It’s been a minute, but hopefully, t’is about to change.
As you may have thought/wondered- Yes! I am still adjusting to my new role amidst other factors, and I am figuring out a routine for blogging with the present change(s). I am getting there. Please be patient with me.
So how are you doing? I hope you are doing great, I genuinely want to know…
Whenever I meditate on the life of Christ, I believe today’s title: ‘Against all odds’ is a minute depiction of His life. In the sense that, life was not a bed of roses for Him. We read about His life and we are open to the expectations of the life we are to live on earth. This truth, we know; then why do we expect a life free of trials and challenges? Why do we seek comfort in the things that are not created to give us comfort on earth?
Where am I headed with this?
In my last post, I shared a portion of my testimony of late. As the Holy Spirit will have it, He’s been prompting my heart that: ‘a comprehensive follow-up is necessary’.
I debated on if it was really necessary, to do the ‘comprehensive follow-up’. Well! Who am I to determine what’s necessary or not, when there’s been a command? So I said in my previous post that: ‘I passed the three exams I wrote in May and I am presently employed’. But what was the journey like before the breakthrough?
I wrote the first sets of exams in October 2014. I wrote two exams; the results were out in January 2015. I passed one and failed the other. I was so downcast. Yes, it did not matter that I passed one, why did I have to fail the other? After sometime, I walked out of my self-made pity party and decided to take the next step. My next steps were the ‘runaway steps’. I had registered to write one exam in January, but cancelled it. I told myself: ‘I am not ready’.
I was working part-time at that time; I focused on working, as well as, ‘routinely’ preparing to write the next exams. It was a routine because I had just given myself that pep talk: ‘you have to take the next step’; not because I had the right attitude and knew why I had to take the next step. You know when you just say things to yourself and they’re just words, having no effect.
Just when I was focused on work and making some bucks, God says: ‘it is time to leave, go and prepare for three of your exams’. I left. However, I did not leave with the sole focus of preparing for my exams, I went ahead to look for another job, I was invited for an interview; was convinced I was going to get the job, but I did not. And then, God got my attention on what He had asked me to do: ‘prepare for my exams’.
While preparing for these exams, so many amazing things happened. One significant one, was when I walked into the library and saw a man distressed with his head on the table. I noticed he had with him a document with the name of the law society and the name of the exam. I approached him and asked if he was writing the exams with the law society; and he said yes. He was so relieved, I got to understand that he had just arrived from his home country the day before and was so distressed and scared of writing the exams. I was able to share some tips for preparation and what to expect. Amongst other happenings, that was an experience that made me understand that there are lives attached to my being obedient to God.
One morning after I had written one of three exams the day before, while registering to write the next one, at the entrance; an Australian lady approached me and asked: ‘How did you find the exam yesterday?’
I replied: ‘it was ok’ I could only afford to give a default response.
Then she said: ‘I found it difficult, out of four questions, I knew only one. I am sure I will re-write it’
I was not too sure how to respond, but within me I had muttered: ‘I am not rewriting any of these exams’. The truth is that same exam, I knew three questions out of the four, and my perfectionist side was not having it. If I am being honest, these exams are the most challenging I have ever written. I would not judge someone as being ‘bright or otherwise’ with them. You are put in a forest and you are required to survive. I finished writing these exams with so much uncertainty as to what to expect, but I just had my trust on my only lifeline- God.
On the last day of the exams, at a bus stop, on my way home, as I was the only one there, I just declared loudly: ‘I command the Angels of the Lord to perfect every error that I may have made. I won’t rewrite these exams. The favor of the Lord will speak for me, as my papers come before the examiners’.
Beloved, the Lord heard. He went ahead, He took off from where I stopped. I passed the exams.
I was doing laundry the Saturday after I had seen the results- the day before, and God said to me: ‘Do you want to know the truth about these exams? You wrote the first set without understanding. You prepared and wrote them with a bad attitude. You wrote them as if you were being punished, but you wrote these three with understanding. You knew that this is part of the process, and if this is required of me to be who I have destined you to be, then I will do it; and I know God is with me in this’.
You see, God does not just give you a breakthrough, He gives you understanding of the mistakes you made, in order not to repeat them again. That’s the God we serve!
Okay let’s talk about the job…….
The job that I had to leave to write my exams was ‘an experience’. I worked for someone who used me and put me down at every given opportunity. There were days I started work at 9am and left 10pm [there was a day I left at 12am], the experience I was after was not given, I was doing menial activities, there was no appreciation, let’s not talk about the remuneration… The only reason I made it through was because, I made it a routine to report to God every day, and He reassured me of who I am in Him. I remember crying and telling God I was leaving, but I did not get a go-ahead. So every time I prayed for my boss, my attitude towards the work changed, I took my eyes off whatever the boss was doing; and worked as unto God. God was my employer, and I learnt to do right by Him, even when it got hard and I was trampled upon. If I’m being honest, it was a very hard time, especially knowing that I did not have to be there, I could have left immediately I knew how things were, but there was more to my being there.
