Sunday, 25 December 2011

Get down on your knees!

'The Christmas story goes like this: 'There were...shepherds...keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold an angel of the Lord stood before them...The angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger' (Luke 2:8-12 NKJV). 
Have you ever wondered why the angel first talked to shepherds, a job considered lowest on the social totem pole? Think about it: if he'd talked to church leaders they'd have had to consult their doctrinal text books and denominational boards. If he'd appeared to celebrities they'd have had to check and see who was watching. If he'd appeared to chief executives they'd have had to consult their diaries and spread sheets. So he gave the greatest news story in history to those with no axe to grind, no reputation to protect and no ladder to climb; people with simple child-like faith. Getting the idea? 
Outside Bethlehem there is a church marking Jesus' birthplace. Behind the altar is a cave with a symbolic star embedded in the floor. You can enter the cave but with one requirement- you must kneel. The door is too low to get in standing up! God still operates that way. You will find Him among the commonplace. But to experience Him, you must get down on your knees.'

This was taken from today's 'UCB The Word for today'. Hope you were blessed reading it. Enjoy the video below- I just discovered it. It's 'Jesus be the centre' by Israel Houghton. Hope you have an amazing Christmas celebration and wonderful new year!!!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Something for all the single ladies (and the men too...)

You're single. You want to be married. Or at least be in a loving relationship that's going somewhere. You believe God has someone for you. You've been waiting a while but he hasn't come yet. What do you do in the meantime? Sample the market? Go for it with the next best thing? 

A good friend sent me this video earlier on today and I completely forgot about it till this evening when I was looking for something to watch online. I must confess I only tend to watch videos online when I've got nothing else to do. It drives my friends and family crazy because I never watch the videos they send me! 

Anyhoo, I know most of us have seen it all, listened to sermons and read all the books (Bimbo Odukoya, Michelle McKinney Hammond* etc etc) ever written for singletons, but please, I beg you, watch this video. After watching it, watch it again. I watched it and I was encouraged, uplifted, challenged, inspired, you name it! The truths coming out of this woman's mouth are so deep and powerful I don't even think she realises it. Take a look for yourself and let me know what you think!

*If I told you how many of this woman's books I have, you wouldn't believe me!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

My tramp experience

So you've probably seen the video of the lady* being racist on a tram in London. If you haven't, here it is for your viewing pleasure. Or not. I was going to post something with the above title on my facebook page but just as the thought came to me, another thought hit me. What makes me different from that lady? OK, of course I'm not racist, I don't go about hurling abuse at people because they look different from me. I don't go about swearing and telling people to go and sort out their countries and leave mine alone. No, I don't do all those things. So the tram lady is a bad woman. She is an evil, horrible person. Or is she?

I read something the day before I saw that video for the first time. It was written by the guy at 'Single dad laughing'. I love that blog. He's a very successful blogger/writer and when you read his stuff you can see why. Anyway, the post was titled 'I'm Christian, unless you're gay'. It's a very challenging piece of writing. The whole gist of it is about love, i.e. we can't claim to be Christians if we don't show love to the people around us. And I'm not talking about that 'church love' where we smile with our teeth and say 'I love you with the love of the Lord'. I mean loving people that are different from us. Loving people that don't look like us, talk like us, dress like us or act like us. It's not easy, but that's what being a Christian is all about, and I was challenged. So, I encourage you to read that post; it might change your life, as it has already done for many.

So, back to the tram lady. Are we really that different from her? Now, I'm not saying we are all bad, horrible people; we all know some are worse than others. But seriously though, if your mind was open for all to see and read, would they be encouraged or outraged by what they see? Would they think 'wow, I'm blessed' or would they think 'you hypocrite!'? I don't know about you but I don't think I'd be comfortable with people knowing my thoughts 24/7. Maybe it's just me. The thing is we may not openly insult someone but how many times have we done it in our minds? We may say we're not racist but how many times have we said words like 'you know how these white people can be' or something similar? Or for my fellow Nigerians how many times have we judged someone just because they're from a different tribe? (If you don't have close friends that are from a different tribe/race from you, be honest and ask yourself why). How many times have we looked at someone weirdly maybe because they're too fat ('all she does is stuff her face'), or too skinny ('she must be bulimic/anorexic'), or ugly ('hasn't she heard of make-up'?) or loud ('she obviously didn't have a good upbringing')?

Now I'm not condoning what the woman did (heck, I'm one of the immigrants she was insulting!) but what I'm trying to say is that none of us are perfect. Let me bring it back to the Bible. You know Jesus actually said if you look at a someone lustfully you've already committed adultery in your heart with them. Hating someone in your heart is equivalent to murder. I didn't say it, He did. I must say I joined in with the conversations about how terrible this woman is, how her poor child would grow up to be a monster because he has to hear this everyday, how she obviously is uneducated and ignorant, etc, etc. But then I hear about people sending her death threats and I'm like, who is worse- the racist lady or the person that wants to kill her? Let him that is without sin cast the first stone, right?

Anyway, I just wanted to get us thinking. There are racist people in this world, and there always will be. Some may need a bit of alcohol to get them going, but most are very good at hiding it. We don't have to be OK with it, but we can accept that fact and get on with our lives. Go to work on yourself first and you'll be amazed at what a better place this world can be. #justsaying.

