Our God

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Some time back I was in this company of friends of a then friend. It felt like I was in the “hot seat” of an interview. Let’s face it I love questions about my life as much as anyone loves being in a dusty environment. Eventually, the topic drifted from me to issues of life. Soon we were talking about God and our beliefs. Living around Muslim dominated environment and a few Christians most of my life has taught me to always keep my opinions to myself when people argue about Godly matters and what religion is right and what is not.

The conversation got heated, but I was at bay in the whole thing giving my opinion where necessary. I know I wasn’t a good Christian at this point, but experience has taught me better. Two of us believed in the Christian perspective of God; one felt there was a bigger entity than themselves though they did not specify as being the God of Abraham. The other was a Christian though said he believed there was God, but didn’t have to be defined in any religion. The other one kept his peace.

During this conversation, I reflected on a book I had read months before, and it had stolen my heart in some way. In the sense that I didn’t want to read any book after that because it always felt like the beauty of that reading will be wiped off my mind. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi had the theme of religion, that is, the traditional African way of viewing God and the Christian way. In the end, the book reflected that we all believe in God only that the methods of worship are different.

Days later after the discussion, as I sat with myself I reminisced over it and wondered how one could deny the presence of God. Like the psalmist says …The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God… (Psalms 14:1) Though i don’t judge. I believe they have their reasons. I know am not a saint, but it’s hard to deny God. It is hard not to look around you, and your life and deny there is a greater being than you.

I for one cannot deny the presence of God. My life alone is a testimony of the Ancient of Days. My mere existence is the beauty of His wondrous works. I’ve been around long enough to understand the perfection of His presence. I don’t deserve the goodness He gives but His grace… His grace alone makes me not doubt His existence.

There are days when I am in want and in need of a miracle and only a prayer, putting Him to His word brings everything at my disposal. He is never late so as to ensure, am not ashamed because the shame won’t be my bearing but His. I’ve moved from the point of doubting ever having what I want, just because I know He lives, and He is at my beck and call. I know any shame I bear won’t be mine alone but His as well.

I was having a conversation yesterday with a friend and our conversation unintentionally strode on perceiving the existence of God; how the mere fact of acknowledging God exists can make you walk in His grace. My friend then shared of how she was in a predicament a fortnight ago, and she went ahead to tell the villain in her predicament of how God will never allow any evil thing to happen to her. She explained her reasons to the point whereby the villain changed their mind and sided with her.

That is our God. The God of Abraham. I believe in His existence, Contrary to Karl Marx’s statement, that religion is opium for the masses, for me I never found religion, I found the God of Abraham to be more real than my very existence. Through it all, I will truly be a fool to deny Him. I believe in His Word and Son Jesus Christ (John 1:1, 14) and in the presence of the Holy Spirit, who guides and leads me all the way, lest I stumble along the wrong path. He is the instigator of my intuition for they always prove to be right. Thus, I know it’s not my doing but a greater power who cares more than anyone. Hope you do too. And He is as real to you as to most of us. It’s also never too late to start believing and trusting that He exists.

Getting off toxic relationships

There is no great feeling than knowing that in the world someone cares for you and the greater emotion is knowing that you care for another. But the greatest of these is caring for that indi…

Source: Getting off toxic relationships

Getting off toxic relationships

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There is no great feeling than knowing that in the world someone cares for you and the greater emotion is knowing that you care for another. But the greatest of these is caring for that individual and having them care back maybe in the same manner or at least proportionate to that. Be it friendship, family, platonic or erotic relationship, caring should always go both ways. Anything contrary to that is toxic.

 
Again, we have those friendships or relationships with people whereby the care isn’t the problem but the influence the person has on you. There is no greater or greatest toxicity in one’s life as the wrong relation. That friendship or love relation that just brings the worst in you or misery out of you.

 
Whether we like it or not the people we walk with have some degree of influence on us. We are all social beings, and any form of socialization has some impact. In one way or the other, there will be the borrowing of certain traits. Yesterday I was with a friend in town and I met this long lost friend of mine. I was overjoyed to meet her and later as we were parting ways all I could remember, was how a few weeks into our friendship someone mentioned how I had ‘corrupted’ her with my dressing style, Hehe! I also reminisced on how she taught me to keep my cool when offended, (God knows how I could use her influence right now) with how she composed herself. The girl used to be cool, calm and collected. I admired that in her, considering I was a tornado waiting to happen on activation, ‘temper issues.’