When it was time to leave [8months after], I told ‘the boss’ that I had to concentrate on my exams. Five months after leaving, I applied for a job, went for the interview; and I was asked to provide reference as expected. I put down my previous employer’s details, but shockingly, she deliberately did not provide reference. No response to my prompt about the reference check, no response to the attempts from the reference check company. Oh and before you ask how I know this, I received an email from the Reference check company telling me about the non-response and an investigation took place [I have an ally].
But thanks be to God, He made a way ahead, because He knows what happens in the future before it takes place. I got another great reference. My mission’s trip to Haiti was days after the interview, I asked God that I start the job after my trip; that it should accommodate my trip; and He did. I started working a week after I returned from Haiti. Two weeks in, and I can only kneel down before God and pour my love on Him. Because I know all that He is doing at my place of work, in my life, has nothing to do with my righteousness, but just shows how faithful He is. I am realizing every day that God’s favor is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
Why do you have to know the nitty-gritty?
No Christian has it easy or smooth, but those bumps are there to prove that you are an overcomer in Christ; not on your own. I do no justice sharing the testimony without telling you about the tests. During tough times, it is easy to say; ‘there’s no one that understands’. Truth: God is with you, and He will also bring people who will encourage you through the trying times. However, expect people to doubt you, tell you that you are wasting time, that you are such a weakling etc; do yourself a favor and keep your distance from such persons. You need people who believe in you and are ready to pull you up; not down.
During these periods, there were days when I could not talk to God, I was too hurt and sad to pray, but I just always ‘turned up’- read my bible, and that was where I got my strength to stand. I was not perfect during this time, but I learnt that in my weakness, God always gave me strength.
I think it’s only fair to share some tips that works for me in challenging moments:
- Don’t be passive: this is not a time to sit down and wait for God to show up. You have to show yourself faithful, by being active with God in the trying seasons. Read more in this post.
- Be resolute on not compromising: it is very easy to be tempted with ‘easing’ options that ‘appear’ to be solutions to the challenges; and are against God’s command. Make up your mind to please God in those trying seasons. If there’s one thing I know: ‘God rewards those that seek to please Him in the good times and in the bad times’. Let your heart be firm like Ruth, make up your mind that no circumstance will make you displease God.
- Be a blessing to others: most times, when we go through rough seasons, we are more inclined to stay reclusive, not stepping out- because we do not want people to know what we are going through [that’s understandable], but do not keep focusing on your challenges that you become the ‘fig tree’- not bearing fruit in and out of seasons. If you read Mark 11 v 12 – 14, where Christ cursed the fig tree, he cursed the fig tree because it was not blossoming in an ‘out season’- a season when it wasn’t ‘supposed’ to blossoming; literally, we read the story as a fig tree that was cursed for not blossoming, but deeply, it is symbolic for us, Christians, it was a message to tell us that: ‘in and out of seasons, we are to be fruitful’. Be fruitful!
- Be expectant and prepare: if there’s any thought that the enemy will taunt you with, is that: ‘you won’t come out of this’. You have to wake up every morning expecting that something great will happen to you. People go through rough phases in life that they forget how to expect good things to happen to them- that should not be you. Expect breakthroughs, favor, signs and wonders; and they’ll manifest. Write on the canvas that God works with, get involved with God for the change you seek. You have a very powerful God, stop holding His hands. Attend workshops [self-improvement, job readiness, resume critiquing, Entrepreneurial workshops, etc]; write down your goals- what you will do in the present season and seasons to come [still subject to God’s scrutiny]. Be honest with yourself, and do all that it takes.
- Cultivate a heart of thanksgiving: a heart of gratitude is a virtue, it is priceless. If there’s anything I have experienced with God is that: ‘you thank Him for saliva and He gives you wine’. A heart of thanksgiving is also for you. It will reveal to you that, in the midst of the challenges, God is with you. If you remember, I said in a previous post- I have a journal where I write things I am thankful for every day.
- Spend crazy time with God: you have to consciously take out time to communicate with God. You’ll be surprised as to how much God will reveal to you about the season you are presently in, and seasons to come. I have come to understand that, if you do not have an understanding of the season, you cannot be fruitful.
I want you to know that God is real. He is faithful and He loves you with an unconditional love. Serve Him with all your heart and never be afraid to share your challenges and your triumphs; at the right time.
Stay strong. God has got you, and He will never let you go!
P.S: My friend and sister in Christ, Frances Okoro of www.imperfectlyperfectlives.com, recently released her e-book titled: ‘Chastity for men’. She did a series on it on her blog, and it was such a liberating and impactful series. She shared her own story on how God liberated her from sexual addictions and so did some brothers, in this book. I am very convinced that this book will be a huge blessing, and I know you want to get it. You can download it here. I will be doing a review as soon as I read it.
PT TIP OF THE DAY
To show love is to share edifying knowledge- Kanayo Dike-Oduah
A season does not change God’s plan for your life. It’s all part of the plan.
Please share your tips….
Missed my last post?
Have any questions/suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org