*I use this term very loosely.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Size 10 regular...

I've always wanted to be taller. At 5 foot 5, no 6, OK, five and a half inches, I'm the shortest of all my siblings, even though I'm almost the eldest. I know some people may think that's tall enough and one of my friends that is almost six feet would probably give something huge to be my height (tall girls can't find men apparently). But, I still remember when I was little and my uncles would say to me 'watch out, your sister is getting taller than you!'- as if there was anything I could do about it. And some of them would say 'eat more beans- it'll make you grow taller' and I did, even though I hated beans. It obviously didn't work, and I watched helplessly as all my siblings grew and grew and grew past me. Sigh...

Anyway, I bought some jeans today. I didn't have the chance to try them on so I took them home. Also, the store didn't have the lengths on the jeans as I would have liked, so I just went for the one I hoped would be my size- 10 Long. But then I got home and tried them on and guess what? They were too long. I really wanted them to be my size and I even considered folding the ends but it just didn't look right. I had to accept the truth that I am in fact, a size 10 Regular.

We don't like being reminded of our shortcomings do we? At the moment, I'm re-reading 'The purpose driven life' by Rick Warren and I'm on the chapter about surrender. Three things stop us from surrendering to God- fear (we don't realise how much God loves us, so we don't trust Him), pride (we want to be in control of our lives) and confusion (we misunderstand the meaning of surrender). The whole shortcomings issue falls under pride. We want to be better- smarter, prettier, slimmer, fatter, taller. We hate it when we're faced with our own shortcomings because it makes us all the more aware of our humanity. We hate it because we want to be in control of our lives. We want to be God in our lives. Yes, we want to be God. 

This is how Rick puts it:
'We aren't God, and never will be. We are humans. It is when we try to be God that we end up most like Satan, who desired the same thing... We accept our humanity intellectually, but not emotionally. When faced with our own limitations, we react with irritation, anger and resentment....Then when we notice that God gave others characteristics we don't have, we react with envy, jealousy and self-pity.'

That's some deep stuff, but it is so true. 

The sooner we accept our humanity (emotionally), and stop struggling with God, the sooner we surrender and stop trying to control everything in our lives, the sooner we can start living that stress-free, purpose-driven life He desires for everyone of us.

All this from a pair of jeans, I know.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Why should I get married???

I'm not disillusioned about marriage. I know that it's not a bed of roses. I know you have to work at it to make it work. Despite all these, I still sometimes struggle to come up with good reasons to get married. Don't get me wrong, I do want to spend my life with someone I love, have kids, build a family, etc, etc and I think that's what God wants for most of us, but I've seen a lot of things in the past few months that just make me wonder. 

To start off, a few weeks ago, I read someone's post on facebook titled 'why men cheat' (or something along those lines) and it made for very interesting reading. The conclusion was that every man, given the right circumstances would cheat on his wife/partner. Obviously it caused a bit of an uproar, (mostly amongst women, I should add) and even though I wanted to put down my own thoughts on the matter, for once I decided to leave it for a bit and have a think. In the end, I came to my own conclusion. The writer of that piece was kinda right. Every man, given the right circumstances would cheat. But does it really stop there? Surely, everyone, given the right circumstances would do something they wouldn't usually do. But, I must add, only if we believe that we have no control over certain things that we do. Let me explain further- the August London riots is a good example. People, including some normally law-abiding citizens saw a perfect opportunity to steal and they did just that. It proves the article's point, doesn't it? But do we actually have more control over ourselves than we'd like to admit even to ourselves? Still on the London riots- not everyone grabbed clothes and shoes, even though it was right there and they probably wouldn't have been caught. Yes, some people were probably scared of getting caught, but I'd also like to think that some people decided that doing what is right was far more important than getting a few new items of clothing. 

Even though I've heard the views of the writer of that note from different people in the past, I can't help but wonder whether it's not some kind of excuse for certain men to fall back on when they give in to a moment (or two) of weakness. Just because you have the ability to do something doesn't mean that you would. Not if you claim to love someone. Not if you took a vow. Not if your life is sold out to Someone higher. And definitely not if you put measures in place to prevent it from happening. Here's a thought- surely if you think yourself unable to resist a certain type of temptation, you've pretty much fallen already. Isn't it just a matter of time? Now, I'm not naive, I don't live in fantasy land, and I'm actually not as optimistic as I think I should be about certain things, but I cannot get my head around the conclusion of that facebook note. If indeed that conclusion is true, what are women supposed to do? Resign themselves to the fact that they will one day be cheated upon- a matter of when, not even if? If that is the case, then seriously, why bother? 

The other thing I can't get my head around is physical violence in relationships. And why people stay. This completely freaks me out, but we'll talk about it some other day...

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Can we talk about sickle cell?

I stumbled across this post by 'Pretty lashes' and I thought it was awesome that she blogged about it, as it's something that's been on my mind for a while. This was my response to her post:

''I love that you blogged about this, as it's something quite close to my heart, with one of my close friends being SS and me knowing quite a few carriers of the sickle cell gene. Here are my few thoughts...