 
The people we mingle with tell a lot about us. Not necessarily about our characters but whether we like it or not they influence our decisions and the kind of activities we do. I have had a share of bad friends in my life but not so much as good friends. If there is something I thank God for is some of the relations in my life. I always make this prayer which is typically seasonal to me. The prayer is seasonal because it is usually made when I don’t like certain things in my life. The prayer goes like this, “Dear God, You see what I cannot see, know what I don’t and You alone can discern the hearts of men, so sieve my friends. I don’t care how you do it or the method it will involve, but please sieve my friends. Let me remain with those that are ordained to be in my life to lead me in the right direction. Amen.” This prayer has been my anchor in having good friends. It doesn’t mean that I never have bad friends, but once I execute this prayer, it works to ensure only real friends are in my circle. And I have much conviction that those in my circle right now are the best.

 
Letting go of a toxic relationship is not easy. Trust me I’ve been in this predicament at one point. Be it a lover or a friend, it is just tough. Once when I was in form two, I watched a documentary with my parent about how newborns from mothers who were chronic cocaine user in America were treated to get the drug out of their system. By that time it was nothing to me but just another information I acquired.

 
Later on in life, that is after school, I was in this toxic relationship for almost four years, and it wasn’t doing me any good. The worst thing is that anytime I got out of it, in one way or the other I would be swept back (don’t ask why, it’s a mystery to me up to now). At one time my mother had to sit me down about it. She told me that she knew very well that I didn’t love the person, but there is nothing worse than getting used to a person. It’s easy to let go of love than to get rid of ‘mazoea’ (habit). When you get used to a person, it becomes a habit that ‘s hard to get rid of. She told me she would not advise me to stop seeing the person immediately but rather to learn to live without him. She said to me that leaving him at once will be detrimental to me and within no time I will be back with him. So she reminded me of the documentary we had watched together of the children born of ‘junky’ mothers.

 
In the documentary these newborns in the first couple of months were fed with the drug but in proportions. Immediately when born they were given the same amount of intake the mother used to take and as months went by the amounts were reduced until eight months (that is if am not wrong) is when they were taken off it completely. This program was used to ensure the survival of the child. It was detrimental for the child to be taken off the drug immediately after birth because this was what it was used to. Lack of the drug could lead to the death of the child because of its delicate system.

 
So my mother told me to use the same method to get rid of this toxic relationship in my life. Not so many parents would give this sort of advice but after reaching puberty, mum stopped being an authoritarian parent, and onward she embraced authoritative parenting styles. Which always made me more inclined to heeding her advice. To cut the long story short, I heed to her advice, and I learned little by little to let go of it. To my utter amazement, there were days in my soliloquy I would ask myself what I saw and why I was sticking. I chose to believe it was naivety.

 
If you also can try to use this advice, work to let go little by little. The opium in your life will be gone in no time. There is nothing worse than a toxic relation because it will always affect your life negatively and steal your joy. Try to be happy today by surrounding yourself with the right people in your life.

Dealing with Grief

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For weeks, I have been pondering upon this and dilly-dallying on this post. Since Friday, I’ve been doing it while putting a pose for a while asking myself if it was worth it. Trust me I’ve done this like close to a hundred times. This indecisiveness is because it is the hardest I will ever have to do because it literally strips me naked and leaves me bare. That is not always an advantage for me because I love control over my life more than anything. More so, I love the upper hand when it comes to my life. Oh well! Here it goes.

The loss of a loved one or a significant person in our lives can be the biggest mountain in our way or a quest that is too hard to unravel. Most of us or at least all of us have had to deal with the loss of someone in our lives whom we held dear. The worst thing about it is the fact that we can’t see them again unless in the afterlife when we’ve also passed on. The thought of unfinished business, words not said, and so on eats us alive.

Dealing with the fact that we can never see this beloved is the biggest task. The first death of a dear one that I saw in my life was that of my grandfather. I was five years old. I remember not feeling any emotion because I never understood what was going on. Later after listening to people’s conversation and talking to my aunt she explained. The only emotion that came close to a tear was that I had lost the only audience I had to my storybook reading, and no candy will be coming after a read. But I was comforted by my aunt’s words that he will be in heaven watching over us. I guess the comfort came from knowing that he is not extinct just in another place waiting for us.

