words and events about her child fly over her head
  • Her integrity even when it hurt
  • Her yieldedness – Lord if You need me, if You want my life, You can have it all.

This list is why I am her friend. This is the woman I desire to be. A woman who loves The Lord, treasures His word, is deeply aware of Him in everyday life, surrenders to His will in humble devotion, afraid sometimes but completely trusting, a vessel of honor to birth something that would totally change the world.

Mary, each year you influence my heart deeply and this year is no different ❤️

Does God really care about me?

11 Nov

I walked into a store one Saturday afternoon to pick up a few things for the kids. I had a time budget as I needed to be home in time for my husband to leave for work. As I made my way to the checkout desk to pay, I stopped briefly at the ladies section and quickly scanned through some of the items. I love cardigans, so my focus was on those. I went from one to the other to see if there was any I fancied and there, tucked in the pile was one which caught my eyes. I quickly tried it on and could already picture the many ways in which it would work with a number of my other clothes.

Excitedly, I took it along to pay for it. On getting to the checkout desk, the lady scanned my items and as she tried to scan my precious cardigan, there was no tag on it. She looked up and said “i’m sorry there’s no price tag, so i can’t sell it to you, sorry”. In my mind, i thought, no way. There was a price tag on it when I picked it off the rack. She told me it was the only one left of that brand in store and so there was no way to find the price right then. I really wanted this cardigan, so i went back the way i came, scanning the floor to see if any tag had fallen. To my disappointment, there was no tag. She put out a message to their other stores to see what she could do to ensure i got to leave with the cardigan but got no response in the time i was there. Remember i was also time constrained so i didnt have much time left to wait in the store.

To help me, she told me i could come back the next day which was Sunday, promising to hold on to the cardigan for me till then after which she would put it back on the rack to be sold. That sounded very good to me so i made my way out of the store and headed home. On my drive home, i began to strategize on how i was going to make my way to the store after church the next day. I devised my plan in my head even though it was going to be quite tight as i had other commitments that Sunday but this cardigan, i wasnt going to let it go.

Later that evening, i began to think about my cardigan plans and all the energy i was already investing to make sure i got it; just then i asked myself why i was so consumed with getting it. I quickly paused and said to myself “Nnenna, it’s not that serious”. Afterall, i had other cardigans, i could well make do with what i had and whenever i had another opportunity i could take the time to look for another cardigan. At this point i felt a huge release, exhaled and just relaxed and i abandoned my plan of going back to the store on Sunday. This was so freeing. Sunday came, we had a lovely time in church and i went about the rest of my actvities barely remembering “my” cardigan. It honestly was not that serious in the grand scheme of things.

Fast forward to about 2 months later, i walked into this same store to buy gifts for my children’s friends who were celebrating birthdays. I had the day to myself, so also decided to check out a few things. Again i went to my cardigan section as there were many lovely ones. I began to look through the cardigans one after the other, trying to make a choice. Just then, my eyes caught one that looked like my beloved cardigan. I couldnt believe it. Was it the same one i had seen some months earlier? i dont know but it was the exact make, type and color . You can imagine my excitement. I quickly looked to see if it had a price tag. Yes!!! I grabbed it, holding the price tag so tenderly till i got to the checkout desk 😄. I made my way out of the shop with all my items and my precious cardigan. Wow.

As I’ve journeyed in God, beyond knowing that He sent Jesus to die in my place, giving me the gift of salvation, i love seeing Him demonstrate how much He loves and cares for me even in the “ordinary” things of life. On getting home, i knelt down (call me dramatic) and just reflected on how much God cares about me and poured my thanks on Him. Why would a God so big care enough for even the trivial things that delight my heart? a cardigan? But that’s the thing. Many times we think God cannot be bothered by the mundane and ordinary things that concern us but He is. Beside being God, Savior and Lord, He longs for us to see and experience Him as Father and friend. He is good and cares about every detail of our lives.

David in Psalms 8:3-4 says it this way:

“I look up at your macro -skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then i look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way? (The Message bible)

The lesson for me is to not spend my life, my energy and strength trying to get anything by all means. I want to live freely, free from the bondage of pursuits and the endless desire to possess; rather, i want my life to just flow in worship and gratitude daily, thankful for what i hold in my hands today, knowing with a settled assurance that God loves me deeply, He cares about every detail of my life, and would meet my needs. I dont want to live a disgruntled life, constantly weary from striving, instead, i want to live joyful and content, believing with no shadow of doubt that He who made the universe and calls the moon and stars by name, knows my name and has His eyes on me and would do me good.