Truth is that even though there are a lot more advances in treatment for sickle-cell related complications and many 'sicklers' now live longer, sickle cell disease is life-threatening and we can't ignore it. Whilst I think it's silly for people to run a mile when they meet someone with sickle cell, the example you gave about the guys possibly getting HIV or cancer in the future is not exactly the same because sickle cell is preventable even before birth, if you know about it, whilst cancer for example, sometimes just happens. Our grandparents and those before them didn't know about genetics and blood group/blood type testing and they probably lost a few children to sickle cell and called it something else, but now we do, and can do something about it.

I have a very close friend with sickle cell that has been in and out of hospital a few times and whenever I've seen her in so much pain, it makes me think; why would I want to take the risk of putting my child through that, given the information I know?

I completely agree that we should not discriminate against people with sickle cell, but if we can prevent it, why shouldn't we? That's the reason we have advances in science and technology- so we can make informed decisions, e.g. when it comes to marriage. On the subject of marriage, even some pastors would advice against marrying someone that is AS if you're also AS. Personally, I think it depends on the faith of the couple and there have been many testimonies attesting to this- God is ALL-mighty and anything is possible with Him, but I would have to be absolutely convinced of who God wants me to marry before I make a decision that could affect the lives of my unborn kids..."

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them- if you know someone with sickle cell, or maybe you have sickle cell yourself, how has this affected your life? I'd especially like to know if this has affected your decisions in who you decide to date/marry and why. Thanks!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

One goal...

Sometimes I feel like my life is out of my control
I know I gave it to You a long time ago
And I did say 'I surrender'
But You don't take that phrase lightly do You?
To You, 'I surrender' means You have my life
You can do as You please
You will go to extremes to make me the person You know I can be
The person You created me to be
No matter how much I scream
No matter how much I hate it
You'll keep working on me
Removing the crappy bits
The stuff that embarrasses You
The stuff You detest
Because there's only one goal
To be more like Jesus...

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Me, God and Mr Right?

I know it's been a while folks, but life has not given me a breather for a while now; hopefully I'll be able to blog about that at some point. As I'm kinda lacking inspiration these day with my writing, I fished out something I wrote a while ago and decided to post it. Hope you like it, and of course feel free to let me know what you think!

I lay in bed thinking about how to end the relationship. What exactly would I say to him? I didn’t want to hurt his feelings but I was tired of saying the same things over and over again. I tried the following sentences in my head...

‘You don’t call me regularly. You say you’ll call but you don’t. When you do, you seem distracted, like you’d rather be doing something else.’
‘Sometimes you call for a few minutes in the morning and just as I’m getting into the conversation, you suddenly have to go.’
‘You call me late at night, just before you go to bed. What’s the point; you’re way too tired to have a decent conversation and within five minutes you’re already yawning.’
‘Football is way more important to you than I am...I know not to expect a phone call or have a meaningful conversation with you if a match is on.’
‘I wait all day for a phone call from you and when it finally comes, you don’t seem to have much to say!’
‘You hardly ask me anything deep or intimate. How are we supposed to get to know each other?’
‘You say you care about me and want us to work but sometimes I feel like it’s just words; your actions say otherwise.’

As I pondered all these thoughts, I suddenly realised that God could be saying these exact words to me!

‘You hardly ever pray these days. You promise me you’ll improve and we’ll spend more time together but when you finally settle down to talk to me, you seem distracted; there’s so much other stuff going on in your mind.’
‘You pray for a few minutes in the morning and I don’t hear from you again till last thing at night when you’re too tired to say anything meaningful.’
‘Everything else seems more important to you than I Am. How else can you explain excusing yourself if the phone rings, or deciding to watch that TV programme when we could be spending time together?’
‘I wait and wait all day long just to hear your voice. When you finally remember me, our conversation lasts only a few minutes, with you doing all the talking!’
‘I want to get deeper and more intimate with you; I want to hear about your day, your thoughts, your fears and your concerns. I want you to know me more.’
‘You say you love me; that’s all you sing about on Sundays, but they’re just words to me.’

Can you relate? As these thoughts went through my head, I realised how God must feel when I go sometimes for days without spending any quality time with Him. And He’s supposed to be number one in my life! I went to bed that night feeling very angry at Mr. Right?, but I realised that I was doing the very same thing to my First Love. Thank God for second chances.

Friday, 7 October 2011

One lovely blog award (plus 27 random things)!

So The relentless builder passed on the lovely blog award to me. Thank you Relentless, it really is so lovely of you! By the way, if you haven't seen her blog already, feel free to visit it, it's amazing and will make you laugh, I promise!
Now, the rules:
Link back to the person who gave you the award- I've done that already.
Complete the form below
Tell seven random things about yourself
Nominate 15 bloggers

Name your favorite color
My favourite colour is red. I feel like it's a bit boring because a lot of people love red, but that's the truth. There is just something about red that makes one feel special. I don't wear it that often though.

Name your favorite song
I love music, but I actually don't have a favourite song. I tend to listen to some songs over and over again, when I feel like it's something I need to hear. For example, I've been listening to 'He's able' by Deitrick Haddon a lot, and I'm also loving 'Like incense' by Brooke Fraser. I also love songs by Lara George, like Ko le Baje (I can dance to that song all day!) OK, I should stop now.

Name your favorite dessert
I love cheesecake. Strawberry cheesecake is awesome. But as I type, I'm having the most amazing chocolate cake. Rich and chocolatey. Yum!

