10 Years From Now – You Will Look Back at Your Masterpiece

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At a car shop some days ago, I sat on the left side of a beautiful woman dressed nicely, as I waited to get some oil in my Honda. My three little musketeers were with me chatting away loudly, not caring much about the people at the shop, lost in their own world of pretend play, each one of them pretending to be a hero from the PJ Masks world.

She was telling me how charming my kiddos were. Then she told me a bit of a story. How she had three kids herself, only that they were now in their forties. She had six grandkids now, she said. I was taken aback really. I confessed to her that she looked nothing like her age.

“It flies by fast,” she replied.

“Everyone says that,” I answered.

But the truth is when we’re in the tiny space of a nanosecond, experiencing that short moment in time, we often tend to forget that we are investing in the future. It was a good reminder for me to know that 10 years from now, I will be looking back at my “Masterpiece.”

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I have been around a lot of mothers, and I have seen the strength, the tears, and the laughter. I have seen much hope, but I have also seen hopelessness and fear, sometimes all these emotions are stacked one on top the other inside the same human being. A mix of feelings. Triumph and defeat. Victory and loss. Happiness and solemness. Acceptance and rejection. Faith and lack of faith.

I am certain that you’ve heard recent talks about mental health awareness. Very normal people can harbor a mix of emotions.

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My Unapologetic Coming of Age

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Short narrative fiction

 

 

I am unraveling the seventh piece of crumpled paper. I think I will use this one. It is getting dark and I am mentally exhausted from rewriting this letter over and over again. Whatever I wrote in this last one will have to do.

I am taking too long to read it. The tremor in my right hand is back, so I can’t stay still long enough to read the words.

I think I have forgotten how to read.

I envy the silence in my bedroom, oh, it is just deafening. Instead of quiet, the first sentence on the page is screaming out, begging to be free.

I am moving my lips as I read the words, but frankly, no sound is coming out. Maybe the truth is, I really don’t want to read it out loud. Because once I do, it will stick to the confines of my brain like glue on paper. Like nail on wood. Once I say these words out loud, they will become me.

I am trying really hard not to cry.

The first sentence reads:

“I am sorry.”

But the thing is, I cannot justify why I am sorry. For what really?

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Maybe I should just say…

I am sorry for being me.

I am sorry that my words don’t match your thoughts. I am sorry that I just like to say it how I see it.

The other day, we were both having a random conversation. It was raining and we canceled the plans we had made earlier to go downtown. The sound of our laughter often brings trouble. But not on that night. It was a serious night. I watched as you waited for me to say something. And when I finally spoke, I saw your face go red with rage. I surveyed your face, perplexed about how your beautiful smile quickly grew into a monstrous emoji.

I am sorry that sometimes we don’t think alike.

Some days, you see fire when I see water. You see dandelions and I see roses. You point to danger and I walk through it just fine. Some days, when you are strong, I am weak. But when I dare to be bold, you perform a disappearing act and hide under your big, old blanket.

I am sorry that, sometimes, we don’t agree.

You told me your opinion that night and I dared to scrutinize it. You shared your worries and I played the antagonist. I outlined my reasons and you told me I was mad.

Did you know that I cried on countless occasions? I was ashamed. Why am I annoyingly different from you? The good thing is you never saw the tears so you just assumed I was fine. It was so easy to cry along with the water from the shower sprinkler. I made sure you never knew. But I’ve always wondered though, about why our opinions clashed that night.

But, now, dear friend, I know who I am. I know my name.

The real words I want to say are these.

I am NOT sorry. I will never be sorry for who my Father says I am. Don’t you agree?

I think I will be me. I am now really comfortable with seeing roses when you see dandelions. I will no longer think I am blind when I see water and you see fire. In my weakness, His strength is made perfect. In my unashamed emotionalism, His name is glorified. Even when I don’t understand why you take the other standpoint, I won’t fight it. Unapologetic. I’ll stand firm with reason.

I promise to lose myself only in His word and His truth.

No, I am not sorry.

This is me. This is my unapologetic coming of age. I hope you find yours.

Uniquely You – How Your Choices in 2018 Will Be Part of Your Life’s Story

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Happy New Year to you.

Wow! It’s 2018! Can you believe it? It’s a blessing to have made it to this year. Christmas was spent with sweet lingering smells of holiday cooking which included jollof rice, my family of five posing in front of our decorated Christmas tree for our annual Christmas photos, and visiting wonderful friends. Some days later, the new year swept us off our feet and with feelings of anticipation, we prayed, did a countdown, and finally screamed, “Happy New Year” while watching the famous ball drop in New York right from our TV set.