I’ll end with this scripture from Matthew 6:25-30

“This is why I tell you to never be worried about your life, for all that you need will be provided, such as food, water, clothing—everything your body needs. Isn’t there more to your life than a meal? Isn’t your body more than clothing? “Consider the birds—do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food. Aren’t you much more valuable to your Father than they? So, which one of you by worrying could add anything to your life? “And why would you worry about your clothing? Look at all the beautiful flowers of the field. They don’t work or toil, and yet not even Solomon in all his splendor was robed in beauty like one of these! So if God has clothed the meadow with hay, which is here for such a short time and then dried up and burned, won’t he provide for you the clothes you need—you of little faith?”

– Are you so worried about your life, do your needs seem overwhelming?

– Do you find yourself caught in a cycle of perpetual striving that trust in God seems like a strange idea?

– Are you able to believe this truth today that He cares about you and would you want to abandon your striving and begin living a life of joy and gratitude?

– How have you seen God come through for you even in the ordinary things of life and how can that spur you on to keep trusting Him?

Thank you for stopping by to read. Our Heavenly Father cares for you. I pray you will see Him lifting your burdens today and that you will experience Him as more than enough in the days ahead ❤️

Gratitude and The Father’s tender heart

25 Mar

My husband was away at work. I was home with the kids and needed to get all 3 of them ready for school in good time as well as get ready myself as I had to be at work to run my clinic.

Weekday mornings at our home could be dramatic as I imagine other homes with young kids could be and while we try to stick to a routine as best we can, some days could be challenging, from that child who wouldn’t get out of bed in time for a bath, to the one who asked for cereal and just when you’ve offered it, lets out a cry insisting (s)he wanted toast. On other days, it’s either a tantrum for the most insignificant thing, such as wanting the blue rather than black pair of socks, to one of the kids needing to use the toilet just when we are about to get out the door. So stressful 😩.

Back to my story: this morning, I was right in the thick of it. The 2 littles were at the table, I could hear them chatting away, with no cares in the world. My older son, Adriel, was getting all dressed up, while I was making beds, folding duvets and trying to get everywhere in some tidy state. In the background, the clock was ticking away and as my eyes caught it, I realised what little time we had left. I quickly called out to my daughter (shouted more like), “Hannah, come and wear your shoes and tidy your hair”. Sam couldn’t be bothered. He was going to make sure he got that last bit of toast in and finished his blueberries. My daughter ran up, put on her shoes and as I tried to get the last few things ready in order to get us out the door, she turned to me and said in a very gentle but sweet tone:

“Mum, thank you for looking after us; you’re the best mum in the whole wide world and back again”.

Pause……. that was my first reaction. It felt like cold water on a hot, sunny day. She had already dashed off to join her brothers when I called her back, gave her a big hug and thanked her for being so sweet. Those words energised me to get through what was left, brightened my day and made my heart truly tender towards her in that moment.

As I reflected on it, it occurred to me the huge difference gratitude makes. Sometimes even in our relationships with The Lord, we are quick to complain about things, make endless requests and may not always make room for gratitude. Of course God is never having a stressful or high pressure day like I was but those words of gratitude from my daughter and the effect they had on my heart helped me see just how much we should express our thanks to our Heavenly Father. It didn’t matter to her that it’s my duty as a parent to take care of them. She just flowed in thanks and went on to lavish me with words of praise. In that moment, I could have given her anything. My heart was truly tender towards her and she didn’t leave without a hug and a kiss from her Mummy.

Gratitude is powerful. I imagine it has similar effects on The Father’s heart as it had on mine and i don’t know that any child of His who turns to Him with a grateful heart and thankful lips, would leave His presence without a loving hug, a God kiss and an overflow of blessings.

Let’s be people who choose gratitude, even when it’s hard. There’s always something we can be thankful for and it always gets the attention of our tender, loving Father.

~ How can you apply this to your own life?

~ Do you feel that God must perform His obligations towards you such that you now assume a posture of entitlement rather than thankfulness?

~ What if you started each day being grateful to Him for all He does and being intentional about lavishing Him with praise?

“Praise The Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.“ Psalms 103: 2-5

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