What pisses you off?
A lot of things get on my nerves. I'm actually working on not letting things get to me so much. The other day, a guy was rude to me at work. Technically, I'm above him and I so wanted to give him a proper telling-off but I decided to just let it go. He's beneath me after all. 

There, I've been meaning to let that off my chest for a while!
Another thing I really hate is people assuming things without checking or asking me first. So annoying.

When you are upset you
I sulk/cry. I do the whole silent treatment thing. I try not to, but I do. If it's a little thing, after a while I get over it and I'm fine. If it's really bugging me, I talk to God about it.

Your favorite pet
It's got to be dogs.

 Black or white?
Not sure what angle this question is coming from, but I'll go with what's in my head and say black :)

Your biggest fear
Well, what I thought was my biggest fear has already happened and I'm still alive, so...

Everyday attitude
You can do it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Your best feature
My eyes and my lips (if you mean physically). It feels weird writing that on a public site. Like I'm advertising myself or something. 

What is perfection?
I'm not sure I know. I'd say being content is pretty close though.

Guilty pleasure
According to Wikipedia (yes, I actually looked it up!) 'A guilty pleasure is something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it.'
In that case, I have many, although I don't necessarily feel guilty about them. Top of my list would have to be food, and sleep. I love food. So much. I just thank God I seem to have one of those fast metabolism thingys. I also love my sleep. Sometimes when I've had a nice uninterrupted sleep, I wake up smiling and thanking God for creating something so wonderful!

7 Random things about myself:
Ok, that was the original rule, but since I've been a bit rubbish on my birthday posts thing, I decided that I would do 27 random things about me instead. I'm sure you don't mind at all. Here goes:
1. I love my own company. I make myself laugh, cry and think. I have conversations with myself but I don't suffer from any MPDs* (as far as I know). 
2. I take myself (and other people) too seriously sometimes. I used to have a problem with laughter; I guess I linked it with unseriousness. I was once stopped by a complete stranger and asked to smile.
3. I am a product of books. 
4. One thing I hate with a passion is spelling mistakes. Especially in stuff I have to read, e.g. books. I sometimes find myself correcting books that I believe someone paid good money for an editor to edit. It's ridic**. 
5. I sometimes suffer from a superiority complex. 
6. I sometimes suffer from an inferiority complex. 
7. I feel queasy in anything that moves***. Unless I'm the one moving it. 
8. I was once nick-named Rudolph because I'm allergic to air with stuff in it. It makes me sneeze uncontrollably and my nose goes red. 
9. I don't think God should have made rats. Or slugs. Or cockroaches. I hate them. 
10. I couldn't talk till I was almost four****. 
11. I (really) hate it when I'm talking and people seem distracted. But I don't show it, most of the time. 
12. In spite of what Jesus said*****, I'm not sure I could live without bread. Unless only brown/wheat/healthy bread existed. 
13. I think a lot. So much so that sometimes I'm physically exhausted. 
14. I think best in the bathroom.  
15. I (used to be) a chronic worrier. I would've worried myself to death if Jesus hadn't come along. 
16. I believe I am special. You know that slogan 'Jesus loves you, but I'm his favourite'? I came up with it. I'm kidding. 
17. I used to think crying was for wimps, but these days I'm amazed at how emotional I get over the silliest things. 
18. I was once so obsessed with Sudoku that I used to do it during lectures. 
19. I hate it when I can't complete a Sudoku puzzle. It makes me feel like a failure. 
20. I planned to get married at 22******. I'm no longer 22. I'm not married. 
21. I'm amazed at the amount of stuff I ask God for that He gives me. 
22. I'm amazed at the amount of stuff I ask God for that He doesn't give me. 
23. I think I'm a pretty good judge of character. It’s my sixth sense.
24. I'm first of all a Christian (i.e. Christ follower, Jesus freak- whatever you want to call it) before anything else. It's an amazing journey. 
25. I'm still on a journey of discovering why I'm here. 
26. I doodle a lot. 
27. Yes, I know it's only 26. Ha! See what I did there?

*MPD means Multiple Personality Disorder. I became fascinated by this after reading Sidney Sheldon's 'Tell me your dreams' and a book by Mary Higgins Clark, the name of which I can't remember, and can't be bothered to look up. I used to love Sidney Sheldon when I was a teenager.
**I got the word 'ridic' (shortened from ridiculous) from Cole in Scrubs (season 9). He is the best TV character ever created. Apart from Dr Cox obviously. But I love Ol' King Cole!
***This includes cars, buses, aeroplanes (the worst!), lifts, theme park rides (I hate those things!), playground swings, you name it. The list is endless.
****As I have no recollection of this, I still doubt if what my parents and older relatives tell me is completely true.
*****What Jesus said can be found in Matthew chapter 4 v 4, for those of you that don't know the Bible. Go look it up.
******I'm happy I didn't get married at 22. I was clueless (and still am in some areas) about marriage. The guy may not have survived.

Blogs I am passing this award on to:
It was supposed to be 15 but I'll pass it on to just one for now; this blog is fab and I thoroughly recommend that everyone checks it out. It's Butterfly diaries.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

27 things...27 things I'm thankful for

You know how it is. You make plans, and then life gets in the way and disrupts them. Well, I will not be beaten. I will still do my 27 things, one way or another. Someone very kindly suggested I write down 27 things I'm thankful to God for, and I think it's a great idea, and a wonderful place to start. So, here goes. In no particular order, here are 27 things I'm thankful to God for (it actually took me longer that I thought to come up with this list!)

