God Sends Help Before You need It

There was a time in my life when I thought I would die from every bad situation I faced. I often told myself, in the midst of difficulty, that there was no way I was going to make it out so it was in my best interest to bend my back, let the situation sit on me until I could no longer breathe… until recently.

For those of you who may not be aware, my car was stolen three days after my PhD graduation. I am specific about the time it was stolen to help you understand how potentially crippling the situation could be. I was on a good high, celebrating the completion of a degree that had me questioning myself over and over and finally adding that ‘Dr’ title to my name. And right in the midst of all that, my car was stolen from a parking lot, and I was left wondering about ow I was going to get to work.

I told myself I could not live down the height of embarrassment that was about to follow me. I thought I could not survive the thought of going from a car-owning student to a bus-hailing PhD holder. I thought “Oh dear! The devil is about to have a field day at my expense. How was I going to tell people about how much God loves me, when I was unable to explain the fact that a car I had driven for six years without any event was stolen on the happiest week of my life?

Well, I did not die. I did not sink. I did not even bend. Surely, I was sad, but my sadness was often shortlived as I remembered the passage the holy spirit shared with me a month before my car was stolen.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not lack any good thing. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for God is with me. His rod and his staff, they comfort me. He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. He anoints my head with oil, my cup runs over. Surely, the goodness and mercy of God will follow me, all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever and ever. Amen” – Psalm 23.

It did not seem like much when I woke up on the morning of my birthday and the Lord dropped this on my heart. It seemed like a little more when a pastor friend of mine called me that morning and started our conversation with this passage, but still not enough for me to think too deeply about it. Afterall, it was just psalm 23. I had heard it over and over. What else was there to it?

In retrospect, I realize this was a seed God was planting ahead to give me strength for the day of trouble. It was a covering God sent out a month ahead to prepare me for the days I could not live down the misfortune of losing my car. It was a reassurance of love before the event that would cause me to doubt his love. It was comfort before the tears, relief before the pain, reassurance before the doubt.

I don’t know what you might be facing at this point. Perhaps it feels like God has forgotten you exist and you feel hurt that he let certain things happen to you. Don’t lose hope. Don’t think he has forgotten you. Sit back and think back… He sent you a covering before the storm. And if you are struggling to locate it, I encourage you to remember that the Lord is YOUR shepherd. You shall NOT LACK any good thing!

God bless you! XOXO

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Protect Your Joy; Protect Your Life

As 2017 drew to an end, I decided to go off the grid. It wasn’t due to exhaustion (although I admit I was almost at the end of myself by December); nor was it a stunt I believed would make me appear more mature. I took time off to communicate with God and believe it or not, with myself.

You see, as 2017 trudged along, I stopped speaking to myself and I definitely stopped listening to myself. I am a naturally optimistic person; you can even say when it comes to determining outcomes I am in my own world. As much as I prepare for possible negative outcomes, I tend to visualize the positive outcomes more. I excite myself thinking about them. I walk as though things have already worked out; I talk as though I am already in the reality of a positive outcome.

But something was different in 2017. As the months went by, I stopped visualizing the positive. I stopped seeing the positive. I stopped walking like it was going to happen. I stopped talking like it had happened.

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I spent a lot of time listening to what others had to say even though they were not speaking to me or about me. I listened so much that I started to internalize what others had gone through; I started to expect the negative outcomes they got and at some point believed that my glasses were rose-tinted and life, in reality, was a rolling ball of negativity.

Thank God for those three days I spent off the grid. Thank God for those three days I spent immersed in my bible, speaking to God and listening to my heart. They made the important difference I’ve experienced in 2018 so far.

You see, no matter how cautious we are, we are to some extent influenced by the environment, by the things we hear and by the things others are doing around us. Last year, I listened to so many negative stories about relationships that I started to let go of my dream relationship. I said to myself “Demi it’s too far-fetched, it won’t happen”. I started to expect the worst, and as a result, I did everything possible to avoid it. Of course, it did not help that old scars began to find their way to the surface with the direction of my thoughts, reinforcing the negativity I was internalizing without being aware of it. I thought of the dream life I wanted to live and started to let my reality get in the way of that dream. I listened often to the people who told me about how their dream lives did not work out – not in celebration of something better, but in resignation to life as it had played out.