Once more, most of us have gone into a deep reflective mode to consider what we want our 2018 to look like. If you’ve said, “This year, I’m going to do X, Y, and Z,” then you are in the right place. You’re part of the gang. However, before you read further, I want you to carve something really important inside your heart – God alone sees the vantage point. He saw your story even before it was written. He knew your story before you were born, He knows the intricate details of where you are right now, and He is ordaining your story for the future. What an amazing God if we can just trust Him with our lives.

Still, You Need to Make Choices

Now, let’s get to it. God has the vantage point, but He created us in His image and He wants us to make choices. Trusting in Him is not enough. Faith without action is unbelief. When you believe, you will take one step forward with Him.

But how will you make the right choices? You may be asking this question right now.

The Answer Lies in Your Uniqueness

I’ve noticed something very unique about me. Whenever I try to fit into somebody else’s pants, it doesn’t work out. Whenever I am not myself, it backfires. But whenever I listen to the voice of God, whenever I meditate on what God wants me to do to fulfill my purpose in this world, that’s when everything starts to make sense. You know, the peace of God is always there when you’re walking in His will, but when you choose to ignore Him, you will find that everything will become chaotic.

So in 2018, what scenarios do we really want to experience and what temperament do we want our hearts to be in? Would we prefer our hearts to be totally submerged in the peace of God or to be engaged in a series of unsettling chaotic warfare? The answer lies within you.

Today, I am going to show you how what you will do this year, 2018, will be part of your life’s story and I’m going to explore this by comparing your story to one woman’s story and how she affected what happened a certain night when Jesus was in Bethany at a friend’s house for dinner some days before his death (Matthew 26:6-13).

One Woman’s Choice and How it became Her Life’s Story

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Jesus was having dinner at Simon’s house and, all of a sudden, this woman comes dashing through the doors with only one mission in her mind. Bold-faced, set like a flint, her single mission was to pour a very expensive jar of oil on the head of the Son of God.

So she walked right to where He was seated, not minding the horrible stares she got from people. Imagine the looks on their faces. The shock. The disdain. She took off the lid, tilted the jar, and started pouring this really expensive oil on the head of Jesus. Keep in mind that in this setting, pouring oil on someone’s head was highly symbolic. It was considered as a preparation for an important role, for example, a king’s head would generally be anointed with oil before he was given access to his throne.

She was obviously showing respect and honor. At that very hour, she felt so strongly that this was the right thing to do. And she did not do it cheaply. I understand this woman because many times in my life, I’ve felt so strongly about something I had to do that it made my heart feel like it was on fire. I’ve felt so strongly about things I had to do that are not considered to be the norm. Things that would make you turn your head, but I just knew I was meant to do them.

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So let’s continue our story.

After she poured the oil on His head, the disciples started complaining. They murmured amongst themselves that she should have sold the oil in the market and the money should have been given to the poor. They asked Jesus, “Don’t you think what this woman did was wasteful? Why would she do such a thing?” But Jesus simply told them that she did it to prepare Him for His burial. He added that wherever the gospel would be told in the future, what this woman did will be mentioned to remember her. Hmm.

Are You Getting the Picture?

A lot of times, we want to stick to the traditional practices (which may not make much sense to you) that have been going on for years and years. We don’t want to do anything differently that will be frowned upon, and we fear that what we do would be considered weird or crazy.

Please, let me ask you today. Was that woman crazy? Or did she do what no one else had done to fulfill her own purpose? What will you do in 2018 that is “uniquely YOU?” Ask yourself, “What can I do that God wants me to do in 2018? What has God specifically called me and just me alone to do? What can I do for my home (or family, or career, or brand) that God wants me to do in 2018?”

You Are Not Other People

It doesn’t matter whether other people have done it before. It doesn’t matter whether people have not done it before. It doesn’t matter whether it’s part of a tradition. It doesn’t matter whether you’re sticking to the same things that people have done over centuries or if you’re suddenly breaking away this year.

What matters is that your heart is totally submerged in the peace of God and that there is no chaos surrounding your decision. That’s all that matters, people, in the large scope of things. Think about the big picture. Think about your legacy. God’s peace concerning your decision is all that matters this year.

Finally, I want to encourage you to really meditate on what will be part of your life’s story as a wife, as a mother, as a woman, as an individual, and let me tell you something…girlfriend, just do it. Be like that woman who poured oil on Jesus’ head. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. But you owe it to yourself to be who God has created you to be.

