What 2016 has taught me

As we wind down to the end of 2016, like many people I am reflecting on the year and all of the events that have happened.

It’s been an interesting year for me. I can’t say that it’s been a bad year, because there have been good moments and bad moments. And I honestly don’t believe I can say that because of a few experiences, that the whole year was bad.

I have learned a few things though. And that’s what I want to share about today.

  1. Life is what we make of it. If we want to wake up in the morning and not feel like the day ahead is going to suck, we have to tell ourselves that it’s not going to suck. Life will not go easy on you because just because you’re ‘you’ . It will continue. It will go on. And we either have to learn to ride the waves or we can let it attack us. God promises us that we are more than conquerors in all things. The choice to live victoriously or in defeat is ours.
  2. Everyone in your life has a season. Some seasons are longer than others. But others are as short as a day. I’ve learned not to hold on to seasons longer than they are meant to last. I am not saying that we shouldn’t try to fix relationships that are broken. But if there are people who come into our lives that don’t seem to line up with our vision or our destiny or who are simply not a good fit, we should not try to make them into what we want them to be. I’ve learned to treasure those friendships that I’ve had for the last two decades and let go of those that did not last for more than a couple of months. In the same vein, I’ve learned that I should probably not be aligning myself with people out of loneliness. Simply put. if someone is worth being in your life, make every effort to appreciate them. If not, let them go. Do not waste your time or theirs. It’s better to be lonely now than heartbroken later.
  3. Your finances are yours to manage. I’ve learned this year. That there will always be a sale. Always. There will also always be new restaurants to try and if they are meant to stay for a while, they will be there for a while. It is not necessary to get stuff on sale just because they are on sale. It is not necessary to go to a restaurant just because it’s new. This can be hard when you have people in your life who have no responsibilities or goals in their lives, or who have a wad of cash and investments that they have inherited. But if you are trying to achieve certain goals and make a life for yourself, there are choices that you need to make. Hard choices. Choices that might make friends and family talk about you. But that’s okay. Your finances are yours to manage. If you manage them well, you will reap the benefits and blessings. If you don’t, you will reap something else.
  4. Love again. This one is probably the hardest for me. I have somewhat given up on finding someone who gets me. I don’t think anything is wrong with me. By jolly, I’ve worked extremely hard to improve on myself and allow God’s healing in my life, over the last few years. But in so doing, I tend to meet men who are broken and jacked up and who have not worked on themselves after previous relationships, and who envy me because I have. Anyway, after many failed relationships which have left me broken, untrusting and well… jaded, I struggle to love again. This has spilled over into some of my other friendly relationships from time to time, but God is working on me. I’ve learned that for your own sake, it’s important that you allow God to work on your heart and heal it so that you can love again. There are some damages that only He alone can fix. Is loving again possible? It is. How will you know when you are ready to love again? When you have the desire to be with someone again.
  5. Mr. or Mrs. Right will not drop in your lap. At 34 and single, I am wondering if there is even a Mr. or Mrs. Right, but my faith in God gives me hope… But I’ve learned that I cannot sit in my living room watching Netflix hoping that he will find me. No Sirree. If you are lonely and in need of a partner (At this current stage in my life, I’m not by the way), then get your butt up, and get out there. Whether ‘out there’ for you is in your church groups, or hanging out with people or meeting new people… get out there. Important to note though, there is a lot of stuff that you can and should be doing while you are waiting/looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right.
  6. Your vision is yours for the taking. Every year, I make certain resolutions and promises to myself. We all do. But by February, that all goes south. If there are things that you want to do with your life… get out of debt, buy a house, have a family, it is possible. You cannot sit down and wait for ANYONE to realize your dream. God will send help in many forms, but don’t sit and wait around. Write your vision down. Take baby steps to get there. Don’t give up if you don’t see anything happening, or if no one supports your vision. It’s yours. Not theirs.
  7. God is there. This last one is important to me above everything else. But I deliberately left it for last. There are times when I’ve given up on God because I wondered why He put me in the place I am in. I’ve experienced real hurt from friends and family, work relationships, and just life. But for every negative thing I’ve experienced, God has given me two positives. Most of them are evident from how He’s operated in my son’s life but there are things that He has done for me that makes it impossible to deny His existence and His love for me. The way He positioned me for my current job. The way He blocked certain relationships from coming into existence. The way that He provided for me for the first six months of the year when I was unemployed and didn’t know how I was going to make it as a single mom. I’ve learned that doubt if you may, it does not change the fact that God is there for us. In every situation. He’s there. Even when we don’t acknowledge Him. God’s love for us does not fail. If anything this revelation compels me to be closer to Him in the New Year.