In a loss, despair crops in and dealing with this tough time becomes unbearable. Especially after all who came to mourn with us are gone. Many of us lack proper ways to deal with this time, and it goes without question that it is hard. Especially when you have people telling you to move on. I often wonder who asked for their opinion! I know they all mean well, but it’s always important to respect someone’s feelings. In spite of all of us having gone through the loss of anyone close to us or same person in question, we all don’t feel the same way or were close in a similar manner to the other, hence, we can never understand what the other person is going through. How close someone was with the deceased or circumstances surrounding the death or the events that occurred before the death determines how one will grieve and for how long and eventually how they cope.

A few months ago I did some work on poetry and came across the poem, ‘A Simple Child’. Reading through it made me feel justified in how I chose to deal with grieve. In the poem, the young girl is a family of seven siblings, though two are dead she refuses to consider them dead. The man in a conversation with her tries to explain to her that they are only five, but she challenges the man by showing him they are seven. She is in full awareness that the two siblings are dead because she points out that they are in heaven but refuses to kill them in her heart and mind.

The death of a loved one is an effect that marks us for life. It can either be a scar or a wound depending on how we deal with it. A wound needs nursing daily or every so often, it can either get worse by rotting as time goes but on the other hand a scar just reminds us of what happened but shows all is well. It is just there to show us the path that we’ve been through at one point but doesn’t dictate our lives in the form of pain. I look at the way this little girl in the poem deals with mourning and am overjoyed. I read the reviews and analysis on the poem and understood that the young girl is not in denial but knows that her siblings have died. She acknowledges that they are not entirely gone, but their spirits live on. Perhaps that’s the only comfort we need, to deal with grief.

In my life losing a loved one has been tough, but it never took a toll on me till I lost the person I held dearest. Especially with what happened before her death. I’d always been close to my mom, she was the love of my life, my confidant and the reason I aspired to be someone in life, but a few months before she passed on we had a falling out. Let’s be clear, though we were close I wasn’t always an easy child in some way. She did something to me (Which I swore to someone they would be the last person to hear of it, so never wait to see me share it) that was heart-breaking. Those who know me well enough understand that I have a weakness when it comes to forgiving people that I hold dear to me. I don’t celebrate it that’s why I call it a weakness and I try to work on it. At that time, I was full of bitterness, and I remember we had a sitting with her at one time, and I poured my ‘bitterness’ to her of how I could not fathom a mother is doing that… As days passed, she asked for my forgiveness, and it wasn’t fourth coming. She used people around us to try to talk to me, but she couldn’t share what actually happened, and I was also not ready to do so. At some point she got sick, and I went almost every day to help her out but wasn’t ready to forgive.

Though the last week before her passing on, I could say we were in good terms. She asked to see me severally, and it was what would come out of her mouth every time we spoke over the phone. I had just gotten a new job, and I had to wait till Saturday for my off to go over and see her. So I explained to her, she understood and replied with words of blessings. As if she knew they would be among the last words I’d hear come out of her mouth she spoke blessings over my life more than was necessary for the said circumstance. Saturday came and four hours before I was to go and see her spirit was lifted.

All I can remember and what has been a point of comfort in my dealing with it is what happened the time when she died. I received a call that she had fallen, and they were about to rush her to the hospital. As I was leaving the office to go check on her, that is, after two minutes or so, I felt this unexplained peace in my heart that I usually feel when something good is about to happen. A few minutes later, thinking in my heart that all will be well my brother called me that she had breathed her last. The weird thing is that even after the call and the disorientation in the midst of town, I still felt the peace.

Years later that is sometime last year; I remembered that peace I had felt and I was assured she was in a better place and she knows I had forgiven her. I have to tell you it was never easy, knowing that the person you loved died without knowing you had forgiven her. Without having to hear you utter those words. And worse of hearing judging voices from people around and mostly some family members who never had a clue of what really happened was a battle that drove me to depression and almost taking my life. But I overcame all odds. Just like I did you also can, maybe yours may not be as worse as mine, or more than my experience but all I know is that there is nothing too difficult that you can’t handle. Choose to forgive yourself if you need to or forgive the other person and make a decision to celebrate their lives knowing they are in a better place. I’ve come to the point of celebrating my loved one. Yes I may shed a tear or two at some point (am yet to find out if that will come to a finality someday) but there is no sorrow in my tears, pity also disappeared at some point. Hope this post will be of great help to you and a friend.

Arise and dust off

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The worst thing about falling is staying down even after falling. The wisest move is to get up immediately before anyone can see you. At one time I fell in town the ‘big’ whole me. The unfortunate thing is that there were so many men surrounding me. It took a second for me to fall on my behind and a quarter of that second to get on my feet.