Take Action: Many years down the line, what you will accomplish in 2018 will be part of what people will say about your overall story. You only have a window to do it, so I want to encourage you that you should go forth and do what God has called you to do and be everything that God has called you to do in 2018.

Happy New Year everyone. I look forward to writing more Blog posts in 2018. God bless you. I’d love to read from you. How was your transition into the new year? I pray that as you read this, it ignites a level of boldness you didn’t know you had in you.

Love, me.

What Spring Cleaning Reveals About You

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Most of us can be so set in our ways that we can’t smell redemption even if it’s right under our noses. No one likes change. No one likes to have everything they’ve ever known their whole lives dismantled to start a new journey.

Yet, redemption is always near. Look at the palm of your hand and find that God has already given it to you. What redemption? I write about redemption in terms of acceptance of change, receiving newness of life, a breath of fresh air, something better than what you have right now. You may have achieved a lot already, but have you reached God’s best for you?

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

Spring Cleaning

The months of February through May are for spring cleaning — that old-time culture of getting rid of old unwanted things; deep cleaning the hidden nooks and corners of your home; a new season of reorganizing your life. Exciting, right? Well, the end-result is what most people like. The process to get there is a whole different ball game; it could be quite a challenge.

But it’s a hopeful time. Winter months spent holed up in a corner hiding from the light are over. Cold days spent indoors are officially out. The grass is evergreen again. Flowers bud and spring up after hibernation. Spring is here. Warmth has arrived. Praise God!

Have you been thinking about spring cleaning? What can spring cleaning reveal about you? Let’s see. I’ve listed three categories you can identify with, and in discussing these categories I’m going to create parallels to your spiritual life that can get you thinking.

There are three emotional states that spring cleaning can reveal about you.

1. Fear:

A lot of people can identify with fear. You constantly fear that you’re not good enough to do the work. That you can’t face the competition. That you can’t accomplish what you desire. That you can’t do this whole Proverbs 31 thing.

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What if you don’t have what it takes? What if you were not “called”? What if you fail? What would you do if you don’t get it right? What would people say?

Questions upon questions ravish your soul. You don’t want to get rid of old items because you don’t know if you will need them in the future. You don’t want to reorganize because you don’t know how to do it. You don’t want to change. You just want to remain in your comfort zone.

What you don’t know is that if you don’t take a plunge you will never find out how good it feels to be totally submerged in water in a cool spring in the heat of summer. CLICK TO TWEET THIS.

Fear is dangerous. It hinders you. It’s like a stop light that never turns green. You will never find out God’s purpose for you if you never make a move. Take all the old things out already. They’re piling up in your home. The thing about fear is that you can become a hoarder of things from the past. Likewise, if you are afraid to have a deeper relationship with Jesus, you will not get to the next level.

2. Acceptance:

This is when you finally come to the conclusion that you need to make a move. You realize now that you don’t want to be a hoarder of your past. You need change. Yes, you need to do some intense deep cleaning.

You haven’t made a move yet, but at least you know it’s the right thing to do. It’s a great thing to reach acceptance. It means you’re ready to take an inventory. That you’re ready to search within yourself to find out what you need to get rid of. You’re ready to start making a list. And you’re ready to take action.

3. Bravery:

This is when the orange light turns green and you press your feet on the pedal. Yay! This is where you want to be today. The witnesses in heaven are standing up to cheer you on toward victory. This is when you reach spring cleaning day and you rise up to start getting rid of old things and start reorganizing your life. You act upon the Word you’ve received. You tell yourself, “I can do this.” Then you whisper, “It will not be by my power, but through Christ who strengthens me.”

Being a Proverbs 31 woman

So whatever you are afraid of, it’s time for a spring cleaning. First, accept that you need it. But don’t stop at acceptance, dear. Set a date. Be actionable. It’s time to go forth and do. Spring clean your homes if you haven’t done so yet.

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But more importantly, spring clean your heart. For God does not focus on your outward appearance, He focuses more on what’s inside your heart. For me, I’ve learned that this annual rite of deep cleaning reorganizes not only my physical home but my spiritual mindset.

Ladies, what emotional state do you think you belong to right now? Fear, acceptance, or bravery?

Action: Don’t be afraid. Accept that you need change. Be honest with where you are right now. Then be ye brave to go forth and do! Yeah, you can do it! You can be everything God has called you to be, including that modern-day  Proverbs 31 woman. Let’s go there!