There is so much more that I’ve learned, but this sums it up. Now as we usher into 2017, my prayer for all of us, is that we are  wiser, stronger, better listeners, better friends, good parents (who do not put facebook over the time spent with our families), better stewards of our finances. I pray that we use this year to work on ourselves rather than point fingers at what’s wrong with others. And finally, that we make an effort to know God before judging Him based on what we’ve heard about Him from others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A friend that sticks closer

For this blog, I want to share about two things… loving others… and being grateful for those who love you.

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of spending time with a friend who visited from out of town. We don’t often get to see each other due to distance and we don’t even get to talk much on the phone or chat through messengers… Life seems to get the better of us both in one way or another. But every few months, my friend journeys for 4.5 hours to visit with me and my son and our close friends.

We will call him ‘T’. T has been in my life for a long time. He’s been there through all of the times I’ve moved to different apartments. He’s been there when my car broke down and I needed a ride. He’s been there through almost all of my ups and downs during the last 5 or 6 years.

This last trip, as he has done almost every other time he has come to visit, he takes over my kitchen and essentially cooks up ‘a storm’. As he spent all day in the kitchen on Saturday..making some time consuming savory dishes, I couldn’t help but to recall all of the times, he did that. He is the type of friend that would come to your house, bring  or buy a wad of groceries and just make a whole lot of food for you. And he has done this every time that he has visited my house…wherever I am living. He’s the type of friend who doesn’t seem to mind if you have a bed or a carpet, as long as he has a place to crash. And he’s the type of friend who selflessly gives of his time without fret or complaint. Although a short visit, he was able to make dinner for a vegetarian, a couple of picky eaters and me. And made enough leftovers for about 2 weeks.

Why am I going on about this? T was my guest. In all fairness, he drove 4.5 hours to see us. I should have been the one to cook and serve. Instead he took the opportunity to serve us.

As a single mom who has very little time to prepare fancy meals, I can’t tell you how much I appreciated the fact that T took it upon himself to make us food. But there is also something to be said for the fact that he was willing to take the time to drive all the way from his city to spend time with me and his other friends.

In my estimation, this is what real friendship looks like. And I am truly grateful to have him in my life.

I wanted to share about this, because I think it’s important to be grateful for the people that God has placed in your life. Sometimes we can get so carried away about what our friends are not doing in our lives that we forget to think about what they are doing. If we have friends who care enough to be present in our lives. Who take the time to be there for us…, who use their gifts and talents and try to make the day a little brighter, a little less stressful… we should thank God for these people. And we should also let them know that we appreciate them.

On the other hand, I think many of us could take a page out of T’s book. We could try a little harder to go the extra mile… and take a trip now and again to see friends who are not very close by. We could put aside some of our ‘busy-ness’ (which is essentially used spending time on social media) and just make time for the people that God has placed in our lives. Can you cook? There’s a friend somewhere in your life that doesn’t like or have time to cook. Perhaps you can make him/her something. Can you do laundry or do you like cleaning? There’s a friend somewhere in your life who hates folding clothes or who hasn’t been able to clean in a long time. Perhaps you can drop by for a few hours and help out. We shouldn’t always expect or want for others to treat us well, when we don’t even make the effort of treating others well. Distance should never stop us from exercising the love of God. The word of God tells us that ‘there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother’ (Prov 18:24).

I don’t know about you, but I welcome such friends in my life and I aim to be that friend to those who are in my life.

Always remember that despite where you are, or how much you have or what’s going on in your own personal life, you can always be a good friend to those whom God has placed in your life.

 

 

 

Selfless love

It’s been a minute since I’ve written. That’s because the last few weeks have been literally insane. My son had another surgery and after spending about a week in hospital, we came home to deal with his recovery.  I can’t possibly get into all the things I’ve learnt over these past few weeks. But one of the things that I feel compelled to share is the selflessness of love.

Full recovery from this last surgery takes about 3 to 4 weeks. That’s because my son had surgery to correct a severe hypospadias that he was born with. Probably best to google that if you don’t know what it is… But in a nutshell, he has had to go through three surgeries to correct his pee-pee because he was born without an opening at the tip of his pee-pee. If you have any emotion, the very thought of that would make you cross your legs and cringe. My little man had to go through that 3 times in the last year as the surgery was done in phases.