1. My family: You can't live with them, you can't live without them. All in all, I'm thankful for my family. They see the worst of me, but they still accept me just the way I am.

2. My friends: Most of them are like family to me...there for me at the worst of times, willing to listen even when they've heard it all before. I'm so thankful for them, big time.

3. My job: I love my job. That's enough to thank God for methinks.

4. My church: I wrote in a previous post that I was looking for a church, and I found one. I believe I was led to this place, and for this, I'm so thankful. Real, passionate, Spirit-filled. I couldn't ask for more, really.

5. Life's lessons: There are so many good things about life. But there are also quite a few not so good things. I'm learning though, that the not so good things are what you learn from. And as you learn, you grow. Life teaches you a lot. And I'm grateful for what I'm learning.

6. Blogging: Blogging saved my life at one point. And I do believe my writing has a purpose. I'm thankful for the opportunity to write and share my thoughts with so many people out there.

7. Music:, music, music. I love my music. Music has lifted me, encouraged me, challenged me, made me think. Thank God for people like Frank Edwards, Lara George, Israel Houghton, Hillsong, the list is endless.

8. Freedom to worship: I hear stories of places where Christians have to meet in secret and in underground churches and I'm like wow. I walk to church freely, worship freely and can even stand on the streets and preach if I want. I hope never to take this for granted.

9. My relationship with God: I know, maybe it should be number one. But like I said at the beginning, this list is in no particular order. I'm thankful for my relationship with God. I've come a long way from singing and reciting in church as a little girl and thank God I've never really looked back. God has kept me even when I thought I couldn't go on any longer, and He keeps on keeping me. 

10. Sleep: Actually maybe this should be number one. I love my sleep. Just ask the friend who woke me up on a Saturday morning at 9am. 

11. Boldness: One good thing about getting older is that you begin to care less about what people think. It's exhilarating. I'm no longer a teenager trying to make friends or to please people. I thank God for the boldness to speak my mind even when others don't agree.

12. Good memories: I've had a lot of good things happen in my life, and I thank God for that.

13. CAP: 'Christians against poverty'. I thank God for these people who are doing such a wonderful job. And for the opportunity to partner with them.

14. The Eucharist: This is an amazing, amazing magazine. If you're in Nigeria, please support them and get a copy. If not, I'm sure there's still a way. I will be writing a couple of articles for the next edition and I'm so excited to be part of something so wonderful!

15. Mentors: I've had so many people mentor me and give me advice over the years, and I'm so grateful for them.

16. Grey's anatomy: Don't laugh. I love Grey's anatomy. It's not the most uplifting show but it's got me through some tough times and actually has some wisdom nuggets in it (if you can get past the depression and messed-up lives they all seem to lead).

17. Divine strength: I thank God for strength through some difficult times in my life. I definitely couldn't have done it myself.

18. Answered prayers: I'm still waiting for some more, but God really does answer prayers you know.

19. Trials: I'm not being cliche, but the truth is that trials really do make you stronger and teach you valuable lessons. So, even though I don't like them, I'm learning to be glad for them. Lord help us all.

20. Second chances: I mess up a lot. I thank God for second, third, fourth, etc chances.

21. Opportunities to serve: I thank God that I have a purpose. There is a reason He made me and put me on earth, and I love being able to serve.

22. Other bloggers: There are some bloggers that have inspired me, and some that have made me laugh, and some that make me think. And for you guys reading this. You're really the reason I blog, so I thank God for you.

23. Food: Sometimes the only reason I get out of bed is because I think of food. 

24. Good health: I've never been admitted to a hospital and can't remember the last time I went to see a doctor because I was ill. I think that's worth thanking God for.

25. Life: As in, the fact that I'm alive. We really shouldn't take this for granted. What makes you think you're better than the thousands (or even millions) of people who die everyday?

26. Fun things: I went to M&M's world with a friend the other day, and I was like a kid in there, even though I don't like m&ms. And then another friend and I did this thing where we got off the tube at every station on our way home and ran into the next carriage before the doors shut again. It was silly, but fun. I thank God for fun things.

27. The journey: The thing about life is that it's a journey. With ups and downs, fun times and sad times. But I think that's what makes it interesting. That's what makes us human; our lives are unpredictable. It's exhausting sometimes, but the 'not knowing what'll happen next' is kinda exciting. And when you have a God like mine, you know it'll all be fine, so you can go ahead and be excited!

Monday, 19 September 2011

I'm alive!

Hey! So my friend jokingly sent me a bb message on Sunday morning binding and casting the spirit of depression, addiction (not anything bad I promise!), lethargy and everything else that seems to have taken over my life for the past few weeks. I knew things were quite bad because I looked at the message and didn't even smile, but just turned over and went back to sleep. Life sucks. That's been my mantra for a few weeks now, and I feel kinda bad admitting that because, you know, as Christians we feel like we should be happy all the time and speak by faith and say 'God is good, life is great' even when we don't feel like it. And in a sense, yes, we should. God is good, all the time. Whether we feel it or not. But, sometimes life does suck, and there is no harm in owning up and saying 'you know what, I haven't got it all together, I feel overwhelmed and could do with some help'. Sharing really does wonders for the soul. Honestly. 