But those three days changed the direction of my thoughts and made me ‘rogue’ in how unshakeably I now believe in the validity of my dreams and aspirations. I started the year off happier, better and stronger than I ever was all through 2017. And I just want to say these to you:

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Source: She knows

  • Your dreams are valid. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Even if the people around you have never had what you dream of, don’t assume it is a natural rule that you can’t have it. The validity of your dreams is not dependent on the approval of those around you. Please don’t ever forget this.
  • You can sympathize with others without internalizing the negativity they have experienced. In other words, just because it happened to someone else or many other people, does not mean it will happen to you. This is where many of us struggle. We struggle to separate our lives from the lives of others. For some reason, we feel solidarity with those who are experiencing negative outcomes, and there is nothing wrong with this. However, we must remember that our solidarity is based on support and not necessarily on us sharing the same negative niche. For example, if your best friend’s husband cheats or if your buddy’s wife is abusive, by all means, be a supportive friend but don’t go home with the assumption that your own partner will be the same. Don’t subscribe to a club based on perception. Your reality might be different. Focus on your reality
  • Be OK with pulling out when you feel your heart is reaching a tipping point. Yes, there is an emotional tipping point where you go from being a supportive friend, neighbour or colleague to being overwhelmed with so much emotion, it is as though you are right in the situation when truly you are not. Be OK with excusing yourself. Be OK with saying “Can we please discuss a happier topic that will make us both feel better?” Be OK with giving a good tight hug and then leaving if you don’t want to listen anymore. It does not make you a bad person. You’re no use to the person you are trying to support if you are overcome with negative emotions. So why not pull out for a bit, get yourself together and step back in when you really have your heart protected and can speak to them from a position that offers strength and support, rather than one that dwells in the pigsty of negativity?

 

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Source: Dreamstime.com

Finally, please remember that negative outcomes make the news more than positive outcomes ever will. Negative stories get more shares on Facebook. Negative topics make the trends on Twitter. Look out for what’s not making the news – working marriages and relationships, successful fulfilled people walking in purpose in their own way, fulfilled dreams and aspirations, peaceful towns and cities with little or no crime… these trends don’t make the news but it does not mean they are not out there. Look for the positive and protect your joy. Believe in the validity of your dreams and stand firm. The negative outcomes of others do not, cannot and will not dictate your own. XOXO

For All the Strong People Who Are Feeling Faint…

This post is for all the strong people out there and for those who surround them. I hope this touches your heart.

You see, being a strong person is great. It means you are a survivor, a victor, an overcomer. Many strong people are alone but they are hardly ever lonely because they are either planning the next big thing or fighting a new goliath to reach the next level. Many strong people tend to do life alone and no one seems to understand why that is.

The problem is people who surround strong people expect nothing less than strength from them. They expect strong people to be ‘on’ all the time, abuzz with bible verses and inspirational quotes. They expect strong people to always have something to pour out while they eagerly receive. They don’t ever expect strong people to faint or even feel faint.

But here is a fact: Strong people faint many times.

Strong people feel situations like you do. They might know all the bible verses, but when it seems like the doors of life are closing in, strong people break down and cry too. It is at times like this that they need words of encouragement, love, hugs, a treat, no pity parties but an outlet to let out the pain they feel and an encouraging verse to strengthen their hearts after they have emptied their hearts of hovering depression.

But what do people around them do instead?

They judge. They mock. They castigate them for daring to faint.

“Shouldn’t you be the strong one here?” “If you are weak, how can we be strong?” “I don’t believe you are saying things like this. You should know better!” “Wow…. and you say you believe in God?”

It is no surprise that strong people learn to shut up. They struggle with vulnerability. Even in relationships, they struggle to say “I don’t really have this on lockdown because I don’t feel equipped to handle it.” They are scared to say “I feel like God is not coming through for me. Everything is such a mess.”

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They struggle to bare their emotions with anyone, including their partners. From my observation, I have noticed that the partners of many strong people tend to leave them to handle life alone. Any attempt at expressing vulnerability is met with a barrage of inspirational quotes and Bible verses that mean nothing to a heart that just wants to empty itself of the pain of struggle. How can these quotes and verses find room in a heart that is already filled with despondency and doubt? Oh yes! Strong people get despondent too. They doubt their journey too. They wonder about their process too. They cry. They faint. And people let them do it all alone. People make them feel guilty for feeling faint, and question if they truly serve God.