As a mom…and a single mom, I can’t tell you how hard it is to see your little one in pain and know that you can’t do anything to help. And this feeling will last for the duration of his entire recovery.

Over the last month or so though, I’ve learned that love is not selfish. There were many times when I was frustrated by his crying…, by his inability to sleep…as he constantly tugged and tugged at the area and made things worse. Everything was stressful. Bathing…walking, sleeping… In addition to this, I am faced with the fact that every surgery brings on a level of trauma that makes it hard for him to adjust. After each surgery and particularly after this one, he became petrified of his bed, being left alone, even seeing anyone other than me. And so… I had to be there for him. All of the time.

I can’t tell you how exhausted I was…,am… And to add on that, I had to go back to work in order to keep up going. But each day, I find that God gives me an extra measure of grace. This grace is the grace to not think about how I feel, or what I need, or what I didn’t have. It’s the grace to focus on what my son needs, what he is feeling and what he is going through. And so, every day I’ve been waking up after 2 to 3 hours of sleep sometimes and just holding him, encouraging him, praying for him. And letting him know that it’s going to be okay. I make him what he wants to eat. Play with him as much as I can despite how tired I am. I do all of his appointments back and forth to others cities…and I do it acknowledging that I am grateful to God that I have a son.

I say all of this, not to boast about me. Not to complain about what I am going through. But because I find that people are often so consumed with themselves, that they miss what others around them are going through. I might be tired or getting weak or whatever… but someone that I claim to love, is going through something and he needs me. He doesn’t need my frustration. He doesn’t need me to neglect him. He doesn’t need me to focus on me. He needs me to love on him and encourage him and let him know that it’s going to be okay.

When we make life about ‘us’ we will be miserable. There will never be a moment of peace and happiness because we essentially can’t pinpoint why we miserable. It’s really because we are so focused on us. But if we can focus on others… how much happier we would be.

Real love is really not about ‘us’. It’s not about ‘me’. When Christ went to the cross, he had to let go of what it would mean for Him and begin to focus on what it would mean for ‘us’. Real love focuses on the ‘other’. 

And so I want to leave on that note. I challenge you to not just talk about loving people when they are good to you. But actually manifest love. Give them a taste of selfless love, when things are not going so great. When they are lying in hospital and are miserable and grumpy because of the pain. Or when they are feeling alone and they can’t articulate what they need. How do you react to these things? Do you say ‘well I can’t deal with that right now. I am too tired’? Or do you put aside yourself and give of yourself as Christ would have you to do?

 

 

 

Walking into sunshine

I didn’t intend on blogging today, but my son was ill while at school, and so I took the rest of the day off of work to nurse him back to health. Kudos to single moms everywhere. Not everyone understands or appreciate what you do, but do it because God has blessed you with the incredible anointing to raise your little ones.

Anyhoo, I really wanted to write to  you about what I felt the Holy Spirit ministered to me yesterday. It’s not particularly on the topic of relationships, but I hope you can be encouraged by this.

Yesterday, while on my break, I took a drive to clear my head. From the time I got into the car, it started to rain. I mean it was a downpour. I needed to clear my head, so I went away. While driving, my phone rang. I thought I should let it go to voicemail given the conditions on the road, but it was a call that I had been expecting for a few weeks so I answered it (on speaker, of course). The woman that I was speaking with started the conversation by telling me how lovely the day was. I thought perhaps she was out of the city that we both lived in. And so I asked her, “where are you?” She said she was heading back to the office. Seeing that I was literally two blocks away from her office, I found this strange. So I asked her to clarify.

It turned out that she was exactly two blocks away from where I was driving. Actually she was on the same major street that I was driving on, but two intersections further up. Where she was walking, the sun was shining, the breeze was blowing and the grounds were as dry as can be. But where I was driving, which wasn’t too far off from where she was, the weather was not so pleasant. I could hardly see outside my window at one point, because it rained so hard.

I thought to myself…”huhm. This is interesting”. As I focussed to get a glimpse of what was ahead of me, I realized something. I saw what she was seeing. That in just a few more minutes, the rain would be behind me. If I kept driving a little longer, I would drive myself out of the rain patch I was in, and drive myself into a beautiful place. It was only 3 mins away. Where I was standing, it looked horrific, but there was sunshine ahead!