The instinct that comes to mind after falling is to get back up again. The journey doesn’t continue but stands still awaiting you in your fallen state. Behind every strong individual, there was falling and more at one point in life. The down moments we face can either make us or break us. Rather what you do after you’ve fallen, makes you, or breaks you.

I love people with a story. I always get enticed by a successful person who has a story. The kind that once were a prostitute, a street kid, grown up in a slum, had a horrific experience, etc. and their lives changed at some point. Like the story of Pastor Terry Gobanga, a woman who was kidnapped during her wedding day, raped by several men, one stabbing her in the womb rupturing it. Thus, robbing her the opportunity of ever becoming a mother. She later lost her husband briefly into the marriage. Termed as a cursed person, she then finds love. Gets married and God gives her the opportunity to become a mom beyond all odds. Such gives me hope and shows there is hope after tragedy.

The story of a man makes his worth more admirable. All of us or at least some of us have been through a harrowing experience according to our perspective, but what we make of ourselves determines who we are. You can decide either to allow the moment to define you, or you define the moment.

I for one hate any form of duress in my life. When we allow circumstances to determine who we are, it’s same as welcoming dictatorship in our life, some colonialism. At some point in my life, I held unforgiveness, and it negatively affected the happenings in the next couple of months going to more than two years of my life. Out of that, guilt and all manner of self-condemnation cropped up. It clouded my ways and affected what I felt I did and didn’t deserve. Depression was an acquaintance and at some point suicide came close to an option. When I was finally able to let go of that, and most of all forgive myself, I found meaning to life and it could have never been better.

Moments are not supposed to determine neither enslave you. You are to emerge a victor rather than a victim out of that. One slogan that keeps me going is “This too shall pass.” Just like the bible says you will never be tempted above that which you can handle. I believe in that. Anything that comes your way, you are able and have the strength to overcome it. Lift up yourself, shake off the dust and fight until you can come out of that circumstances. That too shall pass. Life is much more than a situation that wants to control and steal your joy. You are stronger than you can imagine. Fight, fight to stand up. If you can’t do it by yourself, hold on to what is next to you and get back up again.

Gift of Life

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Today before you think of saying an unkind word–

think of someone who can’t speak.

 

Before you complain about the taste of your food–

think of someone who has nothing to eat.

 

Before you complain about your husband or wife–

think of someone who is crying out to God for a companion.

 

Today before you complain about life–

think of someone who went too early to heaven.

 

Before you complain about your children–

think of someone who desires children but they’re barren.

 

Before you argue about your dirty house, someone didn’t clean or sweep–

think of the people who are living in the streets.

 

Before whining about the distance you drive–

think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.

 

And when you are tired and complain about your job–

think of the unemployed, the disabled and those who wished they had your job.

 

But before you think of pointing the finger or condemning another–

remember that not one of us are without sin and we all answer to one maker.

 

And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down–

put a smile on your face and thank God you’re alive and still around.

 

Life is a gift – Live it, Enjoy it, Celebrate it, and Fulfill it.

Beauty Perspective

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Am a firm believer of the phrase “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. At times, you look at yourself, and you wonder what the hunk of a person or a beautiful woman saw in you… I know that is opened for discussion but all in all it depends on whom you chose to be your beholder. Who you allow to be the determiner of your inner beauty determines how you carry yourself on a daily basis.
I remember growing up I used to be a hefty kid, and it never bothered me until I got to secondary school and heard people make fun of my physic. To make matters worse, I was the kind of kid with chubby cheeks- you can get the picture. It went from just a teacher wanting to pinch the ‘tu cheeks’ in primary school even when you were not wrong to someone actually making fun of how they looked. All my mom’s talk of how beautiful I was, flushed down the toilet. My self-esteem concerning my body went down the drain in a flash.
After my morning studies, I would open this channel on telly (don’t exactly remember which one) and do aerobics at 5 a.m. and whatever exercise they had. I would starve myself and never did I lose the weight (not trying to crush anyone’s effort). After high school, hearing some inspirational speakers (Joyce Meyer, Paula White, TD Jakes) for about two years, my self-esteem was boosted, and I can’t even tell you how I lost weight. All I remember is that I used to walk to my destinations, and I lost the weight. Nowadays a day or two of exercise will show because I lose the weight. Like recently I took to some exercises (walks and a session at the gym), and I was surprised that a trouser which I had to struggle with to wear could not hold without a belt.