So as I said in a previous post I'm usually the one holding people up and encouraging my friends when they're down, but recently, I've had to share some stuff that I wouldn't usually share with some of them. I've had to admit that I haven't got all the answers, and even though I know what the Bible says, I still feel helpless sometimes. I've even had to pour out my heart to people that aren't Christians (I know, shock horror!) just because I needed someone to talk to. But it's been good. It's brought me closer to my friends, and it's made me rely even more on God. And like I said before, God is good, and faithful, and it's great that even when I feel like I'm fed up with this whole 'following Christ' thing, He keeps on loving me, and waits patiently for me to come back. And by His grace, I do.

Ok, the point of me sharing my heart just then was really to encourage you. Christians go through hard times. Mega-hard times, just like everyone else. We can choose to let it overwhelm us or we can hold on to God's word that says He'll bring us through it. He's got good plans for you, He's constantly thinking about you. Seriously. It may be hard to believe when you're in the thick of things but it's true. Try not to rely on your feelings so much, because well, you can't rely on them. But you can rely on God's word. He will bring you through, just like He promised.

So, my friend said that if I start blogging again (not that I ever stopped) she would know that her binding and casting actually worked. I must say, I think it did, so thank you best friend!

In other news, I haven't forgotten about my birthday post by the way. I've had some lovely (and some insane) suggestions, and I'm excited (and a bit nervous) to give them a go! I worked out that the countdown starts on the 23rd (I didn't realise that it was so soon!) I know I said I would do a list of the 27 things, but seeing as life got in the way, I haven't actually made the list. But, not to worry, I will still be doing 27 things, but unfortunately you won't get to know what they are until the countdown begins. It's all about the suspense people, and trust me, it'll be worth the wait. I hope. 

I need to sleep now. Hope you enjoyed reading, feel free to drop some more suggestions if you have any and who knows, I might just go for yours! See you on the 23rd, and have a fantastic week!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Are you really living?

Some stuff's been on my mind recently and I need to share it with you guys. It's this; LIVE YOUR LIFE. Yes, live your life. This life is way too short to spend it pleasing people. It doesn't matter who it is (apart from God obviously). But seriously, it doesn't matter- friends, family, colleagues, bosses, church folk...the list is endless. Just live your life. Do what you want to do. Seriously. You'll regret less things if you do. Even if you make mistakes, at least, YOU made the decision. I don't know about you, but I tend to handle mistakes better if I know that I made the decision myself, than if I did it because someone else wanted me to. 

Now, the reason I'm writing this is because I've finally come to the point in my life (better late than never I guess) where I'm beginning to realise that my life really is mine to live, and no one else's. Don't get it twisted though, I'm not saying do whatever, not caring for anyone's feelings. I'm not saying don't listen to advice. I'm saying your future is in your hands. Your life is what you make of it. I'm beginning to understand that when Jesus talks about abundant life in John 10v10, He means a lot of things, but for me He also means living a life free of stress, worry and anxiety. He means living the life you were called/made to live, not the life other people want you to live. He means LIVING life, and not just existing. If you're living to please people, you're not really living. 

This is not about being selfish, but sometimes we need to ask ourselves certain questions. Here are some examples;

'This course I'm applying to university for, do I really want to do it, or am I applying for it just because my parents want me to?'
'That job I'm taking, do I really want it or am I just going for it because my spouse thinks it's best for me (or us)?'
'This woman I want to marry, do I really love her or am I going for her because my parents think she is suitable 'wife material'?'
'Am I always trying to make people happy at the expense of my own happiness?'

Sometimes we need to put ourselves first. I know this might sound contrary to what the Bible says about putting other people's needs before our own, but recently I'm beginning to realise that I can't keep putting other people first if it's only going to make me unhappy. We can show love to people in other ways that aren't always about doing what they want us to do. Sometimes saying NO when people expect us to say yes is the best thing we can do for them and for ourselves. Sometimes disagreeing with someone when they expect you to be a 'yes man' is the only way you'll gain that respect you deserve. Sometimes making a decision that goes against the mentality of the majority is the only way people will start taking you seriously. When you can do these things, with a clear conscience before God, you'll begin to get a taste of what it means to live. Really live.

Now, go here and give me some tips for my birthday!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

27 things to do before I'm 27...

So, it's out there in the open. I'll be 27 in a couple of months (ish) and yeah I know, I can't believe I'm that young either. Anyway, I was in the shower the other day, doing some thinking (my best place to think by the way, which is why I spend so long in there!) and I realised that I needed to do something for my birthday. I could go ahead and do the whole partying thing, or going out for a meal thing, but to be honest, all that does get a bit boring after a while. And I always feel kinda bad making people pay to come out for my birthday. So I thought maybe I could do something different. Then the idea came to me- 27 things, counting down 27 days before my birthday, all the way to the 19th (of October). Genius. Ok, not really, I know people do this sort of thing all the time, but just not anyone I know. 