I want to encourage someone today, to go forward. Where you are standing… where you are at right now in life, may seem like a never-ending storm. But a few feet away, you could walk into sunshine. Dark clouds may be hovering over you. But ahead, God has sunny patches prepared for you, bright sunshine and so much more. Keep pressing forward to what lies ahead of you.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

I will never forget June 25th, 2009. It was the day that Michael Jackson died. But that’s not the reason that date is etched in my mind. It was the day that I realized that the man I loved so very much did not love me at all.

It was a horrific day for me. I had given him everything. Probably much more than he deserved. And when I tried to fight for our relationship, he told me that I was a ‘pest’, that I was ‘harassing’ him and that he would call the police if I didn’t stop bothering him. I sat on the floor in emotional pain… a pain that could not be felt but felt like the worse pain ever, as I flashed back to the day we first met, the many adventures we shared over the years, the talks of getting married… and now this conversation. How did it come to this? What did I do to deserve that?

Within split seconds, I felt hatred. Not for him. But for myself. How could I let this happen to me? How could I let him into my heart. It was not the first betrayal I had. And it was not the last, unfortunately. But it was the experience that first made me feel ugly and unwanted and that gave the enemy an opportunity to whisper death into my ears.

After crying for about 11 hours that night, I remember crawling to the bathroom. I had been too weak to walk. Dehydrated probably. But I heard a voice say “get up from this place” and so I did. I positioned myself in front of the tiny bathroom mirror, only to see that the 11 hours of crying had made my face look swollen, my eyes red, my complexion darkened and my lips chapped.

There was that still small voice again…

I want you to look in this mirror and convince yourself that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

It was asking the impossible. Clearly my boyfriend didn’t think I was beautiful enough. Why should I? Clearly I wasn’t wearing my makeup. How could I say that to myself? It wasn’t true. Clearly , at that present moment, I did not feel like pepping myself. How could I? But here was the Holy Spirit and He wanted me to play this ‘Mirror Mirror on the wall’ game?

Out of reluctant obedience, I muttered “I’m fearfully and wonderfully made”. Even as I said it, more tears strolled down my face. But I know I had to say it. And so I said it a few more times and then out of exhaustion, I fell asleep on the bathroom floor.

My hurt, my pain…did not end that day or even that week. It probably took years to be honest. But I learned something very valuable throughout the process. And that is in order to move forward and receive God’s best for me, I have to love myself.

I think the hardest thing for some of us…is not loving the God we cannot see, but loving the person in the mirror. We know the person in the mirror. We know all of his or her mess-ups, the mistakes that were made. We are the first to criticize him/her for being the way they are. But the truth is, it is impossible to love anyone else, until you have fallen in love with you.

Before you could give yourself to anyone, you have to be able to give yourself to you. Can you look in the mirror on your worst day… The day when you look as crappy as ever and say ‘I love you’?

You might have done a million things wrong. But just as God is gracious with you, you need to be gracious with yourself. It doesn’t matter how bad things were. You need to forgive yourself for the past mistakes and begin to see yourself from God’s lenses.

It wasn’t until I got this revelation that my perspective on life and love changed. An inability to love yourself is actually an insult to the person that God has for you. Essentially we are telling that person (and probably each person that we go out with) …”well…I don’t really love me. But hopefully you can love me.” How wrong is that?

I think that’s probably why a lot of relationships/marriages grow cold. We get married thinking the other person will love us enough. That they Will make us happy. And then after a few years… Reality catches up and we find that we are unhappy. Many people say that they are no longer happy in their marriages. That they are no longer in love with their spouses.  While that might be true, I believe that many of us are just not happy with ourselves.

It has not been easy, but everyday despite how I feel, I look in the mirror and tell myself that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. That I am beautiful. Yes, I have imperfections. But the Potter who created me knew that this Clayed vessel he made would have a few kinks. Still there is not another vessel quite like me. So everyday in my mirror, I get up and say… ‘You rock, Darlene’. I might not be perfect , but I am reaching towards perfection as the Holy Spirit shows me how. And while in that process, I continue to love my evolving self.

I challenge you today to come to terms with who God has made you. Ask God for help to Search yourself. Identify all the things that you hate or dislike about yourself, whether those things are experiences or mistakes or actual physical attributes. Once you’ve identified them, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what you can learn from having those experiences or features. You see, in every experience there is something that can be learnt. And every physical quality is an opportunity to fall in love with God  and the uniqueness of being you.

I encourage you to daily grab a mirror and confess your undying love for…you.

Psalm 139:14 (NKJV) 14: I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.

Falling in Love

When I was young, I dreamt of the day that I would be married to a tall, dark and handsome beau. I had dreams of being swept away by a well-off gentleman who was Christian, intelligent, and strong in mind, body and heart.