Dear strong person, the fact that you feel faint after holding on for so long is nothing to feel guilty for. David, a man after God’s heart, felt faint many times (read the psalms and take note of this). I imagine that Joseph through his travails lost hope many times. People may desire you to be a robot so they don’t have to invest any human emotions in your wellbeing, but you are not a robot. You are human. Sometimes the weight will be too heavy. Sometimes your heart will break over the smallest things. It is not because you are weak or because you lack faith, but because you are human and humans get tired. Sometimes you will seek encouragement or an outlet and be met with judgment and concealed mockery. Whatever it is, do not stop being human.

Did you expect me to say “do not stop being strong”? How can I say that when I know exactly how dark some days can be? I know how quickly courage can become cowardice, how quickly faith can turn to fear, how frustration can creep in on you and make you question your life.

I get it. Perhaps many people don’t. But I get it. Being strong can be a lonely journey. But let’s learn a lesson from David. Everytime his spirit felt faint, his go-to person was God. He cried to God, talked to God, expressed himself to God. God is the best listener. His ears are always open and his eyes never close in sleep. Yes, we all wish for people to understand those dark days without mockery or judgment, but many of them won’t. Those who do will stand by and get you back on your feet. They will give you a pep talk that will lighten your heart, or they will buy you three flavours of ice cream in one cone just to show that everything can work together for your good. If you are surrounded by these people who get the gist of your concealed fragility and your human-ness, keep them close. They are needed for your journey. If you are surrounded by those who castigate your fainting spells because ‘they’ve been through worse’ or ‘you are acting non-christian’ by fainting’, love them but never faint in their presence.

Take it to God. It is him afterall who gives you strength. XOXO

Understand the Seasons of Your Life

Hey you! What season of life are you in? Are you doing what is required of the season! Check out this five-minute video from my YouTube channel regarding two important seasons of life we must understand.

This Is How You Are Unknowingly Negative About Your Life

As you may already know, I started a vlog a few months ago. I put some of my posts in videos on my YouTube channel. Please watch and share with friends. Don’t forget to subscribe as well! XOXO

Everything Will Be Alright

There are times when I don’t understand how life works. Yesterday at church, we were asked to write letters to God and I honestly did not know what to write. I did not understand everything that was going through my heart. I asked myself if it would be an appropriate avenue to yell and complain, or was it a good time to say “thank you God for all those things I didn’t thank you for”. Was it a good time to cry and just tell God I was about to give up on him? Or could I just ask questions and hope for the best answers? What exactly was I supposed to write? I sincerely did not know so I left the page blank.

It did not help that this morning I got heartbreaking news of someone’s loss. I cried. Why does God let those who trust and love him go through so much pain? Why does faith need to be tested and shaken on all sides to be proven? I wish I had the answers but I don’t.

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One thing I do believe in though is that nothing is indeed permanent. I have fought and won so many battles, such that re-living the emotions I felt back then is almost impossible now. Indeed there are those battles that have left marks as reminders, but I choose to see them as scars that remind me of the strength I possess. I see them as proof of valiance and hope that I can face anything else that comes my way. Guess what? You can too.

As a child, I learned a quote that said “Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, then it is not the end.” It gives me hope everytime I think about it. It makes me realize that I am not at the end when I am in the midst of a storm. I am not at the end when I am in pain and suffering. I am not at the end when I am buried beneath battles and numbness I cannot explain. You are not at the end either.

Every trial has a purpose. Every battle produces a hero. Thankfully, with God, we are not heroes like Achilles with sad endings. We are headed towards beautiful endings crafted in the beauty of God’s grace and favour. Even in the numbness you feel now, know that God is able to bring excitement and beauty that will blow your mind. I can imagine you don’t want to hear that now…certainly not in the midst of your pain and suffering. I can understand that…but I can’t help but tell you…

Just like everything else you have been through, this too shall pass.

All will be well.

P.S: In honor of forgotten dreams, I am finishing posts I saved as draft over the years. This is post number 4.

Join the Movement #CrazilyFaithingIt

what are you believing God for this second half of the year? Are you crazy enough to faith it till you make it?