Anyhoo, I got really excited as I started to think about the numerous things that I could do, but then I thought, wouldn't it be fab if I could get other people involved as well? So, I've come up with a little list for now, and I would love for you to give me some more ideas, so that I can add to the list. I have a few rules though, which I will share. But please put out as many ideas as you want out there, and I will decide which to go for around a couple of days before the countdown begins. Also, I'm thinking I could blog everyday (during the countdown) to keep you guys updated on what I did. And I may put up some pictures as well, depending on how generous I'm feeling!

Now to the rules;
1. Cost- Whatever I do cannot be too expensive. It would be great if it didn't cost me anything, or if it costs as little as possible (unless it's something absolutely amazing that I wouldn't mind paying for), for obvious reasons- I don't want to be bankrupt by the time my birthday comes!

2. It can't be anything rude or illegal. Hint: I'm a Christian, so whilst I'm up for having fun, I'm not up for compromising.

3. It would be good if it's something I can do either on my way to work in the morning, at work (during my half-hour lunch break of course), or after work. Yes, I spend most of my time at work. But weekends should be fine.

4. It can't be anything too crazy, like bungee jumping, or anything that would involve me risking my life, because I won't do it. Sorry, I do want to see my 27th birthday.

5. Try and incorporate the number 27 into it if you can, but it's not a must.

6. Similar to rule number 4, it can't be too physically tasking. I am a young soon-to-be 27 year old woman. I'm not that strong physically.

7. It doesn't have to be all about me. Something that could bring a smile to the face of someone else would  be good too.

I think that's it. But I may add more rules if I remember any. Here's the list I've come up with for now.

27 things to do before I'm 27:

In no particular order;

1. Buy 27 dresses (literally, or the movie dvd - to be decided before the countdown begins)
2. Hug 27 strangers
3. Tell 27 people about Jesus
4. Visit 'Restaurant 27' and dine there for free (hopefully!). I actually googled this restaurant and was pleasantly surprised to find that it existed! And it's in the UK! What are the chances eh?!
5. Get that coat.
6. Give away 27 personal items
7. Go speed dating (ha! I put this in for fun, but if someone can convince me...)

Right, the rest are for you guys to complete. Let me know your thoughts, and if I get enough responses, who knows, this could be the bestest birthday present ever!

Friday, 5 August 2011

How I learnt to honour my parents...

Those words 'honor your father and your mother, that it may be well with you' from the Ten Commandments have always haunted me. For a long time I wasn't quite sure exactly what they meant, and even though my dad, like most parents always translated them to mean 'do as I say at all times', from a very young age I knew this was not the true meaning. If it was, it didn't make sense because in church they told us that we should only obey our parents if their instructions were right according to the Bible. So for example if your mum told you 'if Mrs so and so calls to ask for me, tell her I'm out' when she was actually home, you were supposed to say 'no mummy, that would be lying. You tell her yourself'. Or words to that effect. Obviously if you have the kind of parents I have, that was not even an option.

So I was reading a book a few months ago called 'Smart girls think twice' by Jan Silvious. Good book. In one of the earlier chapters, she basically broke down the ten commandments and related them to everyday life and it was here that I think I first got a good enough explanation of the whole honoring parents thing. I was pleased,  not because she said what I wanted to hear (far from it) but because it made sense, and it confirmed my suspicions that honoring your parents wasn't about obeying them in everything, it was about not being disrespectful to them and also about helping them out in their old age.

The first part has never been a problem for me, thanks to my parents' disciplining skills. But I must say I struggled with the second part. First of all, my parents are not that old. In fact, compared to some of my friends' parents, they're not old at all. So, helping them out financially is not something I really thought about doing when I left university and started my first job. But my parents are quite traditional. Sometimes too traditional for my liking. For example,  my mum told me that when she got her first salary, she took the lot and presented to her father as a gift. I guess that's the way things were done then, so my dad kinda expected me to do the same, or at least something similar. I was like, 'In your dreams!' Ok, I didn't quite say that but I was thinking it in my head. Come on, how am I supposed to pay for my rent and upkeep and everything else if I present my salary to my parents to do whatever they wish with? If you're reading this and you did something similar, good on you by the way.

I must say I'm not stingy (OK I'm working on being more generous with my money) but when my parents realised they were not going to see my salary (at least not all of it), they started hinting at other stuff like, 'you should help out with this, and you should help out with that' (I won't go into all the details but trust me, some of the expectations were mind-blowing!) I wasn't sure what to do, or where to start, because part of me was like 'allow me to enjoy my hard-earned money a bit first before giving me a list of what you expect me to do with it!'

Anyway, after I stressed out a lot about it, I decided to ask God for some help. Because I do appreciate my parents. My mum is an amazing woman, and I know she would do anything for me. My dad, well, if not for him I wouldn't be where I am today because he provided the tuition fees that meant I could get a degree and hence a good job. I realised that really, it was all to do with my heart. Yes, my parents don't need my money (they're both still working) but like Tesco says, 'Every little helps'. I decided that I would do my bit. No matter how small. I won't worry about the fact that I can't buy my dad a brand new car (yet) or put my younger ones through university (like my dad did with his). I'll only worry about the things I can do. Actually I won't worry at all. I believe that there's a blessing that comes with blessing our parents in cash and kind, and who couldn't do with some blessings in their life? For me, things started to change when I shifted my focus from my parents (and whether they really needed my money right now) to God, who asked me to honor them in the first place. My life is about pleasing Him, and even though I won't obey my parents in everything, my desire is to obey Him in everything.

p.s. I feel the need to clarify that I still need some work in this area. Anyone with some helpful advice should please share!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

He knows my name!