I had no idea that finding someone like that would be so hard.

Over 20 years later, I am still waiting for this knight in shining armour to arrive. But to be honest I’ve stopped expecting that he will be the man of my dreams from when I was young.

With that said, I should start by saying that it took me a while to write this blog post, because my ‘love life’ is something that I’ve decided to put on hold. In the past, I’ve had a lot of failed relationships…and …well… to be honest, I didn’t want to write something from a place of hurt or hopelessness…feelings that are still sometimes present when I survey my past experiences and my present options.

However, as I was praying about how to write this series of blogs, I felt I should start with this topic…”Falling in Love”. I began by asking God some tough questions. I wanted Him to reveal to me what it was that I was looking for, why had I felt like I had fallen in love so many times, only to realize that those experiences were not love at all. These are hard questions for me to ask. But sooner or later we have to come face to face with ourselves and ask  the hard questions especially when it seems as if our prayers are not being answered. To my surprise, the Holy Spirit did answer. I think He was just waiting for me to bring up the topic. He said to me “It’s cuz you’ve been falling in love with the wrong person”.

I knew exactly where He was coming from. But before I go there, I think I need to put some things in context. Two days ago, my friend asked me how many ‘boyfriends’, I’ve had. It took me a while to count, but it was less than 10 (in my short 30 something years of life). Only two of these relationships were longer than a year, but they all ended in pain. The first three boys I dated cheated. The fourth was abusive and cheated, the fifth betrayed me, the sixth …God knows what exactly went wrong… I just came home one day during the Christmas season and he had my bags packed in his car and ended our 2 year relationship, the seventh was sleeping with over 20 women at one time, engaged to two and still thought we could be together, the eight was messed up from a 7 year marriage that ended in divorce and the 9th got me pregnant and then ‘flipped switch’.

In a jovial manner, that would summarize some of the pain I experienced. But really, when I think of all of these relationships, it makes me wonder if I will ever get it right. The problem however, is not that I can’t get it right. It’s not that I am incapable of finding the love that God has for me. It’s that I’ve been trying to fall in love with the wrong person.

What does it mean to fall in love?

It’s not a snippet of a Harlequin or Danielle Steele book, or an episode of Mistresses’ or ‘Young and the Restless’. Falling in love does not look like any of the Lifetime Crappy Sappies. It doesn’t look like constant drama, and it doesn’t look two people arguing all the time and then having hot makeup sex, only to argue again 2 days later about the same topic. I feel like Hollywood has been painting this picture for us for a long time and it has become the expectation for many that love equates to pain. It does not.

And to be honest, I feel as though falling in love can’t truly be understood unless we first experience it with God.

 

When the Holy Spirit told me that I was falling in love with the wrong people, it became clear to me that I had truly missed out on falling in love with Him. I had talked the talk. I said “I love you God”many times. But every time I started to get close to Him…every time I started to get a glimpse of what love really is, someone else came along and pulled me away.

In Revelations 4, We are encouraged to go back to our ‘first love’ i.e. God. There is a reason for this I think. Loving God and receiving His love, sets the tone for what real love should be like. So I’ve been spending a little time over the last few months being in a relationship with Him. With no hidden agendas. I just really wanted to know him more.

Based on that, I think falling in love should be a constant hunger for the other person where you can’t get enough of them. It should be a continuous desire to get to know them more and more. It should be a knowing that you can go to the other person with anything and they will hear you. It is the feeling that doesn’t want anything in return, but yet wants to give everything. It’s a feeling that doesn’t see what the other person is doing wrong. But celebrates the things that s/he actually does right and looks at him or her from the perspective of grace. This is the kind of love that will last. When you fall in love with God, it is truly the best thing you’ll ever experience. And when you have it, you will truly understand what real love looks like.

So with that said, I want to end with this:

If you’re single, I would like to encourage you to stop trying so hard to find love. Rather, focus on loving God. Focus on falling in love with Him and come to a place where you fully get what real love is.

If you’re married, it’s not too late. I encourage you to reconnect with God in a way that you’ve never done before. When you do, you will learn how to love your spouse or partner and you will come to a place of feeling complete, not because your relationship is better with your partner. But because your relationship with God is phenomenal.

 

 

Let’s talk about relationships…

In the last few weeks, I’ve felt a tug in my spirit to talk about something that I don’t even know if I am qualified to talk about. But I feel I should talk about it. That subject is  ‘relationships’.