 

My point is, in as much as beauty is essential and exercise is healthy what determines your success at it is who you are doing it for. As Joyce Meyer’s book, Battle Field of the Mind says, the battle begins in the mind. If you can win it there, it doesn’t take much effort on the outside. One, let YOU be the beholder, determine your perspective of beauty then with or without the weight you will be happy. Who determines your going to the gym? The decision to lose weight must be your own for you to succeed at it. When you do it for others, the pressure would be too much and even when you lose a little it would never be good enough.
All my life I wanted to lose weight for the wrong reasons, but when I finally decided to love myself and do it for me, I began losing it effortlessly. Whether you have more in the bony areas than some of us, what matters is your view of beauty. See yourself as beautiful, and then exercise will be a fun part of your life. It will be more of “am doing it to be healthy, take care of myself”. Not that “am doing it to make them like me”. Love yourself today and take care of you for the right reasons you will be surprised at how much you will achieve.

Life Choices

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I believe in woman empowerment. I believe as women we have the power to make or break our destiny. In spite of how we perceive ourselves, we have the power needed to change the course of our lives. All we need to do is do more than make excuses.

 

We fall short of confidence in ourselves sometimes. Cope with mediocrity just because we are scared to take a leap. Maybe a leap of faith or a leap to our desired destiny. I’ve come to learn that all it takes is a simple step. A mere act of faith. Faith in something bigger than us. Yes, faith in a bigger entity than ourselves. Faith in the strong arms of our God (if you believe in His existence).

 
I long for the day that a woman would leap forward and refuse to be taken for granted. Refuse to partake in the shortcomings of others and refuse to make excuses on behalf of others. And just acknowledge that yes she is fearful. Afraid of the future, and the unknown. But yet have faith in herself to create a better tomorrow. Have faith that God will not leave her desolate.

 
I believe in the concept ‘the best is yet to come.’ In the sun shining brighter than the former days. Yes, the latter’s sun shines brightest. I got to have the pleasure of getting close to this young lady with two kids who against all odds decided to take a leap of faith and the sun shone and is still shining brighter than ever. Every time I look at her, I see strength, I envy and admire her persistence and her will to make a decision. It only takes a decision to change mediocrity and replace it with a worthy life.

 
Take a leap of faith today. Believe in yourself, believe in your God, but most of all love yourself, enough to reject any act of abuse especially that enabled by you. We are all accountable for ourselves.

Validity of a Dream

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There was once a young man who was the son of a nomadic horse trainer who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm and ranch to ranch, training horses. As a result, the boy’s high school career was continually interrupted. When he was a senior, he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up.

That night he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a 200-acre ranch, showing the location of all the buildings, the stables, and the track. Then he drew a detailed floor plan for a 4,000-square-foot house that would sit on a 200-acre dream ranch.

He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he handed it in to his teacher. Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with a note that read, `See me after class.’

The boy with the dream went to see the teacher after class and asked, “Why did I receive an F?”

The teacher said, “This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from a nomadic family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock, and later you’ll have to pay large stud fees. There’s no way you could ever do it.” Then the teacher added, “If you rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade.”

The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he should do. His father said, “Look, son, you have to make up your own mind on this. However, I think it is a very important decision for you.” Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all.

He stated, “You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.”

Monty then turned to the assembled group and said, “I tell you this story because you are sitting in my 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of my 200-acre horse ranch. I still have that school paper framed over the fireplace.”

He added, “The best part of the story is that two summers ago that same schoolteacher brought 30 kids to camp out on my ranch for a week. When the teacher was leaving, the teacher said, ‘Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was your teacher, I was something of a dream stealer. During those years, I stole a lot of kids’ dreams. Fortunately, you had enough gumption not to give up on yours.’”

“Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Follow your heart, no matter what.”

Shake it Off and Step Up

 

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A man’s favorite donkey falls into a deep precipice; He can’t pull it out no matter how hard he tries; He therefore decides to bury it alive.

Soil is poured onto the donkey from above. The donkey feels the load, shakes it off, and steps on it; More soil is poured.

It shakes it off and steps up; The more the load was poured, the higher it rose; By noon, the donkey was grazing in green pastures.

After much shaking off (of problems) And stepping up (learning from them), One will graze in GREEN PASTURES.

Our problems don’t mean it is the end of us. All you need to do is shake all the problems off by stepping up. Try all you can to shake your problem and step on them with strength, courage and the will to have a better life. Don’t let anything put you down. Step on to the problem and move to a better place.