This came to me after my 'Dear God' post. It's all true you know, so be encouraged!

He knows my name, He knows the thoughts that fill me with shame
He knows I'm weak, He also knows I'm doing my very best
He'll see me to the end, through every trial, every challenge,
He'll see me through it all, right through every single test

He knows my name, and on His hands, it's forever graven
Even when I slip,  for a moment take my eyes off Him, I'm not forsaken
He's right beside me, there to catch me, there to hold me
He'll never leave me, never turn His back, never give up on me.

He knows my name, I'm so special, so unique
He has a plan, a good one, and quite specific
He's leading me, guiding me, edging me on to take hold,
Of what He has for me, a future so bright, so glorious to behold

He knows my name, and He's right there when I call
He knows my concerns, my worries, all that make me fall
He sees me, hears me, feels my every pain
He understands; He went through it all, just for my gain.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Dear God..

Dear God,

I wish I could have a skype conversation with you. I'm so tired of going through the same thing over and over in my head; it's driving me insane. I wish I could hear you speak to me clearly. I know you do speak, but so much is in this head of mine that sometimes it's difficult to tell if it's you speaking or just me. I so want to be led by you, and know that I am at the centre of your plan for my life but sometimes it's difficult to be sure. I know I need to be patient, and stop trying to see into the future, but it's really hard, and I feel like a heads-up won't hurt. I'm working on drawing closer to you, and I'm getting somewhere but it feels like I still have such a long way to go. I know I just need to trust you, and I do, really, but sometimes worry creeps in and I don't even know how! I really need help with this Lord, I've been trying so hard to do it on my own and it's obviously not working...

Sunday, 17 July 2011

In search of the perfect church...HELP!

If you've been reading my blog, you may know that I moved back to London recently from Nigeria, thanks to a new job God so miraculously provided for me. It's been an interesting journey so far, but all in all, I must say it's been great. My main problem right now is that I'm looking for a church. In one sense, it's not that difficult to find a church, because just like it is in Nigeria, there are quite a few churches in London, in fact probably too many to count. But I'm finding that locating the right church where I can settle down and get involved is actually a lot harder than I thought. It's funny because a couple of months ago a friend of mine was in the same situation; she couldn't find a place to worship that was close enough to her, and the ones that she found, she just didn't feel she was getting anything from so she decided to stay home on Sundays and listen to sermons online. I was kinda telling her off for this, you know, after all the Bible talks about 'meeting together', not just listening to sermons, etc etc. I felt that she should just go somewhere, my reasoning being that anywhere is better than nowhere (within reason of course).

Fast-forward a few months and I'm in the same situation. I've tried a few churches out, but I really am not 'feeling' most of them. I know it's not always about how you feel, and from my experience some churches 'grow' on you. But I strongly believe that where you go to worship is so important, and can either help or hinder you on your journey to your destiny. This is why I really want to know that I'm at the right place. It's frustrating because I so want to find 'the one' but I don't know if that exists (you would think I was talking about finding a husband wouldn't you?)

I feel like some recent stuff that's happened with respect to some churches all over the world, but particularly in the UK have caused me to become wary of even places that look, sound and feel great. I really want somewhere that I can get fed properly, from someone/people that I can trust, but also somewhere I can grow and that I can see myself serving in some form. Oh, and I want somewhere with real people. I feel like some churches seem to be made up of 'happy plastic people' and that puts me off big time (I got that phrase from 'Stained glass masquerade' by 'Casting crowns' by the way- you should check it out). You know, places where you go and it seems like everyone looks perfect; their lives just seem to be in order because they look perfect and in order. I dunno, maybe it's just me but I went to this church recently and as much as I thought the preaching, singing, etc etc were all good, I went home thinking I needed a brand new wardrobe (or a personal stylist) and a nice car as well, to fit into that place. That doesn't mean I wouldn't go back though!

Another place I tried seemed more down-to-earth, but I listened to the sermon and I felt that there was a lot of shouting and jumping up and down, but no substance. I felt like I was being fed milk, not meat, not to talk of bone. I don't know if I'm being too choosy, but it's difficult because there are so many things to consider; how  near the church is to where I live (if I want to attend mid-week meetings this is a biggie cos sometimes what I hear on the news makes me think Nigeria can be safer than London sometimes!), how multicultural the church is (some churches are too 'English', which sometimes but not always, translates to boring, whilst some are too African, or should I say Nigerian, which well, if you're Nigerian, I don't need to explain any further).

Some people love trying out different churches, before settling for one, but I've never been one of those people (wow, the more I write, the more I see similarities between looking for a church and looking for a life-partner! Maybe I should blog about that some day). Anyway, so the whole thing is beginning to get to me a bit cos I just want to settle down and get involved, but I can't seem to find a place I'm completely happy with. I know that no church is perfect because the church is made up of human beings, but I still believe that God puts us in certain places for a reason, and we have a purpose to fulfill wherever we worship. So I don't think I should settle for just any church. Well, the search continues, but please pray for me that I find the right place soonish, and if you have any suggestions, please feel free to share!