Now before I begin talking about this subject…  I want to say a few things…Disclaimers really:

  1. I am not married. I want to be some day… I think. But not unless God connects me to someone who is worthy of me. Yes… I said that.
  2. I am a single mom. That pretty much reiterates the first point. But I say that because I need to admit that I’ve made some tragic mistakes in the dating world. And there are times I feel as though I should be the last person to talk to people about relationships or love or marriage. But I feel I have something to say.
  3. I don’t and won’t pretend to be an expert on this subject. I am not. But in the last few years, all of the ‘tragedies’ I’ve experienced have led me into the haven of God’s arms only to ask the question, “Daddy, what was I suppose to learn from that experience?”. I won’t lie. There have been a lot of negative experiences. Painful experiences. Experiences that have forced me to seek counsel both in the world and in the church. Experiences that have made me want to give up on life and question why I was still on this earth. But this is exactly why I feel I need to talk about this. I have gone through some of the worst experiences I think any woman could go through, and by the grace of God, I am still here.
  4. I don’t want anyone reading my blog to take what I say as gospel. It’s not. But as I’ve sought God time after time, I’ve asked God to give me wisdom about relationships. I’m not perfect. But I do believe that my wisdom is increasing.

For tonight/today, I want to start simple.

Oh. Wait. There’s one more thing. I can’t promise that I will write to you every day. I can say that as the Holy Spirit leads, I will jot down points and then as I find time (i told you about my single mom deal, work, charity, business venture, etc…), I will sit down to write… probably at the 11th hour of the night. So if you find what I have to say interesting, I’d encourage you to subscribe so that you can get the notifications about posts in your email inbox.

So for tonight, I want to start by asking a simple question. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your satisfaction with your current relationship? And if you are not in a relationship, judge your past relationship. How would you rate your satisfaction with your past relationship/s.

I want you to be honest. Not with me. But with yourself. Don’t put this off. But rather, take a moment on your way home, or as you go through the grocery store… and ask yourself this question.

Then ask yourself, why did you rate the relationship the way you did.

If you rated it 9 or 10…. congrats. You don’t need this blog.

But if you rated it as anything less… I suspect it’s because you feel that there is a void. You feel it could be better… because something is missing. You can’t put your hand on it. But you just feel something could be better. Once you’ve rated your relationship and figured out why you rated it the way you did…hold that thought.

I’ll be back soon with a few tidbits.

Awesomeness of God

So… I am sorry that I have been off the radar for a few weeks there. The truth is… well. Let’s pick up from where I left off and you’ll understand.

In my last (very long) blog, I confessed that I had come to a place where I was doubting if God would ever meet my needs. I wrote about being unemployed for the longest amount of time I’ve ever been and how I was learning to trust God at a whole new level. That new level entailed allowing my will and wants to be submerged into His will  for my life. It entailed letting go of my pride and my plans, and allowing Him to order my footsteps into the way that He wants them to go.

One of the reasons, I write, is because it allows me to think through what’s in my head and at the same time, accept what the Holy Spirit is commanding me to do or what He’s doing in my life. And so, at the point of writing my last blog, I had to fully come to terms with the fact that where I wanted to be at this phase in my life might not be where God wants me to be. So having prayed, and submitting myself and my will to God, I stopped looking for a job, comparing myself to others and trying to do things my way.

Well… It wasn’t even a week later, that I received notice of a job by email. The job description didn’t seem to be complicated. It fact, it seemed like a basic administrative role. What was appealing to me however, was that it was at the organization at which my son receives different care services. I thought to apply but thought that it would be better if I could forward my resume directly to the HR manager explaining that my son was in their program. I expressed my interest to one of my son’s teachers (who happened to be a close friend of the HR manager) and she said she would make a connection. The HR manager conveyed to her that she had already received over 100 resumes for the position and that it was better that I submit my resume directly to her.

Long story short, a week after I wrote the last blog, I applied for a job, was called for an interview two days after and was offered a job two days after that.

Clearly, the awesomeness of God is all over this testimony. But there are a few things that I just wanted to point out.

  1. I studied Medicine in another country. After 3 years of Med school, I came to Canada and while it was my intention to continue, it was impossible. I felt like I had wasted three years of my life. Fast forward 10 years later, I am able to use that knowledge in the job that I’ve accepted.
  2. My son should not have even been at this particular organization. His paediatrician had referred him to another, but because that organization was unclear about what his condition was, we referred to the one I currently work for because they deal with more challenging cases.
  3. My son was not suppose to be admitted to the organization’s preschool program until he was 18 months. However, because of the favour of God, they created a pilot program and he was admitted at 14 months instead. Had he been admitted at 18 months, we would never have met the pre-school teacher that was friends with the HR manager who accepted my resume.
  4. We attended an event that was held at the organization for the community a few weeks before. My son had won a whole lot of prizes  and I was unable to take all of them back to the car along with him. One of the loving volunteers offered to watch him and the toys while I went to get the car. I did not know then that she was the Director of Services at the organization or that she would have been the one to interview me.

 

I said all of that to say this:

I don’t know if you can see the trajectory of God’s awesomeness in my life. Or if you can even see how He has been ordering my steps. But the truth is that God is awesome whether or not we know it.God is always working on your behalf. He is always ordering your steps. Even when things don’t seem like they are working out for you, God is there.

With everything that I have gone through in the last three years, it has been hard to see that. But even in trying times, even when seemingly bad things seem to be happening, God uses those things and puts them to work, for our good. What He wants though… no… what He requires is that we stop trying to do things according to our way and will. That we become immersed in what He wants for us. And then He wants us to willingly accept the steps that He has ordered us to walk in.

Now I don’t know if this is the position that I will be in for the rest of my life, but I do know that I have a whole new level of faith that God is able to meet my needs. I know now beyond a shadow of a doubt, that even if things do not work out, that God has something else planned. That it’s not because of anything I’ve done or didn’t do, but that God is just up to something better.

I wish we could apply this kind of attitude to every aspect of our lives.

I have to go to sleep now. I have to go to work tomorrow 🙂

 

Blessings.

Why am I not getting anywhere?

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve last shared. But for those who know me, you know that I try my best not to share anything unless the Holy Spirit has given me something to share.

In the last week or so, I’ve found that my spirit has been circling around a particular area and I believe it’s something that God wants me to hear and share.

 

Lately, I’ve been in a place, where I’ve been worried about my state of unemployment. My last role ended because I needed to take time to be with my son as he needed to have surgery. I didn’t know how long his recovery period would be. But I knew it would not be easy. In fact, it wasn’t. The area that they operated on, took about 6-8 weeks to completely heal. As it was a 6 month contract role and I only had 6 more weeks to go, I could not be on leave for 6 weeks, so my contract was terminated early.

During this process, I kept applying for jobs, but I was really just trusting God to place me in a full time role with benefits instead of the ten years of contract jobs that I was doing (I should point out for those of you who are not in Canada, that most short term administrative related jobs have no benefits). To be honest, I was frustrated, because I felt that after having graduated with 2 degrees, I would have landed a sustainable job. I needed this kind of job now. I needed to have my career started. Especially as a single mom. I need to have that stability to provide a safe and comfortable place for my son.

Anyway, after about 6 months of applying for jobs, at the time of writing this, I am still unemployed…(It pinches every time I say that). I’ve had interviews. I have had second interviews. Nothing has happened. At one point I even got so desperate that i began to lower my expectations of work. I started to apply for jobs that I was clearly overqualified for.

For those of you who are in the boat of unemployment, you know how this feels….When all of your friends seem to be successful and you are not. When you begin to second guess yourself- your personality, your qualifications…. the colour of your skin??

It was not until yesterday that I felt the Holy Spirit really began to drive home to me what was happening. Here’s how it happened:

I read this scripture:

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Prov 16:9

When I first read this scripture, I brushed over it. I read the commentary on it, but I just didn’t think it applied to me. But it has been one of those things that has been on my heart ever since.

One day I was having an Art Therapy Tea Party, and as we were sharing, one of the girls said the most profound things. She said that when we don’t get the desires of our hearts, it’s probably because of wrong timing or that our desires don’t align with His desires for us. It’s only when the two align, that God can move.

Then Last Sunday, I was listening to a message by Steven Furtick, Pastor of Elevation Church and he was sharing on how we ask God for favour for certain things (e.g. a good parking spot) and when we don’t see the manifestation, we think that God has not given us favour, not realizing that His favour aligns with His will and plan for our lives and not our own.

That same day, when I was in church, one of my pastors delivered a message on humility. The message was profound, but I believe that one of the things that God ministered to me was that I need to humble myself. 

Now I’m going to piece together this whole experience of what God has been laying on my heart.

All this while, I’ve been wanting God to provide a job to meet my needs. I just really don’t want my son growing up like I was and I’ve been determined to fight back the generational curse of lack that I’ve battled my whole life. I also have a huge amount of student loans that have to be addressed. My prayer in this season has been that God would provide me a 9-5 job that was permanent and had benefits so that I could be allowed to take a vacation (which I’ve never done), and just take a few paid sick days to take care of my son. This is what I want. It’s not a lot. I just want a basic lifestyle.
But what I’ve been missing and praying amiss, is that what I want has not been lining up with what God wants for me. Yes, God wants me to be successful.  Yes, He wants me to have a good job. But God will only place me in a position where He gets glory. He will place me in a position where I can be a blessing to others. And He will place me in a position where He can get the most use out of me.

Now, I have two degrees- an Undergraduate Degree and a Master’s. I’ve been to Med school. I dare say that academically, I am sound. I’ve worked and done so many things, that my skill set should really allow me to get a position that would bring in no less than 75k. Yet, I’m not there. I’m not even close to being there. But all of this, sums up to one thing…. PRIDE. And what God is requiring of me is to humble myself. God might have me work in a cafeteria  for all I know. I might end up going on social assistance even. I say all of these things and I am flinching as I type. But that’s the problem. What God wants for me is to totally submit my life to him. And trust that He will provide for my every desire. He wants me to realize that when I accepted Him as the Love of my life, I no longer lived, But Christ in me. That means my dreams, my degrees, my wants and my desires…I have to lay them at the foot of the altar and let Him align me with His dreams, His wants, His desires. I have no business walking around with my own until and unless He transforms them into what He wants. It is only when I align with His will and desires for me, that I can truly fulfil purpose. Otherwise all I will be doing is ‘working a job’.

What this has taught me is that I need to let go of me. I need to let go of my fears of tomorrow, of my ideas of wealth, my ideas of where I think I need to be because of who I am. I am not here for me. Bringing a son into this world, I realize now more than ever, I am here to raise a part of the next generation of Kingdom warriors. I am here for the person next door, the people that I will work with. So my best place, is to submit myself to the place where God wants me to be and be okay with that, and trust that He will meet my needs. I am learning…trying to accept this now as I let Him direct me to the right work opportunity.

So how is this relevant to you? A lot of you are working 9-5, living mundane lives. Some of you are even miserable and burnt out, even though you make good money, you have nice things. For someone, you’re unemployed and it seems like nothing is changing and your savings are about to run out. For some of you, it doesn’t even have to do with your job, you just feel like you’re not making any headway in life. You feel stuck. As if you’ve been hitting a brick wall for a very long time. On the outside, it seems like you have it made. But on the inside, you just feel as though things are not happening for you at the pace you would like. I want to ask you this? Have you been allowing God to direct your path? Or have you been doing what you want and expecting Him to bless you. Have you totally submitted your desires to Him and asked Him to give you His desires? Have you asked Him how you can be a blessing in your place of work, on the bus? God’s ability to bless you is determined on your ability to fulfil His purpose for your life.

I’ll stop there for today.

Get some sleep

 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling really stressed with some of the things I am going through. There are times when I have to fight the thought that I am not alone. And that God is on the scene working on my behalf. I don’t know about you, but that can be tough. It can be tough when you look at your circumstance and realize that time is running out and there is no change to your situation.

In those times…times when I am stressed, or anxious…, my peace gets disturbed and I become exhausted.

But this morning the Lord ministered to me with this scripture.

indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

Psalm 121:4

I think for me, it is a reminder that I have done my part. And I need to trust God with the rest. God never asked us to stay awake at night worrying, or to be continually anxious about life. He would never do that because He is always awake, watching over us, our families, and continually working on our circumstances. He never sleeps nor slumbers. That word ‘slumber’ means that He doesn’t take our situations lightly. He is not carefree about it. And because He is working on our situations,..guarding our lives, He wants us to be assured that we can rest.

It is only when we enter into His Rest that we can sleep peacefully. We have to first trust Him to be the God who cares, who is looking out for us, and then we can truly enter into a place where we have a calm assurance that He is fixing things.

Whereever you are, whatever you are worried about, be encouraged that God is watching over your life continually. Even if it seems as though He is asleep in your situation, be reminded that He never sleeps nor slumbers.
With that in mind, you can trust that it’s only a matter of time before things will change for the good.

So rest. Again I say, Rest. Be at peace. And tonight instead of staying up worrying about how this bill will be paid, when your healing will come, when the right job will come along, if you’re ever going to find the right person to spend your life with…Just entrust these cares to your Guard. And get some sleep.